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Cogeco's Busted Meters Still Think You're a Customer
by Karl Bode 10:10AM Wednesday Aug 28 2013 Tipped by Davesnothere See Profile
Canadian cable operator Cogeco has had a hard time accurately tracking customer usage ever since they implemented metered billing, with users complaining that the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all. It also has a tendency to get confused by things like leap year, overbill users to the tune of thousands of dollars, and even bill users for usage when their modem is off.

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The latest in a long string of anecdotal issues with Cogeco's meter is a user in a forum that's getting notified of data usage despite having left Cogeco eighteen months ago. Says the user:
quote:
I am a former Cogeco Internet customer and left them last April (2012) for START Communications when START began their ATPIA arrangement with Cogeco. I have had since then and currently have ZERO services with Cogeco. A few days ago, on the evening of August 10th, a message hit the inbox of the external email account which Cogeco had on file from when I was a customer, stating that I had reached 85% of my monthly usage cap.
He's since gotten several more, and a copyright infringement notice for good measure. There have been numerous companies whose meters don't work correctly, but Cogeco has been the poster child for meter dysfunction, despite having four years to perfect them. I've reached out to see what precisely could be going on here -- whether it's just a billing and software bug or they've accidentally confused MAC addresses.

Have I mentioned lately that neither the FCC or CRTC can be bothered to track the accuracy of broadband usage meters?

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MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Use the courts

Sue them in Small Claims Court in Ontario for up to $25,000.
jc100

join:2002-04-10

My Meters Expired

Funny and yet pathetic. I compare usage meters to cell phone minutes. If you can't accuarately bill a customer, then your model needs changed. I don't want to pay for an extra 1000 minutes if I've only used 500, any more than if given 100gb and claimed to have eaten 500.
8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA

Re: My Meters Expired

Ask them to provide the ISO or other internationally recognized standard that their usage meters comply with, ask for the most recent test results from the quality control process they use to ensure that their meters are accurate, the frequency of QC testing on their meters, and the name of the government agency or 3rd party auditor that verifies the accuracy of their meters and the testing procedure itself, and their procedure for resolving customer metering disputes. That should keep them off your back for a few years.

dillyhammer
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Re: My Meters Expired

said by 8744675:

Ask them to provide the ISO or other internationally recognized standard that their usage meters comply with, ask for the most recent test results from the quality control process they use to ensure that their meters are accurate, the frequency of QC testing on their meters, and the name of the government agency or 3rd party auditor that verifies the accuracy of their meters and the testing procedure itself, and their procedure for resolving customer metering disputes. That should keep them off your back for a few years.

Yeah, doing all that up here together with $1.27 gets you a medium double double and a belly laugh.

The regulators are OWNED by the incumbents, and they have all been very clear: data caps and usage issues are not within their mandate.

They don't give a shit about any of that.

Cogeco is the worst of them.

Mike

--
I've picked on Cogeco long enough. Who's next? Any volunteers?

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

Watch out Karl Bode

Reaching out for them may end up with their system thinking you are a customer too..
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Confused notification systems

It sounds like the metering and copyright infringement notification systems still have the MAC of his former cable modem tied to his old e-mail address, while provisioning and billing have it correctly tied to the new user who received it after he turned it in.

This may seem kind of amusing, in a dysfunctional sort of way, but it won't be too funny if this guy's address is the one they send out to a movie studio or music company as that of the person who's downloading this stuff. At that point, he's going to be the one getting the settlement demand or lawsuit notification

At this point, I'd probably mail a registered letter to Cogeco's legal department, demanding they resolve this and respond in writing that it has, in fact, been resolved. That way, they've been officially put on notice of the problem, so, if some copyright owner comes looking for the wrong person, the user will have evidence that Cogeco knew what happened and either claimed to fix it or blew him off. This would be handy to have if the whole mess lands in court.

OverrRyde

join:2007-04-10
Waterdown, ON

Re: Confused notification systems

I smell privacy violation if that should happen!

dillyhammer
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Serious accusation

The meter / usage notifications are hilarious. There are threads all over DSLr describing various users' interactions with Cogeco regarding their usage and billing practices. Remember the $1500 Cogeco bill? Wasn't that long ago.

