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Hundreds of questions, complaints about 'skinny' basic cable packages

Last Updated Mar 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

CRTC has already received nearly 600 calls from consumers about 'skinny' basic cable

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’ve got complaints about the “skinny” basic cable TV packages ordered by the CRTC, you’re not alone.

The CRTC has already received 587 calls from consumers on skinny basic, ranging from complaints to questions.

Bruce Cran says the Consumers’ Association of Canada has reached out to the CRTC, looking for a full review of what goes into the packages. “The other thing is some very clear-cut information on how we can improve our financial position and choice.”

“I think they should take responsibility for providing something that gives us value and choice.”

The CRTC says it intends to wait six months until reviewing skinny basic cable packages, but Cran doesn’t think it will do much to reassure consumers.

Come September 2017, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications (CCTS) will handle TV service complaints as well as dealing with unresolved problems consumers have with their cell phone, land line and Internet providers.

And if the recent past is any indication, it will field thousands of gripes from people unable to resolve issues with those providers.

The complaints commissioner has dealt with roughly 10,000 complaints a year over telecom service since the body was created in 2007. At the same time, the CCTS had to turn away thousands of people who complained about TV service providers, because cable and satellite services were not in its mandate.

Consumers must first contact their communication service provider to try to resolve any disputes before going to the watchdog.

If it’s determined that a service provider has wronged a consumer, the CCTS can require the company to apologize for its mistake or at the very least offer an explanation.

It can also force service providers to compensate complainants, to a maximum of $5,000 per complaint, for certain losses, on top of reimbursements for any billing errors.