Chair’s Message

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Last year I described the process we had begun to develop a new strategic plan to guide the future of the CCTS. In 2018-19 we were able to complete this work, and we have publicly released the strategic priorities that we have identified as the focus for the CCTS over the next four years. I am pleased to report that work on all of these priorities is already underway.

In 2018-19 a major CCTS initiative was the development of a new strategic plan. We followed a rigorous process to critically evaluate our organization so we could understand the opportunities and challenges facing the CCTS—and provide better quality service to our stakeholders while creating a more effective, efficient, transparent and accessible organization. To support these goals, our three strategic priorities for 2019-2022 are to:

  • deliver efficient, effective and transparent service to customers and service providers;
  • strengthen our organizational capacity, structure and resilience; and
  • build a deeper value-added relationship with our stakeholders.

To support these priorities, we intend to conduct a detailed examination of our service delivery model, both the processes and the tools, to ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the best possible service to customers and service providers. We are pleased to have an independent third-party review our operations, and we look forward to the opportunities this review may identify. We have also hired senior resources and revised our organizational structure to share leadership among them so that we can bring the necessary experience to all aspects of our operations.

The success of the planning process was the result of a tremendous effort by the Board and the CCTS staff, working in the cooperative manner that has become the hallmark of our governance of the CCTS.

Although resolving consumer complaints is at the core of what we do, since its inception the CCTS has accepted the mandate of bringing to the attention of the industry and the CRTC those gaps in consumer protection that we identify when we investigate complaints. This role continued in 2018-19, with our involvement in the CRTC proceeding that informed the establishment of the new Internet Code, which the CCTS will begin to administer in January of 2020. We also participated in CRTC hearings on sales practices of large telecom service providers, which resulted in a CRTC report on misleading and aggressive sales practices.

In October of 2018, Bram Abramson, one of our industry directors, retired from the Board. I would like to thank him for his dedication and contribution to the organization. In his place, we welcomed Geoff Batstone as the newest member of the Board.

Finally, I want to offer a word of sincere thanks to the Commissioner, Howard Maker, as well as the entire CCTS team for their tireless efforts to ensure that the CCTS continues to provide appropriate guidance to Canada’s telecom and TV service providers to help them meet the communications needs of Canadian consumers.

Catherine Aczel Boivie
Chair of the Board, CCTS

Commissioner’s Message

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

In her message, the Chair describes the new strategic priorities that will guide the CCTS over the next four years. The strategic priorities on which we’ll be focusing—ensuring that the CCTS can continue to do its mandated work as a healthy, resourceful organization, operating effectively and efficiently with the support of all its stakeholders—are particularly important in light of the continuing increases in consumer complaints. In 2018-19 complaints to the CCTS were up 35% over the preceding year.

However despite the increased workload, our statistics show that once again we provided very good and very timely service to our customers. The increased workload did not deter us from our focus on helping consumers and service providers to cooperatively resolve their disputes. Again this year, over 90% of complaints were successfully resolved by the parties following the intervention of the CCTS.

In support of last year’s new Compliance Monitoring Program for service providers, the CCTS published its first Compliance Monitoring Report. Our objective is to ensure that all Participating Service Providers are following the rules, so that customers can receive the best possible service as we deal with their complaints. In particular, our rules require service providers to take certain steps to ensure that customers are made aware of their right of recourse to the CCTS in the event of an unresolved complaint. Our program is focused on working with the service provider community to ensure they are implementing all of the public awareness requirements.

Other significant developments in 2018-19 included the issuance by the CRTC of an Internet Code of Conduct, which the CCTS will administer along with the other three CRTC Codes of Conduct. In developing the Code, the CRTC took note of our 2017-18 Annual Report, which reported a five-year trend of increasing internet complaints. The CCTS was also a lead participant in the CRTC hearing investigating the sales practices of large telecom service providers. We were asked to open the hearing by presenting our statistical analysis of complaints touching these issues, and we identified a mismatch between customer expectations during transactions with their provider and their actual experience. This mismatch became the focus of the CRTC discussions and its final report. It’s gratifying that our research and analysis have been instrumental in these important industry developments.

What does the future hold? It really is true that the only constant is change. The rapid evolution in technology finds its way into complaints, and we regularly need to refresh our expertise and examine our mandate to ensure that we are staying current. But whatever the future brings, we are committed to our mission of providing outstanding dispute resolution services.

We conducted an employee engagement survey this year. I’m pleased and proud to report that despite the heavy workload and the significant degree of organizational change going on around them, our people are very highly engaged in the work of the CCTS, and they remain committed and focused on ensuring that our customers have a good experience when they come to us. Our staff are also focused on contributing to the broader objectives of the CCTS to improve the consumer experience in telecom and TV. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Howard Maker
Commissioner, CCTS

Year at a Glance

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

This section provides an overview of significant numbers and events for the CCTS in 2018-19.

By the numbers

Infographic that contains several statistics from top to bottom: 91% of concluded complaints successfully resolved Complaints are up 35% Billing problems are number one issue for wireless, internet, TV and phone customers 96% of complaints at the first stage of our process were concluded within 40 days 182 service providers had ZERO complaints; another 107 had 3 or less 375 brands operated by 261 service providers

By the dates

August 2018

CCTS terminates participation of AllCore Communications for non-compliance and refers AllCore to CRTC for action

October 2018

CCTS participates in CRTC hearing on sales practices of large telecom service providers

November 2018

CCTS issues 2017-18 Annual Report

CCTS reinstates participation of AllCore Communications after AllCore remedies the non-compliance that caused CCTS to terminate its participation

December 2018

CCTS participates in CRTC proceeding on Internet Code of Conduct

February 2019

CRTC publishes report on misleading and aggressive sales practices by large telecom service providers

CCTS terminates participation of 15 service providers after determining they no longer provide services within the CCTS mandate

April 2019

CCTS publishes 2019-2022 Strategic Plan

CCTS issues 2018-19 Mid-Year Report

May 2019

CCTS issues first Compliance Monitoring Report

July 2019

CRTC publishes Internet Code of conduct

CCTS terminates participation of three service providers that are no longer operating

Who We Are and What We Do

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Our mandate

The CCTS is Canada’s national and independent organization dedicated to resolving customer complaints about telecommunications (telecom) and TV services. We work with consumers, small businesses and participating Canadian service providers to resolve disputes about most telecom and subscription TV services after direct communications between a customer and a service provider have proven ineffective.

We can help with most types of problems between a customer and service provider, including disputes about contracts, billing, service delivery and credit management.

For full details, see our Mandate web page.

For an overview of who we are and what we do, watch the video below.

Our complaints process

We regularly examine our complaint-handling process to ensure that it is thorough, fair, effective and efficient. The steps in the process are:

Services in our mandate: 1. Internet 2. Wireless, including voice, data and text 3. TV, for residential customers only 4. Phone, for home and small business, including long distance, white page directories, directory assistance and operator services Our complaint process: Step 1, assessment Step 2, complaint accepted, or out of mandate Step 3, informal resolution Step 4, investigation Step 5, resolved, recommendation or closed Step 6, Decision

For an overview of our complaint resolution process, watch the video below.

For a detailed explanation of the steps in the process, see our Complaints process explained web page.

2018-19 Complaints

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

This section provides a broad overview of this year’s complaint data. Additional detailed analysis follows throughout the report. For definitions of the terms used in this section, see Appendix D.

About our data

We report on the complaints that were accepted between August 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019 (our fiscal year) and on the complaints that were concluded between those dates.

The complaints we receive and investigate after July 31, 2019 will be reported in next year’s Annual Report.

NOTE: A single complaint may raise more than one issue.

To ensure the accuracy of the statistics we report, we audit the data throughout the year.

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Operational statistics

Table 5.1: Three-year summary of operational statistics

* The number of concluded complaints is higher than the number of accepted complaints because some complaints from 2017-18 were also concluded this year.

 

Table 5.2: Leading complaint issues, broken down by service type

 

The largest number of complaint issues were related to wireless services, including the largest number of issues with billing and contract disputes. However, internet service had the largest number of service delivery issues.

TV complaint issues were over three times higher than in 2017-18. This can be at attributed, at least in part, to the fact that 2018-19 was our first full year of accepting TV complaints.

Figure 5.1: Complaint issues by service type
Figure 5.2: Main complaint issues

Code of Conduct Reporting

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

When the CCTS investigates customer complaints about telecom and TV services, we try to determine if the service provider has reasonably met its responsibilities to its customer.

We use three CRTC codes of conduct as minimum standards against which we measure service provider conduct:

  • Wireless Code: For consumer and small business wireless (mobile) services.
  • Deposit & Disconnection (D&D) Code: For local phone services.
  • Television Service Provider (TVSP) Code: For subscription TV services (residential customers only).

For more detailed information about the preceding codes, see:

Beginning in January of 2020, the CCTS will also administer the CRTC-issued Internet Code, which was published in July of 2019. The Internet Code will apply only to services provided by Canada’s large facilities-based internet service providers to individual consumers.

“Once my service provider found out I escalated the problem with the CCTS, they promptly resolved the issue.”

Resolving complaints and analyzing code compliance

When we accept a customer complaint we record and track all of the issues raised in the complaint. Some complaints raise questions about whether a service provider has complied with a code of conduct. We call these “alleged breaches.”

The vast majority of complaints are resolved to the satisfaction of the customer and the service provider at an early stage of our process. When complaints are resolved, there is no need for us to investigate the underlying issues, including to determine if there have been any violations of a code of conduct. Therefore, these issues remain characterized as “alleged breaches.”

In the cases that we do investigate, we can determine whether there has been a violation. We categorize proven violations as “confirmed breaches.” When we investigate and determine that there has not been a violation, we categorize this as “no breach.”

