Rogers Notifies Woman of $23,000 in Charges After Mexico Vacation


Merely 2 days after Edmonton based Sarah Farrell returned home from a vacation in Mexico, she got an SMS from Rogers notifying her of “excessively high” roaming charges and that she should contact Rogers for confirmation. In an interview with Go Public (via CBC News), she said “I had no idea I was going to get a $23,000 cell phone bill”.

Si go public roaming charges message

Farrell told the source she thought she might be facing a bill for $500 or so. “It just blew my mind that they would let my cell phone bill get that high,” she said. She claims to have turned her iPhone to Airplane mode on leaving Edmonton, but turned it off during a stopover in Houston to text her mother. While she received one text from Rogers inviting her to check out their USA data plans, but never heard anything from the company during her stay in Mexico.

“My heart rate was just pounding and I felt almost sick to my stomach, because I was, like ‘that’s half a year’s salary.’”

She used the phone for about an hour every day in her hotel room to post pictures on Facebook and to send texts thinking her phone was using the hotel’s free WiFi. The next time she heard from Rogers was back in Edmonton 15 days later, when received the text telling her to call them, she said.

Rogers immediately offered to sign her up for a data plan that reduced the bill from $23,000 to $2,200, plus $225 to enrol.

Even though Farrell and Rogers eventually settled at $600, she says she’s not going to wait for Rogers “to comply with the Wireless Code” and plans to switch cell phone providers.


  • Rio

    How hard is it for people to keep the ‘Data Roaming’ setting turned off >.>.

  • Who knows…

  • Sarge

    This is so ridiculous. She’s changing carriers, why? Rogers didn’t do anything wrong. She signed he contract stating roaming charges and if she took off airplane mode, she gets the charge

    Don’t want roaming? Take out your sim before you go!!

  • cid

    She doesn’t realize that all carriers will do the same thing. Its like saying my BBQ burned me. I’m switching to Weber!

  • Jon Kostyniuk

    Sounds more like this woman needs to learn how to work her phone properly and responsibly. When on holidays out of Canada, I turn both my airplane mode on and wifi on – it hasn’t failed me yet!

  • Weber makes the best BBQs!

  • Yup

  • einsteinbqat

    First of all, you do not need data to send SMS, and therefore would not need to turn the data roaming feature on. I personally have never turned on the data roaming feature.

    She turned it on. Not Rogers. She should be held responsible and accountable for it. Has she not heard enough of these stories on the news already?

    People these days… -__-!

  • ryanrobert

    I’ve purchased international data plans before when travelling. Even then, I tend to keep data roaming turned off and only turn it on when I’m trying to do something specific. Those charges add up quick. In her defense (and many others too), there is little justification for the absurd charges.

  • LF

    For once, Rogers is not in the wrong.

  • Jon Kostyniuk

    Agreed – Although she cannot operate her phone properly, I also do not understand why those changes are so high from Rogers.

  • Peter Pottinger

    It would be trivial for Rogers to make this opt -in but instead they can catch the technology illiterate with an opt-out program. Just another fact proving these providers only have their bottom line in mind

  • Peter Pottinger

    I don’t think Webers is going to charge you $22,000 to burn yourself.

  • Al

    Everyone posting here is under the delusion that people are as in-tune with technology as they are. People who frequent sites like iPhoneInCanada are more knowledgeable and tech-savy. Many average users are NOT.

    Think about it… You buy something – you just want it to work. You don’t want complication. Cell phone companies add complication to pray on the average user. Even advanced users can end up scratching their heads when they try to comprehend plan add-ons for travelling… voice – data – text… nothing’s combined… nothing’s simple… they all have an assortment of quantity and time restrictions… it’s NUTS!

    So don’t go blaming everyone who doesn’t get it. Because they shouldn’t be faced with crap like this.

  • Chuieyes

    Ditto. Roam mobility for US travel.

  • hub2

    On top of that there’s a cell data usage meter for international plans with low data allowances. Admittedly that’s buried pretty deep down and you can’t expect non-technies to visit that panel very often.

  • Jason

    It seems like most of us are aware of these features on how to turn roaming off but a lot are not. Why don’t the phones come with the feature that locks roaming or large amounts of data unless a password is entered to carry on with the session.

    Its time come up with a solution to to protect those who know very little about cell phones from cases like this.

  • Sidney R.

    I travel all the time and never leave my cellphone on airplane mode when I arrive at the destinations. You only need to leave the Data Roaming option Off on the iPhone.
    Now If I were with Telus/Koodo I’d have to leave it on airplane mode all the time because they charge for texts recieved abroad, unlike fido/rogers.

  • pegger1

    They’re a business of course they only have their bottom line in mind.
    But takes a pretty clueless person to rack $23,000 in charges. That’s someone who shouldn’t even have an iPhone.

