Pay Us More to Annoy You Less
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Pay Us More to Annoy You Less

Nothing our call log couldn’t have told us more effectively.

While we think it’s really sleazy to force customers to pay extra for a connection they’re already paying for, we have to admit that Rogers surprised us when they enabled the tethering option of the iPhone at no extra charge this month (tethering allows you to basically use your mobile device as a modem when not connected to your usual service). Could this be a sign of a kinder, gentler Rogers-slash-Fido?
Perhaps! But if you’re preparing to witness swine in flight, note that the company makes a mint from what is perhaps the most annoying “feature” known to humankind: the WhoCalled text message. And to spare yourself the annoyance, you’ll have to pony up an additional $4 per month.
Taking a cue from their television offerings, telcos bundle essential services you need with more that you don’t want in order to make you pay more à la carte or upgrade to a more expensive tier. For example, if you want your Rogers-defined evenings to start at 6 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., you have to upgrade to a plan that also includes call forwarding minutes and ringbacks at five dollars more per month.
But then there’s WhoCalled, which is included in all smartphone “value” packs. On their website, Rogers enthusiastically and ungrammatically describes the service: “…[if you] use parking garages or elevators where you get no signal or if your friends and family don’t like to leave voicemail messages you are missing calls!!” OMG! You need Rogers/Fido to send you a text message to tell you that you declined to answer your phone, even though every mobile out there has a call log! And maybe even voicemail! OCD-sufferers, unite!
The problem is that getting a slew of redundant, automated text messages buzzing and dinging your mobile device gets really old, fast—especially when the text message arrives five minutes or so after you’ve received your voicemail, checked your log, or screened your call. The WhoCalled feature was explicitly added to the iPhone Visual Voicemail package (the latter a virtual necessity), despite the device already explicitly notifying you when you’ve missed a call. Even more frustrating, you still get the SMS messages for all those 000-000-0000 and 1-800/888 telemarketing calls that you refuse to answer (and that the carrier claims they can’t block), which for us, happens multiple times daily.
Rogers CSRs know this feature is annoying and unnecessary, and loads of customers agree.
We had heard anecdotes of customers allegedly deactivating WhoCalled at no extra cost, so we attempted to do it ourselves. Two Fido representatives told us that it was impossible to uncouple the feature from the twenty-dollar Visual Voicemail bundle, while another said de-activating it would be “no problem” but neglected to mention that our future bills would consequently be higher.
Still, there is one way to save a bit of coin, even if you’re a Rogers customer strong-armed into a bundle option: the exact same service on the exact same network is $6.95 cheaper each month if you port your number to Fido (this is also true for the Telus and Bell discount brands).
At least they’ve thrown us a bone when it comes to tethering. Only until the end of December, of course, at which time data plans will be “adjusted.” Plus ça change…