In this section, we present statistical reports on breaches of the three applicable codes using the preceding terminology.

Wireless Code

In developing the Wireless Code, the CRTC sought to ensure that consumers of voice and data services are better informed of the rights and obligations contained in their contracts. The Wireless Code applies to individual and small business consumers, and all wireless service providers must follow its guidelines.

Figure 6.1: Summary of Wireless Code breaches

Graphic with statistics going from top to bottom: From 2,707 alleged breaches, 2,373 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 334 breaches were investigated. Out of the 334 breaches investigated, 158 breaches were confirmed and 176 were not confirmed as a breach.

Table 6.1: Wireless Code confirmed breaches by section

The most frequently breached requirement (almost 33% of all Wireless Code confirmed breaches) dealt with customer contracts. There were 52 breaches of this type, up from 28 last year. Most often there was the failure to include in the contract all of the information required by the Code and the failure to provide a permanent copy of the contract to the customer.

In terms of improvement over last year, complaints alleging breaches of the roaming notification and the data roaming and overage provisions (Section E, Bill management) accounted for only 15% of all Wireless Code confirmed breaches – 24 breaches, down from 41 last year.

Table 6.2: Wireless Code confirmed breaches by service provider

NOTE: 19 of the 158 confirmed breaches relate to the pre-December 1, 2017 version of The Wireless Code, and therefore, the section numbers would be different than the ones presented in table 6.1. For more information, see the detailed breakdown of the CRTC Code of Conduct Breaches.

 

Bell Canada had the highest percentage of all Wireless Code breaches (29%) with 46 breaches, double the number last year. TELUS had almost 20% of confirmed Wireless Code breaches with 31 breaches, up from 10 last year.

Rogers also accounted for almost 20% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches with 31 breaches, down from 44 breaches last year.

Deposit and Disconnection Code

The D&D Code is a mandatory CRTC code of conduct that provides local phone customers with protection in some cases when they are required to provide a deposit as a condition of obtaining local phone service or when a service provider intends to disconnect the customer’s local phone service.

Confirmed breaches of the D&D Code have declined through the years, with 13 two years ago and 6 last year. This year—for the first time ever—there were no confirmed breaches of the D&D Code.

Figure 6.2: Summary of D&D Code breaches

Graphic with statistics going from top to bottom: From 77 alleged breaches, 70 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 7 breaches were investigated. Out of the 7 breaches investigated, no breaches were.

Figure 6.3: Summary of TVSP Code breaches

Graphic with statistics going from top to bottom: From 894 alleged breaches, 884 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 10 breaches were investigated. Out of the 10 breaches investigated, 3 breaches were confirmed and 7 were not confirmed as a breach.

Television Service Provider Code

The Television Service Provider Code (TVSP Code) is a mandatory CRTC code of conduct that is intended to make it easier for Canadians to understand their TV service agreements and empowers residential customers in their relationships with TVSPs.

The TVSP Code applies only to consumers (not small businesses), and all licensed TV service providers must follow its guidelines. We address complaints about subscription TV services provided by cable, Internet Protocol television (IPTV) and national satellite direct-to-home (DTH) TV service providers.

Table 6.3: TVSP Code confirmed breaches by section
Code section # of confirmed breaches % of total confirmed breaches
VII. Agreements and related documents 1 33%
XI. Notice for changes to programming options 2 67%
Total 3 100%
Table 6.4: TVSP Code confirmed breaches by service provider

Given that the TVSP Code has fewer mandatory requirements for service providers than do the Wireless Code and the D&D Code, we were required to investigate very few alleged breaches. Three breaches were confirmed.

Topics and Trends

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Overview

In 2018-19, Canadians filed over 19,000 complaints about their service providers, a 35% increase over last year. We are proud to have been able to successfully resolve 91% of these complaints.

These 19,000-plus complaints raised a total of 47,426 issues that fell within the CCTS mandate, an increase of 54% over last year. Wireless issues continue to be raised the most often, representing 41% of all issues raised. Internet issues continue to be in second place, accounting for 25% of issues.

Table 7.1: Number of issues by service type, YoY change

Examining longer-term trends, as the number of complaints filed with the CCTS has increased, the number of issues has increased substantially over the last five years for all types of service (145%). Wireless service has the highest number of issues, but internet service has the highest percentage increase in issues over the last five years: almost 140% compared to 90.6% for wireless services. Note that TV service issues are tracked beginning in 2017-18, when TV was added to the CCTS mandate.

Figure 7.1: Five-year view of issues by service type

NOTE: TV complaints were not in the CCTS mandate until September 1, 2017.

“I couldn't get a call back from my provider. Once I filed a complaint with the CCTS, I received a call the next day and my problem got resolved.”

Spotlight on wireless

  • The service most complained about, with 19,467 issues raised
  • Number of wireless issues up 53% from last year and continues to account for about 41% of all issues
  • Billing-related issues are highest, up 61% from last year, and are accounting for a larger proportion of all wireless issues raised (45% of all wireless issues, up from 42% last year)
  • Contract-related disputes are up 43% from last year but are accounting for a smaller proportion of all wireless issues (down slightly from 38% last year to 36% this year)
  • Service delivery problems account for 16% of all wireless issues, the lowest proportion of service delivery issues among all four types of service
  • Credit management issues account for 3.7% of all wireless issues, the highest proportion of credit management issues among all four types of service
  • Long-term view: Wireless issues have increased 90.6% over the last five years
Figure 7.2: Five-year view of wireless issues
Figure 7.3: Five-year view of internet issues

 

Spotlight on internet

  • Over 12,000 issues raised, up 34.4% from last year
  • Although proportionately internet issues are down in 2018-19 (26% of all issues raised this year compared to 29% last year), internet is the second most-complained-about service, following wireless
  • Billing-related issues are highest, up 52% from last year and accounting for 40.5% of all internet issues raised, compared to 36% last year
  • Contract-related disputes are up slightly (20%) but are accounting for fewer of overall internet issues (28.7% this year, down from 32.4% last year)
  • Service delivery concerns continue to be raised most often by internet customers and are up 31% from last year
  • Service delivery issues account for 28% of all internet issues this year, the highest proportion of service delivery issuesamong all four types of service
  • Long-term view: Internet issues have increased 139.5% over the last five years

Spotlight on TV

  • 7,749 TV issues raised, up 138.6% from last year when it was first introduced into the CCTS mandate part-way through the year
  • Billing-related issues are highest, accounting for 46.7% of all issues raised by TV customers, up 149.9% from last year
  • Contract-related disputes account for 2,290 issues, up 96.9% from last year and accounting for 29.6% of all TV issues
  • Service delivery issues account for 21% of all TV issues
Figure 7.4: TV issues, YoY view
Figure 7.5: Five-year view of phone issues

Spotlight on phone

  • Over 6,900 issues about local phone service (landlines) this year, up 113.6% from last year
  • Billing-related issues are highest (2,832), accounting for 40.8% of all issues raised by phone customers, up 39.2% from last year
  • Contract disputes account for 2,088 issues, up 18.5% from last year and accounting for 30.1% of all issues raised by phone customers
  • Long-term view: Phone issues have increased by 97% over the last five years

“The CCTS provided a solution when I was completely at a deadlock with my service provider. ”

Billing issues

Billing problems are the most frequently raised issues by wireless, internet, TV and phone customers. This year we recorded over 20,000 billing-related issues, an increase of 65.9% over last year. (Overall issues are up 54.3% from last year.)

Among all of the main categories of complaints (billing, contact dispute, service delivery and credit management), billing issues have increased the most dramatically over the last year. In the longer term, billing issues have increased by almost 144% over the past five years.

Figure 7.6: Five-year view of billing issues

Although Bell Canada accounts for 30% of this year’s complaints, it accounts for 37.5% of all billing issues, resulting in 7,650 issues raised. This is an increase of 53.7% over their proportion of billing issues last year.

Rogers accounts for 1,846 of this year’s billing issues, or 9%.

Cogeco Connexion has the third-most issues, accounting for 8.8% of all billing issues even though it accounts for only 5.4% of all complaints. With 1,801 billing issues raised, Cogeco has seen a huge increase of 582% from last year.

Table 7.2: Percentage of billing issues – Top 3 service providers

In many of the billing-related complaints we see, we find that customers have been charged a fee for their monthly services that is different from what they were expecting. Although some of these cases are the result of simple errors, we have found that many can be attributed to promotional prices or discounts not being applied or not being clearly described as time-limited. In addition, many customers continue to be charged for services after they have cancelled them, and some are charged for services that were never successfully installed.

Case Summary

Charged though no service provided

A business customer approached a new service provider to have his business phone lines transferred to it from his current provider. Due to a technical issue, the new provider was not able to complete the transfer on the date requested but began to bill the customer monthly service fees nonetheless. This continued for a number of months. The customer complained to the CCTS. During our investigation we helped the customer navigate the technical issues with the provider, and the service was eventually installed successfully. The provider agreed to credit the monthly charges it had incorrectly billed the customer and also waived the usual installation charges. The customer was satisfied with this outcome, and the complaint was resolved.

Case Summary

Billed after service cancellation

A TV customer cancelled his services but his service provider continued to bill him. For the first two months the charges were automatically billed to his credit card. He called his provider, who confirmed that the services were cancelled. The provider stopped the credit card billing but continued to issue bills for the cancelled services for another four months. The provider also threatened to send the unpaid account to a collection agency.

The customer contacted us and we investigated. We found that the customer had indeed cancelled his services but the provider had billed him for an additional six months. During our investigation the provider informed us that the invoices were the result of a system error. It provided an explanation and apology to the customer, ensured the account did not go to a collection agency and cancelled the invoices. The provider also refunded the customer the two months of service it had charged his credit card and provided him with an additional $50. The customer considered the matter resolved.

