Rogers Wireless is being called on the carpet after two Manitoba families received bills addressed to their dead loved ones, who never had phones with the company.

“[It] blew me away, just blew me away when I opened it up,” said Deborah Bruneteau

”It just came right out of nowhere. No phone calls, no other letters, nothing prior.”

Bruneteau said she was shocked to find a bill totalling over $2,000 when she opened a letter to addressed to her deceased father William Spence.

Even more shocking to Bruneteau, her father had never owned a cellphone.

Bruneteau quickly got on the phone to the collections agency and several departments at Rogers Wireless who realized they had sent the bill to the wrong William Spence.

“When she said the address and the birthday didn’t match up, it was pretty much a no-brainer,” said Bruneteau.

Lisa Dyck says she also received an erroneous bill for her deceased mother, who died in 2008.

The bill was for hundreds of dollars, despite the fact Dyck’s mother had never owned a cellphone.

“They need to take care of those situations and find out who they’re billing and why they’re billing,” Dyck said.

The bills kept coming despite the family getting in touch with Rogers to let them know the woman was dead.

“I think it’s just a matter of a company being too big and not knowing who their customers are and not being involved,” Dyck.

Dyck and Bruneteau’s experiences aren’t uncommon, according to Howard Maker, Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.

“There are too many no-brainers that come all the way to us, the industry ombudsman, and that’s very unfortunate,” said Maker.

Bruneteau said she’s glad the issue is cleared up but is worried about the impact it could have had.

“I can’t help but think if my dad were still here, what impact this would have had on him and his estate – what could they have done to him?” she said.

Dave Johnson of Pembroke, Ont. is living that nightmare. He received a bill for $5,400 from the company for a phone he never owned. After calling the collection agency he thought he had cleared it up, but the problem didn’t go away. It ended up on his credit record, and he was later turned down for more than one credit card.

Johnson was also unable to co-sign for his son’s mortgage or use the equity in his home, which is paid for. He was one of at least two Dave Johnson’s who had been wrongly pursued for the bill.

In a statement, Rogers Wireless told CBC News, “We sincerely regret that Ms. Bruneteau had this experience.”

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Rogers Wireless's billing practices were questioned because two Manitoba families received bills from the company addressed to their deceased loved ones. In fact, the bills came from a collection agency contracted by Rogers.
    Oct 16, 2013 5:00 PM CT