Telecom and Broadcasting Commission Letter Addressed to the Distribution List

Ottawa, 16 July 2018

BY E-MAIL

Distribution list 

Subject: Request for Information - Report regarding the retail sales practices of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers   

Dear Madam or Sir:

The Governor in Council issued Order in Council P.C. 2018-0685 (the OIC), dated 6 June 2018, requesting that the Commission make a report by no later than 28 February 2019, on the following matters:

  1. whether the large telecommunications carriers offer their telecommunications services for sale by engaging, either through their employees or third parties, in misleading or aggressive sales practices, such as providing consumers with incomplete, unclear or misleading information regarding service terms and conditions or selling them telecommunications services that are unsuitable for them, and, if so, the prevalence of those practices;
  2. the measures or controls that those carriers have in place to monitor, identify and mitigate the risks that consumers are subject to misleading or aggressive sales practices;
  3. the consumer protections respecting retail sales practices and contracts for telecommunications services that are currently in place to empower consumers to make informed decisions with respect to their telecommunications services and promote the fair treatment of consumers in their relationships with telecommunications carriers;
  4. the most feasible and effective ways to strengthen or expand the scope of existing consumer protections such as those contained in the Commission’s codes of conduct, or to create new consumer protections, including codes of conduct relating to new subjects, in order to further empower consumers to make informed decisions with respect to their telecommunications services and to further promote the fair treatment of consumers in their relationships with telecommunications carriers.

On 16 July 2018, the Commission published Telecom and Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2018-246, Report regarding the retail sales practices of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers, to examine the matters identified in the OIC.

Request for information

The OIC noted that the views of Canadians, the current and former employees of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers and the third parties who offer the telecommunications services of those carriers for sale, as well as the sales guidelines set by those carriers, are among the important sources of information to be considered in evaluating the retail sales practices of those carriers.

As stated in the Notice, and pursuant to the Telecommunications Act and Broadcasting Act and regulations issued thereunder, you are required to file, by no later 23 August 2018, the answers to the questions set out in Appendix A.

This letter and all subsequent correspondence form part of a public record. As set out in the Telecommunications Act, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules of Procedure), and Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, parties may designate certain information as confidential. Parties must provide an abridged version of the document involved, accompanied by reasons, as well as any supporting documents, why the disclosure of the designated information would not be in the public interest, including why the specific direct harm that would be likely to result from the disclosure would outweigh the public interest.

In responding to the questions set out in Appendix A, you are directed to provide supporting rationale and all the evidence, including documents, upon which the responses are based. Consistent with Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-959, Guidelines on the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure, you are also directed to make efforts to provide, to the greatest extent possible, information on the public record to allow other parties to comment on this information and to support the Commission in creating a better, more informed report.

All submissions are to be made in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.

Should you have any questions concerning this Request for information, please contact Guillaume Leclerc by e-mail at guillaume.leclerc@crtc.gc.ca.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Shortliffe
Chief Consumer Officer and Executive Director
Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy

cc:       Distribution list
Bell Canada
Bragg Communications Incorporated, carrying on business as Eastlink
Cogeco Connexion Inc.
Northwestel Inc.
Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications
Shaw Communications Inc.
TBayTel
TekSavvy Solutions Inc.
TELUS Communications Inc.
Videotron Ltd.
Xplornet Communications Inc.


Appendix A: Requests for information

Please provide the requested information and RecordsFootnote1 below for your companyFootnote2 for the Relevant ProductFootnote3 including bundles for the Relevant time Period.Footnote4 If Records are outside the Relevant Period on their face but nevertheless are related to the Relevant Period, please provide these Records as well.

Where reference is made to “misleading or aggressive” retail sales practices herein, this means “misleading or aggressive” retail sales practices as described in the OIC. This includes providing consumers with incomplete, unclear or misleading information regarding service terms and conditions or selling them telecommunications services that are unsuitable for them.

