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Rogers Portable Internet bait and switch

On Saturday I took advantage of Rogers 30 day moneyback guarantee and returned the Rogers Portable Internet WIMAX modem I wrote about last week.  The reason for returning it boiled down to value.  I purchased it hoping to be able to use it for occasional travel.  If you make a couple of trips per month in Canada, then spending a few dollars with Rogers for a guaranteed internet connection sounded like a great deal. However, the service was so weather affected that I was really only able to get acceptable performance from it for a couple of hours over the Thanksgiving weekend.  $49.95 per month for that level of service was hard for me to justify, given how often I expected to use it.

The process of purchasing and returning this unit, by the way, was one of the more surreal customer service experiences I've dealt with in some time.  It began when I spotted a great looking deal on the Shop Rogers website.  Rogers was apparently offering a full year of service on their Rogers High Speed Portable Internet service (not the cheesy 256K service) for $19.95 per month, and had waived the $29.95 installation fee.  Printing the offer, I made a trip to my local Rogers store, only to discover that the offer was apparently not available through the store.  The rep, a terrific young guy named Patrick, spent 45 minutes talking with different people at Rogers.  When he had made no progress and I needed to leave, he suggested I simply buy the modem, call the customer line myself, and if I was dissatisfied I could then return the modem on the 30 day moneyback guarantee.

So I did.

Later that day I telephoned and spoke with a young woman named Sarah.  It turned out, in fact, that the ShopRogers site was misleading.  Very misleading! The page for the High Speed Rogers Portable Internet service asked you to "Click here to view our special introductory offer", which took you to a page offering "Pay $19.95 for 12 months", which then took you to a page offering portable internet for $49.95 per month less a $5 promotional offer.  You can see for yourself below.

Rogers pages

I expected that Sarah would simply honour the offer made on the site.  After all, anything less would be false advertising, would it not?  Sarah, however, offered me a $100 discount.  When I objected, noting that the site offered a $30 x 12 month discount for High Speed Rogers Portable Internet, plus an additional $29.95, or $389.95, she then offered $150.  I asked to speak with her supervisor.  Perhaps the supervisor had the authority to honour Rogers offer. 

This is where we entered the twilight zone. 

The supervisor began by informing me that since I hadn't accepted Sarah's offer, it was now "off the table". When I tried to show her the offer on the internet, she explained that she didn't need to look at the web site because she already knew all the offers.  After arguing with me for 10 minutes about the offer, she finally looked at the web site, and acknowledged that there was a misleading offer there. After speaking with her for a further 10 minutes, she offered one month of free service, a $49.95 value and stonewalled on any further compensation. The supervisor, instead of fixing the situation, had only made it worse

Wondering if I could get any satisfaction from ShopRogers, I called their line and spoke with a young lady there. She immediately saw the problem, and offered to submit a trouble ticket to the ShopRogers website, in order to ensure that others weren't similarly mislead.  She also offered a $49 credit on the modem, and an additional month of service. 

It was a very frustrating and weird experience.  Never have I seen the "it's off the table" tactic used against consumers.  Nor have I have ever seen a company as unwilling to honour a published offer as Rogers was.  Moreover, as of five minutes ago, the web site still hasn't been fixed so they're still pulling the same bait and switch tactic on anyone else looking to buy Rogers Portable Internet. 

As for me, I have the $99 price of the modem back in hand, and I'm glad I didn't commit to 12 months of service at even $19.95.  It simply wasn't worth it for the amount of use I intended to make of it. 

{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Mark W October 15, 2007, 9:01 pm

    Your experience, while terrible, seems to be pretty much typical for Rogers customer service. Communications with their call centre tend to involve one of two extremes: either the height of efficiency for simple requests, or a ridiculous comedy of incompetence for anything slightly out of the ordinary.

    I recently canceled my digital cable service with Rogers and returned my equipment to a Rogers store. The official "cable" section was closed, but the video rental people said they could take care of it. A salesperson had to phone the Rogers central call centre to carry out the return. She spent a full half hour on the phone, arguing with various people about procedure and how the return should be handled. It was only after she talked her way up the chain of command that she was able to convince someone that she knew how things were really supposed to work. I felt bad that she had to work so hard on my behalf, but I was also annoyed that it took so long!

