The Lifestyle Digs

Cell Phone Providers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without ’em.

On Boxing Day, the day of deals in Canada, I thought I’d talk a bit about my experiences with cell phone carriers. Cell phone providers are pretty much the kings of no great deals in our country.

Have you switched your cell phone provider a few times over the years as you find better deals?

Cell Phone Providers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without ’em.

Rogers

I’ve made a few cell phone changes over the years. My first cell phone provider was Rogers and that was back in the nineties when cell phones started to become affordable for ordinary people. I had a couple of those big clunker phones and then I finally got one of those nifty flip phones on a deal from Rogers. There was a set time that I had to stay with the Rogers plan for this phone. A year or two. Don’t remember.

Anyway when the term was up I was able to switch to a monthly plan at the same price. So no changes to the service or price. This was confirmed to me over the phone and in a letter from the vice president, so I didn’t need to commit myself for a longer term with Rogers.

Then the multiple harassing phone calls from Rogers began. Every day Rogers hounded me that my term had ended and I had to sign up for another term. I told them to stop phoning. Rogers refused. I sent in a complaint letter with a copy of the vice president’s letter. I asked if the vice president had lied to me in his letter when he said I could continue on a monthly basis instead of a term. Again, I asked for the harassing phone calls to stop.

I was so fed up with Rogers harassing me that I said if I got any more phone calls, I was going to cancel my service. That stopped the daily calls for a short time, maybe three or four months.

And then I guess Rogers decided to test me to see if I was lying about cancelling the service. They phoned and told me that my term had ended, blah, blah, blah.

I was pissed! Nobody needs to be hounded like this. I’m paying my monthly bill on time. I just want to be left alone. I told the lady who phoned me that I was very clear in my letter. If I got any more phone calls from Rogers hounding me to sign up for another term I was going to cancel my phone plan. “Cancel my phone. Right now,” I told her. “I’m done with Rogers hounding me.”

Poor lady actually sounded pretty scared. She transferred me over to someone who was able to disconnect my phone and cancel my Rogers account. That person confirmed my account was flagged not to receive any marketing calls. I’m not sure why Rogers decided to test me. They sure didn’t want me as a customer obviously.

Telus

After cancelling my Rogers account, I went into a Telus store and bought a new phone. I signed up for a pay and talk plan. That meant I had to go into 7-11 every month, buy a $10 card, and load the bucks onto my cell phone account. It was for 30 minutes worth of calls each month. The thing is I rarely used my cell phone. It was mostly for emergencies but I occasionally made and received phone calls while I was out. The 30 minutes or dollars remaining carried over every month. I had a lot of money loaded on the phone, so when I needed to make long distance calls, that was the phone I used.

I had well over $200 in my pay and talk account when I cancelled with Telus. No cash out option.

Fido

When the deadbeat and I were still together we signed up to Fido. We each got an iPhone 3Gs and signed up for a three-year plan. I still didn’t use my phone that much, but it was kind of fun that I could check my email while I was out and about and go online.

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At the end of three years I switched to a different monthly plan with Fido. Unlimited Canada wide, unlimited international texting, and 6 GB of data for $39/month. It’s more than I need, but I’m happy with it.

In 2015 Fido announced they were closing the Fido dollars program. I got a few points added to my account every month when I paid the bill and had around $40 Fido bucks I needed to use or lose. I was thinking about getting another phone. There were some apps I was interested in, particularly an app for my Canon camera, but the iPhone 3Gs wasn’t compatible with newer apps.

Aside from that, my iPhone was still working fine after six years.

I phoned in and asked a rep about using my Fido bucks towards another iPhone. She had a deal for me! I could have an iPhone 5 for free. All I had to do was stay with Fido for two years. I didn’t have to change my plan. I just had to hang around for two years.

No problem! I’m happy with Fido and no plans to leave. Those Fido bucks languished into nothing when the program ended.

More Fido deals?

