I am currently going through an extremely difficult experience with Fido, which called me two months ago to offer me a “better" plan and then blatantly misled me into accepting one that was actually inferior to my previous one, as it did not have free unlimited incoming calls like my old plan did. A...
I am currently going through an extremely difficult experience with Fido, which called me two months ago to offer me a “better" plan and then blatantly misled me into accepting one that was actually inferior to my previous one, as it did not have free unlimited incoming calls like my old plan did. At the time the customer service rep had gone over the details of the new plan, he did not mention to me at any point that this critical feature would be removed; as a result, the new plan did in fact sound like a great deal, so I agreed to it. A month later I was charged a great sum of money ($267 for one month of moderate talk-time, whereas my previous bills averaged $40) for all the incoming calls I had received. Once I brought the issue up with them, they came up with numerous excuses and failed to call me back on multiple occasions despite promising me they would. They also refused all of my suggestions for how a satisfactory resolution could be reached.
The full details of what transpired over the last two months are presented below:
On December 16, 2014, Fido called me to offer me a “better” plan since I had been a long-time customer and since they noticed that I was buying Data Day Passes several times per month. My previous package had 200 anytime minutes, unlimited incoming calls, unlimited evenings and weekends, and no included data. The new package that Fido offered me would bump me up to 250 anytime minutes and 250mb of data, all for about $40—about $5 less per month than I had been paying. After some coaxing from them, I decided it was a good deal that I should probably agree to. The rep then started telling me what was included in the package, but when he told me that my new voicemail service would now only store three messages (instead of the 10 I had had for many years) I told him directly that this “great deal” they were offering me actually wasn't so great. I specifically pointed out that a true "upgrade" to a package should mean that I get to keep whatever features I already have and that extra features would be added to it. If they would be removing or diminishing any of my services, then it would not really be an upgrade but rather a swapping of services—which I didn’t want to agree to. After discussing things for a while, the rep eventually offered me a complimentary month or so of Fido's deluxe voicemail (which holds 35 messages) and told me he would credit my account for $20 to balance out my having to pay for this more expensive voicemail option for the upcoming year. I agreed, and my plan was updated on December 19.
Shortly after, I went onto Fido's website and was dismayed to find that the "special offer" they were giving to me for being a long-time customer would actually cost me more than if I was a new customer signing up with them for the first time! I found out that Fido, like many other providers, offers a 10% discount on monthly bills to customers who use their own phones rather than a Fido phone. I was never offered this option, despite using a non-Fido phone from the start. Feeling somewhat deceived, I decided to look closely at my phone bills from the previous months and also learned that in April 2014 Fido had conveniently cut off a $5 goodwill discount they themselves had offered to me a few years prior for being a long-time customer. There had never been any mention of this goodwill discount having an expiry date, yet they took it away from me without any explanation. Thus, from April to December, I had paid an extra $40 without knowing it.
On December 21, I called Fido to tell them I was rather unhappy with their dishonesty and that I didn't want to do business with a company that tricks its customers in such a questionable manner. I told them that I wanted the current billing cycle I was on to be my last one and that I didn't want any surprising extra charges on my final bill, as I would be transferring my phone number to another company immediately once the cycle was almost over. The rep seemed to understand that my concerns were warranted and agreed to close my account at that time.
Imagine my surprise when several weeks later I received a bill for $267.05. Thinking there had surely been some sort of mistake, I called Fido on January 20, 2015. The rep informed me that I was charged all that extra money because my new plan no longer featured unlimited incoming calls. I couldn't believe it—after all, I had never been informed that my unlimited incoming calls would be removed under the new plan! I explained to the rep that since I opted for the incoming calls feature years earlier, 90% of my weekday daytime calls were in fact incoming calls. This would be apparent by examining any one of my previous phone bills. He proceeded to tell me that I should've known about this because the rep I had spoken to on December 16 had gone over the details of my new plan. I said that particular rep had misled me, as he never once mentioned that this critical feature was going to be removed—even when I had specifically mentioned what I felt about upgrades: namely, that an upgrade should never remove existing features but rather add to them. I told the rep that Fido needed to listen to that call to confirm this vital information had in fact been left out at the time I agreed to the new plan. After I explained that I had no way of knowing that this feature would be removed, he said that they would listen to the recording and call me back in 24 to 48 hours with a decision. Annoyed but certain that this mix-up would be cleared up soon I patiently waited.
A day went by, and then another. And another.
In the meantime, on January 31, my MasterCard was charged the full $267.05 amount.
As time went on, it was clear that Fido was not planning on calling me back, so I took the initiative. On February 2, I called the company and explained to another rep what had happened and that this issue needed to be resolved immediately; at that point I demanded to speak to a supervisor. After a lengthy period of waiting on hold, a supervisor (Kyle) came on the line to speak to me. Once again, I carefully explained the entire situation to him and told him that I was basically tricked into accepting a plan I would've never chosen myself. I was then charged for having that plan, and then nobody even called me back to discuss the matter further and ensure a resolution was reached. I explained to him that someone was supposed to listen to the original December 16 call and determine what the outcome of this case would be based on that. I asked this supervisor, "Why did no one call me back about this as I was led to believe?" In response to this, he said that whoever I spoke to the last time did not "officially put in a call-back request into the system" so they weren't even aware they were supposed to call me back. In addition, he told me that that rep was misinformed because—and this part still baffles me—they can only listen to recorded calls for "quality assurance and testing purposes." I couldn't believe my ears; if this isn't a quality assurance issue, then what was it?
