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After A Spike In Complaints, The CRTC’s New Internet Code Tries To Reduce Bill Shock

Internet Code

Photo: 贝莉儿 NG

Have you ever received a bill at the end of the month with shocking numbers?

New regulations set by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hope to address this by increasing the standard of communication from internet service providers.

A Spike In Service Complaints

According to an official report by the Commission for Complaints of Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), from August 1st, 2017 to July 31st, 2018, the CRTC received 8,987 complaints about internet services, a number lower than wireless (cellphone) and higher than TV.

Of those internet-related complaints, 3,223 (35.9%) were about billing; 2,909 (32.4%) were related to contract disputes; and 2,580 (28.7%) were centered on service delivery.

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The report also found that Bell Canada received the highest number of complaints, with Rogers Communication receiving the second-most.


Dishonest Practices

In a February 2019 report, the CRTC confirmed that these complaints were, for the most part, accurate.

According to the Financial Times, the report found that internet service providers used “unacceptable sales practices that mislead consumers and harm[ed] vulnerable members of the public.”

The reported identified these dishonest practices “in all types of sales channels including in stores, online, over the telephone and at homes when companies conduct door-to-door sales campaigns.”

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The New Regulations

Fast forward to this week, when the CRTC announced a new set of industry regulations to address these problems.

Coming into effect on January 30th, 2020, this new set of regulations, called The Internet Code, will see, according to a CRTC press release:

  • Easier-to-understand contracts, documentation and policies surrounding service calls, outages, security deposits and disconnections
  • Clearer information about prices, including for bundles, promotions and time-limited discounts, thanks to the critical information summary
  • Bill shock protection, through notifications when customers approach and reach their data-usage limits, and
  • Greater flexibility thanks to new rules permitting customers to cancel a contract within 45 days, without paying early cancellation fees, if the contract differs from the offer.

This new Internet Code will apply to the set of companies that provide internet to approximately 87% of Canadian households, and hopefully bills that come with shocking numbers will become a thing of the past.

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