I have just filed a complaint with the CRTC about my phone provider's outrageous fees. This is a copy of the complaint.

I am traveling to Europe, specifically to Ireland, for a 6 days for a work meeting.

I thought I could use my phone there. So I looked at my phone provider's services in Europe, and found the "Fido roaming" services:

https://www.fido.ca/mobility/roaming

The fees, at the time of writing, at fifteen (15!) dollars PER DAY to get access to my regular phone service (not unlimited!!).

If I do not use that "roaming" service, the fees are:

That is absolutely outrageous. Any random phone plan in Europe will be cheaper than this, by at least one order of magnitude. Just to take any example:

https://www.tescomobile.ie/sim-only-plans.aspx

Those fine folks offer a one-time, prepaid plan for €15 for 28 days which includes:

I think it's absolutely scandalous that telecommunications providers in Canada can charge so much money, especially since the most prohibitive fee (the "non-prepaid" plans) are automatically charged if I happen to forget to remove my sim card or put my phone in "airplane mode".

As advised, I have called customer service at Fido for advice on how to handle this situation. They have confirmed those are the only plans available for travelers and could not accommodate me otherwise. I have notified them I was in the process of filing this complaint.

I believe that Canada has become the technological dunce of the world, and I blame the CRTC for its lack of regulation in that matter. You should not allow those companies to grow into such a cartel that they can do such price-fixing as they wish.

I haven't investigated Fido's competitors, but I will bet at least one of my hats that they do not offer better service.

I attach a screenshot of the Fido page showing those outrageous fees.

I have no illusions about this having any effect. I thought of filing such a complain after the Rogers outage as well, but felt I had less of a standing there because I wasn't affected that much (e.g. I didn't have a life-threatening situation myself).

This, however, was ridiculous and frustrating enough to trigger this outrage. We'll see how it goes...

"We will respond to you within 10 working days."

Response from CRTC

They did respond within 10 days. Here is the full response:

Dear Antoine Beaupré:

Thank you for contacting us about your mobile telephone international roaming service plan rates concern with Fido Solutions Inc. (Fido).

In Canada, mobile telephone service is offered on a competitive basis. Therefore, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is not involved in Fido's terms of service (including international roaming service plan rates), billing and marketing practices, quality of service issues and customer relations.

If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to escalate your concern to a manager if you believe the answer you have received from Fido's customer service is not satisfactory.

Based on the information that you have provided, this may also appear to be a Competition Bureau matter. The Competition Bureau is responsible for administering and enforcing the Competition Act, and deals with issues such as false or misleading representations, deceptive marketing practices and collusion. You can reach the Competition Bureau by calling 1-800-348-5358 (toll-free), by TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing people) by calling 1-866-694-8389 (toll-free). For more contact information, please visit http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/00157.html

When consumers are not satisfied with the service they are offered, we encourage them to compare the products and services of other providers in their area and look for a company that can better match their needs. The following tool helps to show choices of providers in your area: https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/comm/fourprov.htm

Thank you for sharing your concern with us.

In other words, complain with Fido, or change providers. Don't complain to us, we don't manage the telcos, they self-regulate.

Great job, CRTC. This is going great. This is exactly why we're one of the most expensive countries on the planet for cell phone service.

Live chat with Fido

Interestingly, the day after I received that response from the CRTC, I received this email from Fido, while traveling:

Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 10:10:00 -0400 From: Fido DONOTREPLY@fido.ca To: REDACTED Subject: Courriel d’avis d’itinérance | Fido

Roaming Welcome Confirmation

Fido

Date : 13 septembre 2022
Numéro de compte : [redacted]

Bonjour
Antoine Beaupré!

Nous vous écrivons pour vous indiquer qu’au moins un utilisateur inscrit à votre compte s’est récemment connecté à un réseau en itinérance.
Vous trouverez ci-dessous le message texte de bienvenue en itinérance envoyé à l’utilisateur (ou aux utilisateurs), qui contenait les tarifs d’itinérance
applicables.