Case Summary

Promotions not applied

An internet customer contacted the CCTS and stated he was not being charged correctly for a service package including internet service. During our investigation, the service provider looked into the matter and confirmed that promotions promised to the customer and which should have been included on his account were not, in fact, included. The provider corrected the error and waived the first month’s service charges, and the complaint was resolved.

Case Summary

Promised discount not honoured

A customer called his service provider’s loyalty department in July to find out what plans it could offer him for his bundle of services. At the time, he was receiving a promotional discount of $15/month, which was due to expire soon. He later told the CCTS that his provider offered to extend this discount for another six months, after which his monthly price would increase by $15/month. However, when he received his next invoice he noticed that the $15 discount had not been applied. When he disputed this with his provider, it told him he must have misunderstood the offer, and the provider refused to apply the discount.

During our investigation we determined, based on the call notes and invoices, that the customer did in fact speak with the loyalty department in July, and the provider did offer a discount of $15. Moreover, the discount was to be applicable for 12 months, not just 6. The provider still refused to apply the discount, and the CCTS was required to issue a formal Recommendation that the provider honour the offer for the 12-month period. Eventually, this Recommendation was accepted by both the customer and the provider.

Key Message

The types of billing issues are varied, ranging from simple provider errors and billing for service not delivered to disputes about billing for promotions and discounts. The latter issues demonstrate what sometimes happens during the offer/sales transactions: a lack of clear information can result in customer expectations not being met. When customers reach out to providers to correct the issue, they can also encounter resistance. We urge service providers to strive for clarity and to work with customers to resolve billing disputes.

Disclosure issues

The lack of clarity that sometimes raises billing issues also raises contract-related issues, including disclosure issues. Concerns about information not being clearly or fully provided to customers by service providers are up 21.4% this year after a 125% increase last year. Over the last five years, disclosure issues have increased by 123%.

Figure 7.7: Five-year view of disclosure issues

 

Although this year disclosure issues have increased at a slower pace than the overall increase in issues, there were still 5,514 disclosure issues raised. Many of these could have been avoided by ensuring that clear, concise and accurate information was provided to customers.

Bell Canada accounts for 30.5% of complaints but for 39.2% of all disclosure issues, up from 38% last year and resulting in 2,163 issues raised.

Rogers accounts for 546 issues, just under 10%.

TELUS has the third-most issues, with 404 issues, accounting for 7.3%.

Table 7.3: Percentage of disclosure issues – Top 3 service providers

Case Summary

Wrong internet package – Inadvertent error or misleading behaviour?

An internet customer signed up for service after being offered a plan that she later told the CCTS included unlimited internet usage. However, she was charged $400 for additional internet bandwidth usage over a four-month period. She tried to resolve the issue with her service provider, but when the provider would not refund the charges, she cancelled her service and contacted the CCTS.

During our investigation, we obtained from the provider a recording of the call during which the customer had signed up for service. She clearly indicated that she required unlimited internet service, and the provider’s agent confirmed that this would be included. However, the plan that was added to her account had a limit of 50 GB of internet usage per month. The provider had either made an error when setting up the account or had misled the customer about the plan that would be applied to her account. Either way, we ensured that these charges were reimbursed to the customer. She considered this a reasonable resolution to her concerns.

Case Summary

Failure to honour commitment and be truthful with customer and CCTS

A wireless customer called his service provider in December to ask about available loyalty promotions. The customer later told the CCTS he was informed he could call back in early January, at which time it would have a promotion for him that included 10 GB of data for $60/month. The agent even provided the customer with a code to use when he called back. However, when the customer called back, he was told there was no such loyalty plan available. He was also told that there was no record of his conversation in December. The customer then complained to the CCTS.

In response to the complaint, the provider told us that there was no such plan available and that the code provided to the customer was for an old promotion from 2017. The provider also said there was no record of a call being made by the customer in December. We asked the provider for the call notes and any call recordings related to the customer’s account during the time he claimed to have called. Our review of the call notes confirmed that there was no indication he had called in December. However, the provider located a call recording it found in its system from December. During this call, the provider’s agent clearly offered the customer a loyalty plan including 10 GB of data for $60 starting in January, and gave him the code to call back.

Although providers are not required to offer specific promotions to their customers, they are required to give clear and accurate information and to honour commitments made to customers. In this case, the provider failed to do so. The customer accepted a payment from the service provider to compensate him.

Key Message

We are often asked if providers use misleading sales practices. Determining whether something is misleading is a determination of intent, which we are not positioned to make. However, cases such as the two above raise legitimate concerns—whether they be about the intent of the provider or simply about its willingness to honour the commitments made by its staff. Either way, our objective is to investigate and make sure that the customer receives what the customer was promised.

Disclosure issues and the Wireless Code: Contracts and documents

Although the number of complaints in which disclosure issues are raised appears to be increasing at a slower pace than overall complaints, the number of Wireless Code breaches pertaining to important disclosure requirements is increasing considerably. This year the number of Wireless Code breaches relating to the requirement to disclose the important details of the customer’s service are up considerably. There were 52 breaches of Section B (Contracts and related documents), up from 28 last year. There were 14 breaches of Section C (Critical Information Summary), up from just 1 last year.

Case Summary

Issues with contract term and price

A wireless customer had signed up for service with a provider that was offering him a wireless plan for $60/month. The customer told us he was informed that the price would not change during his commitment term. About four months later, the price increased to $70/month and the customer complained to his provider. The provider informed him that he was on a month-to-month service plan and that his commitment term was therefore only one month in duration. It explained that because his service was being provided in successive one-month terms, the terms of service allowed the provider to increase the price after providing a 30-day notice, which it claimed to have done.

The customer complained to the CCTS, telling us that he was misled by the provider into believing that he was on a fixed two-year contract and that during this time, his monthly price would be $60 and would not change. He told us his agreement clearly stated that during the commitment period, the monthly plan service rate would not change.

We reviewed the customer’s service agreement and confirmed that it did in fact indicate that during the commitment period, the customer’s monthly plan services and rates would not change. We noted that the agreement failed to indicate the duration of the contract, contrary to the requirements of the Wireless Code. We also found that, even if the customer had been offered service on a month-to-month basis, the provider could not demonstrate that it had provided the notice of a price change as required by the Wireless Code. As a result, we found that the provider likely led the customer to believe that his monthly price would not change for a two-year period when it had placed him on a month-to-month plan, preserving the provider’s right to make changes to the price. Because the provider had placed this customer on a month-to-month plan, we also found that the provider was in breach of two Wireless Code requirements: clearly indicating the length of the commitment term and providing thirty days’ notice of any changes to the agreement.

The provider offered to give the customer a $10/month credit for a 24-month period, therefore providing the customer the service at the price he was quoted and for the duration of what he believed to be his service agreement.

Case Summary

Failure to provide contract and Critical Information Summary

In another case involving a wireless customer, we found that the service provider failed to provide the customer with a copy of the wireless service contract as well as the Critical Information Summary required by the Wireless Code after she upgraded her wireless device. We confirmed that each of these failures constituted a breach of the Wireless Code. The provider disagreed on the basis that the customer simply made a change to her existing monthly service; therefore, no new contracts or Critical Information Summary were required. We explained to the provider that by upgrading her devices, the customer had agreed to three new fixed-term agreements and did not simply change her existing contract. We referred the provider to the CRTC’s analysis of early device upgrades expressed in Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2013-586, in which the CRTC stated that “…At all times, customers must be aware that an upgrade represents a completely new contract with new obligations, rather than a continuation or extension of their original agreement.”

Furthermore, the CRTC clarified in Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2017-200, Review of the Wireless Code, that the Critical Information Summary is an independent summary of the most important elements of the contract and does not replace or fulfill any requirements to provide the same or similar information within the actual written contract. This clarification confirms that the requirement to provide a contract and the requirement to provide a Critical Information Summary are independent of each other and that both prescribe different obligations. Therefore, failure to include the prescribed information in the contract and in the Critical Information Summary constitutes two breaches of the Wireless Code.

Disclosure issues and the Wireless Code: Notice before disconnection

In 2018-19, there was also an increase in the number of Wireless Code breaches regarding the failure to provide notice to customers before disconnecting their service. This year there were 41 such breaches, up from 14 last year.

Case Summary

Lack of some required notices before disconnection

A wireless customer had failed to pay for her two wireless accounts and was disconnected for non-payment. Nonetheless, the Wireless Code requires that certain notices be given to customers before disconnection. During our investigation, we found that the service provider did not give the customer the 14-day notice of suspension as required by the Code. It also failed to give her the 24-hour notice prior to suspension of one of her two services. These failures breached the requirements of the Code.

After the customer complained to the CCTS, the service provider applied a $311.98 credit as a one-time adjustment to reduce the customer’s balance, a resolution which the customer accepted.

Case Summary

Lack of all required notices before disconnection

A wireless customer was not able to access his invoices online for three months, and he stopped paying his bill. He failed to report the problem to the service provider until the second month, and it took the provider another month to solve the technical problem. By this time the customer’s account was three months overdue, and the provider disconnected the service for non-payment.

Although the charges were legitimate and owed to the provider, and in our view failure to receive the invoices did not excuse the non-payment, the provider failed to give the customer notice of the suspension at least 14 days in advance and again 24 hours prior to suspension, contrary to the requirements of the Wireless Code.

The provider offered to issue a $200 credit to resolve the complaint, which we determined was an appropriate resolution.

