CRTC endorses telecommunications consumer agency and extends membership requirements to better serve Canadians
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, January 26, 2011 —The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today reaffirmed its support for the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), an agency that works to resolve disagreements between Canadians and their service providers.
“Following an extensive review, we are satisfied that the CCTS is doing a good job of resolving complaints on behalf of consumers and small businesses,” said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications. “An independent agency like the CCTS is an essential intermediary in a market where competition is growing by the day and the majority of telecommunications services are no longer regulated.”
As part of its review, the Commission found that the CCTS’ governance structure and mandate remain appropriate, and extended the membership requirement for a period of five years. Moreover, to ensure that a greater number of Canadians are able to benefit from the agency’s complaint-resolution services, all telecommunications service providers must become members of the CCTS. The Commission had previously only required companies with annual revenues over $10 million to join the agency.
The Commission has also asked the agency to include more details in its annual report regarding the types of complaints it receives. This information will enable a better assessment of trends, the agency’s complaint-resolution activities and the effectiveness of public awareness activities.
Consumers and small businesses must first attempt to resolve any disagreements related to an unregulated telecommunications service directly with their service provider. If the matter remains unresolved, they may file a complaint with the CCTS.
Established in 2007, the CCTS provides consumers and small businesses with an effective recourse when they are unable to resolve a disagreement. It accepts complaints about a range of issues including: billing disputes and errors; service delivery; credit management; white pages, directory assistance and operator services; and unauthorized transfer of service.
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
News release, “CRTC grants conditional approval to a new telecommunications consumer agency,” December 20, 2007
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The Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) provides residential and small-business customers with an effective recourse when they are unable to resolve a disagreement with their service provider about an unregulated telecommunications service.
Consumers should contact the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) if they are unable to resolve a disagreement with their service provider about a regulated telecommunications service.
It is important to remember that consumers should attempt to resolve any disagreements directly with their service provider before contacting the CCTS or the CRTC.
Where should consumers address their complaint?
The following chart sets out the scope of services for which complaints will be handled by the CCTS and the CRTC:
The CCTS is the first point of contact in the case of a disagreement about a service that is part of a bundle that includes unregulated and regulated services. If the complaint is deemed to be related to a regulated service, the agency will then refer the complainant to the CRTC.
Consumer agency complaint process
Consumers with a disagreement about an unregulated telecommunications service should always contact their service provider as a first step. If the matter is not resolved to their satisfaction, they may then file a complaint with the CCTS.
The agency will:
- Assess whether the complaint is within the scope of its mandate.
- If so, the agency will forward a copy of the complaint to the service provider, who will have 20 business days to respond, with a copy to the complainant.
- If the service provider does not respond or the complaint remains unresolved after 20 business days, agency staff will investigate and make a non-binding recommendation to the complainant and the service provider.
- If either the complainant or the service provider rejects the staff recommendation, the agency will render a decision that becomes binding if accepted by the complainant.
To resolve a complaint, the agency can require a telecommunications service provider to:
- provide an explanation or an apology to the consumer
- undertake to do or cease a specific activity or activities, and
- provide up to $5,000 per complaint in compensation to the consumer.
For more information
Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services
P.O. Box 81088, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1B1
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