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Dr. Evil

Assumptions

For this chapter of my Guide, I assume that:

  • You subscribe to Rogers Internet service. Most or all of these instructions very likely apply to Bell, Telus and Shaw, but I have experience only with Rogers.
  • You are, or very soon will be, off contract. If you aren’t, it may still be profitable to break your long-term Rogers agreement. Do the math: start with what you pay Rogers every month for Internet service, minus what you would spend at TekSavvy, multiplied by the number of months you have left in your Rogers agreement, minus the Rogers early-cancellation fee ($20 per remaining month, up to a maximum of $400). If you have money left over, it’s worth your while to switch.
  • TekSavvy cable Internet service is available in your neighbourhood or multiunit dwelling. You may live in an apartment building that is under contract to one of the Big Telecom companies. If you do, then you have no alternative but to use that company for your Internet service. Or you can move.

Process

  1. Call TekSavvy (877-779-1575) to confirm that they offer cable Internet service in your neighbourhood or multiunit dwelling. Don’t use the postal-code verification form on TekSavvy’s website. It’s virtually useless.
  2. Call Rogers to cancel your Internet service and request a disconnection date that falls on a weekday.
  3. Call TekSavvy again with your cable Internet service subscription order and Rogers disconnection date.
  4. On the day your Rogers service is to end, connect your Internet cable to your new Thomson Technicolor DCM476.
  5. Return your leased Rogers cable modem.

Hows and Whys

Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw control about 94% of all Internet business in Canada. They package digitized voice, data, audio and audio-visual programming, and distribute it across their Internet-enabled digital networks. This is known as convergence. It’s a very lucrative racket.

Once they have you locked in to one of their mealy residential Internet plans, they can very easily sell you their other overpriced services (home phone, cable TV, wireless – in some cases, home security) by bundling them together with a paltry savings incentive – usually a few percentage points off your monthly king’s ransom – to make it feel like you’ve negotiated a bargain.

Conversely, they also know that once they lose your Internet business, they’ve pretty much lost everything. So when you switch Internet service providers, prepare for a fight. Or, more appropriately, make ready to deal with the Devil. This isn’t so much a pitched battle as it is a succession of cunningly subversive temptations, poured into your ear like a honeyed potion.

You must provide at least 30 days’ notice to terminate a Big Telecom service, even if you are not on contract. There is no rational explanation for why this should be.

When you call, and choose whatever auto attendant menu option your provider offers to cancel a service, you’ll be directed immediately to retentions.

For those of you who don’t know the term: retentions departments are staffed not with low-level customer-service representatives but with highly-trained individuals who are empowered to retain your business by any necessary means. These people have the authority to offer “unpublicized incentives” to keep you from defecting. Such incentives will not be exactly what your new ISP offers, but close enough to tempt you to stay. This is the essence of the Faustian bargain they wish to strike.

Resist. Any offer they make will come with a datacap.

If you remember from my previous chapter: TekSavvy publicizes but does not actually enforce datacaps, except in very specific circumstances. For 1080p content streaming, you must have Internet download speeds of at least 12 to 15 megabits per second, and no cap on the amount of data you consume. (Speed goes to quality of service; the cap means an expensive surprise at the end of every month.)

If Rogers is prepared to offer both speed and unlimited data at a price that favourably compares to TekSavvy (unlikely), then by all means stay. Otherwise, thank your retentions rep for her very kind proposal and ask for a disconnection date. Be sure to ask for a weekday disconnection. TekSavvy does not connect on weekends.

Do not cancel your cable television subscription! As a Rogers bandwidth reseller, TekSavvy will use the same cable connection to provide Internet service to your home. But that cable needs to be live or you’ll pay a $65 activation fee. Besides, you may still decide to keep some part of your cable service, after you’ve tried streaming for a few weeks. Streaming, exclusively without cable television, isn’t for everyone.

UPDATE: Teksavvy now charges $65 for all new activations. You will receive a $20 activation-fee discount if you buy the Thomson DCM476 cable modem from Teksavvy for $100. This is a worthwhile offer. Thanks, Bob, for that information.

With your Rogers disconnection date in hand, call TekSavvy to order their cable Internet service. TekSavvy will note your disconnection date, process your first month’s payment, and work with Rogers to transfer your Internet service. You will not need to sign a long-term agreement with TekSavvy. You will not need to be home when the service transfer takes place.

Don’t be alarmed if Rogers throws a spike strip onto the road, at any point during this process. Stay calm. Work with TekSavvy to provide whatever spurious nonsense Rogers needs to let you go. In our case, the transfer went very smoothly and required no intervention on our part.

If all goes well, you’ll experience perhaps a half day of downtime. (Thomson DCM476 firmware does not work with Rogers Internet service, so you’re stuck until TekSavvy takes over.) If you’re at work during the transfer, then you obviously won’t notice. If you’re at home, read a book or something.

Better yet, use the time to return your Rogers cable modem. Rogers won’t close your account until it gets its equipment back. It may even continue to bill you for Internet service. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Next

Geoblocking! It’s fairly technical. Don’t worry: we’ll take it nice and slow.

