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TELUS Forcing Customers Off Unlimited Plans

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-eat-all-that dept.

Cellphones 268

An anonymous reader writes "Canadian telco TELUS sold a bunch of (expensive) Unlimited EV-DO aircard accounts last winter and are now summarily canceling them or forcing people to switch to much less valuable plans. TELUS is citing 'Violations,' but their Terms Of Service (see #5) are utterly vague and self-contradictory. The TELUS plans were marketed as being unlimited, without the soft/hard caps that the other providers had at the time. They were purchased by a lot of rural Canadians who had no other choice except dialup. Now TELUS is forcing everyone to switch from a $75 Unlimited plan to a $65 1GB plan, and canceling those who won't switch. Have a look at the thread at Howardforums, a discussion of the TELUS ToS (in red at the bottom), an EV-DO blogger who's been a victim, a post at Electronista, and of course Verizon getting fined for doing the same thing! Michael Geist has taken an interest as well."

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268 comments

What??? (0, Redundant)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756925)

Wireless companies ripping people off???

Film at 11

Re:What??? (4, Insightful)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757029)

I was thinking more:
Company changes the nature of its product?

Unless they have a contract, this is a fairly pointless story. My experience has been if a company does this they just finish out the contracts for existing customers and then tell them its not longer available.

Re:What??? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757401)

This is slightly different. This is company has a contract with the customer, and is using it's "we reserve the right to change any term and any time and/or cancel the contract for any reason without penalty" option to extract themselves from a contract they no longer wish to honor.

The customers now have the option to sign a new contract to pay more money for less service or switch to another provide [Rogers, yaay].

I'm sure Roger's wants to this this for their 'special' data pricing plans 6 Gb per month/some amount of money, but they probably don't want a whole bunch of unlocked iPhones on shorter-term contracts ready to switch when the competition get their GSM network setup in the next 1 or 2.

Re:What??? (5, Insightful)

pentalive (449155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757681)

Isn't it wonderful - If we want to break the contract it's a hundred to two hundred dollars, but If the phone company breaks the contract it's no big deal...

Sheeps (1, Flamebait)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758001)

I do not have a cell phone because i do not agree with their stupid contracts terms. If you do not agree with the terms of the contracts from cell providers just don't subscribe. If anybody read the contract and think about what it says for one second they would not sign it.

Re:What??? (5, Informative)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757117)

I was really hoping for a good Telus bashing today. Looks like I have my chance.

I have had nothing but problems with Telus. They cripple my phone, cripple the internet when viewed through the phone, and charge customers through the nose.

HERE IS A TIP TO GET FREE VOICEMAIL/SPARK 10/CALLER ID:

1)Call Telus (*611)
2)Yell AAAGGENT into the voice recognition system.
3)Yell AAAGEENT again.
4)AAAGEENT.
5)When you get a human say "When I connect to the mobile web, my phone takes me to the Telus homepage. I am then charged 2 cents. I didn't want to go to Telus' home page, I wanted to go to www.google.ca. Can you please block access to all websites hosted by telus.
6) They say "We can't do that."
7) You say "You guys are ripping off paying customers. I would love to change my homepage, but this crippled handset won't let me. Instead whenever I use my mobile browser, I get directed to Telus home, and charged 2 cents.
8) At this point they will do anything to get you off the phone, DON'T HANG UP!
9) Tell them that you are not hanging up the phone until this issue is resolved.
10) Eventually they will realize that they only solution is you give you a free spark 10 plan (so you don't get charged for viewing partner sites) which also includes VM and caller ID!
11) Save $10/month.

If you are a Telus customer (I feel your pain) please call them and do the above. It works, and you can screw telus out of some money.

Re:What??? (4, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757233)

HERE IS A TIP TO GET FREE VOICEMAIL/SPARK 10/CALLER ID:

You mean voicemail and CID isn't included by default? Fuck, you Canadians are getting shafted even more than I thought.

Re:What??? (4, Informative)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757365)

Wanna hear something even more crazy? The "Basic" Voicemail only allows you to have 3 messages for something like 48 hours. If you want more than 3 messages, you have to upgrade to another tier.

The "Basic" VM is not free either...

Re:What??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757393)

I'm an American, and I can say your telecommunications industry sucks. That's really saying something.

Re:What??? (5, Funny)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757799)

So, from now on, can the US purchase oil from you Canadians if we send back 75% of the Vaseline we produce from it? It sounds like you all need it up there...

Re:What??? (5, Interesting)

gwking (869658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757421)

Yup, we certainly are. Unfortunately, as bad as Telus is, my experience is that Bell and Rogers are worse. And that is the full cartel of wireless companies in Canada; so you get to pick bad (Telus), worse (Rogers), or worst (Bell).

Aliant (Bell) double billed me 11 months in a row. And they cut off my service, every month, for 'non-payment'. So at the end I had built up a credit of $950 on my account, and yet each month they still debited my account and then disconnected for non payment. When I said cancel the contract they argued over the cancellation fee. They finally relented though. I don't think they are stupid though, just pure incarnate evil.

Rogers on the hand were a lot nicer. Just stupid beyond belief. My father started calling them 'Rogers Clueless' instead of 'Rogers Wireless' because they screwed up his bill, my sisters bill, mine, and almost any Rogers customers I've talked to. My favorite screwup is when they simply don't take the money for weeks or months because of some 'issue' in their system. Morans!

