Archive for Rogers

I Am Not Sure Why Rogers Customers Are Shocked That Their E-Mail Is Being Read By Yahoo

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 23, 2018 by itnerd

Over the weekend a number of stories appeared about a change to the terms of service to Yahoo e-mail. Yahoo, which you can also call Oath as that’s the name given to it by Verizon who bought the company last year said in their new terms of services that they analyze “‘content and information,’ including e-mails, photos and attachments ‘when you use our services.’”

In other words, they read your e-mail.

Now how does Rogers fit into this? Rogers e-mail services are powered by Yahoo/Oath. Thus when users got notified about this change to their terms of service, it led to stories like this one and this one being published.

The thing is, I am not sure why anyone is surprised here. After all Google’s Gmail e-mail service used to read your e-mail to serve up targeted ads. Until they dialed that back  to read your e-mail for other reasons. So one could safely assume that others that offer up e-mail services were doing the same thing.

In short, if you use a third party e-mail service, anyone, or anything could be reading your email. Thus you should have no expectation of privacy. Ever. If you want privacy when it comes to you’re e-mail, you can always do what I do which is build and run your own e-mail server and host it out of a data center. That way you control the e-mail that you receive and that you send. What happens to it after you click send though is completely out of your control. Which means that you’re only marginally ahead in the privacy game.

One other thing. There’s a bunch of people who are mad at Rogers for this. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Rogers is just collateral damage in this as they are essentially a customer of Yahoo/Oath. So while there are things that Rogers does that deserve the ire of their customers, this isn’t one of them.

Finally the story written by Ellen Roseman of Toronto Star which is linked to above has this in it:

Rogers Yahoo email customers need to press for more information. What is the deadline for agreeing to Oath’s updated terms? Will they be cut off without access if they don’t agree? Can they get help moving all their emails to another provider?

Those are fair questions to ask. Hopefully Rogers and Yahoo/Oath answers those questions and does so quickly. Though I suspect that I can answer question three for them. I cannot see a scenario where Rogers or Yahoo/Oath would help a customer move their e-mail to another provider. There’s no value in doing so. But the other two Rogers and Yahoo/Oath can and should answer.

UPDATE: I just had a chat with a Rogers Tech Support rep who informed me that if users don’t agree to the new terms of service, they can’t use Rogers e-mail. Also, users who have contacted me directly have said the same thing.

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It’s Been Seven Months Since The Apple Watch With LTE Was Released And Rogers Still Lacks Support

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 20, 2018 by itnerd

We’re now about 7 months since the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE has been launched, and Rogers who is Canada’s largest telco still lacks support for it. Now I have said each time that I have talked about this that they risk losing customers over this as other telcos, most notably Bell, are looking to snatch their customers away from them. Now there appears to be definitive proof of that. Take these for example:

You’ll note the last Tweet is yours truly. Well, having switched from Bell to Rogers about 5 years ago because of Bell’s horrible customer service, I made the decision to go from Rogers to Telus so that I could get an Apple Watch with LTE. Now I was on a retention plan with Rogers which means the cost of using my iPhone 7 Plus is going to go up a bit. But Telus offered me a deal that will minimize that impact. Plus it will get even cheaper when my wife who has been a Rogers customer for almost 20 years moves to Telus this June and we leverage the Telus Family Advantage Plan to lower our costs to the level that we are used to paying. Why is she waiting until June? Her birthday is in June and she plans to buy an Apple Watch with LTE for herself as a birthday present. Assuming I don’t get her one first.

As for Rogers, the only reason that I can think of that they haven’t rolled out eSIM support (which the Apple Watch with LTE requires) yet is that they must figure that they might as well wait until the fall when the Apple Watch Series 4 (if that is what Apple calls it) makes an appearance. I can see from Rogers point of view why they might not want that as it would ensure that they wouldn’t get stuck with a large amount of Apple Watch Series 3 models in their inventory. Plus it would give them time to make sure that eSIM support is bullet proof. The cynic in me also says that they’re counting on their Q1 results where they gained 95000 customers on the wireless side of the business offsetting any defections because of lack of eSIM support. But whatever their strategy is, it’s clearly costing them customers because all Rogers saying is that they “don’t have specific timing to share” which is frustrating to hear if you are a customer looking for a reason not to switch from Rogers. Meanwhile your buddies on Bell or Telus have the latest and greatest wearable from Apple. Add all that up and you get the PR disaster that Rogers is in where departing customers are taking shots at Rogers on social media as they leave. That from an optics perspective is craptastic.

