Wireless phone issues fell to 53 per cent of complaints this year, down from 60 per cent in the past four years. Meanwhile, Internet service issues rose to 26 per cent of complaints, compared to 18 per cent four years ago.
Here are a few stories from the annual report.
“The provider’s offering of unlimited service did in fact have limits, but they weren’t disclosed. What’s more, the limits fluctuated based on how much usage the network experienced at a given time. It was therefore impossible for customers to know the limit, plan for it and avoid overage charges,” the report said.
The CCTS reached out to the company and got nowhere at first. It took 35 investigations to agree on a resolution: The provider would disclose limits more clearly to customers at the point of sale and at its website, as well as in its fair use policy.
Suspensions because of non-payment: The CCTS received 209 complaints from wireless customers whose service was disconnected without notice. The wireless code requires giving notice at least 14 days before disconnection.
One provider said it didn’t have to give notice to customers because it had simply suspended the service. That was not the same thing as a disconnection.
From a customer’s perspective, suspending or disconnecting had exactly the same result, the CCTS said. They had no service.
How much is my device subsidy?: Under the wireless code, providers must tell customers if they receive a subsidy on a wireless product and the value of that subsidy. This information helps customers know what it will cost them to break a contract before the expiry date.
The CCTS received a number of complaints about a provider that billed customers an early cancellation fee of $ 275 to $ 375, even though their contracts said they had received an “economic inducement” of $ 0 for their device.
“We found it nearly impossible for customers to accurately determine if a device subsidy had been provided and what the amount might be,” the report said. “This is because the contracts were drafted in a manner that did not clearly identify these details.”
One customer signed up for an unlimited usage plan at $ 66 a month. Three months later, he found he’d been billed $ 140 a month.
The CCTS obtained a recording of the call between the customer and the service provider, showing the plan was supposed to cost $ 66 a month. The company agreed to give a $ 250 credit to cover the $ 222 overbilling in the period.
Many of them complained when they found their rate had increased by $ 3 a month. The provider said the plan was supposed to include only 200 GB of data, but some employees had mistakenly included 300 GB of data.
After the CCTS intervened, the provider gave credits to customers who were billed for exceeding 200 GB of usage. It also allowed customers who needed more than 200 GB to cancel their services without penalty.
How to complain
You can file an online complaint at the CCTS website.
You can write to P.O. Box 56067, Minto Place RO, Ottawa, Ont. K1R 7Z1.
You can send emails to email@example.com.
You can send a tweet to @ccst_cprst.