Back in September, I wrote about confusing and misleading advertising on Rogers’ website. Their site was listing contradictory wireless data roaming and overage rates, making it impossible for consumers to make informed choices about the price of available services.
I was somewhat surprised when a Rogers rep responded to my blog by thanking me for pointing out the “technical error” and assuring me that the problem had been resolved.
Rogers does catch a lot of flack for its treatment of consumers, and it’s not hard to see why. Technical glitches or not, misleading information on its commercial webpage contributes to its negative image. Worse still, it can harm consumers by sowing confusion, and even cause customers to mistakenly pay higher-than-advertised rates.
Assurances aside, I was poking around on the Rogers site today, and I was disappointed with what I found. 8 months later their website is still full of misleading information! First off, data overage fees for wireless plans are initially shown at $10/GB, but in the fine print they come in at $15 for the same amount of data. Customer service indicated to me over the phone that the higher figure was what customers actually pay.
One thing you may have noticed is that, unless you live in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, the plans available to you for similar data packages are way more expensive than what you see above. As in twice the price! It’s too bad for the rest of Canada, as apparently the prairie provinces are the only place where the incumbents are feeling competitive pressure to reduce prices.
At this point, the next error hardly comes as a surprise. A prairie customer who goes to the “Buy Online” option at the Rogers website is not shown the proper advertised rates. Instead, the only options available are the inflated price plans available to our neighbours in more hilly provinces. Another technical glitch?
Of course, any customer concerned about their bank balance should do what I did and call into Rogers to make sure they’re getting the proper deal. But in today’s day and age, should customers really have to police a communication company’s website for instances of miscommunication?
To be fair to Rogers, I was connected to a friendly service rep within minutes, who even offered me a discount should I switch from my unlimited data plan with MTS. But he was as puzzled as I that the Rogers website didn’t display the proper plans. “Maybe it’s because the plans available in Manitoba are a promotion,” he suggested. Somehow that possibility seems unlikely to me; what kind of promotion is advertised but can’t be purchased at the checkout page?
Recently, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications Edward Rogers publicly lamented the lack of appreciation his company receives for their generosity toward customers.
“We didn’t get a lot of credit that we rewarded customers for their tenure, their spend, the number of products, to the degree we honestly thought we did,” he said, according to an interview in the Financial Post.
Well, Mr. Rogers, to the rest of Canada it’s fairly obvious why customers view your company’s services in a less-than-neighbourly light.
The question now is: what are you going to do about it?
Why can’t Rogers get its website right?
Why are the incumbents competing on price against MTS and Sasktel, but not against Wind or Eastlink?
Why does choosing something as basic as a cellphone plan require a degree in rocket science and a leap of faith?
These and other issues deserve the attention of the regulator in the upcoming hearing on wireless competition. We can either wait around for Rogers to get it right, or we can make sure the CRTC does something about problems our wireless providers are either unwilling or incapable of solving.
If you’ve experienced similar frustrations with your provider, and have got some ideas about improvements that should be considered, why don’t you take a few minutes to express your views to the CRTC? They’re looking for informed views about the state of competition in wireless markets – comments from the public are due on May 1.