Rogers announced today it has reached an agreement with the Competition Bureau to offer a refund or credit to customers who were wrongfully charged for receiving premium text messages, which are monthly subscriptions to games, quizzes, facts, horoscopes and ringtones.
After a five-month investigation in 2012, the Canadian Competition Bureau sued Rogers, TELUS, Bell, and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for $31 million — $10 million from each carrier and $1 million from the CWTA. At the time, the Bureau indicated that missing from the text verbiage was an easy way to opt out of these subscription packages and that, “consumers were under the false impression that certain texts and apps were free. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, consumers only became aware of unexpected and unauthorized charges on their mobile phone bills.”
Rogers will issue credits or refunds to both Rogers Wireless and Fido customers who were charged from third-party text message provider Jesta between January 1st, 2011 and August 31st, 2013, as well as picture messages received between January 1st, 2011 and September 30th, 2012.
Rogers is the first carrier to step forward and offer a refund or credit. According to Patricia Trott, Director of Public Affairs at Rogers, the company is expecting to refund an estimated $5.42 million.
Raj Doshi, Rogers EVP for Wireless, said, “We’ve worked with the Competition Bureau to come to an agreement because it’s the right thing to do. We heard from customers in the past that they had concerns with these third-party premium text services and between 2011 and 2013 we took action to protect our customers. Last summer we stopped the program all together and today we’re going even further.”