Rogers: boob behind the tube


When I signed a 2-year digital TV contract last July with Rogers, it was following a long and painful price negotiation with their customer service department. Unhappy that they had increased their prices last summer, I argued to get it at the previous price. Plus additional discounts for invoicing screw-ups. Now, 9 months into the contract, this month’s invoice displayed a sudden hike in the amount due. Of course, I called them up immediately.

(Following several minutes of unbearable Muzak)

Me:  Hi. The amount on my invoice is higher than usual, and I’d like to know why.
Rep:  Yes. Rogers has increased the price of some of their programming packages, including the one you’re subscribed to.
Me:  When I signed up, I agreed to a particular price. I’m not interested in, nor do I intend on, paying more.
Rep:  Unfortunately, they’ve decided to increase the price. Rogers is constantly making improvements to the levels of service they offer their clients.

(Play along. Benefit of the doubt.)

Me:  Okay. Can you tell me what these improvements are?
Rep:  Well, um, Rogers is always bringing improvements to existing services, to better serve their clients.
Me:  Yes, I got that part. Can you tell me how this will benefit me, specifically, in my day-to-day experience, when I watch TV?
Rep:  Um, unfortunately I can’t really say… specifically…
Me:  That’s what I thought. Once again, I was already paying more than I’d like for cable, and I have no intention of paying more. So please change my invoice to the price I used to pay.
Rep:  Unfortunately, I can’t change the price of the packages.
Me:  Sure you can. I’ve negotiated with you guys before to get better pricing.
Rep:  Yes, I can see you have discounts on your invoice.
Me:  Yes. So just adjust that so that I don’t pay more. You can call it a credit, or a discount, or whatever label you need to on your end, as long as I don’t see an increase. Look, it’s simple. I know I’m screwed to stay with you for the 2-year duration of the contract. But you have a choice: you can keep me at the increased price and know for a fact that you’re losing a client after the contract, or you can work with me and keep me as a client.

(Pause.)

Rep:  Okay, here’s what I can do. We have a promotion right now, on the package you currently have. It’s 20% off for 12 months. But your current discounts will no longer be valid.
Me:  That’s OK, because the 20% off more than compensates for it. (Translation: in the end, I’m still paying less, which is what I wanted)

(Note: Always ALWAYS repeat what you THINK they’re saying, to make sure you’ve understood correctly.)

Me:  So you’re telling me that for 12 months, as of today, I will keep the exact same package I currently have, and I will get it for $X less than I am currently paying.
Rep:  That’s correct.
Me:  Great, let’s do that.

But clearly isn't.

But clearly isn't.

In conclusion:

–  Never, ever accept a random change in service levels or price unless it’s in your favour.
–  Never, ever accept their initial refusal or dismissal. Push back. I’ve never called anywhere without getting something in return, with varying degrees of success.
–  I’m appalled that it would take a client threatening to leave before being offered a better deal. Shouldn’t the better deal be offered automatically, as a thank you for clients’ continued business? Oh wait. That would involve some notion of customer service.
–  I’m still getting my package for less. Again.

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2 comments on “Rogers: boob behind the tube

  1. Tanya Bolduc says:

    A few years ago, on the encouragement of hubby, I cancelled cable altogether. Not only were we paying a crazy price for a very basic package with Eastlink (NS cable company), we were increasingly frustrated at the increase in airtime devoted to advertising. Approx. 1/3 of airtime was ads, ads, ads!!! So 1/3 of my payments was for ads. Eek!!! This is what bothers me most about television; that I pay for advertising, not programming. If ads are big revenue for cable companies, you’d think that the rates and packages would be more sensible. It’s kind of like hockey tickets. Before big rinks started generating huge revenues from on-ice and side-board advertising, most folks could afford to attend games, even poorish folk. What was weird is that the price of tickets went up and up anyway. In the end, it’s greed, that’s it, that’s all.

    Also, cable programming has sunk lately. Even specialty channels are rerunning shows and series are interrupted for weeks or months at a time. Some series are less than 12 episodes a season and skip seasons entirely (Lost anyone?). Seriously, how many times can Discovery Channel run Shark Week?

    Most people I know balk at the thought of giving up cable, but it was one of the best things I did for myself. I download a few choice shows (no ads), watch stuff online (toutv), spend more time playing guitar, listening to music, sewing etc. The shackles are off.

  2. Danny Homer says:

    similar eperience with Rogers except it was for a cell phone package. I had accidently run over my cell phone and needed a new one. They offered me the replacement for about 250.00.
    It was livid. I had only been with them a couple of weeks at the time on a 3 year deal, and now they wanted to gouge me for a replacement.
    I threatened to cancel the 3 yr program, and they said I would lose my 200. deposit.
    Hoop it, I claimed. ‘What?’ she asked. Hoop it…meaning stick it where the sun don’t shine.
    I do not have the 200. in my wallet hence it appears to me I do not have 200. If I lose it to Rogers, no apparent loss because t this moment I do not have the money.i.e. it is missing at this moment, so as far as I am concerned, no loss.
    After explaining that to her, she changed her tune. Yes, we have lower costing phones for situations such as yours, so, contact such and such and they will deal with you.
    Again, why could they not tell me this at the beginning?
    I said as much….she could not answer.
    I ended up getting a phone at a reasonable price, and eventually bought another at a pawn shop. It was cheaper in the end, and accepted my sim card with no problem. It lasted over 3 years.
    You are right to suggest bartering….sometimes it may appear to be a hasssle, but if you save in the long run, why not.

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