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Canada's Worst Cellphone Bill  Comment Icon 167 Broadcast DATE: Friday, March 11, 2011
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Canada's Worst Cellphone Bill: The Sequel

Marketplace is once again on a mission to find Canada's Worst Cellphone Bill. We revist Canada's cellphone industry and uncover more horror stories.

Co-host Tom Harrington looks into some incredible cases, including a woman being asked to pay a cancellation fee even though she's being deported, and an octogenarian war veteran who's out of pocket because his minutes expired.

Also, Harrington asks Industry Minister Tony Clement what the federal government is doing to protect Canadians with respect to the telecommunications industry.

Your Comment (167)

just got my cell bill for 625$ for one month from mts. i love getting taken by phone companys. ive tried uping my long distance plan but they just keep charging me more

WOW - this is sensationalism at its worst! I do agree that Canada has a rather bad reputation on its cell phone provision, but come on, get real!
The first gentleman is absolutely wrong, imho. it is KNOWN that your minutes expire after 30 days. Virgin even offers to put back his minutes if he tops up again, I thought that was generous and lenient of them.
The man refuses to do so, so how on earth can he still complain? Unreasonable and silly, imo.

A lot of people here complain about incoming minutes being FREE in other countries. When I first moved to Canada I was shocked it not the case here. HOWEVER!!! We all seem to "forget" that whereas incoming is FREE in other countries, the caller pays EXTRA for calling a cell phone (it's in fact a special recognizable number, eg in Holland it always starts with 06)

Here in Canada it's the called who bears the cost, which when you think about it, is more reasonable and fair to the caller. As the called you can take an "unlimited incoming" plan and choose your own fees in a way. In those other countries the caller is forced to pay extra for calling YOU.

So, whereas I wholeheartedly agree that there should be a bit more competition here in Canada, let's not forget that there are OTHER factors that determine high(er) prices, that most seem to forget!!!

In reply to a comment from Edward

hi Edward,

sue them, that is what i did with mr. Blue...
Do not be nice, i made that mistake, they will fight for every penny.....

In reply to a comment from linda

You can try mobilicity.....
I currently have a plan with them, $35 for unlimited talking, texting and data.

I am not sure how much they charge now, probably $45 or $55....

I am happy with their service....

There is a company called Mobilicity.ca they offer some good deals and no surprises. Did anyone tried them? I am still stuck with Bell mobility. They don't like it that I pay less for better services.

All I want is a cell phone plan the is all inclusive and won't break the bank. Is there something out there like that?

In reply to a comment from ravred

I totally understand the business aspect of cost and demand. However, it is proven that the services cost them (the providers) about 3/4 cents. Of course I understand labour time etc. But really that is an incredible mark up!

In reply to a comment from Steve

You obviously work for Bell

This story is just an excuse for people to be ignorant:

1. Prepaids - they all have expiring minutes. It's on the cards, on the phone when you buy it. Ignorance is not a defence.

2. Roaming - they showed pictures taken with the phone during the trip. I don't know of anywhere that has continuous wifi access throughout a city. While the phone was on taking these pictures, it was roaming. Again ignorance is not an excuse.

3. Cancelling contract - contracts (whether cell phone or anything else) are in place so both parties know what their obligations are. Just because circumstances change, you can not break a contract. Take note of her name when you do business with her, apparently contracts do not mean anything to this individual.

I was told by Bell/Virgin "that they don't support VoIP, they can't guarantee connection between VoIP and the cell phone, it has been an ongoing problem." None of my clients that use VoIP can call my cell phone, they get a "this phone is no longer in service" message. They want me to pay for service they can't provide.

During the CNE (Canadian National Exibition) A large reknowned company had a promotion, which read like this, for 50.00 a month, you get unlimited text and calling local, WOW, great deal, my son got one for himself, and then told for 0.00 he could have another phone for a family member or whomever, well, he grabed it.
After 5 days the phones were finally active, then on the eigth day, a bill came, for over 350.00, with a claim this was outstanding and late, on the 12th day, both phones were turned off, service had been cut.
I called to inquire why, which they replied, we are late and that is why they were off, I asked late, for what, we just got them,
they said we owed for that month of August and sept, and also for October, which had not even arrived, stating they bill a month in advance, and we owed it, so for less then eight days of service, we now owed three months of bills.
The following week, we got a letter from a collection company, claiming we now owed over 1120.00 and what did we plan to pay immediatly, which they said, if we pay just over 800.00 would be exceptable and the account would be cleared.
to this day, we have never gotten an answer to why this mushroomed so far and so fast.

My son is now so affraid of being put in jail, because that is how they treat you, as if you stole something from them, and you WILL pay, or else.so much for the honest sales pitch. even from a top contender in the cell phone bus.

and this was not the last time they tried to get more. they are still at it, and a lot more visious.

Wow! I missed THIS episode, (drats!), but, YIKES! People really don't like Rogers or Bell or many of the other Cell Providers. I guess I've just been really lucky! I've had my cell (SAME ONE, same number!) for 20 years! (unheard of, I know!) I pay monthly, same monthly, plan I've had for the whole time, +/- 40$ month. And it's with FIDO. There have been glitches, occasionally, but they've been rectified, QUICKLY, everytime, to mine, (&, I hope, their) satisfaction. Of course, I've NEVER signed a three-year contract as, can you believe it, I don't want a phone with all the bells and whistles... that's what I have a computer for!

-acorn

In reply to a comment from Ciph3ro

$400? I was charged $800 for canceling my contract. I got a phone and in 30 days it shorted out. They refused to replace or repair my phone. I told them they could have it back and cancel my contract. The thing is still on my credit report but I am never paying. It hurts to be right.

I am a poor student! have been a bell mobility customer for over 4 years! last summer my service was randomly canceled. i called to figure out what the issue had been. they had charged me $1350.00 over night. i asked how i could possibly accumulate such usage in just a few hours! one person told me i had gone over my txt msging.( i have unlimited txt) the other said i had used long distance.( i have ten number long distance) and the third person claimed that it was my internet usage ( i had 500mb with a blackberry device ) and had wi-fi at home. Anyone that's familiar with blackberry, it is near to impossible to use over 500mb over-night...

If you're going to get a pay-as-you-go and rarely use it the best choice is "Speakout" sold by 7-Eleven.

The minutes don't expire for an entire year and at the end of the year you just put more on and it's extended by another year.

The even give you a $100 worth of minutes when you buy the phone so it's pretty much a free phone.

Tony Clement is demonstrating the same arrogance and disrespect that his government has shown for the last 5 years. What a joke

Many folks commenting here have stated things like...so much cheaper in the US or sooo much cheaper in Europe. why do you think that is? Let's look at demographics
Population of United States : Apx 309 Million
Population of Europe: Apx 830.4 Million
Population of Canada: Apx 33 Million

So if I have a cell business in the United States or Europe I have a much larger consumer base to sell to and a much larger base for competition alone. Compare that to the smaller base of 33 Million in Canada and all "competitors" are essentially competing for the same customer over and over again. If you have a smaller market then it costs more to provide the service than a competitor that has a larger customer base in which to spread out that cost to....therefore the cost to the consumer in that market place is "cost shared" with the other 309 Million consumers if we use the US as the example.
This is like Walmart...the reason they can sell cheaper is that they purchase larger quanity of a certain good...say shampoo. When buying in bulk the price decreases and the savings are the passed along to the customer.

It's basic business and demographics but most are not informed enough about how business works.

My son had a cell phone he saved up for and he found it stopped working after a few months. I called solo to ask to cancell the service and since have been sent to collections

people are saying watch your contracts... read ?

4$ was the real cost... that's what they said...

why the we have to pay that much... it's robbery!

I don't think some of you get it yet!!! The companies are charging MORE THAN THEY SHOULD TO MAKE A REASONABLE PROFIT!! Simple as that. That is the reason for needed regulation ...not because someone should read the fine print before he goes to Russia or understand how his minutes work before they expire nonsense. How long will we continue to be raped by these cell companies???

All the big conglomarate always have there hands
in your pocket so the can rob you and pay out big
bonus to the top brass.

In reply to a comment from trismos

Bell robs there customers for mobile billing. Once the bill is in your hands, they tell you there is nothing they can do. You have to pay the final total. It is ridiculous. They charge you BIG time for over your minutes usage, and long distance.

I worked at Bell tech support call center and Videotron customer services, Rogers/Fido tech support.

Videotron is giving the agents(Call center employees) an incredible number of tools to help the clients and time to do so.

Bell is something else entirely.

Call shouldn't last more than 3 minute. More importantly than fixing the customer issues, agents need to offer/sell products on every call. Failure to do so, have a low level of sell per call or spend to much time trying to resolve the issues can/will get you a bad report/suspended/fired.

Supervisor almost never reprimand you if you offer bad tech services (Some ppl working in tech support barely know how to turn on a computer. No joke!) but miss an opportunity to pitch a sale and you won't hear the end of it.


Rogers, well Rogers is the worst placed I ever worked at.

It's all about selling. Sell, sell and more sell. No sell = fired. They really don't care about fixing your issues. If an agent is taking the time to help you it's probably his first day on the job.

Also, most agents aren't working directly for the service provider. Called centers are contracted to do the work and you just wouldn't believe how horrible some call centers are.

Obviously people with business plans do get better services no matter which provider they use.

I have been a Rogers customer since 1995. I am still confused as to why they have always felt it necessary to charge me a monthly system access fee of $6.95/mth. I know for a fact that some of their competitors, namely Fido do NOT on many occasions. I know this for a fact because my wife and three daughters all have a plan with Fido and have never been charged a system access fee. Thank you.

In reply to a comment from Alim

Please also remember that although Canada is the 2nd largest land mass it also has 90% of its population living withing a few hundred miles of the US border and along the Transcanada Highways so there is no excuse for not being able to provide coverage to Canada except for remote regions.

In reply to a comment from Brian

Judging by your comments ..It sounds like you work for one of the company's !

I have never ever owned a cell phone in my life, or paid a penny to those thieves and I am 46 years old. You don't miss what you've never had. Come on people, the vast majority of you don't need a cell phone anyways. We have convinced ourselves that we need one in cases of emergencies that never arise. I am Type 1 Diabetic and if anyone needed one I do. But I don't. And neither do you. We just like to think we do. Be honest with yourself. What did we ever do before cell phones came along?

These company's have been gouging for years ! The home service is just as bad as cell service. What I really like is that 2.75 monthly charge that Bell adds to your bill for touch tone service! So I asked them once " Okay so where can I get a rotary dial phone then " They could not answer the question ..I'd be curious to know how much profit is Bell making each year off that 2.75 charge per month, per household !