General

  1. Describe the Company’s methods of selling the Relevant Products or offering the Relevant Products for sale (e.g.: in person, on the phone, online chat, etc.), whether by employees of the Company or third parties.
  2. Describe if and how those methods may differ when selling to Canadians who are vulnerable due to age, a disability, or a language barrier.
  3. Identify the geographic area(s) (city, province or Canada-wide) in which your company employs each of these methods identified in response to Question 1.
  4. Identify the languages, including those other than French or English, in which the Company sells or offers for sale the Relevant Products, and the geographic area(s) in which the Company employs these languages during sales interactions.
  5. Describe how a consumer may request and receive communications with the Company in a language other than French and English.
  6. Describe if and how the Company ensures that employees and third parties are selling or offering for sale your Relevant Products in a way that is complete, clear, timely, accurate and uses plain language .
  7. Describe if and how the Company ensures that employees and third parties engaged in selling or offering for sale provide consumers with Relevant Products, standalone or in bundles, that are suitable for each consumer’s needs. 

Consumer complaints to Company

  1. Describe the process(es), if any, by which consumers may make formal complaints to the Company relating to:
    1. The retail sales practices of employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products;
    2. The methods by which the Company makes the retail sales practices accessible to Canadians who are vulnerable including those who are vulnerable due to a disability, age, or a language barrier;
    3. The clarity or completeness of the information provided to consumers by employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products; and
    4. Misleading or aggressive retail sales practices.
  2. Describe how the complaints referred to in Question 8 are received, processed, addressed, and resolved by the Company.
  3. Describe if and how the Company tracks the resolution of the complaints referred to in Question 8.
  4. Describe if and how the Company maintains internal and/or public reports regarding the complaints, resolutions and tracking referred to in Question 8.
  5. Describe the methods by which the Company publicly informs consumers of and/or promotes the avenues by which consumers may make complaints about retail sales practices of the Company’s employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products, including in respect of misleading or aggressive retail sales practices.
  6. Provide all Records relevant to the responses in Questions 8 – 12, including copies of the complaints received, communications with the complainant, resolutions achieved, reports used or made, and guidelines, best practices and procedures for handling complaints which were used or made in the Relevant Time Period.
  7. In respect of well-founded complaints, identify all actions taken by the Company to prevent a recurrence of the issue underlying the complaint and provide all Records relevant to such actions.
  8. If a complaint received identified in response to Question 13 was not or could not be resolved by the Company, explain the reason why it was not or could not be resolved by the Company and provide all relevant Records.

Internal Complaints

  1. Describe if and how the Company’s employees, personnel, directors, officers, managers, agents or third parties may make internal complaints relating to: 
    1. The retail sales practices of employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products;
    2. The methods by which the Company makes the retail sales practices accessible to Canadians who are vulnerable including those who are vulnerable due to a disability, age, or a language barrier;
    3. The clarity or completeness of the information provided to consumers by employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products; and
    4. Misleading or aggressive retail sales practices.
  2. Describe how the complaints referred to in Question 16 are received, processed, addressed, tracked, resolved and reported on (whether internally or publicly) by the Company.
  3. Provide all Records relevant to the responses in Questions 16-17, including copies of all the internal complaints received, communications with the complainant, resolutions achieved, reports used or made, and guidelines, best practices and procedures for handling complaints which were used or made in the Relevant Time Period.
  4. In respect of well-founded internal complaints, identify all actions taken by the Company to prevent a recurrence of the issue underlying the complaint and provide all Records relevant to such actions.
  5. What controls, if any, do you have in place to mitigate any risks of employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products engaging in misleading or aggressive retail sales practices?

