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OhNo2

join:2012-01-17
Burlington, ON

1 recommendation

[Burloak] Usage Based Billing Nightmare

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November bill
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December bill
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January bill
The following letter that has been sent to Cogeco and a few others are the accounts of my current nightmare with Cogeco. This situation has shown how little they care about my business. It seems like they are more concerned with short term gains than customer retention. I sent this letter in hopes of having my problem solved and influencing the way they operate.

quote:
I have been a loyal Cogeco client for the past decade. In recent years, I have spent upwards of $4000 on a yearly basis with your company. A negative option billing scenario will have me owing Cogeco over $2500 for a 3 month period.

At the end of June 2010, a Cogeco salesperson called me to change my service based on my usage. It would cost me less money and in return I would receive faster internet and an increased data transfer capacity. The Ultimate 30 plan would allow for 125Gb of data transfer capacity and additional bandwidth would cost $1.00/Gb to a maximum of $50. I of course changed my service to get the increase in bandwidth for less.

I realized on December 22nd 2011 that Cogeco had withdrawn $891.40 from my account on December 15th. That is triple the amount I usually pay. I promptly called Cogeco to investigate. They let me know that as of October 1st, 2011 they had changed my service without my knowledge. The extra bandwidth would no longer have a cap of $50 and was now an unlimited charge. I inquired as to how a fundamental part of my service could be changed without my knowledge and with no call to verify that I would agree to such a change. I was told that a letter was sent. I let the customer service representative know that I had not received such a letter nor had I received my bill from the month of October and November. The representative told me that letters were sent out to all of their customers. When I asked one of Cogeco’s customer service representatives why calls were not made so they could get actual verbal confirmation from their customers, rather than assuming a letter had been sent and received, she told me Cogeco does not have the manpower for such a feat. I spoke to multiple representatives and not one could provide me with some sort of guarantee, receipt or proof that the letter had even been sent in the first place. Cogeco also has no way of confirming that, if the letter was in fact sent, the customer was in actual receipt of the said letter. Every time I inquired about the reliability of such a system the Cogeco customer service representatives would default to a scripted response of, “Cogeco sent the letter to all of its customers” or “customers throw it out or don’t read it”. One of your representatives went as far as to call me a liar. Only one representative would even toy with the idea that customers do not get the letters delivered. This representative credited my account $50 as a “one time customer service gesture” because I had not received the letter. Only one representative admitted fault, although she did not credit my account properly. My last conversation of that particular day with a supervisor had her admit that some customers do not receive the letters but then she immediately tried to rephrase herself.

The Ministry of Consumer Services states that no supplier may demand payment or suggest that a consumer must pay for any unsolicited goods or services even if the consumer is under contract with the company to receive other goods or services. The company must have the express written authorization from the consumer to bill for extra goods or services. The service I had agreed to was 30 Mbps, 125GB monthly data transfer capacity and a usage overage charge of $1.00 per GB to a maximum of $50. In this case you have substituted an agreed-upon product for another or have “upgraded” my subscription by giving me “more” – and charging more for it. My service was changed and you have not received written authorization to do so.

Ignoring the negative option billing, I do not understand what your customer service team thought my motive was for lying about receiving that letter. Had it actually been received, knowing what my average bandwidth was in a month, I would have stepped down to the Turbo 20 package that has a maximum of $50 for usage or the Business Ultimate 50 package which is unlimited data transfer. Either option would have saved me hundreds of dollars. The representatives would not change my service and backdate the bandwidth usage. If your company had let me change and backdate the usage, you would be more likely to retain a customer and make more money in the long term. This entire situation appears to be a cash grab. Once you have my money it does not seem that you are willing to help anymore. This seems to be completely contradictory to the claims of your “Highest Customer Satisfaction” award.

Internet usage based billing is flawed. The methodology and devices that determine the bandwidth are not certified or regulated by Measurement Canada. There is no recourse for your customers to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the bandwidth measurements. Cogeco customers must rely on the ‘Internet Usage’ meter Cogeco has on the website. The meter is not always up to date and has frequent outages. The metering Cogeco uses does not distinguish between wanted and unwanted traffic. This means that a customer would have to pay overages if their modem was the victim of a malicious attack. Cogeco charges exact overage charges without having a flawless metering system in place.

