Working with Service Providers

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

The CCTS’ role is to help customers and Participating Service Providers (PSPs) resolve disputes.

When customers and PSPs are unable to resolve their disputes, the CCTS investigates to determine how they should be concluded. The CCTS works to identify the key drivers of consumer complaints so that PSPs can better understand and consider internal changes to address their customers’ issues.

In this section, we present the results for those PSPs that have been the subject of the greatest number of complaints and also discuss our Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program.

Top 25 Participating Service Providers

Table 8.1: Top 25 PSPs by complaints accepted

* The number of concluded complaints can be higher than the number of accepted complaints because some complaints received in 2019-20 were also concluded in 2020-21.
† The resolution rate is the percentage of all resolved complaints vs. all concluded complaints (88.4% overall).
‡ The escalation rate is the percentage of all escalated complaints vs. all concluded complaints (23.1% overall).

NOTE: Where a complaint remains unresolved after the pre-investigation or initial referral period, the complaint escalates to a CCTS investigation.

 

Together, the top 25 PSPs account for 94% of all accepted complaints in 2020-21. The Top 10 are discussed in more detail later in the Top 10 PSP profiles section.

There are a few changes to the list of service providers that fall into the Top 25 PSPs list this year.

Of the providers in the preceding table, Rogers, Fido, Videotron, Xplornet, Chatr Wireless, Carry Telecom and Suntel experienced large increases in the number of complaints since last year, well above the year-over-year increase of 9% for overall complaints.

Suntel moved into the Top 25 list in 2020-21 with a 214% increase in complaints. Suntel was a small internet, TV and home phone reseller, with customers subscribed to pre-paid services.

In August of 2020, Suntel closed and stopped providing services to customers. Many Suntel customers abruptly lost service, were unable to reach the provider, and were unable to recover funds already paid towards their pre-paid services. Suntel customers complained about complete loss of service, breach of contract and not receiving refunds.

Most of these complaints were unresolved (3% resolution rate), and all complaints were escalated to investigation because Suntel did not attempt to resolve disputes with its customers. The CCTS closed all the complaints because the company was no longer in business, and terminated Suntel’s participation on January 27, 2021.

While situations such as this are rare, where a provider goes out of business, customers can be left without any recourse.

Carry Telecom also moved into the Top 25 list in 2020-21 due to a 104% increase in complaints. The main issues raised were regular price increase of monthly price plans (an issue that was not raised by Carry Telecom customers last year), quality of service (a 153% increase) and disclosure issues (a 211% increase).

In 2019-20, we reported that Cogeco had a significant decrease in complaints after reporting a very high increase in 2018-19. In 2020-21, Cogeco continued to see a decline in complaints.

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.

 

Figure 8.1: Top 10 PSPs by complaints accepted

 

Figure 8.2: Top 10 PSPs by resolution rate

NOTE: The global average resolution rate was 88.4%

Bell

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Bell complaints decreased for the second year in a row (by 8% this year) compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Bell accounts for 21% of all accepted complaints, down from 24% last year.
  • Forty-three percent of Bell’s issues are about wireless services, up from 36% last year. Bell’s proportion of wireless issues is now similar to the overall proportion of wireless issues across all providers.
  • TV issues decreased by 46%, a significant decrease in view of an overall decrease of 13% across all providers. TV issues account for 14% of all Bell issues, down from 18% last year.
  • Bell’s proportion of internet issues (27%) is lower than the proportion of internet issues raised across all providers (31%).
  • Bell’s top issue is disclosure. It accounts for 16% of Bell’s issues even though its customers raised this issue 34% fewer times compared to last year.
  • Bell had 29 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code. This accounts for 30% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches, up from 15% last year. Of the 29 confirmed breaches, 22 were related to disclosure issues such as failing to include all required information in the Critical Information Summary (CIS), use of plain language in the CIS, and providing inaccurate information to the customer.
  • Bell had 14 confirmed breaches of the Internet Code, accounting for 82% of all confirmed Internet Code breaches. Six of the 14 confirmed breaches were about disconnection issues.