Other complaints

  1. Have misleading or aggressive retail sales practices, as described above, been the topic of a complaint against either the Company, its employees or third parties selling or offering for sale the Relevant Products submitted to any municipal, provincial or federal regulatory or law enforcement agencies (including the CRTC and the Competition Bureau), or the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) during the Relevant Period? If so, describe those complaints, their resolution if any (formal or informal), and any remedial actions undertaken by the Company, if any.
  2. If a complaint discussed in response to Question 21 was not or could not be resolved by the applicable entity listed to which it was submitted, explain the reason why it was not or could not be resolved.
  3. In respect of well-founded complaints to any municipal, provincial or federal regulatory or law enforcement agencies or the CCTS, identify all actions taken by the Company to prevent a recurrence of the issue underlying the complaint and provide all Records relevant to such actions.
  4. Provide all Records relating to those complaints, the resolution (formal or informal), and any remedial actions undertaken by the Company, if any, discussed in response to Question 21.

Employee training, guidance and monitoring

  1. Identify and describe if and how the Company’s training material (Training Material) used by the Company for or in use by employees or third parties selling or offering the Relevant Products for sale relate to retail sales practices on the following issues:
    1. use of languages other than French or English in retail sales interactions;
    2. accommodation of Canadians who are vulnerable including those who are vulnerable due to a disability, age, or a language barrier in retail sales interactions;
    3. understanding consumers’ specific needs for the use of the Relevant Products and providing choices which reflect these stated needs;
    4. ensuring consumers can make informed decisions about the Relevant Products, whether standalone or in bundles;
    5. use of plain language, providing clear and complete information, in retail sales interactions;
    6. consumer complaint process related to retail sales practices;
    7. internal complaint processes related to retail sales practices;
    8. measures and controls put in place to monitor, identify and mitigate any risks that consumers are subject to misleading or aggressive retail sales practices, including disciplinary actions for staff or management;
    9. ensuring a balance between the employee’s or third parties’ incentive to sell and the actual needs of customers; and,
    10. monitoring of compliance with Training Materials in respect of items (a) – (i).
  2. Identify and describe how the Company’s retail sales materials (Sales Material), including, but not limited to, guidelines, contracts or codes of conduct, sales scripts or pitches, rebuttal scripts, reports or marketing or sales strategies used by employees or third parties selling or offering the Relevant Products for sale address the issues referred to in Question 25 (a) – (j).
  3. Describe if and how the Training Material and Sales Material have meaningfully changed in respect of the issues referred to in Question 25 (a) – (j) during the Relevant Period, and if so, to what effect and what triggered the change.
  4. Identify and describe any formal or informal targets, rewards (monetary or other), recognitions, external or internal influences, promotions, or other incentives or programs that the Company offers in order to encourage performance by employees or third parties who sell or offer for sale Relevant Products (Incentive Materials).
  5. Provide all Records of the Company’s Training Materials, Sales Materials, and Incentive Materials used by or provided to employees or third parties selling or offering the Relevant Products for sale, including copies of the Training Materials, Sales Materials, and Incentive Materials.
  6. Provide all Records relating to company reports, policies, procedures and practices in respect of retail sales practices which are to the benefit or assistance of in retail sales interactions, to Canadians who are vulnerable including those who are vulnerable due to a disability, age, or a language barriers.
  7. Provide all Records relating to the compliance, oversight and review of employees who may sell to consumers and third parties with respect to:
    1. company policies and procedures, including disciplinary procedures relating to breaching these policies and procedures;
    2. Training Materials, Sales Materials, and Incentive Materials;
    3. federal and provincial laws and codes of conduct relating to retail sales practices.

Agreements and Contracts

  1. In hiring employees to sell or offer to sell the Relevant Products, what consideration is given to retail sales experience or practices of the prospective employees?
  2. In establishing agreements and contracts with third parties who sell or offer to sell the Relevant Products, what consideration is given to retail sales experience or practices of the third parties?
  3. Provide all Records relating to financial payments, salaries, remuneration, commissions, bonuses or other benefits for employees and third parties who sell or offer to sell the Relevant Products, and any other marketing and sales personnel related directly or indirectly to the sale of the Relevant Products.
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