Of course all of the above assumes that the only other possibility which is that they just can’t get eSIM support to work properly on their network for whatever reason isn’t in play. Which I hope for their sake it is not as that would truly end badly for them if that were true.

If I were Rogers, I’d come clean on what their plans are for the Apple Watch with LTE. Just lay it out there whether it is good bad or ugly. Because their current tactic of they “don’t have specific timing to share” isn’t working. But the truth might actually work because people like the truth. In short, unless they change course, many others will be joining me in leaving Rogers for another carrier. And that has to suck if you’re Rogers.

 

CCTS Mid Year Report Is Out…. Surprise! Bell Is The Most Complained About Telco In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on April 10, 2018 by itnerd

In a sure sign that Canadian telcos are frustrating and infuriating their customers, The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) published their mid year report and noted that complaints are way up. And by that I mean a 73% increase over this time last year. And what are people complaining about? Here’s the number one issue:

The most frequently-raised issue in complaints remains the non-disclosure or inaccurate information about the terms under which a service is being provided. This is by far the most problematic issue for wireless customers. For TV and phone customers, the largest area of concern is incorrect charges, and for internet customers the number one concern is quality of service.

Hmmm…. Bell have been accused of that recently. I wonder how they finished in this report. Let’s rank the telcos in order:

  1. Bell with 2275 complaints
  2. Rogers with 707 complaints
  3. Telus with 511 complaints

Additional details can be found here.

That’s not a shock that Bell is number one seeing as the sort of stupid stuff that they’ve been caught doing recently have surely annoyed Canadian consumers from coast to coast. It illustrates just how bad their customer service is. It’s also a major reason why I haven’t switched from Rogers to Bell for my telco services. Sure Bell has a way better Internet offering than Rogers. And unlike Rogers they support the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE. But their customer service is so bad and they have a reputation of “baiting and switching” when it comes to their pricing, that I would rather just live with what I get, and don’t get from Rogers than to switch to Bell. By the way, Rogers shouldn’t be celebrating Bell’s misfortune as they got caught doing some of the same things that Bell has been accused of.

One other data point. Clearly the increase in complaints is affecting the CCTS too as they have a job posting for people to help them to field all the complaints that are coming in. That shows the level of discontent that Canadians have when it comes to telcos.

If I were an exec at any of the three major telcos that was responsible for customer service, I would looking at this report and say to myself that I need to up my game. Then go about improving things so that my customers don’t complain. But when it comes to Bell specifically, they need to take a bit of a different angle as this just further highlights how bad they are as a telco when it comes to how they treat customers. And I don’t know how they fix that so that they can regain the trust of Canadians. Bell has a good product offering, but without quality customer service, that doesn’t mean anything.

Why Bell Has The Upper Hand Against Rogers When It Comes To Internet Access In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 9, 2018 by itnerd

Last week I posted a story about Bell rolling out fibre across Toronto and offering up 1 Gbit/s symmetrical speeds today, with faster speeds coming in the future. In that story, I said this:

Having symmetrical speeds is something that in the past was only found in business class Internet. The fact that Bell is bringing it to consumers is a big deal. And the fact that they’re the only ones thus far to do so has Rogers on the back foot as Rogers doesn’t offer fibre to the premises nor do they offer symmetrical speeds. 

That got me a few emails over the weekend asking why Rogers can’t compete with Bell. Thus I decided to write a follow up to explain why Bell has the upper hand against Rogers in this regard.

First of all Bell is delivering fibre optic cable to the home. Meaning that it’s an end to end fiber connection which benefits you the consumer by delivering a low latency connection that’s capable of delivering very fast speeds. Low latency is important when you’re playing Call Of Duty online or having a video chat with relatives overseas for example because in the former case, you’ll be better able to pwn your opponents as there will be no lag for you to contend with, while in the latter case you will get a fluid video stream going in both directions which means that you get a better video chat experience.

