Telecommunications | Protection measures unknown to consumers

Do you have any idea of ​​the three codes protecting Canadian telecom consumers? If your answer is no, don’t worry: you’re among the 76% who have never heard of it, according to a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) study released earlier this year.

Posted at 5:00 am

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The press

The document that The press The federal agency surveyed by the Federal Office also draws a very accurate consumer picture, based on a survey and surveys in November 2021. The increasing popularity of mobile phone tariffs with data, more frequent “surprise bills”, consumers who leave their provider more often are some of the findings.

The code ? Which code?

Specifically, the Wireless Code, introduced in 2013, prohibits carriers from charging customers more than $50 for using too much data. In 2017, another code was added to regulate television providers: they must inform their customers about the existence of a basic package. Finally, since 2020, the Internet Services Code has banned the limitation of so-called “unlimited” Internet packages for private households and stipulates clear pricing.


Although these three codes have been notable wins for consumers, they are still largely unknown. In fact, “76% say they don’t remember hearing about the codes.” This is an increase of 26 percentage points compared to the previous year. “This low profile may have been caused by lower media coverage in 2021,” the report said.

Disappearing Map

While 13% of Canadians used prepaid or pay-as-you-go cellular services in 2015, that proportion has been steadily declining, reaching 7% in 2021. Conversely, consumers are opting for monthly prepaid plans more often than ever this year, at 94%.

Family or flat share tariffs are on the rise: in 2015, 25% of respondents now chose 33%.


Finally, wireless services with data enjoy a remarkable popularity, which has grown from 70% in 2015 to 88% in 2021. Full speed followed by slowing data – clearly have the wind in their sails: 21% say they took one in 2021.

“Surprise fees” and excesses

With consumers mostly using their internet connection at home, the pandemic had at least one positive outcome: 73% said they had never paid an excess data fee in the last 12 months. In 2018 it was only 51%.

At least 19% of the subscribers stated that they had received a “surprise bill”, i.e. a surprisingly high bill, despite the wireless code requirements. For 62% of them, it was an unforeseen additional cost of between $50 and $500. About 2% even say they have to pay more than $1,000.

The most frequently cited reason: excessive use of data, for 34% of them; 9% also explained this calculation with trips abroad.

Complaints at the CCTS in droplets and turbidity

20% of subscribers say they have switched carriers, indicating increasing competition. This rate was 16% in 2018. The most popular explanation for 53% of these dropouts was the presentation of a better offer elsewhere. Only 13% were no longer satisfied with their original supplier.

We find that 77% found it easy to switch providers.

In terms of complaints, 16% of customers say they have filed a complaint against their supplier. This percentage has steadily decreased since 2014 when it was 26%. The most popular reason in 2021: a quality of service rated as “inadequate”.

In 94% of the cases, the complaint was only submitted to the supplier. In 2% of cases, after this mandatory first step, the complaint was referred to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS). This federal agency reported receiving 17,003 complaints between July 31, 2020 and July 1.ah Aug 2021.

In collaboration with William Leclerc, The press

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