    Anyways, just wanted to let you know that your service experience was not atypical. The baiting and switching for WiMAX is inexcusable. Of course, you might see the offending web page corrected in the next week or two. I've a feeling that Rogers doesn't have a streamlined problem tracking system for their website…

    I found your post via Michael Geist's excellent blog. BTW, I'm getting a kick out of the fact that your Google ads for this entry are all (quite understandably) for Rogers services. πŸ˜‰

  • Gordon Inglis October 15, 2007, 9:48 pm

    I had a similar experience with Telus.
    I was offered a deal by a phone rep on upgrading my speed which I accepted. When the speed increase didn't happen I phoned back and this time they wouldn't honour the first deal. After a great deal of effort they made an offer and the rep essentially said take it or leave it.
    I went from being a satisfied customer to pissed off in the space of a 20 minute call.
    Must be some new marketing psychology I don't quite understand.

  • Joel Goguen October 16, 2007, 3:30 am

    Have you posted your story on http://boycottrogers.com/ yet? :)

  • Alec October 16, 2007, 5:47 am

    Hey Joel, the problem I have is that I like so many of Rogers services. I prefer GSM phones, and I really like their MyFive deal. So what am I supposed to do? I definitely don't want to boycott them. I just want them to behave in a little more consumer friendly fashion.

  • laura October 16, 2007, 8:56 am

    This actually does sound quite familiar to me. however, while i have received both good and really puzzling (to put it really nicely) customer service at Rogers, it is still much better than the service i've received anywhere else. especially Bell (and Telus to a smaller degree). i cannot convey to you the inadequate and frustrating service that i received at Bell, every time, and while Rogers tends to have issues, they are the less of the existing evils. in comparison to your "deals off the table" situation, at Bell, when i threatened to cancel all my services b/c the supervisor refused to get on the phone to speak to me (yes, REFUSED), the young guy on the other end responded with a simple "OK". so, while i'm sympathetic to your situation, they all have very inadequate customer service, but Rogers seems to be the lesser of the evils.

  • Daryl October 16, 2007, 10:26 am

    In regards to Mark W.'s post above, I have also experienced Rogers' own employees frustrated with Rogers' call centre.

    To make a long story short, I dread changing any service I have with Rogers because when push comes to shove, the deal you strike on the phone is never what shows up on your monthly bill. Your monthly bill never reflects the compensation or benefits you agree to on the phone.

  • JimO October 17, 2007, 4:04 pm

    Alec – Snapshot #2 says "Pay $19.95 for 12 months!" it does NOT say pay $19.95 per month for 12 months. You should have argued for a full year's worth of service for

  • Alec October 17, 2007, 6:06 pm

    Hah! You're so right, Jim.

  • jerry October 18, 2007, 6:04 pm

    isn't the free market great?
    oh wait, there's no free market for wireless in canada.

  • Dave Jarvis February 28, 2008, 7:32 am

    I just did a search on this Hi-speed Internet solution and found your site. Funny, the reason I was checking is that I just received a flyer in the Mail offering the exact same promotion. $19.95/month for the first 12 months with a savings of $72.00 (doesn't add up if it is usually $49.95?) from Rogers.

    Same bait and switch offer??? This is late February 2008, doesn't look like they have taken this offer off the table.


  • Eliot.s April 20, 2008, 11:15 am

    I have this portable internet at my house and its HORRIBLE, it spikes all the time, can't wait till my area gets the ability to have cabel…

  • Drew May 15, 2008, 10:57 am

    Funny, I guess I lucked out. My portable internet works great. Now if I could only figure out how to acquire a new dynamic IP…

  • Drew May 15, 2008, 10:59 am

    Oh yeah, and as for their customer service… that's definitely to be expected of Rogers. Back in the day they used to have great customer service which is why I signed up with them again in the first place, but it seems times have changed since then. I guess they were bought out by somebody who doesn't give a flying **** about the customers.

  • Drew May 15, 2008, 11:04 am

    By the way, I think the 19.95 / month price is for their basic portable internet which is a lower speed. That makes sense since the regular price is 27.95 a month so that'd be a 72 dollar savings. Did nobody at Rogers mention that to you? Duuuuuumb…. πŸ˜›

  • Drew May 15, 2008, 11:04 am

    By the way, I think the 19.95 / month price is for their basic portable internet which is a lower speed. That makes sense since the regular price is 27.95 a month so that'd be a 72 dollar savings. Did nobody at Rogers mention that to you? Those customer service freaks are Duuuuuumb…. πŸ˜›

  • greg June 3, 2008, 5:15 pm

    Great posting. Rogers customer service is truly awful, which seems consistent with being (roughly) a monopoly.