Now contrast that with Rogers. They deliver Internet access by using a system they call “Hybrid Fibre” which means that the Rogers network is largely fibre optic cable. But the so-called “last mile” to your home is copper cable. The problem with that scheme is that copper cable can only handle so much bandwidth. Since Rogers is in the process of rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 across their network (at present they have DOCSIS 3.1 enabled on the downstream part of their Internet connections, but not on the upstream part of their Internet connections), that means that they’re capped at 10 Gbit/s downstream and 1 Gbit/s upstream as per this Wikipedia page. Bell is talking about speeds of 40 Gbit/s in both directions. Not only that, having the last mile over copper cable introduces latency to the connection. Sometimes as high as 30ms based on my testing with my own Rogers Gigabit connection. Some of the people in my condo who have the Bell product are getting latency as low as 5ms. Clearly, Bell has the upper hand from a technical standpoint. And that’s ignoring the fact that Bell is able to offer symmetrical speeds which Rogers can’t.

In order for Rogers to compete with Bell on this front, they only really have two choices. The first choice is to hope that a technology called DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex comes to market quickly and they can roll that out as that would give them a fighting chance with their current infrastructure. DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex would give them the ability to provide the symmetrical speeds that Bell does, which would level the playing field somewhat.  The last time I checked it was still in the R&D stage, so that may not be an option as any rollout would be years away. Plus it likely wouldn’t solve the latency problem as you’re still pushing Internet over copper which introduces latency. Which brings me to choice number 2. Rogers will at some point have throw in the towel in terms of “hybrid fibre” and provide true fiber to the home for that last mile. While that’s not instant, it may be their best chance to compete with Bell. And Rogers has done this in a very limited fashion in some places in Toronto. Thus they know how to get that done. Whatever choice Rogers picks, they have to get it done quickly as Bell is on a full court press to take this advantage that they have from a technical standpoint and turn it into something that makes Rogers an afterthought when it comes to Internet access.

This will be interesting to see how this plays out in the months and years ahead. Because right now Bell has the upper hand when it comes to Internet access and Rogers is clearly on the back foot with no clear path to getting back on the front foot.

Rogers Continued Inability To Support The Apple Watch With LTE Continues To Stoke Frustration

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 1, 2018 by itnerd

Something that I never thought would drag on this long is the ongoing saga of Rogers and their inability to support the Apple Watch with LTE when the other members of the big three carriers, namely Telus and Bell do. Most of that frustration is being played out on Twitter:

And it seems that Rogers is still handing out its stock answer when quizzed about support for the Apple Watch With LTE. Here’s an example:

And Bell is still looking to steal ticked off customers from Rogers, as I’ve written about here:

 

The thing is that since the day that the Apple Watch With LTE came out last fall, Rogers has spent a lot of time and effort trying to spin the lack of support for eSIM (which the Apple Watch With LTE requires) in some way that would keep their customers from bolting to Bell and Telus. The thing is that spin only works for so long. And based on comments made by the people inside Bell and Telus who speak to me on background, it’s stopped working for Rogers as they’re getting people coming across from Rogers for no other reason than they have Apple Watch With LTE support and Rogers doesn’t. That has to be not only worrisome for Rogers from a churn perspective, but embarrassing as well. Meanwhile, if you’re Bell and Telus, you’re laughing.

I guess it sucks to be Rogers.

UPDATE: The story continues here where I show examples of people, including yours truly leaving Rogers because of this.

 

Current & Former Rogers Employees Say They Are Coached To Agressively Upsell

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier this week I brought you a story were it came to light that Rogers employees in their call centers were told that they had to make a sale on every call and managers turned a blind eye. Since that report, CBC has been in contact with present and former Rogers call center employees who go into detail about what goes on at the telcos call centers:

An employee who worked at a Rogers call centre in Brampton, Ont., for four years before leaving in 2015 says he and his colleagues were instructed not to mention cancellation fees from other providers when a customer switched to Rogers. CBC has confirmed his employment history, but is not identifying him — or some others in this story — because they fear they will lose their jobs.

“Because these fees were not charged by Rogers itself, we were told to gloss over them as quickly, vaguely and incoherently as possible,” he writes. “Often while the customer was speaking at the same time.”

