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.