I noticed a problem with our internet bill from Rogers the other day and started to investigate what was going on with significant overage charges on our account over the last few months with Rogers.
It turns out that without notifying us, Rogers increased our internet plan from $59.99 a month and $3.00 per month modem rental, to $61.99 a month and $4.00 a month modem rental. They moved us onto the ‘Rogers Extreme’ plan without telling us and charged us more. The Rogers Extreme plan offers 28mbps download speed (the speed you can download files at), and 120GB per month of bandwidth allowance (the amount of data you can download per month).
What Rogers did (and has done to possibly tens of thousands of other customers) is kept us on our old plan details of 10mbps download speed instead of 28mbps, and 95GB of monthly bandwidth instead of 120GB which they are charging us for.
Our monthly usage since March has ranged from 92GB to 116GB keeping in line with the monthly allowance of 120Gb per month which we are paying for. However because they kept us back at 95GB we have been charged every month since march that we have gone over 95GB for overage fees on a plan that has enough monthly allowance (120GB) to cover our usage.
Let’s take a timeout to explain the what the two metrics are on these internet plans. There is speed that data can come in and out at which is referred to as downstream and upstream speeds or download and upload speed. the plan provides 28mbps (mega bits per second) they are providing us 10mbps and claiming DOCSIS 2.0 modems do not support more than that and that we must pay more for a different modem. This is simply not true. The second claim is that an upgraded modem is required to get the full 120gb of download per month. The cap on the amount of bandwidth allowance has nothing at all to do with what kind of modem you have or even what speed you can get. Monthly bandwidth allowance is simply how much data you can download per month. You can easily download over 1000GB of data per month on a standard DOCSIS 2.0 modem at 10mbps speed.
Think of it like this: the speed metric is how much water you can push through the pipe per second so think a bigger radius pipe is more water per second. The monthly bandwidth allowance pipe is how many liters of water your allowed to consume per month in total. If you have a small pipe and leave the water on all month you can get just as much water through in the month as if you have a pipe that’s twice as big in diameter but you only leave it on for half the month. Monthly bandwidth has nothing to do with the thickness of the pipe, strictly how many liters you consume.
You could use the analogy of cars driving so many kilometers when you rent them from a rental company but imagine if you were also only allowed to drive a max of 100km/h but you could pay more for a luxury car to drive 150km/h instead as long as you only drive under the set number of kilometers for the rental, lets say 95KM a month.
Well they made us pay for a faster car and for more kilometers allowance per month but didn’t let us drive faster or farther as promised and then charged us extra for it for 5 months after they upgraded our plan to a bigger car without telling us.
This is where the nightmare of customer service begins. To summarize I will put the flow of conversation and details into point form.
- We phone up Rogers customer service. My sister in law worked for Rogers for several years and knows how things work there. She gets us started with the first customer service rep.
- We talk to this rep for about 10 minutes before being transferred to billing.
- After a few minutes on hold the rep begins to tell us that we must upgrade to the highest end wireless modem for $7 a month in order for it to be possible for them to provide this service to us. This is an outright lie. Our modem is a DOCSIS 2.0 modem which they have documented in their system and which can handle speeds of up to 42mbps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS). More than capable of handling 28mbps service.
- Then the rep also tells us it is not possible to give us 120GB of monthly allowance without this top end modem and that’s why we have only gotten ‘the slower service’ because we haven’t upgraded our modem. Both of these statements are pure lies from a technical point of view and it just doesn’t make sense to say you cant download over 95GB a month because of your modem… but THEN BILL YOU OVERAGE for going over 95GB of usage for a month. How can I not get over 95GB a month with this modem and then download over that and be charged for it then? I asked the rep this question and she was silent for about 20 seconds with nothing to say.
Regardless of the modem being insufficient they claim that there is only one modem which can be used with this service, yet have three listed on their website as compatible with this service. The standard modem being one for $4 a month. We do not want a wireless modem because we already have a wireless router here and adding a second wireless network is just going to cause more interference than we already have and there is no justification or written notice on Rogers website that says you _must_ use the upgraded modem. They clearly offer three options on their website as shown above and at http://www.rogers.com/web/link/hispeedBrowseFlowDefaultPlans under ‘hardware options’ or ‘hardware options which one is right for you?’ again clearly saying you have three options and explain how to choose which one you want.
- At this point we ask to speak to the rep’s supervisor which is typical for Rogers customer service you usually have to go through 4-5 people before you get things fixed when they incorrectly bill you. (We have been over billed on cell service for over $400 in the last two years on two occasions and had to fight for 6 hours on the phone over 3 days to fix it last year.)