So as of yesterday, based on the recommendations of two friends, I now have a Telus phone here on my desk and hope against hope they don't screw me too badly. The two friends have assured me Telus doesn't suck that match. I'll let you know when the two year contract runs out.

Re:What??? (1)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757579)

It gets worse. You can't get the bundles if its a corporate phone, only if its a personal phone. So if your a corporate customer you can't get the $20 package with Caller ID, Voice Mail, unlimited text and unlimited web. You need to get them all separate, except you can't get a unlimited text plan or unlimited data plan on a corporate plan. Text Messages are per use, in and out. And Data will cost you $40 for 8 MB a month.

Re:What??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757703)

You mean voicemail and CID isn't included by default? Fuck, you Canadians are getting shafted even more than I thought.

gotta pay for that free health care somehow

Re:What??? (2, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757759)

Telus is Evil I tells ya, EVIL!!!! It was a happy day when they called me to try to convince me to come back after I cut them out of my life. I told them they would have to take a long hard suck on my *** before I would ever come back to them.

Re:What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757249)

I was really hoping for a good Telus bashing today. Looks like I have my chance.

I have had nothing but problems with Telus. They cripple my phone, cripple the internet when viewed through the phone, and charge customers through the nose.

HERE IS A TIP TO GET FREE VOICEMAIL/SPARK 10/CALLER ID:

1)Call Telus (*611)
2)Yell AAAGGENT into the voice recognition system.
3)Yell AAAGEENT again.
4)AAAGEENT.
5)When you get a human say "When I connect to the mobile web, my phone takes me to the Telus homepage. I am then charged 2 cents. I didn't want to go to Telus' home page, I wanted to go to www.google.ca. Can you please block access to all websites hosted by telus.
6) They say "We can't do that."
7) You say "You guys are ripping off paying customers. I would love to change my homepage, but this crippled handset won't let me. Instead whenever I use my mobile browser, I get directed to Telus home, and charged 2 cents.
8) At this point they will do anything to get you off the phone, DON'T HANG UP!
9) Tell them that you are not hanging up the phone until this issue is resolved.
10) Eventually they will realize that they only solution is you give you a free spark 10 plan (so you don't get charged for viewing partner sites) which also includes VM and caller ID!
11) Save $10/month.

If you are a Telus customer (I feel your pain) please call them and do the above. It works, and you can screw telus out of some money.

Re:What??? (2, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757353)

I was with Telus since mid-nineties til everyone was finally forced to introduce a way to switch carrier without losing the mobile phone number. I had to wait for that unfortunately before I could switch, but once it was here I ran from Telus as fast as I possibly could. I am with Rogers now, they suck too, but with Telus it was the figurative mobile hell, locked phones with no SIM cards, outrages charges, various catches (for example with Telus I had to call them before going to US to turn on the roaming, otherwise they would charge me about 10x the normal amount.) I HATE TELUS. I wish them all to rot in hell.

Re:What??? (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757649)

What's to just stop them from saying "two cents - too bad" and hanging up somewhere along step 8?

Re:What??? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757953)

They are not permitted to hang up on callers; as long as they remain on the line and are not abusive. This is standard across may call centers, as disconnecting the call constitutes refusing to help with the customers problem and not acting reasonably.

The agent will eventually try anything to get you to go away as their calls per minute rate is dropping all the time you stay on the line, and most are paid bonuses based on how many calls they handle in day/week/month.

Some call centers are allowed to put you on hold for a considerable length of time, in the hope that you hang up; don't hang up.

If you are cut off while complaining, write them a letter with the time and date of the call, tell them you were disconnected while attempting to sort out your problem, and give them a reasonable time to get back in touch with you to rectify the problem (say 14 days).

If you get to the next step of legal action, after the reasonable time has expired, they don't have a leg to stand on; all because they disconnected your call and don't respond well to letters.

Comcast also (4, Interesting)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757461)

Here in Pittsburgh, Comcast dropped 4 channels from their analog lineup, and are charging customers the same price. I didn't care about two of them, but BET, G4, TruTV, and (believe it or not) The Style Network were all channels that had shows we watched. I talked to a Comcast drone over the phone about this, and he said that it was a business decision to allow for more HD channels. I realize that there is a difference between wireless carriers and cable TV companies, but the concept is the same -- we're being invited to pay more for less. Now, I get one single channel from Cable that I do not get over the air -- TBS. There aren't any competitors I can switch to, even though a separate cable company services the folks across the street. Friggin' sucks!

Marketing? (4, Interesting)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756933)

Sounds like bait and switch...

Except on closer examination it's the legal version... GOD how I love living in Canada! On the plus side, at least they didn't introduce an "Unlimited system access fee", claim it to be some sort of vague government forced thing, and then charge more for the fee (that is mandatory) than the service plan costs.

Note to self: stop giving Telus more ideas on how to rape my ass!

Re:Marketing? (3, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758027)

Sounds to me like Telus will be opening themselves to a lawsuit. When you have a contract... you need to abide by it. Eventually, it's only a matter of time for a petition-like process to be initiated by ticked-off customers to start and once this happens, a nice little lawsuit will more than likely result. Of course, if these customers have an ounce of common sense, they will involve the CRTC, who, once they get into this, will have a few pointed questions at Telus. As for "is it legal?" for Telus to do so, I'm not so sure, because you see, in Canada, just like in the US, one cannot make clauses on a contract, if the clauses are not legal to begin with. For example: say you write a legitimate contract and in this contract, there is a clause on "must kill person X". Well, that clause is not valid, because killing is a crime, more to the point, it's NOT legal. So, it's one thing for Telus to put "clauses" in their contracts, but if they are NOT valid by Canadian Laws, then, these clauses are invalid. So, there ya go! :) If someone can find a few "holes" in Telus' contracts, life should get interesting indeed! :)

Re:Marketing? (2, Informative)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758071)

[...]at least they didn't introduce an "Unlimited system access fee", claim it to be some sort of vague government forced thing, and then charge more for the fee (that is mandatory) than the service plan costs.

