The tragedy here is not that it happened, but the attitude of the carrier, SaskTel. The problem is a technical one that stems from living so close to the Canadian or U.S. border – Cell Tower signals will overlap one another…after all they will travel up to 30 kilometers. It is not uncommon for a subscriber, like Canadian Kimberly Dietz, who lives near Alameda, in a small community not far from the North Dakota border to ‘hook up’ with a U.S. tower – thus causing an international ‘crisis’ of sorts. Ms. Dietz never left her house, yet her ‘hotspot’ was being charged for international roaming. She discovered this when she received an automatic voice message from SaskTel alerting her that she had gone over her $100 data roaming limit.
According to a consumer advocacy group and Bruce Cran, President of the Consumer’s Association of Canada, it is a national problem that not only affects SaskTel, but every cellphone provider in the country and anybody that lives near the U.S. border can be affected by accidental roaming charges. However, what Kimberley Dietz told a local radio station is what is so upsetting – that SaskTel agreed to waive the charges on a “one-time basis.” What exactly do they mean by “one-time basis” – does that mean that they will refuse to waive them the next time or that she will have to call in each time and they may or may not waive the erroneous charges when they know where she lives and this is a common problem.
Darcee MacFarlane, representative for SaskTel, did not help matters when she said that it is a long-standing issue with border communities, admitting that the U.S. towers near the border can cause interference. However, she then went on to say that customers are made aware of this when they sign up for a mobile plan and that there is ‘very little’ SaskTel can do about it! So if you live in Canada and live near the U.S. border, it is like they are saying, ‘buyer beware,’ you may be charged for international roaming, but there is very little we can do about it – that is sure a nice way to treat customers.
Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think about these border communities being billed for erroneous international roaming charges and has this ever happened to you and how did your carrier treat the problem…as always, we would love to hear from you.