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Telecom companies must join complaints body

The CRTC has extended mandatory membership with the Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunications Services to all telecom companies operating in Canada.

The CRTC has extended mandatory membership with the Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunications Services to all telecom companies operating in Canada.

The CRTC has ruled that all telephone and internet service providers in Canada must join a national body designed to impartially resolve customer complaints. ((iStock))
The decision was issued by the CRTC at the conclusion of a hearing in Gatineau, Que., on Wednesday. It was an unusual move for the national telecommunications regulator, which usually posts its decisions several months after a hearing is concluded.

However, in the case of the Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunications Services, or CCTS, there was a need for haste as the current rules around membership were due to expire Dec. 20.

The CCTS was established in 2007 to give consumers an objective body to settle disputes with telephone and internet service providers.

Till now, only telecoms with revenues of more than $10 million were required to join the complaints body. Under Wednesday's decision, any company providing telecommunication services will have to be a member.

The CCTS draws its funding from member companies. The new rule that requires all telecom companies to be members will expire in five years.

Over the past year, CCTS has investigated 3,747 complaints, a 16 per cent increase over the previous year. Slightly more than half the consumer complaints were against wireless companies, and 44 per cent of all complaints related to billing.

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