Key Message

Disclosure of information about a customer’s service, including the terms and conditions under which the service is provided, is a requirement of the Wireless Code. This disclosure is also required to ensure that customers have a clear understanding of what to expect, and good disclosure will help to resolve many disputes promptly. We urge service providers to ensure that their disclosure practices are comprehensive at all levels of interactions: prior to the sale, during the sales interaction, in follow-up communications, and when providers make changes to the service or are required to take administrative action, such as suspending service for non-payment.

Breach of contractual terms or obligations

Along with disclosure, another contract-related issue is breach of contractual terms or obligations. In providing service to customers, providers are required to follow their own terms of service, any specific offers they have made to a customer, as well as terms and conditions imposed by the CRTC’s codes of conduct. This year, allegations of failure to adhere to these requirements resulted in 2,601 issues. Although breach of contract accounts for only 5.5% of all issues, it’s an increase of 65% from last year (and last year, these issues increased by 111% over the preceding year). Over the last five years, these issues have increased by 505%.

Figure 7.8: Breach of contract over 5 years

Most often, these issues arise in the context of wireless services, but we also see them raised by internet, TV and phone customers. (For phone customers, these issues are most often in relation to business phone services.)

Bell Canada accounts for 38.3% of this year’s breach-of-contract issues, resulting in 997 issues, an increase of 56.3% from last year.

Rogers accounts for 252 issues, an increase of 39.2%.

TELUS has the third most issues with 190, a significant increase of 140.5% from last year.

Table 7.4: Percentage of breach-of-contract issues – Top 3 service providers

Case Summary

Refusal to unlock device

We received a complaint from a wireless customer disputing slightly over $1,000 in data overage charges. During the dispute resolution process, the customer also informed us that her wireless service provider refused to unlock her mobile device because of an outstanding balance on her account unrelated to the data overages in dispute.

During our investigation we determined that, at the end of August 2018, the customer requested to have her device unlocked, but the provider did not comply with this request or the related Wireless Code obligation. We also confirmed that the outstanding balance on the account was valid but unrelated to the data overages in dispute.

To resolve the complaint, the provider credited the entire amount of the data charges in dispute and provided the customer with the means to unlock her device.

NOTE: Our assessment was later confirmed by the CRTC’s determination that “…the device unlocking rules are not intended to serve as a payment collection mechanism for WSPs [wireless service providers.]” See Telecom Decision CRTC 2019-169, Paragraph 40.

Case Summary

Unreasonable early cancellation fees

A business customer cancelled his phone and internet service as a result of on-going unresolved service delivery issues. His services were being provided under a three-year contract that was to end in June, but he cancelled his service two months before the expiration of his contract. The service provider subsequently billed over $3,700 in early termination fees even though there were only two months left on the contract.

When the customer complained to the provider, it refused to credit the charges, insisting on full payment. It informed him that one of his employees who had been authorized on the account had extended the contract, which was now set to expire in another two years. The customer informed the provider that no one from his company had agreed to a new contract; however, the complaint remained unresolved.

During our investigation, the provider could not produce any documentation to demonstrate that the customer or an authorized user had agreed to renew the contract. As a result, we concluded that the contract should have expired in June and not in two years’ time. In that case, according to the provider’s own terms of service, it could bill cancellation fees of only $170. We issued a Recommendation that the provider credit the difference between this amount and what it had actually billed the customer for early cancellation. Both parties accepted our Recommendation, and the matter was resolved.

Key Message

Service providers have a variety of responsibilities and commitments, including the obligation to adhere to CRTC codes of conduct as well as their own terms of service. We urge providers to meet these commitments and also work cooperatively with customers to resolve breach-of-contract disputes promptly.

Service delivery issues

This year we recorded 10,356 service delivery issues, up 61.6% from last year. Over the last five years, service delivery issues have increased by 151%.

Although service delivery issues are raised by customer across all lines of business, they are disproportionately raised by internet customers. Service delivery issues account for 26% of all issues raised but for 34% of internet issues.

Figure 7.9: Five-year view of service delivery issues

Complaints from internet customers about loss or degradation of service, such as slow speeds and outages, are the most common.

Bell Canada accounts for 30.4% of all internet service issues, with 1,026 issues, or 30.4%. This is an increase of 40% from last year.

Cogeco Connexion accounts for 14% of all internet service delivery issues, with 474 issues, accounting for 14% of all internet service delivery issues. Cogeco also has a significant increase of 251% compared to last year.

Xplornet has the third-most issues, with 272 issues, or 8% of these issues. This is a decrease of 17% from last year.

Figure 7.10: Service delivery issues for internet
Table 7.5: Percentage of service delivery issues – Top 3 service providers

In some cases, customers are experiencing internet speeds that they believe are unsatisfactory given the maximum speeds offered by their specific internet plan. Customers often expect to receive these maximum speeds and feel that their service is inadequate if this is not consistently achieved.

We remind customers that most providers’ terms of service do not guarantee maximum internet speeds. Generally speaking, when reviewing a complaint about internet speed, the CCTS will consider the speeds that the service provider is able to deliver to the customer and will ensure that the service provider places the customer on the internet plan which offers speeds closest to those that the customer is receiving. A customer should not be expected to pay for speeds which are not attainable, and the CCTS aims to ensure that this does not happen.

Case Summary

Slower internet speed than customer expects

A customer called his service provider to complain about a service outage as well as a history of slow speeds. The customer stated that he completely lost internet and TV service for a period of three days. He also said that for many years, he had been paying for high-speed internet service but that his internet speeds were not very good, falling short of what he was paying for.

The provider credited the customer’s charges for the three-day period he was without service. It also gave him more cellular data for the duration of the outage so that he could access the internet through his wireless device. However, the customer also wanted compensation of $1,000 for the slower-than-expected internet speed he experienced.

During our investigation, we reviewed the provider’s terms of service and noted that it did not guarantee that the service would function all of the time or that it would achieve the maximum speeds available under the plan.

Nonetheless, it is fair and reasonable to expect that a customer’s internet service be “right-sized”, meaning a provider should place the customer on its internet plan which offers speeds closest to those that the customer is receiving.

We obtained and examined results of speed tests conducted by both the customer and the service provider and found that the customer’s speeds far exceeded the maximum speeds provided in his provider’s lower tiered price plan. As such, we found that the customer’s service was indeed “right-sized”.

We also reviewed the provider’s policies and procedures for when a customer reports a service outage and low internet speeds. We found that the provider followed its procedures and promptly addressed the customer’s concerns.

We determined that the provider was delivering the best speeds it could and had placed the customer on the appropriate plan for the speeds he received. In addition, the provider had promptly addressed the customer concerns, credited the cost of the service during the outage period, and provided the customer with additional cellular data during the outage. We found that no additional action was necessary to resolve this matter.

Case Summary

Proper investigation of intermittent internet service issues

A customer experienced intermittent internet service issues from the time he began service with his provider. He reported that the internet issue also caused pixelation and freezing of his internet-based TV service.Unable to resolve the issue directly with his provider, he complained to the CCTS.

During our investigation, we requested the necessary details from the provider and reviewed the applicable terms of service. Although the provider does not guarantee uninterrupted service, we still expect the provider to meet its obligations by following its own policies and procedures to help the customer when an intermittent service issue occurs. We found that one week after the customer reported his issues, a technician was sent to the customer’s home and determined that the issue was due to the modem. The technician replaced the modem outlet and the modem itself and also checked the external wiring and connection to the home, determining that the issue was not due to external equipment or wiring. The technician determined there were no other issues with the customer’s internet service at that time.

We reviewed the customer’s usage records during the time that he reported problems and for the three-month period thereafter. We found that after the technician visited the customer, the customer’s usage increased significantly, with an average usage of nearly 500 GB/month; this suggests that the quality of service improved. We determined that the provider had followed its own policies and procedures to help the customer by troubleshooting and sending a technician to his home to replace the faulty equipment and check for external issues. Furthermore, the provider applied nearly $200 in compensation towards the service delivery issues and offered to waive the early termination fee of $180 should the customer wish to cancel his internet services. We concluded that these actions were reasonable to address the issues.

Case Summary

Unreliable internet service

A customer complained that his internet service was unreliable since its installation, with slow speeds and frequent service interruptions. After more than a dozen technician visits and the replacement of two modems over a five-month period, the service provider acknowledged that the quality and speed of the internet service could not be improved. It explained that improvements could potentially be made by changing or upgrading the outside wiring but that because it was a reseller of internet service it could not make such upgrades itself. The provider offered to cancel the service without any cancellation fees, but the customer refused. The provider also applied a $50 credit to the customer’s account to compensate for the service interruptions. The customer remained dissatisfied and requested a full refund of the service fees paid.

We reviewed the provider’s terms of service and technician notes and determined there were over two hundred service interruptions during one month alone, and 28 days on which the customer’s internet usage was 0 MB. Although we found that the internet reseller did what it could to address the technical issues, we did not feel it was reasonable for the customer to pay for service when it was clearly unavailable to him for long periods of time. We determined that the provider had an obligation to provide a credit to the customer.

In determining the amount of this credit, we considered a number of factors, including the extent to which the customer was able to make use of the service, the provider’s response and multiple attempts to help the customer in a timely manner, the credit already provided to the customer, and the fact that the provider acknowledged that the service was not going to improve and suggested that the customer cancel service without penalty. Based on these factors, we recommended that an additional credit of $155, amounting to three months of service fees, be provided. Both the customer and the service provider found this to be a reasonable resolution.

Key Message

Customer demands on internet service are very high. Service providers recognize these high customer expectations and are aware that they can’t always meet them, sometimes for reasons outside of their control. In dealing with these customer complaints, we urge service providers to carefully explore the cause of the mismatch between their offer and the service the customer is receiving, and to make adjustments to customer plans accordingly.

