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Settlement With the Commissioner of Competition has Rogers Refunding Unwanted Prem Text Message Charges

March 16, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

Rogers was the first to announce today that an agreement had been reached with the Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB) to refund customers that were unknowingly charged for premium text messaging programs offered by Jesta/Jamster between January 1, 2011 and August 31, 2013 and by Mobile Messenger between January 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.  These premium text messages were primarily a monthly subscription for games, quizzes, fact, horoscopes and ringtones.  The refunds will apply to both Rogers and Fido customers and will cost Rogers an estimated $5.42 million according to Patricia Trott, Director of Public Affairs at Rogers.

Raj Doshi, Rogers EVP for Wireless, said, “We’ve worked with the Competition Bureau to come to an agreement because it’s the right thing to do.  We heard from customers in the past that they had concerns with these third-party premium text services and between 2011 and 2013, we took action to protect our customers.  Last summer we stopped the program all together and today we’re going even further.”

After a five-month investigation, the Canadian Competition Bureau, announced in September 2014 that it was suing Rogers, TELUS, Bell and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for $31 million – $10 from each carrier and $1 million from the CWTA.  The investigation concluded that consumers were misled by the carriers – claiming that the “premium texting services” being offered by the carriers seemed to be free, but then showed up as repeat charges and cost the consumers between $10 – $40 a month and difficult to get removed from billings.  At that time the CCB issued a statement that, “Our investigation revealed that consumers were under the false impression that certain texts and apps were free.  Unfortunately, in far too many cases, consumers only became aware of unexpected and unauthorized charges on their mobile phone bills.”

Rogers and Fido announced current customers would automatically receive credits for the Premium Text Message Programs offered by Jesta/Jamster and/or Mobile Messenger during the indicated time-periods and former customers would be contacted by email or letter and have 120 days to contact Rogers to receive a refund.  According to Rogers announcement, the amount of the refunds would be: “$5 for each month a customer was charged for any of the Mobile Messenger Common Short Codes to a maximum of $5 per Feature Code – $10 per month for each month a customer was charged for the Jesta/Jamster Common Short Code during the above noted periods – Current wireless customers will receive a credit to their Rogers wireless account and former customers will receive a cheque.”

This class action settlement comes on the heels of a November lawsuit claiming that the carriers were rounding up the minutes on calls in order to charge more money.  Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are involved in this refund and if you think it was a fair settlement…as always, we would love to hear from you.