Fighting high roaming fees

Posted By: Laura Casella · 1/11/2013 9:12:00 AM

A Montreal woman is spearheading a class action lawsuit on behalf of everyone who has been dinged by high roaming fees while outside Canada.

The class action suit targets Bell, Telus, and Rogers, which also includes Fido. 

Inga Sibiga says she decided to launch the suit after she returned from the U.S. and received a $250 cell phone bill for roaming charges. She tells La Presse she is fed up of paying these excessive fees.  

Rogers client Douglas Leslie called CJAD news to say he lived a similar experience. Before going on a business trip to Texas this past summer, he called his cell phone provider to try and avoid paying high fees. He was offered a long distance package, which included unlimited calls in North America. Yet, when he returned from his trip, he received a $2000 bill in the mail.

"It was shocking. $800 was for voice roaming fees. I was using my phone for a lot of conference calls, figuring I have North American long distance. I am now paying $200 a week to pay it off."

2010 figures show that Canadian consumers pay three times higher in roaming charges than other cell phone users in the world.

Although a judge has not yet approved the suit, law firm Trudel-Johnston is already compiling the names of people who want to join. 

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  1. Ann posted on 01/11/2013 09:28 AM
    I live near the Vermont border and every so often I get a warning that I will have to pay roaming fees.. even though I am still on the Canadian side. My bills are outrageous. Sometimes this message appears as far away as 22 km's.. !!
  2. Scott posted on 01/11/2013 09:29 AM
    My son recently returned from a month in Europe. He bought an extra package for this trip. He figured he would owe around four to five hundred dollars in total. When he received his bill it was $1070.00. Needless to say he was very upset. He phoned Rogers and was told it was probably because he looked up maps often. They were adamant and would not budge an inch. They should have a system when a persons phone it chalking up a huge bill they should notify them because they often do not realize what this is going to cost them. My young nephew went to New York on a class trip. He sent back some pictures and his mother got a bill for $350.00. It was her pone that he used. Please post a phone or email address on your site so we can join this suit.
  3. Judy posted on 01/11/2013 10:34 AM
    I think Douglas Leslie should not be charged for this since he already called for info and took their service to protect himself . If the roaming fees where not included they should haved informed him...Cell phones can be very useful but who needs the headache !
  4. afroditi posted on 01/11/2013 02:02 PM
    hi i had the same problem with rogers went to jamaica even though i did not use my phone there bause i was paying the hotel $20 a day for internet i still got charged (are you ready for these) $5,000 then they made me a deal they brought it down to $1000 i told them i wont pay for somethig i havent even used I offered them $500 they refused so i canceled my line and i went with another phon company Couple weeks ago i received a phone call from collection agency she told me she can take off 20% so my bill went down to $885.00 she also told me i should pay because i have a very good credit score with equfax and if i told pay it would ruined my name so i had no choice but pay them
  5. Francis posted on 01/11/2013 03:20 PM
    Why is it that Public Mobile can charge only 15 cents per min that includes the call itself while everyone else is at a minimum 2 DOLLARS plus call time ?
  6. Judy posted on 01/12/2013 08:38 AM
    I can relate with this scenario. Last Feb I called my provider "BELL" to arrange to have the ability to TEXT back home to my family and I purchased a package to be able to do just that. I WAS IN AUSTRALIA for one month. Off I go 1/2 way around the world and once there, I was UNABLE to do anything with my phone !! OMG now what? after investigation and many phone calls from Australia obviously NOT from my cell, I was told that my model of phone does not support this!! whaaaaat? now I find this out? I was gobsmacked and left without communication for that whole month! absolutely terrible and I had already paid for this package. Bell/Providers are too big for their britches at times, and people do not know their business/packages/information. I got home and cancelled my cell with Bell. I hope all of these people get their due diligence with this if for nothing else then for the stress, this causes,and the incompetence of workers/providers that we are forced to deal with............I wish you all good luck and someone is stepping up to the plate to right a wrong, and I say BRAVO!!
  7. Mike posted on 01/12/2013 11:17 PM
    That they do this, isn't surprising. That it's actually legal, is surprising. And that we pay taxes to a government that supports this theft, is just horror. Don't wait for the lawyers or the gouvernments to do anything.The only way this will change is when, people boycot, en mass, these companies.
  8. Willem B posted on 01/13/2013 07:13 AM
    I hope she is successful. Please tell everyone about this.

    The cell phone business in Canada is like the gas business. Lots of so-called competition but you still pay outrageously high prices.

    I fully and completely agree with her.
  9. responsible posted on 01/14/2013 12:24 PM
    I find it so funny that in today society we throws the blame on others, when we should look at ourselves first. I’m reading North America long distance plan, but they expect roaming... it is in clear English what it is. I’m reading, people assuming what something should cost… Assuming wrong, not the companies charging wrong , but we get upset with them , rather than yourself. People living near the border, yet not turning off roaming option or selecting their network only... what do other people do that lives on the limit of cell phone carrier coverage map (st-sauveur, mont-tremblant). You have smartphone, download 1of 300000 apps… it does updates on its own. YOU downloaded it , don’t expext a rep on the phone to know 1% of the apps, that would be 3000, and maybe not even 1 of which you use!
    Cell phone companies have their share of blame, don’t get me wrong… but we need to own up to ours.
    Lowering Prices, I agree 100%. But not owning to our own mistake and interpretation I disagree.
    1. LMAO posted on 01/15/2013 10:02 AM
      @responsible I think that you are right concerning self awareness but the cellular companies are the ones who initially program the equipment we use and they should default all devices to non roaming. If someone buys a plan to cover travelling then that plan should include all charges in the price and be clearly explained to the customers.
    2. S P Arif Sahari Wibowo posted on 01/15/2013 02:21 PM
      @responsible Not entirely users' fault. The Canada big 3 providers (and their subsidiaries) has caused the confusion of the term "long distance". Other than the actual meaning (when you make a call to non-local number), the will also charge you "long distance" fee you when you call or receive a call while being outside your local area. Technically this is not roaming - since the user still in the provider's network - but should not be called long distance either. Well, actually the fee has no reason to exist since it does not cost anything special for the provider.