  • John July 5, 2008, 10:27 pm

    Never has any other company or commercial organization elicited the visceral rage and vitriol that Rogers has over the years. While there are a few good men and women there, the (dis)organization at large has purposeful and reckless disdain for their client base. Why? Because you cannot go elsewhere for many of their services. Monopoly. Guaranteed clientèle breeds contempt. I cannot begin to relate the dozens and dozens of inane policies, disputes, and abusive actions I have experienced at the hands of Rogers. If it didn't make my blood pressure rise just thinking about it, I who am a video producer would launch headlong into a scathing, revealing and high embarassing doc against Rogers. Maybe some day.

  • Jack September 21, 2008, 3:32 pm

    Rogers is awful, worse company in the world. I once lost my phone and called it in right away. They said that I did not call it in and wanted me to pay the 3500$ charges that eventually came up as a result. Of course I did not pay it. They sent it to an agency who called me for 18 months and they tagged my credit rating. I will never deal with Rogers. Biggest crooks in the planet. Never once have I heard anyone say that they had good service from Rogers. Just theifs. I got back at them though because I have 120 people working for me and switched them all off Rogers.

  • Gerry October 16, 2008, 6:36 am

    What you need to understand is that ALL companies now work on the 80/20 rule. i.e. they receive 80% of their income from 20% of their customers. As an individual customer, you are gravy to these companies. If they loose your business, no big deal. What I think we need is a kind of Guild, where instead of negotiating yourself, you become part of a very large buying collective, very similar to the buying power of a really big company. The process is transparent to you, the customer. Whether your "service" comes from bell or rogers is irrelevent and who cares. But if your "service" is not up to par, the Guild "goes in to bat" for you. With the its huge client base, no company is going to risk loosing the business. Basically if you can't beat these companies as an individual, then play the bastards at their own game, only be better at it.

  • Lex October 21, 2008, 2:37 pm

    All the major wireless, phone & internet providers in Canada are playing w/out rules. No goverment regulation to regulate how they can operate. Government will not do anything as they're being fed dimsum for dinners by top executives.
    only thing consumers can do is just shut up suck it up… or have US companies come in..

  • Martin November 5, 2008, 10:01 pm

    I have been using Rogers Portable off of the Brechin Tower and find that I am getting a lot of packet loss, despite the fact that my outdoor modem is showing 5 lights. I can even see the tower from my location – I have good LOS.
    My stats are good (Rf=32, RSSI=-54dbm).
    There was a time when I used to consistently get 1.5 mbs but now I'm down around 400kbs.
    Spoken to Rogers several times , and they refer the ticket to Inukshuk.
    No progress in the last 3 weeks.
    Anyone else having trouble with the Brechin Tower??

  • Richard Pearson November 7, 2008, 5:03 pm

    I'm with Bell wimax and have not had any service from the Brechin tower for the last three days.
    Bell claims there is a tower problem but will not provide any info of when it will be restored.
    Unfortunately I left my previous wireless ISP provider to go over to Bell and I now regret it.

  • Martin November 7, 2008, 5:56 pm

    I used to be on candlelight but they have had interference from xplornet. my friend at heritage farm is also having trouble. I'm off of Ramara b.

  • Wayne November 8, 2008, 2:04 pm

    I've had RPI since June 2007 at which time i would get 1.5+ mbs with only 2-3 lights…even in bad weather (from the Brantford tower). This year the speed has been all over the place, but mostly well below the 1.5mbs. Even with Roger's increase to 2mbs I now getting inconsistent speeds often below 500kbs. unfortunately there is no other reasonable highspeed options available in my area.

  • andrew February 9, 2009, 5:01 am

    talking to any rogers rep,for any reason will ruin your day.there used to be a consumer protection agency,but due to cut backs ,the government decided buyer beware was acceptable.i will never sign any term contracts,the stress level alone isn't worth it.

  • Anon August 10, 2009, 11:38 am

    Sadly this is the state of Telecom in Canada. Rogers and Bell can break the law with impunity.

    Speaking of bait and switch, how's your BitTorrent working these days?

  • Barbara October 8, 2009, 6:23 pm

    I happen to be a very happy Rogers customer. I have internet, cable TV and recently switched to their home phone service. Their customer service is EXCELLENT and any problem I've had has been dealt with quickly and efficiently. They've also given me and my friends and family TERRIFIC discounts on services. Bell Canada on the other hand has been HORRIBLE. over billing, poor technical service, very poor customer service…outsourcing to overseas. I don't want to talk to someone in India, etc. when I had problems with Bell. I live in Canada. I never ever have that problem with Rogers. With Rpgers I always deal with someone in Canada. Bell Canada is the WORST company I've ever dealt with. Rogers will continue to have my business.