Uh yea they do. My bill dated July 25 has the following fee:
System Access Fee - 6.95.

Sorry if you were being sarcastic.

It's the "we change anything in this contract" (5, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756935)

You agree that, to maintain or improve the service, or for other business reasons, TELUS can in its sole discretion, suspend, restrict, modify or terminate all or any part of the service or make changes to the network and other facilities without notice to you.

And that is why "agreements" like this are worthless. They should just say "Here's what you are required to do... we can do as we damn well please." But honestly, is there any point in signing a contract when one party retains all rights to completely change the contract without allowing you the ability to opt-out of the contract? Is this even legal? Probably... can we change it?

I am not real big on "consumer protections" but this type of stuff just seems ridiculous. At some point we have to realize that cell phones and internet access are pretty much not a privilege any more. All of us should have access to these shared resources (the tubes).

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757067)

IANAL, nor am I Canadian, but I think we laymen can agree the quoted terms are unconscionable. If TELUS must change, then the customers who paid for something they're not getting should get something back.
I was with you up until you said:

At some point we have to realize that cell phones and internet access are pretty much not a privilege any more.

Reasonable people can disagree over whether or not basic needs like health care are rights, but Internet access?!! That's nuts.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (5, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757883)

Reasonable people can disagree over whether or not basic needs like health care are rights, but Internet access?!! That's nuts.

Not really. If the society moves to the stage where all essential services, government included, are on the Internet and inaccessible in a timely manner otherwise, Internet, like roads, become a necessity for living, only slightly less important then shelter or medical care. Telephones, for example, have long since crossed that line. In North America some means of long-range transportation (read: a car or some alternative) are pretty much a must in many cities if one wishes to obtain any employment at all, and thus sustenance and shelter.

Should these things be free/subsidized? That is an argument between Communism, Socialism, Capitalism and other socio-economic systems and far outside the scope of this disucssion. But irrespective of your take, it is pretty obvious that telecommunications/transportation are not in the same category as tourism or bar-hopping and are far closer to shelter/medical care, and getting closer every day.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (4, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757119)

At some point we have to realize that cell phones and internet access are pretty much not a privilege any more. All of us should have access to these shared resources (the tubes).

Disclaimer: American viewpoint.

I agree that these services are nearly necessitates in today's society. Communication is king. It is required. Broadcast TV has been made a free service based on government regulation. On the other hand, electricity and heat are more necessary than communication and they are in the same competitive mode to keep prices low.

Here's the difference that I see, though, between all these services... if the government was to start providing these as "free services" (like the majority of roads are) they are basically saying "this is as good as it gets". Competition for cheaper methods of delivering heat and electricity has historically kept these prices low, so these industries is well regulated. However, duopolistic behavior by Verizon and AT&T have caused the telephone companies to practice the same tricks that resulted in the original breakup of AT&T in 1984. Prices are what the phone companies want them to be and customers cannot elect fair "lower cost" options (pay-as-you-go is a joke at a quarter a minute and $30 for 450 minutes per month is excessive... and there is no middle ground).

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757279)

$30 for 450 minutes per month? You've got to come up here to Canada and see what excessive is all about.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757307)

Yeah, they have so much damn maple syrup!

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757417)

Not only that, but man, when you guys buy a book published in the US, its always like
$20 US $24 CA

And the Cannadian Currency is worth more than the US dollar now!

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Insightful)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757603)

In America, the only thing we know about Canada and Europe is that you have free health-care and subsidized prescription coverage, and that gas is twice as expensive. What most don't know is that with things like salary caps, enforced work schedules and holidays, 40-60% income tax, etc... there are lots of things that are sacrificed for that free healthcare. There are good and bad things about socialist societies. I suppose unregulated telecoms is just another bad.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (3, Insightful)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757775)

Our income tax in Canada is actually less than 30% for the highest tier, and typically 15-22% [wikipedia.org] , which isn't hugely different from that in the United States [wikipedia.org] (actually, we're taxed less if you consider the dollars are more or less on par at the moment).

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757871)

The income taxes in my province (Alberta) are lower than in California and several other states. Some of the things you think you know actually aren't true.

And did you just say that unregulated telecoms are a bad thing about SOCIALIST societies??

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (3, Interesting)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757993)

Hate to doublepost, but to that end, I'm not sure our work schedules are any different from the United States, and our holidays work the same way, too. There are certain holidays that are considered federal, and businesses must give overtime for anyone working during a holiday, or a full day's pay for those who would have been scheduled in on that day.

As for our telecoms, I'd take a closer look at your own before saying ours is unregulated. The industry here in Canada borders on price-fixing and racketeering, but the industry in the USA is balanced solely by competition. While wireless is one point where American industry is ahead (ours has been battling between GSM (Rogers) and CDMA (Bell-Aliant/Telus) for some time - GSM won), I hear a lot of horror stories about American broadband and cable TV that border on the same kind of monopolistic behaviour as our Wireless providers.

