Help Develop a TV Code: Discussion Forum Comments

Canadians shared their views on the development of a TV Code. The discussion forum was open from May 12-25, 2015.

Discussion Topics

Changing programming options

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  1. 1.
    My preference is Option A.

    Can't think of any other items to include...

    I would prefer 60 days advance notice over 45 days.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 16:56 Jeff-in-Kelowna
  2. Option A and 2 billing cycles is preferred. Packages are not very clear considering you have not watched some of the channels offered. There should be a free trial period before making the final decision to add any package.

    Friday, May 15, 2015 - 15:05 tommix
  3. Option A is the proper one.

    When I was living in Manitoba it was a nice change using the MTS service web site to actually manage, add and remove channels and packages as seen fit, and to have the fees update as necessary as the change were being made. Then, one would know exactly how much the changes would cost on acceptance and programing changes were active within a few minutes of selecting them.
    I have never seen Cogeco, Bell or Rogers use this type of system as they require running a call gauntlet followed by upselling every time a programing change is requested and with costs incertitudes to boot.

    Friday, May 15, 2015 - 19:20 Alain_goyette
  4. I question the value of packages.
    I would appreciate the ability to choose a channel, period.
    All this bundling and combinations are simply the result of too many highly paid people trying to guess on how they can charge more.
    If the industry simply priced it like a item on a menu, them we would be able to build our own package.
    As for the agrument that certain channels must be legislated, aside from news, I see no reason for the approach except for line 3.

    Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 07:24 bobnufocus
    1. I agree, we should have more choice of what channels are in our individual packages. I don't speak Cantonese, Italian, Hindi, or French and I resent that those channels are included in my package and I have to pay for them as if they are of some value to me. They are not. Let those that wish to have these channels be the ones to pay for them. I'd prefer my dollars going to channels I want and enjoy. If we had better ability to choose our channels then perhaps that would drive better programs and programming. How often do we find ourselves watching something just because it is the"only thing on"? The way current packages are devised there are always a bunch of channels you would never watch or choose to be in your package. Whatever they believe to be true of consumer channel choices or the shows we watch is skewed by the way providers control what channels we get. Surely many folks would not choose many Canadian channels because they are substandard to American productions. If it weren't for mandatory content I don't think too many Canadian shows would make it. Besides that, we taxpayers have already paid for the CBC, why should we pay again for this disappointing programming to come into our homes?

      Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 16:15 AlMaclean
  5. There must be a standard related to actually getting through to contact the provider. Please note their on-line chat often does not have the abiltiy to carry out transactions and one then gets referred to the call centre where one finds that they are "receiving above normal calls and your call is important to us" just stay on line for the next 2 hours...again.

    They frustrate anyone trying to make a change. Now it has been my experience the call entre is not able to carry out requested transactions that I want carried out and they then require one to go retail store in person. Its denial of service by frustrating the customer in effecting a change process.

    They should be required to accept emails from customers to which they must respond either by calling the customer back or responding back by email.

    Sunday, May 17, 2015 - 00:08 callon
  6. I think Option A is the fairest for customers. I think that 45 days is plenty of notice to give. No reason to drag it out.

    Sunday, May 17, 2015 - 09:12 Etisme
  7. Option A is good.
    My concern is that companies such as Bell will raise the prices periodically.
    So the CRTC has to ensure that there is a fair price which does not go up every time the company wishes to increase its CEO's salary or increase shareholder dividends.

    Friday, May 22, 2015 - 16:45 Izzatm
  8. Option A is the best. As for notice of changes, I don't understand how it is I can choose a package to pay for and they have the right to change at will. Too many chanels showing the same program ,or languages I don't understand. Give me 20 chanels that I choose and I'd be more than happy to pay what I'm paying now.

    Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 09:41 JMcLean
  9. A brief note to request that this section of the code apply to any TV subscription, including Shaw's Local Television Satellite Solution.

    Sunday, May 24, 2015 - 17:19 DTV2011
  10. Option A is definitely the option that's more fair for consumers.

    Monday, May 25, 2015 - 17:23 jbetteridge

Clarity of written agreements

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  1. I agree with items 1 and 2 outlined.
    Further to this, I would like to see a copy of the agreement available to the customer via their online login account, so that the customer can review and refresh their memory at any time as to exactly what they signed up for.
    The customer's online account should also show in detail all items and add-on's being billed and charged for according to their contract.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 16:46 Jeff-in-Kelowna
  2. I would appreciate a one page agreement that simply states what I have signed up for and how much it will cost per line. I see no reason to add all the legalese boilerplate agreements that serve no purpose.
    I also feel that I should be able to pick and choose my channels on a monthly basis, pay for what I consume and not for what I may think I want.

    Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 07:19 bobnufocus
  3. The written agreement should include procedures and policies for termination of service. In the past, I have been surprised to learn (once I wanted to terminate) that I was forced to pay for an additional month of service. Also, the disposition of any equipment which has been installed should be listed -- who owns it, what is the procedure for returning it without penalty, any deposit, etc.

    Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 12:23 eleanorb
    1. If the service provider wants to have a period of notice for termination that needs to be very clear when they sign up. Not only in "plain English or French etc." but in large letters on the contract. Also, there should be a secure drop-off place to return equipment when you do cancel. Having to take time off work to return the equipment or to stay at home all day on a Saturday to do so in NOT okay.

      Sunday, May 17, 2015 - 09:05 Etisme
  4. I beleive that when you have an agreement on pricing the service provider should not be able to increase the price during the contract as has happened to me.

    Monday, May 18, 2015 - 06:31 Tim Gibney
    1. It wasn't that long ago that I was hit with two price increases within a year. These general price increases by the TVSP for their service were far above the rate of inflation and it was difficult to voice your objection to these increases. There should be an easy way to voice your objection to any proposed increase.
      The TVSP should be required to give at least a 3-month notice of such increases, and additionally, these notices should be included with subscribers regular bills so that subscribers are reminded of the upcoming increase. This would give subscribers more time to shop around or change their subscriptions if they think the service will become too costly when the increase takes effect.

      Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:42 BC
  5. What I find most frustrating about cable and satellite services right now is that it's almost impossible to find out what the regular monthly charge for their services will be. They ONLY list the introductory price. It should be mandatory that they list the regular monthly price for their services, packages, and individual channels in a plainly visible way on their website and all promotional materials.

    Monday, May 25, 2015 - 17:27 jbetteridge

Offers and promotions

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  1. Cannot raise prices till end of all. or option to back out without penalties.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 12:01 rivers
  2. The customer should not have to go looking for the real cost incurred after the promotion period.
    The ongoing price/cost should be just as visible as the promotion price.
    I'm tired of having to drill-down and playing hide and seek on what the long-term real cost is really going to be.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 17:04 Jeff-in-Kelowna
  3. ALL channels should be available first of all, well more accurately I mean all the channels should be able to be added by say someone with a basic cable package for example. Meaning that someone who wants any specialty channel, even just one single channel, they should be able to add that channel on to their monthly bill, for a REASONABLE price PER channel. No small print, no prerequisites to allow this, equipment rental, special package upgrades, etc. Without this, you have a two tier TV system in Canada. Rich and poor, and yes it is that simple. If my Aunt on CPP wants to subscribe to the Anime channel(Doubt it, but anything is possible) and only that channel, her bill should go up by no more than 4 dollars a month.
    We shouldn't need a "Discussion", we are bled dry as Canadians from everything to our wireless to internet and cable. That's what we are talking about, or I could go on about every last thing we pay too much for but this is the topic today.
    Simplest way to fix our problems with cable in Canada, STOP regional monopolies that are just accepted as business as usual here in the North. Why am I forced to use Cogeco for cable? If I lived in a bigger city it's even more obvious. The big three have managed to get the government to allow companies that are supposed to be rivals to have equal coverage in every area, you can't choose between Rogers Cable or Cogeco cable in Ontario. It's always one or the other! Competition and transparency would be the best things to keep in mind when rewriting this code you are coming up with in my opinion of course.

    Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 09:39 keysersoze
    1. Agree with you and changes should be able to be done online by the customer. Ever try to drop a service online? not able to.

      Friday, May 15, 2015 - 15:09 tommix
  4. I think that canadians should be able to add every channel for $1/month and we should be able to cancel our contracts at any time with no penalties at all and that prices should never be raised ever, i personally do not believe in "inflation" thank you very much.

    I also feel that all cable providers should provide free TVs to all canadians and give us $200 for every show that we are unable to watch due to unexpected outages, because my time is valuable and if i cant watch my tv shows i should be PAID!

    Friday, May 15, 2015 - 19:34 agoshdarnedbear
  5. I have had repeated problems with changes in service and/or charges. The provider claims that I was notified, but even reading the fine print on my invoices for several months back, I cannot find such a notice. In such a case, the provider generally delays the increase by a month for me, but I still resent having to hunt so hard. So, I suggest that all changes be made known to all customers who will be affected, and made known at least a month in advance (but not more than two months) in a way that will be quite clear and conspicuous to the customer. I think it should not even be put in the invoice, unless it is in large red type on the first page: "See page 3 for important changes to your account." Better, however, would be a separate notice, either by email or paper mail (the user can specify preferences), that only concerns the changes.
    I assume that most customers do not object to these changes, since the provider seems to take notification very lightly. If everyone called up and demanded a rebate as I do, I think the provider would not be so cavalier. So maybe there should be a penalty for failure to notify, one greater than just a delay in receiving payment.
    I also have TIVO service, which notifies me (onscreen) whenever the provider's channel "lineup" changes, so I am aware of frequent small changes that I never get notice of from the provider. Granted, I don't care about most of them, and they don't affect my payment, but still. What are the exact rules concerning what the customer should be told?

    Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 12:35 eleanorb
  6. My experience is exclusive to Rogers.
    First: there should be a CLEARLY IDENTIFIED address for e-mail communication with the Company.
    Second: After coming to an agreement - oral, over the telephone - with a "customer service agent", my request to have the terms of such agreement - price, lenght, content, etc. - confirmed in writing by e-mail, I am told the Company does not allow it and it is not possible to have a written confirmation.
    By the way, I did not received notice of the cancellation of the IFC channel from my VIP package; that is how I became aware that it is almost impossible to write to the Company.

    Monday, May 18, 2015 - 13:35 mca
  7. When channels in packages aren't available in all areas the cost of the packages should be adjusted accordingly. The package should not be the same price for people who cannot get the same service

    Monday, May 18, 2015 - 17:49 tallen77
  8. This is with regards to Bell.
    I moved from Rogers to Bell about a year or so ago, based on the promotions I was provided at the time.
    I was given a price of $43.95 for the phone service and features and the sales rep told me that this would not change even if the regular Bell price goes up in the future. Now, in May 2015, I see that Bell has raised the phone rates by $2.00. My charges went up and when I called to inform them that I was grandfathered, she said the rep must have been mistaken! She could not do anything! So I have no recourse.
    Does CRTC get involved when Bell raises prices?
    Last month, the internet from Bell went up by $4.00
    So I am now paying $6.00 more per month. If all their subscribers have to pay that increase, how much does Bell make in total? What is the justification? Why can't they decrease the CEO and VP salaries instead?

    Friday, May 22, 2015 - 16:41 Izzatm
  9. : I have been with Rogers for over 20 years. Dealing with them is very difficult.They don't send you any contracts or agreements that you supposedly agreed to over the phone. Over a year and a half ago I started getting very high internet bills when our usage has not changed. I contacted Rogers and they would not provide any information , except that the data usage went up. After 3 more high bills I called them to cancel the internet service. I told them that I can get unlimited internet for $50 somewhere else. The CR told me that for $20 more I can get unlimited internet with them as well. I got really mad because in the previous months that I paid $100 more on my bill, and I talked to them about it lot`s of times,nobody told me that I had that option.Nobody did until I wanted to cancel the service. I tried complaining to the supervisors and wanted them to reimburse me or credit me for their CR incompetence. Since they record the conversations I wanted them to check how many times I complained about the high price and tried to figure out how to bring it down. The supervisor apologized and told me that he has a great deal for me.My bills for TV and internet were $138,if I didn't go over the usage limit.He said that for $5 more he will include the home phone and unlimited internet for total of $143 if I agree to stay with them for 3 years.I agreed. After few months my bills kept rising and after 6 months they came up to $190. When i called they told me that the $143 was only for 3 months and for the rest of the 3 years I have to pay the $190.When I told them I want to cancel my account with them they said that I can not unless I want to pay back all the savings I had with them over the years, penalties and some fees.They were very rude and basically threatening me.Again I asked for the copy of the conversation proving that I agreed to pay$143 for 3 years and it was not mentioned at all that the price is for three months only and them it would be $190..Not one word was said about 3 months. I wanted them to prove that I agreed to what they ended up doing. They basically lied and cheated. I got nowhere with them. They would not provide me with proof that I agreed to those terms. It is absolutely ridiculous that they can make up whatever they want and there is nothing you can do. They should not be allowed to do that.Since they do not send contracts or agreements to sign, they should have to provide you with the recordings. Now I am stock with a price I can not afford, with services I do not need.This is stealing, robbery, cheating, corruption. I am shocked that things like that are allowed and not severely punished. That is unacceptable. How can I resolve this issue. When the new rulescome to life , can I make them provide me with prove about what they forced on me against my knowledge or consent? Are there any rules or laws that I can use to resolve that issue and make them reinburse me forcing me to pay a price that I did not know about or agreed to. Can I take them to court? Can they be forced to prove that I agreed to what they are claiming?

