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Price-Gouged Canadian Dad Turns Advocate, Creates Toolkit to Help Citizens Push Back Against Cell Phone Companies

Matt Buie said today: “Why are there no common sense rules that prevent the telecom industry from imposing unexpected charges on Canadians? Excessive roaming charges (and subsequent bill shock) has been going on for too long, and needs to stop.

“The CRTC and the government should correct unfair business practices that lead to bill shock so that other Canadians will not be subjected to what I and many others have had to endure.”

Philip Passudetti of cell phone service consultancy group PassConsult added: “Currently, Canadians are stuck in a telecom bubble where three companies control 94% of the market. We have created a step by step guide that I hope will help Canadian cell phone users negotiate a fair deal, while at the same time raising awareness with the public, the CRTC, and government to improve the telecom industry overall.”

OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson also stated: “Canadians shouldn’t have to deal with cell phone price-gouging; I’m thrilled to see more and more Canadians like Matt Buie stand up against Big Telecom.”

Canadians can find Buie’s toolkit at http://openmedia.ca/mistreated, and can take action to fix our broken cell phone market at http://demandchoice.ca.

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.

Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

About the Demand Choice campaign

Early in 2012 OpenMedia.ca launched a campaign decrying the price-gouging poor customer service and lack of choice in the cell phone market at http://StopTheSqueeze.ca, and the CRTC responded by inviting comments on whether the Commission should development national rules for wireless service in Canada. OpenMedia.ca mobilized Canadians to write in and request that the CRTC do just that, noting that any rules should build upon (not erode) frameworks in the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, as well as on the framework proposed in Private Members Bill 133 in Ontario.

On October 11, 2012 the CRTC announced it would hold a public consultation on national rules for wireless services. It was in response to this that the campaign at http://CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca was launched, in order to give citizens an easy way to make the CRTC aware of the real human consequences of our broken cell phone market.

OpenMedia.ca highlighted Canadians’ stories in a crowdsourced submission to the CRTC, and has now released a report detailing their findings and recommendations.

Background from Matt Buie

“My family and I went on two week vacation, during the last week of our vacation in Mexico, my son was using my iPhone and unbeknownst to me, downloaded 758 MB of data over a three-day period, resulting in a $22,000 roaming charge on my cell phone. I received no warning of this and was informed after the fact that my account had incurred this charge. My argument to Rogers/Fido, is that these were unwarranted and unauthorized charges and I should not be held liable for them. I have no problem paying charges that I pre-authorize and am fully aware of, hence I settled for a $200. charge which my son and I will split.

When I Googled “Canadian Roaming Charge Complaints” and saw 1.1 million results, I realized I was not alone with this dilemma, after reading other Canadian cell phone horror stories. One being a 17 year old vacationing in Mexico in February, texting and sending back some photos to find a $4,000. cell phone bill upon his arrival back to Canada.

I took it upon myself to contact Steve Anderson of www.openmedia.ca and Philip Passudetti of www.passconsult.com to collaborate on creating a step by step plan for other Canadians to negotiate their unauthorized cell phone bills to a reasonable amount. I feel like I have broken out of “Cell Phone Jail” and am able to mail a cake with a saw hidden within to other “Cell Phone Bill Shocked” customers to help them escape.

Hopefully the Telecom companies will correct this unfair business practice of a lack of transparency leading to “Bill Shock”. If they will not stop these practices, perhaps the CRTC will properly regulate this industry by enacting “Roaming Charge Caps” and other consumer fair practises, so that other Canadians will not be subjected to what I and many others have had to endure.”



Lindsey Pinto
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
[email protected]

Matt Buie
[email protected]

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet. Take action now

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