Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rogersfail 3 Facebookfail 1

I tried to post Rogersfail 2, the return of Rogersfail on Facebook yesterday and suddenly found that my tiny, low traffic, personal blog is considered spam by Facebook.  Trying to post the link got me:

So I tried to let them know that it makes no sense that this tiny, little blog you're reading would be considered SPAM.  It barely has a 1000 page views, there is nothing remotely spammy about it.

I got this reply:

Poor Facebook, they are helpless to correct censorship on their own site?  They don't provide individual support to free a site from wrongful spam accusation?  How did it get shut down in the first place?  Perhaps they are happy to receive business to business requests from large corporations they receive advertising money from that don't like negative descriptions of their poor service.

This blog is a non-educational writing exercise for me.  It don't write it for page views, I write it for personal interest.  The only thing on this seldom viewed blog that might draw any ire are the ROGERS FAIL series.

I wonder if I have drawn ire.

If this is why this is happening, then shame on you Rogers.  You're acting like a bully.

If this is why this is happening, then shame on you Facebook.  You can't call yourself an honest social media network if what you're really doing is censoring what people see to suit your own bottom line.  If that is the case, I would strongly urge people to minimize the time they spend on Facebook and consider Google+, Twitter and other social media entities who seem more intent on providing an honest, transparent service, rather than feeding their users into their bottom line.

If this is simply a matter of Facebook killing all Canadian blogs whole-sale, then it asks some hard questions about how useful Facebook will become if it doesn't actually want to act in partnership with the rest of the internet.  Ignoring off-Facebook sites might force idiots to stay in your walled garden, but the rest of us will simply find a better avenue to information.  This may be the beginning of the end of Facebook if the new corporate approach is to funnel people only to Facebook owned (and advertising revenue generating) pages.

... and they are perfectly willing to edit your reality on Facebook to suit the needs of their advertising partners, or simply to drive your eyes to more Facebook ads.

Quora discussion ensues...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Commuting for 3 weeks in July...

After weeks of having to dig up decade old paperwork, certifications and letters of employment, I just got accepted for the computer technology teacher's additional qualification at the University of Toronto!

The most important question to ask now is, "how can I make a single person, 1 hour commute for 3 weeks in July on everything from small country roads to one of the biggest highways in Canada entertaining and interesting?"

Here's the route:
62kms, about an hour, through the countryside and down the escarpment, just when traffic gets dodgy, I get to stop!
How would I most like to do this?  Ah, a way to make a necessary commute fun for a single person?

My top 5:

#1:  my first choice is a MORGAN 3 WHEELER!

All the fun of a motorcycle, without the helmet!

Though if I had one, I think I'd go full pilot leather cap and googles!

I could totally pull that off.

One of the silliest things I've ever MOST DESPERATELY WANTED!  Charles?  If you're reading this, I'd spend my free time when I'm not driving it taking photos of it!

#2:  Second Choice?  A Lotus Elise!

In Norfolk (Norwich City) Colours!
A marginally less silly choice that still lets me take the roof out!  All while supporting my Norfolk roots (and City's best season in AGES!)

#3:  Third Choice?  Kawasaki Ninja 500!

Get my motorcycle license, get myself a 500cc Ninja and wind my way down to Milton every day on two wheels...

#4: Forth Choice? Give in to my bosozoku urges & scratch my '80s Japanese Sports Car itch!

Toyota MR2: a mid-engined pocket rocket that would surely put a smile on my face while bombing in to school every day, complete with a little supercharger kick in the pants!

The original Miata, inspired by Lotus' Elan, small, light and totally chuckable, happiest in a corner.

The 280ZX.  Not the best Z car Nissan ever made by far, but the one that hung in my e-type addled mind as a teenager car of lust-worthy proportions.

Fifth Choice?  Series 2 E-Type Jaguar!

A 1969 model built in May (so it's as old as I am).  Firing up a big V-12 and sending this beast down the road every day would be delightful!

Well, that about covers it.

My worst case scenario isn't bad at all.  My lovely little green rocket will happily cock a leg in a corner and get me to and from the beastly edge of the GTA (aka: Milton) using as little gas as humanly possible while making it as fun as it can.

... but still, for a summer commute for a single person?


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rogersfail Two: The Return of Rogersfail

After a miserable experience with a constantly breaking phone over the past year, I thought the poor Rogers customer experience couldn't get any worse, then we got the horror story bill after travelling to the States.

Out of nowhere comes a $500 plus bill for cell phone use from our trip to NYC.  I'd gone online and arranged travel packages for both phones, but Rogers seemed to know nothing about that.  When we crossed the border we got a text saying we were roaming and would be charged, which prompted a long distance out of country call to Montreal.

The customer service person said there was nothing on record for us with travel packages, so she helped me set some up.  We got no messages about data use or anything, so I (foolishly) assumed that all was OK.  When we crossed back over into Canada my phone suddenly died after only a few months, and I had to pay for a replacement, even though I'd purchased insurance, and the damn thing was only a few months in service.

When I got the ridiculous bill it had hundreds of dollars in data and voice usage on it.  I contacted Rogers via email, but the person who received it didn't actually read anything I'd written, instead they sent me a 'we looked at your account and you owe us that money' email, which made me angry.  The response is telling, I'm in red:

"Frustration building...