  • pegger1

    She probably turned Data Roaming on because she couldn’t get wifi to work haha

  • JOJI

    The one to be blamed is her for sure. She knew abt roaming and all that’s why she put it on airplane mode initially.. And in Mexico she used it an hour daily.. Stupid … And after givin her a discount of 22,400 she s leaving rogers … Wow.. YeAh you go to Telus and bell they will make u pay 22400 and give 600 discount if the same thing happens with them…

  • mcfilmmakers

    She certainly is to blame for how she used the phone but Rogers is equally responsible for allowing the bill to climb so high in the first place without preventatively warning her about it.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Disagreed. They didn’t send the text DURING her trip to say “Hey, your bill is at 500$, what are you doing?”

  • JOJI

    As such there s no cap I believe … With any providers fr that matter.. Companies has to make the max money b4 the code takes effect and Verizon hitting Canadian market ….lol

  • Random

    Rogers is for sure some what accountable. A simple msg saying its going over a grand would suffice, bell shuts off my data if It gets to high. And anyone who things a 20000+ cell phone bill is even close to realistic is a freakin idiot.

  • Anthony W

    Agree. Also for the people who said she might not be that knowledgeable is just funny. I mean come on! If she has enough “knowledge” to take pictures, log into Facebook, and post them on Facebook to share, she is pretty good with her phone. These stories are just stupid.

  • Gerard

    Very simply low tech solution that anyone can follow. When leaving canada. Take your SIM card out. Tape it to the back of your airmiles card Then there is no way for them to bill you. Find a wifi hotspot and enjoy!!!

  • hank

    Not buying her story. All she needs to do is to grow up, accept the consequences of her own actions and learn from it. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse. Plus, smartphones are not for everyone. Not for her for sure. Adding insult to injury, she even puts the blame on Rogers. How pathetic is that? Low life kind of thinking. Tsk tsk tsk.

  • Al

    Hey numb-nuts… Posting to facebook and such are user-friendly features that are practically shoved in your face. Knowing that you need to turn off data roaming, let alone how to even do that, is not even remotely obvious! Someone basically has to tell you & maybe even show you. How did YOU find out it?

  • slyrobber

    Just don’t pay these thieves. Clearly charging this much for a little data use is fraud on an international scale sanctioned by corporatist governements.

  • Steve

    WTF? We are talking about clueless Apple iPhone users. It’s a fact that 99% of all iPhone users are technically illiterate when it comes to turning HIDDEN features on and off. And then we have Rogers AKA “Robbers” with their insane highway robbery roaming rates and plans. iTards like this women are EASY prey for Robbers.

  • Dean

    No sympathy for Rogers on this one, screw the wireless carriers when ever you can. 23000 reduced to 600, robbers !!!

  • SV650

    MY phone was suppled to me with international data roaming turned off. If the same were the case for this woman, then she first had to turn it on, so would know how to turn it off.

  • rob0302

    same here.. past 2 years i’ve turned airplane mode on when i sit in the plane and keep it on until I land back home the following week. The hotel i’ve stayed at both years offered free wi-fi, so all my apps, emails and imessage worked just like they do at home on 3g.
    If you don’t know how to use a smartphone, maybe you should read the instruction manual that comes with it.

  • Al

    It depends on your carrier. Rogers (and I think Telus and Fido) have it turned on by default. Both of my iPhones from Rogers were turned on by default. I think my daughter’s (on Bell) was turned off by default.

  • mackman6151

    why should rogers be on the hook for her stupidity.. If she knew to turn her phone onto airplane mode then she clearly also knew that the default setting for iphone is that data while on roaming is set to off. she had to manually set data roaming to ON in order for her to post pictures. the hotel wifi thing is a joke. had she not set her phone to data roaming on then she wouldn’t have been able to post pictures. (besides for the fact that you can clearly see if youre phone is on wifi or not)…..she chose to make calls, tet, and use data…..for the fact that she decided to not take up a USA or international data roaming package after acknowledging receipt of a notification text…..she should pay her bill if she used the service….thats not to say rogers isnt overcharging….they are…and she decided to sign up and use the service at the costs clearly written in contract she should have to pay….its nice they have some corporate social responsibility and reduced costs to $600.

  • ryanrobert

    Their name escapes me right now, but this where that Vancouver based wireless company comes in handy. There was an article on here about them a couple months ago. Can anyone refresh my memory? You can get a special phone from them or use their sim in an unlocked phone. Pretty reasonable rates.

  • ryanrobert

    Roam Mobility. There is actually an artilce on them right now.