    Friday, May 22, 2015 - 21:57 olenia1974
  10. Any TV code that the commission develops should take measures to ensure that BDUs can no longer remove services that consumers value and pay for practically at a whim, especially when these changes are related to ownership structures and regional division of rights. For instance, Shaw (and Rogers) dropped BBC Kids from all of their packages after the station was purchased from them by Knowledge Network. This is a fairly valuable service both to parents who want more commercial free options for children, and for teens and young adults interested in British and Australian youth dramas that no other service even tries to provide. The removal of the station was clearly due to a change in ownership, which from my perspective seems like an incredibly petty thing to pull the rug out from peoples' feet over. Cable services such as Shaw and Rogers are a much more practical technology for many consumers, and they should not be forced to switch to a less convenient technology just to be able to continue accessing them.
    I also feel that BDUs should not be allowed to advertise services as "exclusive," which has become far too common a practice when certain stations can only be accessed by one service due to ownership restrictions. BDUs should be nothing more than a means by which audiences can receive similar selections of content, and competition should be based around the form and efficiency of technology rather than the ways each provider benefits from vertically integrated corporate structures. I'm currently on Shaw, and as a result have not been able to access Cartoon Network Canada or the HD feeds for many other specialty services simply due to these inane ownership politics and companies leveraging exclusive services in order to appear "competitive." I personally feel Telus and Bell are less convenient technologies and would prefer not to switch to them simply because they promise "exclusive" services, not to mention that changing providers is far too costly and time intensive for me to go through right now. Any TV code that is established should put an end to this, and ensure in every way possible that BDUs aren't playing these petty ownership games. I want to purchase a service based on the type of technology that most fits my geography and lifestyle, not because of services divided as a result of vertical integration.

    Monday, May 25, 2015 - 17:48 jbetteridge

Service calls

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  1. Optin A will work. For example I called my service provider for an upgrade to the internet expecting to wait a few days but they are able to send someone withen hours.

    Friday, May 15, 2015 - 14:57 tommix
  2. Either options are valid, insofar as the service provider maintains punctuality on agreed times. This does not mean an 8 hours window thought, at best it should mean a _+ 30 minutes window as to when a service provider is expected to provide responses to a problem whether it is for a resolution or for an appointment.

    I would even go as far as suggest that if a service provider cannot offer resolution in the agreed timeframe, then all extra time that cost the consumer (lost hours at work or other dues to the poor time management by the service provider) should be billable by the consumer to the service provider.

    Friday, May 15, 2015 - 19:07 Alain_goyette
    1. I think a 4 hour time frame is very reasonable. I think most normal people understand that things can happen that can delay someone from getting out as fast as they might like, and a 4 hour appointment window is a nice middle ground,
      Further to Alain's comment, I feel that if a consumer is not at home during the agreed time, that the TV provider should be able to bill the consumer for the missed appointment (due to the poor time management of the consumer).

      Friday, May 15, 2015 - 19:15 agoshdarnedbear
  3. I think 4 hours (the period that a customer must remain at home waiting for the technician) is plenty, and there should not be more than a five-day wait for such an appointment.

    Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 12:25 eleanorb
  4. waiting 5 days for a service call is unacceptable when so many of us rely on our tv and internet service to connect, work, and play. a maximum 48 hour wait (not business days, weekends, too) would be reasonable.
    when waiting for a service call, a 4 hour window is fine, but if the tech is running past this time frame, a courtesy call to the waiting customer would be nice.
    hiring more techs is the answer.

    Monday, May 18, 2015 - 11:28 Janet Rymal
  5. 4 hour time frame is definitely the maximum. We are paying for the service and an 8 hour window is an extreme inconvenience and costs a full day from work for a lot of people

    Monday, May 18, 2015 - 17:43 tallen77
  6. TV is not an essential part of my life. I couldn't care less whether they service gets here within 30 seconds or 30 days. However, we are paying SO MUCH in Canada to essentially be bombarded with ads. I would expect not to be charged for the days while my service is down.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:02 JeanInNepean
  7. Most of the unexpected outages I've experienced have been system outages that affect numerous users (like a cable cut). In such cases, usually my TVSP will have a recorded message when you call their technical support number, but not always.
    Instead of having to try and find the phone number and call them (which usually involves having to go to their website to get the number), they should be required to post an alert on their website so that customers can just go to their website to determine if the outage is indeed a system outage. They should also be required to post an estimated restoral time.
    I suggest that under their "Support" tab of their website, they should have a "System Status" box to show either "All systems operating normally" or an "Outage alert" describing the area affected and the ETR. This way subscribers can easily determine what is going on and how long before service is restored, without having to call anyone.
    This would go a long way in helping customers, and prevent numerous unnecessary calls to the TVSP for help or status.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:22 BC
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