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Canadians File Class Actions Over Incoming SMS Fees 292

Posted by kdawson
from the unilaterally-changing-the-locked-in-contract dept.
dontmakemethink writes "CTV reports that over the last couple of weeks class-action lawsuits have been filed against two major Canadian cellular service providers, Bell and Telus, for imposing fees on incoming text messages. While there has been very vocal opposition to the introduction of the fees, those who cannot change providers due to binding contracts feel the situation is actionable in court. Some of those not bound by contract, such as myself, have given their service provider notice that they will charge the provider for having to contact them to have charges reversed for unsolicited texts. Because service providers are aware of the volume of unsolicited texts, we feel they are liable for the inconvenience to their clients for preventing spam charges, and more importantly under no circumstances should service providers profit from spam. We also feel that requiring us to buy text bundles to avoid the inconvenience of reversing spam charges constitutes extortion. They can charge me for texts when they stop the spam."
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Canadians File Class Actions Over Incoming SMS Fees

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  • by William Ager (1157031) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:14AM (#24463253)
    I can understand how this might be a breach of contract issue for customers with binding contracts, and I would certainly expect many customers, even without binding contracts, to cancel their service over this. However, I really can't see how a customer can consider themselves justified in arbitrarily billing a company for their time just because the company makes changes that they dislike, no matter how horrible those changes may be.
    • by Whuffo (1043790) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:17AM (#24463269) Homepage Journal
      If a company can arbitrarily bill their customers for incoming messages then what's wrong with the customers billing the company for having to deal with those unwanted messages? Show me in the contract where it says that customers will be required to pay for SMS spam...
      • by William Ager (1157031) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:29AM (#24463319)
        If the matter is breach of contract, then it should be dealt with accordingly. There are mechanisms in society to deal with these sorts of issues, and they don't involve billing people without legal justification.
        • by geniusj (140174) on Monday August 04, 2008 @05:07AM (#24463793) Homepage

          Is slashdot turning into digg? Whether or not you agree with the parent, he/she isn't a troll..

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Allow me to chime in about The Netherlands, being blissfully ignorant of the legal situation in Canada: if a company/partner unilaterally changes the terms of contract, the contract can be declared void through the regular judicious channels (you do have to file for that, it is not an automatic cancellation).

          However, any costs you incur through said changes are 100% recuperable, up to the point where you can send the company an invoice for billable hours.

          So if my CPP started charging me for the number of te

      • by Ucklak (755284)

        Not just that, you also get charged for messages you don't receive.
        I don't have my cell phone on all the time and I used to get about 3 SMS messages a week. When I happened to have my phone on, they were either not meant for me, like 90% of my phone messages, or spam.
        I have since opted out for SMS messages.

    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:18AM (#24463271)

      I can understand how this might be a breach of contract issue for customers with binding contracts, and I would certainly expect many customers, even without binding contracts, to cancel their service over this. However, I really can't see how a customer can consider themselves justified in arbitrarily billing a company for their time just because the company makes changes that they dislike, no matter how horrible those changes may be.

      explain to me how it's not justified? they're billing people for spam they RECEIVE, using the assanine american "per-message" system.

      People being held liable for unsollicited traffic they cannot control is criminally absurd, and if their regulatory bodies refuse to crush it in the womb, then I say billing phone companies for their time is an excellent proactive demonstration of, and against, that absurdity.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by William Ager (1157031)

        People being held liable for unsollicited traffic they cannot control is criminally absurd, and if their regulatory bodies refuse to crush it in the womb, then I say billing phone companies for their time is an excellent proactive demonstration of, and against, that absurdity.

        And how, pray tell, is the sending of such bills going to change anything? The company doesn't need to pay them, and the customers are still paying just as much; there really isn't anything to motivate the companies to care about the bills at all. If the customers were deducting the amounts from their phone bills, it might make a bit more sense as a form of protest.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @05:41AM (#24463945)

          Your responses suggest this is yet another case of the Land Of The Fee making some people more equal than others.

