PIAC and NPF Join in Advocacy

Digital-first communications are becoming the norm, but offering only e-billing could have negative effects on vulnerable and low-income consumers. That’s the argument being made by Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and National Pensioners Federation (NFP). The two public advocacy groups have joined together to file an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requesting the Commission clarify that wireless providers must offer paper billing upon request. The request comes following complaints received by both organizations from Koodo customers who note that the Telus-owned brand has discontinued paper billing.

Under section 24 of the Telecommunications Act requiring all telecom service providers to provide paper billing upon request. PIAC and NFP stated concern about how the lack of paper billing would affect groups including people with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income consumers and “those who do not have the resources to take advantage of e-billing.”

In August 2014, the CRTC settled on an agreement with Canadian telecoms that certain groups of customers not be charged a paper billing fee that generally amounted to an additional $2 to $6 per month. In October of that year, the government eliminated fees for telecom paper bills in the 2014 Federal Budget.

piac.ca/piac-and-npf-file-application-regarding-paper-billing/

PIAC and NPF file Application Regarding Paper Billing. Electronic-only billing is concerning because of its negative effects on vulnerable and low-income consumers. For more, see here: https://bit.ly/2sL4MWz

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Aggressive Sales to Seniors in Telecom/Broadcasting

PIAC Letter to NPF Group
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The NPF is working with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to address these issues of aggressive sales practices by Wireless, Phone, Internet and TV providers. To do this we are asking our members to bring their experiences to the attention of PIAC.

Contact PIAC directly at; SalesStories@piac.ca or call 1-800-835-1979.

Related links:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bell-whistleblower-reveals-high-pressure-sales-1.4404088

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bell-high-pressure-sales-reaction-1.4413187

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Big Win for Seniors! New CRTC rules provide financial protection on internet expenses

New rules strictly limit when internet service providers can bill differently depending on the content Canadians access

OTTAWA, April 20, 2017 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today welcomed new rules generally prohibiting internet service providers (ISPs) from billing customers for data based on content. The new rules require that all data generally be billed at the same rate regardless of the type of data consumers access, effectively ending “differential pricing” or “zero-rating”.

“This is a clear win for Canadian consumers that future-proofs their internet access from arbitrary control by their internet provider,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “Gone are the days of unjust preference of certain services and extra costs for consumers that are not on higher cost plans.”

Under the new framework announced in today’s decision of the Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications Commission (CRTC), consumers, consumer groups, and competitors will be able to bring a complaint when an internet service provider engaged in differential pricing. The CRTC will consider whether the pricing is unjustly discriminatory, taking into account:

  • the degree to which the treatment of data is “agnostic” (i.e. data is treated equally regardless of its source or nature);
  • whether the offering is exclusive to certain customers or certain content providers;
  • the impact on Internet openness and innovation; and
  • whether there is financial compensation involved.

Applying this framework to Videotron’s “Unlimited Music” program, the CRTC concluded that Videotron’s program conferred an undue disadvantage on certain content providers and customers and effectively ordered Videotron to halt the program.

PIAC led an alliance of non-profit consumer groups known as the Equitable Internet Coalition (EIC) that challenged the Videotron practice. The Coalition included the British Columbia Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BC-PIAC), Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC); Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO); and National Pensioners Federation (NPF).

 

For more information please contact:
John Lawford
Executive Director & General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
T: (613) 562-4002 ×25
C: (613) 447-8125
lawford@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

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