One month after receiving an order to investigate sales tactics at Canada’s large telecommunications carriers, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a formal public call for comments.
According to a July 16th, 2018 media release, the CRTC wants Canadians to “share their personal experiences with possible misleading or aggressive retail sales practices used by large telecommunications service providers.”
Not only are regular Canadians encouraged to submit comments, but the CRTC is also looking for current and former telecom employees to share their experiences.
“To provide a meaningful report to the government, it is important that we hear from Canadians across the country,” said Ian Scott, chairperson of the CRTC, in the same July 16th media release.
“In particular, we encourage current and former employees as well as those who are more likely to be affected by these sales practices — such as seniors and people living with a disability or whose first language is neither English nor French — to come forward with their stories.”
The CRTC is willing to issue terms of confidentiality “as needed.”
The CRTC is accepting online form submissions, letters, faxes and as well submissions through My CRTC Accounts.
Additionally, the CRTC will be announcing a public opinion survey later this year, and will also be focus groups and a public hearing as of October 22nd, 2018.
The CRTC will be accepting comments until August 30th, 2018, and will use its collected comments to frame the next phase of its consultations.
The Commission is specifically looking for information related to sales tactics undertaken by Bell, Cogeco, Eastlink, Northwestel, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, TbayTel, TekSavvy, Telus, Videotron and Xplornet.
Additionally, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in April 2018 ruled in favour of a Toronto man in a small claims case against Bell over misleading sales tactics.
CRTC ordered to investigate
The CRTC’s July 16th call for comments comes after the federal government directed the Commission to investigate sales tactics at Canada’s large telecoms, in June 2018.
“In recent months, there has been a series of such reports alleging certain practices by sales agents of telecommunications carriers such as aggressive upselling or failing to provide necessary information for Canadians to make informed decisions,” wrote Bains, in a June 14th, 2018 letter to the Competition Bureau.
The order came approximately three months after CRTC chairperson Ian Scott wrote a letter to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre arguing against the need for a formal investigation into sales tactics at Canada’s telecoms.
Scott argued that Canadians already have an avenue to lodge complaints and concerns, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS).
“If Canadians consider that their wireless, internet, home phone or TV service provider has not provided clear and accurate information to them about their [contracts], or is not acting in a manner consistent with the CRTC’s Wireless Code or Television Provider Service Code, they should first try to resolve the issue with their service provider,” said Scott, in his February 14th letter to the PIAC.
Canada’s Competition Bureau has also been tasked with aiding the CRTC in its investigation.
The CRTC has until February 28th, 2019 to submit its final report on sales practices at Canadian telecoms.