The CRTC has released its first report from a “secret shoppers” program that came out of a major inquiry into how telecom providers treat consumers. The report says the program found evidence of misleading or aggressive behaviour in 20 per cent of interactions with sales staff for six major wireless carriers. It says those who had disabilities and or didn’t use English or French as their first language were more likely to experience problems. CRTC chairman Ian Scott says the regulator intends to do more secret shopper investigations to assist the commission in its decisions.
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- The secret shopper project aims to better understand how front-line employees of the communications service providers sell communications services and how consumers experience the sales process.
- Through in store, phone and online interactions, 422 secret shoppers took part in evaluating how wireless services are sold by the main brands of the 6 largest wireless service providers (Bell, Rogers, Telus, SaskTel, Freedom and Videotron).
- A “secret shopper” is a trained undercover shopper sent to provide unbiased feedback on goods and services.
- The Commission is examining the offer and promotion of accessible wireless plans by wireless service providers and the extent to which these plans meet the needs of Canadians with disabilities.
- From June 2018 to February 2019, the Commission conducted a public consultation to inform a report on the use of misleading or aggressive retail sales practices by Canada’s large communications service providers.
Photo Credit: The CRTC / Government of Canada