Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rogers - The demon spawn of Telcos

There was once a time when customer service could be summed up with the phrase "The Customer is ALWAYS right." Those days are long gone at Rogers, a Canadian TelCo, CableCo and general corporate badass.

I was recently forced to "upgrade" from my iPhone at Rogers because mine had stopped working (I couldn't dial out). Rogers, in it's infinite wisdom decided that they would only offer me an early "upgrade" to a BlackBerry because iPhones were out of stock, too expensive and I wasn't worth the effort. If I had been a new customer off the street they would've sold me the iPhone for $99 but they wanted to charge me $399 (after 12 years as a customer of theirs).

Long story short, Rogers gets me a new Blackberry, it's not what I wanted and not what I could afford based on their unique (lets screw the people already on contract) pricing structure but it's the best they would offer me and hey, I need a working phone so I agreed to it.

Well, the Blackberry and I had a couple of weeks of teething problems but in time I got used to using it though I did sorely miss the iPhone. The only saving grace of the BlackBerry is the size of the handset and the physical keys but I digress.

Anyways, just recently my BlackBerry stopped syncing with my online calendar and like any self respecting geek, I went to the handset's setup application to check the settings and try to diagnose the problem. Big Mistake. The BlackBerry told me I had to upgrade my "Email Setup Application" and so I started and voila, 30 minutes later, my now 6 week old Blackberry is crashed, bricked, fubar, a paperweight. The RIM/Rogers software upgrade managed to crash the handheld's operating system making the whole thing completely unusable.

"WHAT THE FUCK ?!?!?" I shouted at the handset and laptop as I scrambled to figure out what had happened.

So I call Rogers on a landline (I was visiting someone who still had an actual phone with a cord) and proceeded to deal with the tech support person. After about 90 minutes of very garbled english and an even more garbled attempt to diagnose the problem and offer a solution, I finally gave up on Rogers and went to the RIM (BlackBerry's Maker) support website to see if I could do this on my own seeing as how the Rogers tech seemed to have no idea what he was doing, let alone a basic grasp of english pronunciation.

A few hours later, I managed to get the phone limping back to life. Still not sure what happened to it and it still wasn't working properly but at least I could dial out on it and it WAS giving me email. Problem is, all the data I had entered into the phone (Bookmarks, Passwords, Calendar entries, Contacts, Memos, Notes etc.) were ALL GONE !! Those backups I'd been making every week "just in case" ? Well, they were worth shit as the phone didn't want to restore them. BAH !!

Then yesterday, like an idiot I go back to RIM's website and read up a bit more on the issue looking for some glimmer of hope in terms of getting my phone back up & running. I am delusional, I know this but I truly thought that in todays day & age, the manufacturer's site would be the best source of information and advice. Pffft...was I ever an innocent lamb in the woods.

Following the advice of other RIM customers I thought that I would try the app update one more time, the very same thing that caused this whole problem to begin with, but this time I knew the steps to recover and had read of some people who had successfully installed the upgrade and were merrily BB'ing forth. I wanted into that promised land of email, calendar AND phone in my palm so, as I said above, like an idiot I tried one more time. Can you guess where this is headed ?

Last night at precisely 6:49pm, I proved that man should not be allowed to mess with the primeval forces of BlackBerry, especially a man as obviously gullible as me. Once again I had transformed a semi-working BlackBerry into a $300 paperweight, but hey, I at least did it in record time....Yippie !! (insert laugh track here)

So 7:00pm rolls around and I'm on a landline talking with a Rogers Tech support person AGAIN. Only this time he's asking me to use a Windows computer. Funny, I don't remember seeing a label on the BB that said it didn't roll with the Mac OS-X crowd but apparently, if you wanna be a BB geek, Windows is the only way to roll. So I get Windows installed on my Mac Laptop, do as the tech suggests, try installing this and that, connecting, refreshing, pulling batteries out of the handset over and over, rebooting, installing, waiting and seething.

One hour later and I completely loose it on the tech.

I tried using a chronology to explain things to him like you would to a two year old.
1. I am trying to get a calendar and email to work on a phone that was doing this fine until last week
2. I read the manual and tried to use the Blackberry provided program that sets this whole thing up in the first place.
3. The Blackberry program demands that it be upgraded before it can proceed so........I upgrade
4. The upgrade breaks my phone, crashing it and causing data loss
5. I then get to spend 45 minutes reinstalling the system to get back to step 1 without fixing the original problem

I paid good money for the handset, I pay good money every month for the services and I now have a handset that makes calls only. Unacceptable, I demand service, a solution, a fix and I expect someone to compensate me for my wasted time, lost data and productivity...etc....

What does Rogers offer me ? A tech who wants to experiment on my phone and when I lose it on him and demand a manager, he gets me on to someone from Customer Service. Now these people are the cream of the crop, you know the ones...They can give you free texting or knock $5 off your bill. These are the real "fixers" at Rogers. The people who are endowed with that extra thick skin and the ever so slightly condescending voice that basically says "We'll throw you a little bone but never admit we screwed you over".

This woman proved to be nothing of the sort. She was from the get go a brick wall, I could have mistaken her for a voice recording, some pavlovian response was all she could muster.

"It's a technical issue and you'll have to deal with them"

"Well, I had been, for the last several hours you dim-wit !!" (I think I was a bit more polite though)

"Well what would you like me to do sir"

"Fix it, get me a new phone that works, that does what I am paying you to have it do......"

"It's a technical issue and you'll have to deal with them"

"Well, I had been, for the last several hours you dim-wit !!" (I was becoming less polite now)

LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT....45 minutes later......

"Rogers Technical Support....How can I help you......."



  1. Hi Sean,

    I'd like to help. I'll reach out to you on Twitter. I'm hoping we can make this right.



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