Maybe it’s pandemic fatigue.

Or just plain apathy.

I was looking to spend some of my hard-earned pay on a couple of services this week — to no avail.

In the first case, I wanted to add another internet service to my home. I live in a rural area with no fibreoptic lines, and my options are mobile wireless internet, a satellite service or a company called Espacenet — I’m not totally clear on their technology but it does involve a dish and local towers. I’ve been using a wireless service all along: it works well, but it is expensive.

My neighbours have been singing the praises of Espacenet, which specializes in serving rural areas. So I contacted the company and they sent over a technician a week and a half later to install it — a small dish outside with a wire passed through a wall to a modem of some sort. The dish would be getting its signal from nearby towers, though it is unclear to me where the towers are getting their data feed. The cost for installation: $149 plus tax. The monthly fee would have been $109 plus tax for unlimited data with a download speed of 20 mbsp — which is less speed than what I am getting with my current wireless internet, but acceptable, I felt. 

Before the technician started the installation job, I showed him where I wanted him to set up the router for the wifi.

I’m glad I mentioned it.

There was no router included, he said, but they could sell me one for $150 plus tax.

So, I was looking at a bill of close to $500 that day?

Maybe it was my bad, but I had thought a wifi router was included. 

The technician called his boss, who explained it all to me. Bottom line: a router would cost me $150 plus tax, at which point I cancelled the installation and the technician left.

And that’s where the boss blew it, in my opinion. His technician could have walked away from my house that day with a cheque for the installation and the first month of service, with subsequent service fees from me flowing into the company’s account indefinitely. Instead, they got nothing.

I had been willing to bite the bullet and pay what I felt was an exorbitant installation fee, but I drew the line at the router.

So, why didn’t the boss throw in the router for free — or at least offer to let me rent it or even pay for it with monthly installments?

Afterward, I decided to check out a competitor, a satellite service called Xplorenet.

Their installation fee: $49. And they encourage customers to rent a wifi router for about $6 a month — a router that works well with their service, they point out, because not all routers are created equal and old routers may actually do more harm than good. Their monthly fee, for 100 gbs of high speed data, is $119, with a three-month promotion at $99.

Sadly, Xplorenet is not getting good reviews. Customers are saying the download speed is not what they are paying for. So, I’ve put them on the backburner for now.

Next up, I contacted my current wireless provider to see about adding another 50 gigs to my monthly data plan. I’ve been with Rogers since 1989 — yes, I have been a faithful customer. The sales rep couldn’t have sounded less interested. My current plan sees me getting a small discount to the regular price of $125 a month for 50 gigs of high speed data. I asked if the discount would apply to the new price for the added data.

Apparently not.

I hummed and hawed a little bit, hoping she might say “Let me see what we can do for you, Ms. Page.”

Instead, nothing. 

So, I decided to live with the data plan I have for now.

It was a missed opportunity for Rogers to add that much more to their revenues. 

In an earlier post, I talked about how a Canadian Tire store in St-Jerome lost my business — and my gf’s business — because of what I felt was bad service by a rep in their garage. We’re talking thousands of future dollars here.

Companies are only as successful as the salespeople who represent them. In the above cases, three sales reps from different companies lost the opportunity to make more money for their employers because they showed zero initiative. They let dollars walk away.

Of course, I understand that everyone has bad days, and the pandemic isn’t helping matters. I wouldn’t hold it against Rogers or Espacenet — though Canadian Tire is another story. I complained to their head office, which promised to contact the store and have someone call me. No one did; they couldn’t care less, apparently.

But I could probably call Rogers again today and reach another sales agent who would apply my current discount to the new data plan, with pleasure. As for Espacenet, maybe they will rethink the router issue and give their customers more options, considering the high installation fee.

— Jillian