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.
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>…”
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!