Customer Service

Rogers delivering friendly reminder that Quebec is an overtaxed nightmare of a province

Obviously concerned with an impending barrage of customer service calls, Rogers Wireless has started sending out texts reminding customers not to blame them when they get an increased bill in the mail next month. The text even includes a link to the Quebec government’s website! How convenient!

Quebec’s sales tax will rise a full point to 8.5% on January 1st, which may not sound like much, but it’s another dollar a month if your wireless bill is already near the Robert Borden level, or $12 a year. That’s two beers at a bar, or a decent lunch, or an album on iTunes. But most importantly, it’s another reason for cross-border shopping. Come the New Year, buying iPads and laptops will be even more expensive in La Belle Province. Sigh.

Customer Service

[UPDATED] Alert: Rogers confusing Montreal with Montebello, charging customers long distance

Rogers, meet Google Maps.

[UPDATE MAY 10, 2010: Just got off the phone with Rogers after receiving my new eBill, complete with another $20+ in fictitious long distance charges stemming from calls I apparently made in Montebello. I escalated the matter to management. I told them about the hits this blog is getting from people typing “Rogers Montreal Montebello” in Google as proof that this is a serious problem. They reimbursed the charges, again, but told me the issue has continued into the next billing cycle.

If this is happening to you, please post your comment below. I’m getting hits now on an almost daily basis from people with this issue.]

Just got off a 31-minute phone call with Rogers customer service after getting charged $22 for long distance phone calls. Apparently, there is a billing glitch where calls made in Montreal are being charged as if there were made in Montebello, Quebec, a quaint little town near the Ontario border 90 minutes from the big city. The only reason I found out about it is by looking through the detailed list of my calls after seeing my monthly charge was too high. Amazingly, some of my calls made throughout the month were being charged as if I made them from that wonderful town. Sometimes there was as little as four minutes between calls I made in Montreal and supposedly made in Montebello! See below:

Montreal to Montebello in four minutes. I don't drive that fast.

So if you notice your Rogers bill is too high, double-check every single charge, and make sure it isn’t continuing into the current billing cycle, as it did with me. Obviously, Rogers isn’t going around crediting people if they don’t take the time to call. On the positive side, at least they’re not Bell.

Customer Service

Sony comes through for reader with 52″ paperweight

Enthused about my previous post about extended warranties, reader Peter sent me his story of a $2400 TV gone bad, and how his lack of an extended warranty ended up working out:

In May of 2008, I treated myself and bought a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD TV (Model KDL52W3000). I bought it at The Brick and it cost me in the area of $2400. Naturally, the salesperson offered me an extended warranty for a cost of approx $350; I declined.

The manufacturers warranty lasted 12 months. 15 months after having bought my TV, weird things started happening on the screen. I’d see weird double images, colours were off, and it got to the point where the screen would just go blank. I called Sony to ask them if there were any authorized service/repair agencies in my area. The gentleman on the phone was fantastic. He was extremely helpful, asked me pertinent questions and handled everything – from finding the closest service agent, to sending them my request and having them contact me to schedule an appointment.

When the service agent arrived at my place, it took him 90 seconds to assess the problem. He said – “I have to check one thing and then I’ll know where the problem is.” He said – “If you’re lucky, the problem is not with the panel. If it is, it will be cheaper to buy yourself a new TV”. Needless to say, the problem was in the panel. A few days later I received my repair estimate by phone – parts, labour and taxes included – a whopping $2064.00. I asked them to fax me the estimate and proceeded to call Sony.

Once again, the person on the phone was an absolute treat to deal with. I swear if every company had customer service agents like Sony, the world would be a better place… but I digress… So I let them know that I had this TV, and it cost me X and now the repair, only 3 months after my waranty expired is supposed to cost me almost X and that it was unacceptable for Sony to expect us to replace major appliances of this nature every year and a half. He gave me a customer support email address, and asked that I send a copy of my original receipt, the repair estimate, and a photo of the back of the television (serial number and bar code) and that Sony would see what they could do to make me happy. So I did, I sent them everything he requested along with a short letter expressing my long-time love for Sony products (I have a second Bravia at home along with a PS1, PS2, PS3, etc…) and requesting them to cover all costs of replacing/repairing my television.

