Hotel California by Leo U (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9SSkNt

Hotel California by Leo U (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9SSkNt

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Welcome to the Hotel California: ISPs Who Won’t Take No For An Answer

Last week, a recorded customer service call with U.S. Internet provider Comcast went viral as the recording featured a Comcast representative spend 20 minutes deflecting a customer’s request to drop its Internet service. While Comcast apologized, the incident clearly struck a chord with many frustrated by customer service representatives whose mandate is seemingly to retain the customer rather than provide actual service.

Yesterday, Toronto web developer Daryl Fritz tweeted this photo of a Rogers injection into his web page:

Rogers response to @DarylFritz

The injected content “apologizes” for interrupting a web browsing session, encouraging Fritz to stick with Rogers and promising a “special offer” if he reconsiders his decision to leave the company. The injected content requires Fritz to acknowledge receipt of the message. Fritz says he actually did not cancel his Internet service, but rather dropped home phone and cable services.

The practice of injecting its own content into web pages is not new for Rogers, having adopted the approach to advise on bandwidth caps and parental controls.  However, modifying web pages as a customer retention tool is not only is unlikely to work and leave some customers a bit creeped out, but it maintains the impression that Internet providers now see themselves as akin to the “Hotel California”, where as the Eagles’ song goes, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

7 Comments

  1. This reminds me of Bell’s updated privacy policy from last year, when they announced they would start injecting “relevant ads” into people’s browsers. They said there wouldn’t be more ads, which leaves the possibility they would replace existing web advertising with their own messages. In any case, telecoms injecting their own messages into customers’ browsing sessions is very troubling.

    http://support.bell.ca/billing-and-accounts/security_and_privacy/how_does_bell_respect_my_privacy?step=4

  2. When I tried to cancel my Rogers account because of extreme dissatisfaction, they told me I couldn’t do it through their ticket system.
    When I called to cancel, my bill was past due, I was told I couldn’t cancel because it was in arrears.
    When I wrote them telling them to cancel, I was ignored.
    Until several months later when I received a huge bill and a notice that I was disconnected for non-payment. (I hadn’t used their services since my original disconnect request).

    Now I’m fighting with a collection agency.

    • David – I had exactly the same experience. I even tried to take it further, filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but they either couldn’t or wouldn’t help me either. Good luck!

    • Canceling your ISP service would not hide your logs and internet activity ever! Rogers keeps DCHP requests and ISP assigned logs for at least 2 years and up to 7 years if there is space.

      Which means that anything you posted or visited from 2007 is probably in Rogers servers, awaiting a court order or warrant which hopefully is not your case if you have nothing to hide.

  3. Took three months to cancel. When I went to Teksaavy, they offered to give me a better package that cost more and gave less than I was going to get with the competition. I was billed for three more months, having to call in each time and have them reverse the charges. Finally I was able to connect with a rep who cancelled all outstanding charges and close out the internet account. We still had TV with them, but got rid of that shortly there after.

    I did see a year or so later that Bell and Rogers had ‘graciously’ started to advertise that they had upped their caps, referring to it as a free extra 50GB or whatever it was, despite the packages still costing more than Teksaavy.

  4. Charlotte says:

    I had this same message, after reducing my home phone service to basic from full. I actually called Rogers, but not via the number posted (in case it was a spam) and neither their customer service nor their tech department was aware of the use of this type of pop up page.

  5. I can’t believe any Canadian who believes in human rights will cancel their ISP service because of their privacy policies. Do these individuals have some skeletons in their closet?

    The typical IP data retention policies of the ISPs:

    TekkSavy- 90 days
    Eastlink- 6 months
    Bell Canada- 5 years
    Rogers DSL- 2 years
    Shaw- varies from 2 to 4 years
    Verizon- 1 year 6 months
    Comcast- 1 year to 1 year 8 months

    Now let’s see all those criminals attempt to cancel their ISP contracts in desperation!

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