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People use the wifi across from a Rogers Communications store inside Toronto’s Fairview Mall on July 8, 2022.Yader Guzman/The Globe and Mail

Rogers Communications Inc. has unseated Bell BCE-T in the complaints department.

For the first time in its 15-year history, the federal telecom and television ombudsman received more complaints about Rogers than any other Canadian provider.

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services – an Ottawa-based agency that aims to resolve customer issues around wireless, internet, home-telephone and TV services – received 14,617 complaints between Aug. 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023. That’s up 14 per cent from the previous year, according to a CCTS report published Tuesday.

Complaints about Rogers RCI-B-T shot up by 44 per cent year-over-year to 2,893. The Toronto-based telecom’s share of complaints has been rising over the past four years, from 11 per cent to 20 per cent of all complaints, the ombudsman said.

BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada, which received the most complaints in every previous year, saw a 7 per cent year-over-year increase. In total, Bell accounted for 16 per cent of the complaints accepted by the CCTS.

Vancouver-based Telus Corp., which accounted for 12 per cent of the complaints, saw a 43-per-cent jump.

Howard Maker, commissioner and chief executive officer of the CCTS, said the increase in complaints about Rogers appears to be unrelated to the July 8, 2022, nationwide outage that affected millions of Canadians, who lost cellphone, internet or home phone service for at least a day.

“We only accepted 180-odd complaints related to the actual outage,” Mr. Maker said. “That number of complaints is not sufficient to really account for the increase in Rogers complaints this year.”

He added that “some of the issues that are affecting Rogers are affecting all providers. But certainly, there was a more than doubling of issues related to complete loss of service.”

The top issues raised by Rogers customers, according to the report, were disclosure issues, which arise when customers feel that information is not being fully or clearly provided; billing errors; and complaints that promised credits or refunds were not applied. There were also more complaints about the quality of service, with a 138-per-cent jump in the number citing a complete loss of services.

“One complaint is one too many and we’re working hard to make sure every interaction we have with millions of Canadians every month is seamless. We’re committed to investing in our networks and our customer experience to ensure our dedicated frontline team has the tools to provide the best service possible,” Rogers spokesperson Cam Gordon said in a statement.

Hadeer Hassaan, Bell’s senior vice-president of customer operations, said in a statement that the telecom has been decreasing its share of industry complaints over the past eight consecutive years.

“Bell completes more transactions than our major competitors and our overall percentage per number of subscribers outperforms the industry. We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made and we’ll continue our efforts to champion the customer experience,” she said.

Across the industry, wireless issues made up 55 per cent of the total complaints accepted by the CCTS, followed by internet at 26 per cent, television at 10 per cent and local phone at 9 per cent.

The CCTS receives funding from the industry but acts independently of it.

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