Virgin Mobile Attacks Rogers Over GRRF–WTF?!

Remember when Rogers “eliminated” their System Access Fee, only to replace it with the Government Regulated Recovery Fee (GRRF), which has nothing to do with the government whatsoever? Well, today Virgin Mobile’s Chairman, Sir Richard Branson pulled out his guns to attack Rogers over this questionable and unjustified fee. I think he hit the nail on the head, so to speak:

“I’d like to congratulate Rogers for removing one fee that never made sense, but I’m perplexed to hear that they’ve replaced it with another equally confusing one. I suppose that they hoped by putting ‘Government’ in the title that people would assume the fee is legitimate. It clearly states in Rogers’ own advertising fine print that ‘It is not a tax or charge that the government requires Rogers to collect.’ Are they deliberately trying to mislead the public?”

“We encourage Rogers to think again,” continued Branson. “Canadians are smarter than that and they deserve to be treated better. At Virgin Mobile we don’t make up fees and we’re always clear about what our customers are being charged for.”

The President of Virgin Mobile Canada, Robert Blumenthal, goes on to say:

“We innovate and put customers first, delivering everything people need without being sneaky. We love our customers and treating them properly is just the right thing to do. If you’re with Rogers today, we’re not surprised that you might be scratching your head. We invite you to switch over to us and see what mobile phone service should really be like.”

The current attack ad by Virgin goes on to emphasize “GRRF! WTF?”, as in “What the Fee?”. Quite clever. I think the funny issue here is that Virgin Mobile Canada’s parent company is Bell. So it looks like Bell is using Virgin to channel its attack towards Rogers. Brilliant!

virginWTFad

Branson is right about one thing–Canadians are smarter (I am so smart, S M R T! -Homer Simpson) and they see right through these fees. For example, Telus also removed their System Access Fee–but also increased their monthly voice plans by $5.

So what gives? Are Canadians going to continue to be gouged over and over by all of these hidden “fees”? When will this madness ever end?

*Edit* Nov.6/09

It looks like Rogers has replied to Virgin Mobile Canada’s attack ads. Here’s what Rogers spokesperson Keith McArthur stated:

“We’re flattered that Sir Richard Branson is paying such close attention to Rogers from his home in England. But the fact is that Bell – Virgin’s parent company – is the only national carrier still charging a system access fee for new customers. Who is Bell trying to kid here?”

Thanks for the reply Keith–but too bad you still didn’t answer Sir Branson’s comments about WTF is a GRRF! Nice try. 😉


Thanks to everybody who sent this in! 🙂

[Virgin Mobile]

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

  • Huh?

    I like how it's basically Bell calling out Rogers…when Bell is still charging their stupid SAF and 911 fee. WTF Bell?

  • Frankly, if the telcos are going to charge the amount anyway, I'd MUCH rather see it honestly reflected in the price of the plans, instead of hidden away in some ambiguously-named surcharge. Just tell us the damn price of the service and let us decide. And yea, Rodgers' sleazy way of listing their surcharge is an insult to the intelligence.

  • Jimbo

    Not so much an attack as its an exposure of Rogers' sneakiness. Damn I hate that company

  • bcb

    good to see someone pointing out this rip-off, but I'm surprised there hasn't been more uproar about this deceptively named GRRF. come on Rogers, are you really this scummy?

    we need a Rogers Ripoff Recovery Fee that's mandated by the government…

  • Flaxx

    So far I'm most impressed by Telus. They removed the hidden fees and their basic iPhone package seems quit competitive. They may have increased their plans by $5 but this still represents a savings over the SAF. It also makes the plans transparent and upfront. What you see is what you get. Never thought I'd ever say this but good job Telus. Take notes Robbers….er Rogers…

  • Virgin Mobile's parent company is NOT Bell. They use the cellular network of Bell, but that doesn't mean they are related. They just pay for the bandwidth. Virgin Mobile has no networks in any country, but just rents them.

    All mobile telecom operators use each other's networks BTW. Not the cell towers but the fiber optic land lines that connect your call to the receiver are not all owned by the same company. And when a cable is broken or “full” the signals are re-routed through other cables, even if that cable is owned by your competitor.

    My Internet provider uses the Bell phone lines. That doesn't mean it is a daughter company of Bell, but if something is wrong I do have to call Bell's tech support.

  • Dusty

    Robbers (Rogers) is pathetic!

  • Huh?

    Actually you're wrong. Bell bought Virgin Mobile quite a few months ago. They already had half stake in the company, and just bought out the rest. The agreement was to run it as a “seperate company” from Bell.

  • Umm…are you sure about that? Please re-read this crystal clear Bell press release, in which the headline reads, ”
    Bell Mobility acquires full ownership of Virgin Mobile Canada”.

    http://www.bce.ca/en/news/releases/bm/2009/05/0

    Maybe you were mistaken but the fact of the matter is, Bell owns Virgin Mobile Canada. 🙂

  • Carl

    I sent Keith Mcarthur some @ Messages on Twitter telling him to please remove the fee. You can do so as well: http://twitter.com/KeithMcarthur

  • Sad Rogers Prisoner

    I know that if my business charges a government tax, even if I'm just innocently scamming my customers (who doesn't right, lol,) I still owe that money to the government since I took it in their name.
    I'd be satisfied if Rogers and the other telecommunications companies who have been charging an illegitimate 'government' tax were to simply pass the 'tax' on to the government. Then, no fraud charges right?
    Hah! Who am I kidding? The Rogers Triplets tell the government what the law is, not the other way around. It was a nice thought though.
    *Back to reality now*

  • Phillip

    “We’re flattered that Sir Richard Branson is paying such close attention to Rogers from his home in England.”

    So in one breath they acknowledge Virgin's foreign investment and interest in a Canadian Cellphone provider but WIND is not allowed to begin operations until they eliminate all foreign investments and interests? WTF with that?

  • Phillip

    “We’re flattered that Sir Richard Branson is paying such close attention to Rogers from his home in England.”

    So in one breath they acknowledge Virgin's foreign investment and interest in a Canadian Cellphone provider but WIND is not allowed to begin operations until they eliminate all foreign investments and interests? WTF with that?

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