Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to the Distribution List

Ottawa, 2 April 2019

Our reference: 1011-NOC2016-0293

BY E-MAIL 

To: Distribution List

RE: Wireless Code – 2019 Compliance Reports – Fees for customer support interactions

Sir, Madam,

The Wireless Code (the Code) is a mandatory code of conduct for providers of retail mobile wireless voice and data services to individual and small business customers in Canada.

Commission staff notes that the Commission created the Wireless Code to, in part, establish standards for industry behaviour.

Commission staff is aware of a recent practice whereby some wireless service providers (WSPs) are charging customers for certain client service calls. Commission staff is concerned that this practice may be inconsistent with the Code and requests that WSPs answer the questions related to this practice outlined in Appendix 1 to this letter.

The Appendix to this letter sets out questions that all WSPs must answer by no later than 30 April 2019. WSPs must answer the questions on behalf of all their brands, including all primary and flanker brands.Footnote1

As set out in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, WSPs may designate certain information as confidential. WSPs must provide an abridged version of the document involved, accompanied by a detailed rationale to explain why the disclosure of the information is not in the public interest. All submissions are to be made in accordance with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, SOR/2010-277.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

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

Distribution List
bell.regulatory@bell.ca;
jim@brooketel.ca;
faye.hughes@brucetelecom.com;
Regulatory.Matters@corp.eastlink.ca;
martha.facey@execulink.com;
Regulatory@sjrb.ca;
a.lawrence@hay.net;
grubb@hurontel.on.ca;
regulatory@icewireless.com;
lhallahan@mornington.ca;
reglementa@telebec.com;
rjackson@petro-canada.ca;
kostin@petro-canada.ca;
gfscott@petro-canada.ca;
barry.stone@quadro.net;
rwi_gr@rci.rogers.com;
document.control@sasktel.com;
richard.biron@sogetel.com;
stephen.scofich@tbaytel.com;
regulatory.affairs@telus.com;
regulatory@tccmail.ca;
reglementa@telebec.com;
dennis.beland@quebecor.com;
Xplornet.Legal@corp.xplornet.com
kgugan@wightman.ca;
mlewis@lbhmedialaw.com;
harleen.sawhney@zoomermedia.ca;


Appendix 1 - Questions

Q1. Questions for all WSPs

  1. For each of your brands, confirm whether they:
    • currently charge a fee for any customer service interactions;Footnote2
    • are planning to, or are considering, charging a fee for any customer service interactions in the future; or
    • are neither charging a fee nor considering a fee for any customer service interactions in the future.

Q2. Questions for WSPs that are charging a fee for customer service interactions

For the following questions, report separately for each brand.

  1. Provide an exhaustive list of all fees a customer may be charged for customer service interactions. With respect to each fee, provide the following information:
    • the service(s) for which a customer may be charged the fee;
    • the amount (or range) of the fee;
    • whether the fee applies to postpaid and/or prepaid customers;
    • whether the fee is one-time or recurring;
    • an exhaustive list of customer service channelsFootnote3 through which a customer
      • may be charged the fee;
      • would not be charged the fee;
    • whether the fee is waived for any customers, and if so, for which customers and under what circumstances; and
    • if a customer considers that the fee has been applied incorrectly, the steps they can take to resolve this issue.
  2. Explain whether a customer can incur multiple customer service interaction fees in a single customer service interaction and provide examples, if applicable.
  3. Explain how and when customers are informed of such fees, and provide examples.
    In your response, explain how the information about the fees is made available or provided to the customer:
    • when they are shopping around to decide if a plan meets their needs;
    • when the contract is entered into; and
    • when they are requesting a service that may result in a customer service interaction fee being applied.
  4. Explain how information about customer service interaction fees is accessible to persons with disabilities or any other customer that may have barriers to using alternative self-service options.
  5. With respect to your website(s), explain where and how the information about customer service interaction fees can be found.
  6. In the past year, have you received any complaints regarding customer service interaction fees? If so, how many? Please provide copies of these complaints and your responses.
  7. Explain, with supporting rationale, whether you consider that the fees you charge for customer service interactions are consistent with the Wireless Code and the Wireless Code Policy, and if so, why and how. For example, with respect to provisions regarding clarity, contracts and related documents and the critical information summary, changes to contracts and related documents, or any other applicable provision.

Q3. Questions for WSPs that are planning to or considering charging such fees

For the following questions, report separately for each brand.

  1. Provide the date (or timeframe) when you expect to begin charging customers a fee for customer service interactions.
  2. Provide a copy of the notice(s) that you provided, or plan to provide, to customers to inform them of this upcoming change.
    In your answer, explain:
    • the date(s) this information was or will be provided to customers;
    • how this information was or will be provided to customers; and
    • which type of customers were or will be notified.
  3. Provide an exhaustive list of all fees a customer may be charged for customer service interactions. With respect to each fee, provide the following information:
    • the service(s) for which a customer may be charged the fee;
    • the amount (or range) of the fee;
    • whether the fee applies to postpaid and/or prepaid customers;
    • whether the fee is one-time or recurring;
    • an exhaustive list of customer service channels through which the customer
      • may be charged the fee;
      • would not be charged the fee;
    • whether the fee is waived for any customers, and if so, for which customers and under what circumstances; and
    • if a customer considers that the fee has been applied incorrectly, the steps they can take to resolve this issue.
  4. Explain whether a customer can incur multiple customer service interaction fees in a single customer service interaction and provide examples, if applicable.
  5. Explain how and when customers will be informed of such fees, and provide examples.
    In your response, explain how the information about the fees will be made available or provided to the customer:
    • when they are shopping around to decide if a plan meets their needs;
    • when the contract is entered into; and
    • when they are requesting a service that may result in a customer service interaction fee being applied.
  6. Explain how information about customer service interaction fees will be accessible to persons with disabilities or any other customer that may have barriers to using alternative self-service.
  7. With respect to your website(s), explain where and how the information about customer service interaction fees can be found.
  8. In the past year, have you received any complaints regarding the customer service interaction fees? If so, how many? Please provide copies of these complaints and your responses. 
  9. Explain, with supporting rationale, whether you consider that the fees you plan to charge for customer service interactions are consistent with the Wireless Code and the Wireless Code Policy, and if so, why and how. For example, with respect to provisions regarding clarity, contracts and related documents and the critical information summary, changes to contracts and related documents, or any other applicable provision.
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