      Anyway, no wonder that users start associating "long distance" with "not being in my local area".
  10. J posted on 01/15/2013 02:20 PM
    Lack of clear disclosure by the telco's is the #1 issue here, followed by #2 price (including roaming fees), and #3 contract lengths in order to get the phone subsidies. They should be found guilty of fraud and sent to club fed for a while.
  11. Carol posted on 01/21/2013 09:50 AM
    I recently returned from the Dominican Republic and was charged $415 in roaming charges. I did not use the internet while I was away. I called Rogers to see why these charges were added to my bill and they informed me that I had used internet services... I had turned off the Wi-Fi feature of my iPhone, and was not able to connect to the free Wi-Fi service at the resort! Turns out I was supposed to also turn off my cellular data feature (?). They told me I had been irresponsible and should have purchased a package before leaving. After asking a number of questions to their customer service rep, I discovered that even if I had purchased a package it would have not have covered cellular data usage! It seems that some of the apps on my phone were being updated while I was away. I explained to them that I had no idea that I had to turn off the cellular data, nor did I even know how to do it!! They forwarded me to tech support who did explain this somewhat complicated, definitely not straightforward procedure. Tech support admitted that they would not have known how to turn off this feature either as a first time iPhone user, nor would they have know that they would need to. Rogers is refusing to credit these charges!! Absolutely unreal that they have the right to charge this exorbitant fee - I can only imagine how much money they are raking in on a daily basis for fees such as these. Where is our Canadian gov't in protecting us from this... ?
  12. Moody Jones posted on 01/21/2013 03:47 PM
    Before leaving to go on vacation I went to the rogers store to ask about roaming plans to cuba.

    The agent said they had none , and advised me not to use my phone.

    So while I was on vacation, I didnt.

    I left the phone in my suitcase for the duration of the vacation.

    When I get back to Montreal, my phone was disconnected.

    When I asked why, they said my bill crossed my limit, which was set ($200). I asked how much it was, and they said the total unbilled charges are $900.

    I explained myself, and told them that I didnt use my phone for any reason like calls or texts, nor did I even take it out out of the bag.

    I wanted to dispute the charges, but they told me I cant until my bill is printed - in 2 weeks!

    So, I couldn't use my phone - which I use for work, and on top of that I had to wait 2 weeks for the bill to print, and finally after speaking to 7 reps, the only thing they could help me with is bringing it down from 900 to 450.
  13. Carmen posted on 01/24/2013 05:15 AM
    I am wondering if douglas ever bothered to do his research before adding the north american long distance addon. Says so right there in the fine print, roaming not included and that the only qualifying calls under that addon was calls made in canada and terminates in canada. If you decide to go overseas and don't intend on using your phone, take out the sim card. And then buy a local sim card from the local area. This will save you roaming fees. That is what i did when i went overseas to china. And if you are insisting on roaming, then buy a dumb phone from rogers or a gsm unlocked dumb phone, and stick a rogers sim card or whatever in there, then you won't get dinged for data roaming*

    And if you are planning on roaming why the heck are you with rogers in the 1st place? Even with their 15 dollar prefered roaming rate addon, it's still 35 cents a minute. Buy a wind mobile phone and sign up on a pay as you go plan, and you'll still only pay 20 cents a minute, or you could shell out 5 dollars and only pay 10 cents a minute in roaming costs. This rate is for all plans even their monthly plans. I don't know why people complain about their bills yet stay with the big 3. Vote with your wallet and leave and go join wind mobile or another new entrant like mobilicity. By staying with rogers you're allowing them to rape your wallet still. And does rogers care? No, as they are still getting your money. Pay off your roaming bills and leave rogers. Hurt them where it hurts the most
  14. Ryan Wildeman posted on 08/21/2013 02:49 PM
    Hello my name is Ryan Wildeman from Calgary AB. I would like to take this time to warn fellow Canadians not to bring their rogers cell phones on holidays overseas. You see, last year i bought a new phone and extended my rogers contract for the 6th time. I got a galaxy note by samsung and got it all set up to update via wi-fi only. I took the phone on holidays to use the camera in the dominican republic, only to come back to a 900 dollar data roaming fee from rogers!. The funny thing is....i only made 2 text messages. When i came back to Canada 2 weeks later i called rogers and they sent me on a wild goose chase only to end up cancelling with rogers and e owing them 1500 dollars. What a lovely way to end your vacation. They reffered to the data charges as "valid". How is that valid? This is how rogers treats their long term clients? How mamy unsuspecting clients has this happened to? How many are going on vacation only to get financially ruined by rogers because they are too stupid and they allow data charges to rack up to 900 dollars in 2 days?? I hope you contact me soon and help me confront rogers on their horrible business practices. I am sure many more have been affected by this and its time for action!
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