That said, the only cable provider in this neck of the woods is Rogers, and the only traditional phone company is Bell-Aliant. Both offer a phone service (Rogers over the cable network, Bell-Aliant over traditional copper), both offer internet services (both high-speed and dial-up, Rogers by DOCSIS, Bell-Aliant by PPPoE), both offer wireless services (Rogers by GSM, Bell-Aliant by CDMA (going GSM)), and both offer TV services (Rogers by traditional analog and digital cable, Aliant by PPPoE/specialized modem (reduces high-speed transfer rates) and satellite). Both are nation-wide corporations, and they've got a nice duopoly going on in the Atlantic provinces. This isn't a failure of the government (though it would be nice if they could regulate this a little more), but rather a failure in the market; The same could be said of AT&T/Comcast (former co-owner of Rogers) and Bell/Verizon, though due to the market dynamics in the United States (and mostly, the population density), others have been able to squeeze in. Of course, that's just my observation.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (0)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757621)

I have never lived in a place where electricity had any competition. And the rates in the areas I lived with no competition were lower than areas with competition, like California. In two of the three places (I haven't moved that much) the utility was government owned, and one of the three it was a coop. All lower than the national average, and all with no choice at all for the provider. As for competition for heating, everywhere I've lived had natural gas available, and natural gas was used for heating. I know of no one that would put in something else other than cheap builders putting in a heat pump to do cheap heating and cooling in one device with no thought to recurring costs. Natural gas has always been the cheapest option where I've lived, and there was no real "competition" for heating. So it isn't competition that drives low cost. And the government can manage to provide a service for less than the free market. Or so I hear, since I left Texas before it was privatized (with competition), and rates have only increased since.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757783)

Electricity is cheap in places without competition because it is a heavily regulated monopoly, whereas phones and internet are unregulated monopolies.

In NC at least Duke Power (the power company) is required by law to provided the cheapest possible energy. They also need gov't approval to raise rates.

Unfair terms of contract legislation (2, Insightful)

FeatureBug (158235) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757215)

And that is why in some other countries, legislation exists that proscribes specific examples of terms in contracts that are deemed to be unfair, i.e. may not be used in any contracts.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757267)

Mobile phones aren't a requirement. I don't have one, and I'm an Electrical Engineer. (EIT) I've had two kids, some emergencies, and I have never missed having a cell phone.

As for the legality of the contract, they can't change the terms legally. That's what a contract is. You do this, I do this, until the contract ends or we die. If either party changes the terms and then the other party goes along with it, then the contract is considered accepted by their action. So if they say "Hey, we're charging you for incoming text messages now", you can leave the contract, no matter what their PR firms, service reps, and website say.

The problem is the costs involved in challenging the changes in court. It would likely have to go to the Supreme Court of Canada, and that's going to cost you 7 figures. You might get 1/3 of that back. You'd be foolish to spend millions to get back $150 in fees. My lawyer has told me to "let go" of $2500 problems because they just aren't worth taking to court.

And yes, that's with Canada's loser-pay system.

I'm Canadian, and I'm not a lawyer. You may begin nitpicking minor points in my post now.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757533)

Mobile phones aren't a requirement.

RTFA. This isn't about mobile phones, this is about mobile data plans, and people in rural areas that probably don't have any other way of getting online.

You'd be foolish to spend millions to get back $150 in fees.

Why does a simple issue of unfair fees have to go to the nation's highest court? And why does each individual who got ripped off have to pursue the issue separately?

My lawyer has told me to "let go" of $2500 problems because they just aren't worth taking to court.

That is, sadly, true. But that logic doesn't apply to every situation where one person owes another a small amount. In particular, a large corporation that rips off small amounts from thousands of people is subject to all kinds of legal, political, and social sanctions.

ECHELON? Isn't that where the government searches for words like bomb, plutonium, assassinate, and anarchy?

What your point here? That you're so invested in the "war on terror" that you no longer care about privacy? Are you sure you're Canadian?

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757795)

Mobile phones aren't a requirement.

RTFA. This isn't about mobile phones, this is about mobile data plans, and people in rural areas that probably don't have any other way of getting online.

Did you read the parent post? The guy is claiming that "cell phones and internet access are pretty much not a privilege any more."

That's a completely ridiculous statement. Mobile phones aren't a basic human right, no matter what Best Buy tells you.

Rural communication, and the ripping off of the customers who bought equipment based off the (apparently fraudulent) statements made by Telus, are a different matter.

You'd be foolish to spend millions to get back $150 in fees.

Why does a simple issue of unfair fees have to go to the nation's highest court? And why does each individual who got ripped off have to pursue the issue separately?

Telus would appeal any decision against it, and you bet your ass that any other company with similar contracts (e.g. banks) would join it or at least give legal and financial help. Good luck with that.

My lawyer has told me to "let go" of $2500 problems because they just aren't worth taking to court.

That is, sadly, true. But that logic doesn't apply to every situation where one person owes another a small amount. In particular, a large corporation that rips off small amounts from thousands of people is subject to all kinds of legal, political, and social sanctions.

Right. Just like the 911 system access fees. You know that those aren't government mandated nor do they go to 911 service, right?

Or bank fees. It doesn't cost $1 to use a debit machine, and it doesn't cost $5 a month to track money.

ECHELON? Isn't that where the government searches for words like bomb, plutonium, assassinate, and anarchy?

What your point here? That you're so invested in the "war on terror" that you no longer care about privacy? Are you sure you're Canadian?

