Consumer Advocacy Group Calls CRTC to Investigate Increasing Telecom Complaints

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released their mid-year report for 2017-18 yesterday, which saw a 73% increase in complaints compared to the year ago period.

According to consumer advocacy group, Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), based out of Ottawa, the huge surge in complaints should be investigated by the CRTC and fixed.

“Canadian consumers are sending a clear message that they are being poorly treated by, and are suffering from misleading sales practices of, Internet, wireless, home phone and subscription TV services,” said John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, in a statement. “Such a dramatic increase must be investigated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.”

According to the PIAC, the top complaints in the mid-year CCTS report were a result of alleged questionable telecom sales practices. Earlier this year, the PIAC urged the CRTC to hold a public inquiry into high-pressure sales tactics reported by CBC News investigations. Ultimately, the CRTC rejected the request.

“Both of the highest complaint issue categories likely are largely driven by sales practices and other promises made to consumers that consumers do not feel were lived up to,” explained Lawford. “Part of the increase is consumers hearing about poor sales practices who in turn complain; however, the base of this problem is likely those practices themselves and CRTC should no longer duck its responsibility to launch an inquiry into how Canadians are sold their communications services.”

Out of the top 5 service providers by complaints accepted, Bell Canada took the top spot with 33% of complaints, followed by Rogers at 10%, TELUS at 8%, Virgin Mobile at 6% and Videotron with 5.4%.