          When issuing a complaint to a firm in the UK, giving them a price list and then billing them for each letter you send (time to write, cost of postage) is well-known technique. If it comes to taking the firm to (usually) small claims court, these amounts may then be awarded as part of your win. And, contrary to all the "oh but they'll never pay" negativity, once you've won your case, if they don't cough up, the court gives permission to send bailiffs round and adds the cost of debt collection and wasting the court's time to the amount they owe. What often happens, if you're claiming a small amount and it's a big firm, is that they don't even turn up and you win by default [telegraph.co.uk] - if the big guys refuse to swallow their pride and pay up immediately, it's instant tabloid press fodder.

          So anyway, it's all part of increasing the risk for the firm if they fight you. It increases the likelihood that they acquiesce, content with the 95% who bend over and take it. Surely Canada, more recently severed from the motherland, gives its subjects similar recourse?

        • by Mike89 (1006497)
          I'm not sure about over there, but here in Australia when one of my mates mobile carrier was fucking him around (charging him for things that didn't occur), and wouldn't sort out his bill, he simply didn't pay it. This went on for 3 months at which point they suspended his account (so obviously this isn't practical for a lot of us), but inevitably they gave in because he had handset repayments and they stood to lose a lot over it (though as did he, in terms of credit history). Thankfully they stopped jerkin
          • by pnewhook (788591)

            This went on for 3 months at which point they suspended his account (so obviously this isn't practical for a lot of us), but inevitably they gave in because he had handset repayments and they stood to lose a lot over it (though as did he, in terms of credit history).

            That's why I register my phone bill under my dogs name.

            • by Mike89 (1006497)
              Not possibly over here unfortunately, you need "100 Points" of ID. I know a guy in the US who has a cat with a credit card though ;)
      • by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:23AM (#24463557)
        Also, isn't there an anti-trust issue here? It seems to me that there was collusion between Bell and Telus, who both decided to charge exactly the same amount for incoming text messages, at around the same time. Are Bell and Telus the same company?
    • by Umuri (897961) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:20AM (#24463283)

      They aren't arbitrarily billing the company for their time because the company makes changes they dislike.

      They are billing the company for the time they spend getting their money back when the company tries to charge them for texts the company forwards to them without their permission or want.

      It's basically like me hitting you with a brick, then saying give me a dollar because you got hit with a brick

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by William Ager (1157031)
        I you were to hit me with a brick, and then demand a dollar for doing so, I would have you arrested, not send you a bill for the time I took to discard the brick. I can certainly understand that the change is unpleasant, but responses to such changes need to make sense. Arbitrary billing of this sort is pointless: the company is certainly never going to pay, and they have no obligation to do so. Dealing with the matter in the courts, or through cancelling the service, would make far more sense.
        • by BPPG (1181851) <bppg1986@gmail.com> on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:59AM (#24463445)

          Dealing with the matter in the courts, or through cancelling the service, would make far more sense.

          Dealing through the courts: No, that would not make sense. Lawyers cost money. The idea is to not spend more money. Being charged for received messages (plus a 'spam tax') is not just unpleasant. It costs money.

          And canceling the service (wrt the cases in question) would often mean canceling all cellphone service. In many parts of Canada, there is only one available telecom and no alternatives. The telecom industry here is made of just a few lethargic behemoths, and there's only a semblance of competition in the higher population density regions. No disrespect intended, but do you understand why people are feeling frustrated here?

    • by Doc Daneeka (1107345) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:26AM (#24463301)
      A major problem occurs when any industry initiates a round of the Prisoner's Dilemma. One company institutes a policy change and their competitors follow them in the chase towards decreasing the bottom line and increasing profits. How are costumers supposed to vote with their feet, money, etc. when all/most of the industry have the policy or are quickly working towards embracing it?
      • by polar red (215081) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:30AM (#24463329)

        this is why self-regulation does not work!!

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jcrousedotcom (999175)
          Actually, self regulation, when there is (apparently - I don't live in Canada, so I am just going on what those that live there are stating) no competition does not work. If the consumer had a choice - they'd tell this company to pound sand and switch to a provider that seemed more interested in their customers.

          I have always used this analogy regarding the local land line provider but in Canada it apparently applies for the cell companies too:

          We don't care, we don't have to. We're the phone company.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Er, prisoner's dilemma shouldn't work like that. Instead, it indicates that one company should snitch and capture a larger market at the expense of its co-inmates.