In reply to a comment from M. Lewis

You said "Why would it make sense to take your phone over seas & use it? Please explain the logic in that?"

Wow. What an incredibly dumb comment. It's called a MOBILE phone. When are consumers more likely going to need apps like Google Maps or Urban Spoon? When they are in their home town? Or when they are abroad and don't know the local area and need information?

You also say cell phones are a priviledge. I would argue that is the totally wrong way of looking at the problem. If cell phone companies continue to treat customers as inmates that they can give and remove the "priviledge" to use their cellphones ; the effect on innovation, investment and employment in the high-tech sector is truly chilling. Understand that these gouging practices; while filling the pockets of the cellphone companies, are having a negative effect on other parts of the cellphone market, namely cellphone manufacturers and cellphone software vendors.

It wouldn't have mattered if Perry iPhone dude turned on his WIFI or not. As of iOS 3, the iPhone does not support turning off your cellular data connection. That's it, that's all. Every time he got an email, surfed the web, took a photo and uploaded it facebook, if he wasn't on an open, unlocked WIFI connection, it sent over his data. The only way to avoid this is jailbreak and install a special app to turn off data connection.

Who's at fault here? Bell, clearly. The employee at the Bell store was either too busy to address this dude's situation, or too technically incompetent to know about this issue. If I was Perry's friend, I would have suggested either unlocking the phone and getting a sim card in Russia, or leaving his phone at home and using a pay-as-you-go phone overseas.

Smartphones don't make people smart, and ignorant retail employees make corporations rich. Moral here, know your tech before travelling outside of your local area. This includes travelling near borders.

In reply to a comment from Brian

you obviously work for a cell phone provider

Rogers is probobly by far one of the worst EVER, you have to keep in track of the bill or they mess up sometimes they can't even explian it so they just wave the Fee off BUT there is an easy fix i cancelled EVERTHING i had 4 cellphones and all switched it to WIND Mobile no headach no problem $40 a month on each phone is givng me everything i need unlimited can't go wrong!

I just watched this show and had to comment. If only people realized that they really don't have to give into the Big Three. There are way better alternatives for Canadians. When I decided to get a cell phone, I couldn't justify spending so much every month so I researched all of the other options out there, and boy am I happy that I did!

I discovered Speakout Wireless (www.speakout7eleven.ca) and have been using their pay-as-you-go system for over 3 years and I couldn't be happier. What's great is that their minutes don't expire for a whole year so if you use your phone a lot one month, and not at all the next, it's of no extra cost to you. I got my sister and my parents to switch from their plan and they've saved hundreds of dollars over time. Speakout's grid is still on the Rogers network too so the coverage is the same. And if you already have a phone, you can just buy a SIM card from them (they do number porting too!). I heard that Independent Grocer's and Petro Can have similar cell phone options too.

About this whole ridiculous roaming business when traveling, I would also recommend that people get their phones unlocked. This means that you can purchase a SIM card local to that area and get a local number to avoid long distance and roaming charges (depending on your phone's reception capability determines where you can do this). For example, when I travel to the US, I pop into a T-Mobile store and for $10, I get a SIM card with some prepaid minutes and within no time at all, I have a local number with no additional charges. I just pop the card in my phone and it's ready to go.

I'm so enthusiastic about this because I feel like if more people knew about the other options, they would save so much. When I saw Al's story, I just wanted to yell at the TV and tell him about my discovery; it sounds like this would be a perfect alternative for him!

I think cell phone comp. take advantage of us here in canada. it's a known fact that canada has the highest rates for cell phones and i hope that the government can past a bill to regulate rates. because as common as the cell phone is there's no reason why the phone should cost us about 1000$/yr to use. i think the plans should be more flexible depending on the user. i find the same thing goes with tv cable providers. why pay for channels that you don't watch? i really hope that we can change this for the future. because the day will come when internet tv will be the thing and cable will b a faint memory....

I worked at a call centre for a cell phone company before and it was the worst job I ever had. I tried to help every customer I could but sometimes there is nothing I can do as a CSR.

In reply to a comment from Nadia

soI imagine that you have a pay as you go plan, because you said that you educate yourself about this issue. because the reality is the all 3 year contracts plans with any provider is the same lousy misleading contracts.

In reply to a comment from hi

I live in the U.S for five years , and I never see customers having problems with Verizon wireless in my area NY, like here with the Canadians providers. is not the customers that want free staff is the companies that want to take huge amount of money with lousy misleading contracts and services, mislead and deceive that is the business model. $17000 for data roaming charge that is crazy.

In reply to a comment from Telecom Shareholder

Democratic and competitive environment?

Democracy= 87% canadians are not happy about canadian cellphone providers dishonest practices. 87% against 13% that is democracy.
competitive environment= we hope that Wind bring new hopes of competition in Canada,

In reply to a comment from Pic-nic

The problem with the i-phone, was that apple does't like to rip off customers in the way rogers was going to do it , that is why took so long to get roger to offer some reasonable plans, that still sucks comparing them with the U.S.

In reply to a comment from Jason

she is not moving out. she is been deported, if that happen to me I would not pay a dime. for a dishonest company, a dishonest person

In reply to a comment from mevictim

capitalism = fair competition
people are disgusted no because the companies are making money. is the way they are doing it . Canada has a lack of creativity to invent good products and services.and then they have to rely in scam tactics used for cellphone companies, banks, insurance, credit cards, dealers, contractors. etc. etc.. and more.
Canada industry is base in a legal scam model( misleading contracts, fine print, estrange terminology that no even the best lawyer can understand) that is your way to making money.
probably legal but immoral.


There's still a lot of unaswered questions about Mr. Franz's bill. He clearly made the effort to use the wi-fi on his phone yet he still got billed as if he was roaming on the Russian service provider's network. Something's not cricket about this. I hear of this happening a lot. If you're on wi-fi, you're on wi-fi, nothing else needs to be done. Once again, it looks like Bell's usage meters are off the mark. I hope the CBC looks deeper into this issue.

While not being unfair due to the numbers game (India has 771 Million cell phones vs. Canada's 24 Million), here is some idea of what it costs to have a cell phone in India:

Fixed monthly charge : $6.50
Incoming calls from anywhere: Always free
Maximum local call rate : 1 cent a minute!
Maximum national rate : 3 cents a minute
Per SMS local : Less than half a cent
Per SMS national : 1 cent
Per SMS international : 10 cents
No charge for so-called "Premium SMS"

To the people who say a contract is a contract real life is not so simple. The justice system includes the concept of an unconscionable contract. This is when the terms of the contract are so biased in favour of one party and the other party has little choice but to sign it that the contract is ruled unenforceable. Obviously only extreme cases make it to court but this shows that justice requires balance and fairness in a contract.

There are so few providers it is easy for them to decide not to compete. If this were a competitive market then sometimes companies would make money and in some bad years companies would lose money. The fact that all the providers make record profits every year should show you that we do not have a competitive market for telecommunications.

Until we find a way to get the companies to actually compete with each other we're not going to get fair contracts and we're going to continue to get ripped off.

The reality of Canada's telecom industry is that daily, Canadians are being ripped off by cell phone companies. Of course, it's important to preface this by saying that, through economies of scale, Canada has a far lower client base on which they can fund the expansion and amelioration of wireless telecommunications. Add to the small potential client base the fact that telecoms need to provide coverage to the world's second largest country by landmass and you effectively have one of the worse markets to be a provider and consumer.

Regardless of these limitations, it still doesn't mean that Canadians aren't being gouged by these three large conglomerates. The $6 service fee that used to be charged to all Canadians for years? It was a blatant hidden cost kept away from consumers so that these companies could charge additional amounts to customers who were already paying exorbitant prices for mediocre service. The sad part is that the regulatory commissions, both those responsible for telecommunications policy nationally (CRTC) and consumer watch groups within both the federal and provincial government structures took forever to do something about this practice. So I'm sorry Mr. Minister, but you're so detached from the realities of what regular Canadians are going through that you don't really have a right to patronize us especially since YOUR cell phone is probably being paid for by OUR tax dollars and if I had to guess Mr. Clement, you're not the type who would argue over cell phone charges since you'd pass on these costs, whatever the costs maybe, to hard working Canadian citizens.

I had the fortune to study in the UK for two years and Europe is light years ahead of Canada as far as cellphone plans go. Contracts are much shorter, the choice of phones is much greater, and the monthly operating costs are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than what we pay here and there are so many things that are included as part of all cell phone plans in the UK that we have to buy as "extras" (caller ID? Come on! That should be included as a feature).

In reply to a comment from Ciph3ro

Actually, I lived in a developing country in South America and the rates there are much more resonable than Canadian rates. When I returned to Ontario, I was appalled to learn that each cell phone call is charged both to the person making the call and to the person receiving the call. This is unheard of in other countries. They also charge for "extras" which are standard in other countries, such as caller display, which is a regular function of the phone with no additional cost where I was living.

In reply to a comment from David

Although I am responding to David's comment - it is really to make a statement at this point about the many comments I have read thus far - concerning the Roger' affair it the usual contracts there is a clause indicating that in the case of you leaving their service area, only this is the waiver to no penalties, since they are unable to provide the service to you, no fault of yours - you must bring this to their attention - don't let them bulldoze you.
Re; roaming charges - apply, you must learn to use your local area roaming number which is available in the booklet - or online. When someone calls you from anywhere else - they pay the long distance, not you - it goes like this - incoming caller dials the roaming number for the area you are in - it goes to that service tower (they pay the longdistance charge - you pay for this call as if it were a local incoming call. Between same cell users travelling abroad together - again there is an access # service to which you call first (#35 ; example) then dial your coworkers cell number - there are many ways to save money, but they all require some reading and trial and error.

The topping up issue - is made clear ahead of the game - mark your calendars folks - if you top up within the 30days you ussually don't loose your previous minutes either - they just keep adding up - but you must top up - even if it's just five bucks - good luck all !

And in the end, there are some really bad cell phone stories out there, and I have never seen anything like I had experienced - when you sign up, the cotnracts allows you two months to adapt to a behaviour pattern of usage - and it is free for the first two months (rogers/bell) yet in this case, they billed for all the services - plus while his phone was being started up he was provided with a secondary number until they got it going (three days) but this went on for the two months, someone else accessed the number (sice one phone can only work with one number, but both numbers were actively being billed - and the other used for downloading email, music and apps for two months - a total of $24,000.00 --- now that's a real scandal wouldn't you say ?

no more for me - landline and emergency cell with pay as you go - one number calling ($7.00 a month and a Ci-Ci card with a local access, not a 800#) a pennie a minute for all calls - get with it folks, check it out - good luck !

