Waiting for a Refund of Your Fido Account Credit Balance? Follow Up to Get Your Money Back

by Chris W. Rea on

I’d like to relate a recent experience with Fido, in case it can help those experiencing a similar problem.

I had a mobile phone contract with Fido that I didn’t need any longer. I was fortunate to have somebody willing to take over my contract. I had established with Fido that it was possible and easy: I would call in and provide authorization for a named person to take over my phone, phone number, and contract. Then that person would call in, provide my account number, their own information, and accept the transfer. Finally, upon Fido’s approval, the service would get moved over to a new account under that person’s name.

We did exactly as described and the service was transferred quickly. I was impressed: No forms, no authorization letter, no in-person visit to a store, no rejection. Credit where it is due: Fido scores a point for making the phone service transfer process as hassle-free as possible.

I subtract a point for what came next.

I hadn’t thought about the timing of the transfer, and it ended up being early in a billing cycle. I was on Fido’s online billing service, and received emails listing my balance and inviting me to view full invoices online. After the transfer was completed, the next email revealed my August credit balance of $58. I had overpaid my last bill. I wanted a copy of the final bill for business expense purposes and to have something that confirmed the service transfer.

As usual, the email requested I log in to fido.ca and view my invoice. I realized this would be impossible: To log in I would need a phone number on my account, but now there wasn’t one! Fido had not allowed for the possibility of using an account number to log in.

I had to call Fido. I spoke to a representative and explained their system’s deficiency and that I still needed the detail from my final invoice. I also asked to have the credit balance refunded. The representative said I would be charged a bill reprint fee. I objected and pointed out the “reprint” was only necessary due to the deficiency in their system! They reluctantly agreed and switched my account to paper-based billing and re-issued the invoice, without fee. Regarding the refund, the rep said it would take four weeks to process. I expected I would receive a cheque in the mail.

I patiently waited, but no refund arrived. I did get mail from Fido: a printed copy of September’s new invoice, repeating that I had a credit balance of $58 on account.

I called in again. The new representative involved a manager at my request. The manager created a “case” to request the Fido back office to promptly issue a refund. I was assured it would be mailed within 48 hours. I had faith in the manager’s action to open a case and to – presumably – follow-up on the case if needed to see it through to completion. That’s what managers should do with escalated issues.

My faith was misplaced. Another month passed and I received October’s new invoice, again repeating the credit balance.

So I called again. To the new rep, I mentioned I had already tried getting the simple matter settled twice over as many months. They looked up the case and relayed the message that the back office had rejected issuing a refund cheque because my account had been on credit card billing and the refund should be made to my credit card instead. The representative then remarked: “So, you were on credit card billing? That’s easy. I can refund to your card while I have you on the phone. You’ll see the credit in the next two days.”

I was again relieved, yet also frustrated. The first rep in August and the manager from September both should have been aware of this. I also felt it was the manager’s responsibility to follow up on a rejected case. Wouldn’t she have received notification of the case rejection? Either she did not, or else she did not act on it.

My wish-list of suggestions for Fido customer service: First, address the issues in your online billing system. Next, train all front-line representatives to better understand the credit balance refunding process. Finally, ensure your people take ownership of the issues opened on behalf of customers and please follow-up when a case doesn’t complete normally.

This experience reinforced for me the idea that nobody cares about your money or your problem as much as you do. Follow up, be persistent, and don’t assume that a company’s personnel or case resolution processes function as you expect they ought to function.

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