Canada. The land of maple syrup and free healthcare.
While we can pride ourselves on such things as being the best curlers in the world, there is one thing that really sucks in Canada:
Cellular phone provider competition. There really isn’t any. Ninety percent of wireless services in Canada are provided by Bell, Telus, or Rogers. With very little competition, our prices are among the highest in the world.
The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is the government body that is supposed to have the interests of Canadians at heart when it comes to telecommunications. Here is their mandate, directly from their website:
The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in the public interest. We are dedicated to ensuring that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system that promotes innovation and enriches their lives
Now that we know the CRTC is supposed to have the “public interest” in mind, here is a very interesting article:
The article reports on the fact that customers are being charged a ten dollar fee when they call up one of the telecom giants to perform a simple account transaction, such as resetting a voicemail password. Their excuse? The customer can do this free of charge via a self-serve option, so the charge to speak to a human is justified.
Well isn’t that lovely? A ten-dollar fine for talking to another human.
What about my aunt who is legally blind? What about a ninety-year-old man who isn’t used to navigating through confusing voice prompts? What about someone like me who would rather speak to a person than stare at a screen? Ten dollars, please.
I guess the big guys are losing money every quarter, so, like the homeless man trying to squeegee my window on the corner, they could use the extra cash… Wait, they’re not losing money? They make billions in revenue every year? They make billions in revenue every quarter?
Someone should call the CRTC and let them know what the telcos are up to so that they can step in and preserve the public’s best interests (as their mandate says they will).
Well, thank goodness they already did. They sent a letter to the big telecoms and told them that they, um, might be, like, a little concerned that the practice of charging these fees could, um, be a little inconsistent with the, uh, Wireless Code. You know, the mandatory code of conduct for all Canadian wireless companies.
Guess what Bell, Telus, and Rogers said in response?
“Nope. Our fees comply with the Code.”
Despite the fact that customers have existing contracts that do not mention these fees, the big telecoms will continue to charge what they always have in Canada – whatever they hell they want.
“In its CRTC submission, Rogers said account transaction charges don’t need to be disclosed in a contract because they’re simply ‘administrative fees’ that apply only at certain times to certain customers.”
Oh yes, a ten dollar fee to reset a voicemail password seems like a normal administrative fee. The admin fee is more than the monthly fee for having voicemail in the first place!
I guess that’s what happens when you let former telecom executives sit on the board that is supposed to look out for the consumer.
Why does Canada have some of the highest telecommunications costs in the world? The telecoms say it is because our country is so vast. As an intelligent reader on Not Sheep Minded, I think you know the real reason: The telecoms’ CEOs’ pillows were not fluffy enough to get a good night’s sleep, so they needed to stuff a few more handfuls of dollar bills in them.
What do you think? Does Canada pay too much? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours (phone bill I mean). I pay $85 a month for unlimited calling and texting within Canada, with 1.5 GB of data.
- How does that compare to you?
- Bonus question: Come up with a funny reason for what the CEOs at Bell, Rogers, and Telus are going to do with all those extra $10 bills.