Canada is so getting screwed by the fascist four, telus, rogers (robbers), bell (bellsh*!t), shaw... how can the government allow such monopolization of the media??? we are going to get bent over if the CRTC allows UBB to go through, and looking at CRTC's track record, Canadians better assume the position....

Start by disabling both roaming and cellular data when travelling ourside your service provider's area. Read how here:

http://ipod.about.com/od/internationaliphone/qt/iph_data_roam.htm

Also, read the horror stories from people who did not turn off roaming - amazing!

This program treats all of these cases as being completely the providers fault. Clearly ``Canadas worst cell phone bill`` is an excuse to blow cases way out of proportion and make customers who can`t follow the rules seem right. In most of these cases the companies aren`t at fault. The cost on land, towers, employees, care agents, product etc etc isn`t free. This program makes it seem like cheap phones are subsidized and there is no other cost involved with running companies of this size.

As that is quite a ludacris charge for roaming, the customer was fully aware that there was a roaming charge. There should be a way to block roaming that is a little easier to access for the consumer but it is doable.

With the Virgin case that client was well aware that top ups expire and there are many ways to avoid having that happen and the terms are clearly stated on the card and probably by the rep as well. There are 30 days to top up and that is a standard across the board and is no fault of the provider. Again, there is a cost associated with the business and if $15 lasted forever there wouldn`t be a company to faciliate this kind of deal. It was nice of the provider to credit anything back to this consumer.

In the case of Rogers the customer is in a very bad place because she is being deported but like many others have said, you can`t buy a house and bail on the loan so why can you do it with a cell phone. There is a certain responsibility for the consumer to actually know what they want and be prepared to get it. You can`t just agree with any offer that is thrown at you and complain when it`s not what you want. If no one ever takes responsibility to know what they want and need then they will never get anywhere.

All in all this years show was a joke. There are so many legitimate stories and this was just an excuse for the customers to take 0 responsibility. With the exception of the huge charges by Bell I really don`t see how the providers are to blame; espescially when everyone reading this knows that and more accure and legitimate tales exist.

The plans we have in Canada, their quality and cost is shameful compared to what Europe has. We pay much more and even get charged 2 ways. Text messages also get sent with the synchronization signal, yet they cost 15 cents each. Contracts are for 3 years and they can charge up to 420 dollars or so for cancelling their awful contracts. Pay as you go is also crazy expensive.

Combining this with the Internet UBB scandal and ridiculous insurance prices in some provinces paints an ugly picture. With respect to those aspects of Canadian living, we live in a 3rd world country.

I did work as customer support for Rogers (and Sprint/Nextel) in the past, and for Rogers at least, I know that when you move out of the coverage area (being deported out of the Country, for example), the ECF (Early Cancellation Fees) were to be waived by the agent taking the calls.

I'm not sure who took the call from the poor woman in Toronto, but they could be ashamed of themselves. Check your systems and policies, people!

Go to 7-11, buy one of their phones for about $50, put $25 on it and you're good to go. No worries about bills. They even have a few sales where you get the phone for free if you buy $100 usage.

I do think Tony Clement is right, the answer is more competition not regulation. And be careful with how you use your phone if you're subject to monthly bills.

As with the last case, we cannot get messages/calls or send messages/calls from countries other than Canada, we we called our company MORE THAN 6 times, and they could not resolve the issue. And when we said we do not want to be in their company anymore becuase THEY are not doing they job they said we have to pay cancellation fees. This is unfair, if you arent doing your job why are we suppose to suffer and pay for it??
Every cell phone should call to other countries and get messages with no problem! And the costumer service for sure would be better! To speak to the manager took an hour on the phone and many lies from the costumer service, saying there is no one higher than costumer service!

In reply to a comment from Bryan

You a Rogers employee?

Really sounds like Rogers is at fault here...Who moves 3 times in 3 months?!?!?!? Did you pay a bill? And do you realize it can take up to 2 weeks before a bill gets to your residence?!?!

In reply to a comment from AMMIE

yeah Bad Rogers for charging you exactly what they said they would when you signed the contract.

Perhaps next time you should read the contract and examine the fees so you will know what it'll cost you and whether you can afford it.

In reply to a comment from Nadia

The fact the the guy did not comply with the rules is not the fault of Virgin/Bell but the point is that the rules are crazy to start with which is why this industry is in urgent need of regulation. What they are charging for a service that he is barely using is outrageous to say the least.

Incidentally there are ways to partially recover your unused pay as you go balance or at least put it to a better use than lining to pockets of the "fat cats" at the cell phone companies:

- Give it to charity through SMS donations
- Use a 3rd party provider who can accept SMS payments and transfer it to your bank or Paypal account.

Of course the problem with the second option is that the 3rd party charges about 10% commission and the cell phone company charges a whopping 40% commission (yeah, you read right 40%) which in reality means that you can only recover about 50% but this is still better than nothing.

we are all victims here..victims of marketplace ...where they create an uproar and pit the people with common sense against those w/out in order to generate viewership. I thought journalism was to expose the truth. I guess it's all in how u present it. Showing the cellular industry in a tainted light as everyone loves to hate the big companies. Pplz can't stand it when big companies make $. This is known as a capitalist society. If you don't like it, simple, don't buy it. Yet all you guys do is buy it then complain.

In reply to a comment from AMMIE

how can u blame rogers for something that YOU use ? Typical, not accepting ownership for your own actions. They have a website that tells u what ur usage is. But you don't have a computer ? Well, you can dial into the automated system 24hrs/day and find out how much u have used. All just excuses for not accepting responsibility for your own actions. Before you blame them, ask yourself this, did you do all that you can to inform yourself ? Act like a grown up with common sense and stop blaming others for your inept actions.

In reply to a comment from Neil

Really, ur upset because u could not get a cell phone 3 days before you were eligible for a subsidized phone... Which that company eats the cost of. I feel bad for u princess. UNGRATEFUL. These companies don't have to do this!

In reply to a comment from Telecom Shareholder

What tripe, are some of the comments that those in the employ of the companies under scrutiny espouse! Questioning the journalistic integrity of the creators of fine program. (Some comments I've read border on personal insult. Typical fallacy.) Is nothing sacred anymore?

Ask youself, 'What do these journalists stand to gain by protecting me as a consumer?' You'll find their reward is their salary, and maybe a few new enemies.

These fine journalists are our reward for maintaining a free, democratic and fair country. They are motivated from within. Their outstanding work gets little enough attention, and even less appreciation.

One can always tell quality journalisim. Evident in the fact that it elicits back-lash from corporate types, lawyers and the PR lackies in their employ. Least of all the covert blog tough-talkers, operating under aliases.

If only bloggers would speak up for their rights like they speak up for their profits.

The third person is an idiot still. So if you take out a $500,000 mortgage, and you move to the US, you should be allowed to not pay it?

Why is everyone blaming the companies for something that is not a right ? Is this like air ? It's a want. It's also all written out for you in the TERMS AND CONDITIONS. If you DONT take the time to READ it, then when you sign, you are AGREEing to everything stated. Much like a condo purchase, of course everything is in favour of the cellular provider. You do not get to NEGOTIATE like Mary wanted to. Anything they do for you is a CONSIDERATION, i.e. favour. You are only ever entitled to your minutes, while in Canada and anything else is subject to fees. Just because it's a service and not a hard item that you purchase, that doesn't make it subject to whatever happens in your life. A contract is a contract is a contract. Plain and simple. Because the cellular companies don't give you a "break" that makes it bad customer service ? Until you open up your own cellular company, unfortunately, you have to abide by the rules of the one you sign up for. You don't like the terms/conditions ? Then sign for a prepaid phone, but remember, u have to keep it going with a top up every 30 days (as stated in the TERMS/Conditions). Otherwise, DONT GET A CELL PHONE. What is it with people these days ? There are rules and if you don't follow them, then YOU are the one at fault, not the provider.

My daughter has an HTC Snap (Telus). It has the curious ability to silently turn on mobile data, without any notification to or permission from the user, even when the user has explicitly turned off mobile data. This happens when using a WiFi connection and the WiFi connection drops. Telus places all responsibility for data use on the consumer, despite being the provider of the device (with this obvious defect). Surely, as a large purchaser of devices from HTC, they could demand that HTC fix the defect with a software update -- but that's not in their interest.

Remarkably, the phone's retail box had a prominent sticker on it notifying the user that the camera didn't have a flash (!) yet no notice saying that it would enable mobile data without warning, resulting in hundreds of dollars of unexpected charges.

While its not as bad as any of these stories, I have a couple of horrific phone stories of my own.
When I was younger, I had a phone bill for over $400, after using my phone on a trip to Cuba, what I didn't know, and was never told, was that even while using a phone card, I was still getting charged a roaming fee. (this was with Rogers)
More recently, I had an additional $20 charge on my bill for using my phone in the US. I hadn't been out of the province that month, and I hadn't lost the phone. A friend and I put our heads together and realized that my phone was occasionally picking up the T-Mobile signal from Port Angeles. (I live in Victoria) It took me several phone calls to Fido to convince them that I hadn't been out of the country, but eventually it got sorted out. Similar things have happened to friends in Surrey/Abbotsford

OK here we go. More bashing service providers...

Hey, let's not stop there. Let's start breaking leases with Ford & property management holdings.

Also; Rogers took the full brunt and hate beating for the high iPhone prices in Canada,,, did you ever stop to think that Apple might have had something to do with it too? Cause they did set pricing terms.

You blame Bell for the high cell phone fee? Maybe blame the Gov for the high property taxes they force on Bell for having their 10000's of towers & poles,,, and the high fees for applying for land permits, and build permits etc...

It's the Canadian GOV charging billions for spectrum; if the Gov charged $0 for the spectrum then Rogers, Bell, Telus WOULD have lower fee's.

Come on guys; The Gov keeps putting blame on Rogers/Bell ... open your eyes and see that it's in their ball court too!!!

if i know rogers so bad before,i will not sign a 3years contract and making me pay such an expensive bill..i am a student,and how can i pay for this high fee for the phone,it cost me almost 100 dollars per month even 200 dollars..

Rogers not only refuses to bend when you owe them money but also when you want to commit to spending more money with them.

