How to avoid paying for 30 days of service when porting a Rogers/Fido mobile number in Canada

TL;DR: When you port a mobile number from Rogers or Fido, they try to charge you for 30 days of service beyond your port date. Here’s how I avoided paying this “port fee.”

This is a longish post, but I’m hoping it’ll be helpful for anyone who’s planning to port their number from Fido/Rogers, and wants to save a few bucks.

Recently, I ported my mobile phone number from Fido to voip.ms. When I called Fido to verify that there was nothing on my account that would prevent a port, they told me I’d have to pay for 30 days of service after my number was ported. Here’s a transcript of my online chat with Fido representative Jennifer:

FidoANSWERS! Hello Daniel Misener, my name is Jennifer, and it will be my pleasure to assist you today. Please allow me a moment to answer your question. Thank you for your patience.

Daniel Misener says: Hello, Jennifer.

Jennifer says: I’m sory to hear you are thinking of leaving Fido, may I ask why ?

Daniel Misener says: I’m leaving the country, moving to France, and need to port my Canadian number to a VOIP service.

Jennifer says: To answer your question, you have no active contract, therefore there would be no penalty if you ported out your number. You would be charged 30 days of service however.

Jennifer says: I see!

Daniel Misener says: Why would I be charged 30 days of service?

Daniel Misener says: If I port my number, after the port is successful, shouldn’t the amount I owe Fido be pro-rated?

Jennifer says: This is part of your service agreement with us, we ask for 30 days notice to terminate your service.

Daniel Misener says: May I give my notice now?

Daniel Misener says: With an end date 30 days from today?

Jennifer says: With a port out, the notice is the port itself. It would begin on the day the number leaves Fido.

Daniel Misener says: Right. My question then is, if I give my cancellation notice today, then port the number before the 30 days are up, will I still be charged 30 days after the port? Or 30 days after today?

Jennifer says: You cannot give your notice today and port your number because if there is a scheduled deactivation, your number will not be able to be ported. So for porting, the port itself is the notice and the 30 days start from that day.

Daniel Misener says: That’s a shame.

This, of course, seems crazy. Why should I pay for 30 days of service that they’re not actually delivering? Some quick Googling turned up this RFD forum thread, and this post at RogersWatch, which explains how to avoid paying for these 30 days. It seems that the CCTS (The Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services) has recognized this 30-day “port fee” as an issue. If you complain to the CCTS, you can avoid paying. RogersWatch’s advice:

  1. go ahead and do your port whenever you darned well feel like it
  2. after it’s all done promptly call Rogers and tell them to reverse your 30-day fee because you ported out, or else you’ll just file a complaint with CCTS about it (and CCTS will force Rogers to reverse the charge if you file a complaint)
  3. if Rogers doesn’t co-operate then either escalate to OoP or CCTS (I recommend CCTS) per this Rogers complaint escalation flowchart

So then, after my port was completed, I called Fido, asked them to reverse the charges. When the Fido representative said she couldn’t, I went to the CCTS website and registered a complaint. It’s simple, and only took a few minutes. For reference, here’s my complete complaint:

Details of the contract dispute: I ported my Fido telephone number to a VOIP provider. The port became active on January 3, 2012. I telephoned Fido on January 3, 2012 to confirm that there would be no further charges on my account. The Fido representative (“Molly”) said that I would continue to be charged for 30 days of service beyond my port date — service that I would not receive, a sum of ~$44.

Date the contract began: [I left this blank]

Date the contract terminated, will terminate or renewed: 2011-12-28

Date you became aware of the dispute: 2012-01-03

What steps did you take to resolve the matter with your TSP? I asked the Fido representative (“Molly”) to reverse the charges internally, as I should not have to pay for services that I will not receive.

What did your TSP say/do? The Fido representative (“Molly”) told me that she could not reverse the charges. I informed her that I would make a complaint to the CCTS.

What do you consider to be a reasonable resolution to your dispute? A reasonable resolution would be for Fido to reverse the charges, so I am not paying for service that they are not delivering to me.

