Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rogers Mobility: A Study in Terrible Customer Service.

My family and recently moved, prompted by my acceptance of employment, to an area that was outside Roger's service area.

My wife needs her cell phone to be reliable as she is with the kids so she began to look at alternatives. It turns out our area is serviced by both Telus and Bell. The problem is both my wife and I are in a three year contract. Hefty cancellation fees and all of that.

"Don't worry about that", says Chris our cable guy. "People get let out of their contracts all the time when they move here."

I did some research and it turns out to be true. Frustration of contract it is called. No service, no need to keep to the terms of the contract as it has been breached. Rogers cannot stipulate that you cannot move out of the service area (otherwise who would sign such a thing and it would no doubt get struck down in court).

So we were set, my wife was going to get the ball rolling so she could port her number and her phone over to Telus.

After spending over 2 hours on the phone with 3 different individuals, including an "iPhone Specialist" they finally conceded that we didn't have service at our address and grudgingly agreed to waive the cancellation fee (which they didn't have a choice in the matter). And in their magnanimous magnificence gave my wife leave to port her number to Telus and closed her account. Of course we didn't realize at the time that the poison dagger had already been stuck in our backs.

My wife took her phone to our local Telus dealer and he ported her number over into a Telus Sim card. The phone didn't work. He swapped it with another Sim but by that time my wife had to leave with two squirrelly kids and a non-functioning phone. He managed to tell her before she was out the door that it probably needed to be unlocked.

It turns out that it is impossible to unlock the latest iOS. I tried, I jailbroke it, but could not unlock it, the most talented hackers in the world still have not cracked it. Jane called Rogers and asked them if they could unlock it. They told her that they couldn’t do anything for her without an account. She asked them why didn’t they tell her before they terminated her account (after all she was on the phone with them for 2 hours), one guy says that they are not obligated to say anything about it, another guy said that maybe it was not clear to the initial three individuals what she intended to do with the phone. It was made clear to them from the beginning, she was going to port her number to the telus network and not sign another contract. Even if she didn’t make it clear that she was going to use the iphone, why would Rogers assume that she was going to junk it? A perfectly usable phone? In the end, they said that they could unlock her phone for a fee if she got a pay as you go account AND waited 30 days. So my wife is going to be without an emergency phone for 30 days while looking after two small children. Not on my watch, buster!

So I decided to take a crack at them. Corporations invariably bend to my will. Well, most of the time.

I spent about an hour and at the end, I had to walk away. I first talked to technical and as soon as it became apparent that I was calling on my wife’s behalf they stuffed me with customer relations. William, in broken English, said that there was nothing he could do unless we opened a pay as you go account and wait 30 days for activation (unlocking). I asked him if my wife had the wherewithal to ask for the unlocking on March 6th if she would have had to wait 30 days. He said no. I asked him how he expected someone to port a number to TELUS when no one outside of Rogers can unlock the phone. He said she should’ve asked and that they are not obliged to say anything that would help somebody switch to a competitor. I asked to speak to his supervisor, he refused, repeatedly. I explained that if I can’t get it resolved then I at least need to speak to a manager to let them know that Rogers has a serious operational problem, he still refused. I hung up. I called a local Apple dealer, who gave me a bunch of good info (like always ask for an interaction ID at the beginning of a conversation, that way if they stonewall you and refuse to help, you can call back, get someone else and tell them the interaction ID). I did phone back and managed to speak to a manager. She was equally unhelpful, but at least I was able to illustrate the problem Roger’s has with customer service. She did mention she was surprised that Rogers waived the cancellation fee. I said that was as it should be because it is a frustration of contract.

I got a lot of “well we don’t know what was said.” First, I call bullshit because they record all conversations (thus the interaction ID) and second, I don’t care, it is obvious to anyone that Roger’s screwed up and I am a customer and I need some resolution. It appears to an outside observer that as soon as you stop paying money, all regard for that customer goes out the window.

I said to my wife “I am angry still. Someone is going to pay.”

I wrote a letter to the Office of the president and surprisingly I got a call back from Tim. We chatted and I explained the situation and he basically said that Roger’s SOP was not unusual compared with industry standard. I asked him what was required technically speaking to unlock the phone and he said that the tech would provide a code and you would punch it in the phone. So unlocking the phone didn’t require a 30 day wait, this was purely an operational issue. He made it sound like he did us such a great favour to waive the 500$ and I said to point to the clause that says we are responsible if we move out of the service area. Of course there is none, hence waiving our fee, but they torpedo your phone in exchange.