I've had that sig since 1998, thank you, and I cut it down to fit a /. sig when I joined. It predates this ridiculous "War on Terra" by a few years.

It's funny. Laugh.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757547)

There's no small-claims court in Canada? I know that we have that here in the US, and it's great for smaller sums. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get a lawsuit started, and you can generally represent yourself fairly well.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757815)

Yes, there's a small-claims court for claims up to 25k. Telus would appeal if you won.

If you lost, Telus would hand you a bill for their legal fees, which would be in the realm of thousands or tens of thousands.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757271)

I don't think it is legal. I was hoping Bell and Telus customers would test that theory en masse by declaring their contracts null and void when B&T decided to charge for incoming texts. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like anyone has.

If Fido ever sends me my iPhone, I'm looking forward to them pulling the no free incoming texts so I can enjoy my new contract-free iPhone.

Re:It's the "we change anything in this contract" (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757589)

They should just say "Here's what you are required to do... we can do as we damn well please."

They do say that. They just don't say it clearly. The whole point of most consumer agreements is to say exactly that, but at great length and using very technical language. If nobody understand what you're saying, nobody can give you a hard time for saying it.

No Surprise (2)

reSonans (732669) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756941)

This is par for the course with Telus, a company that has had it knuckles rapped in the past for dreadful customer service.

So? (0, Troll)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756963)

If Telus sold underpriced plans, underestimated use, and lost money, how long are they obligated to maintain the service? Forever?

It's totally reasonable that they cancel a service that doesn't make sense, and fully within their rights to do so.

And calling these folks "victims" seems a bit of a stretch, and reeks of entitlement whining.

News flash: You don't have the right to cheap unlimited internet when you live out in the country.

Re:So? (3, Informative)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757025)

So you think this is a reasonable change from an unlimited plan: http://www.telusmobility.com/on/business_solutions/connect_megabyte_rate_plan.shtml [telusmobility.com]

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757335)

WTF? The plan jumps to 1 GB from 8 megabytes?! It's fucking absurd that telecoms are allowed to get away with completely fucking over everyone who wants reasonable service at a price point lower than the most expensive plan like this!

(And no, the 1GB plan is not a reasonable change from unlimited... but the "connect 25" and "connect 40" plans are even worse!)

Re:So? (3, Interesting)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757027)

News flash: You don't have the right to cheap unlimited internet when you live out in the country.

Maybe not, but Telus should at least be held to it through the end of the contract.

Re:So? (5, Informative)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757045)

If you bothered reading any of the articles (since this is /. and your ID is less than 10k you didn't) then you'd know that they sold UNLIMITED plans when the real cap was 5GB and that they are only forcing people off the plan who went over that cap.

It is a text-book case of deceptive practices (bait and switch).

Had the company disbanded its unlimited service altogether instead of kicking off people over the real limit, I'd have agreed with you 100%.

Re:So? (4, Interesting)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757095)

I guarentee that I never went over 5 GB unless I got a LOT of spam that got through my server and was filtered on my end. They could not even tell me my usage when they cancelled mine. Just that they were cancelling everyones.

Re:So? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757283)

Par for the course. They already do that with their DSL service, so why not the expensive wireless one too?

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757069)

If Telus sold underpriced plans, underestimated use, and lost money, how long are they obligated to maintain the service?

what if they were making money, but discovered that the margins were higher for per/GB service? Are they allowed to just cancel contracts with users in order to extract a higher profit margin from their product?

Re:So? (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757369)

Are they allowed to just cancel contracts with users in order to extract a higher profit margin from their product?

Apparently, they are.

Re:So? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757079)

Of course they're not obligated to continue offering a service (at least probably not in this case - there are some services companies are required to offer in exchange for the right to do business - think 911, or whatever the emergency number in your area is).

On the other hand, if they're going to be jerks towards their customers, people are also not obligated to continue patronizing them.

Re:So? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757367)

On the other hand, if they're going to be jerks towards their customers, people are also not obligated to continue patronizing them.

But if they're the only service provider, then people are obligated to continue patronizing them. Contrapositively, they are then obligated not to be jerks. QED.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757103)

I'm not familiar with this particular case, but in the US it is common for such plans to be sold with a contract. This contract typically specifies rates and services which will apply over a two year period. Both of us are expected to adhere to that during the contract period, after which we are both free to continue or to stop as we prefer. But you don't get to just stop following the contract just because you changed your mind and don't like it anymore.

So the answer to your question is, they are obligated to maintain the service for the period that their contracts specify.

Re:So? (1)

Five Bucks! (769277) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757675)

The problem is that Telus (and all the other cell providers in Canada) have an explicit "We reserve the right to alter the contract without prior notice" or something to that effect.

Basically, you sign a contract with Telus and you HAVE to adhere to the document, but Telus is more or less free to be asshats.

Re:So? (4, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757105)

They are obligated to maintain the service for however long the contract says they need to maintain service. If they ask nicely, I might be willing to help them. But they have absolutely no right to just break any contract because they screwed up.

There's a question of what the contract says exactly, but that's what courts are for. I hope that someone with deep pockets gets this going as a class action lawsuit, and sues Telus into bankruptcy.

Newsflash: corporations can't just do whatever the hell they want.

Re:So? (1)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757829)

Corrections: Small corporations can't do whatever they want. That's a privilege reserved to the giant companies that fill politicians pockets.

