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New iPhone: or why I cancelled my Rogers account

I’ve had a couple of tiring and rather stressful weeks at work in a row, so I decided to take Friday afternoon off.  Since it was cold (and getting colder) I couldn’t really go for a ride on my motorbike.  Instead, I decided to practice some retail therapy and “upgrade” my BlackBerry Bold to an iPhone.

iPhone 4: this changes everything

My BlackBerry is on Rogers, so off I went to my local Rogers Plus store…

The folks at the Rogers Plus store were initially happy to assist with my upgrade.  They had an iPhone 4 in hand, and were going through the usual 30+ minutes of electronic paperwork when we hit a snag.  Apparently, my phone wasn’t quite eligible for upgrade: I was three months early.  Being a reasonable person, I assumed this could be corrected via payment of some sort of fee.  However, apparently that’s not the case.  The Sales guy said I would have to talk to Rogers customer service and get an exception applied, and so I went home and called them up.

The first support person I talked to seemed quite willing to help.  I made it fairly clear that I was willing to cancel my account and accept the fees ($40 a month for the remainder of my contract to a maximum of $400) in order to make the phone switch.  I should point out that this fee is to the end of my three year contract, not the three months difference to get to my upgrade eligibility.   He said I was “very close” to my upgrade date (May, 2011) , but he would have to hand me off to a customer retention specialist.

The customer retention specialist came on the line and more or less immediately told me he couldn’t do anything to help.  I would have to wait three months, or possibly accept early upgrade to some other phone like an Android.  He indicated that they were backordered on iPhones and so could make no exceptions.  I told him “Fine, cancel my account then, you’ve just lost a customer”.  There was stunned silence on the line, followed by “are you sure, Sir?  You could wait, or we could give you this <phone I don’t want>…”

Customer Service: Call someone who cares

And so, in order to preserve their stock of iPhones for customers they don’t yet have, Rogers lost a customer they already have.  A customer who had paid them over $2,000 in monthly fees over the past 1 year 9 months.  A customer who was willing to sign up for another three year contract worth another $2,000 in revenue.

And I get the dubious privilege of paying Rogers another $400 as I walk out the door.  No skin off their nose, and I’m sure I’m not even a blip on their customer service radar.  But I am doubtful that I will ever do business with them again.  I’m now back on Telus, the service provider I had when I first came to B.C., and I have a nice, shiny new iPhone 4.

Interestingly, despite being royally screwed by Rogers and wasting $400 to exit their contract early, I felt quite good after this was all over.  I got to stand firm on a point of principle, stupid and pointless as it might seem.  And I got a new phone: goodness all around!

I'm an iPhone idiot

2 comments to New iPhone: or why I cancelled my Rogers account

  • I quite like my android, have had no real problems with Rogers and certainly would have to think seriously about spending a weeks take home pay to make a point of principle.

    But I have to agree Rogers seems to have it’s head up it’s collective backside most of the time. They are still trying to get me to buy music/TV shows and such from them on my phone at insane prices… when I have wifi, 32GB micro sd and can get normal stuff of the web at normal prices. Maye the assume all their customers are 15 year olds on dad’s family plan?

    The problem is all that these companies do is provide digital bandwidth and there isn’t a lot of difference in ones and zeros other than price. I do truly think Rogers coverage and reliability is better than what I’ve seen of the other providers, but it’s not an easy sell. So all the companies try to pretend that they provide the phones, and that the phones wouldn’t work on any network if unlocked. Most people buy the phone and take any provider that comes with it.

    Now though, and most especially with the iphone, the exact phone is available on multiple networks… the argument for locked phones is clearly hollow.

    Which brings us back to Rogers. They were first to get iPhone, had wider and faster coverage by far… had they dropped their rates and quit crippling their phones to try and make people buy from the company store I think they would have blown Bell and Telus out of the water.

    Instead they sat with their thumb up their butts and ended up in a slugfest with the 2 other giant dinosaur companies… all of whom are pretending that short term pay as you go no contract data will never come to Canada and they will never have to deal with it. Personally, I wouldn’t be buying stock in any of the big 3 as a long term investment.

  • I agree: I paid a hefty price to make a point. But I also was surprised at how much better I felt for having made that point: it defies logic.

    Regarding Rogers and coverage: I’m not sure about that. I have found some strange gaps in Rogers coverage during my travels. But I suspect they have more modern infrastructure, as they pretty much had to deploy it from scratch.

    As pertains to iPhone versus Android: it’s a religious debate. For me, I have an “investment” in Apple products, money and comfort-level wise. Combining that with the specific apps I wanted, and the iPhone was somewhat of a no-brainer for me. That said, the android-based phones are pretty nice, and you have a far wider choice of hardware options. Most notably the availability of phones with slide out keyboards, which certainly has its appeal.

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