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Telecom complaints rise 35%, wireless beefs top the list

A man paces back and forth while talking on his cell phone outside of the Vancouver Convention Center July 26, 2010.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

There are still a lot of unhappy wireless users out there.

Canada's Commissioner for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) says there was a 35-per-cent increase in telecom consumer complaints in its 2011-2012 year and that wireless services topped the list of complaints for the 4th year in a row.

About 60 per cent of the issues raise in complaints related to wireless, unregulated local or long distance telephone services or internet access came from wireless users, the CCTS says in a news release.

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Of all of the complaints across the board, most of the beefs were in connection with billing errors or contract disputes.

Billing disagreements accounted for almost 51 per cent of all the issues raised in complaints, says the agency.

Among the most frequent types of billing complaints were errors regarding customers' monthly plans, issues related to the 30-day notice for cancellation and premium text messaging charges, it said.

Second to billing were contract disputes, accounting for over 27 per cent of all the issues raised in complaints.

"CCTS often heard from customers who complained they were charged early termination fees and from those who alleged that they were signed up to contracts by their service provider without their consent," the agency said.

CCTS' annual report indicates that 90 per cent of the complaints it dealt with were resolved to the customer's satisfaction.

It also says many of the complaints could have been avoided "with a little extra diligence on the part of the service provider."

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The independent agency was created in 2007 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to arbitrate between disaffected consumers and their telecom providers.

It is industry financed.

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COMPLAINTS, BY COMPANY

Bell Canada: up 17.1 per cent over the previous year.

Rogers Communications:  up 112.6 per cent.

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Telus: down 12.2 per cent.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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