Re:So? (5, Informative)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757191)

If Telus sold underpriced plans, underestimated use, and lost money, how long are they obligated to maintain the service? Forever?
For however long they promised they would! You don't just get to make promises and break them whenever you feel like it.

A lot of US car companies are going under because they have very generous pension plans and a lot of retired workers to pay. Short of declaring bankruptcy they have to keep paying.

This is the whole point of contracts - if Telus can't get it right then it's their own fault. It is also deceptive conduct which there should be consumer protection laws against - you can't just advertise something and lie about all its qualities and expect to get away with it.

PS Good troll - you've even been modded insightful.

Re:So? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757535)

A lot of US car companies are going under because they have very generous pension plans and a lot of retired workers to pay.

Yeah right. More like, they haven't had an original idea in 20 years and are just now trying to make reliable cars with good mileage instead of optimizing repair shop revenue.

Telus. That Explains Everything. (2, Informative)

Petersko (564140) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756965)

The day I was able to say goodbye to my land line was a sweet day indeed. Telus managed to screw up everything I ever asked them to do.

They're shady, unethical, and mostly incompetent. If it's at all possible to do so, just don't deal with them. Thankfully even rural areas are beginning to have better options.

Re:Telus. That Explains Everything. (2, Interesting)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757183)

I hear you! I switched from my Telus landline to Shaw VOIP after Telus started charging an extra $5 / month because I *didn't* have a long distance plan.

Before I was paying almost $30 / month for Telus with no features (no caller ID, VM, etc); now I am paying $20 on Shaw with some basic features, *plus* getting $8 off my broadband, for almost $20 / month savings.

Add to that the fact that Shaw has always been excellent with their customer service, and this is a real no-brainer!

Cheers

Re:Telus. That Explains Everything. (1)

AgentGibbled (688180) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757317)

Agree totally. The alternatives are far from perfect but Telus takes customer hostility to a whole new level.

I'm going on two years now using a $20/month vmobile plan (no contract, no extra BS fees) as my primary phone. It works out cheaper than a basic Telus landline and it's only on the rarest occasion that I miss having a landline (mostly for long distance, but Skype does a decent job of filling that void with only slightly less convenience). Mind you, I don't use the phone much (less than 200min/month). This would work out less well for someone who does.

Contract Cancellation Fees (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24756969)

Affected users should send Telus a huge bill for trying to get out of their multi-year service contract early.

I got a full refund (5, Informative)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 5 years ago | (#24756983)

Complain! I did and they gave me a full refund for my air card (i bought it outright instead of the monthly plan) I then switched to Rogers. They had a sliding plan that works for me. It does smell and I will never use a telus service again due to the way they marketted this.

That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757013)

...and possibly even some sort of charges brought against them by the government.

These Telecoms are making WAY more money than they deserve. I don't know which would be worse -- a government run telco/internet service or letting the abusive service providers keep on abusing.

I am really very fortunate where I live. T-Mobile is my wireless carrier and they didn't comply with US government requests for warrantless wiretaps, my cable internet is ridiculously faster than any other I have seen and nothing about my service is blocked. I'm afraid to move because I might get crappy service. I'm not sure how I would respond to some of the troubles other people experience or have reported here.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (2, Informative)

Alistar (900738) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757113)

In Saskatchewan we have Sasktel, which is a crown corporation, government controlled. I won't say its perfect, or it's the cheapest (although its certainly comparable), but I have never had any problems with them. They have unlimited and it appears to be unlimited, I have never had service cut off or degraded. Some months I use it a lot, some months I don't. Heck, even on their basic plan, I could run servers (although it costs more to get static IPs) with no limitations (beyond that set out in the plan 5down/1up for example). Of course as I said its not perfect. The speeds aren't exactly stellar although its belive its 25.99 for 1down/512up. Its ADSL While they try somewhat, their expansion to rural markets has not been terribly fast, although faster than shaw (the cable option - which will cut you off although has better speeds avalable)

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (2, Informative)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757161)

Well, this being Canada, the general course of action is to complain to the CRTC and then get the CRTC to fuck Telus up pretty good. At least that's been my experience. The CRTC generally doesn't tend to let the big telcos dick around any more than the regulations allow, with preference given to the customer when there's ambiguity.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (1)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757225)

And I suppose that you alone should be the arbiter of how much companies "deserve" to make, yes?

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757281)

You're nitpicking a libertarian talking point that was most likely hyperbole, he has a point, that telcos do generate a lot of revenue above their overhead, but they operate in such a manner as to basically **** over their customers. We sold our right of ways to private companies, we as a public do have a right to call out "no fair" when they burn their customers.

No one cares if they get filthy rich if they're doing right by their customers.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757255)

I submit that when you set yourself up as the judge on how much money a company "deserves" to make that you've crossed a line.

I don't agree with what TELUS is doing here but I also cannot agree with judging how much money an entity deserves to make.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757413)

When utilities like a telco get radio frequencies, the rights to set up wired networks, power lines, cable TV infrastructure or just about anything that requires government approval, that is "the people" granting permission to the commercial entities to set up a business.

For them to take that permission and abuse customers in this and a multitude of other ways is simply the wrong thing to do... probably more than that since there are supposed to be regulations on what they can do with the resources and permissions they have been granted. In the US, we have utilities commissions that are supposed to oversee what utilities do to ensure they aren't gouging the customers or other such things that amount to abuse.