Eleven business days later, I receive an email from Sony customer support with a Word document attached. In this document, which I have been tempted on several occasions to frame, Sony proceeded to offer me a brand new 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD TV (Model KDL52W5100). The cost? A mere $329.99! That amount was for the 2-year Sony Care extended waranty. So all in all, I’m actually better off than if I had bought the extended warranty at the Brick. My brand new TV is sitting on my table right now, looking better than ever and I have the piece of mind knowing that it’s covered by Sony (not the store that sold me the item) for the next 3 years.

I have had to fight with Bell to have an incorrect $2.00 charge credited; I’ve been on the phone with Videotron, Nissan, Rogers, and my more. I have come to realize that despite the fact that most, if not all companies claim to understand their customers, very few actually do; I’m certain that Sony does. The way Sony treated me, and not just their agents and their offer, but the 3rd party businesses they choose to deal with (service agents, delivery company for the television) has just ensured that I remain a customer of theirs for life.

I’m going to buy my brother a pair of headphones for Christmas after work today. Can you guess what brand I’l be leaving the store with…?

Peter was lucky he was dealing with a company that takes care of its customers. As for the rest of you consumers: This may seem like a reason to buy an extended warranty, to protect yourself from situations like these, but in reality the extended warranty is a huge ripoff most of the time. In a future post, I’ll give you tips on how to create your own extended warranty, while saving money in the process.

Customer Service Retail

Reason No. 47 not to buy an extended warranty at Best Buy or Future Shop

The extended warranty has long been a cash cow for retail stores. Charging $80 for an extended warranty on a $300 computer? Sounds like pure profit to me. The contracts at these places are filled with loopholes and clauses that allow them to deny warranty service.

Head on over to The Consumerist for yet another story of a customer getting denied a repair despite having a valid warranty.

Customer Service iPhone

Is Bell screwing up your iPhone activation?

As I’ve pointed out here and here, Bell has certainly earned its reputation of having Canada’s worst customer service. The company seems to have decided it would be more profitable to deceive drain the life out of its customers rather than make them happy.

So when a friend bought a new iPhone through Bell yesterday, I had to laugh when he told me he had to wait 24 hours for activation. 24 hours came and passed today, and his iPhone is still not fully functional. He was given a temporary number, but told not to use it by customer service. Which kinda sorta defeats the purpose of giving out a temporary number, but I digress. A search on Twitter  just now revealed another new Bell iPhone user with the same problem:

Screen shot 2009-11-05 at 9.03.43 PM

I remember getting my original grey market iPhone in 2007, my iPhone 3G in 208, and my iPhone 3GS this year, all with Rogers, and being activated within 15 minutes. Is this 24 hour+ wait normal for Bell minions customers? Or is a hiccup caused by the switch to Bell’s new HSPA+ network? Come to think of it, when I got my first cell phone, a Qualcomm QCP 2760 with Bell in the late 90s, it took forever to activate it, but it was Christmas day.

If you’ve bought a Bell or Telus iPhone, let me know how it’s going, and if you also had to wait a day for activation.

Customer Service

Confessions of a Bell TV Customer Service Rep

Earlier this week I questioned whether Bell customer service is incompetent or just part of a bigger problem at the company. Well, just two day after that, looks like we have an answer. Head on over to to read some maddening yet unsurprising confessions from a Bell customer service rep who fears they will lose their job for not falling in line with Bell’s anti-consumer behavior. Further reasons to never ever ever enter a contract with Bell.

Customer Service

Bell Canada: Incompetence or Culture of Evil?

Bell conversation

Dealing with Bell Canada’s customer support, as any Bell client would tell you, is an exercise in frustration. That frustration starts off the moment you call them and realize you need to deal with Emily, a computer who’s job it is to remove any positive vibes you’re feeling by the time you reach a human.

By the way, you can avoid talking to Emily by not talking. Don’t cough, don’t breathe loudly (She’ll think you’re saying something and ask you to repeat it) and just hold the line. Emily will assume you’re 80 years old and on a rotary dial telephone and patch you through to a human.

So today, when calling Bell again to ask why I’m still being charged for a home phone line that was cancelled in April, I had reached my wit’s end. Here’s one question I asked at the height of my frustration.