[sc:mobile-category ]Cell phone usage when roaming has always been a bone of contention with me. Bell and the other service providers reap huge profits for doing nothing and users had no recourse.
Things began to change a while ago as some smaller players started to discount their roaming packages and the CRTC started to look at the huge bills some Canadians were receiving.
On December 1st, new regulations came in to effect that limited service providers to charging a maximum $100 in roaming fees without alerting the user. A good idea and Bell updated their roaming packages at the same time.
This is the background going in to my trip to the US on November 30. I called Bell on November 24th to purchase the travel package that was available at the time, which was as follows (this is from memory, as it is no longer displayed on Bell’s site):
- 100 minutes of voice
- 100 text messages
- 50 meg of data
Which was fine for me at was priced at $25. A reasonable amount if still not great.
I started roaming on the 30th and everything was fine.
Until December 1st of course 😉
At 9:26 PST I received a notification from Bell that I had used $25 of roaming data.
I thought this odd and called in to Bell to see what was up. I was told by the support rep that nothing was wrong, he could see my roaming plan, I hadn’t exceeded my limit and that it was likely a false message as they had just introduced a new system.
Things continued fine until 12:16am PST on December 5 when I received my second alert from Bell saying I had used $100 in roaming data and that data was now disabled.
A second call in re-confirmed that I had the travel plan, I hadn’t exceeded my limit and they didn’t know why I had received the message or why my data was disabled. He recommended I reboot my phone and see if that resolved the issue. Of course I was using my phone to call in so I had to hang up.
The reboot didn’t resolve the issue so once more I called Bell.
The support person once again confirmed everything look fine on their end and after I confirmed I had rebooted the phone he put me on hold to talk to someone else.
After a few minutes he came back and knew what the problem was. My roaming plan had been terminated on December 1st when the new plans came in to effect. He had to add two new features on to my service to compensate:
- Voice and Text service (100 minutes and 1000 text messages) for $30
- Data (100 meg) for $20
So now you have to pay twice as much to get a basic roaming package from Bell, though you do get more for it. Bell has said they will credit me the difference, but even so that’s not really the point.
So a few things:
- Why on earth would they sell be a 30 day travel package that clearly only could be used for 7 days?
- Why didn’t they notify me of the change when I purchased the package?
- Why didn’t they notify me of the change when they changed it?
- Why didn’t they grandfather in existing users?
- Why didn’t their support people know about the change and how it would affect users?
- Whey did I have to call in 3 times to get it fixed?
- If the new roaming limits are designed to reduce costs, why is the basic package now twice as expensive?
Overall it’s just another example of why I really should have dumped Bell when my contract came up last year.