The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) 2021 Compliance and Monitoring report found companies breached its Procedural Code thousands of times.
The CCTS, which focuses on resolving customer complaints related to telecom and television distribution services, received 15,000 complaints in 2021. These resulted in 2,400 alleged breaches of the Procedural Code.
Some of the code’s requirements include Participating Service Providers (PSPs) applying agreed-upon resolutions, not threatening legal action or additional fees against their customers for filing a complaint with the CCTS, or asking the customer to drop the complaint.
The CCTS found 16 cases where PSPs breached the code’s requirement to implement an agreed-upon resolution. However, the report notes all PSPs implemented the requirement once notified, stating the mistake of not doing so earlier was the result of human error or an issue outside of their control.
Overall, there has been a decrease in cases where PSPs don’t implement resolutions, recommendations or decisions, the report notes.
When it comes to threats resulting from complaints, the CCTS notes there was one incident in 2021. 4pairless communications inc threatened to disconnect service for one customer following a complaint. The CCTS notes the customer’s service wasn’t cut off and is working with the PSP to help it understand its requirements.
The CCTS was also made aware of 20 alleged breaches relating to PSPs asking customers to withdraw complaints. Further examination found three instances of this behaviour. The report shows PSPs were unaware they couldn’t ask their customers to do this in two instances. The third case involved 4pairless.
Another aspect of the code includes the PSP providing the CCTS with a written response if they can’t reach an agreement with a customer before the CCTS begins an investigation.
In 2021, the CCTS found 1,149 alleged breaches of this part of the code.
“The CCTS continues to observe a concerning trend that PSPs are not fulfilling their requirement to provide a response or all supporting documentation with their response to an unresolved complaint at the initial pre-investigation level,” the report notes.
Public Awareness Plan
For customers to easily access assistance and information related to the CCTS when it comes to resolving disputes, PSPs take part in CCTS’ Public Awareness Plan. Requirements include PSPs displaying messages on their websites informing customers of the CCTS, and providing similar notifications through their bills. PSPs must also inform customers of their ability to access CCTS when an unresolved complaint comes up.
The CCTS audited the websites of 57 PSPs under this plan, including the 25 PSPs that generated the most complaints in their 2019 – 2020 annual reports. Bell, Rogers, and Telus represent the top three service providers, respectively.
Several issues resulted. Only 23 PSPs had CCTS information part of their complaint page, a requirement under the plan. This figure decreased from the 36 PSPs who had this information in 2020. The CCTS doesn’t state which PSPs fail to follow the requirements.
However, there is some good news. The audit found 10 PSPs were fully compliant with the plan, including ACN Canada, Cable Axion, Chatr, Koodo, Lucky Mobile, Pathway Communications, Primus, Public Mobile, Shaw Communications, and Shaw Direct.