So no, it's not crossing a line to determine what a company that operates on what is effectively leased public property "deserves" to make. The public does not deserve to be abused for allowing them permission to operate their gear. The exchange is supposed to be simple -- they provide a service, we provide the permission to do so. But they often take things too far in much the same way that copyright gets abused.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757745)

I think it is way past time for a sliding scale maximum pay rate. The top CEO should get no more than 7 times the newest raw hire, and on down the line. If you have more than seven levels of management and employees, too bad, learn to do better than that, you are too top heavy by far. I'd also like to see a cap on how much extra over costs companies can charge for anything, a service or a product. Radical idea, sure, but it isn't communism nor is it strict predatory capitalism. Both those schemes have too many flaws. Pure communism is zero incentive to work, pure capitalism is 100% incentive to screw people over as much as possible and bend the rules constantly, especially if you are a corporation and can hide behind a piece of paper sitting in a drawer on the isle of mann or something. Having a maximum wage based on the lowest paid employee's pay would insure that workers always make more, there's no outside limit for the guys at the top, just a proportion that must be followed. Having an allowable top turn over price (call it 10% over just for conversational purposes) for wholesale to retail would also help consumers. Remember, your "corporation" gets a charter and besides making you money you are also supposed to be of the public benefit and interest. That part needs to be put back into place with some stronger teeth in the laws.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757311)

Telus used to be a government run telco. We never seemed to have any problems with the service and it was cheaper than it is now.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757323)

I don't know which would be worse -- a government run telco/internet service or letting the abusive service providers keep on abusing.

I'm from Saskatchewan, home of Sasktel, a government run telcom. They are actually rather good. some not so fun stuff (general teleco junk) but generally better than a lot of the canadian competition. Also unlike Bell and Rogers (the two ISP alternatives in most of canada) they dont inflict stupid traffic shaping and bittorent blocking.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (1)

XorNand (517466) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757441)

Why do people always cry for class actions? Lawyers get millions and you get a coupon for $4 off your next purchase. Worse, you're pretty much stuck with that coupon and are unable to press for other compensation unless you specifically opted out.

A much better solution is to sue them in small claims court. It's very easy and cheap to do, and almost always gets the company's attention. If your suit has any merit, 9 times out of 10 they're just pay you off to avoid having to pay a $300/hr. lawyer to spend the afternoon waiting around the courthouse.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (0)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757613)

These Telecoms are making WAY more money than they deserve.

...because random internet people are allowed to determine how much money others "deserve" to make. As long as they make it honestly, who cares? And when they're not making it honestly, are you saying it's OK as long as they don't profit too much from their dishonesty?

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757755)

Who do you use for cable internet? Hopefully they are in my area.

Re:That calls for a HUGE class action suit... (1)

willy_me (212994) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757983)

I don't know which would be worse -- a government run telco/internet service or letting the abusive service providers keep on abusing.

How about a hybrid system? Imaging a government owned infrastructure rented out to various different providers. The reason for a government owned infrastructure is that due to the population density in various parts of Canada, it is not economically feasible to provide service. But a government mandate to provide equal service at break-even cost would solve this problem. Granted you wouldn't benefit from competition like you would with private enterprise - but private enterprise isn't working so great for us right now. Better to have slightly more expensive service then no service at all.

Once one has an infrastructure it can be rented out to various different service providers. This is where consumers will save their money. With only a small cost to enter the market, numerous providers will jump on board and prices will drop substantially. Remember when the telcos were forced to allow third party providers to provide long distance? The same would happen with cell access on a public infrastructure. No longer would providing Canada wide service require negotiating (and paying fees) to multiple different providers.

Now the problems associated with government owned infrastructure can be resolved for the most part. Setup and maintenance of the towers would simply be contracted out - likely to the same people to do that work for Telus/Bell/Rogers. Due to the global nature of cell technology, there is no need to develop anything (a sore spot for any government organization). Simply adopting and implementing new global standards is enough.

Now I normally hate anything that is government run - I believe in private enterprise. But for private enterprise to work you need competition. The high cost of entering the current market prohibits competition. So let the government create an environment that negates that high cost. The competition that results should lower the cost to Canadian consumers. Even if costs are not lowered, it would result in far better services being offered.

Willy

I don't know the laws in Canada but... (0, Flamebait)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757197)

I don't know what laws are in Canada for contracts but in the US and California this will be totally illegal. One person won a case in the California Supreme Court against a telco for claiming "Unlimited" service but the telco "changed" their plan to "limit" there service and the person sued about change of services without consent and this person won.

Re:I don't know the laws in Canada but... (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757585)

The problem is the most you can reasonably expect is for a court to provide you with is the cancellation of your contract... which Telus is offering for free without the hassle of court, just refuse to switch to the 65$ 1GB plan and they'll happily cancel you. Sure you might get the court to pay your lawyer cost but that's not guaranteed to actually cover the entire cost and you might get punitive damages but that's not guaranteed either.

Its always been like this for Canadian Telcos (2)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757199)

Its actually quite surprising that they just didn't just change the meaning of "unlimited" and left the customers with massive bills when without their knowledge they went 2 GB over limit.

Its also surprising that people have been able to get online streaming or voice over ip working on their Telus cards, the ones we have in the office are pretty much just fast enough for email and very light web surfing.

Rotten (1)

gobbligook (465653) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757313)

I learned a long time ago to never give telus another dollar out of my pocket. The only way to force them to change their ways is to stop paying them. This is not the first, nor the last time. I remember an unlimited north america long distance plan on their landlines that they did the exact same thing with about 5 years ago. Only that time they had to honor the existing contracts, and only after a class action lawsuit. This is textbook telus, and never again will they get any money from me.

