Rogers asks CRTC for carriers to pay unpaid bills before porting

MobileSyrup

January 21, 2010 2:55 pm

Number portability came into effect in March of 2007 and people have embraced it to give a new carrier a go. With customers swapping in and out during contract periods has also seen the rise of unpaid balances… which Rogers states costs them “millions of dollars each year”.

Rogers filed a request with the CRTC asking that all carriers “to be responsible for the unpaid balances owed by customers who switch providers”. Makes sense as you sign up with a clean bill and should leave with a clean bill. It should not be up to the new carrier to go chasing for costs that were not originally their responsibility. So somewhere along the way there is a sweet loophole. The CRTC said they are reviewing the request.

Rogers says “Customers porting out mid-contract with unpaid balances are costing Rogers, and most probably other wireless carriers as well, millions of dollars each year. The task of collecting these unpaid balances is made much more difficult once a customer ports their number to a new carrier as the relationship has been terminated.”

However, Michael Janigan, executive director at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, says that it’s just not about unpaid bills but a bigger picture is about market share. Stating rivals like TELUS, Bell and now Wind are slowing taking business away from them. “This is the clear downside of long-term contracts for a supplier and now they want regulation to solve a problem brought about by market forces”.

With new competition… you must find new creative ways to keep customers and your shareholders happy.

Check out the entire filing here at the CRTC (PDF)

Via: CBC

(Thanks Bryan!)

  • George S

    cry me a river rogers,rogers gets millions of screwing customers with overages and uneccessary system access fees and now GRRF yet they do nothing for their customers when they get no reception

  • Joe

    Maybe if they put more effort into keeping customers then they would have to worry about people porting away.

    No doubt that people are starting to see Bell/Telus has a much better 3G network and if you don’t care about that WIND (and soon DAVE and other competitors) has the value equation.

  • Jon M

    It seems rather sensible that you shouldn’t be allowed to port your number without clearing your balance first . . . .

  • Bob

    Leave a balance, it’s to comp. the stupid “911 Fee” the Big 3 have been charging everyone illegally for years.

    Good luck trying to get back anything under 100 bucks. Or leave a -2 balance, it cost more for them to print and send you mail to get you to pay that bit back.

  • Jason

    While I’m not fan of the Rogers contract I’m stuck in, it seems to me that it would be perfectly reasonable for Rogers not to port out the number until the balance is taken care of.

  • Eric

    Forcing customers to clear the old balance before porting would extend the port by days or weeks.

    The providers won’t get you an up to date bill for a couple days, and then you should really have a standard, 30 day, term to pay that bill.

    A port should take a day, two max.

  • George S

    anything to make a buck robbers will stop at nothing if this goes through you know what the other big 2 will charge for their service to compensate paying rogers back. this is as f****d up as 407 etr denying your plates for not paying, i dont see why they have ministry control to get their money and robbers is trying to use the crtc to do the same thing

  • Marc

    Every time there is news about a carrier you all jump on the “f**k them anyway” bandwagon. Guys like you poison places like this with your senseless f*****g whining. Read the article before you make a comment completely unrelated to the issue. 90% of people don’t like any carriers, so shut up and stock bickering about it in threads that don’t even cover the topic.

  • schultzter

    When I switched carriers I assumed I would have a “final” bill to pay with my old carrier. Even after your 3-years are over you still have to pay for the services you used. Switching carrier doesn’t absolve you of paying what you owe your old carrier! I don’t even know why this is an issue!?

  • F. Gajtani

    HA! they’re talking about ME! well, at least now i know for sure i don’t have to pay Fido after i switched to wind. i consider it payback.

  • laweege

    yes you should have to clean up any legit balance. but all they have to do is throw some stupid charge on your bill or a late fee or if your fighting a bogus charge and now you are without phone.

    trust me it will happen. i think thats what they want.

  • Jason H

    This seems fair in a perfect world. But I have no doubt that carrier’s will “accidentally” over charge us and thus keeping us from being able to port our number. We’ll either pay the “accidental” charge, or go through great frustration proving that the charge is an error. This will obviously deter many people from changing providers.

  • cass_m

    Apparently there are many users who don’t get the contract thing. This should not be an issue. When the port request is put in, a bill should be generated and as soon as it is paid you get to move your number. People who don’t pay out their contract are raising costs for the rest of us.

  • Its The P

    Makes sense to me.

  • Koolaid drinker

    Marc, you are correct the whining has to stop. If all you do is complain about the cost,and contracts. Then…… Wait……wait. Don’t have a f*****g cell phone. Of course then you will complain about shaw, vonage or who ever else provides you with service.

  • Scott S

    The time it would delay people to have to wait to get a bill and then pay it would make it such a pain in the a*s to switch providers.

    Here’s a better idea, if you don’t pay you’re bill then your credit takes a hit, pretty simple if you ask me.

  • Luke

    Marc I 100% agree with you, you couldn’t have said it better. Thank You

  • julienrl

    stopping to process of transferring because there is a balance left will make it much longer for people to transfer (and making it impractical and a terrible experience); the only way for this to work is to 1-rely on people’s honesty or 2-transferring the cost via the new carrier the person is with. Not sure how I feel about this one.

