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Consumer Commission Sees Complaint Increase

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Consumer Protection Commission's (CPC) chairman yesterday said it was working "expeditiously" to resolve a significant increase in public complaints.

Philip Beneby said the CPC has raised its public education and awareness efforts in recent months, which he credited for the rise in consumer complaints. He added that the Commission is expected to ramp up its education efforts in the New Year, pointing out that consumers can file complaints via the Commission's website.

"We have seen a spike in complaints on services from vendors. There has definitely been a spike in the number of complaints coming in, and they are coming from all sorts of areas in the community. We are trying to address them as expeditiously as possible," said Mr Beneby.

"The CPC has been rather dormant since 2006, when it was constituted. Now that some attention is being given to it, now that we have an active Board and we are addressing consumer complaints, more persons are reaching out to the Commission. We believe that the more responsive we are to consumer complaints, the more the word will get out."

Mr Beneby said the CPC has received several inquiries regarding Royal Bank of Canada's (RBC) move to digital banking, after it announced several changes that will be implemented in January.

Deposits and transfers to other RBC client accounts, with the exception of RBC FINCO clients, will no longer be accepted over the counter as of January 2. Fast deposits will no longer be available as of January 15; and as of January 31, wire transfers will not be processed over-the-counter and standing orders for credit card payments will be discontinued among other things.

Instead, the bank has advised customers to use its ATMs to deposit cash or cheques, and its mobile app to pay bills, credit cards, transfer funds, send wire transfers, cheque credit card balances and make payments to other RBC clients.

RBC has also announced it is ending certain services for non-clients. This includes cheque cashing, bill payments, taking deposits or exchanging foreign currency.

"We have had several inquiries regarding what we would do, or what our response would be," said Mr Beneby.

"We are not prepared to state an official position yet. We will probably have an official position on that next week."

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