It’s normal to expect a larger cell bill when you use your device outside your normal calling area. But when a British Columbia resident received a $400 bill for usage inside her own home in December, it exposed a broader issue. Rogers Wireless customers who live close to the U.S. border have been charged roaming fees because their phones frequently pick up the more powerful AT&T signal from the States.
89% of Canadians say they have been charged excessively for roaming at least once, according to a survey published by the Public Interest Advocacy Group. Though Rogers, Bell and other carriers generally fix their mistakes, there have been instances where unwitting customers are stuck with the bill.1 Here are some tips on how to avoid roaming charges and what to do when you get a surprise bill.
Free Calling Applications
A mobile company cannot charge you roaming fees if you don’t call anyone using their towers. If you mostly use your phone for making calls (novel idea), download a free calling app. Skype not only allows you to talk to people for free, but you can also see them at the same time. Viber provides free phone calls and text messages as long as both parties have the app. The idea is to have an unlimited home Internet package or be able to connect to some other Wi-Fi signal not associated with your device. These apps can save you from roaming charges, and even eliminate cell phone bills entirely in some situations.
Aggressively State Your Case
Once the charges have appeared on your bill, it’s your responsibility to either pay it or dispute it. The first call you make to customer service will be to a lower-level agent who likely doesn’t have the authority to waive or modify the charges. You must be patient while stating your case as concisely as possible. It may take multiple calls and several days to get the results you desire. In the meantime, to ensure your service isn’t interrupted, a cash advance through ServeUCash can help cover the charges or even act as a good-faith payment while charges are being disputed. If you feel you were overcharged by $500 and the company ultimately offers you a $250 credit, don’t stop there. There’s almost always someone in a position of greater authority from with whom you can talk, especially when the facts are on your side.
Use Airplane Mode
Mobile devices, as alluded to earlier, are used for far more than simply making phone calls. But while you’re trying to beat your high score in Angry Birds3 or listening to music, your phone could accidentally pick up a signal from a foreign provider. Most phones can easily be switched to airplane mode, which disables its ability to transmit network signals. This will stop calls from coming in and prevent your phone from connecting to the Internet. Advertisements could automatically start playing in your browser without you even knowing it; that is until you get the bill.