Other organization? [I left this blank]

Two days later, I received an email from the CCTS, confirming that they had received my complaint, and that it fell under their mandate:

Re: [CASE NUMBER]

Dear Daniel Misener,

Thank you for contacting the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). The CCTS is an independent agency with a mandate to receive, facilitate the resolution of, and, if necessary, resolve eligible consumer and small business complaints relating to certain retail telecommunications services.

We have received your complaint [CASE NUMBER] and hereby advise you that your complaint falls within the scope of our mandate and will be processed in accordance with our Procedural Code (the “Code”), which can be found at:

http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/en/documents/procedural-code

We encourage you to review the Code so that you are aware of the complaint resolution process as well as your rights and responsibilities as a customer.

In accordance with Section 6.5 of the Code, we have forwarded your complaint to your telecommunications services provider (TSP). Pursuant to Section 6.6 of the Code, your TSP is to:

a) within 15 days of receipt of the complaint advise the CCTS in writing, with a copy to you, that the TSP objects to the complaint on the basis that in their view, it should not be investigated pursuant to the Procedural Code or any other lawful reason;

b) within 30 days of receipt of the complaint advise the CCTS in writing, with a copy to you, that the complaint has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both you and the TSP; or

c) within 30 days of receipt of the complaint advise the CCTS in writing, with a copy to you, that the complaint remains unresolved and of the TSP’s intention to file a written response thereto.

In the event that your TSP responds that the complaint has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both you and the TSP and you disagree that the matter has been resolved, you must advise CCTS within 20 days of your TSP’s response.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your complaint, or anything contained in this correspondence, please do not hesitate to contact us.

CCTS
P.O. Box 81088
Ottawa, ON
K1P 1B1
1-888-221-1687

Please ensure to retain this correspondence for future reference.

Sincerely,

CCTS Assessment Team

The following day, an email from the Office of the President at Rogers:

Dear Daniel Misener,

This e-mail is in response to the incident that was referred to us by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) [CASE NUMBER]. First and foremost, we would like to thank you for taking the time to share your observations with us. Feedback from customers is always appreciated.

In response, we would like to clarify that according to Fido’s Terms and Conditions, which govern all services provided by Fido explicitly state:

“…you may terminate any or all of your Services upon no less than 30 days’ advance notice…” and “… Applicable charges continue to apply until the end of the notice period or until the Services are no longer accessible by you, whichever is later. The transfer of your telephone number to another telecommunications service provider constitutes a termination of the applicable Service(s)…”

Should you wish to consult the Fido Terms and Conditions, you may do so via www.Fido.ca or on the abbreviated version on page 2 of every Fido invoice. Please note that this is a common practice amongst Canadian carriers, as such it may be an applicable condition for your new service provider as well.

A review of your files reveals that Fido has received notice of your cancellation on January 3, 2012 upon the transfer of your telephone number to another telecommunications service provider, as such the 30 days notice period applies as of this date. We were thus unable to find any billing errors. Notwithstanding the above, in view of finding an amicable resolution Fido is prepared to offer the following:

  • As a goodwill gesture credit $44.44 which represents the monthly service fees (taxes included) to be charged on your final invoice.

Your final invoice will be issued in date of January 14, 2012. Any usage fees above and beyond your monthly service plan remain legitimate

It is understood that the above option was offered in the sole optic of finding an amicable resolution, is without prejudice and in no way constitutes an admission of liability on the part of Fido.

We consider the above incident resolved.

And the same day, another email from the Office of the President at Rogers, addressed to the CCTS, cc’ing me:

Dear CCTS,

Concerning the CCTS complaint number # [CASE NUMBER], we have contacted Daniel Misener by e-mail and successfully reached a satisfactory resolution by applying the requested credit as a goodwill gesture (monthly service fees of the final invoice).

Should you or our client have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

I also received an email the same day from Fido — an “account change confirmation” detailing the charges on my account that would be reversed.

So then, it seems that the advice from RogersWatch is solid: Port your number, and once the port is completed, call Fido/Rogers to request that the 30-day fee be reversed. If they don’t cooperate, complain to the CCTS. It worked for me, and it was an easy way to avoid paying $44.44.