If Fido would give me a similar deal I would upgrade my current iPhone 5 to a newer model. Free deal that is. Stick around for two years. No change to my current plan. Just like the last deal.

Every now and then I call in to check, but no dice. Fido would like to give me a free newer iPhone but they’d like me to upgrade to a more expensive monthly plan. That makes no sense when I barely use my phone.

When my current iPhone gives up the ghost I’ll probably go to the Apple store and buy a new phone.

Whenever I log in to Fido to check on any specials, I get a pop up box that announces the specials. So far no iPhone deals, but I get these deals on changing my cell phone plan.

Here’s one that was kicking around for the longest time at Fido.

Cell Phone Providers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without ’em.

What a stinking deal! And I mean stinking in that it really stinks. Not that it’s stinking hot! Ha ha.

I can get unlimited Canada wide minutes, unlimited texting, and 4 GB of data for $50 a month! Wow! Fido wants me to pay an extra $11/month for the exact same talk and text plan I currently have and to sweeten the deal I’ll get 2 GB less data! Ha ha!

BYOP by the way = Bring Your Own Phone. Fido isn’t even going to throw in a new free phone if I pay more money a month.

Come on Fido. You have to do better than that! Ha ha! I’m still laughing.

But then – ta da! Fido “sweetens” the deal.

Cell Phone Providers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without ’em.

Fido is now offering the same deal for $45/month. This stinking deal has been kicking around for a few months now every time I log in to Fido. Apparently Fido thinks I’ll jump all over the deal to pay $6 a month more for the same service I currently receive, less 2 GB data. Fido thinks this is a great deal.

NOT!

Compare either of Fido’s special exclusive offers to my current plan at $39/month with unlimited talk Canada wide, unlimited international texting (not that I’ve ever needed to text international) and 6 GB of data and they’re both pretty shitty deals. Pay more money for less service.

I’ve been with Fido over ten years. You’d think they could come up with a better special exclusive offer for me.

Did a former Telus bigwig come on board at Fido? That’s something I’d expect from Telus, not Fido.

Deal or no deal?

OK, ladies, we have to be smart with our money. If our cell phone provider keeps sending “special exclusive offers” on phone plans, and that “deal” costs more money for less benefits than what we’re currently getting – that deal stinks! It sucks! Stay away!

What really sucks is I can’t get Fido to remove that special deal that I have no interest in taking.

Getting back to Boxing Day that I mentioned earlier…

Boxing Day deals in Canada just aren’t that great any more. We’re not waking up early and standing in line in freezing temperatures to buy electronics, sporting goods, and cell phones. We can shop from the comfort of our homes! Black Friday and deals on Amazon have taken over from the traditional Boxing Day sales at Canadian retailers.

We’re not getting good deals on cell phones anymore either. Or cell phone plans.

We’re getting to be better comparison shoppers.

I like Fido. No complaints, other than their “special exclusive offers” suck.

Just like with banks, phone carriers need to “get it” that customers go where they get the best deal and the least amount of hassle.

I already know that Rogers gives the most amount of hassle. Hounding customers and basically saying your vice president is a liar = zero customer confidence.

Telus I’m on the fence. Nothing great about their cell phone service. Nothing bad either except the high prices. At least they didn’t bug me. If they offered me a screaming deal, I’d jump ship. I’m confident that won’t happen anytime soon. The prices Telus charges are awful. They can’t touch what Fido offers.

Keep your eyes open

What I’d really like to see is a US cell phone company offer unlimited Canada/USA calls, texts, and data for a great monthly rate plus a free phone and I’d be all over it. I’ll drive down to Bellingham and grab one. Yup I’d think there’d be a huge line up at the border on the day that ever happens!

Don’t be too quick to pounce on that special offer your cell phone carrier is enticing you with.

I’ll end with a shut out to Fido. Get your act together! How about offering up a real special offer to me? You’ve already proved you can do it. Now just do it one more time!

 

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