Working with Service Providers

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

This section presents the results for those service providers that have been the subject of the greatest number of complaints and also discusses our Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program.

Top 25 Participating Service Providers

Table 8.1: Top 25 PSPs by complaints accepted

* Percentage of all resolved complaints vs. all concluded (91% overall)
† Percentage of all escalated complaints vs. all concluded (26.9% overall)
‡ Percentage of escalations due to Section 6.6 of Procedural Code (7.8% overall)

 

Last year we reported on a very high increase in complaints against Cogeco Connexion, most of these about internet service delivery issues. The company informed us this was due to a system upgrade and that they were working with customers to reduce interruptions and restore customer service. However, this year we report a 90% increase in complaints over last year, and the complaints are for all types of issues. Also, Cogeco failed to provide a proper reply to 41% of its complaints that the CCTS had to investigate. We have discussed these concerns with Cogeco and it has committed to continuing to work with us to address these ongoing issues.

Maple Call is a new Participating Service Provider (PSP) which failed to provide a proper reply to 54% of the complaints filed by its customers. Many customers of three other providers that went out of business (including NECC, which is in the preceding table) found themselves receiving service from Maple Call, apparently without their awareness or consent. This situation led to many customer complaints. NECC did not respond because it was no longer in business. Maple Call felt it was not responsible for issues that occurred when the customers were with NECC. Unfortunately, sometimes telecom providers close their doors overnight, leaving customers with no real recourse.

Top 10 Participating Service Providers profiles

In this section, we identify areas of good performance as well as areas of improvement for the top 10 PSPs so that service providers may assess their own level of performance.

Bell Canada

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Bell Canada complaints increased by 24.2% compared to a 35% overall increase in complaints. Bell accounts for 30.5% of all accepted complaints, down from 33.3% last year.
  • For all services, Bell complaints reveal a disproportionately high number of issues involving incorrect charges and disclosure of important information, compared to its overall number of issues for each service.
  • Bell’s confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code (46) doubled this year, representing 29.1% of the total number of Wireless Code confirmed breaches for all PSPs (158). The number of confirmed breaches of Section I (Disconnection) increased from 2 to 13, mainly related to the fact that the service provider did not give the required notice to its customers.
  • We also confirmed two TVSP Code breaches for Bell this year, one in Section VII (Agreements and related documents) and the other in Section XI (Changes to programming options).

Top Issues

  • Incorrect charge (3,009)
  • Disclosure issues (2,163)
  • Breach of contract (997)

Statistics

  • 5,879 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 24.2%
  • 30.5% of all complaints
  • 46 Wireless Code breaches
  • 29.1% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 5,977 Concluded Complaints
  • 3,601 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 1,754 resolved at investigation
  • 622 unresolved/closed

Rogers

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • The number of Rogers complaints increased by 26.5% versus a 35% overall increase in complaints. Rogers complaints account for 9.5% of all accepted complaints, slightly less than last year’s 10.2%.
  • Rogers’ share of the overall issues for wireless (12%) accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of incorrect charge issues (15%), and TV services (8%) account for a disproportionately high percentage of quality of service issues (13%).
  • Relating to its internet service, however, Rogers accounts for a slightly lower proportion of the credit/refund not received issues (5%) given its share of overall issues for this service (17%).
  • Rogers confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code decreased from 44 last year to 31 this year. However, accounting for 19.1% of the total Wireless Code breaches, Rogers shares second place, with most of its breaches in the disclosure of contractual terms category (18, double last year’s number).

Top Issues

  • Incorrect charge (682)
  • Disclosure issues (546)
  • Intermittent/Inadequate quality of service (336)

Statistics

  • 1,833 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 26.5%
  • 9.5% of all complaints
  • 31 Wireless Code breaches
  • 19.6% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 1,762 Concluded Complaints
  • 1,290 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 273 resolved at investigation
  • 199 unresolved/closed

TELUS

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • TELUS complaints increased by over 70%, double the 35% overall increase in complaints. TELUS accounts for 8.3% of all accepted complaints, up from 6.6% last year.
  • TELUS accounts for 11% of the overall wireless issues. Given its share, TELUS has a significantly disproportionate percentage of wireless material contract change issues (28%) and wireless price increase issues (30%). TELUS accounts for a lower proportion of the wireless incorrect-charge issues (7%) and breach of contract issues (8%) given its share of the overall issues for this service (11%).
  • The number of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches more than tripled, from 10 last year to 31 this year. TELUS shares second place for the total number of Wireless Code breaches. The most significant increase (from none to 28) was related to Section B (Contracts and related documents), involving breaches of the Wireless Code obligations related to disclosure of key contract terms and conditions, combined with situations in which a paper or electronic copy of the contract was not provided appropriately to the customer.

Top Issues

  • Disclosure issues (404)
  • Incorrect charge (363)
  • Material contract change (361)

Statistics

  • 1,610 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 70.6%
  • 8.3% of all complaints
  • 31 Wireless Code breaches
  • 19.6% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 1,568 Concluded Complaints
  • 1,154 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 280 resolved at investigation
  • 134 unresolved/closed

Virgin Mobile

Wireless Internet Phone

Highlights

  • Virgin Mobile complaints increased by almost 48% compared to a 35% overall increase in complaints. Virgin Mobile complaints account for 6.5% of all accepted complaints, a slight increase from 5.9% last year.
  • Given its share of the overall wireless issues (12%), Virgin Mobile accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of wireless data charge issues (18%). However, Virgin Mobile’s proportion of the disclosure issues as well as the incorrect charge issues each equal its share of the overall issues for this service (12%).
  • Virgin Mobile’s number of confirmed Wireless Code breaches decreased slightly this year, from 10 to 8, accounting for 5.1% of all Wireless Code breaches.

Top Issues

  • Disclosure issues (331)
  • Incorrect charge (275)
  • Data charges (248)

Statistics

  • 1,253 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 47.9%
  • 6.5% of all complaints
  • 8 Wireless Code breaches
  • 5.1% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 1,249 Concluded Complaints
  • 915 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 267 resolved at investigation
  • 67 unresolved/closed

Freedom Mobile

Wireless

Highlights

  • Freedom Mobile complaints increased by 32.9% compared to a 35% overall increase in complaints. Freedom accounts for 5.9% of all accepted complaints, just under last year’s 6%.
  • Freedom accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of wireless quality of service issues (27%) and roaming charge issues (30%) given its 11% share of the overall wireless issues. However, Freedom Mobile accounts for a slightly lower proportion of the incorrect-charge issues (9%) given its share of the overall issues for this service (11%).
  • The number of confirmed Wireless Code breaches increased from 7 last year to 25 this year, with the most significant increase (up to 19 from 2 last year) regarding the number of confirmed breaches of Section I (Disconnection) and mainly related to the fact that the service provider did not give the required notice to its customers.

Top Issues

  • Intermittent/Inadequate quality of service (328)
  • Disclosure issues (287)
  • Incorrect charge (184)

Statistics

  • 1,147 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 32.9%
  • 5.9% of all complaints
  • 25 Wireless Code breaches
  • 15.8% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 1,183 Concluded Complaints
  • 919 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 212 resolved at investigation
  • 52 unresolved/closed

Cogeco Connexion

Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Cogeco Connexion complaints increased by over 90%, almost three times higher than the 35% overall increase in complaints. Cogeco accounts for 5.4% of all accepted complaints, up from 3.8% last year.
  • Cogeco accounts for a significantly larger percentage of TV credit or refund not received issues (31%) and inadequate quality or complete loss of service issues (27% and 45%, respectively) given its 19% share of the overall TV issues. Complaints about credit or refund not received in all service types is disproportionately high. Also disproportionately high are charges after cancellation of service for internet and local phone.
  • Cogeco accounts for a lower proportion of disclosure issues (TV and internet).
  • Cogeco had one breach of Section XI (Notice for changes to programming options) of the TVSP Code.

Top Issues

  • Incorrect charge (630)
  • Credit/refund not received (418)
  • Intermittent/Inadequate quality of service (295)

Statistics

  • 1,039 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 90.3%
  • 5.4% of all complaints
  • 1 TVSP Code breach
  • 1,222 Concluded Complaints
  • 1,008 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 175 resolved at investigation
  • 39 unresolved/closed

Fido

Wireless Internet

Highlights

  • Fido complaints increased by 41% this year compared to a 35% overall increase in complaints. Fido accounts for 4.8% of all accepted complaints, a slight increase from last year’s 4.3%.
  • Given its share of the overall internet issues (1%), Fido accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of invoices not received issues (5%) for this service.
  • Relating to its wireless service, however, Fido accounts for a slightly lower proportion of the inadequate quality of service issues (7%) given its share of the overall issues for this service (9%).
  • The number of confirmed Wireless Code breaches increased from 9 last year to 12 this year, with more than 40% being related to issues with the 14-day disconnection notice requirements in Section I (Disconnections).

Top Issues

  • Disclosure issues (264)
  • Incorrect charge (219)
  • Breach of contract (145)

Statistics

  • 917 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 41.1%
  • 4.8% of all complaints
  • 12 Wireless Code breaches
  • 7.6% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 919 Concluded Complaints
  • 670 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 152 resolved at investigation
  • 97 unresolved/closed

Koodo

Wireless

Highlights

  • Koodo complaints increased by nearly 112% this year, over three times the 35% overall increase in complaints. Koodo accounts for 3.9% of all accepted complaints, an increase from last year’s 2.9%.
  • Koodo accounts for a significantly disproportionate percentage of the wireless credit reporting issues (22%) given its share of the overall wireless issues (7%).
  • For the second year in a row, Koodo had no breaches of the Wireless Code.

