Canada’s telecommunications service providers have improved their compliance with complaint management guidelines established by the industry’s watchdog, but many still don’t take steps to inform consumers about the existence of free complaints arbitration.
The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) published its 2020 Compliance Monitoring Report, and found that the nation’s wireless, internet, phone and television service providers are more frequently following the CCTS Procedure Code. That code sets the rules for complaint-handling processes. The CCTS was established to resolve customer complaints that the service providers are unable to resolve.
CCTS flagged almost 2,000 compliance breaches from among the 16,200 complaints it received in 2020. Although the overall number of compliance breaches is similar to the year prior, the CCTS noted a decrease in the major non-compliance issues. There was still a “continued need to monitor resolved responses” as providers often believed complaints were “resolved” when consumers insisted they were not. No instances presented, however, of providers treating to sue or charge customers for CCTS complaints in 2020 as had happened in 2019. However, more providers asked customers to withdraw their complaints to CCTS as a condition of resolution.
The CCTS report also reviews the efforts of service providers to make their customers aware of its dispute resolution service. This includes an audit of provider web site information to ensure customers can learn about CCTS. On this measure, many service providers did not fare well.
Roughly half do not have required links to CCTS on their complaints pages, do not have the CCTS prescribed message, and do not display the CCTS logo. More than 40 per cent lack CCTS information in total. The report notes that results have improved after the audit date as CCTS worked with individual firms to improve this website disclosure.
CCTS separately reports the types of complaints that reach its offices each year, including breakdowns by services and by providers. Consumer complaints that are not resolved with the individual service provider can be brought to the CCTS for further investigation and consideration, at no cost to the consumer.