Consumers Finally Have Somewhere to Complain about Telephone, Internet and Cellphone Service



    OTTAWA, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre today
welcomed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's
(CRTC) decision to create a Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications
Services Inc. (the Agency) that will provide many consumers with a "one-stop
shop" to bring their complaints about cellphone, telephone and Internet
services.
    The CRTC's decision requires all telecommunications service providers
with more than $10 million in annual revenue to join the ombudsman scheme.
Most Canadian consumers of most larger providers, such as Bell Canada, Rogers,
TELUS and several other telephone, wireless and Internet providers will be
required to be members of the dispute resolution scheme. The
Telecommunications Ombudsman will take consumer complaints and will have the
power to make monetary awards up to $5000 in appropriate cases. It will be
free to consumers.
    "It's a great day for telecom consumers," said John Lawford, counsel for
PIAC, who argued for an effective and independent ombudsman on behalf of
consumer groups Canadian Consumers Council and the National Anti-Poverty
Organization. "Finally consumers can get real redress for phone, Internet and
cellphone company mistakes that cost consumers millions of dollars a year."

    The agency is expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of
2008 and may be able to take complaints prior to that time. However, PIAC
cautioned consumers that it may take some time for certain telecom service
providers to wake up to the new reality and expressed concern for customers of
smaller carriers. PIAC intends to keep consumers up-to-date with the progress
of the Telecommunications Ombudsman via its website.





For further information:

For further information: http://www.piac.ca, John Lawford, Counsel,
(613) 562-4002 x25

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PUBLIC INTEREST ADVOCACY CENTRE

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