  • einsteinbqat

    Oh please! One turns on the a feature named “Data Roaming” below which the following is written, “Turn off data roaming when travelling to avoid charges when web browsing and using email, MMS and other data services.” How illiterate can one be if one actually finds out the location of that feature, and turn it on? How illiterate can one be to NOT understand that sentence?

  • AI is not so AI

    Wrong. I have Fido and two of my friends are with Rogers. Both were turned off by default. Whenever we went on business trips oversea, we’ve got at least 2 to 3 texts warning us about roaming. Get your fact straight. Your profile icon tells us so much about you though.

  • Al

    Unfortunately, you can’t post web links here, otherwise I would point you to a CBC story that supports what I said.

    Your profile icon is blank. What does that say.

  • Al

    You don’t understand users. MANY users will say, “What’s this grey thingy for?” (speaking of the Settings icon)… They will cautiously tap it… They will see headings and switches and words they don’t understand (and that’s just the opening screen)… Their eyes will glaze over… And they will suddenly say (in a panic), “How do I get rid of this thing?!”… “Oh dear lord – what do I do?!”

    To which someone who does know says, “Calm down… breath… just push the button on the bottom like you do with everything else”.

    To which they say, “Really?!?!”. And they say that because they see the screen as so complex and non-user-friendly, that they think they are in a whole different type of thing, as opposed to a normal app.

    Non-techie users are terrified individuals. And there are a lot of them out there. And I do mean a LOT!

  • I work for a cellphone company in Canada.. And I find it despicable that this woman has the balls to complain about this. Yes,, she got a huge bill,, but Rogers was kind enough to drop it by a HUGE percentage,, even though she admittedly used it.. She turned airplane mode off.. It was her own fault.. I can’t tell you how many calls I get every week of people who “thought they were on wifi”… They dropped her bill from 23k to 2k… And she still is going to complain?? That takes balls… Same on her.. I say good on Rogers for what they did.. It’s the same thing I would have done with the company I work with.. And I say that this woman is a typical person in 2013.. Thinks everything should be given to the, for free.. Roaming costs are high.. Sure, that’s not fair.. And it’s being changed as of December finally.. But, that still doesn’t give her the right to complain.. They reduced her bill by a considerable amount..

    And shame on CBC for how they reported the story,, they should have praised Rogers for their willingness to lower the bill.. They didnt have to. The woman didnt put a roaming package on her phone.. They could have stuck her for every penny.. But they didnt,, CBC should have talked about how CBC did a good thing.. But no, they didnt.. Same on the woman for even taking it to the press. But that’s the mentality of people today. If you don’t like how something is panning out for you, just go to the press,, then the company will buckle,, and honestly, shame on Rogers for giving in to the press,, , it tells everyone that all they have to do is go to the press… Truthfully though, it doesn’t take going to the press.. All we do is backdate a roaming package, and you don’t get the charges…

    Ad besides… Se didn’t need to turn on data to send that text in Huston..

  • Thank you!! And as someone who works for a cell company in Canada.. She’s not going to find better roaming rates elsewhere

  • So if you don’t get it, you call your provider the moment you get a text that says “you may want to add a roaming package since you’re travelling”… If you don’t get it, you call, so you can get it.. Instead of just using it and getting the charges.. Then calling CBC and letting the media deal with it when you get home… I get calls from people just like you every day.. Who simply say “well I just didnt get it, and its so confusing, so I’m not going to pay”.. To which I say,, “its not our fault you didn’t understand, your phone comes with a manual, and we have reps who you can call and talk to if you don’t understand something about a text you may have gotten about a charge.. You signed a contract that clearly states me plan and overages, if you didn’t read it, because you were excited about the phone, and just wanted to press the shiny buttons while the agent w explaining everything to you, that was your fault”.. Because the truth is 99% of people, DON’T read contracts, and have no clue what they are signing.. Because they are sitting there playing with the phone, and not paying attention to what the rep is saying to them,,, the world seems to think everyone owes them something

  • They don’t have to do this.. No where in the contract does it say its going o… Does your utility company do the when you have high usage?? NO, cell company s not going to baby you, they let you use it as you wish.. If you want a phone that cuts off at a certain amount, but pay as you go

  • Someone who gets it!!!! YES!!!

