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Revisiting the Rogers Cell Phone Debacle

This Magazine Staff

I was wondering the other day — whatever happened to that story about Ted Rogers going to someone’s house to apologize for a ridiculous cell-phone bill resulting from stolen service. We had a pretty good discussion about the media ethics aspects of the story on this blog at the time.
It’s one of those corporate world stories that briefly touch down into the world of everyday humans — a customer gets some raw treatment by a big company, the customer complains, nothing happens, the customer complains publicly, the company is embarrassed to have its lax customer service hit the daylight, the CEO agrees to take certain steps to make things right, and…
And, what? Ted Rogers agreed to meet with Susan Drummond and Harry Gefen for tea at their house to extend his personal apology for the over $12,000 cell-phone bill Drummond was expected to pay despite the charges being rung up by thieves operating well outside her normal calling patterns (tracked by Rogers). So, what happened over tea?
Well, a quick search reveals this website: Note the day counter on the splash page. 286 days and counting without that famous visit for tea. Either Ted Rogers is remarkably busy, remarkably unthirsty, or remarkably unhappy with the fact that he agreed to this meeting.
How hard is it to schedule an hour long chat over tea, with which you purchase huge public goodwill for your company?
This is actually a fascinating website, detailing a lot more of the story than has reached the traditional press. Both Drummond and Gefen appear to be very smart, very determined, and very good-humoured folks. Really, 100 percent the wrong sort of customers on whom any company wants to try and pull a fast one. Further, the website itself has become the focus of dispute with Rogers, as Drummond notes on this page.
I see a book coming out of all this, and if Ted Rogers wants to have any say in how his character comes across, he’d best develop a taste for the orange pekoe.

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