Although I was still composed, I was really starting to get upset on the inside. It was impossible to not feel swindled by this company, and I told them that I felt they were truly trying to cheat me here. I pointed out that these are extremely dishonest business practices and that no one should be treated this way, let alone a faithful customer of almost seven years. I made it clear that they owed me a refund and that I wouldn't settle for anything less.
In response, he told me that they could not offer me a refund in this case because their policy does not allow them to do that. He actually said that if they had documentation stating that I was never offered the deal, they could give me a refund, but since they didn’t, there was really nothing they can do. I reminded him of the fact that there was recorded documentation of that first phone call, which serves as proof, but he again dismissed this suggestion, stating once more that they cannot access recordings in these types of cases.
I stated clearly that there was no way I would pay this extravagant bill under these circumstances and that I would take this situation as far as it needed to go until justice was served. I asked him to work with me and suggest what I could do next, as we needed to reach a resolution together. He said that if I was still a Fido customer, they could "maybe" give me half or three-quarters of the money back (why not all of it?) as a goodwill credit that would go to my account. However, since I wasn't a customer anymore and didn't have an account with them, there was (again) nothing they could do once a payment has gone through. Of course, had whoever was supposed to call me back last time actually done so when he or she was supposed to, we may have been able to resolve this whole issue before my credit card was charged in the first place! But it seems that would have been too easy and convenient, as now instead they had me in a position where their policies could apparently protect them.
I then suggested that they transfer that credit to a friend or family member and, as annoying as it would be, I would personally collect the money from that individual each month until the debt was settled. His response? That would be against company policy too.
I told him that they can't just hide behind dishonest policies that serve to only protect the company with no regard whatsoever for the customer. I told him to forget about the policies and consider what the right thing to do here was. I asked him to put himself in my shoes and think about how he would feel if he were in my situation. What kind of business practice is that? It's truly a terrible and unspeakable way for any business—let alone a multi-billion dollar one—to treat its customers.
After talking in circles with Kyle, I reiterated that I was not going to back down at any point and that if he couldn't help me, I needed to speak to his manager. He said that for that they would definitely have to call me back and that they would do so within 48 hours, "although likely within 24 hours." He assured me that this time he put in the “official call-back request.” Although I was unhappy about where this was going, I got off the phone and tried to get my mind off this whole debacle.
And once again I patiently waited. One day passed, as did another. And another and another.
Days later, I began writing this letter and am preparing to take things to the next level. While writing the letter, I called Fido to confirm all of the dates on which I had recently spoken with their customer service department. As the rep whom I spoke to reviewed the records, even she said, “This is not good; I see this has been dragging on for almost two months now. That is way too long. I also see that they told you they would call you back but didn’t.” She was a very sweet lady and, since I was very soft-spoken and polite about the whole thing, she said would do her best to get me some help while I was on the line with her. She put me on hold and spoke to someone. When she came back, she told me that my case was now “high-priority” and would be forwarded to the upper management who would deal with it urgently. She assured me that over the weekend I would definitely get a call back from someone to discuss everything in detail. I am certain she did everything in her power to help me resolve this, and at the time I was finally feeling optimistic again. But the weekend came and went, and no one tried to contact me yet again. Too bad.
As a result, I am done dealing with Fido directly, as I can see that my efforts are completely futile. Therefore, I will now contact the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), followed by several other organizations that exist to protect consumers from dishonourable practices like this. I am an honest person and, as a small business owner myself, I cannot fathom treating a customer so poorly. Fido has acted in an extremely dishonest and disrespectful fashion, as how the company has treated me here is a scam in every sense of the word. I have had the misfortune of falling victim to real online scams before, and how this whole scenario played out is shockingly similar: false pretence to encourage you to buy, followed by awful customer service that comes up with excuses for everything you bring up, followed by blatant ignoring in the hopes that you’ll eventually drop the issue so that the company gets to keep your money.
I have spoken to several friends, family members, and colleagues about this situation and found that I am certainly not the only one who was manipulated by Fido in this way. If you or anyone you know has experienced the same or a similar scenario with Fido, please contact me with details at firstname.lastname@example.org. If many of us who fell victim to their trickery unite, we will stand a much better chance of making this battle public and emerging victorious.
To get another perspective from someone in this industry, I discussed this issue with a rep from my new service provider, and he was shocked. He said that he has never heard of this kind of issue in his seven years of customer service. He says that at his company it is "standard practice" to pull calls to listen to them to verify if what a customer is saying is accurate and if he or she was in fact misinformed or misled for any reason whatsoever. He says that this was definitely a quality assurance issue and that Fido is engaging in very questionable business practices. He, as well as a coworker who was sitting nearby, felt sorry for me having to be in this situation and wished me the best of luck in finding a satisfactory resolution. Less