I decided to let the fuss die down a bit, so the week after the iPhone launch I phoned around until I found a Rogers outlet that had iPhones in stock. I drove down, waited a few minutes in line, and gave the salesperson my phone number.
He pulled up my existing Rogers account, looked at the screen, and said, “You’re not eligible.”
“You got a new handset last September. You’re not eligible for a hardware upgrade yet.”
“I don’t want a hardware upgrade. I want to buy an iPhone, and put it on my existing plan. And pay more for the data plan.”
“Well, you can’t. I can’t sell it to you.”
“That’s crazy. You’re saying you won’t sell me the phone? Isn’t there some sort of penalty I can pay to get the hardware?”
“Nope. I can’t sell it to you. There’s nothing I can do.”
I went home, and called Rogers “Customer Service”. The first call ended abruptly as the agent put me on hold and I got disconnected. The second agent repeated what I heard in the store and said that the only thing I could do would be to cancel my existing contract, pay the $200 early termination fee, and start over from scratch. Oh, and lose my existing cell phone number in the process.
Now, I’ve been a Rogers customer for almost seven years. Any other business that had you as a paying customer for that long would be failing over themselves to keep your business. Anyone serious about customer retention would have offered existing customers first dibs on the iPhone. But not Rogers. They seem much more interested in signing new customers than keeping old ones.
I’ve had better treatment from credit card companies. Now that’s saying something.