Complaint process explained
Step 1: Complaint Submission & Assessment
Filing a complaint takes about 15 minutes.
If you cannot resolve a problem with your service provider, you can submit a complaint to us. Filing a complaint using our online complaint form is the best way to ensure that we receive all the information we need. It takes about 15 minutes. Once you submit your complaint, we review it to determine whether it falls within our mandate. If your complaint falls within our mandate, we accept your complaint and move to Step 2.
If your complaint is outside of our mandate, we reject your complaint and refer to the appropriate organization if one can better assist. Over 400 service providers participate in the CCTS. If the complaint is about a telecommunications service (and not a TV service) and your service provider does not currently 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 (once a complaint is filed against them), though sometimes it takes longer. For more details, visit Participating Service Providers.
Step 2: Initial Referral
Most complaints are resolved here!
If we accept your complaint, we send a copy of your complaint to your service provider. Your service provider should work directly with you to try and resolve the issue. We expect you to work with your provider after we have sent a copy of your complaint. It’s important that you respond in a timely manner to your provider during this stage.The service provider must report back to us within 20 days to let us know if the complaint has been resolved. If the provider tells us that your complaint is resolved, but you disagree with the proposed resolution, you must let us know promptly.
The vast majority of complaints are resolved to the satisfaction of both parties at this stage, which brings our process to an end.
Note: If any part of your complaint is about unpaid charges, your service provider must stop trying to collect these charges until your complaint is closed. You must pay charges that are not related to your complaint.
Step 3: Conciliation and Investigation
We help resolve the complaint or determine if your provider acted appropriately.
Your service provider must report back to the CCTS to let us know if the complaint has been resolved. If your service provider informs us that the complaint remains unresolved, the service provider is required to provide information and documentation to respond to your complaint and show us what happened. During conciliation, we work with you and your service provider as an independent third-party to try to resolve your complaint by informally mediating or identifying possible solutions for you and your provider to consider. At any time during the process, we may ask you for more information to help us find a solution.
If you and your service provider cannot agree, we find out if they acted appropriately and reasonably in your case. We evaluate the information and documents provided by you and your service provider to determine whether your provider reasonably performed its obligations, as set out in your contract or agreement with your provider, terms of service, applicable consumer protections in Codes of Conduct and regulatory requirements, and what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
We will issue Investigation Findings that explain whether your provider met its obligations. If your provider did not act appropriately, we will tell it how to fix the issue. We can tell your service provider to do one or more of these things:
- explain or apologize for the problem;
- correct the problem, such as correct a billing error, reconnect a service or stop collections activity; or
- reimburse you for proven financial losses to a maximum of $5,000.
Important: It is the role of regulators to punish or fine service providers or to ask them to change the way they operate. We do not do these things.
Step 4: Outcome
Service provider must implement resolutions.
If you and your provider agree to a resolution, the service provider must implement the agreed-upon resolution.
When we issue Investigation Findings, you have the option to accept or reject them.
- If you accept the Investigation Findings, your service provider must implement any remedies that the CCTS specified in the Investigation Finding. You release your service provider from any claims relating to your complaint.
- If you reject the Investigation Findings, your provider is not required to carry out any remedies. You would retain all the usual rights and remedies, and you are free to pursue them.
If you or your service provider think that we made an error in fact or interpretation that affected the Investigation Findings, you may request a Case Review. We will examine the basis for the request and determine whether it seems more likely than not that an error was made and that the error would affect the outcome of the Investigation Findings. If so, we conduct a Case Review; otherwise the request for a Case Review is rejected.
After conducting the Case Review, we will issue either confirmed or revised Investigation Findings, which you have the option to accept or reject.
Why we might stop handling a complaint.
At any point during the complaint process, we will stop handling the complaint if you ask us to or if a mutually acceptable resolution is reached.
We may also stop handling a complaint for one of the below reasons:
- You cannot be contacted or you are not participating in the process.
- You are not a customer with the service provider.
- You are not authorized to file a complaint.
- Your complaint is not within our mandate.
- Another agency, tribunal or court is better suited to handle the complaint.