  • KL

    This is pretty stupid. Jane Doe signs a contract with Rogers. Jane Doe quits and port her number to another provider. Then it is Rogers’ responsibility to go after Jane Doe and noone else since the contract only binds these 2 parties. It is mindbogglingly stupid for Rogers to demand someone else to collect the fees for them.

    Put it this way: if a Telus customer quits and switch to Rogers, do you think Rogers will collect the termination fee on behalf of Telus and return it to them?

  • Bob

    Marc:
    SURE. If you get Rogers to stop whining to the CRTC about unpaid balances.

    Can somebody explain to me why this would be fair? Sorry, but the CRTC should not be concerned about debt owed. That is not their jurisdiction nor should this be at all to do with switching providers. If one has debt owed from individuals, small business, to large corporations, what should be done is through courts and law enforcement. As a commenter mentioned, debt should be done in credit and Roger’s own debt collections. Just any other business.

    SO YES, we whine. Because Rogers whine. Because this is unfair. And most important, those who really are paying attention, as mentioned in the article, in the big picture this is not about unpaid bills. It is about market share. It’s about losing money because consumers are going to other providers.

    And if you still don’t get it, answer this question: why does Rogers complain about this now four years later?

  • Webterractive

    I hope that the CRTC denies this request because these “millions” of dollars are fees imposed by Rogers and other carriers. The CRTC should work for the people and investigate these ETF’s like FCC is doing down south.

  • Mr. A

    THE only reason you guys sign contracts, is because you can’t afford to pay for your phones. You want lower prices, buy your own phone and stop being a liability for you service provider. Do your time, get on a loyalty plan. Take the time to understand your plan and it’s allowances, stay informed on your usage and the overage charges. It’s not that hard guys, come on now. Now pay your bills, stop the complaining (Amen Marc!), and get on with your lives.

  • Marc

    Okay, seriously. This is enough. It’s NOT f*****g complicated!

    1. When you ‘cancel’ your account with a company your cancelation fee (if one exists) is applied to your account to cover the remaining cost of the subsidized phone PLUS any remaining costs of service that you used since billing is delayed 30 days. Just because you don’t want to stay with a service provider, that does NOT entitle you the right of not paying for service that YOU ALREADY USED!

    2. When the account is ‘cancelled’ – the account doesn’t technically exist anymore. There is a tone of back-door payment collection going on between carriers because they now have to pay for man power to confirm that everything is done correctly. What they’re asking the CRTC to do is to eliminate any outstanding debt which I think is only fair.

    And Gajtani… I pity you for your ignorance. Just because you cancelled and went to WIND it does not mean that you’ve released the responsibility to pay for services used and for cancellation fees. Do you know what a collection agency is? Each organization that has debts not yet collected must pay a fee to the collection agency to ensure everything is collected that is owed. If you’re stupid enough to think that because your brain swept dirt under that the corporation does not know about then you’re in more trouble than you know.

    Don’t take my advice tough. Do what you’re doing now, and then when collections comes after you in a few years remember that guy on an internet forum that told you so. On a last note, if you owe Fido $250 now, my friend, that will be MUCH higher when they come for you. I’ve seen the cancelled contract and collection agencies so many times that it’s actually hilarious how people think they can just NOT PAY.

    So, between the actual cost you owe, the man hours needed to correct all these outstanding ported accounts, and the involvement of collection agencies, THAT is where the “millions” a year comes from. They’re trying to safe guard spending unnecessary spending on things like this so it can be better put to use.

    If the CRTC rules in favour of Rogers, this will be good for EVERY carrier in Canada. Stop neglecting the millions of dollars it costs behind closed doors to provide a seamless service such as bringing your number from another carrier and getting it working in minutes.

  • Marc

    BOB: Why are they complaining about it years later? Because now it has become a problem ant the cost keeps getting higher. Since the emergence of the smartphone, consumption is very much on the rise. Rogers’ share increased 25% with the release of the iPhone – do you have any idea how many of those were port-ins? TONS. You think it’s not the CRTC’s jurisdiction? This falls right under their radar! It’s not law enforcements responsibility to chase you down for your cell phone bill, that’s absurd.

    And you also can’t bring the ‘down south’ argument in. The market in the US is so much more saturated than here and they have 300 million people compared to our 30 million. Their ETF is lower because they have enough money to lower the subsidization margin on handsets. Simple.

    God, I seriously wonder how some of you guys are going to understand taxes, investments, and mortages….

  • Moe

    Marc: If you had a clue about what the CRTC’s mandate is, you would realize that debt collection does *not* fall “under their radar”.

  • Bob

    MARC: Take your own advice and quite whining and read what I wrote. Your tone is nothing more but bickering and picking data whenever it favours you.

    Show me the data where “Rogers’ share increased 25% with the release of the iPhone”? What does that suppose to mean anyways? Until you’ve proven it, I’ll take that as dirt.

    As mention by commenter above (Moe, Jan 22, 5:28pm) it’s not the job of the CRTC to be Roger’s or anyone’s bill collector. It’s the bill collector’s job. And if they are not doing their job, well it’s time for legal action. Just like any regular business.

