Rogers tells client she owes $2 million in roaming fees

Erin Paul told me that she had a weird story. I’ll say.

I’ve heard many sad tales about outrageous data roaming charges, but this one hits the jackpot.

Everything was resolved after she wrote to me (and I had nothing to do with it). Rogers has apologized for the information she was given in error.

The story started last July, when Paul was heading to the United Kingdom for the Olympics. She called Rogers to buy a data plan for her smart phone to go overseas.

“They said I had to do it online. I made a mistake — it’s very confusing and I’m actually quite able at these things! — and signed up for a US, not a UK data plan,” she says.

“Though I screwed it up, I got hold of a great woman when I came back, who said she could fix things. Told me what I owed, we agreed on a price, done.

“Then I started getting billed for roaming charges overseas and monthly service fees. I tried to call to ask what these were. I would be put on hold endlessly. Sometimes I’d get to a voice mail, where I would energetically leave my name and number.

“All the while, I was getting notices through mail and email and text that I owed Rogers money.”

On Nov. 2, she did a live chat with Rogers to clear up the confusion. She was told that if she didn’t pay a $225 fee, she would owe close to $2 million.

“Yes, two million dollars. I have photos of this insane conversation. It doesn’t seem right that one lonely person (a former Rogers employee) would owe close to $2 million.”

By Nov. 5, all was fine again. Paul contacted a friend at Rogers, who managed to get someone in the President’s office to rectify things.

“They are refunding the fees in question, the ones added on after I returned from the U.K. and had dealt with my mistake,” she told me.

“My real frustration was the ‘customer service’ side of things, particularly the tone of this Live chat that I’m including as an attachment.

“This woman ‘Sarah’ was just downright rude… and I had resorted to Live chat only because I couldn’t get through on the telephone and no one had returned my messages.”

Sarah should never have used that $2 million figure, Rogers said. Her managers would be notified.

“The situation is resolved, but only because I knew someone on the inside! (And yes, I used to work at Rogers Sportsnet as a reporter.) I thought you might get a kick out of the figure she quotes me.”

By now, you’re probably itching to know what happened on the phone. Check the comments below for the verbatim details.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

7 thoughts on “Rogers tells client she owes $2 million in roaming fees”

  1. 2:31 PM Connecting…

    2:31 PM Connected. A support representative will be with you shortly.

    2:31 PM Support session established with Sarah.

    2:31 PM Sarah: Hi, you’ve reached Sarah. How may I help you?

    2:31 PM Erin Paul: Hi, this isn’t where I complain about my bill, right?

    2:32 PM Sarah: I’m not sure what you mean. I can look at your bill if you would like.

    2:32 PM Erin Paul: OK, sure.

    2:32 PM Erin Paul: I’m sooo frustrated.

    2:32 PM Sarah: In order to access your account, I will require some information from you. Please click on the following secure link to enter your personal information. You will notice I requested a four digit PIN. If you do not have one associated to your account, please leave this field blank.

    2:32 PM Erin Paul: I thought this was a technical line.

    2:33 PM Sarah: Oh, no, it is the customer service line.

    2:33 PM Erin Paul: Thanks, Sarah, I sent the info.

    2:34 PM Sarah: Thank you, I have your bill up, how can I help you?

    2:34 PM Erin Paul: So nice to chat – I’ve been on hold, I’ve left messages, etc!

    2:34 PM Erin Paul: There are charges on my bill that I didn’t authorize – the $225 monthly service fee.

    2:35 PM Erin Paul: the 75MB international data pack.

    2:35 PM Sarah: Is this on your latest bill?

    2:36 PM Erin Paul: When I went to the UK in July, I made a mistake and added the US (not UK) travel pack. When I returned, on or about Aug. 13, I spoke with someone in customer service who rectified the situation. Now I’m getting these charges I didn’t authorize.

    2:37 PM Erin Paul: I don’t know why I’m getting charged for this fee, when I returned from the UK on August 13, and dealt with (and paid) my fees for using my phone overseas.

    2:39 PM Sarah: On page 2 of that bill, you received the credits that was agreed upon.

    2:39 PM Erin Paul: Of which bill?

    2:40 PM Sarah: Your August invoice.

    2:40 PM Erin Paul: So why am I now being charged for something I didn’t agree to?

    2:40 PM Erin Paul: I see the adjustments.

    2:41 PM Sarah: Let me take a look at the past few bills.

    2:42 PM Erin Paul: Ok, thanks. I’m also curious why I seem to have a double charge for a Nextbox HDPVR (I only have one).

    2:43 PM Erin Paul: And the data roaming plan that started after I returned from the UK?

    2:51 PM Sarah: Thank you for your patience. I have gone over the bills. On your August bill, you have the credit for $566.25 to cover your July usage when the US travel pack was purchased accidentally. You still had usage in the UK into August. So our back end team saw that there was no package purchased, and added in a 75MB travel package to save you from paying other roaming costs.

    2:53 PM Erin Paul: When I came home and called Rogers, and dealt with a really helpful woman in customer service, she said that if I paid the $578 that was remaining, I was done.

    2:53 PM Erin Paul: I didn’t agree to other packages.

    2:54 PM Sarah: That was for the usage in July. You had gone over what that original package would have covered you for and did not have coverage for the last few days of your trip.

    2:55 PM Erin Paul: What I see is a ridiculous amount of charges for a small mistake, which had been handled very well by Customer Service at the time. I see now by my records I paid it in full on Sept. 4. That would have included all charges in Sept.

    2:56 PM Erin Paul: Please have a manager get in touch with me.

