Re: FIDO - Unauthorized and unjustified charges for data roaming (as sent to the Fido Office of the Ombudsman after unsatisfactory explanatios by the Customer Service).
I was charged for roaming during a 14 day vacation in a up-scale resort in Mayan Riviera, Mexico.
That was between 6 February and 20 February.
I set the phone to the Flight Mode when I got on the plane at the Vancouver Airport, and turned it off when I returned to Vancouver.
When I got back, my invoice showed 5 roaming charges on random days as follows: Feb 6,7,8,9 - no charge. Feb10 - charge, Feb11,12,13,14 - no charge, Feb15,16 - charge, Feb 17 - no charge, Feb18,19 - charge, Feb20 - no charge. I used the phone in the same manner every day, no change from one day to another. I did not fiddle with the Flight Mode to turn it on and off the entire stay in Mexico.
I tried to resolve the issue with Fido staff via Chat line, 2 operators and a supervisor. I have told/re-told them what happened 4 times. Their explanations for the charges, and their suggestions (below) made no sense to me, and bordered on the ridiculous.
The Flight Mode description says: it turns off all network connections, including calling, texting, internet access, WiFi, and Bluetooth. It further says that The Flight Mode automatically disables the Phone Visibility function, thus it disallows other devices to find your phone and transfer files.
There was an excellent WiFi throughout the resort, everywhere. Better than in any other resort I visited in Mexico in the past. There was no need to use roaming for anything. I used the WiFi for browsing on the internet.
I did not make any calls or send text messages, and nobody called or texted me either, except for a welcome message from Fido several days after the arrival. I believe that was on Feb10, and that should not even trigger a charge. I did not respond to it since I was not interested, and do not remember exactly what it said. Nevertheless, I would expect that Fido would need my consent before charging for it. Something like “Here is our roaming offer. Do you accept it? Yes? or No?”. It would be so simple and fool-proof. Arguments over roaming overcharges would be eliminated. What would also be eliminated is an easy money stream for Fido for services not requested. Furthermore, I am not sure how it was possible to receive the Fido message. By the definition of the The Flight mode (above), it should have prevented the phone (Galaxy S10e) from receiving it. It appears that it did not work. Searching the internet forums shows it apparently happens fairly often. Since I bought the phone directly from Fido, that would make it Fido's problem. I did not fiddle with the Flight Mode to turn it on and off the entire stay in Mexico. Based on the random dates of charges, I would have to change the setting at least 5 times. Even if somehow I turned it off by accident, it certainly did not happen 5 times. That makes no sense. I actually think that if Fido did not send me the welcome message (which the Flight Mode was supposed to prevent from receiving), I probably would not end up being charged for roaming in the first place.
The first lady at Fido I talked to told me that Fido advises customers to take out the Sim-card to make sure they would not end up with roaming charges. Firstly, this is a clear admission that Fido is aware that overcharging for roaming can be a problem. Secondly, nobody from Fido advised me of that, and I do not find this advice is anywhere on Fido website or in the Fido Service Agreement. Thirdly, to do so, would limit the use of my phone, in case I had to go outside of the WiFi area, and actually wanted to do roaming (I would have to put the Sim-card back in). Forcing this measure onto customers would probably also breach the contract.
Then she told me that the WiFi was probably weak in some areas, and therefore the phone switched to roaming. That reasoning does not make sense because the phone is not supposed to switch to roaming when the Flight Mode is on. It is supposed to prevent it. Also, I was there with friends, one of them also with Fido, others with Telus. We were pretty much always together, and at or close to the centre of the resort. And nobody ended up with a roaming charge.
Later, another lady, a supervisor, told me that there is a “roaming disable” button on the phone, and I should have used it. My phone only has the Flight Mode. Then she suggested she could somehow disable the roaming at her end, to make sure it does not happen again. I told her I might consider it next time I go abroad, but not now. Why would she even suggest it? I can only assume that is because she is well aware that roaming is not a full-proof operation? None of them were able or willing to give me an email or postal address for the Fido Office of the Ombudsman. I could not find it anywhere on the Fido web page either.
I have no idea how these random roaming charges came to be, I am a customer, not a telephone technician. All I know is that I did not use the phone in a roaming mode. Why is there a charge on some days and not on others, totally random. I did not fiddle with the Flight Mode to turn it on and off the entire stay in Mexico. I had no reason to do that. Browsing on the internet is all I did. And that kicks in the WiFi mode first, before going to the mobile signal under any circumstances (same as when I am home) regardless whether it is disabled by the Flight Mode or not.
It appears that there is a problem somewhere between Fido and the Mexican operator or a problem with the phone. I suspect the Mexican operator somehow knew that I was there, just like Fido did, and somehow, probably randomly, managed to take advantage of it. I do not control if or how they charge Fido. Obviously, this is not the first time Fido encountered this type of a problem, just check the Fido forums. But the problem is not with me and charging a customer for it is not a solution. I am sure Fido could take steps to (almost) eliminate the problem if they really wanted to. I do not intend to be taken advantage of by anyone. I am very unhappy about this matter. It needs to be made right, and the charges reversed. Meanwhile, I will get off the auto-pay option, and start paying the next invoices while withholding the roaming overcharge amount.
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Welcome to the community!
Sorry to hear you received unexpected roaming charges on your bill. I understand your frustration as you believed your Flight mode was enabled. However, Fido only charges for actual roaming usage. With many post-paid plans, Fido Roam is enabled automatically.
@HV42 wrote:...I actually think that if Fido did not send me the welcome message (which the Flight Mode was supposed to prevent from receiving), I probably would not end up being charged for roaming in the first place...
...I suspect the Mexican operator somehow knew that I was there, just like Fido did, and somehow, probably randomly, managed to take advantage of it....
In a way, you would be correct. You received that Welcoming message because your phone connected to a foreign network. If it did not connect to the local networks, you would not have received that message. There is no conspiracy to take advantage of customers. The local operators knew you were in Mexico because your phone connected to their networks. If you were able to connect to the networks with Flight mode enabled, that suggests that setting was not operating as it's supposed to function. If your phone was able to connect to the networks despite Flight mode enabled, it's likely your phone switched to the cellular networks when Wifi-signal was weak. From the mobile providers' standpoint, the device did use services on the networks.
I also understand you purchased the phone from Fido. However, they do not manufacture the devices. Have you considered contacting Samsung Canada regarding why your phone was able to connect to cellular networks with Flight mode enabled? That is a phone issue, not a network issue. It appears as though there are at least two people with potentially similar issues with their Samsung S10 devices (see here). That is an issue that Samsung needs to identify and correct. You might consider asking them to reimburse your roaming charges since it's their devices which are not operating properly.
I further understand you feel your grievance is with Fido. You can share your concern here.
@HV42 wrote:.. Meanwhile, I will get off the auto-pay option, and start paying the next invoices while withholding the roaming overcharge amount.
You might re-consider withholding payment on the roaming charges. If you do not pay the full amount, you would likely also get charged late fees and might possibly affect your credit scores.
Hope this helps 😀