How to make a complaint about your telephone service

How to make a complaint about your telephone service
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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) wants you to know your rights, and requires major telephone companies (for example, Bell Canada, Telus, Bell Aliant, MTS Allstream, SaskTel, Télébec and Northwestel) to give you the following information. These companies must include in all residential phone books:

  • a reference to the Terms of Service
  • a statement that the terms and conditions of service may vary depending on a customer’s location and service provider
  • a statement directing customers to contact their service provider for details

The Terms of Service may include:

  • obligation to provide service
  • deposits and alternatives
  • customer liability for calls
  • confidentiality of customer records
  • refunds in cases of service problems
  • limitation of liability
  • payment time limit
  • termination of service

Contact your telephone company

If you have a complaint about your telephone service, the first step is to call your telephone company directly, and tell them your issue. Many complaints can be resolved at this stage. If this doesn’t solve your problem, contact the telephone company again, in writing.

What if you’re still not satisfied?

After you have attempted to resolve your complaint with your telephone company, you can take your complaint to the next level through the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), an independent agency that helps resolve complaints about telecom services. The CCTS website features additional resources on how you can submit a complaint.

Contact the CCTS

  • email:
  • mail: P.O. Box 81088, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1B1
  • fax: 1-877-782-2924
  • toll free telephone: 1-888-221-1687
  • toll free TTY: 711 or 1-800-855-0511 (voice)

Contact the CRTC with issues about accessibility of telecommunications services

The CRTC deals with complaints about accessibility. For example, if you ask for your phone bill in Braille, and your phone company doesn’t provide it, contact the company again. If you’re still not satisfied, contact the CRTC. This applies to all service providers (telephone, cellular and VOIP, internet services).

How to contact the CRTC with your complaint

If you want to contact the CRTC with a complaint, you can use one of the methods below. Your complaint will be acknowledged by CRTC staff and forwarded to the service provider for its reply to your complaint. You will be informed if your complaint should be directed to the CCTS or another agency.

  • on-line form: Complaints and inquiries
  • mail: Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
  • fax: 819-994-0218
  • toll free telephone: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782)
  • toll free TTY: 1-877-909-CRTC (2782)

If you register a complaint by phone, you may also need to send a written version to make sure the CRTC has all the relevant information.

What information you should include in your complaint

Make sure you include the following:

  • name of the subscriber as it appears on the bill, and any telephone number(s) related to your complaint
  • subscriber’s telephone number, email, or postal address as contact information
  • a brief description of the problem and/or your concerns
  • in some cases, copies of billing information (for example, if you pay $100 on your bill and your phone company indicates they have not received the payment)
  • the name of your service provider

Anonymous complaints

The CRTC doesn’t follow up on anonymous complaints. Telephone companies have the right to know who makes a complaint, and what the complaint is. They also have the right to respond. You should feel free to file a complaint with the CRTC or CCTS, without fear of retaliation from the telephone company.


The CRTC sends your complaint, as well as your name, address, and telephone number, to the telephone company so it can investigate and resolve your complaint. Under relevant legislation, the company must protect the privacy of your personal information.

My phone service will be disconnected. What can I do?

If your telephone company has given you notice that your service will be disconnected:

  • contact your telephone company to make arrangements that both of you agree on
  • if you are unable to reach an agreement with your telephone company, call the CRTC at 1-877-249-CRTC (2782). Commission staff will deal with the issue, or direct you to the CCTS, which can address your issue.

In an emergency, the CRTC can provide an immediate, but temporary, resolution.

What happens to a complaint?

If your complaint is deemed an emergency, it will be dealt with right away.

For other complaints against regulated companies:

  • the CRTC asks the telephone company to address your concerns.; the company generally has 20 calendar days to respond to you and report back to the CRTC
  • CRTC’s Client Services reviews your complaint and the response, and decides whether follow-up action is needed
  • CRTC staff may: decide that the telephone company’s response is satisfactory, with no further action; ask for more information from you or the telephone company to determine what, if any, further action is needed; refer your complaint to the CRTC’s Telecommunications or Legal Directorates for further investigation

The CRTC may decide to continue with a formal proceeding to resolve issues raised by your complaint. If no further action comes out of the proceeding, the CRTC may not contact you again.

How long will it take to hear back from the CRTC?

You should receive a response from the CRTC within 10 working days after the CRTC receives the complaint, letting you know that your complaint was received. The CRTC may then forward your complaint to the telephone company, asking for a response to your concerns, usually within 20 calendar days. The time it takes to completely resolve a complaint depends on its complexity.

What happens if the company does not respond to my complaint?

If the company doesn’t respond within three weeks, the CRTC sends a written reminder. If your complaint alleges that the company infringed the Telecommunications Act, the Terms of Service, or CRTC policies or regulations, CRTC staff will decide if any further process is required and if any regulatory action is warranted.

Is there anything else I can do?

If you’re not satisfied with the response to a complaint handled by CRTC staff, you can request in writing that the CRTC review the complete file and issue a decision.


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