Top Issues

  • Disclosure issues (173)
  • Incorrect charge (136)
  • Credit reporting (136)

Statistics

  • 755 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 109.7%
  • 3.9% of all complaints
  • No Wireless Code breaches
  • 712 Concluded Complaints
  • 540 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 107 resolved at investigation
  • 65 unresolved/closed

Videotron

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Videotron’s complaints decreased by 7% compared to a 35% overall increase in complaints. Videotron complaints account for 3.6% of all accepted complaints, a decrease from last year’s 5.2%.
  • In the TV and local phone services, Videotron accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of the material contract change issues (10% and 7%, respectively) and breach of contract issues (9% and 7%, respectively) given its share of the overall TV (6%) and phone issues (4%).
  • We confirmed 4 breaches of the Wireless Code (up from 3 last year), all in Section E (Bill management), related to the application of the Code’s data cap provisions.

Top Issues

  • Incorrect charge (437)
  • Disclosure issues (284)
  • Breach of contract (149)

Statistics

  • 690 Accepted Complaints
  • Down by 6.8%
  • 3.6% of all complaints
  • 4 Wireless Code breaches
  • 2.5% of all Wireless Code breaches
  • 704 Concluded Complaints
  • 559 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 93 resolved at investigation
  • 52 unresolved/closed

Shaw

Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Shaw complaints increased by almost 96%, nearly three times the 35% overall increase in complaints. Shaw complaints accounts for 3.4% of all complaints, up from 2.4% last year.
  • Given its share of the overall TV and internet issues (both at 8% this year), Shaw accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of the legitimacy and amount of early cancellation fee issues (20% and 17%, respectively).
  • It also accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of TV quality of service issues (11%) given its 8% share of the overall TV services.

Top Issues

  • Incorrect charge (326)
  • Disclosure issues (233)
  • Intermittent/Inadequate quality of service (169)

Statistics

  • 659 Accepted Complaints
  • Up by 95.5%
  • 3.4% of all complaints
  • 637 Concluded Complaints
  • 519 resolved at pre-investigation
  • 67 resolved at investigation
  • 51 unresolved/closed

Monitoring service provider compliance

There are two categories of service provider requirements: the CRTC requirement for providers to participate in the CCTS, and the requirements imposed by the CCTS after a provider becomes a Participating Service Provider (PSP).

To ensure the CCTS can provide free and effective service to customers when they need it, the CRTC requires companies that provide retail telecommunications services in Canada as well as licensed TV service providers to participate in the CCTS. Some telecom service providers (typically small providers or new entrants to the business) do not currently participate. Their obligation to join is triggered when one of their customers files a complaint with the CCTS.

We do everything in our power to get these service providers to join, and we’re generally successful. This year it took us, on average, 27 days to sign up a new provider from the time we informed it of its obligation to participate.

In 2018-19 we signed up 29 new service providers. However, some providers refuse to join the CCTS. If we’re unable to persuade them to follow the rules and become a PSP, we refer the matter to the CRTC for further action. We also publicize the identities of providers failing to join the CCTS when required on our Non-compliant providers web page.

After a provider has become a PSP, it is required to adhere to the CCTS obligations outlined in the Participation Agreement.

In 2018 the CCTS began to monitor and audit PSPs to determine if they were:

In May of 2019, we issued the first Compliance Monitoring Report, which explains the preceding CCTS compliance requirements in detail and provides the 2018 results of the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program.

Compliance highlights

The following examples discuss some of our compliance experiences with PSPs to date.

Implementing resolutions, Recommendations and Decisions

PSPs are required to implement CCTS resolutions, Recommendations and Decisions. When PSPs do not implement these, the CCTS follows up to ensure implementation.

Sometimes our efforts are successful. In other cases, the PSPs refuse to cooperate or do not respond to our communications. When they do not respond, we sometimes learn that the service provider has gone out of business. If a provider is still in business, we have the authority to terminate its participation in the CCTS for refusal to implement a Recommendation or Decision.Usually, this is enough to get the PSP to comply. However, if the PSP has gone out of business, there is not much that we can do.

Promoting awareness of the CCTS

PSPs are required to promote awareness of the CCTS to Canadians, to ensure that Canadians know about their right to escalate their complaint with the CCTS. Promoting awareness includes a requirement for PSPs to provide, on their website, a notice about the CCTS along with a link to the CCTS website.

We have identified 21 PSPs with no information about the CCTS on their websites.

After being contacted by the CCTS and as of August 2019, 11 PSPs have remedied the situation, 8 are in the process, and 2 have not responded.

Cooperating in good faith

PSPs are required to cooperate in good faith with the CCTS throughout the complaint investigation process.

After customers of one PSP submitted complaints to the CCTS, the PSP contacted the customers and asked them to withdraw the complaints. This is not cooperating in good faith. It is in the interests of PSPs to resolve complaints, not to dissuade customers from submitting them. We worked with the PSP to explain this and ensure it understood the good faith requirement.

Following all of the participation requirements

One PSP breached all of the compliance requirements by refusing to:

  • pay its CCTS fees
  • promote awareness of the CCTS
  • adhere to the Procedural Code:
    • did not submit required revenue information to the CCTS
    • did not cooperate in good faith with investigations and threatened to take customers to court

We are working with the PSP to bring it into compliance with the CCTS requirements.

The CCTS will continue to monitor and report on compliance and to work with PSPs to help them come into compliance with the CCTS requirements.

Working with Customers

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

We are always looking for ways to help customers find out about our complaint-handling process and make it easier for them to access our services. This section discusses our activities and results in 2018-19.

Website

Our website is a key tool for helping customers find us. According to our customer surveys, 31% of customers report first learning about the CCTS through an online search. This percentage is almost the same as last year’s results.

Our website is also a focus for customers who want to file complaints. In 2018-19, 86% of the complaints we accepted were filed by customers using the “Submit a Complaint” interactive questionnaire on the website.

There were over 500,000 website visits this year, an increase of 74% from last year. Increasing website visits have been a trend in recent years as ever-more people go online to use self-service tools. There was also an increase in the use of the “Submit a Complaint” interactive questionnaire.

Accessibility

The CCTS has always been mindful of its responsibility to be responsive to the diverse needs of the public and to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to use our services, in line with the best practices of the Accessible Canada Act, which was passed in June of 2019 and provides for the development of accessibility standards. Providing accessible customer service so that persons with disabilities can reach us easily and make use of our processes is one of our core values. We provide customer service in a manner that accommodates persons with disabilities and reflects the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity.

We provide training on accessible customer service to all CCTS employees, directors, volunteers and others who communicate with the public or third parties on behalf of the CCTS.

We also conduct annual consultations with groups representing Canadians with disabilities. Based on their feedback, all of our videos are closed captioned and have an American Sign Language/langue des signes Québécoise (ASL/LSQ) version.

Every two years, we perform an accessibility analysis of our website to ensure that current content plus any new content added meets the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

Beginning with our 2018-19 Mid-Year Report, issued in April of 2019, all of our reports are produced in HTML format for accessibility, to optimize the reading experience for those who use screen readers and other assistive technology. (Previous mid-year and annual reports were produced in PDF versions that were tagged for accessibility.)

At the request of the CRTC and members of the accessibility community, we have also implemented a process to track accessibility-related issues that appear in customer complaints.

For more information about our policies and guidelines, see our Accessibility web page.

“My 92-year-old mother waited one year to have her phone port completed. If not for the CCTS, she would still be waiting. Thank you!”

Customer survey results

We survey customers who use our service for two reasons:

  • to get their impressions of the work we do and to help us focus our efforts for improvement
  • to attempt to measure the success of the public awareness initiatives we undertake with service providers

The results for 2018-19 are very similar to last year’s results.

The results are based on almost 6,000 responses. We thank the customers who took the time to participate in the survey—62% more than last year—and share their views.

Numbers for all results were rounded.

What customers said about the CCTS

We asked our customers for the following information:

Is it important to have an independent organization to deal with telecom and TV complaints that has the authority to provide customers with compensation?

Was it easy to file your complaint with the CCTS?

Feedback on whether the service you received from our Contact Centre agents met your expectations.

Feedback on whether the service you received from our Complaint Resolution Officers met your expectations.

Feedback on overall sense of satisfaction with various aspects of our process.

Timelines: Did we complete our work in a reasonable amount of time?

Professionalism: Were we professional, knowledgeable and courteous?

Impartiality: Did we act without favoritism to either you or your service provider?

Process fairness: Whether or not you agree with the final outcome, do you think that the resolution and investigation processes were fair?

What customers said about service provider public awareness activities

How did you first find out about the CCTS?

Service providers have committed to notify customers about the CCTS during their internal complaint-handling process. We asked our customers:

Did your service provider tell you about the CCTS during your efforts to resolve the problem?

Service providers are required to print a prescribed message about the CCTS on customer bills four times a year. We asked our customers:

Have you ever seen the notice on any of your bills?

Service providers have committed to placing a prescribed notice about the CCTS in a reasonably prominent place on their websites and to include a link to the CCTS website. We asked our customers:

Have you seen this notice and link?

“I spent over 6 months patiently trying to resolve a service issue with my provider. After I escalated the complaint to the CCTS, the provider made me an offer that was acceptable.”

What customers said about their interactions with service providers

We asked customers about their interactions with service providers before the CCTS became involved.

How long did you try to resolve your problem directly with your service provider before bringing your complaint to the CCTS?

How many levels of escalation (front line customer service, supervisor, manager, etc.) did your complaint go through with the service provider before you filed a complaint with the CCTS?