I tried to upgrade my older model Blackberry to the new Torch when it came out came out last September. As I was only 20 months in to my three year contract I couldn't take advantage of the introductory offers for new customers. If I wanted to sign a new three year contract for a Torch I would have been penalized. I was told that I could get the new phone after my old contract had passed two years which was January 9, 2011. On January 6 I went to a retailer to buy a new phone but was refused by Rogers because I still had three days to go before being eligible. No amount of begging could change the mind of anyone I spoke too.
Of course being the sheep that I am I did get the Torch from Rogers a few weeks later.

I had a look at Virgin Mobile prepaid in the UK. Apparently one pays for outgoing calls only. A prepaid phone can still receive incoming calls without charge, even there is no money left in the account.

Lots of reprentation from the Phone companies here, but I have one for you. I left Bell after a dispute over a cellphone bill, which I paid in full. I am on the no call list for solicitation. I have been called many times by Bell. I have asked them not to call me again. I was getting a little testy, and was told to FU(full word) by some calling to ask be to return to Bell.

In reply to a comment from Toby C

But that's the whole point. These conditions and charges are outrageous and controlled by a duopoly.

why do our comments need to be "held for review" ? This is bordering on censorship. If they are worried about foul language, a simple bot can be run. This is not free speech.

so i guess my criticism of this program and their sensationalistic journalism bordering on junk journalism hasn't been reviewed and posted ? Expert on cell phone? All he does is emphasize how much $ the telecom industry is making in order to get a rise out of viewers. Let's not forget other costs to the company to provide the service. Another disappointing / slanted one sided story. Disgusting how my tax dollars are paying for this.

People like Mary in this show with Rogers,have trouble dealing with providers when in a real tough situation beacuse of all the other customers that fill up online boards with "how to screw" or get deals/discounts/cancel contracts. The companies have so many customres victimizing them, they aren't able to help someone that really needs some special consideration.

Its a farce, as the Minister and the Government department (CRTC) point to the other on who is responsible for protecting the citizens of this country while in the background the corporate machine is turning us upside down to shake the last of the pennies from our pockets. Sounds like a Keystone Kops movie I saw once.

Tony Clement say the CRTC can handle it. Yet the CRTC posts this wonderful blurb on their website "The CRTC does not regulate the rates, quality of service or business practices of wireless service providers because the market for wireless services is sufficiently competitive." Hmmm since when?

With a litany of complaints longer than a country mile, it doesn't take a genius to see that the "self regulation" idea does not work. The market needs regulation, or it needs to be opened up and other companies (including foreign) allowed to operate in Canada. As it stands the big three may not collude, but they sure follow each other around in terms of practice and pricing. It seems if one company can get away with raising prices, or lowering services the others follow shortly. That is competition???

As for the contract terms and conditions, print em off and review them. I am sure that some of the conditions are spin, such as not being able to take your provider to court? Really, I have signed away my right to a day in court. I don't think so.

Marketplace, that could be a great service to us all. Explain the T&C's of the big 3 in plain english, and tell us if the companies are just hoping we won't look deeper.

Cheers all.

I am currently a Rogers employee and have worked in the telco industry for quite a while now. Although I agree many of the practices used by the telecommunications industry are unfair, these practices are not hidden and information about these practices are easily accessible.

In the Virgin Mobile case in this episode, the customer is clearly aware of the terms and conditions of his service, and considering he was only late on topping up twice it appears he was aware of the conditions since day one. Virgin has no obligation under the terms and conditions to restore his balance, however the company was nice enough to restore his balance if he tops up again.

For the Bell customer, I found it ironic that he's sitting in front of a computer but he can't log onto bell.ca and research the applicable roaming rates for Bell. In addition, Apple.com/support have detailed knowledge based article that teach you how to turn on Wi Fi and turn data roaming off. The Bell Store gave the right advice by telling the customer to use Wifi. What was not right in this case is when the Bell Store refused to let the customer use their phone to call customer service. In addition, in a case like this cell phone companies usually will retroactively apply roaming travel packs to the account to reduce the roaming charges. This should've been offered to the customer as soon as he inquired about the bill instead of insisting that he pay $15 000.

As for the Rogers customer, the customer was fully aware of the cancellation fee since the day she signs up but somehow she feels a sense of entitlement and she is exempt from those rules. In addition, only one of the phones she was carrying cost $80, the other one costs $225. It was silly of her to sign up on a 3 year term to receive a subsidy on an $80 phone. I do firmly believe that no customer should be exempt from cancellation fees even if the situation is not within the control of the carrier. However, I also firmly believe that the rest of the country needs to follow Quebec's lead and regulate cancellation fees so that they never exceed the economic inducement offered for the phone. I always feel stupid telling a new customer that if they decide to cancel their 3 year contract it would cost them 400 dollars even if the phone isn't worth nearly as much.

As an employee of the wireless industry I do see many incidences where the complaints are legitimate and where the wireless company is CLEARLY at fault, but we have failed to resolve the issue. I feel these are the types of incidences that should've been featured in this episode. From this episode it makes it appear that individuals are exempt from all personal responsibility as long as they can get the media to present their case.

In reply to a comment from Chris Bond

i tried once to cancel my cell phone service for one month due to a trip to my native country where a relative was dying, more than a month ahead with bell, they told me i had to pay a fee to "pause" it , it cost more than my regular bill!!! ($55) , there was no point doing so unless I was planning to cancel it after all, where is the customer care service? no reasoning with these people

In reply to a comment from Matthew K. Kelly

Tony gets re-elected because he gets lots of money.
$20,000 Bell
$12,500 Rogers
$5,000 Telus
http://www.conservative.ca/media/20050819-Clement%20Contributions%20Greater%20$200.pdf

I really need to say that CBC and Marketplace has finally lost credibility with the drama show, ''Canada's Worst Cellphone Bill'' Without a doubt, you CBC is misleading their viewers, this is quite concerning. Not to mention, your expert source, has also misled your company, by providing false information on networks and servers that bare no cost for hosting any user. This is false, the networks and server are expensive to maintain. Also, if the telecom world would undo the reciprocal agreement for roaming, it would still be as costly. CBC decided to represent only one facet of the agreement. It seems like your CBC wants to drive their viewers to think that we should be building a Socialistic Network (Monopolistic). Canada has asked for competition and we are finally in democratic and competitive environment. Long Live Capitalism. Shame on CBC, Marketplace and the Expert.

The so called 3 worse bills all come from people not taking responsibility for their own actions. The first person knows he has to renew on the 30th day and is late not once, but twice. The second person and supposed winner doesn't understand their own phone and then blames the Bell for his mistake. Once again, take responsibility for your action. As to the so called expert saying it was a $4 cost to Bell; show me evidence from Bell or the Russian telco that supports this. Speculation is not evidence. The third person signs a contract and then doesn't want to pay her cancellation fees. If you break a contract with clearly advised breakage fees, what do you expect? If you don't want to sign a contract, then pay the slightly higher month to month prices.

Rogers is ridiculous. I switched from a family plan to a student plan and was given a singed form of my monthly fees. I had to call in to activate the new account because apparently the people in the store can't do it. When I called in, I had to talk with 5 different people. They delayed the new account by a month, resent my5 3 times (why?) had added a monthly $20 above and beyond what I had signed and agreed for and no one could tell me where it came from. They gave me a hard time when I tried to cancel that fee. They also gave me a hard time when I tried to combine my phone and internet bill.. I'm still not receiving it properly so I have to log on to myrogers to check it. It took me 4 hours on the phone with them to sort this all out - and they charged me for the phone calls to them. If Rogers didn't have the best reception in the area I'd be done with them in a flash. Don't use Rogers unless you have to.

why even sign up for service ? When you do, you have to abide by rules that are WRITTEN in the contract. You only get EXACTLY what is written in the service terms. If you don't agree, then don't sign up. Don't sign up after and make excuses or something happend and you had to move so let you out. The law is black and white, there's no grey area in case u move or if u don't agree. This generation feels customers service is whatever the customer wants. This false sense of entitlement is trickling down to the next generation. Y do you think your kids are on the floor in toys r us, screaming when they don't get to buy their toys ? Look to their parents and their skewed viewpoints towards life.

Yeah..Bell sure is working on that great cx service by continuing to outsource to India and hang up on people. That Bell rep looks like she could care less.

Rogers is no better. They recently tried to scam my spouse. They re-upped her contract without permission and tried to fight us on it but could not provide any proof. She also has a plan which features 150 minutes free. They aren't detailed on the bill with the rest of the paid minutes so you don't even know where and when they were used. In order to see that you have to pay for an "extended detailed bill" to be mailed to you.

I noticed Marketplace never questioned the CRTC as recommended by Tony Clement. Perhaps the CBC is afraid to step on any toes. They might privatize you!!

Tony Clement's response to questions from Marketplace demonstrates how out of touch he is with the Canadian public on this issue. He passes the buck on to the CRTC, but clearly the CRTC isn't protecting Canadian citizens from this ridiculous price gouging.
The problem with cell phone companies not making their policies and services clear to customers has become so enormous in Canada that the CRTC has set up a whole new commission -- the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) -- to run interference. Not much seems to be getting done, however, because the CCTS was set up more than two years ago, and still we have these poor luckless souls being locked into horrible contracts with Bell, Rogers and Telus. The Better Business Bureau for the Lower Mainland, B.C., reports that complaints against cell phone providers are the number one complaint they receive.
When government and its governing bodies aren't acting in the interests of the citizenry, it's time to make it an election issue.

In reply to a comment from KSA

i was willing to pay my bell phone no problem but when they cancelled my cell phones for none payment well that was not true plus i told them my situation( husband had a stroke and the only income coming in was my paycheck) and tried my best with what i had to pay them if they cancelled ,my contract is terminated and have to pay the penalty i wouldn't do that myself. this was my 3rd cell phone i finished my 3 year contract with no problem and got another cell phone again.all i want is for bell to not terminate the cells so that i can pay my bill properly

how can i get any help from bell about my cell phone forget it. i have been fighting with them for 2 months now .in june my husband had a stroke so that means he can't work till all the papers are filled for disability so that also means we have to live on my income bell was told about it and they seem to understand my situation . out of my check i've tried my best to pay them .when my husband finally got something right away i gave bell $500.00 plus we had to pay the other companies too .my december bill was 1180. approx. when i got my january bill it became 1900. why because bell has canecelled the cell phones for none payment WHAT? from december till feb 28 i have payed approx 1400.oo i still owed them 1100.00 they say, now a couple of days ago my phone got suspended because of none payment like to know what they did with the money i gave them .you really can't get through these ppl they keep transferring you to customer service to the bell mobility the to the one bill customer service then to the collection then back and forth it's been like that for 2 month . my last call to them , told them to cancel the phone i'm going with another company and i'm not paying for the cell phones bill that bell cancelled .( if i cancelled my cell phones i will be penalized why did bell did this to us it has put more finacial burden on us that means they are making extra money while we suffer) they have not compassion , they didn't care about what happened to us

I don't understand why clients think the cell phone industry owes them anything. I don't understand this sense of entitlement. Customers always blame their providers when they often neglect what they are getting into. I've never had any issues because I take the time to analyse and educate myself.