    I also would like you to show me proof that there is a significant increase of unpaid loses due to transfer of numbers. Here’s mine:

    Goto either sedar.com or roger’s own investment site. Look at Roger’s both quarterly and annual reports. Look at the years between 2007 to now. Look up key words like revenue, accounts receivables, as well as wireless.
    As far as I can tell it’s all within range of a typical company.

    Example: 2007 to 2008 account receivable was 1,245 to 1,403 (in millions of dollars). Roger’s own limit set goal was 1510, 1630 for those years. The amount was well under their own goal.

    If you computed Accounts Receivable Turnover, which is a number ratio that tells you roughly how efficient a company in collecting debt. For Rogers case they range from 2007 to now: around +8.00 which is pretty good average. This is done both separate annually and quarter numbers.

    BTW since you’ve impressed me that iPhone was a cause of a problem. I’ve taken a closer look at 2009 to now numbers (only quarterly data). As for as I can see from operations to basic accounting ratios I see no significant increase in operations cost on wireless nor do I see anything notable in account receievables.

    Also note, Rogers is actually making money in 2009 despite the downturn in the economy. I guess that increase in prices and fees did the trick.

    So no, it’s not about unpaid bills at all. It’s all about regulating market share.

    I know my taxes, investments, and mortgages. I wonder about your credentials.

  • dumbdumb

    Moe: This is about the terms surrounding number ports which IS under the mandate of the CRTC. Rogers is asking to add to the “term and conditions” that already exist surrounding number ports.

  • Marc

    1. Thankyou dumbdumb, that’s what I was going to say. It’s not an issue of collecting debt, it’s to set rules and regulations so that all carriers don’t have chase people for debt collection. They’re asking for a customer to clear all dirty laundry before leaving.

    You say I’m bending statistics to suit my needs? Ha.

    2. I appreciate your attempted lesson at turnover rates, I’ll have to pass since I have been involved in the management of accounts receivable for both Rogers and Telus – so no thanks. And I’m sorry, it’s not 25%, it was somewhere around 21%. I apologize for not having that reference on hand but I have used it in recent growth reports now being a client for R&D for BCE. Since Rogers released the iPhone 3G their market share increased dramatically since they were the only carrier to have it. “What does that even mean anyway?” Google dicitonary.

    “Rogers strong performance has also been evident in its stock price. Since March 19, a week after Industry Canada published a list of 30 possible new entrants to the wireless market, Rogers shares have moved up more than 33.5% buoyed by a strong first quarter and the news it will soon be selling Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone device.

    In fact, the multimedia-rich iPhone is likely the foreshadowing of a boom period for Rogers. A recent report by Goldman Sachs suggests Rogers’ net subscription growth could rise as much as 30% if it follows the same trajectory as U. S. operator AT&T after it released the iPhone more than a year ago.

    “Rogers’ iPhone advantage

    Rogers strong performance has also been evident in its stock price. Since March 19, a week after Industry Canada published a list of 30 possible new entrants to the wireless market, Rogers shares have moved up more than 33.5% buoyed by a strong first quarter and the news it will soon be selling Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone device.

    In fact, the multimedia-rich iPhone is likely the foreshadowing of a boom period for Rogers. A recent report by Goldman Sachs suggests Rogers’ net subscription growth could rise as much as 30% if it follows the same trajectory as U. S. operator AT&T after it released the iPhone more than a year ago.

    The projection alone for the iPhone was 30% market share increase (which is what AT&T saw being the exclusive US iPhone carrier).

    Bottom line, I think from a business standpoint it would be understandable for all carriers to ask their parting customers to clear all debt before leaving. If anything, it just overcomplicates the industry.

  • Vikingisson

    wow, such passion.
    anyway, I just assumed that a company wouldn’t port a number until the current account was closed. I didn’t know there was a loophole and that chumps were exploiting it. Eventually you’ve been to all providers and now can’t get service from any of them….

    I don’t see any gov agency being the debt collector for a cell provider. They will only say that the provider has the right to deny a port if the bill is outstanding. fair enough but could also be abused by the provider. Of course they will stall and pick at anything they can. My only concern is a disputed bill.

    I don’t compare this to the 407. In that case the gov is acting on behalf of a private company. That one is a LOT more evil.

  • Kevin

    I understand clearing up any outstanding bill but paying for services not received seems less than legal to me:

    you may terminate any or all of your Services upon no less than 30 days’ advance notice by contacting Rogers at the appropriate points of contact specified in these Terms; and

    Rogers may terminate any or all of your Services or accounts upon no less than 30 days’ advance notice to you at your billing address.

    Applicable charges continue to apply until the end of the notice period or until the Services are no longer accessible by you, whichever is later. The transfer of your telephone number to another telecommunications service provider constitutes a termination of the applicable Service(s), and an ECF may apply as set out in Section 9.
    – what you need to know about your service (Rogers web site)

    This means that you have to pay for 30 days of service that you can not even use!

    I really don’t see how this should be allowed.

    Oh well… Oh Canada!