Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” has nothing to do with cancelling cable and Internet service, but I’ve been replaying the song in my head for the past month.
It’s not in any company’s interest to make breaking up with it easy, but the hoops and hurdles you have to jump through to say goodbye to Rogers can be a pain.
I’ve never been a Rogers hater. I’ve been a customer since moving to Toronto in 1999, and I’ve often found its services superior to Bell’s, with the exception of the TV-channel guide. Its Internet packages have traditionally offered faster speeds and higher data caps, but part of the plan to dump cable-TV for an over-the-air antenna always involved changing Internet service providers (ISPs).
As a consumer, I want more for less. Who doesn’t? Add in our household’s increasing use of over-the-top video from services such as Netflix and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console and it’s a no-brainer. Rogers –and Bell, for that matter – offers no incentives for families like mine. Its Internet packages either have ridiculously low data caps or, on the high end, prices that don’t compete with smaller ISPs.
About a year ago I upgraded my Internet package from Rogers’ Extreme to Extreme Plus. At the time, Extreme was a 10-megabit-per-second service with a 95-gigabyte data cap for around $60 a month, while Extreme Plus offered 25 Mbps and a 125-GB cap for $70. Back then, my wife and I watched a few HD movies delivered through our Xbox and we incurred overage fees for exceeding our data cap. Microsoft’s library of content is not bad, though it suffers from the usual dearth of content compared with what’s available in the United States. The problem with the service is that many of the HD movies are 10 GB, and watching one flick ate up 10 per cent of our monthly data total.
Today it’s clear that over-the-top TV is rapidly making the incumbents’ Internet packages look positively anemic and horribly overpriced.
Globe Technology has written a lot about usage-based-billing, so I won’t dwell on it, but the bottom line is that after switching to TekSavvy Solutions Inc., I have unlimited Internet through cable, and I pay much less for it, at $55 a month. While I’ve had to drop my speed to 15 Mbps from 25 Mbps, it’s still a better choice, considering it’s the same speed Rogers Extreme currently offers, it is not limited by an 80-GB cap, and it costs less.
The switch, however, was not without its wrinkles.
When I called Rogers to cancel cable-TV and Internet, I was aware of its policy requiring 30-days notice before it would terminate service. While I understand, to a point, restrictions and penalties attached to something such as ending a cellphone contract, I have no clue why Rogers has the 30-day delay. The difference is that one is a mutually agreed upon term contract and the other appears to be a stall tactic that enables sales reps a chance to try to lure you back with promotions and deals.
After several calls to Rogers customer service to try to get an earlier cancellation date and an exchange of correspondence with the company’s Office of the President, I have still not received any explanation as to why the 30-day delay exists (beyond, it seems, another month’s worth of charges). One supervisor claimed it was technically impossible to get an earlier date, which I believe to be false.
I learned there’s a trick to cancelling, if your situation allows it.
Switching incumbent providers – which, in my view, is completely redundant – is easier than moving to a Rogers partner such as TekSavvy. One of the customer reps I spoke to early in the process admitted that if I returned my rented Internet modem and HD cable-TV box to a Rogers store, my account would be closed and that would be that. So customers fleeing to Bell can actually quit Rogers immediately because they can co-ordinate the installation of their new service with the termination of the old. As I say, though, that’s like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.