FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I’m having a problem with my telecommunications (telecom) service provider. Can you help me?

We probably can. You can file a complaint with us if:

  • you have tried to resolve the problem directly with your provider but have not been successful
  • you are a consumer or small business owner and your monthly bill is normally under $2,500
  • your complaint is about deregulated local phone (including white page directories, operator services or directory assistance), long distance, wireless, internet, or any combination of these

We may be able to assist you even if your service provider does not currently participate in CCTS.

2. I’m having a problem with my TV service provider. Can you help me?

We probably can. You can file a complaint with us if:

  • you have tried to resolve the problem directly with your provider but have not been successful
  • you are an individual consumer (not a business)
  • the facts on which your complaint is based arose after September 1, 2017
  • your TV service provider participates in CCTS; some service providers are not required to do so

3. How do I submit a complaint with CCTS?

Submitting a complaint is easy. The fastest and most effective way is by using our online complaint form. Using this form ensures that we get all the necessary information about you and your complaint the first time. This will allow us to process your complaint right away. Be sure to check out Complaints: Information we need.

You can also submit your complaint by email, fax, regular mail or phone. (Methods of submitting a complaint) If you use one of these methods, please ensure that you provide us with your consent to our Procedural Code and our Privacy Policy. We need this this consent before we can consider your complaint.

4. Are there some telecom or TV complaints you can’t deal with?

Yes. We cannot accept complaints about services that are regulated by the CRTC. Also, other expert bodies are in place to deal with certain types of complaints. For example, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada deals with complaints about privacy; the Competition Bureau deals with issues such as false or misleading advertising; the National Do Not Call List deals with unwanted telemarketing calls. TV complaints about broadcasting content, journalistic ethics, simultaneous substitution and some other broadcasting issues are also outside our mandate. For more information about exclusions from our mandate, click here.

5. I think my provider charges too much for its services. Can you investigate this?

Our mandate is to determine whether the provider has complied with its obligations to you under its Terms of Service, any relevant industry code of conduct, and the provider’s internal policies and procedures. The amount that your provider charges for the services it delivers is a business decision that it alone is entitled to make. Marketplace competition means that you may find a better deal with another provider.

6. Are you a government department?

No, we are a private, not-for-profit corporation incorporated under federal legislation. We receive no taxpayer money.

7. How are your operations funded?

The CRTC, Canada’s telecom regulator, requires all telecom providers and most TV providers to participate in CCTS and to provide its funding. Industry funding is typical for ombudsman-type organizations such as ours, both in Canada and around the world.

8. How can I expect you to treat me fairly when you are funded by the company I have a problem with?

That’s a fair question. We have put in place a number of specific measures to ensure that we are independent of the industry and therefore can treat you fairly.

  • Independent directors, who have no connection to the industry, make up a majority on our Board of Directors (four of seven). Also, two of the four independent directors are nominated by consumer groups.
  • The independent directors control certain key Board functions, including the appointment of the Commissioner.
  • The Commissioner, who makes the final decision on the outcome of complaints, is required to be independent of the industry, thereby ensuring the unbiased and impartial review of complaints.
  • Our Procedural Code ensures that our compliant-handling process is fair and even-handed.

9. How much does it cost to submit a complaint?

There’s no charge to file a complaint.

10. What happens when I submit a complaint?

We’ll review it to determine whether it falls within our mandate. If it does, we will send a copy to your provider and give the provider 30 days to contact you and try to resolve your problem. If it can’t be resolved, we will assign the file to a member of our staff who will continue efforts to resolve the complaint while collecting all necessary information and documents from you and the provider. We will use all of this material to propose a resolution that we think is appropriate. If the complaint still remains unresolved:

  • if we have determined that the complaint is without merit, or the provider has made what we believe to be a reasonable settlement offer, we may close the file; or
  • if we determine that action needs to be taken by the provider to correct the problem, we may make a Recommendation for its resolution

11. What steps can you take to resolve my problem?

Our most important tool is the ability to have a provider fix a problem. We can require providers to fix billing errors, restore service that has been suspended or cancelled, cease collection activity, correct improper reporting to credit bureaus, and provide credits for service not received. We can require providers to give their customer an explanation or an apology. Finally, in appropriate cases, we can require providers to give customers monetary compensation for certain losses they incurred or inconvenience they experienced as a result of the events leading up to the complaint. The scope of our ability to provide a remedy is very broad.

