I wish I could say that dealing with Rogers Wireless was a fairly painless process but I would be as bad as them in lying through my teeth. I just spent over an hour on the phone with them trying to give them money by upgrading my current Blackberry to a new Blackberry Bold!
Unfortunately in Canada if you want a GSM phone because there is no competition you have to deal with Rogers or Fido (who are the same company). Telus and Bell Mobility are CDMA carriers only so if you want an iPhone or the newest Blackberrys you have to deal with Rogers.
Last week I posted how Rogers lied when it came to selling their new HSDPA wireless modems and had a sudden change of heart when it came to the Data Plans they were offering on them. I almost got screwed by them but luckily by chance I was able to cancel the modem order and send it back.
Today trying to get the new Bold I just about went crazy, and I am exhausted from my ordeal. My plan was to get an upgrade price for the Bold, then go to a local store and pick it up. The Rogers web site indicated that the phone Bold was 599.00 on a month to month contract and you could get it for 399.00 with a three year contract. Their website had been notoriously slow all day today. When I called yesterday to try and get pricing they said because the phone hadn’t been released yet they had no pricing for me.
Today started and I called Rogers, after holding for about 5 minutes I spoke to a rep and was told they couldn’t help me because I had a corporate code on my account, (I have a corporate employee plan through my full time employer) so I had to speak to a corporate rep. After being transferred and waiting on hold for another ten minutes, I spoke to a corporate rep. She looked everything up (while I was put on hold again), then came back and said that my corporate code showed no discounts and that as a result the upgrade would cost 995.00! I indicated that this was ridiculous and was told that I had to call our corporate telecom people and have a different corporate code put on my account.
I checked our internal web site for Employee purchases and there was a code that I was to call in to Rogers and have added. I called the indicated number and sat on hold for another 10 minutes explained the whole situation again then was told that I needed customer service and they would transfer me. Another 5 minutes on hold and I got through to a customer service rep. After explaining everything again for a fourth time, I was told that it,( the Bold) was not available yet. I corrected him saying that the web site and the email I got earlier this week said it was available today. I was finally quoted an upgrade price of 650.00, (after he checked the web site on his side) but he could knock off 25.00 and I could have the phone for 625.00. I said why the difference since the web site said I could get a month to month for 599.00 and I was informed that that was only for new subscribers.
I indicated that I would be better off cancelling my plan then signing up again and he said no, I would have to be off the network for 6 months before I qualified for that price! I explained that I was a longtime customer (I started with Cantel, their predecessor in 1995) and that the last upgrade that I did was Dec 1, 2006, when I switched to my Blackberry Pearl. I changed to the Blackberry Curve just over a year ago, but I bought my phone on EBay and not through them. I also indicated that I understood that the upgrade pricing was based on my monthly spend and the length I had been in my contract. Currently I pay just over 140.00 per month or my Blackberry voice and data plans, (I am gouged more because I was using BES) which is more than the average subscriber. I indicated that I had been with them since 1995 and that this showed no loyalty to me as a customer and that I started to inquire about cancelling both my phone and my wife’s phone (whose contract has expired). All of a sudden, I was given the option to speak to a rep in Customer Relations (another name for their Customer Retention Department) to see if they could find some other discounts I was eligible for. I had dealt with this group in the past and was fairly happy with what happened, so I said why not. The rep was making a note on my file, probably indicating that I was becoming irate and I was transferred. After another hold of 5 minutes the phone rang and I was speaking to another rep.
I went through my story again and indicated that I was trying to give them money and lock myself in for another term and that in all my conversations today so far I didn’t feel like they cared if I had my business. The rep looked at my account and the length of time I had been with them (since 2000 as Rogers), she also indicated that I was a Tier 5 upgrade candidate (which as I learned later should give me the highest discount on an upgrade), then quickly came back and said that she could offer me the phone at the new customer price of 399.00 and would that be acceptable? I said yes and that I wanted my Voice Plan and other features (wireless hot spot access etc) left as close as possible to what it currently was and that I wanted the new 30.00 6GB HSDPA Data Plan. I also confirmed that this plan would not allow me to use my BES server any longer. I decided that I could live without BES yesterday and it would be a sacrifice I had to make in order to have the ability to tether the Blackberry as a high speed modem. I can always change to a BES plan later if required. This was confirmed (and she tried to tell me that I wouldn’t need BES with the 6GB limit of bandwidth anyway, although I indicated that there was other reasons for using BES). I was told that my data plan would change at midnight. I again confirmed that this is when my BES server would no longer work and I asked when the new Bold would arrive. She guessed either Monday or Tuesday. I also mentioned my modem issues to the rep and she acknowledged that she knew that Canada’s Data Plans are third world when it comes to data offerings.
As I started writing this blog post (just after 11:30 AM), I got three activation emails for the accounts I have set up on the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS), again Rogers did not tell me accurate facts. A quick attempt to send an email via my BES account failed and it is no longer accessible from my Curve and that my new Data Plan is already in effect. In addition I can no longer surf the web without wiping and resetting the Curve. Hopefully my new Bold will show up tomorrow.
Shortly after my experience I found another person that had a similar experience to mine and posted his experience here; http://www.touchpodium.com/2008/08/02/adventures-in-3g-my-romp-with-rogers-upgrade-policies/
If you do have to deal with Rogers and you’re not getting the satisfaction you feel you deserve, threaten to cancel your account and deal with the Customer Retention team. Be sure not to abuse the group and treat whoever you deal with with respect. My understanding is that if you do push it they will flag your account and may not be so willing to help you.
After my dealings today I am tired and worn out. My wife who heard the whole process couldn’t believe that I had to jump through as many hoops as I had to just to get a fair price on an upgrade! I really hope that in the next three years I am in my contract, that we get a least another GSM wireless provider in Canada or that somehow the industry becomes more fair to it’s consumers. Cell companies in Canada just don’t seem to get it! If their plans were more fair and affordable, more people would purchase them and they would make more money from more users. Instead they all choose to try and gouge the few users that use the data services and make it price prohibitive for standard users. I had hoped that the iPhone release in Canada would have changed that, but even Apple was disgusted with Rogers approach and pulled the iPhones from their Canadian Apple Stores and web site. Rogers bowed somewhat with the 30.00 promotional plan, but that at the time of this writing is a temporary offering.
Updated August 21st to correct punctuation and streamline the wording.