I don't get the case of the old man on the prepaid service with Virgin. He said at the beginning that he adds 10$ of airtime each month and it keeps accumulating so he doesn't lose anything if he refills before the 30 day period. So when he lost his 210$ or whatever it was, Virgin offered to return the money only if he refilled. HE REFUSED, claiming he didn't need to add more money since he already had 210$ of accumulated airtime and didn't need more. What I find weird is he would have had to keep refilling anyways to not lose his 210$!! It's not like he had 210$ for a full year without having to refill. Another case of client ignorance. I don't think the company is to blame, I think it's the consumers. He also said Virgin had already re-instated his balance twice because he had forgotten. THIS IS NOT VIRGIN'S FAULT AS THEY ALSO SEND REMINDER TEXTS. He says he only uses his cell phone to call. But the phone will display a new message icon until he reads the message! How can Virgin be responsible if he IGNORES THE TEXTS? That's like not opening mail.

I am truly disappointed in how Marketplace has reverted to sensationalistic journalism in search of ratings. How they present the facts to skew the story and get the public in an uproar is atrocious. Getting a pseudo expert in to comment on real costs of cell phone service is ridiculous. He never took into account the infrastructure that is paid for in order to answer the customers questions. The cost of the person answering the phone as well as the cost to implement the database to hold all the information for Al's cell phone balance are not even considered. Not to mention all the taxes the government is bleeding from the industry. As mentioned in the story, he paid for rental of his minutes for that 30 day period and if he doesn't use it up, then it's up to him to continue to pay into the system to carry the balance forward. Everything is there in black and white, on his receipt, texted to him and available on a 24hr system (which costs $ to maintain) and available anytime he wants to inquire with customer service. The fact he THINKS he shouldn't have to pay has nothing to do with it. If you rent a house and don't live in it for the month, can you carry that rent forward ? The termination fee for $800 was AGREED to by her AT THE START of her contract. She had every option to buy it outright at that time and pay the $80. Instead, she made a deal she now wants to reneg on. Then she complains about bad customer service. How about some ownership on her behalf? You bought into the contract now abide by the rules. If you bought into a mortgage and cancelled, the banks would say the same thing and no one would think she is being ripped off. The fact the phone is ONLY $80 is itself a red herring. Truly, this level of journalism is a disservice to the canadian public. Making the public think they need to stress about something that is totally above board, in writing, in your service agreement and receipt is utterly ridiculous. Sad to think my tax dollars are going towards this type of junk journalism.

I have a suggestion. Everyone should stop using cell phones and go back to actually talking to people in person. This would alleviate a lot of problems. As for Tony Clemment, I will not be voting for you! Our government sucks badly and we the people need to make changes. Quit being such wimps and stand up for your rights and yourself!!!!!

am with virgin mobile. my phone died at the start of the new year,contacted virgin about renewing my contract since i only had 8 months left that way i could get the free phone with three year contract, they said i had to cancel service and start a new one. since i was resigning with them they would only charge me 40 of the 80 to cancel. 1 week later they phoned and said all i had to do was go to a dealer and renew the contract without canceling and still pay the 40. no problem. ha. when i got to the dealer virgin tried telling me i had to pay the 80, good thing i kept the name of my contact there and they finally dropped it to the 40. 1 week later i get a phone call about the cancellation i put in, told them do not need to have renewed my contract, "ok thank you sir".3 days later my service is disconnected, call them up " you asked to have service cancelled" i said we dealt with that already, no cancel.45 minutes later " sorry about this sir we will reconnect you". not the end of it. next bill shows up am charged my 40 for renewing before end of contract, that is fine. next bill shows up, i am charged $400 cancelation fee plus my $50 bill and $50 in taxes. back on the phone and an hour later they credit back my $400, check my account phone them again, thay did not credit the $50 in taxes back, 1/2 later finaly have that solved, also told them to take me off the automatic pay. end of the week comes and i send via internet my normal payment $50. sigh of relief. not. 4 days later i notice a $504 payment out of my account to virgin wireless the original amount they tried to charge me and due to other payments coming out a $10 overdraft charge. now i'm in a holding pattern till their billing department comes in monday to try and get my money back meanwhile i now have no money being stuck in overdraft and can't even touch my equity line because it transfers into the account that payed virgin. stupid thing is i even payed the bank $12 to block all virgin automatic payments but they only blocked for 1 day instead of permenatly

In reply to a comment from Chris Bond

Are you a lawyer, someone who makes his money crafting the fine print? Obviously, your metier, no? Keep in mind the average public does not swim in the high-IQ pool and cannot reasonably be expected to have digested the fine print before using a phone that is eagerly and widely marketed and sold to all type of folk (sans caveat). I believe the onus is on the wireless companies to clearly (read "with larger print" etc.) make their pricing polices understandable by a person "reasonably skilled in the art" of using a phone--to coin some legalese for you. Come on get a heart, please, Mr. Tin Man ;)

In reply to a comment from Louise

Tony Clement's demeanour and response seemed aloof and condescending, like the issue was totally below him. Let's get someone in there who has the guts and leadership to get our telecommunications industry in shape and stop the bullying of the big wireless guys like Bell & Rogers.

When will people understand the problem with the CRTC is that they do not allow foreign competition into Canada. The problem has been and still is protectionism.
I love how they make it sound as if the industry is unregulated - sure it is, if you have Canadian investment dollars. But try to bring in foreign investment dollars and see how regulated it really is. THAT is the problem with the cellphone industry.

Do you really, and I mean really, "need" a cell phone? C'mon people, take a hard look at "needs" versus "wants." There's Skype and Google Talk via your computer and of course, the good old land-line with a calling card. The only "smart" thing about Smart Phones is the collusion between designers and carriers to make us think that we "need" these things to get along in life. Sheesh.

Really? the government has to help ? Come on everytime something happens in Canada its waaaa they screwed me help me .

I used to love Marketplace but this week's episode was really over the top. The story about the women's who has to leave the country, why sad, really has nothing to do with the cell phone companies. It is not their fault at all that she "is forced" to cancel her contract. If the cell phone companies allowed everyone to simply walk from their contracts, the costs for everyone else would go up. That would be very unfair to those who do not breach the agreements they sign.

This is stupid, changing the channel...

Want to get out of your contract?

- check your contract against current contracts. if there are ANY changes at all, then that's not what you signed up for and you should immediately be able to get out at no charge.

- tell the cell company you are moving somewhere within your province where they don't have service. then THEY are breaching the contract by not providing service.

Although I don't disagree that the bills and situations that the people featured in episode are ridiculous; people need to realize that Rogers, Telus, and Bell (aka Virgin Mobile) are all businesses and have common practices which are what these people have gotten caught up in.

Most of the terms can conditions that these people are being affected by are in the contract that they agreed to when they started using the services of these companies.

Your mobility expert should have had greater insight into the way the roaming agreements work. It is highway robbery; but there must be some reason to charge $15,000 and not just $4. Does $4 cover just the network infrastructure? What about the cost of the customer service representatives that you have to speak to about your account, what about the costs associated with information being fed from the Russian mobile phone provider to Bell? There are other costs associated with the services. I'm not trying to justify $15,000 that is outrageous but there are reasons for higher costs of service when roaming. Any "mobility expert" should be able to explain this.

Plus if the gentleman wanted details of his bill, he can easily create an account on Bell's web site and download all the details of his calling. In an effort to go green most companies now charge for paper bills, but you can still get the detailed billing information from Bell's web site.

Each mobile device we use has a cost from the manufacturer. My Blackberry to buy outright is $700, I paid $150 on a three year contract. Bell subsidizes the remaining $550 through a portion of my monthly bill over the three year period that I am expected to maintain my contract with them. A normal phone may be $200, so I see no problem with cancellation fees to recoup the subsidy that the provider is losing out on (that they expected to have had to pay for the remaining cost of the phone); but a flat out $400 for a basic phone is crazy. Even a pre-paid phone at $80 is most likely subsidized in some manner.

People need to understand that mobile phones are subsidized. The details on the cost of the phone, the subsidies and the cancellation fees are never provided upfront. Mobile phone providers need to start giving us details regarding this up-front.

Most importantly we have to lobby government for regulation of the mobile phone industry in an effort to correct the problems outlined by the people featured. Everyone who posts on this board should also be writing Tony Clement.

This wasn't a story about the highest cell phone bill in Canada, it was about 3 people who know the rules and polices of their prepaid and contract who don't want to follow them.

The senior man and lady each knew the requirements of their obligations entering into both the prepaid and contract services. The senior man admited not topping up his account in time, by a day or two late. As for the lady, she knew she was in contract and it was her responsibility to know and fulfill the requirements and rules of her contract. She is blaming Rogers for a “lack of customer service” even though Rogers is not at fault. She is. You enter a contract, you knowingly must abide by it. Simple. That's why there is something called prepaid. It has no contract. But that is not what she chose.

As for the gentleman who traveled to Russia, lets take a closer look at him. The gentlemen said he asked the Bell store about traveling to Russia. So clearly he had an idea that using his phone in Russia could get expensive, he knew something about roaming and charges or he would not have asked the question in the first place.

He said Bell told him to use Wifi. Something is not right about his statement, I don't believe him. Why?

Question: was he more upset about his phone being cut off or about hearing Bell saying the words, “high charges”? Answer: He was more upset about having his phone cut off.

His own reaction to the call he received from Bell clearly shows he already knew about roaming before going to the Bell Store. Why? He was more upset about his phone being cut off then about hearing of “high charges”. If I got a call from Bell about high charges on my phone and they hung up the phone as the man said they did to him, I would be finding everyway possible to contact Bell no matter where I was in the world. I would be more upset about high charges then about getting my service turned off.

Clearly he knew about roaming and roaming charges when traveling to Russia or he would not have asked the question in the first place.

These people knew what they are doing.

