Canada's telecom providers use misleading and aggressive sales tactics: CRTC

Feb 20 2019, 5:24 pm

Canada’s telecommunications companies are using unacceptable sales practices that are misleading the public.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

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The report is the result of a public process the CRTC held in order to make a report on the use of “misleading or aggressive retail sales practices” by Canada’s largest telecommunications carriers – although the carriers this report specifically applies to aren’t mentioned.

In its report, the CRTC said it received “a wide range of views from hundreds of individual Canadians, as well as from past and present sales representatives of the service providers, the Commission for Complaints for telecom-television services (CCTS), consumer and public advocacy groups, researchers, unions, government bodies, and the service providers themselves.”

It’s apparent, the report added, “that misleading or aggressive retail sales practices are present in the telecommunications service provider market in Canada and, to some extent, in the television service provider market.”

In light of these findings, the CRTC said it will consider numerous next steps to ” better protect vulnerable Canadians.”

Some of these steps include:

  • The creation of a new, mandatory Internet code for Internet service providers, which could potentially expand some of the protections that currently exist for wireless and television customers to Internet customers;
  • Requiring service providers to provide pre-sales quotes that better inform customers and/or trial periods that would allow customers to cancel a service that does not match what they were offered;
  • Expanding the CCTS’s mandate to include handling complaints about misleading or aggressive retail sales practices, and improving consumers’ awareness of the CCTS as part of the next review of the CCTS;
  • Creating a “suitability standard,” which would require service providers to ensure that their offers and promotions match the customer’s needs and means.

The CRTC called the new report “an important step” in “empowering consumers” and “promoting the fair treatment” of Canadians.

Going forward, the CRTC said, the public and the government will be kept up to date on its progress in improving Canadians’ experiences with their service providers.