- The supervisor tells us it is not possible to download over 95GB a month with our old modem and that’s why they wont upgrade our plan. This is again a lie and a misinformed, poorly trained service representative who knows nothing about technology.
- We then ask to be sent to retentions. Retentions is the department in the Canadian telecoms that deals with the worst case customer service scenarios and who have the power to give you great discounts and bill adjustments to keep you as a customer. We have been customers with Rogers for over 10 years, paying an average monthly bill of between $200-$400 per month for various services over the years. At its peak we had HD cable, PVR, internet, home phone, and 3 cell phones with Rogers and were paying over $500 a month before discounts. We have been excellent customers to them, We now have only internet and 2 cell phones on two accounts and pay about $250 a month to Rogers.
- At this point we are put on hold for 35 minutes and then are disconnected after 1hour and 53 minutes on the phone with the first four reps.
- We call back and get a new rep. We explain the scenario to him and how Rogers owes us $80 and needs to upgrade our plan to give us the service we have been paying for for the last 5 months. We politely ask him to please not hang up on us like the last lady did
- He puts us on hold for 20 minutes, and hangs up on us.
- We call back again for the third time to speak to our now sixth representative of the night. Our call time is now at over 2 hours.
- We explain to this lady our story again all the way through from the beginning. She tells us it says right on the website that we need the higher modem to get this plans speed. We ask her to show us where and she leads us to the fine print details hidden in a small link at the bottom of the page that appears in a popup when you click it.
- No where in these details does it say you must get the $7 a month modem to get the plan it only says there is a $7 a month modem rental fee for the ‘N’ home networking modem which has a wireless router built in. The plan clearly shows three options for the service. Rogers is simply telling lies to avoid refunding the charges at this point. If we needed a new modem why did they not provide one to us.. OR TELL US THIS, after changing our plan, also without telling us.
- We then ask to be sent to retentions again to speak to another rep.
- This new rep is now our seventh rep we have spoken to. We explain our whole story to her and she says please hold. She comes back after about 10 minutes and says the best she can offer us is a $40 credit on our account.
- So at this point Rogers has offered to return half the money they have stolen from us in overage fees so we will only be 50% scammed instead of 100% scammed.
- The rep said absolutely nothing about any conditions for this credit or that we would have to remain as customers with them to receive it. She simply said I’m adding the credit to your account now and then said it had been processed.
- Once the credit had been processed we politely asked to cancel our service and that we would be switching to Teksavvy. (Teksavvy has amazing plans at amazing prices and I don’t know why we haven’t switched sooner. Friends who have it all recommend it.)
- At this point the rep said we didn’t inform her that we wanted to cancel our internet before offering us the credit and so she would have to remove it now. She didn’t say anything about having to remain a customer to receive the credit.
- We said fine cancel our service we are done with being lied to by Rogers.
- We are put on hold to be transferred to a cancellation department.
- The 8th lady we have talked to for the night says “can I ask you the reason why you are cancelling sir?’ We politely say “Rogers has overcharged us $80 and is only offering to refund us half of it after changing our plan without notifying us and not giving us the service we have been paying for for the last 5 months”
- The lady immediately and without hesitation says “What if I can offer you the full $80 refund, will you remain as customers?”
- No talking to her boss or checking with a supervisor. She didn’t even check to verify the truth about what we said about the overage charges she just instantly offered us an $80 refund on the spot on the condition we stayed as customers for the next 30 days.
- Her name was Monica, and she was amazing. She clearly informed us ahead of time what the conditions were, and didn’t hang up on us. That’s +2 right there against all the other reps we spoke to for the night.
We accepted the refund and will now call back in 30 days to immediately cancel our service with Rogers once our stolen money is returned to us and switch to Teksavvy for our Internet.
As soon as my contract expires with Rogers I will change my cell service to Wind Mobile or another provider as well.
The new company I work for is also collecting quotes on business internet service and large scale bandwidth and infrastructure hosting for a new software service I am building. Rogers will not be our service provider under any circumstances for our business internet line or our hosting provider. I plan to make the case to my CEO that we go with Teksavvy for all our services. They are cheaper, and have better reputation with regular Canadian internet customers. Their internet presence and their stance on Usage Based Billing in Canada makes them much more trustworthy than Rogers.
If you are an internet customer of rogers I highly encourage you to check your bills and see if you are being scammed into the new rates but given the old service speeds and call and complain about it furiously.
I cannot believe something like this is even legal in Canada. Maybe it’s not I am no lawyer.