  • Your utility company doesn’t cap you.. Why do you expect your cell to.. If you want a cell that caps, buy pay as you go.. Post paid Cellphone contracts are not babysitters.. If you have a $35 monthly plan, and want to talk for 1 million hours, we let you… Because if we did cap you, people would bitch and complain about being capped and say “if I wanted a cap, I’d buy pay as you go”

  • Yea.. Don’t pay for the service you used.. See what that does to your credit

  • Your utility company doesn’t cap you.. Why do you expect your cell to.. If you want a cell that caps, buy pay as you go.. Post paid Cellphone contracts are not babysitters.. If you have a $35 monthly plan, and want to talk for 1 million hours, we let you… Because if we did cap you, people would bitch and complain about being capped and say “if I wanted a cap, I’d buy pay as you go”

  • slyrobber

    These bastards are so greedy even after bankruptcy they will still give you credit. I’ve seen it over and over. Haven’t you every heard of a profitable bankruptcy? Screw the telecos

  • Yes.. They will give you an account if you are bankrupt.. But they require a a deposit.. . it’s no different than capital one who gives a credit card to people without credit.. . the purpose of the cellphone account with a credit limit, is to help those without credit, to build and establish credit again.. But it’s a $200 limit., so they DO get shut off at a certain cap.. And guess what, instead of being thankful that the company shuts off your phone at $200 for these ppl who are bankrupt, they bitch and moan and say we have no right to turn off their phone.. You see.. If you cap it, they botch, but then when you get a huge bill, they say “why wasn’t it capped?”.. You can’t win.. Though I get the rare person who just calls in, pays their bill and says “”yup, I did go over my minutes//data, I owe it.. But 95% of ppl argue that they didn’t go over., they say our system that they trust every other month, is magically wrong this month.. It’s friggin annoying.. Take responsibility for your damn actions

  • Al

    Such attitudes are the delusion that many companies are under… that if it’s written down and buried in an incomprehensible contract then their ass is covered and it’s up to the customer to do something that are not inclined to do. People are inundated with such things all the time, so they just give up trying to comprehend it all. If you want a phone (or whatever) you have to sign the contract – you have no choice. That you honestly think that the average person can read through one of those things and both COMPREHEND and RETAIN what they are reading is just freakin’ delusional.

    Such attitudes were created by companies that have no empathy for the average customer. You apply business logic to customers. YOU CAN’T DO THAT!

    Throughout society, for hundreds of years, people buy things, and they are generally simple to work. I think the advent of the VCR may have been the first time that corporations started failing the average consumer. And today, you can’t seem to just buy a product and simply use it. Now there are all sorts of restrictions and rules buried little secrets concerning how things operate. People, by nature, don’t comprehend this. They regard such things (notices and whatever) as noise. “I don’t know what that means, so I’m going to ignore it.” This, clearly is not uncommon. So corporations need to ask themselves… “Why do people do that?”

    And the fault… the true source at fault… is the corporation who has no empathy for consumers and, as a result, just choose to make tons of rules and help services available … THAT ARE NOT IN HUMAN NATURE TO USE!

    I’m a software designer and usability specialist. It’s my job to “GET” the end user. It saddens me when corporations (and other software developers) don’t think beyond themselves with regard to practicality and usability.

  • Al

    You don’t comprehend humanity.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Wrong. If my electric bill skyrockets, I’m going to get a call from the company asking what the heck is going on. A 23,000$ bill is realistically improbable and indicative of misuse. If they wanted you to pay, they wouldn’t strike a deal to cut 95% of the bill would they? Where’s the profit in that? Your argument doesn’t stand for two seconds.

  • slyrobber

    What are you dude a telco shill or one of their pions? You really don’t get my point. I’m saying that the roaming charges are exorbitant and should not be paid when exaggerated. Whatever happened to free trade? Oh yeah that’s only for corperations as always screw the little guy and the worker. Put your hands up and pay up. We make the rules and the laws are written by us for us. Who is really looking out for our interests certainly not our representatives sold out by the pound of money. Again don’t pay let them run around its an insane charge to hell with them and their trumped up teleco system of international collusion.

  • Al

    It’s not a friggin’ “law” dumb ass.

    And smartphones SHOULD be for everyone. It’s up to the cell companies to quit hiding behind complex rules.

    Everybody thinks differently about things. This is humanity. You have no ability to put yourself in someone else’s way of thinking. That to me, is pathetic.

  • Al

    You’ve drunk the Rogers (or whatever) Kool-Aid.

    Since when are roaming costs being changed in December?! It’s been proven that roaming costs are a pure money grab. The rates are not even remotely founded.

  • Actually as of December crtc has new rules on data charges for domestic and roaming.. Look it up twit

  • Al

    You said roaming COSTS are changing. No they aren’t. Typical double-talking cell company customer service rep… Doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.

  • The fee they are charging customers is changing.. How’s that.. As of December, you won’t be charged anymore than $50 for domestic, and $100 for roaming..

  • Al

    Your correct replay should have been…
    “I’m sorry – I didn’t mean costs. I was referring to the new cap. The unjustifiably inflated costs remain the same.”

  • Ced

    A paper copy of the contract is handed to you upon signing. How is this buried?

  • Al

    Your reply is an example of my point. I suggest you educate yourself on word definitions. In particular what “buried” means. If you can’t comprehend what I wrote, you can’t comprehend a complex contract.