Fido Glitch Charges iPhone Users Data Roaming, Even with Setting Turned Off [u]

For people who travel outside Canada with their iPhone, the device defaults roaming to OFF within iOS settings (Settings > Cellular > Data Roaming).

Despite this setting being turned off, some Fido users have experienced being charged data roaming. iPhoneinCanada.ca reader Ellard is a frequent traveller to both the U.S. and overseas and was recently charged $7.99 on his Fido bill numerous times for data he never used (you may remember him from those Apple Pay in Canada video demos).

As an experienced and savvy Apple user, Ellard knows to never enable data roaming while travelling to avoid expensive roaming charges. But on recent trips to the U.S. and the Philippines, he was surprised and frustrated to see unwarranted charges on his bill when he returned:

So pissed. Was just on the phone for 75 mins. The supervisor told me he received a lot of complaints recently with the same issue. He gave me $48 credit on the spot but he told me that’s the max he can do on his part. He sent an email to a different department to fully credit my account, but that department said all charges were legitimate. 1kbs and 2kbs of data 🙁

Ellard though the issue might have been with his iPhone, but after swapping his Fido SIM card into his iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 and a different iPhone 6 as well, it was determined to be a Fido network glitch.

Below, you can see his roaming data usage at 0 bytes:

Fido roaming data

However, looking at his previous monthly bills dating back to September, he was charged the $7.99/50MB data roaming pack or billed for roaming data he didn’t use:

Fido roaming charges iphone

Fido roaming charges iphone 2

Fido roaming charges 3

Fido roaming charges 4

Fido only gave Ellard a partial $48 ‘goodwill’ credit for the error; he was unable to get all of the erroneous charges overturned.

Over at this Apple Support Communities thread, numerous other users are in the same boat, seeing data roaming charges from Fido despite having data roaming set to ‘OFF’:

Over Saturday night until Monday afternoon I was again in the States.  I turned off data roaming first, and then also turned off cellular data completely BEFORE LEAVING CANADA.  I did not use the phone to make/receive phone calls.  I stayed in hotels with WiFi and I did use that.  No problem Saturday night, and none on Sunday morning, even though I had heavily used the WiFi.  I packed up my gear (I ride a motorcycle and can NOT use the phone for anything while I’m riding) and toured around the Adirondacks in upper NY State for hours on Sunday.  When I got to my hotel Sunday night and checked into my hotel, when I got to my room I took the iPhone out of my pocket and found a message from Fido stating, “You’re using data at our exclusive promo rate of $4.99/day (+ tax)! You get up to 50mb of data to use over 24 hrs….”

This story is a reminder for everyone to check details of their monthly bills if you’ve setup automatic payments and have travelled outside Canada recently with your iPhone. Either get a local SIM card or use a service like Roam Mobility.

Have you ever been billed by Fido for data roaming you never used?

We’ve reached out to Fido for comment on this story and will report back with any details.

Update Feb. 3, 2015: Rogers responded via email with the following:

We are aware of this issue and are proactively crediting customers who were wrongly charged for U.S. roaming when data roaming was turned off while they were in the U.S. We encourage customers to get in touch with us if they have not already been credited the full amount.

The spokesperson also stated they would refund Ellard the full amount, with a reassuring “we’ll make it right.”

So if you have suffered from this, now is the time to contact the company and get a refund on erroneous data roaming charges.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • xeronine992

    This issue is nothing new. Over the Christmas holiday I was in the US and our two phones received a text saying we were using a day pass. When my bill came in though the charges had been removed.

    From what I heard their threshold is quite low (4 or 5KB), so as long as it doesn’t accidentally use more than that you’ll be okay.

    Next time I’m in the US I’m going to try turning off cellular data as opposed to just data roaming. Unsure if it’ll make a difference.

  • BrodieTheDog

    I’m also having trouble with them charging me double data. Every billing cycle I reset the data usage counter on my iPhone 6+ and compair it to my bill. My bill states I’ve used almost exactly twice the data. Anyone else having a problem?

  • Chrome262

    Might as well use the data if you are going to be charges with it. Going to the states end of Feb, was woindering if I should used the 4.99 promo or just get a different T-mobile card there (done it before). Now that I might be charged anyway might as well use it.

  • Seb

    Same thing happened to me in November. I was charged 7.99 for 2 kb usage although Roaming was turned off. Fido gave me credit on the spot when I called. I went back to States for one day in December and it didn’t happen. Maybe there was some update since then.
    By the way, my wife experienced the same problem with Bell, so I’m suspecting that Apple is the culprit.