Another trick, he says, was to secretly reduce certain services — such as the number of television channels a customer received — so he could add new services, such as a home phone line they didn’t necessarily need, but that earned points toward his monthly sales target.

“It was a calculated game of misery,” he says. “How much could you lower their existing services so they wouldn’t immediately notice, while at the same time adding as much in new services as you could?”

He says when he expressed concern over these practices, his manager reminded him that he worked in sales, and said, “It’s not your job to care.”

That sounds pretty bad. But it actually gets much worse than that:

When those customers would ask to speak to a manager, he says agents would just transfer the call to a fellow agent, who would repeat claims that there was nothing they could do to resolve an issue.

“The goal,” he says, “was for the customer to be so frustrated, speaking to someone who couldn’t do anything more than you, that they ended the call.”

Now this is something that I have heard before. I know two former Rogers call center employees who years ago told me that this was a common practice within their call centers. Thus I am not surprised that this is being mentioned in this article. But it still gets worse:

Debbie Sears handled Rogers customer calls from her home in Kingston, N.S., through a third-party company.

“We were constantly being threatened that we would be fired if we did not upsell — add a home line or a cellphone to the account,” she says. “It was a pressure cooker.”

“They expected you to sell on every call. And you were told time and again, ‘Never take no for an answer. Push, push, push!'”

“I have a hard time selling something that’s useless to them [customers],” says Sears. “I told them right from the start, and they said, ‘Oh well, you’ll get used to it.'”

She didn’t. Instead, Sears says she started having panic attacks before starting work, and her blood pressure went “through the roof.”

“My doctor was very worried I’d have a stroke,” she says. “When I got laid off [for not selling], they did me a favour.”

I couldn’t imagine working in an environment like that. But as bad as that sounds, There’s still worse. There are claims that “senior leadership” knew about and encouraged this behavior:

A former Rogers manager also contacted Go Public, admitting he was one of the people who put pressure on workers in the Ottawa call centre.

He says the pressure to upsell was so intense in 2015 that a Rogers memo (provided to Go Public) directed senior leadership to put more than two-thirds of all the call centre workers on a “performance improvement plan” — to encourage them to sell more, or risk getting terminated.

“Every day we’d have a meeting about sales targets,” he says. “A big part of my job was to manage out the low performers. Witch-hunting those people.”

On the other hand, he says, top sellers were protected — even if they behaved unethically.

“Senior leadership would often issue directives to the team managers to protect their top-level performers by turning a blind eye,” he says. “Protect the tops.”

Now you can read into whatever you want when it comes to “senior leadership”, but all of this makes Rogers sound like a horrible place to work. Now Rogers denies all of this and they’ve circled the wagons by sending out talking points to their call center staff since this story first hit the press. But given what I know from people who speak to me on background, as well as my interactions with the company, I suspect that all the claims that are here are more fact than fiction. Which is a problem if you are Rogers. I think that simply denying these accusations won’t get them very far. What they need to do instead is fully and robustly investigate these claims, then come out to the public and say what they found and what they’re going to do about it so that customers don’t feel like the telco is going to rip them off, and what they’re going to do to make sure their employees don’t feel like they’re going to hell every day they’re going to work. Because right now I can say that since these stories have surfaced, the public perception of Rogers, which wasn’t very good, is far worse now. And that’s not a good place to be if you’re Canada’s largest telco.

Is This A Scam Or Is This A Legitimate Text From Rogers?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier tonight I got this text from “Rogers” on my iPhone:

IMG_1147.png

Now the only time I have ever received a text like this is when a carrier sends one. Thus my first thought was that It was legitimate. Then I thought about it and it dawned on me that I haven’t travelled since I went to India in November. Thus there is no way this could be legitimate. I soon got a second text message. Here’s what the two of them look like:

IMG_1148.png

Now I didn’t respond to this text message as I am pretty sure it’s a scam. But just to make doubly sure, I sent this Tweet over to Rogers:

So far no response. So in the absence of Rogers answering this question, I’m going to use the wisdom of the crowd to find out what the deal is. Is this a legitimate text from Rogers or is this a scam. Please leave a comment below and let me you and I will update this story when I have confirmed things either way.

UPDATE: Rogers says it’s for real.

But the thing is, I only have one line. I will be phoning them on Tuesday to find out what the deal is.