“I’ve explained to Rogers that Mexico is part of North America. It’s that large thing attached to Texas,” he said.
Rogers turned down his request to include Mexico in its unlimited North American long distance calling plan or change the plan’s name.
Gilbert started with Rogers, where he used the live chat function to press his case.
“I spoke to a young man, who got frustrated when I kept telling him, ‘Look at a map.’ He eventually dropped me. I don’t know if it was intentional or not,” he said.
“She urged me to drop the matter. She said the CCTS has no jurisdiction over advertising. And designating North America as including only Canada and the U.S. was an advertising point,” Gilbert recalls.
“She said I’d get a refund if I said the matter was resolved. I demurred. I am, after all, a philosopher. Part of our job is to be a pain in the neck.”
Rogers then sent an email to the CCTS. It argued that an advertising complaint was outside of the ombudsman’s scope. (Phone companies must pay the CCTS to handle individual complaints.) The CCTS has the power to investigate a case even if the telecom supplier objects. With Gilbert’s complaint, it determined that the matter was within its scope after all, since it concerned billing.
“The customer is, in part, claiming that Rogers billed him incorrectly as Mexico is part of North America. Therefore, calls made to Mexico should be covered in his North America long distance plan,” the CCTS said.
“This seemed originally to be a billing complaint,” says Howard Maker, the commissioner. “But when we spoke to Prof. Gilbert, we discovered he knew he’d be billed for the calls to Mexico. He wanted to get Rogers to change the name of the plan.
“We appreciate the feedback that it didn’t happen in this case, as we look at how we can improve,” she said.
Gilbert complained to the Competition Bureau, a federal agency that regulates misleading advertising. I suggested going to Advertising Standards Canada, a not-for-profit self-regulatory body that has a standards code.
But he won’t have to proceed after all.
Rather than continuing to deny that Mexico was part of North America, Rogers took a closer look and changed the wording to Canada and U.S. calling.