Message texte de bienvenue en itinérance

Destinataire : REDACTED

Date et heure : 2022-09-13 / 10:10:00
Allo, ici Fido : Bienvenue à destination! Vous êtes inscrit à Fido Nomade alors utilisez vos données, parlez et textez comme vous le faites à la
maison. Depuis le 1 mars 2022 le tarif cette destination pour 15 $/jour (+ taxes) et valide tous les jours jusqu'à 23 h 59 HE, peu importe le fuseau
horaire dans lequel vous vous trouvez. Bon voyage! Des questions? Consultez fido.ca/m/itinerance ou composez +15149333436 (sans frais).

Besoin d’aide?

Détails

Détails

Ce courriel est produit automatiquement; veuillez ne pas y répondre. Ce courriel (et toute pièce jointe) est confidentiel. Si vous n’êtes pas le destinataire,
veuillez supprimer le présent message et en détruire toute copie.

FIDO SOLUTIONS 800, RUE DE LA GAUCHETIÈRE OUEST
BUREAU 4000 MONTRÉAL (QUÉBEC) H5A 1K3
Fido

I found that message utterly confusing (and yes, I can read french). Basically, it says that some user (presumably me!) connected to the network with roaming. I did just disabled airplane mode on my phone to debug a Syncthing bug but had not enabled roaming.

So this message seemed to say that I would be charged 15$ (per DAY!) for roaming from now on. Confused, I tried their live chat to try to clarify things, worried I would get charged even more for calling tech support on *611. This is a transcript of the chat:

F: Hi! What are we doing today?

Type in your question or choose from the options below: * Track my Equipment Order * View Bill Online * Payment Options * iPhone 14 Pre-Order

A: i received a message about roaming while abroad but i did not enable roaming on my phone, will i be charged anyways?

F: I think I know what you’re asking for.

Select the topic that best matches your request or try rephrasing your question.

A: no

F: Thank you, this will help us to improve! Would you like to chat with a specialist?

Chat with a specialist

I'll get a specialist to help you with this.

It appears that you're not signed in. Your session may have timed out.

To save time and identify your account details, please sign in to My Account.

Have any questions specific to your Fido account? To service you faster, please identify yourself by completing the form below.

A: Personal info Form submitted

F: Thank you! I'll connect you with the next available specialist.

Your chat is being transferred to a Live Chat agent. Thanks for your patience.

We are here to assist you and we kindly ask that our team members be treated with respect and dignity. Please note that abuse directed towards any Consumer Care Specialist will not be tolerated and will result in the termination of your conversation with us.

All of our agents are with other customers at the moment. Your chat is in a priority sequence and someone will be with you as soon as possible. Thanks!

Thanks for continuing to hold. An agent will be with you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience. We’re getting more Live Chat requests than usual so it’s taking longer to answer. Your chat is still in a priority sequence and will be answered as soon as an agent becomes available.

Thank you so much for your patience – we're sorry for the wait. Your chat is still in a priority sequence and will be answered as soon as possible.

Hi, I'm [REDACTED] from Fido in [REDACTED]. May I have your name please?

A: hi i am antoine, nice to meet you

sorry to use the live chat, but it's not clear to me i can safely use my phone to call support, because i am in ireland and i'm worried i'll get charged for the call

F: Thank You Antoine , I see you waited to speak with me today, thank you for your patience.Apart from having to wait, how are you today?

A: i am good thank you

[... delay ...]

A: should i restate my question?

F: Yes please what is the concern you have?

A: i have received an email from fido saying i someone used my phone for roaming

it's in french (which is fine), but that's the gist of it

i am traveling to ireland for a week

i do not want to use fido's services here... i have set the phon eto airplane mode for most of my time here

F: The SMS just says what will be the charges if you used any services.

A: but today i have mistakenly turned that off and did not turn on roaming

well it's not a SMS, it's an email

F: Yes take out the sim and keep it safe.Turun off or On for roaming you cant do it as it is part of plan.

A: wat

F: if you used any service you will be charged if you not used any service you will not be charged.

A: you are saying i need to physically take the SIM out of the phone?

i guess i will have a fun conversation with your management once i return from this trip

not that i can do that now, given that, you know, i nee dto take the sim out of this phone

fun times

F: Yes that is better as most of the customer end up using some kind of service and get charged for roaming.

A: well that is completely outrageous

roaming is off on the phone

i shouldn't get charged for roaming, since roaming is off on the phone

i also don't get why i cannot be clearly told whether i will be charged or not

the message i have received says i will be charged if i use the service

and you seem to say i could accidentally do that easily

can you tell me if i have indeed used service sthat will incur an extra charge?

are incoming text messages free?