The high percentage of complaints that go through three or more levels of escalation (55%) with the service provider before a customer files a complaint with the CCTS suggests there is an opportunity for service providers to improve their customer relations.

Statistical Reports

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Contact Centre activities

Our Contact Centre received over 142,000 communications by telephone, in writing and by online chat, up from 110,000 last year.

Table 10.1: Communications received
Type of communication Number YoY change
Phone calls answered 88,119 42%
Written correspondence 50,100 12%
Chat sessions answered 4,324 24%

 

The total written correspondence, which showed a modest increase of 12%, includes use of our online interactive questionnaire. By contrast, chat sessions increased by 24% and phone calls increased by 42%.

Out-of-mandate issues

The following tables show the number of issues raised by customers that the CCTS could not accept in 2018-19, broken down by the reason they could not be accepted. Customers have recourse to other organizations for many of these issues. For a list, see our Resources webpage.

Table 10.2: Procedural Code Section 3 and Other
Issue Number
Section 3.1(a)(i) Internet applications/content 488
Section 3.1(a)(ii) Emergency services 215
Section 3.1(a)(iii) Payphones 39
Section 3.1(a)(iv) Yellow pages/business directories 54
Section 3.1(a)(v) Telemarketing/unsolicited messages 950
Section 3.1(a)(vi) 900/976 calls 66
Section 3.1(b)(i) Digital Media Broadcast Undertaking (DMBU) services 154
Section 3.1(b)(ii) Interactive TVSP services and applications 12
Section 3.1(b)(iii) Broadcasting content 650
Section 3.1(b)(iv) Journalistic ethics 44
Section 3.1(b)(v) TV accessibility issues, e.g., closed captioning and described video 105
Section 3.1(b)(vi) Simultaneous substitution 76
Section 3.1(c)(i) Customer-owned equipment 420
Section 3.1(c)(ii) Inside wiring 42
Section 3.1(c)(iii) Security services 252
Section 3.1(c)(iv) Networking services 356
Section 3.1(c)(v) Pricing 1,908
Section 3.1(c)(vi) Rights of way 198
Section 3.1(c)(vii) Plant/poles/towers 1,088
Section 3.1(c)(viii) False/misleading advertising 498
Section 3.1(c)(ix) Privacy issues 1,019
Other – Broadcasting (television) 237
Other – Broadcasting (radio) 85
Other – Consumer – clarity of offers and promotions (TVSP Code) 319
Other – Not related to service providers (phone/internet scams) 763
Other – Regulated services 81
Total 10,119

 

Some of these issues are of particular interest because of high percentage increases over last year.

The largest increase by far was to issues related to emergency services, which increased by 277%. The issues raised were about 911 service (82) and the public alerting system (133). These services are regulated by the CRTC.

There were also large increases in issues related to false/misleading advertising (a 79% increase over last year) and about pricing (a 53% increase over last year). It was because of these types of issues that the CRTC investigated aggressive and misleading sales practices, and published its report in February of 2019.

Issues related to broadcasting content rose by 37% over last year.

Table 10.3: Procedural Code Section 4

Complaints about the quality of customer service delivered by providers do not fall within the CCTS mandate. However, we track the inquiries we get about these issues.

Issue Number
Section 4.1 Customer service
Language barriers 358
Outsourcing 623
No phone number for customer service 517
Rude representative 2,578
Wait times 3,549
Total 7,625
Section 4.3 General operating practices and policies 4,149
Total 11,774

 

Some complaints could not be accepted due to the procedural rules in our Procedural Code. They break down as follows.

Table 10.4: Procedural Code Section 10: Duty To Decline To Take Action
Issue Number
Section 10.1 Service provider not offered opportunity to resolve 1,756
Section 10.2(b) Matter previously or currently with another agency 1,496
Section 10.3(a) facts transpired more than one year ago 1,357
Section 10.3(b) facts arose prior to effective date 170
Total 4,779

 

The largest increase was to complaints that customers tried to file in which the facts took place more than one year earlier, which showed a 76% increase over last year.

Although complaints about a service provider’s failure to accommodate customer accessibility requests are out of our mandate, at the request of the CRTC and members of the accessibility community, we track when customers raised accessibility issues about their service providers.


Table 10.5: Accessibility issues

Section Number
Contract not provided in alternative format 0
Customer service
Indifference to customer’s disability 47
Total 47
Emergency services 5
Hearing or speech issues
In-store language accessibility 1
MRS not available 4
VRS not available 0
Total 5
Mobility issues
In-store physical accessibility 2
Total 2
Other 9
Policies and operating procedures 18
Refused accessibility plan 0
Special type of wireless device handset not offered 2
TV accessibility issues 105
Visual issues
Bills and other information not provided in alternative 7
Total 7
Total 200

Small business

In 2018-19, we had 907 complaints from small business customers, 4.7% of all concluded complaints.

When we report our operational statistics, we include the data for all the complaints we dealt with during the year. However, not all complaints are alike. In particular, we know that complaints from small business customers can be quite different from those of individual consumers. The following tables highlight the differences.

The small business percentages are similar to last year’s results. Service delivery and credit management are virtually unchanged but contract disputes are down by 9% and billing disputes are up 9% from last year.

The types of complaints for small business are similar to last year’s results.

Table 10.6: Small business complaint subjects vs. consumer complaint subjects
Subject Small business Consumer
Contract dispute 48.1% 31.2%
Billing 31.3% 43.7%
Service delivery 18.3% 22.0%
Credit management 2.3% 3.1%
Total 100% 100%
Table 10.7: Small business complaint types of service vs. consumer complaint types of services
Service Small business Consumer
Internet access services 33.9% 25.0%
Local phone 33.1% 13.7%
Wireless 30.5% 41.6%
Long distance 2.5% 2.5%
Table 10.8: Top 10 small business complaint issues
Issue Small business Consumer
Legitimacy and amount of early cancellation fees 14.7% 2.8%
Disclosure issues 11.1% 11.7%
Incorrect charge 10.0% 15.0%
Intermittent/Inadequate quality of service 7.3% 7.6%
Breach of Contract 4.9% 5.5%
Contract auto-renewal 4.7% 0.1%
Credit/refund not received 4.5% 5.7%
No consent provided for contract renewal 3.8% 2.0%
Regular price increase of monthly price plans 3.1% 3.1%
Material contract change 3.0% 4.8%

 

Three issues are new to the top 10 small business issues this year:

  • Number 7: credit/refund not received
  • Number 9: regular price increase of monthly price plans
  • Number 10: material contract change

These new issues replaced last year’s issues of no consent, credit reporting and complete loss of service.

Analysis of closed complaints

Our operational statistics show that we closed 1,727 complaints in 2018-19. The following table provides a breakdown of the reasons why those complaints were closed, with reference to the relevant section of the Procedural Code.

Table 10.9: Complaints closed by reason for closure
Complaint Issues %
Customer withdraws complaint 127 7.4%
Out-of-mandate after further information obtained 16 0.9%
Section 9.1(b) Customer is not authorized to file complaint 10 0.6%
Section 9.1(c) Complaint more appropriately handled by another agency 111 6.4%
Section 9.1(d) Further investigation not warranted 450 26.1%
Section 9.1(e) Customer not cooperative 746 43.2%
Section 9.1(f) Service provider offer is reasonable 202 11.7%
Section 10.2(b) Matter previously or currently with another agency 7 0.4%
Section 10.3(a) Complaint filed outside time limits 57 3.3%
Section 10.3(b) Facts arose prior to Effective Date 1 0.1%
Total 1,727 100%

 

Compensation analysis

In cases that are resolved as well as in Recommendations and Decisions, customers may receive some form of compensation from their service provider. This compensation can take many forms, including:

  • bill credits
  • bill adjustments
  • free or discounted products and services
  • cash payments

We attempt to record the value of all compensation awarded to customers as a result of the CCTS process. This is challenging because in a significant number of cases (in particular, resolutions that occur at our Pre-investigation stage) we are not provided with the details of the settlement reached between the customer and the service provider.

This report discloses the full value of compensation received by customers that has been reported to us.

Table 10.10: Number of complaints in which compensation was awarded
Compensation range Number of complaints Percentage
< $100 4,416 37.6%
$100 – $499 5,586 47.6%
$500 – $999 1,111 9.5%
$1,000 – $4,999 591 5.0%
$5,000 or more 36 0.3%
Total 11,740 100%
Total compensation: $ 3,809,275.06

“Problem was resolved in 12 days, after I had been dealing with my service provider for months on a minor issue without success.”

Performance standards

Each year, we set ourselves a goal of outstanding customer service. To ensure that we are meeting that goal, we track our performance across various benchmarks.

Contact Centre/Pre-investigation

Table 10.11: Contact Centre/Pre-investigation performance standards
Process Target Results
Answer phone calls within 120 seconds 80% 85.8%
Process written communications within 3 calendar days 80% 46.1%

 

Complaint handling

Table 10.12: Complaint handling performance standards
Process Target Results
Complaints concluded at Pre-Investigation stage within 40 days of acceptance 80% 96.2%
Complaints concluded at Investigation stage within 60 days of referral to Investigation 80% 77.3%

 

Although the 35% increase in complaints this year impacted two of our target benchmarks, we exceeded the other two target benchmarks. In order to address the delays in processing written communications, we have added more resources to our team.

Regional analysis

We receive complaints from customers throughout Canada. Here, we identify the number of accepted complaints by province/territory.