    2:56 PM Sarah: If the $225 package was not added by our back end to team to cover your usage, you would have paid $0.03 per kb.

    2:57 PM Sarah: That works out to be $1,963,130.88.

    2:57 PM Erin Paul: Please send me that in writing.

    2:57 PM Sarah: The rates for traveling are located on under the travel section.

    2:59 PM Erin Paul: No, please, I’ve had this conversation before. I have paid for my mistake. Please send me in writing where you expect me to pay over a million dollars in fees.

    3:00 PM Sarah: I have never said I expect you to pay over a million dollars. To stop any excessive fees, our back end team went in and put a $225 travel package on your account to cover your usage.

    3:00 PM Sarah: Had they not added this package, then your bill would have been that high.

    3:01 PM Erin Paul: My fees would have been over a million dollars had you not added a $225 package?

    3:01 PM Sarah: Yes.

    3:03 PM Erin Paul: Hang on while I take a picture of this and send it to Facebook, Twitter, CRTC…

    3:04 PM Sarah: Okay, and you may want to also visit the website for the pay per use fee of $0.03/kb located on the travel section.

    3:04 PM Erin Paul: OK, done. Now I highly suggest you have a manager contact me.

    3:05 PM Sarah: I cannot get a manager to contact you. If you would like to speak to one, I can transfer you to one now through chat, or you can call in to speak to one live.

    3:06 PM Erin Paul: I have been trying for days.

    3:08 PM Sarah: Just to confirm before I transfer you to a manager, you would like the $225 travel package removed and pay the pay per use rates instead of $0.03/kb?

    3:09 PM Sarah: Sorry if you’re having trouble with the Live Chat system, are you there?

    3:09 PM Erin Paul: Oh I’m here.

    3:10 PM Sarah: Just to confirm before I transfer you to a manager, you would like the $225 travel package removed and pay the pay per use rates instead of $0.03/kb?

    3:11 PM Erin Paul: I just had to make sure I could print out this entire conversation. And I can.

    3:11 PM Erin Paul: Please do not touch my account.

    3:11 PM Sarah: It’s best to copy into a Word Document and then print it.

    3:11 PM Erin Paul: I will be following up.

    3:12 PM Sarah: If you are not disputing the $225 charge, what did you need to speak to the manager regarding?

    3:13 PM Erin Paul: I think I will deal with this another way. Kind regards.

    3:13 PM Sarah: Thank you for choosing Rogers Live Chat. Please feel free to bookmark our direct link, We are available between the hours of 7AM to midnight Monday to Friday, and 8AM to midnight Saturday and Sunday EST. For your reference your session id is:161189603

    3:13 PM Sarah has ended the session.

  2. I can’t imagine how in the world she arrived at a figure in the millions. 75 MB of usage = 75,000 kB, which at $0.03/kB = $2,250.

    Perhaps the confusion was that the rep mixed up the cost in megabytes ($30/MB) with the cost in kilobytes ($0.03/kB).

    If you use a fictitious value of $30/kB, then you arrive at a value in the millions.

    Nonetheless, roaming is a ripoff.

  3. The customer service agent in the live chat did not seem rude. They were simply following Rogers’ outrageous guidelines.

    Had the first customer service agent taken care of things properly, this would not have happened.

    Agreed that roaming & data charges & most other fees are ridiculous, but with essentially telecom monopolies (few overpriced options because government limits ownership), this causes inflated prices & big profits for the companies.

  4. For roaming, there is a much simpler vast cheaper option. It’s called Amazon.

    Simply order a local SIM card (obviously, this doesn’t work everywhere but the principler is the same).

    For example, I’m in Germany for 4 months, so I simply ordered a local micro SIM card. I get cheap local calls and 5 cents a minute to Canada/US.

    Over Christmas, we were in Florida. So the first stop is to Walmart to get either a call-by-call phone or micro SIM.

    Either way, everyone can reach me via email or Skype. And of course with Imessenger and whatsapp, we can still chat at no cost.


  5. Tom: I’m sure the woman’s tone is heavily influenced by Rogers’ guidelines, but it still comes off as rude.

    “Not sure what you mean (by bill complaints”? That’s rather insulting, if you ask me.

    The problem is that CSreps often sound like computer programs — everything seems to be a scripted, copy-and-paste answer with details filled in.

    If they instead spoke to customers as if they were people, with feelings and frustrations, it would go a long way.

    I’ve had my struggles with Rogers (I wonder if I’ve dealt with Sarah before). I’ve been on the phone trying to rectify a problem for an hour with the CSreps saying “no, we can’t do anything… No… Nuh-uh… Nope…” to the point where it killed the battery on my phone.

    I called back, got somebody else, and he said “Yes, that can be done, no it’s not a problem.” Fixed in two minutes.

    If you ask me, Rogers tries to prevent people with actual decision-making authority from talking to customers, while taking away power to fix problems on the spot from CSreps speaking to customers.

    My guess on the million dollar figure was that Sarah mistook it for the total number of bytes used (not kB). But this is where “speaking like a robot” comes in; she should have realised that was a ludicrous number.

    She should have questioned it and said, “Hey, what’s going on here?”

  6. According to the chat, if Paul accumulated the amount of $1,963,130.88 in total at $0.03 per KB (according to the chat) that would mean Paul used 62.40625 GB not KB or MB.

    If I was roaming and used 62GB and had no Rogers plans allotted for 62 GB (as per their website), I’d be pretty happy to pay only $225.

    Paul needs a life instead of posting articles that clearly show he’s in the wrong. Do some math, sir.

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