  • Bob

    Just called TekSavvy, they now charge an “Activation Fee of $65”. I have Rogers cable, and rent a modem, but regardless they charge for it.

    • Patronized

      So they do! I re-confirmed the information and links in my Guide not two weeks ago, so this must be a recent policy change. That and the Cable 28 package is no longer available. Cable 25 and Cable 35 appear to be your best options. You can get a $20 discount on the activation fee if you buy one of their cable modems – although, I’d be very interested to learn what they charge for, say, the Thomson DCM475. You can buy this same modem, in-store, at Canada Computers for $99.99. If Teksavvy charges anything more than $119.99 for the identical device, then that $20 discount saves you nothing.

      • Bob

        They charge $100 for the Thomson DCM475

        • Patronized

          Then I’d buy the modem from TekSavvy. Our Thomson’s been going strong for two years without a problem.

          • Bob

            Cool, thanks for the tips! 🙂

  • Ms_Auga

    Great article. I was prepared to switch from Rogers to TechSavy for the cost savings – I have had very little to complain about their reliability of service (although I may be in the minority). I called Rogers to cancel my cable internet and as expected they were wanted to keep my business. In the end, Rogers offered me exactly the same package that TechSavy had, but $34/month cheaper than TechSavy, taxes included.
    As I was happy with Rogers service I decided to stay with them.
    Lessons learned here is to call your ISP, your cellphone provider, your TV signal provider, and tell them you have a better deal – they will match or better in most cases.

  • Sara

    My Rogers contract is tied to both my internet and tv. I’m ready to ditch both and just stream tv. My question – given the $65 connection fee now it won’t matter if the cable is live? So I can cancel both services at once? Great advice – I was just searching for how to go about the switch, and here was your site! Perfect.

    • Patronized

      I don’t have an informed answer to your question, Sara. Theoretically, it shouldn’t matter now. Hypothetically, you could be without service if you cancel Rogers and TekSavvy, for whatever reason, is unable to connect on schedule. I would call TekSavvy to confirm.

  • bytownhome

    I feel Teksavvy is following the RoBeCo business plan, “as we grow so will our fees and rates” the freebies in the beginning are ditched, then monthly fees start to rise, then they will start reducing service plans. Start has not changed anything, yet. Sound about right?

    • Patronized

      Our experience with Teksavvy has been nothing but positive. They have increased our rate once in the time we have been with them, and they contacted us in advance to advise of the increase. They also explained how it was a CRTC decision imposed on them that caused the increase. And they pointed out that we were not on a contract and were free to cancel our service at any time. I’ve never seen RoBeCo doing anything nearly that proactive or transparent in their dealings with customers.

      • bytownhome

        Thanks for the reply,
        I’m sorry I should have explained myself better, my point was over the recent install fee they imposed, feeling that now they have built up a customer base they would start imposing fees. Maybe not an issue, I don’t know.
        Thanks for explaining about the fee increase they did a nice job informing you and honestly pointing out your options. Good point about RoBeCo.

  • bytownhome

    Just came back to say Thank You for this post, We have been on the fence for a couple of years not knowing what to do with our internet. After reading this post and all the comments then researching some more, we gave cogeco the boot. (I did learn that the transfer fee ($65 -$20) could have been waived if we were not currently with cogeco).
    A trick cogeco likes to use is “we cannot cancel your service with a balance owing” whether you want to cancel at the beginning of a billing period or anywhere during the month, or you want to cancel a part of your service or your complete service package.
    Thanks again for this info, come on Sept 3rd.

  • admin_admit

    Rogers is making our switch extremely difficult – they are lying to TekSavvy and getting in the way. It’s week three of no internet. Any advice?
    Latest update is that a tech is coming Sat to hook us up and they need to access the cable box.

    • The great thing about Teksavvy is they actually make it fairly easy to get personalized information and support through a forum called DSLReports. There is a Teksavvy Direct forum which allows you to post the specific details of your issue, with your account number, and the more experienced Teksavvy support team will assist you directly. It’s a private interaction between you and them, so no one else can see the details of your issue. They are very responsive and helpful. You should try it out if today’s tech visit doesn’t solve your problem.

    • Patronized

      The great thing about Teksavvy is they actually make it fairly easy to get personalized information and support through a forum called DSLReports. There is a Teksavvy Direct Support area in the forum which allows you to post the specific details of your issue, with your account number, and the more experienced Teksavvy support team will assist you directly. It’s a private interaction between you and them, so no one else can see the details of your issue. They are very responsive and helpful. You should try it out if today’s tech visit doesn’t solve your problem.

  • Great article – thank you! We just switched from Rogers to Techsavvy. We did not pay the activation fee – we bought the modem from them ($99.99) and got the $20 discount, and because we were switching from Rogers and were able to get a weekday disconnect date we got an additional $45 off (so no activation fee). If the cable is live on the day you switch they don’t charge you the activation fee because they don’t need to send a truck/tech out. If you are a new customer or your old service ends before your activation date (and they have to send a truck) this is why the fee is charged… Just an FYI for anyone else looking to switch!