  • Jon March 26, 2010, 11:27 am

    Yeah, in the fall of 2008 we got the $99 Rogers's Portal Internet radio-modem, for $19.95 per month for 12 months, which went up to $27.95.

    The horror-story begin when trying to purchase a radio-modem…
    "The Roger's store clerk said that our address was not in the database and would *NOT* allow purchase. Clerk e-mailed HQ, and said to come back in 24h."

    The horror-story continued when trying to activate the radio-modem…
    The Roger's support clerk could not activate the modem, and suggested that I drive back into the city to exchange it. I refused, and asked to be forwarded to 2nd-line support.
    2nd-line support said that the radio-modem serial # was not in the database, so they forwarded me to 3rd-line support.
    3rd-line support was able to add the serial # into the database, and then activate the radio-modem.

    After all that, the radio-modem provides 500-kbps-down/256-kbps-up using 3 out of 5 bars of signal strength, but fails to connect during heavy snow or rain, or when the microwave oven is on. Also, all encrypted traffic is Traffic Throttled for VPN, BitTorrent, Shareaza, VOIP, On-Line banking, and some Web-Mail by artificially delaying the time-shape of your internet traffic bandwidth using Deep Packet Inspection.
    Caveat emptor – buyer beware.

  • Grovest May 13, 2010, 4:20 am

    Unfortunately WiMax with Rogers is the only game around hen it comes to yral service & cost. Yes Rogers charges $50/month (once you inlude taxes ext). Rogers still does not charge for 'overusage' unlike Bell who includes 50 GB for $50 but then charges an extra $10 for every 5 GB.

    What I have been told by Rogers is that their 'policy' is that they calculate that your projected usage will be and if it exceeds the 'included' 50 GB they assign your traffic a lower priority so during peak times your throughput may become dismal.

    Anyway, with streaming media, VPN, etc our usage is around 100 GB Down + 20 GB Up which with Bell would cost us $190/month.

    Where we are we get 4 or 5 bars constantly and see the same traffic throtting problem (which seems to be specific to Rogers – Bell doesn't have this problem althoough using the same infrastructure). I disagree however with the 'deep packet inspection' theory – from what I have been told by someone technical with Rogers it comes down to that they traffic shape especially now that they are also offering wireless VOIP service.

    If they see a lot of 'low priority' traffic such as torrents they will assign your IP a lower priority on the network which during high traffic times may even result in your throughput dropping off all together (i.e. no throughput at all). They 'claim' they can not do anything in the way of QOS prioritization whereby they throttle torrent traffic only for example – they can only throttle all your traffic.

    It kind of sucks that when you pay for 3000 kbps are lucky to get 1700 kbps and if they project your traffic to exceed 50 GB per month they lower so QOS so at any time your service may drop to 0 kbps (but more often to around 250 kbps) BUT it is still better than Bell who will charge $120 for the same traffic OR Rogers Rocket service which would charge $60 for 10 GB + $5/GB so for our 120 GB traffic we would be paying $610 (yes SIX HUNDRED) per month.

    Inteestingly Rogers unless you specifically ask about Portable Internet hide the fact that they even have this service (just try to find it easily on their Web site). Why would they want you to use a $50.month service when they could offer you a $600 per month service?

  • Delshad June 13, 2011, 11:45 am

    Oh my god! I had the most horrible painful experience! Pleas save your time and money and do not deal with Rogers. Two and a half hours on the phone transferred from one department to another and talked to Tracey, Pamela, Kassim, Sherry, Dan, Christal, Stephanie and two other 3 others that I missed the names and none of them being able to resolve the issue. Departments that I talk to were billings, monthly payments, pre paid, customer care, retention, technical support, management, and a department that un-locks phones. They all had the same manner of saying “I understand your frustration but there is absolutely nothing I can do because you been transferred to a wrong department” All of this started with a visit to Rogers at Lime Ridge mall in Hamilton, they sold me a service plan for a cell phone and charge went through my credit card. I have not stepped out of the store when the same person who sold me the plan said he can not activate the account for me. I immediately asked him for a refund but he refused. He admitted that it was his mistake but said he was sorry and it is not in Rogers’s policy to give a refund back.

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