Canada's telecom complaints watchdog gets more gripes about television service than about all other forms of telecom put together, the industry ombudsman said in its semi-annual report yesterday.

The Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) received 4,650 complaints about TV broadcasting services in the first half of their current year, which stretches from Aug. 1, 2015 and Jan. 31, 2016.

That figure is almost two-thirds of the number of TV complaints that the agency received in all of the previous year,  suggesting TV complaints to the CCTS are growing rapidly and are well ahead of last year's pace.

For the period this report covers, the CCTS couldn't help resolve consumers' TV service complaints, because they fell outside its mandate.

But earlier this month the CRTC gave the CCTS a mandate to deal with those beginning in September 2017, so the figure could rise. And now, the CCTS is able to mediate customers' complaints if they can't get satisfaction from the company involved.

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The CCTS has received 4,562 telecom complaints so far this year, most of which were related to television services. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

The CCTS says it successfully resolved complaints to the satisfaction of both the customer and the service provider in 90 per cent of the cases that landed on its desk this year.

For the time frame in question, since the CCTS can't assist those consumers, it didn't ask for details on the nature of their TV complaints, and has no data on what aspect of TV services consumers most often complain about.

Bell and Rogers still top list

Despite the surge in TV complaints, the CCTS says overall telecom complaints are actually down compared to last year's pace, because there are fewer complaints about everything else.

The agency received 4,562 complaints about wireless, internet and landline phone services during the six-month period. That's down from the same period last year.

Overall, Canada's two largest telecom companies — Bell and Rogers — still make up a majority of the complaints the CCTS received. Here's the rundown:

  • Bell accounted for under 37 per cent of the complaints received, or 1,677. A year earlier, it was about the same, or 36 per cent of all complaints to the CCTS in the mid-year report.
  • Rogers saw its numbers fall dramatically to 437 complaints, or just 10 per cent of all complaints. That's down from 23 per cent in the same six-month window last year. "Today's mid-year results show we're continuing in the right direction towards overhauling our customers' experience," Rogers spokesman Deepak Khandelwal said in a statement.
  • Wind Mobile, which was recently bought by Shaw, came in third place with 341 complaints.
  • Telus came in fourth place with 310 complaints about its services.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story referred to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services as a regulator. It is in fact an industry ombudsman.
    Apr 01, 2016 12:39 PM ET
With files from The Canadian Press