We are always examining our complaint handling process to ensure that it is thorough, fair and efficient. Our process works like this :
When we receive a complaint, we review it to determine whether it falls within our mandate. If so, we forward a copy to the telecommunications service provider. We ask the service provider to attempt to resolve the matter with the customer and report back to us within 30 days.
When the service provider responds, we evaluate the response and determine whether the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of the customer. This is the stage at which the majority of complaints are resolved. When a complaint remains unresolved we will assess its complexity, the amount of additional information that may be required, and the likelihood of successfully resolving the matter informally.
If the complaint falls within our mandate but is about a service provider that does not participate in CCTS, we will take the necessary action to have them join CCTS within 30 days. For further details, please refer to the Participating Service Providers page of our website.
Complaints that appear to be amenable to informal resolution are assigned to a member of our staff who will work with the customer and the service provider to arrive at a prompt resolution of the dispute. We will normally request additional information and documentation from both parties to effectively “mediate” a resolution. Many of these complaints are resolved to the satisfaction of both parties at this stage.
Complaints which raise particularly challenging issues or are otherwise especially complex will be investigated. During an investigation, we will request additional information or documentation from one or both parties to help determine whether the service provider reasonably performed its obligations pursuant to the terms of the contract between it and the customer. Throughout the investigation, we may also attempt to informally mediate a resolution of the dispute.
A complaint can be rejected or dismissed at any stage of the investigation/resolution process should we determine that the provider acted reasonably in fulfilling its obligations under the contract, or it has taken reasonable steps to resolve the complaint, even if this resolution is not acceptable to the customer.
Upon completing an investigation, we can make a written Recommendation for the resolution of the complaint, based on our analysis of its merits. We may recommend that the service provider take some action or refrain from taking some action (for example, correction of a billing error, connection or disconnection of service, waiver of charges, collections activity). Or perhaps something simple, like an apology or an explanation, may provide the necessary redress. We may also recommend that the service provider make a payment to the customer as compensation for any loss, damage or inconvenience suffered by the customer arising directly from the facts disclosed by the complaint (to a maximum of $5,000). Our process provides both the customer and the service provider with some time to consider the Recommendation and determine whether to accept or reject it.
If either the customer or the service provider rejects the Recommendation, we ask them to explain why so that we can reconsider the Recommendation in light of their continuing concerns. We will consider the reasons for rejecting the Recommendation, and then issue a Decision. In the Decision, the Commissioner may maintain the Recommendation, or may modify or change it if he concludes that there is substantial doubt as to the correctness of the original Recommendation. If the Decision is accepted by the customer, it becomes binding on the service provider and must be implemented. However, the customer is entitled to reject the Decision. If the customer does so, the service provider is not required to carry it out and the customer retains all of the usual legal rights and remedies and is free to pursue them.