Complaints process explained

We regularly examine our complaint handling process to ensure that it is thorough, fair and efficient. Here’s how the process works.

Assessment

When we receive a complaint, we review it to determine whether it falls within our mandate.

If it does, we ensure that we have all of the information we need to initiate our process. If key information is missing from the complaint, we contact the customer and put the file on hold until the customer responds. Filing a complaint using our online interactive questionnaire is the best way to ensure that we receive all needed information the first time.

If the complaint is outside of our mandate, we refer it to the appropriate organization when possible.

Complaint accepted

If the complaint falls within our mandate, we forward a copy to the service provider. We ask the service provider to attempt to resolve the matter with the customer and report back to us within 30 days to let us know whether the complaint has been resolved.

If the complaint is about a telecommunications service (and not a TV service) and the service provider does not participate in the CCTS, we will take the necessary steps to have the provider join the CCTS. (They are supposed to do so within 30 days of hearing from us, though sometimes it takes longer.) For further details, visit Participating Service Providers.

Informal resolution

When the service provider responds, we evaluate the response and determine whether the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of the customer.

When a complaint remains unresolved, we assess its complexity, the amount of additional information that may be required, and the likelihood of successfully resolving the matter informally.

Complaints that seem amenable to informal resolution are assigned to a member of our staff, who works with the customer and the service provider to promptly resolve the dispute. We 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, which brings our process to an end.

Investigation

Unresolved complaints are investigated. During an investigation, we request additional information or documentation from one or both parties to help determine whether the service provider reasonably performed its obligations to the customer. As we investigate, we may also attempt to informally mediate a resolution of the dispute.

A complaint can be rejected or dismissed at any stage of the resolution/investigation process if we determine that the provider acted reasonably in fulfilling its obligations under the contract or has taken reasonable steps to resolve the complaint, even if the customer does not agree.

Recommendation

When the investigation is completed, we may 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. Examples include correction of a billing error, connection or disconnection of service, waiver of charges, and stopping collections activity.

In some cases, something as simple as 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 of the complaint (to a maximum of $5,000).

Our process provides both the customer and the service provider with 20 days to consider the Recommendation and determine whether to accept or reject it.

Decision

If either the customer, or the service provider (or both) rejects the Recommendation, we ask them to tell us why—in writing—so that we can reconsider the Recommendation in light of their continuing concerns.

We consider their reasons for rejecting the Recommendation, and then issue a Decision.

In the Decision, the CCTS may maintain the Recommendation or may change it if the reasons provided show that there is substantial doubt as to the correctness of the original Recommendation.

If the customer accepts the Decision, 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. The customer retains all of the usual legal rights and remedies, and is free to pursue them.