Fido’s Hiptop mistake: not one I should have to deal with

Over a year ago, my friends Avi and Andrew convinced me to buy a Danger Hiptop phone from Fido (one of three cellphone carriers in BC). The phone is an odd phone, but it had this great feature — $20/month unlimited data, including coverage throughout Canada and the US. Meaning email, web access, and instant messaging are all included. It was a great deal. I signed up, including the contract (the phone without the contract was prohibitively expensive). I was resigned to being stuck with a phone that I knew would get outdated, because I knew the alternatives would make using phone-based email/web browsing way too expensive.

Since then, Fido’s attitude towards that plan has changed. They took it off the market, presumably because they were losing money at it. Oops.

The first month I roamed, I got roaming charges when in the US. I called, and the charges were dropped (that sounds so “dangerous”!). Haven’t had a roaming charge since.

Until last month, alerted by Avi, who had a nasty surprise. This time, two frustrating calls to customer service later (including typing my phone number twice, saying it at least twice, getting a call dropped, being on hold forever). Turns out their US partner didn’t renew the deal for roaming, so they passed the buck (literally) to the customers. After some wrangling, they agree to drop the extra charges for the last month, but I can’t get them to stick by the spirit of the original terms (turns out the data deal isn’t part of the contract term, just a “changeable” add-on. Gee, thanks).

Now it turns out that coincidentally the hiptop is broken (again). A few months ago, I broke the screen, but I resigned myself to pay for it. This time, since an unsolicited operating system upgrade, it won’t read the SIM card, making it useless. The only way to get someone at Fido to look at the phone is to take a 1/2 day, go out to the repair center on Kingsway, and, I predict, be told that it’ll cost several hundred dollars to fix it, or hey, I can buy a new phone.

At this point, I’m in the market for a new carrier, a new email-capable phone, and a new plan. Alternatively, I might just go to a cheap phone & cheap plan until the iPhone lands. Any suggestions?

(NB: for the unaware reader, this is Canada, and the national cellphone industry is even more broken than in the US, which is saying something).

6 Comments

  1. I got rid of my unlimited, grandfathered Fido plan because they yanked US roaming and didn’t reverse the charges.
    I’m now looking around for a US plan that has unlimited data, but, unfortunately, I believe they all do data roaming charges in Canada now. Still, I think the US charges should be much less….

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  2. I have Fido with the Unlimited Data plan and a Nokia N-Gage that I acquired a couple of years ago. There simply isn’t a cheaper alternative today and the plan seems grandfathered. I bought an unlocked GSM Treo from Expansys and moved the Fido SIM card to it. Works great but I get little support from Fido – I usually put the SIM card in the N-Gage if I have to call. I was in the US last summer and managed to get data and roaming – was a real hassle though – this is not Fido’s market. I think they prefer to use Rogers for business type plans.

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  3. James(or anyone!),

    If you’re interested in selling your Fido unlimited Data Plan I’d love to purchase it from you. I’m sure you’ve had a lot of requests, but I figured I’d ask.

    Cheers,

    Brett

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  4. Type your comment here.I purchased a motorola RAZR approx.15 months ago. Approx. 11 months later the phone ‘died’ I tgook it back to FIDO kiosk in Richmond Centre, Richmond, B.C. I was given the 3rd degree about my usage, etc. but the clerk gave me a new RAZR however I was told there is NO warranty on the replacement (dont you find this odd)? Sure enough the 2nd phone went kaput…the clerk at the FIDO kiosk responded with 3 negative options. use my FIDO dollars toward a new phone ($400), extend my contract (why)? or take it to the ‘dreaded’ Burnaby repair depot and be confronted with long line ups and wasted time. My past experience is tghe repair people (oxymoron)usually blame the customer for ‘mis use’ of the phone. The FIDO call centre back east is “useless” when it comes to something that will cause FIDO to deviate from the ‘script’ I was given the same negative options. Why should a custgomer who has a phone tghat is only 4-5 months old pay out repair bills? Why doesn’t FIDO say “no problem: give us the phone we will deal with Motorola? Instead I have to take time off work, drive 40km to the ONLY repair shop in Greater Vancouver and be subjected to rude, arrogant repair people who try to shift blame onto the customer? This is NOT customer service!! I think motorola is getting a free ride…..and FIDO is their partner! There are 3 FIDO phones in my family…..after the contracts are up…..bye bye FIDO!!!

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