        I suspect that an action as absurd and anti-customer as this being implemented by two companies at the same time indicates collusion, something the Prisoner's Dilemma doesn't allow.

        Of course, collusion is possible through the action itself. The first company to do it could find themselves vulnerable to class-actions from stockholders though, for h

        • by HadouKen24 (989446) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:52AM (#24463715)
          Actually, that is how the Prisoner's Dilemma works.

          There are basically two versions: one in which it only happens once, and the iterated dilemma, in which the prisoners are going to have to deal with dilemma over and over again.

          In the iterated version, altruistic strategies tend to work much better. That is, it will tend to your benefit NOT to screw over the other guy. Assuming that all prisoners act rationally, there will usually be relatively few confessions, though this only works if the exact number of iterations is unknown to the prisoners.

          The iterated version much more closely resembles telecom competition. The companies are going to have to "compete" for some time. It's to their benefit to behave most of the time in ways that look like cooperation, even if there is no actual collusion. If both companies adopt strategies of cutthroat competition, then they'll get much slimmer profits than if they don't. Given that they both understand this, and they are both (relatively) rational actors, they will be reluctant to set off a cycle that might lead to drastically lower profit.
      • by Doc Daneeka (1107345) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:17AM (#24463525)

        How are costumers supposed to vote with their feet, money, etc. when all/most of the industry have the policy or are quickly working towards embracing it?

        Break the chains of industry and make their own costumes!

  • What a rip (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:14AM (#24463255)
    I'm glad this sort of shit doesn't happen in Australia, only the sender of an SMS/phonecall gets charged here
    • Re:What a rip (Score:4, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:16AM (#24463267) Homepage Journal

      Heh, except for those stupid "send me a ring tone" things, where they charge you $4.99 per message and you have to call an unhelpful man in India you get it canceled.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheCybernator (996224)

        .... you have to call an unhelpful man in India you get it canceled.

        That man is unhelpful because that unethical American/Canadian company told (hired/paid) him to be so.

      • by pnewhook (788591)

        Those help centers in India are useless. My boss once lost his skiis with Air Canada and the luggage tracking call center was in India. The guy didn't even know what skiis were, let alone know where they were.

    • Re:What a rip (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChoboMog (917656) on Monday August 04, 2008 @05:08AM (#24463799)

      I'm glad this sort of shit doesn't happen in Australia, only the sender of an SMS/phonecall gets charged here

      All the more reason to be concerned...The fact that we were in your situation just a month ago shows how quickly you could end up in ours.

  • Why SMS? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Honestly, why do service providers in the west still use SMS as a messaging service?
    I'm in Japan and we use actual Email addresses for messaging and you only get charged normal packet fees (the same price for packets as you pay for browsing the web).

    I think I answered my own question: money

    • Re:Why SMS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gordonjcp (186804) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:28AM (#24463315) Homepage

      Because SMS is generally free, at least in the UK and EU. It's only in the US, where they don't really understand how phones work, that they charge to both send and receive messages.

      Show me one UK pay-monthly package that hasn't got at least 500 free SMSes per month, and I'll show you half a dozen more that do, often cheaper.

      • Not free in the EU (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:57AM (#24463435) Journal

        In fact it's damn expensive, around 10 cents a message.
        That's because there is no real competition: in France, the three mobile operators have been fined over €600 million for anticompetitive collusion. There is room in the spectrum for a fourth operator, but Sarkozy's best bud with the existing ones (CEO godfather of his son) and since he's such a corrupt fucker, he is doing all he can to derail the allocation process.
        But he's a right-wing "free market" advocate! Right!

        • by remmelt (837671)

          > But he's a right-wing "free market" advocate! Right!

          That's entirely in the line of expectation then, isn't it? He's free to manipulate the market in any way possible, and being head of the state puts him in the position to do exactly that.

          The free market isn't all that ideal. More like the free-for-all market, double points for head shots.

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          But he's a right-wing "free market" advocate! Right!

          One must remember calling someone "right wing" in France is like calling someone "left wing" in the US. It means they might _just_ be getting close to the centre.

        • Competition : the UK has four major mobile carriers none charge for incoming calls/SMS

          The all over charge for SMS - and the regulator has noticed and is starting to take action (it is like a juggernaught slow to get going but unstoppable and unswerving...)

