Corporate Machine

TELEPHONE TERRORISM: CORPORATE BULLY ROGERS IGNORES CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION – ATTACKS FREEDOM OF SPEECHMNN. August 14, 2006. On August 9th at 3:20 pm I picked up my home phone to make a long distance call. A man came on. The first thing he said was, “This is Rogers and we’ve disconnected your long distance”. Rogers is my long distance server.

“Why?” I asked. He told me I hadn’t paid my June 2006 bill of $103.19. This is not really normally considered past due according to normal collection policy. I was surprised. I always pay my bills and had never received a “past due” notice. While he waited on the phone, I pulled out my June receipts There it was. I had indeed paid my bill at the local Caisse Populaire Bank in Kahnawake. The Rogers employee, Shawn, at 1-800-818-1248 became both nervous and nasty. He claimed the money was not in their account. As far as he was concerned it had not been paid. He wanted me to pay him again by credit card. It crossed my mind that this could be a scam of some kind. If it wasn’t, I couldn’t understand why I should pay again. I offered to fax him a copy of my receipt. He didn’t want it. He again told me he wasn’t going to do anything to check what the problem was. The long distance service would remain cut.

While he was still on the line, I called the Caisse Populaire 450-638-5464. It is the bank in my community. Sure enough they found that I had paid my bill on June 28th 2006 to Teller No. 7. The bank confirmed that the money had been sent to Rogers. The man was still on my other phone line listening to us. I explained what the bank said. He became even nastier. He informed me he wasn’t going to reconnect. To the bank employee and me, it looked like the mistake had been made at his end. But that did not matter to him. He said he had no more time or patience for us and abruptly smacked the phone down on us.

As an elder, over 65 years old, I need my long distance service to stay in touch with my family. I was greatly distressed over the way this young man spoke so angrily and rudely to me, a senior citizen. He was so offensive that I thought about changing my long distance service and telling all my friends to do the same. I wrote to the CRTC (Canadian Radio Telecommunication Commission) telling them I would appreciate it very much if they would investigate these strong arm harassment tactics by Rogers to threaten one of its helpless clients. Especially those who live alone and are desperate to maintain crucial telephone contact. I sent a copy to Rogers. To this date I still have not received any response from the CRTC.

Around noon on Friday, August 11th, the bank called me and said they had “repaid” the June bill and my service should come right back on immediately. They told me to call Rogers and confirm that they could now turn my service back on. I called. They refused to do this. They claimed they had not received this repayment. I sent my receipt to two people at Rogers. They transferred me around to five people. I had to explain everything from the beginning to each one of them. They still would not give me long distance service. I was on the phone with them for over two hours. Still no service.

I told them I needed the long distance desperately as a close family member, an ironworker, had just fallen off the job and was in a coma in a hospital. I needed to get in touch with other family members. They said that they would allow me a “courtesy” call. To get this, I had to call a certain number, go through their recorded messages, hit numbers and dial “0”. Someone finally came on. He asked me all kinds of personal questions. Who was I calling? Why? Where? And so on. Then he dialed the number for me. After ten minutes of this trouble I got through. I was told I could only speak for 5 minutes, then the call was cut without warning. Due to the family crisis I was forced to do this several times.

On Monday, August 14th, still no service. Finally about 4:30 pm I tried and got a long distance call through. Still no explanation. Still no apology. Still no rebate for the loss of one-quarter of a month’s service and all of my time. What gives? Rogers clearly breached its contract with me. Who knows why? Who knows what they’ve been doing. I am starting to get calls from people saying
“Where were you. I’ve been calling all week, leaving messages.” I never left home. I never got one long distance message though I did get some local ones.

Does anyone have any idea what’s going on. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this? How can customers defend ourselves from corporate bullies? Now, may I ask – if they reconnect, are they going to deduct the time they gave me no service and are they going to charge me for reconnection? Doesn’t it sounds like a scam? Whatever happened to old fashioned respect for people who pay their bills on time?

In my note to the CRTC I asked whether any long distance provider has a right to cut off my service when my bills have been paid. Rogers did reply. On August 10th they sent me a “Termination notice” because they allege that “my bill was severely past due” even though I have paid it twice. They are now sending this to a collection agency. They want me to pay it again for a third time, this time $172.76. In other words they want me to pay three and a half times the agreed upon rate for the phone service. You know what? They’re wearing me out. If there is freedom of speech and freedom of association in Canada, how can anyone be subjected to such mistreatment?

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

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poster: Thahoketoteh


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