 

Map of Canada showing complaints by province

* Canada, Statistics Canada, Table 17-10-0005-01 (Ottawa, CANSIM, 2019)

Table 10.13: Complaint accepted by province/territory performance standards
Province Complaints Population
Alberta 1,623 8.4% 4,307,110 11.6%
British Columbia 2,343 12.1% 4,991,687 13.5%
Manitoba 539 2.8% 1,352,154 3.6%
New Brunswick 245 1.3% 770,633 2.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 171 0.9% 525,355 1.4%
Northwest Territories 12 0.1% 44,541 0.1%
Nova Scotia 396 2.1% 959,942 2.6%
Nunavut 11 0.1% 38,396 0.1%
Ontario 8,812 45.7% 14,322,757 38.6%
Prince Edward Island 65 0.3% 153,244 0.4%
Quebec 4,822 25.0% 8,390,499 22.6%
Saskatchewan 187 1.0% 1,162,062 3.1%
Yukon 17 0.1% 40,476 0.1%
Not specified 44 0.2%
Total 19,287 100% 37,058,856 100%

Governance

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Board of Directors

Our Board is structured to provide for the participation of all stakeholders while remaining independent from the telecom and TV industries. It consists of seven directors who are elected for three-year terms:

  • four independent directors, two of whom are appointed by consumer groups
  • three industry directors, one each to represent the Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs), the cable companies and the other Participating Service Providers

Independent directors

Catherine Aczel Boivie, PhD, ICD.D (Board Chair, appointed October of 2016)

A senior executive and CEO, Catherine has led the advancement of the strategic value of information technology as a business enabler at Vancity Credit Union, Pacific Blue Cross and CAA British Columbia. She serves on several boards, including those of Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), MedicAlert Canada and Artsclub theatre. More…

Darlene Halwas

Darlene currently serves on the boards of Canada Development Investment Corporation, Watt Consulting Group and the Alberta WaterPortal Society. She has almost 30 years of work experience, with 15 years focused on leading risk management functions for companies. More…

Independent directors: Consumer group appointees

Marina Pavlović

Marina is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, where she is a member of the Center for Law, Technology, and Society. Marina has research and teaching experience in consumer protection, telecommunications, law and technology policy, and dispute resolution. More…

Jacques C.P. Bellemare

Jacques graduated in Engineering Physics at École Polytechnique in Montreal (1961) and later obtained an MBA from Laval University in Quebec (1973). In the private sector, he has worked in telephony with Bell Canada, in cable TV with Cablevision Nationale (acquired by Videotron), in consulting with Raymond, Chabot, Martin, Paré, and in regulation with Teleglobe Canada after its privatization. More…

Industry directors: Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs)

Ruby Barber

Ruby is Assistant General Counsel, Legal & Regulatory Affairs, at Bell Canada and is based in Ottawa. She joined Bell in 1997 and has a broad range of legal and regulatory experience with telecom issues. More…

Industry directors: Cable companies

Dean Shaikh

Dean is Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Shaw Communications, where he is primarily responsible for CRTC proceedings and compliance under the Broadcasting Act. He also provides advice on matters involving the Telecommunications Act, Competition Act and Copyright Act. More…

Industry directors: Other Participating Service Providers

Bram Abramson (August to October 2018)

Bram is a former head of law, regulatory, and public policy at TekSavvy; communications lawyer at McCarthy Tétrault; and senior analyst at the CRTC and at TeleGeography. Bram is a graduate of Concordia (BA, Communications) and McGill (BCL/LLB, Law) universities and, alongside his Ontario bar membership, holds the CIPP/C, CIPM and FIP privacy designations.

Geoff Batstone (from October 2018)

Geoff is the Vice President, General Counsel at Distributel Communications where he is responsible for managing the legal, regulatory and public policy affairs of the Distributel group of companies. Called to the bar in 1995, he has over twenty years of experience working in diverse legal environments, advising a range of clients from small start-ups to multinational companies. More…

For up-to-date biographies throughout the year, see our Board of Directors web page.

Board changes

In, October 2018, Bram Abramson retired after serving on the Board since July 2016. Geoff Batstone was appointed to the “Other Participating Service Providers” director position that Bram vacated.

Meetings and director attendance

Committees and working groups: Membership and meetings

The Board has the following committees and working groups. Membership and meeting dates are as follows.

Audit Committee: Jacques Bellemare, Darlene Halwas, Dean Shaikh.
Meetings: August 1 and September 24, 2018, and January 16, January 22, February 14, May 9 and July 31, 2019.

Corporate Governance Committee: Catherine Aczel Boivie, Marina Pavlović, Geoff Batstone.
Meetings: August 14, September 12 and November 9, 2018, and March 11, April 2, May 31, June 20 and July 17, 2019.

Independent Directors Committee: Jacques Bellemare, Catherine Aczel Boivie, Darlene Halwas, Marina Pavlović.
Meetings: October 4, 2018, and January 22, March 20, April 16 and June 25, 2019.

Budget Working Group: Marina Pavlović, Ruby Barber.
Meetings: June 6, 12, 14 and 20, 2019.

To advance the work of the organization’s strategic plan, a special committee was struck in 2018. It completed its work in early 2019.

Members: Catherine Aczel Boivie, Darlene Halwas, Marina Pavlović, Bram Abramson (until October 2018) and thereafter Dean Shaikh.
Meetings: November 8 and December 13, 2018, and January 18, 2019.

CCTS budget

The CCTS audited financial statements for 2018-19 can be found in Appendix C. The CCTS is funded by the service providers. Large providers pay a fee based on the proportion of their revenues to the revenues of all the large service providers. Small providers pay an annual fee. All providers pay a fee for each complaint concluded by the CCTS from their customers in the year. New provider sign-up fees and bank interest make up the other sources of revenue.

In 2018-19 the CCTS recorded significantly more revenue than projected because more complaints were concluded than anticipated. The CCTS’ recorded expenses were substantially below projections, largely related to delays in hiring for certain staff positions as well as decisions to postpone executing on certain projects, including a plan to acquire additional office space.

Under the Participation Agreement that governs the relationship between the CCTS and PSPs, the CCTS normally credits the excess of revenues over expenses back to the service providers as a year-end adjustment. In 2018-19, the Board of Directors decided to return 75% of this excess to service providers, which will receive a credit on a subsequent invoice. A decision was made to retain 25% to ensure sufficient funding for the increased 2019-20 budget and to ensure that adequate operating cash flow is available to the CCTS throughout the fiscal year.

Appendices

Annual Report

August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Appendix A – Complaints by service provider

Appendix B – Detailed analysis of issues raised in complaints

Appendix C – Financial statements

Appendix D – Definitions

Below are some terms used throughout the report and their definitions.

Accepted complaint: A customer complaint received during the year and which falls within the CCTS’ mandate, sometimes referred to simply as a “complaint”.

Alleged breach: When a customer claims that the service provider failed to perform an obligation under one of the three CRTC-developed codes of conduct the CCTS administers (the D&D Code, the Wireless Code and the TVSP Code) or when a CCTS staff member identifies a potential code breach based on the details of a complaint. Each breach references an individual section of the code. As a result, more than one alleged breach may be recorded in a complaint.

Closed complaint: A complaint that was accepted and then subsequently closed. CCTS may close the complaint for various reasons, including any of the following.

  • The service provider has made an offer to resolve the complaint that we think is fair and reasonable based on the specific circumstances of the complaint.
  • The complaint was found to be without merit.
  • After filing the complaint, the customer either withdrew it or failed to provide the information we needed to conduct our investigation.
  • The complaint should more properly have been brought before another agency, tribunal or court.

Assessment: We assess the information the customer has provided to determine if, based on our mandate, we are able to accept a complaint.

Concluded complaint: A complaint that we accepted and disposed of by resolving it, closing it, or issuing either a Recommendation or Decision. The complaint may have been accepted during the current calendar year or the preceding calendar year but was concluded during the fiscal year (August to July) in which it is reported.

Confirmed breach: When we can confirm, based on our investigation, that a provision of a code has been breached.

Customer not cooperative: When a customer files a complaint but fails to provide the information we need to conduct our investigation. In this situation, the complaint is closed.

Decision: A Decision is issued if either the customer or the service provider rejects the CCTS Recommendation. The party rejecting the Recommendation must set out its reasons and the Commissioner will reconsider the Recommendation and issue a Decision. The Commissioner may confirm the original Recommendation or, if the Commissioner concludes that there is substantial doubt as to the correctness of the Recommendation, the Commissioner may modify the Recommendation as appropriate. A Decision is binding on the service provider but not on the customer. The customer may reject it and pursue other remedies.

Further investigation not warranted: When we determine, after assessment, that an investigation or a further investigation is not necessary because we determine that the service provider has reasonably performed its obligations to the customer.

Investigation: We analyze the evidence provided and use this analysis to suggest ways in which the complaint might be resolved amicably.

Issue: A specific concern expressed by the customer in the complaint. Many complaints raise more than one issue. For example, a customer may complain that their invoice contains a billing error and that the unpaid balance resulted in a service disconnection. This would be considered one complaint that raises two issues.

No breach: When we have investigated an alleged breach and concluded that the service provider did not breach the Code in question.

Out of mandate: Complaints about products, services or issues that we cannot investigate are considered to be “out of mandate.”

Pre-investigation: The stage of our process where the parties have 30 days to resolve the customer’s complaint, failing which we will begin an investigation to assess whether the service provider reasonably performed its obligations to the customer.

Recommendation: The complaint was fully investigated. Often, the service provider has not made an offer to informally resolve the complaint or the offer is not found to be reasonable based on the specific circumstances of the complaint. We will make a Recommendation requesting that the provider take specific actions to resolve the matter.

Resolved: The complaint was informally resolved with the assistance of a CCTS team member to the satisfaction of both the customer and the participating service provider.

Service provider offer is reasonable: When the service provider makes an offer to resolve a complaint and the CCTS determines that the offer fairly resolves the problem. In this situation, the complaint is closed.