Bell, Rogers top wireless users’ complaint list

Bell Canada and Rogers Communications top the list of telecom companies receiving complaints from wireless customers, according to a report released today by Canada’s Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunications Services.

User complaints about wireless data, Internet bandwidth charges and roaming charges have more than doubled, according to the CCTS which is an independent organization created in 2007 to work with consumers, small business customers and local telecom service providers to resolve complaints relating to deregulated retail telecommunications services.

The CCTS received no less than 14,036 complaints for the period 2012 to 2013, according to its annual report titled “When You Need Help.”

Of that number, Bell received 4,000 complaints, followed by Rogers with 3,800. Roger’s Fido received 1,000 complaints, while Telus got 883 complaints, Bell’s Virgin Mobile Canada had 776. Alternative carrier Wind Mobile received 635 complaints.


Result of the reports were no surprise to Dvai Ghose, managing director of full service global capital markets firm Canaccord Genuity Inc.

“According to the report, Rogers has poor service, not a surprise, but Bell was not much better,” he said when number are prorated on a per million customer connections basis. “Rogers had 390 complaints per 1 million connections or a staggering 4.4 times more than Telus. Bell did not fare much better at 325 per million connections or 3.7 times more than Telus.”

Telus has been the “most consumer friendly incumbent” and it shows in the company’s low churn and high lifetime revenue per subscriber,” according to Ghose. He noted that Telus only had 88 complaints per 1 million connections.

Wind, however has a big problem when you consider the number of complaints it received prorated on a per million customer connections basis, he said. The company only has 636,827 subscribers at the end of the year’s third quarter but “it had a staggering 1,179 complaints per 1 million connections or 13.4 times more than Telus.”

Clearly, Ghose said, the providers need to up their customer service game.

As many as 90 per cent of the complaints were resolved, Howard Maker, CCTS commissioner said today.

“We continue to see an increase in the number of complaints about telecommunications services, with wireless services topping the list,” Maker said in a statement today. “The high rate of resolution tells me that both consumers and service providers view our process as fair and rigorous and our approach as unbiased.”

As it was last year, billing errors were the number one complaint of consumers, he said. Complaints about mobile roaming charges went up from 721 from 211.

The number two complaint of consumers was about loss of service and repair issues.

Complaints about data charges were 539 up from 264 last year.

The Harper government in the throne speech last month promised Canadians to “take steps” to reduce the cost they pay for roaming on networks within the country. A new wireless code introduced several months earlier and set to come to effect this December will cap data roaming charges when they reach $100 for a single month’s billing.

Consumer concerns about credit reporting by telecommunications providers increased by almost 165 per cent.

“Customers who’ve had their accounts inappropriately referred to a collection agency face very real consequences, potentially impacting them in many ways,” said Maker.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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