Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What not to do in customer service

I have been a customer of Rogers for years. I can't remember how many (and don't feel like digging out bills to find out) but long enough to qualify for "long term customer" status. Not only am I a long term customer but I'm a good long term customer. I pay my bill, in full every month... often pre-paying several weeks in advance. I have all my services with them as well: home phone, internet, cable TV, and cell phone.

When I originally got my cell phone, I picked out a cheap flip-phone. It had a camera that took relatively okay photos and it made calls; that's all I needed it for. I had that phone for years. After a few years I started getting letters in the mail encouraging me to upgrade the phone, then the letters came complete with lists of the phones I could choose. I ignored them as the phone was working fine.

By this spring my phone was looking shoddy. The silver paint had bubbled off and the screen was starting to break. I decided it was time and headed off to the local Rogers store to see what I could get. I looked around and picked out a great phone for me. It was easy to use, had a full keyboard for texting my daughter, and a 3mp camera for those times I want to remember and don't happen to have a camera with me. I agreed to another 3 year term and headed out with my new phone.

Last Monday I worked until 3pm. As I headed out to work that morning, I told my son that I'd be home before him. Then a lens fell out of my glasses while I was at work so I stopped off at the optometrist on the way home. By the time I got out of the office, son was already home so I gave him a quick call to let him know I was on my way.

I finished the call, tucked my phone back inside my work bag and trudged home in the rain. Got home, put on my pjs and declared I wasn't going out at all for the rest of the night. As usual, when I'm at home, I didn't use my cell phone.

The next morning my Mom called and asked if I wanted to go out shopping with her. On my way out the door I patted my purse and realized my cell phone wasn't inside, then went into my work bag to get it. It wasn't there. Checked my coat pocket... not there either. So I called the phone only to find out the phone was not in service. That struck me as odd. I knew it wasn't off and I'd charged it the night before so it wasn't dead.

I checked around the apartment when I got home and, by the next morning I had to admit it was gone. I walk home along a local highway so chances are it fell out of my bag and either landed in a puddle or got smucked by a car. The ironic thing is, I wasn't worried because when I'd got my new phone, I'd received a slip of paper stating they have a handset protection plan so I knew I was covered.

I went to the Rogers store today to get my phone replaced, totally believing I'd be walking out of that store with a phone in hand. Only to be told, oops, it was too close to my renewal date to get a new phone. Note, not that it was too close to the end of my contract; I just signed on with them for another three years last month. I really only qualified for a new phone in my last 12 months of my contract. And, since it had been less than 6 months since my phone was replaced, I didn't qualify for getting the same type of phone. If I wanted the same phone I had to pay $249... the same as anyone without a contract. Just think on that... being a good customer for years gets you the same assistance as someone walking in off the street WHO DOESN'T WANT A CONTRACT and less help than someone new who wants a contract. The only time they're truly willing to help is when you're almost finished your obligation with them and are able to walk away.

Since the lady at the desk couldn't help she suggested I talk to customer service on the phone in case they could offer more help. Fair enough, I used to work in a call centre and know they have more options (depending on which level you're talking to). I also snagged their pamphlet on the handset protection plan. First I discussed the free courtesy phone I was supposed to receive. Only to find out that the store didn't actually have any. Note, in the fine print it says that you "might" be charged a $50 deposit for this phone. I was told it was mandatory, with the rep saying in shocked tones "we couldn't just hand out free phones to everyone". Note, handing a free replacement phone to a long-term customer (who has to return it to pick up their new phone AND who is already paying a monthly bill) isn't the same as handing them out on the street corner. I dropped that argument as moot since, despite their promise to have a replacement ready at the store, they had none available. No point in getting worked up over a $50 deposit on something that doesn't exist.

I talked to two separate reps on the phone and got told the same things repeatedly that I already mentioned above. It didn't matter how long I'd been a customer, the best they could offer was having me wait until October 14th. That's the magical six month date for how long I've had the phone. On October 13th I have to pay full price, on October 14th I can get the phone for $19.99 (with a three year contract).

So they're going to make me wait two and a half weeks without a cell phone. Either that or fork out $229 extra (or get a cheap flip-phone that *might* have a camera).

I'm sure, they'll have all sorts of wonderful deals to offer when I tell them I'm closing my account. But that's not customer service. Customer service is treating the customer with respect all the time, not when they're walking away. Customer service is saying, "Yes, I see you've been a valued customer of ours for years. We'll waive that two weeks for you." It's not making a customer sit without service (service I am currently paying for I might add) for weeks. It's not telling them they only qualify for better service when they're able to walk away and choose another provider.

For now they have me by the short and curlies. It would cost me several hundred dollars in early termination fees if I cancelled now. Taking another three month contract on my phone is nothing... it's literally tacking on *one* extra month. But they can consider this my farewell letter. As of October 15, 2014, I'm done with Rogers.


  1. http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/09/27/18744666.html#/news/london/2011/09/27/pf-18744666.html

    The worst part is, this isn't an isolated incident

  2. That is freaking ridiculous! Anyone at Rogers who's involved in that farce should be horribly ashamed of themselves!