As for Marketplace, these are the stories you chose to air. You chose to air stores about 3 people knowingly not following the rules and polices or simple don't want to, and then they blame Virgin, Bell and Rogers for “lack of customer service”. Marketplace your busted. Shame on you.

My bill has been 45.20 every month for the past 6 months with WIND. Why? becuase i have the roaming disabled on my account so I dont get roaming charges. I know what is and what isn't included in my plan. Now providing I have an unlimited plan but when I was with Rogers. I knew exactly what was and what wasn't within my plan and I paid attention to the text messages Rogers sent me when I was close to my data limit and always knew what my bill was going to be. If you dont know what your paying for dont own a cellphone, or if you are going to do something that isnt normal for you, such as leaving the country, call your provider and get a roaming package or get a phone or sim card from a carrier in that county. All the carriers send you a text when you are close to data limits and some can even lower how much you can go over your bill before you get cut off from doing anything over your plan.

I have been using Virgin Mobile prepaid with no complaints for five years.
On your program it should have been pointed out to the older gentleman, that he could buy one year of prepaid for only $100 and not worry about having to top up monthly. He would save $80 plus $10.40 HST, the equivalent of six monthly payments. The monthly fee pays for the service whether you use it or not, carrying over the balance to the next month is an incentive to renew your prepaid for another month.

I just watched your show on Canada's worst cell phone bill and wasn't surprised to find out Bell was the winner (that's the only thing there a winner of). Then I see and read some of the other comments posted here. While I'm not a cell phone user my connection to bell is via satellite tv and their attitude towards customers. There is a news program in the making.People want to stop them. This is how you do it. Quit your service with them. Thats what I did. I'd go without tv period rather than deal with them again. What do you think they would do if effective April 1st. 2 million people cancelled their service with bell. Let marketplace be the hub of this revolt.

In reply to a comment from KSA

She and her son had every intention of using the phones for three years. They could not have anticipated that she would be deported due to her marriage breaking down. Nor can people be expected to know that - years into the future - they might have to move somewhere service is unavailable. There needs to be some sort of allowance for common sense contract termination exceptions in cases like these for the non-clairvoyant majority of us. If furnishing a copy of a death certificate will serve as proof to close an account, then surely showing documentation of deportation or current address in an area where service is unavailable could suffice.

In reply to a comment from B. Gorski

It's no secret. Virgin's $100 prepaid lasts 365 days, and you keep unused minutes if you top up in time (once a year). 7Eleven's (Speakout Wireless)can cost as little as $25 a year. Much less hassle for a "just for emergencies" cellphone user. Just make sure you mark the expiry date on your calendar.

I had almost the exact same experience as Perry Franz, but with Virgin Mobile. I went to France for a short vacation, and used my phone while there, using wifi and a couple of times the Maps app while connecting to a local network. I had asked Virgin in advance about how to avoid high charges, and so I made sure I had my data roaming setting turned off about 98% of the time I was away.

Part way through my vacation, my cell phone service was disconnected. When I returned home, I discovered that I had a $1500 cell phone bill waiting for me, mostly in data charges. I called Virgin several times. The first time, they agreed to cut the data charges by about half, lowering my bill to about $800. I called again and was told that given my good customer record, Virgin would extend a gesture of "goodwill" and reduce the charges further. When this didn't happen, I called twice more, and was told that the charges would not in fact be reduced further.

By this time, several weeks had passed. I had paid about $300 of the bill while still hoping that Virgin would cancel some of the data charges. I eventually decided to pay all outstanding charges so that I could just forget about the whole thing. Then, just before a long weekend, Virgin partially suspended my account, meaning that I could not place any phone calls, even to my voicemail account. It turns out that although I made a payment through my bank, Virgin had not received it in time - and they weren't going to give me the benefit of the doubt.

It took five days and two more phone calls to get my service reinstated, and only after I assured the Virgin rep that I had made the payment in full.

We really are at the mercy of the big companies. Perry Franz might have Canada's worst cell phone bill, but mine's gotta be a close second!!

And we, the consumer, continue to get screwed over....

Was anyone surprised by the rudeness and arrogance of Tony Clement?

In reply to a comment from JIM

This is in reply to Jim who says he marks died on the envelope and returns it, I hope you realize that by doing that it is reported to the credit bureau that this customer is deceased and it can affect your credit rating.

That was disappointing. I would have thought that they could find at least 3 cell phone bills that had legitimate errors and problems. The prepaid guy did not follow the rules and ignored the warnings of expiring balance. If he isn't using his $15/mo worth why does he need the balance back? It's just going to start increasing again so what if it's only at $15 the first month, he barely uses it and won't even hit his new $15 limit let alone over $200. And why doesn't the guy buy the $100 card that gives him a full year to use it instead? The 15k bill guy was too stupid to realize that the phone is constantly checking for new updates even when outside of his hotel wifi network. It's not like data roaming is a hard to find setting on an iphone which is OFF by default by the way. The deported lady thinks that those phones cost only $80 when that was the discounted contract price and full price was more like $450. And if she is going back to the USA and feels the bill is unfair then don't pay it and simply leave.

Come on Marketplace. Find some horror stories that aren't just stupid customer issues. Find some actual errors made by cell companies not these fools.

Lame one sided nature of your coverage and poor fact checking do not help the story either.
-$80 phone, NOPE more like $450 when brand new and unsubsidized.
-$4 for data cost. Sure to the Russian carrier but Bell would have at least payed the $5000 they discounted the bill. Bell basically gave away all their share of profit as a goodwill gesture to that customer.
-$400 cancellation fee. Yes, she is clearly breaking the contract but point out there are alternatives like transferring ownership and selling the hardware to recover some of that.

CRTC - Watchdog or lapdog?

In reply to a comment from Gina

I agree, working for Rogers I've been called every profane name in the book. Customers these days feel much too entitled & as if everything should be handed to them on a silver platter. A cell phone is a privelage NOT a necessity. Remember the days when you used to have to carry quarters around in your pocket & use a pay phone?? If you dont want to pay these companies, then hey theres still a few pay phones around, knock your selves out.

Though I do agree that no one should ever recieve a 15,000 cell phone bill, but lets be real for a minuet. Why would it make sense to take your phone over seas & use it? Please explain the logic in that? Consumers need to educate themselves, EVERYTHING that you possibly need to know is outlined on each & every one of these companies websites, reading the terms & conditions & your contracts as a consumer is on YOU & ONLY YOU, all of these conditions are outlined on each & every invoice they send you. If you need clarifacation on something then hey, great call us up to explain, but dont yell & curse at me because you dont like the policies of the company that happens to be helping me provide for my family. We tell you what we're required to say. Dont think that when we place you on hold we're fooling around, trust me I know in many situations I've had, I've placed a customer on hold to BEG my seinor managers to bend the rules for me, in order to help out customers, but again, Rogers happens to be paying my bills as well as theirs. So please understand we're stuck between a rock & a hard place too. There's no need to start cursing me & then tell me to go suck a lemon (obviously the word lemon wasn't used but I'm sure you all can use your imaginations)

How about we showcase how abusive people are to the call center employee's who are in fact trying to help them. Its not that we dont want to help you; we do, its just that our hands are just as tied as yours.

I agree, canadians pay more. But we all sit around blaming the government when really if this is a major concern for all of us, why are we just sitting around hoping for a brighter day? Why not put some fire under their behinds to regulate things?

So lets all be grown ups about this whole cellphone thing, like my mom always tells me "EDUCATION IS KEY". So how bout you all educate yourselves, all the info is right in front of you, its up you on whether or not you want to take it into consideration.

I really don't feel that Teleco's should be held responsible for individuals own irresponsible actions.

1. In the case of the Virgin Mobile user. In order to have accumulated a running balance of $200+ the customer would have been paying the $15 per month for at least 13 months. This customer was obviously aware of the service agreement for the product he was using over this period of time. It is not the company's fault that he defaulted on his payment. If he was late for a insurance payment and his policy had expired for a single day do you think that the insurance company would ignore the day that he failed to review his policy? There are many different rate plans to choose from; maybe the customer should review the service he is subscribing to to ensure that it is the proper rate plan for him.

2. Going to Russia and using WiFi was a great solution that was advised by the customer service rep. The customer even thought so as he followed the advice. You can't blame a company for the customer not knowing how to work their phone. Plus telco's don't make phones; they only provide a service for which the phone works on. If you have a problem with how the phone operates maybe you should go after the hardware manufacturer.

Also what Marketplace failed to make note of is the Russian provider actually bills Bell for a Bell customer roaming on their network. So the "$4" for that phone to run on the network is what the Russian provider incurred; it is not what the Russian provider charged Bell for the roaming charge. Obviously the Russian provider will have a mark up on this product.

3. As for the breaking of the contract I really don't think that a service provider of any kind, in any industry should be held responsible for unforeseen circumstances that happen in their customer's personal lives. I'm sure a car dealership wouldn't let you out of a lease agreement in this same circumstance.

Bottom line telco providers are offering a service to the public. All of the issues discussed on today's telecast have been well documented since cell phones have become a part of everyday life. If people don't take it upon themselves to be aware of these situations by now it is their fault for being ignorant.

In reply to a comment from Debbie

with Virgin mobile you can put $100.00 card on your phone its good for 1 year so you don't have to worry all the time

Thanks for the great program. I had been with Virgin for 3 years and now my phone sits charged on my bureau. I only used my phone during the summer at my cottage otherwise it was just for emergencies. However, Virgin messed my plan up completely last summer. they even cut me off in the middle of phone calls saying I had no money left but I had paid for 200 minutes which were still there but......no cash on the account. Calls to them were on public phones and I would wait 15 -30 minutes to get to talk to someone, who would promise to fix it but didn't. They even had the gall to charge me extra to put money on my account by phone (my credit card was on file with them) as I could NOT access my account on line like I had beforeor from my phone. I am now with Bell but will get it in writing before I go to my cottage so I don't get hit with roaming charges as I will be in another province. As I travel to the U.S. fairly often, I have a U.S. cell phone with time on it, and there are no roaming charges to call from N.Y. to MD or Fla. If I had been "Mary" with Rogers, I would have just left the phones in the house when I left, or given them back but not paid them one cent! We cell phone users need to be protected against these unfair practices and poor (& sometimes inaccurate) customer relations. Keep up the pressure for all us cell phone customers to get a fair deal. Thanks, Gail.