I have tried to be very reasonable throughout this entire ordeal. I would like to tell my family and friends that this matter has been concluded in a mutually agreeable fashion. After being a long time customer and having spent tens of thousands of dollars with your company, I do not expect to be treated as second rate. I have every intent of pulling all of my services from Cogeco within the month if your company continues to deal with this situation in the manner shown to me up to this date. Loyalty works both ways; I look forward to your response.

Regards
As I did not recieve numerous bills, I had to copy the attached bills from the MyCogeco site. Due to technical difficulty it would not allow to copy page 1 of my December bill.

cog_biz_user
i ruin threads apparently

join:2011-04-19
Hamilton, ON

sorry to hear about your mix-up, but how did you go through a terabyte in a month?


OhNo2

join:2012-01-17
Burlington, ON

We never reached 1TB in a month. 6 people in a household and at least one person streaming something in HD at some point. Also uploading HD media projects and audio projects for schooling.

UBB deters people from using more competitive services like Netflix, HBO GO, iTunes, CinemaNow, etc. It competes directly with their core business of television. Seems very anti-competetitive. Cogeco does not offer a reasonable plan that would allow for such services to be used as your primary source for movies, TV and music.



xfinisherx

join:2011-05-06

I think it's time to take Cogeco to court for this one... That is, after no solution has been reached

I'm really really surprised...


ancodia

join:2006-07-10
reply to OhNo2

this story should be bumped up to the front page as it is an excellent example of what is going wrong with Internet access in Canada.


BubbaBrewski

join:2011-02-01
Welland, ON

3 edits

When Cogeco announced these new Ultimate plans, I wondered how long before someone would receive a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars. It's pretty crappy that would treat you this poorly considering you have been a loyal customer who spends hundreds per month on their services. If they had any heart you would think they would have eaten most of the usage fees (which is virtually pure profit anyway), but instead they insult you by not even taking 10% off. Maybe if you threaten to take your story to the press they might change their tune.



wowzers

@videotron.ca
reply to OhNo2

The CCTS is free. Why not file your complaint along with all the dates/times you have called cogeco or communicated with them?

Half your complaint is already done. include this latest complaint in your formal complaint to the CCTS.

It's free for you and binding on cogeco.

»www.ccts-cprst.ca/



shrug

@videotron.ca
reply to ancodia

said by ancodia:

this story should be bumped up to the front page as it is an excellent example of what is going wrong with Internet access in Canada.

IM Karl Bode »/useremail/u/141383 and send him the link to this thread.

Let him know Cogeco resellers come come fast enough.


shrug

@videotron.ca

said by shrug :

IM Karl Bode »/useremail/u/141383 and send him the link to this thread.

Let him know Cogeco resellers come can't come fast enough.

Typo fix


DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000
reply to OhNo2

This is absolutely ridiculous.

My sympathies. This needs front page attention.


EdmundGerber

join:2010-01-04
kudos:1
reply to cog_biz_user

said by cog_biz_user:

sorry to hear about your mix-up, but how did you go through a terabyte in a month?

Where do you read that he went through that amount of data??

I would get a lawyer and the news services involved if they continue to dodge the issue. Nothing like some bad press to smarten these shady companies up.

And then I would drop them like a hot potato! Hopefully you have options in your area to move on to. Get away from these scumbags...


dillyhammer
START me up
Premium
join:2010-01-09
Scarborough, ON
kudos:10
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·Start Communicat..

4 edits

1 recommendation

reply to OhNo2

This absolutely belongs on the front page as headline news.

It's beyond ridiculous. Beyond obscene.

I was made aware of this beforehand, but had no idea of the amounts, which are... well, there's just no words to adequately describe what this is.