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        Because SMS is generally free, at least in the UK and EU.

        No, it isn't.

        Using Skype to send text messages (and Skype calls) is free though on my mobile phone.

        I live in the UK.

      • by xaxa (988988)

        OK. These are SIM only contracts:

        Orange "Dolphin 10" is 150 anytime minutes plus 300 texts for £10.
        O2 "Online 15" 200 minutes, 400 texts for £15
        Vodafone "£15" 250 minutes, 100 texts for £15

        Can you get unlimited texts for less than £15/month?

        (For comparison, pay-as-you-go text messages are around 5-12p, depending on the deal.)

      • by loraksus (171574)

        Because SMS is generally free, at least in the UK and EU. It's only in the US, where they don't really understand how phones work, that they charge to both send and receive messages.

        Incoming texts were free (well, included) in the USA - up to about a year and a half ago. Then, all the major players had a circle jerk where the idea was brought up and now incoming texts get charged.

        Now it's happening in Canada. I'm sure when a few of the big players see how they can make a shitload of money, it'll happen there eventually.

        The really big issue here is cell phone companies have extremely abusive contracts - they change something like this - but pretend that the "contract" is still valid, an

        • by socsoc (1116769)
          The various iterations of AT&T have been charging for all texts for close to 7 years now. A few years back I worked in a retail shop that sold Tmob, Sprint and Cingular, no free texts there either.

          I definitely agree with your hammer idea though.
      • by socsoc (1116769)

        It's only in the US, where they don't really understand how phones work

        Hey, I know enough to mash the keypad when I require a special dialing wand.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think the real reason is market inertia. I have a free email address provided by service provider on my phone, and I also have secure access to my own IMAP mailbox, but I never use them for messaging to/from people's phones for the simple reason that most people don't have email set up on their phone.

      Since most people don't have it set up, most people don't think it's useful to have set up, and therefore don't bother with it. It's one of those things where it's only useful if it's widespread.

      SMS works eve

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by muffen (321442)

      Honestly, why do service providers in the west still use SMS as a messaging service? I'm in Japan and we use actual Email addresses for messaging and you only get charged normal packet fees (the same price for packets as you pay for browsing the web).

      I think I answered my own question: money

      I think there are a lot more reasons for using SMS then money.

      1) You can find phonenumbers quite easily in the phonebook, the same cannot be said about email addresses. Furthermore, not everyone adds email addresses under the contacts, but it is likely they do add the phonenumbers.
      2) Not everyone has, or is willing to spend the money to get, a phone that is capable of sending and receiving emails.
      3) Not everyone has a clue on how to get email to their phone configured, even in the unlikely case they

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Skye16 (685048)

        Considering that it costs me 45$ a month to add data to my plan, per phone (it's a family plan), and 15$ to add unlimited SMS for all phones, it's not even close regarding text/email.

        You're getting a text, buddy, whether you can receive email on your phone or not. I'm not wearing gold pants, yanno.

        • by k_187 (61692)
          you do know that you can send sms to an email address right? For the major carriers in the US you can append an @somethingorother.com to a 10-digit cell phone number and it'll be recieved as SMS
    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      A lot of people in the US use regular email too - BlackBerries (which are increasingly common and popular) generally favor email comms over SMS (even though it's capable of both).

  • by get quad (917331) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:27AM (#24463309)
    Unlimited Data Plans Should Include Unlimited Texting. Period. Anything Else Is Criminal.
  • by TheJasper (1031512) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:38AM (#24463355)
    Regardless of whether people know in advance that they are being charged for incoming SMS this should be illegal. Smart people wouldn't agree to such a contract anyway. Basically someone has the right to take all your money without notice. It is no better than loansharking if you think about it.
  • Contracts? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by p0tat03 (985078) on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:42AM (#24463377)

    Correct me if I'm wrong... but aren't contracts breakable without termination charges if the service provider changes the contract? There's a time limit on this, but it's fairly generous. I know people who got out of their Bell/Telus contracts recently precisely BECAUSE of the SMS fee.

    Now, the fact that all the wireless providers in Canada are dirty crooks is another story altogether. Quitting your contract won't help much, you'll just get gouged somewhere else.