Statistics

3,517 accepted complaints
-7.8% change in accepted complaints 20.7% of all accepted complaints
3,112 resolved complaints
2,332 resolved at pre-investigation 780 resolved at investigation 87.3% resolution rate (global – 88.4%)
48 Code breaches
29 Wireless Code breaches 14 Internet Code breaches 2 TVSP Code breaches 3 D&D Code breaches

Rogers

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Rogers’ complaints increased by 33% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Rogers accounts for 14% of all accepted complaints, up from 11% last year.
  • Wireless issues account for 40% of all Rogers’ issues, down from 51% last year.
  • Rogers’ TV issues increased by 49%, a significant increase considering that overall TV issues decreased by 13%.
  • Internet issues account for 32% of all Rogers’ issues. Rogers’ customers raised internet issues 61% more often than last year, a significant increase considering that overall internet issues rose by 12%.
  • Rogers’ customers raised the following issues more often than last year:
    • internet quality of service issues, up by 122%;
    • credit reporting issues, up by 35%;
    • issues about incorrect charge, up by 30%;
    • disclosure issues, up by 24%.
  • Rogers had 25 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code. This accounts for 26% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches, up from 9% last year. Of the 25 breaches, 19 were about failure to give the customer a copy of the written contract or the Critical Information Summary.

Statistics

2,361 accepted complaints
32.6% change in accepted complaints 13.9% of all accepted complaints
2,071 resolved complaints
1,678 resolved at pre-investigation 393 resolved at investigation 87.0% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
27 Code breaches
25 Wireless Code breaches 1 Internet Code breach 1 TVSP Code breach 0 D&D Code breaches

Fido (owned by Rogers)

Wireless Internet

Highlights

  • Fido complaints increased by 49% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Fido accounts for 10% of all accepted complaints, up from 7% last year.
  • Fido’s wireless issues increased by 15% while overall wireless issues decreased by 3%.
  • Internet issues increased by 348%, a significant increase that translates to 20% of all Fido issues, up from 6% last year.
  • Disclosure issues increased by 48%, accounting for 10% of all disclosure issues. Fido saw an increase of 55% in disclosure issues about contract conflicting with agreement.
  • Breach of contract is the most-increased issue raised by Fido internet customers, with 187 complaints this year compared to 7 last year. These internet breach of contract issues account for 30% of Fido’s issues, up from 5% last year.
  • Fido also saw a significant increase in some billing issues:
    • Issues about not receiving a credit or refund by Fido internet customers increased by 943%. This accounts for 24% of all issues raised by Fido internet customers, up from 10% last year.
    • Issues about incorrect charge to monthly price plan increased by 42%.
  • Fido’s confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code decreased by 31%, dropping to 9 from 13 last year. Eight of nine breaches were about Fido not including all required information in the customer’s contract or Critical Information Summary.

Statistics

1,676 accepted complaints
49.2% change in accepted complaints 9.9% of all accepted complaints
1,526 resolved complaints
1,372 resolved at pre-investigation 154 resolved at investigation 91.0% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
9 Code breaches
9 Wireless Code breaches 0 Internet Code breaches

TELUS

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • TELUS complaints increased by 5% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. TELUS accounts for 7% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • Wireless issues account for 48% of all TELUS issues compared to 44% across all service providers.
  • Internet issues account for 28% of all TELUS issues, up 5% from last year.
  • TV issues account for 13% of all TELUS issues, up 2% from last year.
  • TELUS customers raised issues about quality of service 46% more often than last year. This issue also accounts for 15% of all TELUS issues, up from 10% last year.
  • Incorrect charge issues increased by 12% from last year, accounting for 13% of all TELUS issues.
  • TELUS’ confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code decreased by 47%, dropping to 8 from 15 last year. Three of the confirmed breaches were about TELUS not providing accurate information to the customer.

Statistics

1,221 accepted complaints
4.7% change in accepted complaints 7.2% of all accepted complaints
1,084 resolved complaints
897 resolved at pre-investigation 187 resolved at investigation 88.7% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
8 Code breaches
8 Wireless Code breaches 0 Internet Code breaches 0 TVSP Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Virgin Plus (owned by Bell)

Wireless Internet Phone

Highlights

  • Virgin Plus (formerly Virgin Mobile Canada) complaints increased by 13% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Virgin Plus accounts for 7% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • Wireless issues increased by 12% despite overall wireless issues decreasing by 3%.
  • Virgin Plus customers raised internet issues 8% more often than last year. Internet issues also account for 11% of all issues raised by Virgin Plus customers.
  • Disclosure is the number one issue, accounting for 17% of all Virgin Plus issues. This issue increased by 45% compared to last year, and this is significant because overall disclosure issues decreased by 1%.
  • Quality of service issues account for 6% of all issues raised by Virgin Plus customers, an increase of 49% while the same issue increased by 28% across all service providers.
  • Breach of contract accounts for 8% of Virgin Plus issues, a 29% year-over-year decrease.
  • Virgin Plus had six confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, up from four last year. Four of six breaches were about not providing accurate information to the customer.

