Archive for April, 2005

Rogers Wireless Nightmare

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Story 1
I moved back to Canada in 2003. I needed a phone to start my job search. I asked around and only Rogers would accept

foreign credit cards, so voila I signed up for two years with Rogers and got their Sony Ericsson T306.
After about 3 days of

giving my phone number and calling people, I was wondering why nobody was calling me back.
I tried calling my cellphone from a

pay phone. When I did, I heard the following message. “The cellular subscriber has not yet activated their voice mail. Please tell

them to activate their voice-mail before they can receive calls”.
I signed up for a mobile phone, not a mobile-answering

machine. Who cares if I haven’t activated my voice-mail yet’ I don’t even like voice-mail (on mobile phones, unless they sent it

to you as an MP3 which would be cool). I don’t think I missed any million-dollar deals, but still my social life did suffer directly

because of this major system design flaw.

Story 2
Some time after getting my Sony Ericsson T306 I decided to try and

read my email on my T306. I tried to set up my email accounts on my phone. It didn’t work so I gave up. I’m guessing now that it

was perhaps a network outage ‘, ‘at the time I set it up, but I don’t know why it wasn’t working, and I can say for surety that most

end-users would have just had my reaction. If it’s broke, and not than important, why bother fixing it?
In mid-October of 2004,

I started using this mobile CRM web application on my phone’s browser. For only 5 MB of data transfer I got a whopping $150 data bill

for October. I quickly proceeded to get onto a discount data plan, which would bring down the cost of my Internet use. I also started

shopping around for other carriers with the cheapest data plans, considering various camera phones, blackberry and smart phone

devices. The cheapest I found was Fido who was offering $40 for unlimited data on regular phones and $20 for their sort of weird but

funky Triband-Hiptop. Although bothered by the Hiptop’s lack of ability to click-and-call telephone numbers in the browser like most

mobile phones, I couldn’t beat the price.
In December I stopped using the browser on the Rogers T306 and gave it to my wife,

and canceled my discount-data-plan with Rogers, as I wasn’t intending on using the T306 for Internet use anymore.
In February

when my Rogers January bill came, it said that I had downloaded 6,381 KB of data and that my data charges were $319.05. I proceeded to

contact their Online Customer Service for which I was replied that I used the services and cannot have the amount credited back to my

To which I replied ”Please be more specific as to the type of data you’re claiming I used.’
Online Customer

Service: ‘the Browser was launched on various different days at various different time, not possible to be an error’
I have

since confirmed with Data Customer Care that the email function (for most cellular phones, including the T306) uses the same protocol

as their Browser, which means they can’t tell what was ‘launched’ during the various different times.

On March 6th, I

finally found the cause of the data transfer; the email function in the T306, which I configured more than a year previously had

started working some time between October 2004 and December 2004, which was almost indeterminable as it doesn’t give any special

notification when new email arrives (compared with SMS which beeps every message), nor does the bill from Rogers give any specific

details for email usage. I proceeded to erase the settings to prevent it from continuing to download email, and promptly contacted

Roger’s Online Customer Service to share my discovery about the unknown data transfer. I never got a reply to that message.
/>I called Rogers on April 4th. I was put on hold and then the line disconnected. I sent a message to ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE

requesting a call back regarding the situation. They never called back. Instead they wrote back saying ‘Our GPRS data network has no

means or method available to ‘force’ a wireless product to initiate a data connection, unless the product is manually actioned to do

The Sony Ericsson T306 doesn’t need to be manually actioned to do so. It has the ability to have it be set up once, not

work because of an outage in their GPRS network, and then when the network starts working at some unknown time later, of ‘checking

email’ and downloading it without the mobile-subscriber ever being conscious of it.

In that April 5th email, they also

advised me to speak to a manager at their Data Customer Care department at 1 866 931 3282.

They then proceeded to send me

a letter warning me to pay, or they’d cut off my service, and also a bill for $1033.98, most of which was the disputed data-charges.

On April 7th, I tried to call a manager at the number provided, but was met with a most un-customer-oriented analyst who

refused to escalate my issue and hung up on me after accusing me of verbal-abuse (I’m getting embarrassed even mentioning this, as

some might think that I was abusive, like the rape-victim not wanting to mention it less people think she was ‘asking for it’). That

day my phone was also cut off. I called up billing that day and explained that I was currently disputing the data-charges, but that I

was happy to pay the outstanding voice-charges. I made a payment for $310.49, and was told that my phone would be reactivated without

re-activation fees and would have 20 days of phone use during which time I was to resolve the dispute. The phone was not


Reporting this to the ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE, I got a thoughtful reply on the 12th : “I have unfortunately

been unsuccessful in making an arrangement in obtaining a Data Customer Care Manager to respond to your inquiry. For this reason, your

exact intervention is required by calling. ”

My phone was still not reactivated despite paying the outstanding voice-

charges and being assured it would be activated for the following 20 days.

I then called, trying again to talk to a manager

at the DATA CUSTOMER CARE. The analyst still insisted on drilling me heavily before passing me to her supervisor. But first she tried

to negotiate with me, saying that a $100 credit is the best she could do. I explained that I am quite technically knowledgeable,

having experience in mobile-technical support myself, and was sure that few end-users could have gotten as far as I had in discovering

the problem, and how they might be putting others in danger of similar unfair data usage charges. I further explained that because I

was a ‘techie’, that I was one of the kinds of people to try out new services and then recommend them to less-technically enlighten

folks, saying “this is great”, or on the other side saying “that is a waste of time”. I further attempted to impress on her that I was

about to become the latter if I hung up without resolving this case with Rogers. She then put me on hold for 20 minutes after which

time I got to speak with her supervisor, Iv, who was quite understanding about my plight. However he did insist I took too long to

contact them and that the best he could do was credit me for half the amount, about $360. I tried to impress upon him that I had taken

timely action as noted above, but he could not concede. In fact he went as far as to imply that I was somehow at fault for having

relied on the ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE for such important communication to the ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE, and that I should have called

DATA CUSTOMER CARE directly sooner. I explained some of my problems with DATA CUSTOMER CARE and asked why they even have an ONLINE

CUSTOMER SERVICE, if not for providing a convenient method for customers to contact them. He did agree that the communications systems

in Rogers could be better, and that if I requested a phone call, that it should never take longer than 24 hours for someone to get

back to me. He also agreed that the networking department needed to report better on data-usage and that he would escalate that

problem internally in Rogers, but he still couldn’t concede that I was entitle to a 100% credit of the disputed data-charges. After

spending more than an hour on the phone and not feeling like continuing, I reached the conclusion of asking him “What do we do when we

cannot reach an agreement?” at which point he informed me that he could escalate the problem to his manager. I requested he do so, and

I was put on hold for another 5 minutes to get the voice mail of a M in Montreal. I stated my account number, telephone number, and

requested a call, and am still waiting for the reply. They still hadn’t reactivated my phone after this call.

I received

another notice of terminal of service from Rogers dated April 10th, this time stating that my credit-rating would be effected if I

didn’t pay the outstanding fees. I called the numbered on that letter (1-800-539-9605) on April 21. It is a dedicated number for

over-due payments. The number asks for the last three characters of my postal-code. I proceed to speak them and it tells me that they

don’t match. I assume this is because they are trying to match it with the number I’m calling from which they probably don’t have

on file as it’s not my home or work telephone number. I then asked for an agent and the telephone system proceeded to disconnect my

call. I then tried saying ‘Agent in a loud’ audible voice. I then got through to an understanding analyst who after explaining that

I was still disputing some charges, but that I had made a partial payment two weeks earlier, quickly reactivated my phone for 20 more