Has Rogers Changed their Policy? Part II

Correspondence between Darren Martin (in regular font) and

Susan Drummond (in italics).


Sent January 13

Hi Ms. Drummond,

I came across an article in the Globe and Mail about your dealings with Roger's Wireless and the cellular phone bill for international roaming charges that they are asking you to pay. My wife and I were on a trip in November 2005 to Jamaica and we had our cell phone stolen. We are running into the same type of dealings with Roger's as you have had. Do you have time that we could share our experiences?


Darren Martin

Sent January 15, 2006




File a police report.


Write a letter to customer services disputing the charges that arose after the phone was stolen: the contract (at clause 1) says you have agreed to pay for 'undisputed' charges. The customer service reps and invoice tells you owe 'total' charges. Insist on your contractual obligations. Include the police report with your letter of dispute.


Pay off 'undisputed' charges in full and on time to keep your account in good standing. Make sure you include GST/PST.


Note to Rogers that, as per the Globe and Mail article of December 16, Rogers appears to have a systematic protocol in place to flag atypical call patterns. Its been in place since Ted Rogers had his cell phone cloned in 1997, by Cindy Hopper's account. Part of the protocol involves calling the consumer to confirm the atypical calls are issuing from them. If they can't get ahold of consumers, their protocol indicates they shut the phone off. If they didn't do this in your case, ask why not. Failure to follow procedure appears to be a breach of a duty of care.


Make sure the credit bureaus know you have disputed the charges so your credit rating doesn't take a hit.


(If they persist, perhaps ask Rogers why they will zero the bill of a law professor but not you).


Where were the calls made to?


Keep me informed.


Thank-you for your reply Susan.

The calls were made mainly from Jamaica to Jamaica (over 200 calls) but there were a few calls elsewhere.

2 to Toronto Ontario

1 to Newburgh NY

1 to Elkinspar PA

1 to Cayman Islands

1 Incoming call

You ask where the call were made to but more interesting is that the 1st call was made while our luggage was in the hands of Air Canada on route to our resort. We personally received our luggage at the reception of the resort and it was after 22:00 on Nov 9. The first call was made at 18:43 on Nov 9. The drive to the resort is 2.5 hours so it was being used on route or passed off to someone else during that time. We received our bags (that were delayed by 1 day) with full confidence that Air Canada took due care so we had no reason to believe that our bags were pilfered and the phone that was tucked away for emergency use only was in fact stolen. We found out only after we got home on Nov 18 and heard voicemails from Roger's 1st on Nov 15th that there was suspicious activity on our phone. The phone was left unblocked until Nov 17th, 2 days after their 1st call.

Air Canada has taken 0 action (only a form letter that they do not accept any responsibility for the loss of cell phones) after sending them a formal letter outlining our breach of security concerns. It chills me to think about what could have been planted in our bag let along what was stolen.

To date Roger's has put me in a position to pay off this account in full (after a $342 discount to help out as they told me) within 30 days or risk disconnection and collection proceedings.

Unlike yours which was substantial dollars, our disputed charges are only $950 plus another $150 on the current bill plus what ever else comes in within 90 days. Roger's is saying I need to take responsibility for everything that comes in over the next several statements. Are they not profiting from the proceeds of crime here?

To avoid disconnection of a very important phone number to me and possible credit rating issues, I'm thinking of paying this bill off and for the principle of the matter, actively pursuing Roger's to get the money back. Your thoughts? I'm sure there are lot of people who are experiencing these sorts of issues.

Also, what do you think about this Air Canada security breach???


Darren Martin


Sent January 17, 2006



1. You'll never get a penny back from Rogers once you pay them. If I am certain of anything, it is that.


2. Its very stressful fighting these things; but more stressful, perhaps, where there is absolutely no return you will see for your struggle.


Your situation is different than mine because Rogers never called me to tell me that something unusual was afoot on my phone. You could argue, however, that their protocol indicates that they will cut the long distance calls off once the pattern begins to emerge if they can't get ahold of the consumer. Why didn't they do so in your case? There's a whole other (yet unresolved) issue that relates to my son's cell phone that I won't go into; but Rogers has claimed that they called my son's cell phone before they shut it off - and, despite that I was in ongoing daily contact with them (by letter, email, and home phone), they never once called my home phone. They indicated it was sufficient to call my son's cell phone. So if they now claim with you that calling your home phone is part of the protocol, they seem to changing their protocol and, to get to my next point, treating customers in an arbitrary and self-serving manner. I should think they had an obligation to follow their protocol and call you immediately then shut your phone off if they couldn't reach you.


My next point: ask them why they zero'd the bill of a law professor whose story was in the national media and not yours. What distinguishes the two cases. My phone was stolen and I didn't realize so until Rogers left a message on my home phone the night I returned from abroad, 16 days after the calls had stopped (accounts receivable, not Rogers fraud called - and it was a full 16 days before my bill was even due: they wanted their money!). What's so different about these cases?


And your point about profiting from crime is excellent. The profit margin for Rogers is HUGE. The last I heard (needs to be confirmed) the costs to the wireless provider for LD and local calls is the same. If you're going to bargain, start with what their actual costs are. A reduction of $345 is hardly generous. I have also heard (needs to be confirmed) that their profit margin on LD calls is between 42-70%.


As I indicated, you can formally dispute the charges (as per clause 1 of their contract) and let Rogers pursue you in court. Do everything in writing. Keep good records. (And I would also say: record phone conversations you have with Rogers reps). Best to pay the undisputed charge, if you do this, to keep your account in good standing or you'll have to pay the penalty charge for breaching the contract (up to $200). I bought a new phone and opened my old number and kept my number active in this manner: it was on that phone that Ted Rogers called me when the story hit the Globe.


And you can put a note to your credit file with the two credit bureaus if you're worried about your credit rating. "Disputed" charges should not affect your credit rating and personally I find it offensive that a corporation would use the credit bureaus in this kind of an extortionate manner.


But, you should keep in mind fighting these things is stressful and you may well find out that Rogers starts to harass you (they sent my account for collection "treatment" (the court record reveals) 16 days before my account was even due and before even exchanging a word with me). You need a strong constitution. I just couldn't stomach paying them to get them off my back. My sense of indignity kept me going. You need to evaluate for yourself whether the fight is worth the stress that will enter your life.


In light of what you say about Air Canada, I strongly think you should report your stolen phone to the police and suggest that CSIS gets involved. And if there is a local reporter who writes about security issues or consumer advocacy, pitch the story to them. If the reporter calls AC, I'm prepared to hazard that you might get a very swift response indeed. I would make a BIG stink about that one.


Good luck and let me know what happens.


Susan Drummond



Sent January 17, 2006


I thought you might be interested in this letter. [I forwarded him Dan Martella’s success story with Rogers.]


I'd be interested in hearing how things go after you mention this apparent change in policy to them. This fellow was writing me from BC.


Susan Drummond



Sent January 17, 2006

I called Roger's "customer relations" immediately and informed them that the arrangements previously made haven't sat right with me at all. I told them that I did not feel right that they would profit from the proceeds of crime and told them that I wish to dispute all charges made to my cell phone after it was stolen because I didn't feel that there Loss Prevention Department responded adequately to the change in call pattern on my cell phone which was very much out of the ordinary over an extended period of time. Furthermore, I explained that my experience with credit card companies is that even in a circumstance where charges made to my card before it is reported, I am not liable for those charges and it seems that with Roger's I am liable in their eyes. Why is that? There was a huge pause and I was put on hold for several minutes. I then asked if I was under any obligation with Roger's to pay for disputed charges before the dispute is resolved. Again a huge pause and I was put on hold. They came back and said that they "customer relations" of all there departments could not help me any more with my questions and advised me to call the accounting department to inform them that I wish to dispute the charges further. Then I am to call the Loss Prevention Department to explain again my concerns.

Here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sent January 17


I'd just mention that your understanding is that Lisa Brussa-Toi, assistant to the president of Rogers Wireless, indicated clearly within the last two days to another Rogers Wireless customer that Rogers has adopted a new policy as a result of the Drummond case. The new policy:


If a phone is lost or stolen and abused, Rogers will conduct an investigation and they will not charge the victim for all those fraudulent charges...Just like the credit card companies.


And I'd inquire into why both another customer and a law professor seem to be able to have their bills zero'd in these circumstances and yet they appear to be telling you you're on the hook!! Is it a policy for ALL Rogers consumers? Or is it something they randomly decide they're going to provide for a certain privileged few?


If you're going to dispute, make sure you put it in writing and make sure it is properly delivered on time - eg registered mail.


I'm very curious to see how this turns out. It's not my business, but I think it might be a good idea to tape record their response to the point you raise about Lisa Brussa-Toi and this new policy.


I mentioned the fellow was from BC. He's from Ottawa.


Sent January 18, 2006

Thank-you Coach,

I spoke with Serge in the Loss Prevention Department at Rogers (888-383-2080) and explained about this new policy I heard of. He said that based on his preliminary review of the circumstances of my cell phone being stolen and the subsequent fraudulent charges, he sees no reason why the cell phone charges cannot be dropped (about $1100 worth). He did say that there will be an investigation before the charge actually get reversed though which is understandable.

I really appreciate your help on this!!!


Darren Martin


Sent January 20, 2006

Hi Susan,

This is great!!!!!!!!!

Roger's has reversed all disputed charges on my account.

Thank-you very much for all your help with this and I hope that our experiences can in some way help others.  

Have a good day.


Darren Martin