Statistics

1,167 accepted complaints
12.6% change in accepted complaints 6.9% of all accepted complaints
1,026 resolved complaints
709 resolved at pre-investigation 317 resolved at investigation 86.7% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
7 Code breaches
6 Wireless Code breaches 1 Internet Code breach 0 D&D Code breaches

Videotron

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Videotron complaints increased by 57% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Videotron accounts for 6% of all accepted complaints, up from 4% last year.
  • Wireless issues increased by 57% while overall wireless issues decreased by 3%. Wireless issues account for 28% of all Videotron issues.
  • Videotron internet issues increased by 83% while overall internet issues increased by 12%. Internet issues account for 34% of all Videotron issues. Notably, issues about Videotron’s quality of internet service increased by 162%.
  • Videotron TV issues increased by 82% while overall TV issues decreased by 13%. TV issues account for 26% of all Videotron issues.
  • The top three issues raised by Videotron customers were:
    • disclosure issues (21% of Videotron’s issues, up a significant 75% from last year);
    • incorrect charge (18% of Videotron’s issues, up 52% from last year);
    • credit/refund not received (10% of Videotron’s issues, up 64% from last year).
  • Videotron also saw an increase in a number of issues: contract conflicts with agreement (up by 74%), incorrect charge to monthly price plan (up by 52%), service delivery issues (up by 51%), and credit reporting issues (up by 70%).
  • Videotron had six confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, up from four last year. All of the confirmed breaches were about disconnection notice issues.

Statistics

1,074 accepted complaints
57.0% change in accepted complaints 6.3% of all accepted complaints
1,017 resolved complaints
877 resolved at pre-investigation 140 resolved at investigation 94.6% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
8 Code breaches
6 Wireless Code breaches 0 Internet Code breaches 2 TVSP Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Freedom Mobile (owned by Shaw)

Wireless

Highlights

  • Freedom Mobile complaints decreased for the second year in a row. While complaints for all service providers to the CCTS increased by 9%, Freedom Mobile complaints decreased by 7%. Freedom Mobile accounts for 6% of all accepted complaints, down from 7% last year.
  • Freedom Mobile customers raised 21 internet issues this year compared to no internet issues last year. Freedom Mobile began offering internet services in 2019.
  • The top three issues raised by Freedom Mobile customers were:
    • disclosure issues (14% of Freedom Mobile’s issues, down 17% from last year;
    • incorrect charge (12% of Freedom Mobile’s issues, up 20% from last year;
    • quality of service (11% of Freedom Mobile’s issues, down 28% from last
  • Freedom Mobile had five confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, up from one last year.

Statistics

995 accepted complaints
-6.7% change in accepted complaints 5.9% of all accepted complaints
1,014 resolved complaints
842 resolved at pre-investigation 172 resolved at investigation 94.9% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
5 Code breaches
5 Wireless Code breaches

Shaw

Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Shaw complaints increased by 13% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Shaw accounts for 5% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • Shaw customers raised 139 wireless issues this year compared to no wireless issues last year. This is likely due to the launch of Shaw Mobile on July 30, 2020. Wireless issues account for 6% of all Shaw issues.
  • Internet issues increased by 11%, accounting for 52% of all Shaw issues, the same proportion as last year.
  • TV issues account for 30% of all Shaw issues, down from 33% last year. This is significant because overall TV issues decreased by 13%.
  • Shaw saw an increase of 53% in quality of service issues compared to an overall increase of 28% for all providers. This issue also accounts for 14% of all Shaw issues, up from 10% last year.
  • Disclosure issues raised by Shaw customers increased by 31% while overall disclosure issues decreased by 1%. Disclosure issues account for 14% of all Shaw issues, up from 12% last year.
  • Shaw had three confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code this year compared to none last year. All of the breaches were about disclosure issues.