    I think Canadian telecom (and to a lesser extent in the US) is proof solid that a laissez-faire approach to regulation and the institution of "free market" principles in an industry where the government GUARANTEES monopoly (via last mile, etc.) simply doesn't work.

    Jim Prentice is a corporate crony who should be kicked out of office, preferably thrown in jail for so blatantly selling out the Canadian people's interests. His broken-record touting of "free market will be best" on the telecom issue is laughably absurd for anyone who's had to pay a phone bill in the last 10 years. What a change the Conservative government has brought us. Now instead of the Liberals selling out the Canadian people little bits at a time under the table, the Conservatives are having a firesale blowout with no regard for public opinion.

    • Re:Contracts? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation @ g m ail.com> on Monday August 04, 2008 @03:52AM (#24463417) Journal

      Correct me if I'm wrong... but aren't contracts breakable without termination charges if the service provider changes the contract?

      The problem is that people are agreeing to contracts which say they agree the provider can change the terms of the contract. Read the Slashdot (SourceForge) terms of service... they essentially say that SourceForge can change the terms, it's up to you to monitor them for changes, and 14 days later if you keep using the site it means you agree. They could change it and say that your full name and email address will be made public on every post unless you cancel your account. The only difference here is that with these providers you're bound to a contract and you've agreed in advance to whatever changes are arbitrarily made.
       

    • Yes and no. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chrisq (894406)
      Yes, if you want to change a contract you have to start a new one. This either means continuing the old one for its duration, termination by mutual agreement or more commonly by invoking a "we may terminate any time..." clause.

      Very often in practice however companies lawyers will have put a lot of small print in, saying things like "we can vary our charges and basis for charge at any time". This means that they can change the parameters of an existing contract without terminating.

      The changes may or may
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Piranhaa (672441)

      It is a clear violation of the contract even if it says "We reserve the right to change pricing from time to time". Just like the other party can't change the amount he or she wants to pay, the telecom can't change what they want to charge (doubtful it would hold up in court regardless of what the contract says).

      My dad called in to break his contract because of this - he has a company phone now. After much argument with one of the outsourced agents, they patched him to a 'supervisor' that said that TELUS is

  • by houghi (78078) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:06AM (#24463481)

    I can not understand why companies where allowed to do this in the first place.

    In normal countries paying for something you did not ask for would be considered fraud. But then I live in a country (Belgium) where generally the customer is more important then the companies.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But then I live in a country (Belgium)

      Europe's cell phones are billed very differently than north american cell phones. In Europe, fees for incoming calls are caller paid, in North America fees for incoming calls are callee paid. It was a 'natural' extension for people to pay for incoming SMS messages too (of course they took the opportunity to also charge for sending text messages too, mainly because they could).

      • by houghi (78078)

        In Europe, fees for incoming calls are caller paid, in North America fees for incoming calls are callee paid.

        I would say the same for that as well. WTF where they thinking to allow this?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by squiggleslash (241428)

          The thinking is the person who chose the "final mile" should pay for the additional cost of that final mile. That is, if I choose to make myself available via a cellphone, it's not fair on my callers if I force them to pay for my choice in using a cellphone.

          Obviously this makes sense for phone calls, where it's not as if you have to answer a call. For SMS messaging, where you don't get a choice about whether to accept a message or not, it just plain doesn't work.

          In the US, cellphone operators have chos

          • The thinking is the person who chose the "final mile" should pay for the additional cost of that final mile. That is, if I choose to make myself available via a cellphone, it's not fair on my callers if I force them to pay for my choice in using a cellphone.

            This holds in Europe too, but only for roaming. People know they are calling a cell phone (prefix) and will be charged accordingly. However they cannot know the callee is e.g. abroad and roaming another network, which adds to the cost. The additional cost for this roaming is paid for by the callee because he caused it and could have refused the call.

          • by houghi (78078)

            if I choose to make myself available via a cellphone, it's not fair on my callers if I force them to pay for my choice in using a cellphone.

            In all European countries it is clear that you are calling a cellphone. It is still the caller that can decide whether he wants to call and pay or not.

            It is as if I pay a minimum in stamps and you are forced to pay the rest, no matter what I send you. Interested in a few pounds of paper advertisement?