12. How long does the process take?

The time required to handle a complaint varies based on a number of factors, including:

  • the complexity of the complaint or the number of issues to be resolved
  • the degree of cooperation we receive from the customer and the service provider
  • any delays resulting from unsuccessful efforts at resolution during the course of the investigation
  • the current volume of complaints and available investigative resources

For more details see our Performance Report.

13. How do you decide whether to tell the provider to fix my problem?

Our authority to do so is set out in Section 4 of our Procedural Code. Because the delivery of services to customers is almost always governed by a contract (often called “Terms of Service” or “Terms of Use”), our standard of review is to determine whether the provider “reasonably performed its obligations” under the contract with its customer. We also consider whether the provider has complied with any relevant industry code of conduct. If we determine that the provider has not done so, we can instruct the provider to fix the problem.

14. What is a Recommendation?

When we investigate a complaint but can’t mediate a resolution, we may make a Recommendation. We write to you and the provider, detailing our analysis of the complaint and recommending the resolution that we believe is appropriate. Both you and the provider have 20 days to consider whether to accept the Recommendation. If both accept it, the matter is considered resolved. If either you or the provider rejects it, we expect that party to write to us and explain the reasons for rejecting it. We will then issue a Decision.

15. What is a Decision?

A Decision is the final position of CCTS in connection with a complaint. If either you or the provider rejects a Recommendation, the Commissioner will review the reasons for the rejection and will then issue a Decision. The Commissioner may maintain the Recommendation or may modify it. You are not required to accept the Decision if you disagree with it. If you accept it, the Decision becomes binding on the service provider and must be implemented. If you reject it, the provider is not required to carry it out. You retain all of the usual legal rights and remedies and are free to pursue them. Either way, you have 20 days in which to respond to the Decision.

16. What will you expect from me when I submit a complaint?

  • After we accept your complaint, we send it to your provider. The provider will contact you to make a further attempt to resolve the complaint. We expect you to make a good faith effort to do so.
  • If you and the provider can’t agree on how to resolve the complaint, the provider must write to us within 30 days to explain its position regarding your complaint. The provider should copy you on its response. If the provider tells us that the complaint is resolved, but you do not agree, let us know right away.
  • We will need your full and prompt response to any requests for information or documents related to your complaint.
  • We expect you to give reasonable consideration to any proposed solutions that we may bring to you during the course of our review of the complaint.
  • If we make a Recommendation or Decision, we expect you to communicate your response to us within the prescribed 20 days.

17. How do you use my personal information and what safeguards are in place to protect my privacy?

We use your personal information to help resolve your complaint. When we obtain your information, we enter it into our case management system and share it with your provider so that the provider can work with you and with us to resolve the dispute.

We may also use the details of your complaint to prepare reports or statistics.

We will not use or disclose your personal information for any other purpose without your prior consent unless otherwise required or permitted by law.

All of our employees are required to abide by our Privacy Policy and to safeguard customers’ personal information at all times.

For more information, see our Privacy Policy.

18. Will the details of my complaint be made public?

No. Our process is designed to maintain your privacy. We do not publicize your complaint or discuss it with anyone other than you and your provider (unless we need to speak to a witness or an adviser). We are required to publish our Decisions, and you will find them here. When we do so we name the provider involved in the complaint but we remove all information that may identify you.

19. Does CCTS record phone calls?

Yes. CCTS records incoming calls to its toll-free phone number as well as direct incoming and outgoing phone calls involving our Complaints Resolution Officers—but we do this for quality monitoring and training purposes. Of course, the information you share with our staff over the phone may be used to assist in the handling of your complaint.