ICA in breach of obligations to customers and ombudsman
Ottawa (May 11, 2023) – The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) has terminated the participation of service provider ICA Microsystems Inc. (ICA) for failing to comply with a number of mandatory requirements. ICA offers telecommunications services under the brand names ICA Canada On-Line and ICA Wireless. The termination by the CCTS puts ICA in violation of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) regulatory requirement to participate in the CCTS, which gives customers the right to recourse when they have a dispute with their service provider.
The CCTS publicizes this information to fully inform current and prospective customers of ICA’s breach of its responsibilities to its customers and its failure to comply with regulatory obligations. The CCTS’ efforts to resolve these issues with ICA have been unsuccessful.
About the service provider and the compliance issues: ICA is an Ontario-based service provider that offers internet service. The CCTS investigated a complaint from a small business customer and issued a binding Decision in December 2022. The CCTS Decision requires ICA to refund to the small business customer a month of service that was improperly billed after the customer cancelled the service and to cancel $1,299 of improper charges that ICA invoiced the customer as a “complaint fee”. The CCTS noted in its Decision that these fees are punitive and deprive customers of their right to a free and fair review of their complaints. During the investigation of the complaint, ICA refused to cooperate or provide any requested documentation to explain its conduct, as required by the CCTS’ Procedural Code.
ICA has not implemented the CCTS’ binding Decision, which is major non-compliance with the provider’s requirements. In addition, ICA is in breach of its obligations to include information about the CCTS on its website to ensure its customers are aware of their right of recourse to the CCTS. ICA also failed to pay outstanding CCTS fees.
“Our goal is to ensure that all service providers play by the rules, so that customer problems are promptly and fairly addressed. By failing to do so, ICA has effectively denied its customers the right to benefit from the CCTS’ free complaint-resolution process.” said Janet Lo, Assistant Commissioner, Legal, Regulatory & Stakeholder Affairs. “We have made several efforts to communicate with ICA and work with it to resolve these issues. ICA has not resolved them, leaving us with no choice but to terminate its participation in the CCTS and refer it to the CRTC for further action.”
The termination of ICA’s participation in the CCTS puts it in violation of the CRTC’s mandatory participation requirement. As required, the CCTS has referred this matter to the CRTC for further action.
As of August 15, 2023, ICA has rectified its noncompliance issues and rejoined the CCTS.
About the CCTS
The CCTS is Canada’s national and independent organization dedicated to resolving customer complaints about telecommunications and television services, fairly and free of charge. Telecommunication and television service providers that offer services within the mandate of the CCTS must participate. The CCTS has industry-wide participation, with over 400 service provider participants.
This year, the CCTS celebrates 15 years of helping Canadians. To date, the CCTS has handled over 150,000 complaints – most resolved within 30 days. Customers are encouraged to reach out to us for help if they are unable to resolve a dispute with their service provider. Let’s talk solutions!
Mathieu Pierre Dagonas, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Affairs