CRTC’s undercover shoppers find fault with 1-in-5 interactions with wireless sellers

Published September 29, 2020 at 6:36 pm


TORONTO — Canada’s telecom regulator says there was evidence of misleading or aggressive behaviour in about one-fifth of the interactions between its undercover shoppers and sales staff for six major wireless carriers.

The CRTC says the vast majority of interactions during its “secret shopper” investigation early this year were perceived as positive.

However, it found that 20 per cent of shoppers felt they were given misleading information or faced aggressive sales practices — particularly if they had disabilities and or didn’t use English or French as their first language.

The findings are from the CRTC’s first report from a “secret shoppers” program that came out of a major inquiry into how telecom providers treated consumers.

In this round, 422 undercover shoppers evaluated six large wireless providers — BCE’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Telus, Shaw’s Freedom, Quebecor’s Videotron and SaskTel, which is owned by Saskatchewan’s provincial government.

CRTC chairman Ian Scott says the regulator intends to do more secret shopper investigations to assist the commission in its decisions.

“The secret shopper project allowed us to gain on-the-ground insight into the challenges Canadians may face when engaging with communications service providers’ salespeople,” Scott said in a statement.

“This is why the secret shopper project will continue into the future. We look forward to using this information to promote the fair treatment of consumers.”

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising