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2010/11/10

A Catch-All Catch-Up… $Data Overage Hike; UMA Funny Business; QC Less Speculum; $35/$50 Unlim; CCTS Annual Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — RogersWatch @ 04:28


Data Surcharge Price Hike
– In June 2010 Rogers raised the data overage rates charged for all ‘normal’ data plans (i.e. non-6GB, non-FlexData [both RET and in-market flavours], non-Can+USA plans)
– Only affects those who signed up during or after June 2010; pre-existing cx‘s have no price hike
– Old rate: 3c/MB ($31/GB)
– New rate: 5c/MB ($51/GB) (66% increase)


UMA Funny Business
– Prior to late August 2010: cx’s with a supported, UMA-compatible handset could make calls to any Canadian number and consume only ‘local’ airtime minutes, when using UMA (aka WiFi calling)
– And cx’s could do this for no extra charge
– At the end of August Rogers disabled this for all users, unless you have a paid TalkSpot service (min $5/mo)
– As is not uncommon, Rogers gave no notice of this to cx’s
– Since the Rogers website, in places, doesn’t say that this is a paid feature a cx has, IMO, a right to expect to be able to use UMA this way, for no extra $ per month
– I go into more detail about all this, incl advice for cx’s wanting to get this feature back for free, on this page:
—- /UMA


QC Less Speculum
– Quebec’s Bill 60 took effect June 30 2010.
– The text of the bill is here:
—- http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=5&file=2009C51A.PDF
– HoFo user FidoSeniorAgent summed up nicely the impact of this consumer-protecting legislation for (only QC!) cellular cx’s, in this post:
—- http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?p=13792691#post13792691
– One of the obvious impacts of this bill is that 3 of the 7 stick-it-to-ya surcharges listed by Rogers, here:
—- rogers.com/Charges
do not apply to QC cell cx’s (and 7 of the 14 surcharges for TV/Internet/HomePhone are similarly mooted).
– There appears to be a possible loophole of sorts, that would let a cx who has an economic inducement in their current contract replace that contract with a new one that has no inducement, thus letting them now cancel@ECF=$50; discussed here:
http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1684089-Quebec-cancel-cellphone-contract-loophole
– Vive les Québécois!


$35/$50 Unlimited, From Rogers
– As of early September the RET dep’t of Rogers has had available two interesting plans:
—- $35/mo – unlimited local airtime minutes
—- $50/mo – unlimited local airtime minutes + unlimited Can+USA LD minutes + unlimited SMS to Can+USA numbers
– note that since these are RET plans you need to have, generally, a minimum of 6 mos tenure before Rogers will permit you to switch to them
– these offerings could be pulled at any time
– both plans do NOT have “detailed billing” included, which is $3/mo extra (UNLESS you have online billing setup)
– both plans are very allergic to credits – if you have a plan with credits now and switch to either of these you should expect a) you’ll be informed of: b) all your voice-related credits will disappear
– if you are not told that your credits will disappear when you accept these plans then you have a right in law, IMO, to force Rogers to not molest or disappear your credits that were pre-existing… but you’ll have to fight Rogers for this, it seems
– after signing up for these 2 plans some people have been reporting having their not-previously-mentioned-as-disappearing voice credits disappearing, and some odd notations (“revenue recovery tag”) showing up online, under “Manage My Addons” of MyRogers
– it’s somewhat surprising to see Rogers ‘whoring’ themselves at this basement-price of $35/$50
— Related:
—- HoFo thread re these price plans (the thread is stale-titled with an old $70 price mentioned)
——– http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1654415-New-Rogers-UNLIMITED-Minutes-Plan-70-(retentions)
—- My HoFo post re Rogers ‘whoring’ themselves at these (relatively) bargain-basement prices:
——– http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1681530-Rogers-posts-Q3-earnings?p=14097084&highlight=whoring#post14097084


CCTS Annual Report
– a couple of weeks ago the CCTS released their annual report for 2009-2010
– in it they give stats on how and for what reasons cx’s contact them, the number of complaints (incl breakdown by carrier), and Recommendations and Decisions they issue
– they also give some feedback on what sorts of complaints they are seeing
– finally, they also give some example complaints and what was their outcome – these are really useful for cx’s to read (see pdf page 26). In part, for the general lessons about where the gotchas lie when dealing with a carrier, but also in part for getting a general idea of how the CCTS assesses complaints and resolves them.
– it’s fairly light reading; see it here:
http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/CCTS-Annual-Report-2009-2010.pdf
– Notable bits:
—- number of contacts up by 150%, compared to last year
—- highlighted is the surprisingly pervasive issue of undesired yet expensive Premium Text Message charges showing on cx’s bills, and the difficulty encountered by cx’s in having them removed/refunded
—- “A public hearing [CRTC Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-247] will be held in November 2010 [on the 29th] with a decision expected in late December. This will be a seminal moment in our brief history”. (More info in my blog post: /2010/06/09/ccts-procedural-code-changes-and-crtc-review/)
—- “For the first time, over half of the complaints we accepted dealt with one line of business: wireless services. We received more than twice as many complaints about wireless as we did for any other line of business. This should not really be a surprise. The wireless business has the highest rate of growth, the greatest pace of change, and the greatest degree of complexity–at least at a retail level.”

And that’s all, folks!

écois
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2010/06/09

CCTS’s Constating Documents

Filed under: Uncategorized — RogersWatch @ 20:39
Tags: ,

Discovery of the the CCTS Constating Documents:

One funny thing I came across in examining the CRTC 2010 review of the CCTS was the existence of the “constating” documents of the CCTS, which are in essence the organ’s incepting and governing docs. Funny, in that for the CCTS being quite ‘transparent’ and all and having a helpful, simple, informative website … there’s no record of these constating documents on the CCTS site, nor TTBOMK even mention of them. I emailed them the suggestion that they might post those docs on their website but haven’t heard anything back.

 

2008 Docs:

The original CCTS constating docs were submitted to the CRTC on August 5, 2008 and are located here:
— — http://www.crtc.gc.ca/public/partvii/2007/8638/c12_200719099/935111.zip

They include:

– the Procedural Code
– Corporate By-Law #1, which is the entire body of corporate by-laws, and spells out the usual corporate things
– the TSP Membership Agreement
– and esp Schedule E of the Membership Agreement (the “Complaint Level Costs for Eligible Complaints”), yet this Schedule is empty/redacted

 

2010 Docs:

On 31 May 2010 the CCTS submitted a response to the CRTC’s review of them:
— — http://crtc.gc.ca/public/partvii/2010/8665/c12_201007229/1400969.zip

It’s comprised of 19 PDF documents:
– 3 of which are specific Response to Interrogatories,
– 2 of which are a cover letter and an introduction,
– and the remainder which are Appendices (including the Letters Patent this time).

What’s curious is that the Response to Interrogatory titled “30Apr10-1 TNC 2010-247” (filename: “…DOCS-#1400973…”), wherein the CCTS responds to the CRTC’s request for a filing of a copy of the all the constating documents, refers to a large number of Appendices: 1-16, most with [a] and [b] subsets. However many of these Appendices are outright missing from the CCTS submission; most notably though is the absence of the Membership Agreement.

I’ll send off to them an email asking about this and see what they have to say about it.

Update: Apparently the missing 2010 docs was a CRTC problem it’s been corrected.

The CCTS is turning out to be a much more curious thing than I had originally thought, especially since they really, really want to withhold Schedule E of the Membership Agreement: “It is the view of the CCTS that disclosure of this information on the public record would undermine the operation of CCTS’s complaint resolution process.” This schedule documents how much each carrier has had to contribute to the funding of the CCTS, because the formula is partly based on carrier’s market share (which is no secret) and partly based on complaint share).

Pray tell, how would divulging complaint shares (and consequent contribution levels by individual TSP’s) “undermine the operation of CCTS’s complaint resolution process”, especially when the CCTS makes such complaint-share breakdowns already known by way of its annual reports (e.g. PDF page 20 of the 2009 Annual Report, here)?

CCTS News – Procedural Code Changes & CRTC Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — RogersWatch @ 20:35
Tags: , , ,

Wow, looks like the CCTS has been pretty busy.

They’ve already updated their PC and have their 3-yr anniversary coming up so that gets them a CRTC review.

 

First, the PC Update:

– news item here: http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/1106, wherein they announce that “The CCTS Board of Directors and Voting Members have approved a number of important amendments to the CCTS Procedural Code” and have a chart highlighting the major changes. Well communicated, CCTS!
– Even more than that though, for those who want to get into the nuts & bolts of it all they have a pdf “analyzing” the changes in significant detail, including explaining the impetus and meaning of the changes, as seen here: http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Proc_Amendment_Guide.pdf
– I can’t really add to their chart and pdf analysis but can say that in sum, it’s some small and medium improvements for cx‘s. Nice!

The most important procedural change though, is that: no longer is a Decision delivered by the CCTS deemed to be “accepted” by the cx, in absence of the cx communicating their rejection of the decision – instead, the cx must now specifically accept a Decision for it to be binding upon the cx and TSP. (Though a recommendation is still considered to be Accepted unless the cx informs the CCTS that they “Reject” the Recommendation.)