Since they don't have a registered service assigned to this particular user and haven't for 16 months, at least he doesn't ave to worry about a bill being sent.

But the accusation of copyright infringement is another matter. False accusing someone of committing a crime is serious stuff. At a minimum it warrants a written description of what occurred, what is being done to prevent it from happening again, accompanied by an apology, from Cogeco.

I suspect what will happen is the user will hit a wall of silence and be forced to jump through hoops to get to the bottom of this, with Cogeco hoping the user will just forget the whole thing. I suspect Cogeco already knows what happened, hence the silence in the corresponding thread.

After all, this wouldn't be the first time Cogeco has falsely accused a customer of being a thief and been unrepentant about it. I believe that behaviour may well be a part of their business model. Looking for deals and discounts seems to warrant their wrath as well.

Mike
--
I've picked on Cogeco long enough. Who's next? Any volunteers?

Davesnothere
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3 edits

Re: Serious accusation

said by dillyhammer:

The meter / usage notifications are hilarious. There are threads all over DSLr describing various users' interactions with Cogeco regarding their usage and billing practices. Remember the $1500 Cogeco bill? Wasn't that long ago.

Since they don't have a registered service assigned to this particular user and haven't for 16 months, at least he doesn't ave to worry about a bill being sent.

But the accusation of copyright infringement is another matter. False accusing someone of committing a crime is serious stuff. At a minimum it warrants a written description of what occurred, what is being done to prevent it from happening again, accompanied by an apology, from Cogeco.

I suspect what will happen is the user will hit a wall of silence and be forced to jump through hoops to get to the bottom of this, with Cogeco hoping the user will just forget the whole thing. I suspect Cogeco already knows what happened, hence the silence in the corresponding thread.

After all, this wouldn't be the first time Cogeco has falsely accused a customer of being a thief and been unrepentant about it. I believe that behaviour may well be a part of their business model. Looking for deals and discounts seems to warrant their wrath as well.

 
Now in all undeserved fairness to Cogeco, they did not directly accuse me of downloading that movie.

They simply sent me - as an inline attachment - a message which THEY received from a watchdog company hired by CBS, telling me that they had received this message.

But Cogeco DID mis-associate (unless they want to offer the alternate explanation that their servers were hacked) that message in some way with ME, and the only data which could POSSIBLY have been unique to ANY Cogeco subscriber in the CBS subcontractor's message was an IP address.

Somehow, Cogeco or their misguided computers decided that this was me, and seem(s) to have sent an eMail about it to a Cogeco mailbox which should have been closed and purged over 16 months ago when I left Cogeco, and somehow, that message got forwarded to the external account which they had on file for me, which they should ALSO have purged from everywhere except possibly their marketing department's mailing lists.

But the yet-unexplained problem began with the false usage notices.

The false copyright violation message was just icing on the cake.
EnerJi

join:2011-02-19
Miami Beach, FL

Don't bring metered billing to Atlantic Broadband!

Really hope Cogeco doesn't introduce metered billing to ABB (now that they own them).

dillyhammer
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Re: Don't bring metered billing to Atlantic Broadband!

said by EnerJi:

Really hope Cogeco doesn't introduce metered billing to ABB (now that they own them).

From their disclosure document:

Atlantic Broadband has not established a monthly data usage cap for its customers. We do monitor usage, however, and we regularly review accounts with uncommonly high usage relative to all other accounts to ensure that such accounts have not been subjected to cloning, unauthorized access, other security breach, business use or unlawful activity. As part of our review, we may contact account holders to inquire a bout usage and may take or require actions to correct problems such as security, class of use or unlawful activity.

Cogeco acquired ABB, what, 9 months ago. Honeymoon time is almost over. Caps and usage fees are the new black ink. Keep us posted though.



Mike
--
I've picked on Cogeco long enough. Who's next? Any volunteers?
EnerJi

join:2011-02-19
Miami Beach, FL

Re: Don't bring metered billing to Atlantic Broadband!

said by dillyhammer:

Cogeco acquired ABB, what, 9 months ago. Honeymoon time is almost over. Caps and usage fees are the new black ink. Keep us posted though.



Mike

Great.