Bell Canada tops list of telco complaints for fourth straight year

Bell Canada has once again topped the list of telco complaints, according to a report (pdf) issued by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.

The telco, which has more than 8.2 million wireless subscribers and nearly 3.5 million internet customers, earned 1,677 complaints, or 36.8% of the total, in the period between Aug. 1, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016. The numbers, issued as part of the CCTS's mid-year report, includes complaints submitted to the publicly-funded organization pertaining to wireless, internet, local phone and long distance services — though the vast majority centre around wireless service.

While Bell's complaints dropped by 18.6% compared the same period a year ago, its main rival, Rogers, slashed its numbers nearly 200%, from 1,240 in late 2014/early 2015 to 437, or 9.6% of the total, this past year. Rogers attributes much of its success to the introduction of Roam Like Home and the consistent education of the easy-to-understand roaming package through a multi-faceted marketing campaign.

"While there is still work to be done, we've started tackling some of the industry's biggest issues head on, like roaming, by introducing services that are easy to use and save customers' time," said Deepak Khandelwal, Chief Customer Officer for Rogers.

The third incumbent provider, Telus, actually experienced an increase in issues between 2014 and 2015, rising 28% to 310 complaints, or 6.8% of the total. The company has consistently had the fewest complaints of the three big carriers, which comprise around 90% of Canadian wireless subscribers.

Despite its relatively small user base, Wind Mobile was third on the complaints list with 341 issues, or 7.5% of the total. Virgin Mobile, Bell's flanker brand, rounded out the top five with 257 issues, or 5.6%.

As in years past, most of the complaints centered around so-called "misleading information of terms" in wireless or internet contracts. Around 10% of the accepted complaints pertained to incorrect charges, most of which were resolved, according to the CCTS. Around 7% had to do with intermittent or low-quality service, though that number dropped significantly in the past year in the wireless category as the carriers rolled out service in the 700 Mhz spectrum, which penetrates thick walls and basements, and travels further in rural areas.

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.