  • einsteinbqat

    Nope. I don’t use Fido’s SIM outside of Canada. Yay for unlocked phones.

  • n8

    I’ve had this problem and I’m with Rogers.

  • Patrick

    I visit the U.S. every month like clockwork. Never had any issues with Fido charging roaming fees. As soon as I’m on the bridge heading into the states I simply swipe to turn on Airplane Mode. Then I use WiFi in Rochester NY for emails and surfing. Never any issues in 2 years. Lucky me I guess.

  • Tony Talib

    Happened to me in Nov too. Was rectified. They must have had an issue in Nov.

  • Hank

    Nah. Just use Roam Mobility rather than T-Mobile.

  • Duh!

    I do not see why you consider yourself lucky. You are in airplane mode. So really no way of connecting to Fido.

  • CanucksGoals

    Same here. I am from Vancouver and go to US shopping every week or so. I have had no issue with Fido for the past 9 years. I didn’t even turn on airplane mode. I turned data roaming to “off”. Every single time I would get text message stating I am in the US and ask if I want to use data roaming. On my iPhone 6, I also turn off the “use cellular data”.

  • vic

    yes the $5 promo thing is extremely irritating. frequent the border very often with my nexus to pickup some parcel and on these very short trips if I’m off the network ill get a text informing about the promo followed by a text saying i am now using the promo.

    fido csr through the chat system has been great at crediting back however there was no insight on any fix other than airplane mode which won’t be possible as i rely on gps for my navigon

  • Anthony

    My wife had the same issue after visiting France in October. Despite having cellular data turned off before leaving Canada and data roaming off as well she ended up being billed by Fido for 3 days of data usage at $10/day. After the better part of an hour on the phone they finally refunded the $30 as a “goodwill” gesture but made all sorts of bullshit excuses about how the phone will still use data unless it’s in airplane mode. They definitely had some sort of problem that they of course won’t admit to. Bunch of thieves.

  • JamesH

    Samething happened to me on various times. Both in trip to korea and the US

  • This is where my unlocked iPhone 6 and T-Mobile SIM can solve this problem. Before approaching the border, I took out my Canadian SIM and plug in the T-Mobile SIM. $3 per day… The power of unlocked phone and the freedom came with it is great!

    I am a frequent visitor to the States too… 2 or 3 days per month!

  • Tim

    Pretty sure this happened to me too.

  • Chrome262

    Used roam had terrible coverage T-mobile worked really well.

  • Roger Hough

    Same here – In October I got billed for 3 days roaming (2 kb per day)
    for 3 items totalling $23.97 despite having data roaming turned off. It
    was fully refunded. I think the solution is to turn data completely
    off, not just data roaming.I use RoamMobility when in the US on a different phone, but still have my Canadian phone turned on to receive calls.

  • Limech

    Same happened to me. Had to fight with the Fido guy to get my money back. He was saying it was AT&T’s fault. Sad, but I now use airplane mode instead of relying on data roaming being off. They have to fix this.. its pretty stupid.

  • Update: Rogers says they will refund all users affected by this and acknowledge the problem. See update in the post.

  • It looks like it is a system error. If you want to access the Internet when you are abroad?you can take a Global roaming WiFi device, GlocalMe G1 for example.

  • ????Dennis

    I just got my bill yesterday and fido charged me for data roaming to send a text message from the US. Funny thing is I haven’t been in the US since December. Only a buck, but still.

  • Barry Shell

    This just happened to me last week. Within hours of landing in the USA Fido even cheerfully sent me a text message to say that they charged me the special discount rate of only $4.99 for a day of data roaming. I had data roaming turned off, and even checked this as soon as the plane landed in the USA. I immediately phoned Fido on their toll free number and told the customer service rep that I would not be paying the $4.99 (plus tax) and she said she could not do anything about it, because it had not shown up on my billing record yet. She said she’d make a note that I had made the call and registered the complaint. Personally, I am going to write to the CRTC and to the Competition Bureau, and I also think that some sharp lawyer should start a Class Action Lawsuit against Rogers/Fido because I’m sure several million dollars have been collected by this dastardly technique and that money should be given back to customers and hopefully a judge will also award punitive damages as well. This is theft, and there are laws against this in Canada.