    • by loopkin (267769)

      But then I live in a country (Belgium) where generally the customer is more important then the companies.
      aha ? can you spell "Belgacom" ? I believe it's spelled "r-i-p-o-f-f", with prices twice as expensive (even more) than in France and the Netherlands. Actually, it's one pretty good example of crony capitalism, as i heard...

      For French-speaking readers: http://cretin.be/ [cretin.be]

    • by dwater (72834)

      > In normal countries paying for something you did not ask for would be considered fraud.

      I commit fraud if I pay someone for something that I didn't ask for?!?

      Normal country, my arse. Remind me never to go to such a 'normal' country (Belgium).

  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday August 04, 2008 @04:18AM (#24463529)
    The real problem is that the Cellular companies are pretty much a monopoly. It's the Government's fault for not allowing foreign competition and allowing all the wireless companies to merge. This issue is a clear sign for the government that competition is badly needed and we have no one to blame except the moron officials who allow monopolies. Bell, Telus, and Rogers are in the business of making money, and they are able to do this by reducing service and increasing fees.
  • Time to ditch SMS? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by knarf (34928) on Monday August 04, 2008 @05:58AM (#24464039) Homepage

    SMS has been and will be milked until the cow is not just dry but parched. The difference between actual cost and price of SMS is ludicrous. And as that actual price only goes down, why to they raise the price to the customer (I know, because they can...)?

    Most modern phones can do GPRS or better... which, even though still overpriced, is quite a bit more affordable per bit than SMS. IM clients are available for many phones. Cost per message is radically lower, messages can be longer... What is missing? What would need to be added/removed to turn an IM client into a substitute for SMS so we can finally put that tired old cow to pasture?

      - it needs to start when the phone is turned on
      - it would be nice if the addressing scheme was compatible with phone numbers
      - it would need to keep open a data connection...
      - ...without incurring onerous fees...
      - ...or draining the battery...

    Many people separate their email provider from their internet access provider, the same should be doable with mobile communications. It will be hard to make it as efficient as the provider can but that can not be helped. It is imperative to build something over which the provider has no power - other than the usual contract clauses or IP blocking antics. Those can be ignored, circumvented by using another provider or fought in court if needs be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dword (735428)
      SMS costs the phone companies almost nothing (this has been previously discussed [slashdot.org] on), that's why they're not offering too many alternatives and the alternatives that exist are quite expensive to Average Joe.
  • The mobile phone market in Ireland is completely deregulated, carriers are simply falling falling over each other to provide consumers with better deals, isn't it the same in Canada?. This seems as though the two companies in question agreed before hand to up the costs together without the threat of genuine competition from each other.
  • by Rutefoot (1338385) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:47AM (#24465061)
    Here in Canada there is another option: Virgin Mobile. No connection fees, call waiting fees, etc. And certainly no fees for incoming text messages. But wait, doesn't Virgin Mobile rent space on Bell's network?

    Oh yeah, that's right. Bell owns 50% of Virgin Mobile Canada and as part of the deal Virgin pays Bell the cost of using their system (plus a bit extra) and of course profits from being a 50% owner.

    So what do they charge Virgin Mobile for each text message sent over their network?

    About 1/10th of a penny.

    So suffice to say, I don't buy it when Bell and Telus claim that the 15 cents is to cover the costs of receiving that text message.
  • Double-dipping? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday August 04, 2008 @09:54AM (#24465983) Journal

    We also feel that requiring us to buy text bundles to avoid the inconvenience of reversing spam charges constitutes extortion

    How the hell is this even legal? Last I checked, a phone company can't charge for a service that blocks another service they are charging for. That's why Call Display is paid for, but Block-My-Number is free. If they're charging for text messages, they can't be allowed to charge for blocking them!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does no one remember a similar debacle over fax machines in the early 80s?

    Everyone started receiving spam ads on their faxes. The problem is that the recipient pays for the paper and toner. So big companies got together, lobbied congress, and made it illegal to send such spam faxes, because they were paying for them.

    This seems no different: the recipients are being charged for something they didn't ask for. Problem here is there's no big organized corporate lobby, and the carriers actually benefit, so i

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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