HAVE YOUR SAY: CRTC investigation into unethical sales practices of Canada’s largest telecos
As you may already know, on July 16 of this year, CRTC finally launched an investigation into the unethical, aggressive and potentially misleading retail sales practices of some of Canada’s largest Telecos. This comes after CBC’s Go Public pursued a story last and received over 200 reports from employees and over 800 complaints from customers over the retail sales tactics used by the Big 3 of Canada’s telecom providers (Bell, Rogers and Telus). This was followed by calls to the CRTC by customer advocacy groups such as Public Interest Advocacy Center and even by the federal cabinet to pursue the issue raised by the complainants. Hence, the CRTC has now invited customers as well as former and current employees to participate in the public enquiry. Submissions are open until August 31, 2018 and the public hearing on the matter is scheduled for October 22, 2018 at Ottawa.
Customers complain loudest:
As of the time of this writing, CRTC has received upwards of 700 complaints on public record. The vast majority of these complaints have been by customers who have had to face the brunt of the unethical practices employed by these companies. Here are some of the most common complaints submitted:
Misleading information about plan price, contract term, discount being offered etc..
Customers have complained about being misled as to the final price of the plan, the term of the contract, the details of the discount offered and the fact that employees fraudulently add-on services that were never requested and the customer get stuck needing to foot the bill for the unwanted services or pay hefty cancellation charges.
As CBC’s Go public reports, employees at Bell and Rogers are regularly either deliberately misinformed about the discounts that they are being asked to push or told to lie in order to close a sale. So it is no surprise that customers have these problems.
Contract details never set out in writing in advance:
Another major peeve reported by customers is the fact that companies authorise their salespeople or 3rd party contractors to make oral offers either over the phone or during door-to-door sales calls but never set those terms in writing before the customer has signed up for the service and belatedly discovers the hidden charges that he was never told about. Customers have reported specifically asking for a written quote for the services being offered to them and being refused on the grounds that a contract would only be sent to them after the customer accepts the service or offer.
Upselling to seniors:
Another troubling complaint that has repeatedly been made has been about the predatory practices that telecoms employ against seniors and other vulnerable groups such as students and others on limited budgets looking for a deal within their budget and suitable for their limited needs. Report after report from customers details how telecoms deliberately hide their cheapest plans and instead sell their most expensive plans to these groups in the interest of their own profit.
Bill-Shock and refusal to correct billing mistakes:
In addition to the well-covered issue of bill shock that customers face when they think they have signed up for a particular service but report receiving a bill totally disproportionate to their expectations and usage, one of the most frustrating problems that customers report is companies refusal to correct a billing issue once reported. Thus people report receiving an acknowledgment from the company that a mistake was made and then either never receiving a refund for the over billed amount or the same mistake being made over and over on every bill thus necessitating endless recurring calls to customer service to get the same mistake corrected over and over again.
At PlanHub, the customer comes first:
It was exactly these issues that Canadians have always faced with telecom providers that prompted us to start PlanHub. At PlanHub we help you make informed decisions about your telecom needs by providing an easy and effective way to compare prices and features being offered in your province across multiple service providers. So you always know the best deal available at any given moment to suit your needs.
On PlanHub.ca, you can optimise your results not only by the upfront monthly cost of the plan, but also for the overall price of the plan over two years. So, you can verify whether that plan you are offered with $0 down for the device is actually the best deal on the market.
PlanHub also allows you to customise your search for exactly your needs – be it data or calling and texting minutes. So that you are always in charge of your own requirements and when you go to the company to sign up for the plan, you know the exact plan you are going for and not allow yourself to be confused by a potentially unethical sales agent. Also, by clicking on the details button of any plan, you will see all of the plan details in one view so that you know exactly what you are signing up for and won’t be shocked next time you get your bill. Because, at PlanHub we believe that transparency is the best policy.
And to help you avoid bill shock and overage fees and to help you be in even greater control of your own plan, PlanHub is working on an exciting new Invoice Feature. Shhh…we can’t talk about it too much while it is still in development, but sign up for our alerts here and we will ensure that you will be amongst the first to know when this exciting new feature rolls out!
And remember, if you want to contribute to the ongoing public consultation by the CRTC and have your story heard in the ongoing struggle by Canadians everywhere to take back control over their telecom market, the deadline for submissions to the CRTC is August 30, 2018! So click here to have your voice heard !!