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Has widespread disatisfaction with data charges lead Rogers to implement a customer retention program?

Yesterday I made a call to the Ted Mahal (Rogers HQ) to discuss my wireless data bill for February and March.  I made two short trips – one to Spain and one to California – and used my BlackBerry to receive about 10M of data in that time.  Total bill: $415. Mystified at how my bill could be so large, given that AT&T (the US carrier) provides US residents with unlimited data for $35/month, and Telefonica and Vodafone (the Spanish carriers) have similar programs, I called Rogers to discuss.

It was a surprising call.

Surprise #1: I explained the situation to the rep, who promptly knocked $185 off the bill without question.  He also offered to allow me to speak with the supervisor if I wanted to ask for more.  I declined, having been burnt on that one previously.

I then asked what products Rogers offered in order to make it possible for international travellers to travel without getting killed on the roaming charges — noting that I already use unlocked phones and local SIMs in order to keep my voice charges as low as possible.  A few minutes of rooting around at his end turned up no results for any kind of truly international data roaming plan, and then…

Surprise #2: … a surprising confession.  “Sir, Canada has some of the worst data rates in the world.  Our carriers just don’t seem to be able to offer the same rate programs as others.  I wish I could help you more.”

It certainly looks as if Rogers is 100% aware of the customer disatisfaction with data rates. Moreover, they’ve moved to implement a customer retention program for those that have the temerity to actually phone and ask for satisfaction.

Next time you get a big data bill, give them a call.  Your friendly neighborhood Rogers rep may just help you out.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Kareem Sultan April 11, 2008, 9:23 am

    That strategy works for you're regular usage too. Just call them up and tell them you think your plan is kind of pricey, they'll knock some off no problem.
    Fido did that for me at least.
    Don't accept a new contract and don't accept new features they'll offer you. Just tell them plain and simple. It needs to be cheaper. They'll do something.

  • Thomas Purves April 11, 2008, 11:21 am

    That’s great news Alec, I feel like as consumers we’re finally winning.

    amazing what a few blog posts can do

    that and the staggering shock of anyone who’s received a bill for usage at $50/MB

    The CSRs must be feeling the brunt of this.

  • Kevin Restivo April 11, 2008, 2:12 pm

    Hi Alec,

    That’s very interesting; almost incredible.

    Perhaps Rogers, sensing more competition and lower growth in future, has changed its tact slightly.

    Bell has certainly used the price lever to drive sub growth.

    Thanks for the tale.

    Kevin

  • Andrew April 11, 2008, 3:41 pm

    They will knock it down, the CSR’s must get this call all the time – I accidentally downloaded a powerpoint that was 4-5 megs on my last EuroTrip and the bill came in over 100$, I did the exact same thing you did which was ask for the International Data roaming plan so this wouldn’t happen again – after waiting for the rep to look that up, he came back and said they don’t offer that. After that they simply deleted the charge.

  • Dean April 12, 2008, 6:59 pm

    Well there is a wrong statement in the blog. ATT does NOT offer 35USD/month for unlimited data roaming. It is unlimited in the US, but when roaming ATT hits you with .02USD per KB. It gets pricey as well. Also, for roaming in Canada, ATT hits you with .015USD/KB.
    Anyway, it is nice to see that they knocked off some of the charges.

  • Alec April 12, 2008, 11:23 pm

    You are correct that the unlimited data AT&T offers must be used in the US. I don’t believe I claimed otherwise, but nevertheless thanks for helping to make that clear! The point I was trying to make was that if local rates are so low, then how come roaming rates for us poor shmucks who visit are so high?

  • Jason April 13, 2008, 2:51 pm

    T-Mobile gives you unlimited BB usage across the globe for a mere $20/month extra to the rate plan, bringing it up to about $50-$60/month.

    Well worth the price if you need to use a BB internationally.

    – Jason

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