Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I submit a complaint with the CCTS?

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

    You can also submit your complaint by email, fax, mail, or phone. If you use one of these methods, ensure that you provide us with your consent to the CCTS’ Procedural Code and Privacy Policy. We need this consent before we can consider your complaint.

  • I’m having a problem with my telecommunications 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 service provider but have not been successful; and
    • You are a small business customer with a monthly bill for all telecommunications services is normally under $2,500; and
    • Your complaint is about unregulated wireless, internet, local phone (including white page directories, operator services or directory assistance), long distance, or any combination of these.
  • 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 service provider but have not been successful; and
    • You are an individual consumer (not a business); and
    • Your TV service provider participates in the CCTS (some TV service providers are not required to do so).
  • Are there some telecom or TV complaints you cannot 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 the kinds of complaints that are within our mandate, click here.

  • What can the CCTS do to solve the problem?

    We can require providers to fix billing errors, restore service that has been incorrectly suspended or cancelled, cease collection activity during our process, correct improper reporting to credit bureaus, and provide credits for service not received. We can request 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.

  • I think my provider charges too much for its service. 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 codes 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.

  • Can the CCTS make my provider change the way it operates?

    No. Although we may consider a provider’s policies or operating practices during the investigation of a complaint, the CCTS cannot direct a provider to change such policy or practice.

    Example 1: A customer asks that their service provider change the way their contract is worded for more clarity. Although we may consider whether the service provider failed in its obligation towards the customer with respect to disclosure about the contract or whether the provider met is contractual obligations or other obligations to the customer, we cannot request that the service provider change the way the contract is written.

    Example 2: A customer considers the pricing of their service to be unreasonable and asks that the service provider lower the price of their service. Again, the CCTS cannot request that the service provider lower its price for a service provided. However, if a service provider increases the price it is charging the customer and a customer complains to the CCTS, we will examine whether the provider is permitted to increase prices and if so, whether the provider performed its obligations to the customer, such as whether the provider delivered proper advanced notice to the customer about the price increase.

  • How does the complaint-handling process work?

    The CCTS reviews your complaint to determine whether it falls within our mandate. If it does, we send a copy to your service provider and give the provider 20 calendar days to work with you directly to try to resolve the problem. If the issue cannot be resolved, we will work with both you and your service provider to try to resolve the complaint. If you and your service provider cannot resolve the complaint, we will determine whether the provider acted reasonably and appropriately in your case and if not, we will tell them how to fix the problem.

    Throughout our process, we collect all necessary information and documents from you and the provider. We will use all the material to propose a resolution that we think is appropriate and, where needed, to determine whether the provider acted reasonably and appropriately.

    For more details on how our process works, visit: Complaint resolution process explained.

  • How much does it cost to submit a complaint?

    Our service is free of charge for consumers in Canada.

  • 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, terms of service associated with the contract, and a provider’s policies and usual operating, 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 obeyed relevant codes of conduct. We can also consider good industry practices and what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. If we determine that the provider has not done so, we can instruct the provider to fix the problem

  • What will you expect from me after 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 work with your provider and respond to any offers they make.
    • If you and the provider cannot agree on how to resolve the complaint, the provider must write to us within 20 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 in a timely manner.
    • 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 provide you with Investigation Findings, we expect you to communicate your response to us within the prescribed 15 days.
  • How do you use my personal information and what safeguards are in place to protect my privacy?

    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 aggregate 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 our employees must abide by our Privacy Policy and safeguard customers’ personal information.

    For more information, see Privacy Policy.

  • 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 may publish any Investigation Findings or acts of noncompliance by service providers. When we do so, we remove all information that may identify you – including your name.

  • Are you a government department?

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

  • How are your operations funded?

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

  • 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 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 outcomes of complaints, is required to be independent of the industry, thereby ensuring an unbiased and impartial review of complaints.
    • Our Procedural Code ensures that our complaint-handling process is fair and even-handed.