Rogers Communications Appoints Ombudsman

Rogers Communications Appoints Ombudsman

Postby CLS » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:50 am

As reported in the Toronto Star on October 21, 2009:

"Rogers' ombudsman already making a difference

Delores Brown didn't know that Rogers Communications had put a bad debt on her credit record.

She found out only when her condo mortgage came up for renewal last August.

A mortgage broker told her the bank wouldn't renew unless her credit record was cleaned up.

Funny thing: She didn't even have a Rogers account, though she had cable TV included in her monthly condo fees. And she never received any collection notices.

It seems Brown had been mixed up with another customer with the same name.

But despite her repeated calls to Rogers, she found out only three days before the mortgage was renewed on Oct. 1 that the bad debt was removed.

Brown, who's 82 and has colitis, felt stressed out by the rush to renew her mortgage while battling belligerent call centre staff who couldn't give her a straight answer.

She asked Rogers for compensation and didn't get anywhere until she called the Star this week.

When offered $100 cash, she also negotiated a year's worth of free internet and movie channels.

Rogers customers often tell me they're getting a raw deal.

But I hope things will improve now the company has appointed its first ombudsman, Donald E. Moffatt.

While he is supposed to act as a court of last resort, Moffatt will intervene quickly if he sees an injustice – as he did upon hearing of a 13-year-old boy's cellphone that didn't work.

Matthew Jones had saved his own money to buy the phone, which stopped charging after four months. When told he had to send it away for repairs for one month, he asked about a loaner.

"Your store told my son if his phone broke, there would be a loaner," his father, David Jones, wrote to the ombudsman (and to me). "You didn't say it was a maybe option and you might not."

Moffatt called him the following morning and offered to replace the phone.

"I was impressed by Don. I believed him when he asked questions about the experience and then said he was going to take a look at loaner phone access across their 800-plus stores," Jones said.

"I certainly did not feel he was just placating me because we had copied you. I felt there was a genuine interest in making his company better. This left me with a positive impression of Rogers."

The ombudsman, who started in July, has held senior executive jobs at Bell Canada, CIBC and Citibank in his 30-year career. He's on his second tour of duty at Rogers, returning five years ago to help transform the business.

"We're trying to get better at providing service," he said in an interview. "This is an assault on a number of fronts – systems, processes and culture."

In the 18 months before moving to become the ombudsman, Moffatt helped rewrite about 100 company policies to make them more friendly to customers.

For example, Rogers no longer asks for a death certificate when asked to disconnect services and waive cancellation fees for someone who died. It doesn't demand proof of disability when asked to provide free 411 access or Braille services.

As ombudsman, Moffatt says he's independent from Rogers. He has no access to company records and has to ask for authorization from customers to check their files.

Handling 100 complaints a month – a drop in the bucket considering that Rogers has 8 million wireless customers – the ombudsman's office hasn't made a big impact yet. But it might.

To get in touch, you have to go through three earlier steps, then send an email to or send a fax to 416-935-3604."

If you are working with or know someone who has had or has an unresolved problem with Rogers, you'll want to keep the company's ombusdman program in mind. It may prove to be a quick way to resolve the issue.

Kathryn M. Bullon
Associate Legal Education Coordinator,
Community Law School
Kathryn M. Bullon, B.Sc., J.D., M.Ad.Ed.
Legal Education Co-Coordinator
Community Law School
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