Tim wasn’t going to budge so I said that I felt that my wife was treated unfairly and this definitely impacts our choice of provider in the future (I was still a customer at that point). Tim said he was sorry to hear that, I said so am I.

My wife gets her next bill and lo and behold they had slapped a 30$ cancellation fee on top of her regular charges. She calls and Rogers tells her that it is for not giving 30 days notice before she exited her contract. She pays it before I get a chance to let Roger’s have it.

The last insult to injury was the next billing cycle, they charge her another 25$ admin fee for a returned payment, our credit card had expired and been re-issued in the interim that all this was happening and they were trying to charge her card multiple times to clear the bill. Rather than get in contact with her, they just kept running the defunct number through in the month of March. When she called to clear her last bill (beginning of April,the one with the 30$ cancellation fee on it) 2 days later they billed her for 25$. She ended up paying it as she did not want to argue with Rogers anymore. I, on the other hand, was up for it as our joint card also paid for my account and they ran the defunct number an equal number of times against my account, but they did NOT charge me an admin fee. Is Rogers being a total dick to former customers? You bet.

I opened a Roger’s pay as you go account, set it up myself and saved the set-up fee’s, put a minimum of 10$ down and waited 30 days. After the time was up I paid my unlocking fee and unlocked my wife’s phone.

The unlocking process was alittle bit different than was described by Tim, I talked to technical and they took the IMEI number and released it, which means it was sent to Apple’s own servers and when I hooked it up to iTunes next a message popped up saying that the phone had been successfully unlocked.

I promptly turned around and called Rogers back and told them that service was non-existent and I wanted out of my contract. After waiting a few days, (they sent out a survey team you see), I called them back and asked them what was up. I talked to technical who agreed that my area was a low service area, so I asked them what they were going to do about it and she told me that they were planning a new tower in 2012.

“When in 2012?” I asked

She didn’t know the exact date.

“What am I going to do in the meantime?” I asked.

She didn’t know, she couldn’t exactly force a signal through.

“Well I can’t exactly wait for a tower to be put up either, I want out of my contract.”

She put me through to Customer service.

Note: with each person you talk to, you have to retell your story.

Customer Service put me back to technical because she needed some information from the survey. I had initially thought she would just call technical herself and get the information, but no she transferred me. So I told technical that Customer Service needed the survey details, so this time the lady in Technical actually put me on hold and called Customer Service and explained to them what was going on. Then she brought me into the call, where Customer service transferred me to Customer Retention where I articulated that there is no service and I want my contract terminated where upon they transferred me to yet another person in god knows what department (perhaps it was the Sandpaper-on-Genitals Dept, I had lost track at that point) where the gentleman kindly instructed me to transfer my phone to another provider in the area and that they will waive the cancellation fee. I got the reference number for the cancellation and asked them about the 30$ cancellation fee for not giving 30 days notice, he assured me that such a fee does not exist.

So now I wait for my 30 days and I’ll reuse my pay as you go account to unlock my phone as well.

Cost to me over and above services rendered: $125

Cost to Rogers for being a total Penis: $500 and any future contracts/service


Rogers_Kelly said...

Hi Vasper,

My name is Kelly and I work with the social media team here at Rogers.

I was very sorry to read your post about your recent experience with Rogers. In the future, if need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or one of our team members @RogersHelps on Twitter. We'd be happy to look into the matter and work with you to resolve it.


Vasper85 said...

You see Kelly I am tempted to say "that ship has sailed". The time to have made me a happy customer was when my wife and I were wasting hours of our lives jumping through hoops and getting slapped with various below-the-belt, kick-you-when-you-are-down fees.

I understand this is you just doing your job and I am not angry with you personally. But your companies SOP in regards to how you handle customers with contracts in a no service area is terrible.

You want to do something for me?

You can do the following:

1) Don't treat your customers like they are breaking up with you. Both my wife and I were Rogers customers for years before we signed the iPhone contracts. Trying to nickel and dime my wife didn't exactly endear Rogers to me.

2) Provide customers who are leaving with full disclosure as to your practices. If your not going to unlock the phone, fine, just let the customer know so they can make an informed decision rather than having to find out after the fact, with no account, a dead phone, and no recourse.

Anonymous said...

Rogers are real dicks to their customers after they lock them into a contract. I've been a rogers customer for 9 years and recently. Not much longer!