  • Susana

    Hi, I’m living in Germany, and I just experienced the same when I travelled to Switzerland. I have Vodafone. So, I think the problem here is actually the iPhone. I have an iPhone 6 and I have only problems with Roaming since the iPhone. 🙁 I love Apple stuff, but here they are not being correct. They have a huge problem here, and the only thing they say is: there is no bug, no hardware or software problem. The information you find in the internet and mind of other people is not correct. Please just reset your phone to see if ir helps.
    Thanks Apple… this way you will never solve the problem!!! Disappointed with Apple!

  • brbo

    You guys are setting your phone to not use data AFTER your plane lands. Is this the problem? Your phone could easily have used data while descending or on the ground……… Just a thought. If you had it in airplane mode until you turned it off, then it’s not really explainable.

    Wow, just noticed this was my second reply to you today — completely random!

  • Natalia

    Exactly the same problem with Russian Beeline company. Users are blamed for not turning the data roaming off, but in reality, its not the case.

  • Anonyomous

    I used airplane mode and i still got charged $500 for data even though my data was off, roaming was off and I told them numerously I had proof I took pics of my usage (reset statistics on date of travel & took a snapshot on my date back from travel coz i’m extra cautious like that!) and it was all WI-FI (never had to use internet where i didn’t have access to wi-fi abroad so I never touched the ‘turn on cellular data’ button)…I had snap shots of everything not just before and after coz i am a little paranoid and it was my first time away and was being extra careful…and guess what? They didn’t give a shit, I went to the store, told them to look at the snapshots,; they are timed and dated and i had my passport on me to prove my date of travel that coincided with the bill dates and everything!…and they didn’t give me even $48 dollars off…I got like $20 something off and ended up paying $500 exactly PLUS my phone bill for the month!!! $500.00 for a period that didn’t surpass 1/2 weeks. Never again using fido abroad, it would’ve been cheaper to just get a pre-paid over there! I pay $35 for 6 GB of data per month and I never exceed that 6 GB EVER and my bill never goes above $80/month and through some info they read on the computer I’m just supposed to believe they are telling the truth when they provide me with no practical evidence whereas I had practical evidence and they wouldn’t even acknowledge it! Paid over half a year’s worth of phone bills for 1/2 weeks of THEIR MISTAKE…if I wasn’t too fed up and done with things I probably should have fought harder but I just didn’t wanna deal with them anymore. I hate companies that just wanna follow protocol and do not care for common sense and that machines are machines…humans that make machines make mistakes so yes machines can make mistakes/glitches & innocent people should not have to pay for these mistakes ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY HAVE PROOF!!

  • ISTlife

    This is still an issue. I have an unlocked iPhone 6S that I use with Fido.
    The first thing I did when I got it was ensure that roaming was off. I spent over half an hour today listening to a CSR tell me it’s my fault/Apples fault and that she’s never heard of this problem in the 5 years she’s been at Fido. She suggested putting it in airplane mode while away, or them changing some setting that would disable the phone while out of Canada, neither of which is an acceptable “fix” if you ask me.

    I travel for work am in the US at least twice a week. I got dinged for 3 days at 7.99 plus tax in my first billing cycle and the supervisor that I eventually spoke to (who was very helpful) said that he could see the same pattern on my current cycle (not billed yet).
    He’s refunded the charge for the first bill, but it would seem that Fido hasn’t solved the problem – which appears to have been happening to others for at least a year.

  • dreamer

    So this hapenned to me twice in 2015. Every time I got $7.99 Fido charge for 15 kb of data and 1 text message. It happens every time when I travel to Niagara falls Canada but never cross border. My data roaming is always turned off on my iPhone. When I call Fido they always tell me that I didn’t have my roaming setting off, and I should know better, which makes me feel dumb. They also state that I ‘purchased’ roaming … wtf… and to make it even more confusing they say you get connected ‘automatically’ and charged automatically. Is the only solution to put airplane mode when in Niagara Falls canada or Niagara on the lake??????

  • 95DemonEarth

    You can ask to add the International block when you are traveling near the border. It is really common when near the border to be charged from U.S towers even with Data roaming off. Ask Fido about getting a block for when you get near the border. Just make sure to remove it if you travel outside of Canada. 🙂

  • Jay-Nicolas Hackleman

    This is happening to my mother… I even turned her data roaming off MYSELF, and she still get’s charged… Now she’s off to the US and I’m worried she’s gonna get victimized because she’s not technically savvy enough to defend herself when she has to call them and dispute it…