Has Rogers Changed their Policy? Part I

Correspondence Between Rogers Consumer Dan Martella (in regular font)
and Susan Drummond (in italics)


First Letter: December 29, 2005

Dear Ms Drummond,

My name is Dan Martella and I live in Ottawa.  I am in the process of arguing with Rogers about a $1200 charge from my son's lost (likely stolen) cell phone and I have just come across your case. 

Talking to the Rogers customer service department has been like talking to a brick wall.  I am learning a lot about how these phones work and how easy it is to become a victim.  I do not feel that the industry is doing it's fair share to protect their clients.  I intend to argue as long as takes in order to raise the bar of service and protection afforded to new and innocent users.  

Would you accept discussing this with me?  I would like to pass you the points I have raised and learn from you further insight into this issue.  I would like to CC you as I proceed. 

Thank you for your consideration.


Sent around December 29 from Israel


I'm not at home at the moment. But let me briefly tell you what I did in case that is of assistance.


To see the contract you signed (most of us don't hold onto our copies) go to www.rogers.com/terms.


The contract is the Wireless Service Agreement. I haven't looked at the contract in about a week, and it may have changed, so look at it carefully.


You'll see at the first clause that you have agreed to pay for "undisputed" charges. The customer service reps and also page 2 of the invoice tells you that you have agreed to pay "total" charges. You are bound by the contract, not the invoice. If the calls were made on a stolen phone, then I think it is reasonable to assume that the charges are "disputed".


I went to the police (the fraud department) and filed a report. If you do so, take a note of the ecops or police file number.


Write a letter to Rogers corporate offices (333 Bloor Street... see bottom of contract or page 2 of invoice) to the customer relations department disputing the charges. Cite the police report number which should provide greater clarity that the charges were made on a stolen phone. Make sure you pay off the UNDISPUTED charges on time and in full - this should keep your account in good standing. I have been paying off my undisputed charges in full and on time for several months now. My contract remains in good standing. As you might know, to cancel your contract can cost up to $200.00 and you also have to give a month's notice to cancel. So it would be in your interest to keep the account in good standing. If you can get a customer service rep (CSR) to disaggregate disputed from undisputed charges, you're in luck. I had to fight extraordinarily hard to do so, arguing that if I have contractually agreed to only pay "undisputed" charges, there has to be something called "disputed" charges, and therefore there has to be a means to dispute those charges. You also have to pay GST and PST on your undisputed charges.


Report that the charges are in dispute to Equifax and TransUnion (Rogers sent a computer record saying that my "disputed" charges were overdue - and they levied a whopping late penalty on those disputed charges.)


If you see the original Globe article, the article notes that the transcripts cited indicate that Rogers has a computer generated protocol for flagging atypical call patterns and they have had this protocol in place since 1997. I have argued that this amounts to a duty of care on Rogers' part to alert customers to atypical call patterns.


You might also, in your dealings with Rogers on this matter, indicate that you are fully aware of the Drummond case and ask to know why a law professor's charges were cleared and yet you are having difficulty having your own taken care of.


Let me know how it goes.

Sent January 17, 2006


Just to let you know that Rogers called and they will not charge us for all disputed charges and further, they have indicated that because of your case, they have changed their policy to be like the credit card companies.  Their new policy - If a phone is lost or stolen and abused, they will conduct an investigation and they will not charge the victim for all those fraudulent charges.  For us, that was almost $1250.

I further asked that they not charge my son for the month where he had no phone (December) and they agreed to do that as a PR gesture.  I was talking with Ms Lisa Brussa-Toi who is an assistant to the Rogers Wireless president and she was very pleasant - flowers to her if you have a say.

They also advised that my son will be allowed to buy a new phone at a reduced price thru their lost or stolen phone program - it's going to cost $50 to buy.

Of course I am waiting for this to come in writing but I now have faith in the process.

Once again, it was a confidence builder to have your advice /support.  Thanks.

PS - I tried to explain how Rogers could assist new clients by walking them thru a PIN inserting exercise (both for the phone and the SIM card) and offered to assist if need be.


Sent January 17, 2006



Amazing! Thanks for letting me know.


One query of caution - are you sure you want to buy a Rogers phone again? My understanding is that you are committed again to a three year contract if you buy one of their replacements. The wholesale value of those phones to Rogers is diddly. They really recoup their profits big time, though, when people try and cancel the contract (e.g., stolen phone, or people move; or people get fed up with being in Rogers' particularly painful customer service hell, etc, etc, ).


I know that, coming out of my experience, I would never enter a wireless contract with Rogers or anyone else again. I would just buy a phone outright and get pay-as-you-go on a monthly basis (even with Rogers if you prefer). That way you know that your LD charges are not going to rise over the amount you set if your phone is stolen. As you know, those charges add up awfully quick. You don't have all the hassles with contract cancellation (if it's a new 3 year contract, you will owe Rogers $200 to cancel any time up until about the last 6 months of the contract).


Also, if I were to advise Rogers on the PIN matter, I would suggest that they lead the way in Canada by moving to what happens in the UK (as I understand it): all phones can only be used once a PIN is punched in - for every call. Like ATM machines. That just seems like a much more sensible (and not terribly inconvenient) way to remedy the extravagant charges problem on stolen phones. The phones would be useless without a PIN and the only real potential damages (apart from cloning) would be the loss of the physical phone.


Anyhow. Thanks for letting me know about this. I've received many letters from Rogers customers indicating that Rogers was still trying to stick it to them. So this is the first I've heard that they've mended their ways.