On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 6:20 PM, Rogers Wireless Customer Service <> wrote:
Dear Timothy King,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us, we appreciate your use of online customer service.

I wish you would take the time to actually read the email I sent.
After looking through the bill it seems as though both of the phones had 15MB US Data Travel Pack. Each phone went over that limit in which caused charges. ***-0362 had an additional 60 MB used and ***-0363 had an additional 31 MB used. It does seem as this is a legit charge as there was only a 15MB pack added on both lines and the data went over.

I know this, I told you this in my initial email which you neglected to read.  I ordered two 60 mb travel packs on the website the night before... when we crossed the border I got a message saying we were roaming and would be charged... which shouldn't have happened because I'd already made other arrangements and received an onscreen confirmation.  A long distance phone call later I thought they had restored the 60mb packs I'd initially ordered that the website conveniently dropped.  The french call centre I had to phone long distance from out of country apparently put 15mb packages on instead.

At no point did either of us receive any warnings about exceeding our data plans, something that I thought was part of the process.  Had that happened we would have realized the issue and resolved it on the spot.

I've felt misled several times in this process, and in each case Rogers seems to have benefitted financially.

I would politely ask now that the cost of that long distance call be dropped and the bill recalculated with the 60mb packages applied.  I'm happy to pay for the usage I thought I had, that seems entirely reasonable.

Some kind of response that acknowledges the situation instead of ignoring salient facts would be appreciated.  I'm a long time customer who pays a great deal per month in Rogers for cell phone use.  This was our first attempt at using them out of country and we are feeling abused by the experience.

Rogers replied with this:

I am sorry that the last reply did not address your issues and appeared
as if we had not fully read your email.

(appeared?  No, you actually hadn't read it)

I can see on xxx-xxx-0362 and on xxx-xxx-0363 there was the $25 package
added by us to cover 15MB done by call centre and a notification
10718173 was sent advising: “Added/Changed Added on Mar 10, 2012 - 15MB US Data Travel Pack $25.00 - expires on Mar 17, 2012
One-time Fee: The data in your Travel Pack are available for one month
from the date of purchase. If you run out of the bucket, you'll still continue to enjoy the same great low rate for the month. Receive a 5%discount off the price of Rogers Travel Packs next time you travel by purchasing through a self-serve option 1. Text 'Travel' to 7626 2. From your Rogers My Account 3. From your mobile device visit

(Yeah, I'm enjoying the great low rates... only rogers would try to upsell someone they've just ripped off)

I also see another package added from the devices for another $25 on March 9th for another 15MB.  Given this duplication of coverage this technically means 30MB per line was covered.

(Technically?  But whoa hey! suddenly you've found the packages I purchased before?  When was that going to happen if I didn't complain?)

Also given that each line had the data travel passes each line should have been prompted to renew the packages after 15MB passes you purchased from the devices were used.  Assuming you customer would have chosen another 15MB when notified on xxx-xxx-0363 for $25 cost since usage was lower on that line, this means you would have only paid $25 instead of $52.38
For xxx-xxx-0362 since you were using data in a much quicker rate, it is likely you would have chosen a 60MB data travel pass for $50 instead of having a $100.77 in usage.
What I have done is discuss this with my manager and we assumed that you would have chosen packages as above and now adjusted $78.15 from your bill.  This leaves you with a balance of $231.21 owing on May 8, 2012. You will see the credits noted on page 2 of the next invoice.
I am sorry that this issue was not fully looked into on your original email and hope that this information has been helpful and fully resolved this for you.  If you need me to resend the notification that was sent when the agent added the 15MB travel packs please let me know and I willresend this for you.
You are a valued customer and it has been a pleasure responding to you today.

Sigh.  With a repeatedly broken phone and some (always to Rogers' advantage) billing errors, I'm not feeling valued and none of this has been a pleasure.  They were willing to sort out the data plans so we weren't left in the wind, but not the long distance phone call their amnesia over my initial purchases prompted.

So what have we learned?  Rogers will only acknowledge errors in travel package purchases if you pursue it relentlessly, otherwise they will pretend to have not received the request and charge you ludicrous amounts of money.  If you say nothing, they will happily wrongly charge you.  Don't expect these errors to ever be in your favour.

Don't give up when you query them and they ignore your specifics then reply with snide emails.  Keep at them.

Most of all?  NEVER EVER BRING YOUR ROGERS SMARTPHONE OVER THE BORDER! Five days in New York cost us over $200 in additional charges, even after they finally acknowledged dropped packages and a failure of any advertised warning about exceeding travel data limits.  I could have brought a wifi laptop and uploaded pics from the hotel for 1/10 that, or just picked up a pay as you go phone, and next time I will.  Rogers "convenience" comes at too high a price (and any convenience is mitigated by the hours you'll have to put into sorting out your bill afterwards).

Had they not renewed my contract when my phone broke (without my knowledge), I'd be so gone, but I'm trapped under a contract I never asked for with a phone I don't trust with a company that seems intent on finding every possible way of making me miserable.

I'd love to try Telus, or even Bell, but it'll cost me hundreds to just walk away from this.