Border Residents Suffer from ‘Accidental Roaming’ Charges from Rogers

Mi bc 121227 rogers roaming 2

According to a report from the CBC, some White Rock residents have been suffering from what Rogers calls “accidental roaming” charges.

Jane Goundrey lives near the BC-Washington border and while inside their home, she claims her cell service roams “75-80 per cent of the time” on a more powerful AT&T signal coming from the USA, instead of her wireless carrier, Rogers. Goundrey and her husband had accumulated over $400 in roaming charges:

Goundrey said that on her street the Rogers signal can’t compete with the powerful signal from AT&T in Washington. As a result, her family’s phones automatically switch to the U.S. network.

“The only way a Rogers customer gets coverage here is to roam into the States. Why don’t they just admit that up front?” Goundrey asked.

Rogers responded to the story and stated that “accidental roaming” is a problem for those living near the Canada-USA border:

“Network signal overlaps can happen near the U.S. border. It’s an industry-wide challenge and unfortunately it can affect our customers too,”

[…]

“In terms of White Rock, we do have a number of cell sites … and we are looking at other sites to improve our service in that area to cut down on accidental roaming.”

As for Goundrey, her biggest complaint was the countless hours inspecting her phone bill and spent repeating her story to Rogers support on the phone to reverse the charges. She says at least 21 calls starting from scratch each time were made to Rogers over three years and “the way they do the billing is so complicated that you would need to put your life aside and just look at your bills to deal with it.”

Rogers eventually credited the family $400 for the charges and noted they automatically re-rate voice calls and adjust invoices for texts and data to help customers that roam to AT&T.

When Goundrey’s three year contract with Rogers recently expired, her family signed up with Bell, which she finds to be a major improvement as now calls can be made from within her home.

Industry analyst Carmi Levy says when users accidentally roam and charges add up on bills, it’s additional revenue for wireless carriers when customers don’t notice or call it in. Roaming to US networks remains a problem for all residents along the U.S. border.

If you live near the U.S. border, does your cell service automatically switch to roaming instead of staying local?

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

  • Signing with B(h)ell might not be the answer though…I hope they don’t get hit again with billing errors!

  • kyuusei

    Rogers customer, and I’ve had this happen in Victoria. Somewhere in Saanich (east of UVic) AT&T picked up my cell service a couple times. It’s an area I don’t visit all that much so I didn’t get roaming charges, but this actually does occur.

  • ?

    When I was on holidays in Niagara Falls, my phone switched from Telus to AT&T many times.

  • Kellie

    I get notice while in Niagara Falls, Canada while visiting my dad. But never any real charges, I usually just turn my phone off in the area.

  • I simply turn off roaming in my phone settings.

  • alamarco

    If you went to the University of Windsor you were constantly roaming if you had Rogers. You would always get the AT&T signal from Detroit since the University is right on the river. Not sure how it is in the past few years, but it used to be really bad.

  • cyruskafaiwu

    Live in a border town area, niagara falls. if you’re within 1km of the border, it can keep switching from rogers to at&t.

  • Warren

    Anyone trying to get any charges reversed with Rogers – I wish you luck. Worst cell phone company and service ever!

  • MleB1

    Normally I keep roaming data turned off, but the issue here (as the folks in White Rock point out) is to turn off roaming completely is to get no mobile service at all – phone or data. And that rather defeats the purpose of a mobile phone.
    Folks can’t be expected to pay roaming charges if the wireless provider cannot provide a signal and the next best local tower happens to be over the border.

    As it is, roaming fees charged by the tower providers to other networks and the additional onerous fees our wireless providers tack on are outrageous and bear no resemblance to actual cost of service. But until the CRTC and the US’s FCC get serious on the consumer’s behalf, the user will continue to get screwed and have to fight – monthly – for proper billing.

  • draz

    This is nothing new. Rogers has been crediting me since I signed up about 10yrs ago whenever my phone connected to AT&T while I was in Niagara Falls. Just a simple call and I tell them what happened and it was credited without issue.

  • Tired8281

    This happened to me in Victoria. If I go down to the beach, it switches to AT&T, a tower that is at least 40 miles away. Rogers wanted me to pay for it and wouldn’t listen when I told them I was less than a mile from my home (which was also my billing address, a five minute walk from downtown Victoria). Sure glad I bought unlocked!

  • baitbus

    here in the states, when you are near the arizona state line between US and Mexico, the same story happens but in this case I have AT&T and it keep switching to Telcel lots of times. so when this happens, its usually the carrier does not have strong signal.

