Six unusual complaints filed against telecom companies to the CRTC

TORONTO — Consumers lodged hundreds of complaints against telecom companies between January and August of 2013. Here are six of the more unusual complaints, obtained by The Canadian Press through an Access to Information request:

No answer on Halloween:

— One person alleges Bell accidentally cancelled their phone service instead of renewing their contract. “They shut my service off the night of Halloween, and I was supposed to pick up my girlfriend when she called. … My girlfriend was also out of contact with me and waiting alone outside on Halloween.”

Bell said it investigates and tries to resolve all service complaints. It said it can’t look into how a specific complaint was handled without identifying information, which was redacted by the CRTC. In regards to this complaint, the CRTC said it does not intervene in issues such as retail rates, equipment, billing, marketing practices and quality of service.

Flipping the bird:

— Another complaint alleges Telus trucks have been speeding in his neighbourhood. The complainant says he hasn’t been able to get in touch with a manager and the client representative he spoke to laughed at him. When he told one of the trucks to slow down, the Telus employees allegedly gave him the finger.

Speaking generally and not about the specific complaint, Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said the company expects its technicians to provide a high level of customer service, but that they are a large organization and won’t always be perfect. He said they try to resolve such instances right away. The CRTC said the complaint was outside its scope.

Blowing the horn:

— A complainant alleges Telus told them restoration would take weeks after its workers interrupted service for nine customers while installing equipment. The complainant says they look after a young woman with multiple sclerosis.

“She has been using an air horn to get our attention, which I’m sure is annoying the neighbours. Last week our 7-year-old grandson was sick at school and they couldn’t reach us. … We need our phone back.”

In a response to the CRTC, Telus said it expedited the repairs, although clients were still without service for more than two weeks. The complainant received a one-month credit for roughly $63 plus tax. Hall, the Telus spokesman, said the company operates in rural areas where there is no full-time technician and if a customer loses service, its policy is to send a technician to the site immediately. He said the incident is likely due to human error.

Closed account:

— Another person alleges that during the four months since his wife died, Bell has phoned him repeatedly to get him to pay and close the account — despite the client saying he already did that. “Losing my wife of 45 years was hard enough, but dealing with ineptitude like this makes it even harder.”

Bell said it can’t provide comment on what happened with the specific complaint because it would need to know the identity of the complainant, which was redacted by the CRTC. But Bell said it investigates and works to resolve all complaints it receives. The CRTC noted that the complaint was sent to Bell CEO George Cope and it was copied on it. The CRTC said the file was closed.

Mobile home park outage:

— A complaint from the owner of a mobile home park alleges up to 20 residents were without service for months. The complainant says they spoke to Telus about repairs, but the company kept delaying.

The CRTC forwarded the request to Telus and asked the carrier to provide a report to the agency within 20 days. Hall, the Telus spokesman, said that during service outages in rural areas where there is no full-time technician, the company aims to send an employee to restore service as soon as possible, adding that any delays are likely due to scheduling errors by dispatchers. “Our focus is on minimizing that.”

Breaking the door:

— A complainant alleges a Rogers technician who came to install service to his or her home damaged a door. The company allegedly refused to compensate the customer for the broken door.

The CRTC said it provided the complainant with a contact number for Rogers. Rogers did not respond to the specific allegations contained in the complaint but a spokesman said in an email that it takes all complaints seriously. “We investigate all complaints and work to make things right,” Kevin Spafford said.

Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press