F: I understand but it is on you if you used some data SMS or voice mail you can get charged as you used some services.And we cant check anything for now you have to wait for next bill.

and incoming SMS are free rest all service comes under roaming.

That is the reason I suggested take out the sim from phone and keep it safe or always keep the phone or airplane mode.

A: okay

can you confirm whether or not i can call fido by voice for support?

i mean for free

F: So use your Fido sim and call on +1-514-925-4590 on this number it will be free from out side Canada from Fido sim.

A: that is quite counter-intuitive, but i guess i will trust you on that

thank you, i think that will be all

F: Perfect, Again, my name is [REDACTED] and it’s been my pleasure to help you today. Thank you for being a part of the Fido family and have a great day!

A: you too

So, in other words:

  1. they can't tell me if I've actually been roaming
  2. they can't tell me how much it's going to cost me
  3. I should remove the SIM card from my phone (!?) or turn on airplane mode, but the former is safer
  4. I can call Fido support, but not on the usual *611, and instead on that long-distance-looking phone number, and yes, that means turning off airplane mode and putting the SIM card in, which contradicts step 3

Also notice how the phone number from the live chat (+1-514-925-4590) is different than the one provided in the email (15149333436). So who knows what would have happened if I would have called the latter. The former is mentioned in their contact page.

I guess the next step is to call Fido over the phone and talk to a manager, which is what the CRTC told me to do in the first place...

I ended up talking with a manager (another 1h phone call) and they confirmed there is no other package available at Fido for this. At best they can provide me with a credit if I mistakenly use the roaming by accident to refund me, but that's it. The manager also confirmed that I cannot know if I have actually used any data before reading the bill, which is issued on the 15th of every month, but only available... three days later, at which point I'll be back home anyways.

Fantastic.

Update: I was charged 12$ for traveling, but it turns out it wasn't for traveling to Europe, but just because I strayed too close to the US border, which is almost worse. I tend to go there quite a bit, and it's quite likely I hit those towers. Every time that happens, I need to call Fido to tell them to remove the charge, which is a ridiculous waste of everyone's time...

Good luck
With even getting a response from the scumbags at the CRTC. I filed complaint years ago and received nothing in return. It is no surprise they do nothing about anything the parasite corporations do as all the members of the board are industry insiders going through the revolving work in the government after working in the phone industry door. Then after getting their time on the board and the fat pensions they back to their real masters the phone companies for more of the same old there, quite the scam it is.
Comment by Stephen
Is it Canadian providers' fault?

The fault might not be with the Canadian providers, if the European providers charge them the astronomous fees for use of their network. They used to do that to other European providers too, until the EU forbid it. They might very well still do it for out-of-EU providers.

It's not just Canada that has scummy telecom providers.

Comment by Anonyme
Currently using Fizz

I've been using Fizz prepaid for over a year now and I think that's the most reasonable option around here now.

You can get exactly what you want, change your plan at any point without having to call someone and for travel, it's 10 CAD for 1GB of EU roaming data that's valid for about 60 days.

With my normally very low phone usage, I'm around 15 CAD a month most of the time with the occasional 10 CAD when I travel.

Comment by Stephane Graber
avoid Fizz like the plague

I'm happy to hear you're happy with Fizz.

That has not been my experience at all. In this blog post I go into the details, including a formal complaint I filed (possibly in the wrong cabinet).

The TL;DR: is that Fizz provides basically zero tech support, or when they do, it is poor. They also continued spamming me and probably have kept personal records on me even though I asked them to destroy them.

Update: to expand on the tech support thing... You can go on their website now, where it says:

Make your way to the FAQ and find the help page pertaining to your issue. If you can’t find the answer, click on the bubble in the right-hand corner. That’s your gateway to the platforms available to contact us. A friendly rep will be with you as soon as possible.

Try as I might, I cannot make either Firefox or Chrome (with a clean profile!) display that stupid "bubble". They also don't have phone support, so as hard as I can try, I can't actually speak with anyone at Fizz other than over Twitter.

I think that's unacceptable, and I cannot in good conscience let any form of support of Fizz stay unanswered in this space, I am afraid. :p

Comment by anarcat
Created . Edited .