First things first. I would think the following people need to get a hold of this:

Guy Caron, NDP industry critic
»guycaron.ndp.ca/

Geoff Regan, Liberal industry critic
»www.geoffregan.ca/

André Bellavance, Bloc industry critic, just for the hell of it

Steve Anderson, Open Media
openmedia.ca

Charlie Angus, NDP
»charlieangus.ndp.ca/

Michael Geist
»www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/767/157/

Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star Columnist
»www.thestar.com/news/columnists/···no-rosie

I would certainly bring it to the attention, just for completeness, to Christian Paradis, Industry Minister, and the PMO's office.

»www.christianparadis.com/contact/
»pm.gc.ca/eng/contact.asp?featureId=10

Here's what I would do.

All services with Cogeco would be cut. Today. Everything. Their equipment would be removed from my property. It would be the last day I do business with them, and I would make it my personal mission in life to proactively take away as much business from Cogeco as humanly possible.

I'd call Shaw Direct for television, and TSI or some other indie for DSL - unlimited. I wouldn't even wait for the new stuff to be installed, I'd go without until it was. Whatever the hell is going on, you and your finances are in extreme danger.

Next, all access to bank accounts or creditr cards by Cogeco would be terminated. I'd be doing that both by phone, and by faxing a letter to their legal offices terminating any previously granted access to direct withdrawal etc.

Next, I'd package this all up and send it off to CCTS as a formal complaint, as a matter of principle. If you search "inaccurate meters" in this forum you get all kinds of crazy anecdotal information, with some meter screen grabs, of just how broken the meters are. I'd put that in too, just for the hell of it.

»www.ccts-cprst.ca/

Next, Id be calling the Lawyer Referral Service and asking for a referral to a lawyer to discuss this with. Preferably a litigation specialist.

1-800-268-8326

That'll get you a 30 minute consultation at no cost to you.

Holy shit.

Mike
--
No more UBB... nor more AVP... now it's "Capacity Based". Oh... wait... isn't that what we wanted?



dillyhammer
START me up
Premium
join:2010-01-09
Scarborough, ON
kudos:10
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·Start Communicat..

1 edit
reply to OhNo2

Cross-posted a link to here on the broadband forum. Folks need to be aware of this.

»UBB Nightmare

I have made Steve Anderson aware of this thread via email.

I have also sent off an email to Rosie DiManno - someone who in my ~7 years at Torstar did not get an opportunity to meet.

Mike
--
No more UBB... nor more AVP... now it's "Capacity Based". Oh... wait... isn't that what we wanted?



xfinisherx

join:2011-05-06
reply to dillyhammer

You're simply amazing, I commend you - Great effort on helping the guy, he really needs it



Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
reply to OhNo2

You need to get a hold of someone at a newspaper or a TV station over this. I just can't think of who to get a hold of. Since Cogeco does not own any of the media in Ontario, getting them to print or publish this nightmare should not be a problem.

This was only a matter of time. Lord god almighty. But hey, we all knew this was eventually going to happen.



Shrug

@videotron.ca

Someone should send this off to Ellen Roseman of the Toronto Star.

She is no stranger to the likes of Bell and Rogers., Cogeco would be a fine addition to her blog and consumer section of TorStar.


jpaik

join:2002-01-09
Hamilton, ON
reply to OhNo2

It's just a matter of time until this mess hits the mainstream media. Hopefully the resulting negative publicity for Cogeco will generate a quick resolution to this ugly situation.

I almost never allow "suppliers" access to my bank account for automatic withdrawals for payments. Yes there is a risk to one's credit rating if disputes drag on, but you do have a little extra leverage.
--
minimum waste, maximum joy



dillyhammer
START me up
Premium
join:2010-01-09
Scarborough, ON
kudos:10
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·Start Communicat..
reply to Gone

said by Gone:

This was only a matter of time. Lord god almighty.

Word.

I can't get over it. I'm making arrangements next week for DSL, chopping Cogeco, $75 ETF be damned. I can't do business with a company like that. Fsck that. Never thought I'd say it, but... worse than B#ell.

Net loss to Cogeco for my lost business in the next year - $1593.

