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My cell phone bill in braille ... or not. (#IAmYourCustomer)

My journey started when I purchased my very first iPhone in May of 2012 after putting my old Nokia 6682 to rest. I spent two hours in the local Roger's store, playing around with mobile phones to see what would suit my needs as someone who is totally blind. The 4S was the newest mobile phone that I wanted so bad; it felt great holding a 'somewhat' accessible device in my hand that was further advanced than my Nokia. Sold!

The Customer Service Representative was great. He set up my phone, transferring my contacts to my new iPhone and making sure that Voiceover and Siri was turned on. I think I taught the Customer Representative a lot that day using Voiceover with an iPhone.

I walked out of Roger's very excited - almost like a child in a candy store. It was a proud day for me.

I went home and literally spent hours playing around with my iPhone and calling up other friends who are blind to find out what accessible applications they use so I could download them from the App Store and join in on the fun.

I set-up my e-mail accounts on my iPhone for easy access while travelling and out on the go. Text messages were easy to send out and receive. I liked the fact that I didn't have to use the old Nokia keypad to type out messages. I did my banking, played a few games that were created for Voiceover users, downloaded Skype and was happy that apps for my social media networks were accessible enough to use. Oh, I can’t forget Blind Square! Where would I be without accessible GPS?

A few months went by and I noticed that I received an e-mail and a text message from Roger's, notifying me that my account was higher than my normal bill. I attempted to log in to the Roger's website to verify how this happened without success on my computer and with my iPhone. I am and have been a JAWS user (my screen reading program) since I graduated high school) and found that it was pointless trying to navigate their website. And, yes, I did receive my bill via snail mail, too, but being blind prevents me from reading it without sighted assistance.

I then looked up the Roger's toll-free number in my contacts and waited for a customer representative to answer.

You see, Roger's offers free 411 Directory Assistance for blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted customers. Interesting enough, I didn't have to provide any proof of my blindness to receive it. There seemed to be a glitch in their system and the 411 Directory Assistance calls I had made were charged to my account. Roger's ended up reimbursing me for the calls which I was happy about, going back three months to make sure I wasn't over-charged again for the 411 Directory Assistance.

After considerable discussion about accessing their website, the Customer Representative put me on hold for a few minutes and came back on the line. He informed me that Roger's provides bills in alternate formats, one of them being Braille. Boy, was I ever happy to hear this. He sent an e-mail to another Roger's Representative, requesting an application form for me to fill out requesting all my bills in Braille.

Since he didn't receive an e-mail back within the 15 minutes we were talking about my account, he set up a date and time when he could call me back to fill out the application form.

A week went by and he called me back on the date he said he was going to. We filled out the application form, e-mailed it off to the appropriate department and said that I should begin to receive my bills in Braille in the next little while. Fantastic! I thought to myself. Going with Roger's was the right thing to do as they listen to their customers and they are willing to provide alternate formats for persons with disabilities.

So, I waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing. I was still receiving an e-mail and text message stating that my bill was ready to view. Worse than that, I was still receiving a bill in print via snail mail. Something is wrong here, I thought to myself.

I ended up calling Roger's back because I was over-charged again (it wasn't just once this happened) for the 411 Directory Assistance charges. Once they went back through my bill and was reimbursed again, I brought up the fact that I couldn't access my bill as their website wasn't accessible and that I requested my bill in Braille. After explaining to the Customer Representative what I meant by being blind and not being able to access my bill to verify what I'm supposed to be paying for, I was put on hold for a few minutes. He came back and said that I should be getting a Braille copy of my bill soon.

Alright? Was there a problem with my application to have my bills printed in a format that I can read independently? The answer to that was no. "You will be receiving your bills in Braille shortly".

So, again, I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Absolutely nothing.

After much frustration, I called Roger's back to review my bill with a Customer Representative again after being over-charged. You know where I'm going with this, right? So, after being reimbursed...again, I brought up the fact that I am not receiving my bills in Braille and I was getting pretty fed up with it. I got the same answer as before... wait for it... wait for it...! "You should be receiving it soon".

If I cannot independently access my bills without having to call up your toll-free number for assistance, I'm through with you. As a matter of fact, I cancelled my contract with Roger's and went elsewhere. I shouldn't have to continuously plead to have my bill in Braille - I felt excluded and believed that my request was ignored.

I'm sorry, Roger's, but you lost yourself a loyal customer!

I like the fact that I can pick up my bill in Braille and read it at my leisure. I'd rather not spend an hour or more discussing my phone bill with a Customer Representative when I can do this on my own independently. If you offer a service, then provide this service to your customers or else, you will lose business, just like you lost mine.

My name is Dar and #IAmYourCustomer.

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.