Ottawa-based consumer advocacy group, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), is speaking out against the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) recent refusal to hold a public inquiry into claims of aggressive and misleading sales practices by a number of the country’s leading telecoms. While the CRTC says there is no need for this inquiry, PIAC says the decision ultimately hurts Canadian consumers.
“CRTC throws to telco sales dogs,” accused PIAC’s executive director, John Lawford, in a statement. “The CRTC refusal to inquire into the shocking sales practices of Canada’s major telecommunications and broadcasting companies says to consumers, ‘You’re on your own.’”
The PIAC made the request to the CRTC in January, after CBC GO Public reported that it had heard from “from more than 200 past and present employees — mostly working for Bell and Rogers — describing intense pressure to mislead, lie and trick consumers in order to hit unrealistic sales targets.”
One Rogers employee admitted to not telling elderly customers about added fees and to sneaking extra products or services on their bills. Employees weren’t the only ones to come forward; CBC says over 300 customers have reached out as well. A woman in Oshawa, Ontario complained that Bell was charging her in-laws for internet service without their knowledge or express consent. So why, PIAC wants to know, did the CRTC refuse to hold an inquiry?
The commission stated in its rejection letter that Canadians already have “well-established and effective mechanisms to resolve issues with their [telecoms].”
While this is partially true – for example, consumers can complain to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), which is an independent telecom ombudsman – there still will not be major change in the industry without the CRTC’s compliance. As Lawford points out, “Only the CRTC has the regulatory authority to ask the industry to change practices.”
Source: CBC.ca – CRTC rejects call for public inquiry into aggressive telecom sales practices
Published: February 21, 2018