Mike
--
Cogeco - The New UBB Devil

ancodia

join:2006-07-10
reply to OhNo2

We need to get this out to the media. Something like 'Canada's new UBB rules net customer a $1000 Internet bill. Customer complains, Cogeco says pay up'



Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4

said by ancodia:

We need to get this out to the media. Something like 'Canada's new UBB rules net customer a $1000 Internet bill. Customer complains, Cogeco says pay up'

Does anyone know of any contacts at CTV or the Toronto Star? Citytv used to love stuff like this, but they're owned by Rogers and I'm not sure how much a company owned by another cable company would want to paint their brothers in arms in a bad light.


dillyhammer
START me up
Premium
join:2010-01-09
Scarborough, ON
kudos:10
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·Start Communicat..

said by Gone:

Does anyone know of any contacts at CTV or the Toronto Star?

I've sent Rosie DiManno an email. If she can't jump in for any reason, I do have some contacts at Torstar that I actually know personally and I'll call them, but I think Ms. DiManno is the right person to grab this.

In the meantime, if Steve Anderson at Open Media can run with this for even a little bit it'll be a big help. I've also made him aware.

Mike
--
Cogeco - The New UBB Devil

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
reply to OhNo2

Just an FYI the limit in Ontario small claims is $25,000.00 so you only need a paralegal for this one.

You would probably have to pay the bill first, as your credit rating might be impacted, and to actually suffer damages as small claims has limited relief options to a plaintiff.

I'm sure there would be no shortage of people who would testify one your behalf about the meter issue that you could get qualified as an expert witness.

Also you can get awarded additional damages depending on the actions of the defendant in this case. If it hits the media an undisclosed settlement in excess of the actual damages will result.



Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
reply to dillyhammer

said by dillyhammer:

I've sent Rosie DiManno an email. If she can't jump in for any reason, I do have some contacts at Torstar that I actually know personally and I'll call them, but I think Ms. DiManno is the right person to grab this.

I knew there was someone who wrote for the Toronto Star who loves this kind of stuff, and that's who it was. We need to get this out into the mainstream media so that regular non-technical people know just how much they can be screwed.

ancodia

join:2006-07-10

said by Gone:We need to get this out into the mainstream media so that regular non-technical people know just how much they can be screwed.

you are 100% right. This is the kind of story that will wake people up to the reality of what is going wrong in Canada with Internet access & UBB. For now it only affects 30/50 plans, but it's only a matter of time before they remove the caps on all of the plans, and the other providers follow.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4

Yeah, and it's also worth noting that there is no competition in Cogeco territory like there is in Rogers' territory and Bell has barely built in their FTTN network in many of the communities Cogeco serves, which means we have no choice but to take it up the ass, and Cogeco knows this, which is why they can get away with it - or at least they think they can.

We need to get the shit to hit the fan over this. Getting as much coverage as possible is key.



Asawulf
Ignorance is bliss
VIP
join:2005-08-17
Trois-Rivieres, QC
kudos:4
reply to OhNo2

Flipped a PM to the OP for account infos for review because... we do care.


ancodia

join:2006-07-10

1 recommendation

said by Asawulf:

Flipped a PM to the OP for account infos for review because... we do care.

Get his account info so you can get his address to mail him some lube? I don't think it'll help.

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON

1 recommendation

reply to Asawulf

said by Asawulf:

Flipped a PM to the OP for account infos for review because... we do care it will end up in the media.

Fixed.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4

1 recommendation

reply to Asawulf

said by Asawulf:

Flipped a PM to the OP for account infos for review because... we do care.

We know you guys who post here care, otherwise you wouldn't be here. That has never been called into question.

The issue is your corporate policy. It is quite clear that the people who come up with these things do not care. The only thing they care about is the bottom line and finding ways to pay for their European folly.

Please do not confuse our outrage here with outrage against you guys. Nothing could ever be further from the truth.

jpaik

join:2002-01-09
Hamilton, ON
reply to peterboro

+1 to this. I was also going to suggest Ontario small claims.

By now, Cogeco management must know about the particulars this issue, and is hopefully looking at a resolution.
--
minimum waste, maximum joy

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