Getting gouged by wireless companies has become something of a feared tradition, based on the flood of mobile phone bill horror stories coming to light in new wireless carrier Mobilicity’s FMyBill contest.
Thousands of online voters have been flocking to Facebook.com/Mobilicity to rate the stories, which paint a less-than-flattering picture of the extra fees and unexpected charges found all too often on Canadian mobile phone bills.
Every FMyBill story puts a human face on consumers’ ever-growing dissatisfaction with wireless bills. According to Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, Canadian grievances with wireless companies grew by over 15 per cent in the last year. Of the almost 4,000 complaints it received, 44 per cent involved billing errors.
South of the border, the Federal Communications Commission recently proposed rules requiring carriers to alert customers before they reach monthly usage limits and incur extra roaming charges. The agency has said it has received many complaints about mobile phone bills, including one that totaled over $68,000.
The FMyBill stories range from the sublime to the subversive and the comical to the combative:
Alicia G. writes: “My husband and I went to the US in July for vacation. I nagged him everyday to be sure to purchase the ‘roaming package’. He purchased the package for an extra $75 and my mind was put at ease…temporarily! The following month we received a bill for $1300! Now I suffer from Post traumatic stress, and have an attack every time the Rogers bill arrives.”
Faiqa K. writes: “I went over my allowable text limit and ended up being charged what I would say was about two week’s worth of groceries. I was soooo not happy about that and had to live off Mac and Cheese for a while. FMB!”
Oscar S. writes: “Okay, so I’m a victim of not seeing that small tiny piece of text that you can only see with microscopes that usually happens in cartoons, in the summer, I was using MSN all the time, during my summer job, and I sent over 2000 IMs, and Fido didn’t put this on my bill for 2 months, and in the third month, my bill was over $300! FMB big time.”
Jacqueline S. writes: “When I called my carrier to change my plan to include long distance, little did I know that they extended my contract an additional 3 years, I’m like can they seriously do this I didn’t sign anything! Apparently my “signature” was my voice on the phone changing the plan! Needless to say, I NEVER went back…I ran as fast as I could to my new carrier.”
Danielle P. writes: “I had a maximum cap of $300 which means my bill can never go over $300 because I travel a lot. Came home to a bill of $1,300!! When I called up my service provider they told me that after being with their company for 1 year they remove that cap. WHO TOLD THEM TO DO THAT … did anyone call me to ASK me lol. nope! so I was stuck paying the bill!”
Mobilicity’s FMyBill contest is open to residents of Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa until November 8, 2010. Participants can win one of 100 BlackBerry® Curve™ 3G smartphones and six months of Mobilicity’s unlimited talk, text and data service, plus the BlackBerry® Internet Service add-on (total value $749.99). Complete rules and regulations are available on either the contest web site or on FaceBook.