My stomach just burns hearing these stories. Particularly Rogers' ignorant Rep who had no empathy for that woman who has to leave the country. I'd like to know how it is that when it's on their terms of honoring a contract they do, but when it's the customers...? Only having my phone for 2 years in a 3 year contract it suddenly died. I had to pay for a new phone...'cuz these things aren't meant to last'. How does that make sense? They have you at your mercy and it sucks.

In reply to a comment from Gerald

I had exactly the same thing happen to me! My name is also Gerald, and when I read your comment, I thought to myself, I didn't write this. I would not have agreed to any kind of contract, I own my own phone. When I asked them to send me a copy of the SIGNED contract (which they don't have, since I did not sign a contract) they had nothing to say, yet they still maintain that I had a contract with them!!!

I switched from Rogers to Telus about 6 years ago and have always had very good service. They never rush me in the store or on the phone when I have a question and they always explain everything very thoroughly and I have never had a single problem.

Maybe I'm the only who thinks this way but I don't see what the cell phone companies have done wrong. In the American's case, she knew what she was getting in to if she wanted two free phones with 3-year contracts. Sure, they could be sympathetic to her situation and reduce her cancellation fees. The older gentleman with Virgin. OK, so their policy is 30 days to use the funds (just like any other provider) or top it up. If he just followed the rules, he wouldn't have a problem. The guy with Bell: we don't know for sure if he used Wi-Fi or roamed on the Russian network. Regardless, that's his responsibility to make sure he's using Wi-Fi. He should've done the sensible thing and bought a local SIM card when he arrived it in Moscow. This way it's prepaid, so you don't get surprised with a $17K bill later. The only thing I could fault the providers for is the excessive markup on roaming but that's where our government needs to step in and regulate; it's not something an individual consumer can control.

In reply to a comment from Toby

This is the only industry that keep insulting their customers. Only in Canada. Our telco companies could not offer their services any other place in the world. Guess why!!!

In reply to a comment from Ken

Let's boot him next election.

I had the same problem with Virgin Phones. I have very poor eyesite and I didnt see the text message. I only use my phone for emergencies, and every month I put in $15.00 which I never use up. I was ONE hour late, and Virgin took over $50.00 from me, and never apologized at all. That was a lot of money to loose when I am on the old age pension,,
I want to change cell phone carriers, but they all look like crooks..

All three people: READ YOUR CONTRACT

You sign a piece of paper and YOU agree to those contract!

Boo Hoo to all three.

The first guy: Read your contract.
The second guy: Read your contract & read the owners manual & a QUICK search of the internet would have easily avoided your problem.
The third lady: Too bad, pay the bill, send a copy to your ex.

I cannot believe that Perry is still with BELL even after that bill. What a MUG!!!

In reply to a comment from Andy McIntosh

Andy,
As long as politicians and political parties rely on donations from large corporations, we can not expect them to care enough to be on ordinary citizen side when it come to corporate robbery like this.

In reply to a comment from Chris Bond

Yup, I had to agree on this. I was expecting something more on to the fault of the Big 3 instead.

The prepaid one....While I do agree that taking the airtime the customer paid for is wrong, but lets be honest the customer knew exactly that he would need to top up every 30 days. He was off by 2 days and to me personally it is entirely the customers fault since he could have topped up prior to the 30 days to not have this problem. In the end it would be nice if the minutes never expired but the provider is in the clear in my books.

The cancellation situation can go both ways. While I do agree that the customer did sign a 3 year contract to get the phone subsidized and is entirely responsible but in this situation the customer should be charged the price of the phone like she had offered especially since its not her choosing to stay in the country.

The roaming situation....customers should do more research. If you need your phone in another country, either put your phone in airplane mode or buy a prepaid sim in the country your going to. People cannot expect their plans to be fully compatible in another country and not pay anything extra especially users with smartphones.

Why do you people take contracts with these thieves? I absolutely refuse to sign a contract. I buy the phone out right. I buy only a phone and not a camera, a GPS and all the other crap. When I wanted a camera I bought a camera. when I wanted a GPS, well..... If you get dinged by these robbers care to guess who is to blame? Why don't you just send them your bank card and PIN?

My phone has a wire the plugs into the wall. Works fine and the bill is rather small. Life is good!

In reply to a comment from Gary Jones

Unfortunately, Gary Jones, the program did not explain the situation properly.

The cell phone company in Russia would have charged Bell for the data charges, but not at what the Russian company pays -- if they did, how would they make money for a Canadian using their system?

While I agree that data charges, both cellular/wireless and wired (think home internet availability) are exceptionally high in Canada, this is what we as consumers get when we want a deregulated system.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

I was given a cell-phone about 8 years ago, when my son's cell contract expired. I knew I'd only use the phone for emergencies, so decided that "pay-as-you-go" would be the best deal for me. I bought $10.00 worth and was told I had to use the minutes within a month. I was also told that I could "accumulate" the minutes if I paid another $10 within the 30 days. I arranged to have the monthly charge to my credit-card. Well, Fido now has over $400.00 of my money, accumulated at $10.00 monthly during the past 8 years. I would like a newer phone, but am expected to pay more money for one. Ridiculous!!! I do not understand why cell-phone minutes "expire in 30 days." What a scam! I am sure hoping the CRTC and politicians would do something more than shrug. I guess I could be worse off, after having watched your show... "Misery loves company."

In reply to a comment from Matthew K. Kelly

Because the companies we're dealing with bankroll his party and his election!

The important lesson everyone should learn from this is READ AND UNDERSTAND THE CONTRACT INTO WHICH YOU ARE ENTERING!!

This advice holds true whether you are subscribing to cell phone service or buying a pack of gum from a convenience store.

Most of the situations outlined here and on the show are directly related to the customers' unwillingness to follow the terms and conditions they agreed to.

Phone related though off topic a tad,,, I was out of work for some time could not pay my bills so Bell had my home phone disconnected(fair enough). I got back working and called up Bell to pay up the money i owed them and get my phone turned back on. The funny thing(or ridiculous thing)was that the phone rep told me id have to pay a fee to have one of their service persons come out to my house and physically hook my phone line back up, at which point i immediately pointed out to her that i was in fact actually now talking to her over that very same phone line in question, her voice began to sound flustered as if she didnt know what to say next,,, anyway i still had to pay the reconnect fee even though my phone line was never actually physically disconnected at all ...I couldnt argue with them, I just started a new job and needed her to push the button in front of her to turn on my phone so i could call other numbers besides Bell's... and we never did see any service person come out to 're-hook up our line" even though i guess we paid for it....they got you and they know it...it sucks !!

I'm not surprised that Bell that was named again. They are the worst company in this country, followed by Rogers.

Canadians are gouged and taken to the cleaners day in and day out by the entire Canadian telecommunications industry. This country needs a giant shake-up, but don't count on our useless politicians to do anything about it.

Finally, Tony Clement deserves the boot.

Everywhere I go I am privy to conversations involving the abuse, theft and outright calculated lies that are perpetrated by the two major telecommunication companies. I myself logged over 40hrs trying to rectify multiple overcharges and screw-ups when I moved a few years ago. Every month I am charged small amounts on my bill that are not legitimate but I have just given up fighting for $1.50 every month! Multiply that figure by a million customers and thats $1.5mil every month for doing nothing but deceptive billing, and they know it. Everyone knows the diversion tactics employed to demoralize and confuse customers but we are completely unable to fight back!
It is absolutely sickening that these companies are allowed to get away with such fraud, if I lied and deceived people such as these companies do I would be imprisoned. I am starting to believe that these companies have become so large as to put fear into the hearts of politicians who try to make right, a poisoned business model, somewhat like oil companies in their sheer size.
When is our government going to step in and do the right thing and allow real competition in the field?

Loved your show. After similar horror stories and shockingly rude customer "service" from the monopolies, I am now using Public Mobile, paying 50 bucks per month, month at a time in advance, unlimited talk and text and voicemail. They're only in Quebec and Ontario still I think... but are expanding.

If everyone goes for these little guy competitors, Bell and the other biggies will have to bring down their prices. And Perry: find me on Facebook. Sorry to have to find my long lost friend on Marketplace with the worst cell bill in Canada!

On your program about cell phone costs Communications Minister Tony Clement suggested you question the CRTC. Mr. Clement needs a lesson in Canadian history to understand that the CRTC is woefully incapable of protecting Canadians from cell phone monopolies like Bell, Rogers and Telus.

The CRTC, have regulated the cable television industry since its inception here in Canada to help these entities establish their monopoly positions. Now the "Big Three" see the future of cable TV as a diminishing return and want to tap into a business model that garners them revenue on video content viewing via the internet, coincidentally a medium which the CRTC granted them exclusive control over. Last week they gave Bell the green light it acquire CTV for $7 billion, from profits they made by ridiculous overcharging of services to Canadians. This is not the 1960's anymore. We are not trying to cable our communities for the first time. And we are not mandating any significant amount of capital from these companies for local Canadian programming to be produced to service our communities our our Canadian culture. That was the mandate of past CRTC decisions. They are not requirements here.

The mobile telephone market and the internet is a different animal and I encourage you think toward the future untethered from the formats of the past. As an initial measure toward this goal, it is imperative that the government impose regulated cell phone and internet rates, or immediately allow the technological means for Canadians to access the internet by opening up this market to global competitive companies.

The CRTC surely can see the obvious grab that is being made here. But they, like our MP's on Parliament Hill, are subservient minions of the big 3 wireless monopolies. Mr. Clement needs to take the interests of the vast majority of Canadians to heart and act affirmatively to stop the outrageous rip-offs we experience in cell phone and internet use.

It is perfectly cear to me that Tony Clement is every bit as arrogant as his boss(Stephen Harper) and obviously has no grip on the day to day problems facing the average citizen in this country.
He has the ability to do something but chooses to stick his head in the sand by suggesting that other avenues be used to address the legitimate concerns of Canadians.
If he was allowed to think for himself, he might even find that he should be a little ashamed of the way he hurried through the interview.
People that behave in this manner would not last very long in what for most of us is called the reality of the private workplace.

The story that should be told is the one from the call centre point of view. Customers who are abusive, ungrateful, and hostile. Many, only because they can be. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people slip through the cracks, but a lot more have a false sense of entitalment.

I have been an employee for Bell and Rogers. I have also been a Rogers customer for many years. After watching this report, I still believe that it is 90% the customers fault that they get these outrageous charges on these bills. You sign a contract people, it's written out and in my experience explained. Customers rarely will take responsibility, if you don't want to pay a $800 cell phone cancellation fee do not sign a two phone contract for 3 years.

