The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Service says it received 19,287 complaints in the fiscal year ending July 31. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

CCTS says telecoms complaints surge for another year on billing, contract issues

OTTAWA — Complaints against telecom and cable companies rose by 35 per cent last year to continue an upward surge in disputes, says the consumer agency tasked to deal with them.

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Service says in its annual report that it recieved 19,287 complaints in the fiscal year ending July 31, up from the 14,272 recieved the year before and more than double the amount from two years earlier.

“Record numbers of complaints, rapid industry change, and our own desire for continuous improvement have motivated us to focus on our dispute resolution process,” CCTS commissioner and CEO Howard Maker said in a statement.

The commission, mandated by the CRTC but funded by the industry, says about 91 per cent of complaints were successfully resolved.

It says Bell accounted for the most complaints at about 30 per cent, Rogers made up nine per cent, and Telus was third with eight per cent of complaints.

The CCTS says wireless services were the main areas of complaints, followed by internet-related problems, while the main issues in the complaints were billing and contact disputes.

The commission says complaints on billing include disputes such as customers being charged but not provided service, billed after service cancellation, and promised discounts and promotions not honoured.

Contract complaints include being provided the wrong internet package, not disclosing information or notices as required, and issues with contract terms and prices.

It says the 158 confirmed breaches of the wireless code was up 42 per cent from a year earlier. The code was implemented in 2013 and sets out rules on areas like contract clarity and bill management.

Bell Canada accounted for 29.1 per cent of code breaches, Telus and Rogers were tied at 19.6 per cent of them, and Freedom Mobile made up 15.8 per cent. Fido, Virgin, Videotron and Chatr also recorded breaches.

The commission notes that despite the record number of overall complaints, 182 service providers had zero complaints, and another 107 had three or less.

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