Sounds Like Circling The Wagons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757343)

Given the recent wireless spectrum auction in Canada, I have to wonder whether or not this practise is Telus's way of slashing costs in order to better defend themselves from the inevitable newcomers to the Canadian cell phone carrier market.

Needed: Australia's TIO model (3, Interesting)

ivi (126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757423)

In Australia, an ISP's customers can complain to the Telecommunications Ombudsman (TIO).

If the TIO considers that the complaint has merit (even -before- it is investigated & decided), the ISP must pay TIO a fee, upwards of Au$200.

The TIO may then propose a solution that costs the ISP additional money, eg, if it has to compensate the customer for some loss of service, etc.

An ISP would tend think twice, before dumping customers, with such fees hanging over their heads.

Perhaps USA (and other places) needs such a mechanism, to keep ISPs a bit more honest...

One thing to avoid: In Australia, an ISP is required to "join" TIO, but there have been some cases of ISP's failing to join; in these cases, the fees wouldn't apply, at least until the ISP is belatedly persuaded to join.

To make this work, a large fine for failure to join should be part of the enabling legislation.

Fraud (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757459)

I lost an isp that way once a lONG time ago. I had a static IP on dial-up and they wanted it back so they made up a reason to dump me.

One evening my modem was connected but no data activity. They said that violated the "unlimited use" clause, since i wasnt actually using it.

Bastards.

Feeling Left Out (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757499)

Our telcos are just feeling left out. The American telcos are hogging all the limelight with their various antics leaving the Canadian telcos feeling all inferior so they're just trying to play with the big boys. How typically Canadian...

No Telus for me, ever again. (5, Interesting)

Yuan-Lung (582630) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757605)

Dealing with telus for me was nothing but severe pain in the backside. They care nothing about customer satisfaction. They will screw you over and cheat you out of your money as much as they can, and when you finally leave, they then proceed to harass you with endless calls and try to con you into switching back with false incentives.


Here is an example of their borderline criminal conduct. I used to subscribe to their home phone service. I had it on automatic payment (big mistake) One day, I noticed that my bill had been steadily increased from $30/mo for a single line to $40, $60, and then as high $80/mo for the past few months.

I called them trying to sort it out. After several hours of navigating through the labyrinth of automated voice menu (no, 0 for operator did not work) I finally got put on hold for over an hour to speak with a human, and was cut off while waiting in the queue. After a few tries I finally got though, and got an explanation. Apparently, they had been taking the liberty to 'introduce new services' onto my account, without notifying me, and took my not noticing and canceling them a sign of agreement to adapt those service.

They of course, refused to refund the charges because I had been 'enjoying the additional services' so I requested to cancel them on the spot. Apparently I could not do that either because I don't have this password somehow set on my account.

While I was contemplating canceling the whole account and start over with a new number, with the hassle of informing all my contacts of a number change, Shaw called to promote their $25/mo digital line. So I switched. For the past year I have not paid over the $25/mo I agree to pay. There had not been additional features secretly added to my line.

However, Telus was not happy about my switching. They called about 3 times a week asking me to switch back. Their call usually started with a pompous voice asking me to identify myself to them. They even demanded that I explained to them why I switched, to which their representatives received some colourful words from me and a request to never calling back again.

Then they called again offering me ridiculous deals such as a comparatively lower 3-month INTRODUCTORY rate (and it would eventually go back up) if I switched my phone AND internet services to them. At this point, I started threatening with a harassment suit if they didn't stop calling. The call finally stopped.


And you wonder why telus spends so much on their 'the future is friendly' PR campaign to tell people how well they treat their customers.

Re:No Telus for me, ever again. (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757999)

You should have considered doing a chargeback on your credit card for the extra amounts. They are not allowed to increase your services without a notification and rather than argue with them - I have gotten a charge-back honored even in a less obvious situation (where formally the service provider was correct, but I felt that they have been extremely and purposely misleading in their offer).

It's a double win - you get your money back and the service provider/vendor feels the pinch.

Telus drove me away... (1)

NotNormallyNormal (1311339) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757713)

When I moved away from Alberta, I washed my hands of Telus and the rest of those sleezy phone companies. I used Shaw Cable for digital cable and internet and really should have switched the phone.

I recently moved to Saskatchewan and when asked by Sasktel (the gov't run company here) if I wanted them to hook me up I said no and told them that Telus had ruined the chance that any such company would see my money again. I signed up with Shaw for phone/internet/cable and haven't looked back. Their customer service is excellent and better yet - NO CONTRACTS!

Upon moving, I cancelled my Telus account of course. I received a bill for service AFTER my disconnect date. The rep told me to pay the bill and that they would fix the problem and send me a refund. After speaking to the supervisor, he assured my that I would not need to pay the bill... until the next month and I received, yes, you guessed it, another bill that had my next month PLUS the month I didn't need to pay for. After 3 months of this, they finally sorted it out... I hope.

Lesson learned? For me yes... For them? yeah - right!

Not Much Competition (1)

smist08 (1059006) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757749)

Due to the big boys buying up the little guys there isn't much competition. Plans are expensive and there are all sorts of extra fees. Most bill probably run $50.00 / month. Now compare that to India where a basic cell phone package is $0.50 / month and Canadians certainly aren't paid 100x Indians. So obviously there is something wrong in most cell phone markets.
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