CCTS confirms first breach of Internet Code

Earlier this year, the CCTS began administering the Internet Code, issued by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). As of January 31, 2020, the provisions of this mandatory code of conduct, which applies to the 10 largest Internet service providers in Canada, are applied any time a residential customer of retail fixed Internet access services files a complaint.

First breach of the Internet Code: Clarity of offers

Recently, the CCTS confirmed the first breach of the Internet Code. A breach occurs when the CCTS concludes that there is substantiated evidence to confirm that a Participating Service Provider has failed to comply with a provision of the CRTC-imposed codes of conduct, including the Wireless Code, the TVSP Code, the Deposit and Disconnection Code, and the Internet Code.

The breach in question involved section A-5 of the Code, concerning “clarity of offers”. This provision requires that:

“a service provider must ensure that offers are clearly communicated before the customer consents to the offer, including during phone calls and door-to-door sales and in its promotional material”

In April 2020, a customer contacted an Internet service provider to inquire about services. During the call, the customer asked the sales agent about obtaining a static IP address with his residential service. The agent informed the customer that he would be able to obtain one following the installation of the service.

As a result of this confirmation, the customer agreed to the contract. After the installation was complete, the service provider informed the customer that static IP addresses could not be provided to residential customers.

Customer files a complaint with the CCTS

Upon filing a complaint with the CCTS, the customer provided a recording of the call in which he agreed to the contract. The call recording corroborated the customer’s stance, that the sales agent had informed him he could obtain a static IP address following installation of services.

The CCTS determined that providing a static IP address for his residence was part of the offer presented to the customer, and that the customer signed the contract on the basis of this assurance. The CCTS also confirmed that the service provider does not provide such a service to its residential customers.

The service provider accepted the CCTS’ findings and did not object to the confirmed breach.

Reporting on Code breaches

The CCTS reports regularly on Code breaches. In its 2018-19 Annual Report, the CCTS confirmed 161 breaches across all Codes, the majority of which were breaches of the Wireless Code.

CCTS’ 2019-20 Annual Report will be available to the public in November of this year, and will include the latest number of breaches, with the newly administered Internet Code included in the data, as well as other relevant topics and trends.

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