  • baitbus

    and it is very frustrating

  • DaMan05

    Just need to turn off roaming… (select carrier manually on iPhone). Doing this lets me stay on Rogers up to 8KM into the US when I cross. This is great for letting family know that you’ve crossed the border or being able to use your phone when border lines are long.

  • OKAY, I’m about to blow iPhone users minds! Go to settings—> cellular—> switch off automatic—>wait for carriers list to compile—> select your carrier! BAMN You will ONLY connect to that carrier. You will have to switch off of this when you want to roam in another country, but will save you much hassle! You’re welcome!

  • cUn1t

    This is nothing new. I have worked tech support for a couple wireless providers. The carriers have certain SOC’s for some border cities like Windsor and Niagra Falls which will prevent the customer from being billed. A simple manual network selection will prevent the issue altogether. If it were a case of accidental roaming, those charges would be credited back. It would definitely be investigated though. I’ve taken tonnes of calls where people from border cities went on trips to like Florida and other states and then tried to pull a fast one and claim accidental roaming.

  • Just make it so it only connects to your chosen provider. I live in a border city and use Telus. They have a corridor in Michigan where it doesn’t count as a u.s. call so you aren’t charged extra.

  • Anon

    LOL. It’s not like it’s an occasional charge here and there. This happens EVERY MONTH to people who live near the Beach Ave in Whiterock. It’s a major hassle to get it corrected. Disabling roam won’t solve the problem, as there are tons of ‘dead spots’ out there with 0 Rogers signal. Simple put, they need to place a couple more towers out there or something.

  • You are so wrong. If I turn off roaming, I get no service. I work feet from the border but am in Canada, but if I move 50 steps from my building, I get Rogers service. So it’s either get one bar of EDGE or get full bars of AT&T on 4G. Rogers can and has reimbursed me for 4 years every month 100% of my texting, cellular and data charges.

  • Chzplz

    The source article says the complainant has no service with Rogers where she lives, so she leaves roaming on.

    Well… Duh. If a provider doesn’t have cell service in the location where you want to use your cell…. then you shouldn’t sign up with them.

  • How about this, switch to a different carrier that does have service where you need it?

  • Anon

    In the middle of a 3 Year contract? Right….

  • You chose the wrong carrier and you are complaining on here?

    Alternatively, you can just turn off roaming and forward your calls to a “land line” when you are almost home. The land line could be through the phone company, your cable company or another IP Phone provider like Ooma or Vonage.

  • Then look at Virgin (which uses the Bell network), Fido (owned by Rogers but separate network), Telus or Koodo (owned by Telus).

    You actually have a lot of options.

  • Kwizipany

    not true about Koodio/Telus…we just moved to White Rock & are getting roaming charges on our Koodo bills & have never crossed the border.

  • CementCityBoy

    I lived 2.5 miles south of the border, and constantly roam on to the Rogers towers. Pain in the butt, and there is no way to completely turn off roaming, non stop roaming warnings. Verizon will do next to nothing to help. I think Rogers and Verizon are in cahoots to get extra money out of us customers.

  • CementCityBoy

    I hope they don’t add more Rogers towers, because then I will keep hitting them instead of Verizon, which is constantly a problem on this side of the border. Either way they need to figure the border cell scheme out, and quit racking up massive charges to loyal customers because of where they live.

  • peter222

    Smart guy Cody…..Ya most of us have gone through ALL of that with our carriers. The carriers that show are T mobile and ATandT. They dont know what to do and will not admit an issue. They just promise to reverse the charges. BAHN!!!!!

  • marorun1982

    Fido use Rogers network..

  • Prism

    I live in Buffalo in the US side and i have this same problem too. My AT&T phone often roams onto Bell network. My provider removes those charges when I complain but it is a nuisance. I am not sure why these celllphone providers cannot block roaming on our phones. This is crazy.

  • Chris Del Rosario-Coish

    I live in Fort Frances and Minnesota was our border. I don’t have an iPhone but I have Samsung Galaxy Q

  • Shouldn’t these cellphone companies work out some sort of special tower sharing along the border so no one is hit with the extra fees while at the border? Thus would solve aot of issues.

  • PB

    Than makes too much sense…..think how much the cell companies would lose in roaming charges!

  • Well they won’t get paid either way because of these mistaken charges. No ones going to pay it. There really should be a buffer zone.