BUSINESS
04/02/2019 10:07 EDT | Updated 04/02/2019 10:10 EDT

Complaints About Canadian Telecoms Spike 44%

Freedom Mobile's spike in customer complaints is a sign the wireless brand has made it to the big time.

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Complaints about Canadian telecom services have shot up by 44 per cent, with billing mistakes and misleading contract terms the most common source of consumers' gripes, an industry ombudsman says.

"Incorrect charges" and "non-disclosure of terms" accounted for 29 per cent of all complaints in the six months ending Jan. 31, the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) said in a mid-year report.

HuffPost Canada

For the first time, Freedom Mobile ranked among the top five telecoms with the most complaints, the CCTS noted.

But that may have to do with the telecom's rapid expansion. The Shaw Communications-owned wireless provider, formerly known as Wind Mobile, added nearly 320,000 subscribers in 2018 and now has around 1.5 million customers, the Globe and Mail reported.

Watch: Data-only cellular plans are coming to Canada. Here's what to know. Story continues below.

Bell continued to lead with the highest share of complaints, 30.9 per cent, and Rogers took second place, accounting for 9.3 per cent of all complaints.

Incorrect billing charges accounted for 16.5 per cent of all issues raised in 9,831 complaints over the six-month period and was the top issue for almost every type of service, including internet, television and phone service.

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Wireless services accounted for 37.1 per cent of all issues handled by the CCTS, while 27.8 per cent of the issues related to internet service and 18.2 per cent of the issues were about TV.

The CCTS is an industry-funded body that gets its mandate from the federal government's Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

— HuffPost Canada, with a file from The Canadian Press