Statistics

870 accepted complaints
12.8% change in accepted complaints 5.1% of all accepted complaints
797 resolved complaints
719 resolved at pre-investigation 78 resolved at investigation 90.4% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
3 Code breaches
0 Internet Code breaches 0 TVSP Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Koodo (owned by TELUS)

Wireless

Highlights

  • Koodo complaints increased by 9%, which is equal to the increase in overall complaints for all service providers to the CCTS this year. Koodo accounts for 4% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • The top three Koodo issues are:
    • incorrect charge (14% of Koodo’s issues, up 17% from last year);
    • disclosure issues (12% of Koodo’s issues, up 4% from last year);
    • credit reporting (8% of Koodo’s issues, up 3% from last year).
  • There were some significant increases in certain issues raised by Koodo customers this year. Issues about inability to cancel services increased by 100%, and issues about missed or delayed customer-initiated cancellation date increased by 135%.
  • Last year, we reported a very high number of confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code for Koodo, with 101 confirmed breaches. This year, Koodo’s confirmed Wireless Code breaches decreased significantly, to 4 breaches. All of the confirmed breaches were about failure to include all required information in the customer’s contract or Critical Information Summary.

Statistics

749 accepted complaints
9.0% change in accepted complaints 4.4% of all accepted complaints
702 resolved complaints
647 resolved at pre-investigation 55 resolved at investigation 92.6% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
4 Code breaches
4 Wireless Code breaches

Xplornet

Internet Phone

Highlights

  • While complaints for all service providers to the CCTS increased by 9% overall, Xplornet complaints increased by 35%. Xplornet accounts for 3% of all accepted complaints, up from 2% last year.
  • Xplornet had a 47% increase in internet issues compared to a 12% increase in internet issues across all service providers.
  • Although internet issues account for 94% of all of Xplornet issues because Xplornet is primarily an internet service provider, Xplornet had zero breaches of the Internet Code.
  • The increase in Xplornet’s internet issues is driven mostly by quality of service issues. Xplornet internet customers raised these issues 74% more often than last year. Notably, Xplornet accounts for 17% of all internet quality of service issues, a large proportion considering that Xplornet accounts for only 6% of internet issues. Complete loss of internet service issues also increased by 70%.

Statistics

500 accepted complaints
35.1% change in accepted complaints 2.9% of all accepted complaints
496 resolved complaints
352 resolved at pre-investigation 144 resolved at investigation 91.2% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
0 Code breaches
0 Internet Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Monitoring service provider compliance

There are two categories of service provider requirements: the CRTC requirement to participate in the CCTS; and the CCTS requirements that service providers agree to when they become 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 telecom services in Canada as well as licensed TV service providers to participate in the CCTS. We also receive requests from some service providers who wish to participate in the CCTS voluntarily.

Some 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, 38 days to sign up a new provider from the time they were informed of their requirement to participate. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some service providers encountered financial difficulties paying the sign-up fees and faced challenges accessing information required for sign-up while working remotely.

In 2020-21, we signed up 27 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. Last year, the CRTC issued orders against Rafiki Technologies Inc. and MySignal.ca for failing to sign up with the CCTS when required to do so. Rafiki Technologies has since joined the CCTS while MySignal.ca failed to join the CCTS in violation of the CRTC’s order, and we so informed the CRTC.

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

The CCTS regularly monitors PSP compliance with these obligations and engages with PSPs to bring them into compliance. If a PSP continues to be non-compliant, the CCTS has a range of enforcement tools to seek PSP compliance, up to the expulsion of non-compliant PSPs from the CCTS: this triggers a referral to the CRTC for further action.

The CCTS expelled SkyChoice Communications Inc. on April 29, 2021 and referred it to the CRTC on June 21, 2021 for failing to implement a binding Recommendation, cooperate with the CCTS, provide required financial information, and pay CCTS invoices.

In July of 2021, we issued the annual Compliance Monitoring Report, which explains the compliance requirements in detail and provides the results of the CCTS’ compliance monitoring efforts in 2020. The CCTS also regularly updates our Non-compliant providers web page, publishing the identities of providers who were referred to the CRTC for failure to join the CCTS when required or who are expelled from the CCTS for failing to comply with CCTS obligations.