 

Second, the CRTC Review of the CCTS (“Consultation 2010-247”) :

– The CRTC’s Main “Telecom Notice of Consultation” is here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-247.htm

– From the CCTS main page: “May 2010; CRTC launches its three-year review of CCTS, as contemplated in CRTC Telecom Decisions 2007-130 and 2008-46.  More information about the proceeding is available on the CRTC’s website.…” and they link to the CRTC schedule here:
http://crtc.gc.ca/PartVII/eng/2010/8665/c12_201007229.htm
which lists this schedule (re-sorted for chronological order [hint hint there, CRTC]):

Notice of Consultation 2010-247 Schedule

Activities Deadline Dates
Interrogatories from Commission 2010-04-30
Notice of intention to participate 2010-05-24
Responses to interrogatories 2010-05-31
Comments 2010-06-28
Request to appear 2010-07-12
Reply comments 2010-07-12
Public Hearing 2010-09-27 (revised: 2010-11-29 )
Final arguments 2010-10-07 (removed)

FWICT if someone wishes to file a written submission regarding this Consultation:

12.     Any person who wishes merely to file written comments in this proceeding, without receiving copies of the various submissions, may do so by writing to the Commission by June 28, 2010 at the address or fax number noted above, or by filling out the online form.

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-247.htm

In reading up on this review process I came to be aware of the existence of the CCTS “constating” documents, which has become quite interesting in its own right; more info here: /2010/06/09/ccts’s-constating-documents/

All in all it seems like a good kind of busy that the CCTS has been up to.

NC 2010-247 – Review of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services

2010/06/02

CCTS Decision – Bell vs Consumer Cx re “Unlimited” Cell/Data Plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — RogersWatch @ 20:39
Tags: , , ,

Hmmm. I read upon this a little while ago so I’m just getting around to discussing it.

The CCTS decision (re complaint #10461) is published here (released early 2010):
http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/CCTS-Complaint-10461.pdf

Overview:
– cx enters consumer plan, 3-yr CP, for “Unlimited” wireless data, $75/mo, approx Oct 2007
– 4 mos later Bell cancels the cx’s plan due to cx ‘overusing’ data (cx is using approx 1GB/data of wireless data, according to bell the equivalent of 4,900-13,000 “average” cx’s [is that mean,median or mode kind of “average” there, Bell?])
– Bell then charged $400 ECF to cx
– cx moves to different plan 1GB/mo + overages ($120-$400/mo), Bell rescinds ECF charge
– Bell also reverses $3,600 in overage charges
– 8 mos later cx is again suspended for excessive usage, pursuant to AUP
– so cx contacts CCTS, wants Bell to be forced to restore original $75/mo “Unlimited” plan & pricing
– in discussions with CCTS cx indicates that they used the service for video conferencing, webinars, etc

– CCTS (specifically Josée Thibault) examines AUP and ultimately “Recommends” that Bell is within rights to determine, in its “reasonable opinion”, what is “excessive usage” and terminate cx plan accordingly.
– This was in part based on the Bell Terms (of Service) stating that the wireless service was not intended for (per the ToS)  “multi-media streaking, VoIP, etc” (contrast with what cx told CCTS, above)
– This was also in part discussed in terms of what is “excessive” usage, and that cx’s usage was clearly “excessive”

– Cx is unsatisfied with the “Recommendation” and communicates same to CCTS, forcing CCTS to ‘review’ the “Recommendation” and thereafter issue a final “Decision” (which is binding on the TSP, but not on the cx if the cx communicate such to the CCTS)
– Howard Maker, top gun at CCTS (and a lawyer by trade) issues all decisions it seems, and he issued this one
– It analyzed the process by which the Recommendation was arrived, the underlying fundamental facts as observed therein, the conclusion and the ‘protestations’ of the cx.
– He “Decided” that all was properly performed and the cx’s protestations weren’t at issue (‘fairness’ sorts of arguments).

My Analysis:
– CCTS did a good and proper job, they made the correct call. Cx, good bad or otherwise, got zapped by an not-uncommon scummy contract clause that is ‘upholdable’ in court.

Yet I decry that companies are allowed to use the word “unlimited’ with any qualification attached. Somebody oughtta hit our legislators in the head with a big, fat dictionary. (The material harm to others, I would propose, is that those companies who do offer a true, blue “Unlimited” feature or product lose some significant value in making that claim because of of the tarnishing of what “Unlimited” has come to mean in the marketplace; caused by Bell, Rogers, et al.)

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