Upgrading a Pay-as-You-Go Fido Account to an iPhone 3-Year Contract: Nontrivial

There's probably nothing too original at this point about someone blogging about problems buying a new phone from Fido, but, well, this particular problem, I haven't seen mentioned yet.

Walked up to a Fido booth tonight thinking I'd buy a new phone (not important which one for this story, but gee, I think you can take a guess). "In and out in 15 minutes", thought I. Ha. I've got to say though, the employees there, for all their trouble in getting things done, tried really hard and were so patient on the phone with the mothership (yes, the employees get put on hold for an hour too) that I really can't blame them at all.

I'm with Fido on a Pay-as-You-Go plan (prepaid airtime), and since I've been a customer for a while I have a bunch of rebate dollars (called FidoDollars) usable as credit towards new phones. Problem is, you can't walk into a Fido store and get your prepaid account converted to a 3-year contract while keeping the same phone number and already accumulated airtime credit. Can't be done, no matter how long the poor salespeople stay on hold with the customer service center trying to make it happen.

There are two main options available if you're already a Fido customer on Pay-as-You-Go, neither of them particularly appealing:

  • Buy the JesusPhone(TM) from the Fido store, have them activate it on a new phone number with a new account on a 3-year contract. You lose your existing phone number (well, it actually stays active on your old phone, but what use is that?) and get a new one. You can't use FidoDollars credit to help pay for the new phone, and you'll lose all your prepaid airtime when it expires. They have absolutely no way to use your FidoDollars or transfer your prepaid airtime credit.

  • Have the Fido store order a JesusPhone(TM) (by phone, which takes over 30 minutes for some reason) for you from the customer service center. You can keep your phone number and use your FidoDollars to help pay for the new phone, and also any unused prepaid airtime will be credited to your monthly bill. Perfect, except they'll start billing you your monthly contract BEFORE you receive the new phone, and as the sales girl explained, you'll then have to call customer service when you do get the new phone up and running and get them to credit a pro-rated portion of the month. Also, it takes ~10-12 days and you have to pay the 250$ charge cash on delivery when you receive the new phone. Finally, to pour MORE salt on that wound, it won't even work out of the box because you must then drive back to the Fido store and have them transfer the phone number from your old SIM to your new SIM. But the cherry on the sundae is reserved for the Fido employees: as I learned, they don't make any commission on this sale even after working for an hour and a half trying to sort it out and spending an hour on the phone, because it's ultimately completed as a phone order.

How nice. I went with the second option. I'm expecting a package, for which I have no tracking number, to show up in around 10 days, with cash-on-delivery. Sweet.

For the record, the Fido employees agreed this was completely ridiculous, they're just powerless to do anything about it.

I leave you with this piece of news, however: the voice plan I signed up for is a new plan just introduced this week (not yet advertised on their site), and it's fantastic: 17.50$ a month for 200 daytime minutes + unlimited evenings and weekends. I think this is the cheapest voice plan I've ever seen - add 30$ for 6GB of data and you're paying only 47.50$ + fees per month, which is actually really decent. Looking on their website, there's no plan anywhere even close to that cheap that offers unlimited evenings and weekends, so this is a really great deal, I suppose it's a time-limited promotional offer, but I've got it locked in for 3 years now.


Jean said...

Agreed, great plan. Sound uncharateristical for the Rogers Empire.

Jesus phone, ha. The RDF got ya, finally. ;-)

jpdaigle said...

A little too great - it's still not on their website, so I'm starting to wonder if the unlimited nights/weekends thing was an "error" by the salesperson?

Haven't seen anything on paper yet...

Jean said...

C'mon blogger, lemme edit my damn comments, fer chrissake.

jpdaigle said...

Aha it's now up on their website! It's true, it's actually 200 minutes + unlimited evenings/weekends, sweet!


Jean said...

Interesting theory. What you got sounds like an alternative to the basic "Anytime" plan, but that free evening + weekends thing is really something.

(note: my gripe with Blogger was regarding my futile attempt to edit "uncharateristical")

Jean said...

Well slap me silly and call me Shirley. It does exist!

Jason Kealey said...

... plus other fees.

- $7 network access fee
- you want voicemail? extra
- you want call display? extra
... still ends up being 40/month.

I dislike the way Fido keeps calling me to offer me a monthly plan even after I've told them 20 times I'm not interested and specifically asked never to be called again. Just for that, I'm going elsewhere when pay-as-you-go isn't a good fit for me anymore.

jpdaigle said...

Yeah, there's all those other annoying fees for voicemail, cdisplay, etc, but at least it's fairly easy to compare the plans because other providers break out services in a very similar manner. Bell, for example, doesn't include call display or voicemail either in their cheapest monthly plans. And they have a system access fee too, only it's 9$. Considering all of this, it still looks like Fido is cheaper than alternatives, even if we'd both prefer they were a bit more inclusive when advertising pricing.

For now, I'm going to start off with a data plan and this cheap voice plan with no frills. I'll upgrade with call display and voicemail if I find I can't live without them.

I think with a bit of luck, we might see a shift away from the need for some of these extras: for example, if you know I don't have voicemail, but I do have email on the go, maybe if you can't get me by voice you'll fall back to email. We'll see how it goes...

Jean said...

No call display and voicemail? I'm a bit surprised to hear that. Even my Petro-Canada Mobility prepaid plan has those :S

For people who don't yap much on the go, it's pretty good. 180 days before expiration is what ultimately sold me to it.