Cogeco — overcharging for change of period billing
Cogeco Communications are changing the billing cycle of thousands of customers and are over billing all those people by up to 3 days of service for TV, Internet, Extras and rentals.
My cycle (along with thousands of others I believe) was 29th of one month to 28th of the next month (considered a monthly payment). This could be for 28 days (once/year), 30 days (4 mths/yr) or 31 days (7 mths/yr). My new (effective Dec 29th, 2016) "monthly" charge for Digital Select 1 TV package is $66.99.
My bills were:- (for this one item – but all are similarly overcharged)
Dec 29 Jan 28 Digital Select 1 $66.99 31 days
Jan 29 Feb 28 Digital Select 1 $66.99 31 days
Mar 1 Mar 28 Digital Select 1 $66.99 28 days
and now they want to charge me
Mar 29 Apr 2 Digital Select 1 $10.80 5 days
Cogeco have chosen to use a default month of 31 days to establish a daily rate of $2.16 ($66.99 / 31). If you multiply 5 days by the daily rate you get $10.80 ($2.16 x 5) which is the amount they want to charge me for the extra days service they say is involved.
The issue is that for the previous 28 days Mar 1-28, I have been charged the 31 day rate of $66.99, which effectively would take me to the end of March (based on their daily fee calculation), 3 extra days. The change of billing cycle to start on the 3rd April therefore only means that 2 days extra should have been charged. So myself and thousands of other customers are being over billed 3 days on all of our services!
Cogeco have deliberately chosen this changeover date to take advantage of the 28 day billing month caused by February and are attempting to justify the 5 day extra charge.
Given their own daily fee logic, had they chosen April 28th as the changeover date, May 3rd would be the start date and there would only be 4 days extra to be charged - $4 x $2.16 or $8.64.
Even worse, if they had decided to change on Feb 28th, and make March 3rd the new period starting day then there would only be two days extra to be charged!
I have no doubt in my mind that the highly paid accountants (CPAs and CAs) employed by Cogeco knew about this deliberate deception and although I don’t know if it is actually illegal, (I have not consulted legal advice as yet, but I suspect that there may be grounds for a class action suit), I do know that a reputable, customer focused company would not have been so deliberately devious!
They have now included the extra on two invoices further compounding the issue.
After I received the first interim bill – 5 days extra and due on April 3rd, I received the next monthly bill a few days later and much to my annoyance, they have included the interim bill amount in the total for next month also! In my case the interim was $23.94 and my normal (and next month starting on the 3rd) amount is $148.53. But the invoice is for $172.47.
There is no indication on the latest bill that if you have paid the "extra" one do not pay the full amount of the latest bill!
So there may be many, many customers on direct billing who will be charged twice for the extra days as well as being overcharged for those extras days any way!
What about the elderly and financially challenged who I’m sure will be totally confused by the whole episode and will probably pay both bills not even thinking about it!
I did contact Cogeco Customer Service twice to no avail. Both representatives said I was wrong and a 5 day charge was correct and refused to forward my call to a supervisor or manager! Someone did call back and leave a message, but they left the same general contact number that meant I would have to go through the normal Customer Service rep, and would not be sure I was speaking to a real manager!
The CCTS and CRTC have both indicated they can do nothing about this and suggest contacting the company – what bull*. What’s the purpose of governing bodies with no financial teeth!
I would ask every Cogeco customer complaint to the company and definitely watch your automatic payments.