    • sambo

      Do you mean you saved $45 because the TekSavvy connection date was before the Rogers disconnection date ?

      • They were the same date – I arranged for a Friday disconnect from Rogers first, then called TekSavvy and signed up, mentioned I was coming from Rogers, arranged for a hook-up the same day as my Rogers disconnect date.

        • sambo

          Thank You

  • hannah

    You are amazing! I’ll definitely follow these steps and come back hopefully with the good news! -HK

  • TM

    TS now connects on weekends, at least where I am (Toronto)

  • grantpl

    I made the switch from Rogers to TekSavvy almost 2 years ago, after lots of problems with internet bandwidth, performance and availability with Rogers that they did not resolve (cable modem, local switching). I found the Rogers internet service was intermittent and I wasn’t getting the performance of the package I was paying for… dips to 5-10Mbps instead of 40-50Mbps download speeds. I have been VERY happy with service with TekSavvy, even though based on Rogers infrastructure.

    BUT WATCH OUT!
    I had local Rogers technicians (RAMKEY and others) come to my house during the day, go into the cable demarc box on the side of my house, open it up, and install FAULTY line filters. How do I know this? I work from home and saw them, I also have video surveillance on my home, albeit not on the demarc. All of a sudden, I was having issues with my TekSavvy service, who upon calling, said I would have to wait 4-5 days for a Rogers tech to service. Rogers attempted to frustrate my service with TekSavvy. I ripped the filters off my lines and my internet service was working perfectly again. This happened TWICE!!! ( Yes, I am aware of the line/signal level issues, and checked on the cable modem… all working within tolerances, and still getting best performance with TekSavvy. )

    Rogers’ methods are downright sneaky and illegal.

    I’ve since wrapped TWO bands of plastic cable ties around my demarc (multi-coloured) to be able to know if someone has tampered with the demarc.

    • Bufu

      Rogers came out and actually cut the cable several days _after_ my new ISP took over service. On a Friday. Holiday weekend. And then wouldn’t talk to me to come fix it because I was no longer a customer. SO I had to wait for the next business week to get the new ISP to put in a SO to get – wait for it – ROGERS to come back out. They tried to charge me for it, too – I told them it was on the other side of the demarcation, so not my problem. I’m surprised they didn’t cut it again.

  • Wai

    As of Jan 23, 2015, the CRTC requires that companies such as Rogers stop requiring customers to provide 30 days notice. Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crtc-bans-30-day-notice-for-cancelling-tv-phone-internet-1.2826054

  • Charles Tornado

    After Years of bad service and throttling of Rogers I switched and it has been a hassle free 6 years, yes they have down time, however they answer their phones. Yes I paid start up fees but no contract. Hell of a better customer service, not a 14 year old cutting you off reading a script, I am a tech I know the issues and they respect that.
    I pay $105 for 60 down 10 up Unlimited NO THROTTLING!!!!!!!

    Why we switched? Same Cables? think of a water slide pipe its huge so much asscess however we are going to limit access to kids, and no adults even though XXXL people can fit, Rogers limits access, Teksavvy says Go NUTS!!!

  • stellam

    I am stuck on 2 year contract with Rogers for my mobile phone does this mean I am stuck with them for internet as well. I am PO’d with them again this time I want to at least get them off my internet bill can I do this? The only reason I got the phone is because I am visual and hearing impaired and need specialized phone which now they are discontinuing. I have already told them I refuse to pay their increase this year of course they gave me the usual BS they gave me last time I should have cut them loose but as I said there was no provider for Doro phones other than them at the time. Not sure what to do I am on Disability and cannot afford these rates anymore my rent is high enough as is barely living on what I have. They will not listen to reason nor do they care just more blaming me and telling me I can afford it when I can’t. The CRTC will not put a cap on hikes so I don’t know what to do. I cannot afford to pay my way out of a contract so hoping if I have to keep the phone I will but the internet has to go and find another provider as I had planned before. Any advice?

    • Patronized

      Whether or not you subscribed to these services in a bundle, you should be able to decouple them: cancel one and keep the other. A bundle simply offers a small savings when you subscribe to two or more services by the same provider. A bundle does not mean that you are required to keep all or none of your services. It is not an either-or scenario.

      Keep in mind: if you terminate your Internet service before your two years are up, then you will be charged a hefty cancellation fee. You will also see the price of your monthly wireless plan increase, because you no longer satisfy the conditions of the lower-priced service bundle. So there will be long-term consequences – but only if the services have been bundled (check your contract). If they are not part of a bundle, then you will be charged a cancellation fee only and your monthly wireless rate will remain unchanged.

      You ask for my advice, so here it is: never sign a long-term contract with a carrier. Period. If you can’t afford to pay cash for that shiny new phone, then you can’t afford the phone. Otherwise, no one ever needs to sign a contract for Internet service. Pay as you go, always. It keeps carriers honest, because they know you’ll ditch them the moment they start to misbehave.