We had cell phones overseas when we lived there and when we bought a pay-as-you-go card there was none of this top up before the 30days is up. It was good for the value of the card. Rogers used to be like that too. I always have to write down when the 30days is coming up so I don't lose money already paid. It's ridiculous!

Worst bill is somewhat his own fault as like most people he does not know about his smart phone. the phone kind of has 3 parts the phone part the wifi part and the data part. it is the data part that killed him as once you leave your area your phone unless the data roaming is turned off will continue roaming on a present interval looking for email etc. So for all you smart phone users remember to turn your DATA ROAMING OFF once you leave your area

I'm Virgin mobile customer, I had once incident when I renew my account late. I talk to customer rep about and they return my money and he admit they have for customers "pays as you go" with low usage, one year subscription for $100 CAD. I'm use this service for the last four years.

I was looking forward to "The Worst Cell Phone Bill" show for some time now. Unfortunately, it seems that the worst cell phone bills are a result of uneducated cell phone users.

I can't say I agree with the high roaming charges that are levied against consumers when they travel, but do these consumers do their research before they travel. A $15,000 cell phone bill for roaming while overseas is ridiculous BUT it would have taken 5 minutes of research on the teleco's website to uncover these potential fees and equivalently as much time spent researching how to turn your roaming and data off on your phone.

Also, if you don't read the fine print, or by the sounds of it on the show tonight, the print in general on your contract before signing (e.g., roll-over minutes and term agreements) then sadly enough, that's YOUR responsibility.

Come on Marketplace, the Consumer Watchdog? Sounds like we need a watchdog to supervise and educate the consumers themselves.

Put on a hoodie and rob a bank - ten years in jail. Break into someone's home and steal money - ten years in jail. Charge $15,000 for $4 worth of service - billions in profits! Only in Canada.

Hi There My current spouse had a cellphone in the fall of 2007 he was on a family plan with his daughter who at the time was 19 because he was military and away from the house alot this was his way of staying in contact with his daughter. The plan was with Rogers..... In order to get out of his contract he was told he must pay 400.00 for each of the phones..... My spouse decided to do this as Rogers would not be offering service to him when he deployed to Afghanistan. When he got his bill after cancelling the service the bill was 1100.00 as a single dad being deployed at christmas time he did not have that kind of money........ A payment was made every month on the bill and a notice was received by him from a lawyer on Rogers behave saying that the bill need to be paid in full..... Little did Rogers or the Lawyer know that he was in Afghanistan and that the payment was bein done automatically out of his pay on his behave....... Now that bill 3 years later still shows on his credit record years and there has never been a mark on his daughters credit rating and if you saw the bill his daughters was considerably more than his...... So I understand where the lady is coming from who is on the show tonight and is being charged for the cancellation of the phone because she must leave the canada

all i do is write on my bill died send it back i will never pay rogers or any cell company money they r thieves

Industry Minister Tony Clement is a real
help. How does a guy like that get
re-elected?????????????????

I am a Bell Mobility customer. Not so long ago Bell started charging a $2.00 paper invoice fee for anybody receiving a bill in the mail. Bell said they don't want to waste paper and to go ebill to save this charge. So here is my beef, when the bill came the next month they used one whole sheet of paper that read - paper invoice charge 2.00. I talked to them about it but they really didn't care.
way to save paper Bell!!...idiots

The first contract I signed with Telus

Cell Phones: Re: Pay and Talk - As you know a customer "pays" for 30 days and will lose his time if he doesn't renew. The kicker is: You have to renew on the 30th day which means that you pay for the 30th day twice as your new time frame starts on the day you renew.

In reply to a comment from Daniel

If you can remember when the agreement is made you can make them check their tape....you know " your phone call may be taped for quality assurance ". We had issues with Bell, my hubby remembered the date and approximate time...they had to check them and they had to stick with the agreement.

Good Luck

I am watching the show now about cell phone bills. I was a Rogers customer and moved to the country and had no service. I called to see if I could get out of the contract because they had no towers where I was located. They told me I should have checked with them before I moved. I couldn't help but laugh. After fighting for two months and having a cell I could not use I broke the contract and they got over $300. from me. I will never have a Rogers phone again.

A few years ago an unlocked cell phoned was given to me from a friend. It worked on the Rogers network so I decided to get a SIM card and a plan with Rogers. They were absolutely clear with me that I did not have a contract (long term obligation). About a year later I called to cancel. They informed me that I would be breaking a contract that had about 2 years remaining. I disagreed and escalated several times. Despite that they ignored me, sent a collector after me and registered me the credit rating agencies, thereby hurting my credit rating. I tried to have this rescinded several times to no avail. They are ridiculous and have unbelievably poor customer service!!! From what I hear Bell is no better. Why can't we have real competition in Canada??

Rogers invite me getting a new phone for as a value customer for free. There are few models. Presently I am on just a talk plan. What they do not point out is if I get any (or most) of the fancy phone, I will be charge with data plan. Never a free lunch

The problem is that there isn't enough legislation around so much.

What's plaguing me and has contributed to my small business going under is Rogers agreeing to something and then not sticking to it and I have no proof of our agreements.

What has to happen is a law needs be be passed requiring any company that signs a contract with a consumer to email them and/or send them an amendment to their contract every time an amendment happens. it's too easy for them to deny changes, undo changes, tell the consumer "well that person you spoke to actually misspoke". And the consumer who pays the bill and is ultimately legally responsible, has absolutely no recourse. None whatsoever because they have nothing in writing.

An act of Parliament to protect the national constituency is what's needed.

I have the worst bill now.. I just bought a new iphone 4 and shipped it to my daughter via Canada Post Express and it was stolen by an employee. SO Im now paying for a phone that we haven't even had a chance to use

In reply to a comment from Mel

yeh shawn its rogers fault you are too irresposible and lazy to change your address or to realize you had not paid your bill. did you just think it was majically being paid for you?

I hope you are profiling the recent case of a woman who was travelling in Egypt and got whacked a $34,000 plus roaming charge for 2 1/2 weeks up activity. She had paid a $100 fee for expanded coverage, but it was seemingly not applicable, and she was charged $1/Mb.

In reply to a comment from shawn (Barrie)

Why didn't you a) change your address when you moved b) ask Canada Post to forward your mail or c) call Rogers when your phone stopped working?

I have a complaint against Solo Mobile. After a relentless telephone campaign by them calling in the evening at 7:00, I got stuck with a cellphone after agreeing to accept one. I called them the next day to cancel my account and have been given the run around ever since. The first thing thet tell you about is how the Buyer Remorse works , but they don't follow it. I've been trying to get a straight answer since September of 2010 and am still being charged a monthly bill. All their customer care care reps never transfer me to a superviser or manager or never call back. I wait every month in hopes my bill will go away, but I receive an e-mail with a new monthly charge each time. They have told me that this matter will be cleared up and I will have no more costs and my account will be closed, but every month it's the same story with a new bill. The terrible irony is I even refused to accept the cellphone when they sent it to me by Canada Post and returned it to them and confirmed with the dealer he recieved it.I was told Solo Mobile would then close my account and any costs or bill would cleared. I've saved e-mails,telephone numbers and have some of the customer service reps' names for any future proof.

This is a nightmare and looks like I'm stuck in a 2 year contract of which I'm not paying. I would love this to go to court.

I am sorry I missed having input into high cell phone bills episode you are going to air today. My wife and I were in Mexico last January and lost (or stolen) our cell phone upon our arrival. We immediately reported it lost on the Bell Canada website under their lost cell link. Upon returning home we were informed our cell bill was at $8,234.00. We told them we informed them via their web site however they said they never received it. three days later our bill was $13,456.00. Yep it was still climbing. We now have a bill of $23,417.50 for data which is something we NEVER ever used before. So why Bell was not red flagged is beyond me. Is it any wonder the owner of the Mexican telephone/cellular company is the amongst richest persons in the world. I just can not understand how Bell allowed this to happen and not shut off our cell when these ridiculous amounts of usage were being used by someone, who’s bill has never been higher than $75.00 in the past 10 years.

Bill Krahn

I had to move 3 times in as many months. Rogers couldn't keep up and decided to send the bills to the wrong address. Needless to say i never got a bill. Charged me $500 for breaking contract and sent a bil collecting goon after me to my place of work. I will never deal with rogers ever again.

i want to know Erica if your this all hard work brings justice to anybody who has canada's worst bill?i mean even 1 person got his rights against these cell phone companies?
if it is "yes" to my question me too i have one of canada's worst cell phone bill.and you know what is serious about this only becoz of this bill my all credit history is crashed.i can't do anything in canada now i am stressed about it.and everytime once or twice i get call from rogers for around 1600$.and i think credit bureau should be informed about this serious matter.

answer me please if u can thanks...

When online these pop up's always come up to enter in your cell phone number to win a prize. What a lot of people don't know is that when you do this it automatically charges your account for a $10.00 monthly subscription. I came on here to let you guys know about and low and behold the CBC website has one too!! here it is

...

I used to work at a cell phone company, you wouldn't BELIEVE the amount of people who called in because they saw this extra charge on their bill. Some of them, don't even get a refund!

 
We're turning the tables on our viewers. as Marketplace runs the scams instead of exposing them. For the first time ever, instead of grilling the bad guys, we will be confronting the "victims" with one simple question: "Why do you fall for it?"
The labels say 'organic' and 'natural' -- but are they really? Erica Johnson separates the truly green products from the 'greenwashed' -- products that look green, but really aren't -- in our top ten countdown of lousy labels.
We're looking for Canada's Worst Cellphone Bill... again!
Their business can be ferocious, but when debt collectors cross the line, can you count on the rules to protect you?
Are there special rules for gift cards sold by the banks? Erica Johnson puts Visa Gift Card to the test.
We follow up on some of our favourite stories. See what's changed, and who's been busted since we "Busted" them.
Tom Harrington investigates what some call the best kept secret in the car insurance industry: claims for diminished value.
We test 100 samples of chicken from across the country for superbugs, and Erica Johnson reveals what the results mean for you, your family, and your health.
Erica Johnson joins forces with contractor Mike Holmes to investigate the shady world of shoddy roofers.
Are you being fooled into buying expensive water purification systems? Marketplace goes undercover.
Erica Johnson investigates possible health side effects of Canada's number one birth control pill.
Notice that many of your favourite products are getting smaller and smaller, but the price is not?
Erica Johnson investigates one of the fastest growing alternative health treatments in the country: homeopathy.
Tom Harrington investigates the sneaky charges and over-billing that have been plaguing the gym industry for years.