Fido SMS Charges
I have a plan with unlimited SMS messages.
Some service providers send me SMS messages with notifications about some events, including hotmail.com (or call it MSN or live.com) sending me an SMS notification when I receive a new email.
Hotmail.com/MSN/Live.com offered this for free and i agreed and it has been working for ages. Then it stopped. Then i re-entered my phone number. And all of the suddent without any warning Fido started to charge me for those messages, even though i am on UNLIMITED SMS plan. I called them but they did not listen to me, just kept repeating that there is a charge for MSN Alerts. I have problems with being charged for receiving SMS messages while I am subscribed to an unlimited SMS plan.
This is what i think about it:
- It is censorship. I don’t want to be spied on and be under monitoring of who sends me what. How is it any of Fido's business who and how sends me an SMS? What is next? Are they going to listen to my conversations and start billing me extra if they don’t like someone who calls me?
- It is discrimination. Why do they discriminate some senders over others?
- It is anti-competitive. I wonder if it even violates the Federal Competition Act. Why some of the service providers are put in unfair position when sending me SMS messages?
- It is a breach of contract. Nowhere in the agreement between me and Fido was it ever mentioned. Fido cannot change their contract with me unilaterally on-the-fly and start charging for something that I never agreed to. The service that I subscribed to is Unlimited SMS Messages. Period.
- It is misleading and deceptive practice possibly in violation of Consumer Protection Act. These messages are not sent to me as an email or an alien-induced-subliminal-messages (pardon my joke) or by any other type of communication – they are sent to me as SMS, they arrive as SMS, they are managed by the phone as SMS and they ARE SMS. Period. And I have an unlimited SMS plan. I am being unfairly, overcharged for something that is clearly included in the very expensive plan that I pay for.
- It constitutes deceptive advertising, in violation of Federal Competition Act and Consumer Protection Act. Fido “screams” from every advertising piece “unlimited SMS”. At least there was never any mentioning anything about MSN Alerts when i entered into the contract with Fido. This is false advertising. Besides, they never even sent me full contract with all terms and conditions. That is why they do it verbally so that they could alter it whichever way they want without your consent.
It is my belief that on this issue Fido acted not in a good faith.
Sad. Consumer, beware!
This is not the first time when I get surprises with my SMS service with Fido.
Long ago my plan used to have a feature that was included at no extra charge - if anyone emails to my phone number at Fido, for example firstname.lastname@example.org then I would get the first 140 characters of that email in an SMS message.
Fido called me long ago asking if I would like to enter into a contract and they guaranteed that my plan and charges won’t change. I specifically made sure and clear beyond any doubt, eliminating any misunderstanding or miscommunication, that my plan with all the features will remain the same.
On one day I received an SMS saying that someone sent me a message but in order to read it I have to “Subscribe”. What? Subscribe to what? I called Fido to ask about it. They told me that they’ve just changed their service, the one that I’ve been using for over 5 years. If I want to continue to receive my messages I have to subscribe. Fido advertises free incoming SMS messages and a Rep confirmed that it still is. I just have to subscribe at no cost to Email-to-SMS which is still included in my plan.
After the conversation with the Fido rep I replied “Yes” to subscribe.
Several more messages poured in saying that I received a message, but to read it, I have to send an SMS-reply with the word “Read”. I cannot waste my time playing SMS tags. If it is an emergency and I may not even be in a good reception area or if I am driving, I need my messages right away with no games!
I called Fido again asking to turn off that confirmation. I cannot afford to be bothered with it.
They told me that they cannot change it and it is just the way it is. What? What is about their assurance when we entered into a contract?
Apparently every time when I am forced to reply with the word “Read” I am charged for it! I called Fido again and asked how come my contract has been changed quietly on the background with no notice or consent? They answered that the contract does not cover any services beyond air time and they can raise price for any service without notifying me.
This is totally not what I agreed to when I “signed” that contract which I never signed. I asked them to send me a copy of the contract. They said “read our web site”. I argued that a web site is not a legal document, they said it is. I argued it is not what I signed. They told me to show them where it says that they cannot start charging for SMS. I asked them to show where it says that they can…The rep could not grasp this concept...
I asked them to have the supervisor to call me. They said supervisors do not call out, I need to call later because they are all busy now, but it won’t help because supervisors do not make any decisions anyway, it is company’s policy. I asked someone who made that policy or their lawyer to contact me. They said that it would be a VP who is unreachable to the public and would not call out and suggested me to contact their legal department.
Sad. Consumer, beware!