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“Trust Us”: Cogeco’s Usage “Gas Gauge” Great For Measuring Profits, Not So Good for Measuring Actual Usage

Phillip Dampier August 24, 2009 Canada, Cogeco, Data Caps No Comments

Broadband Reports this morning revisited Cogeco, the Canadian cable company that engages in Internet Overcharging, but relies on a usage-measurement gauge that customers say can be off from dozens to hundreds of megabytes every day.  Stop the Cap! also reported on this issue in June, with customers outraged that their monthly bill’s accuracy depends on a tool that is very good at making the company extra money, but not so good at fairly measuring actual usage.  The problems continue.

It’s ironic that the electric meter outside of Cogeco headquarters is subject to verification, the gas pump dispensing fuel to Cogeco’s service trucks is audited by Measurement Canada, which also verifies the accuracy of the scale used by the grocery store deli to weigh the meat for the submarine sandwiches purchased by some of their employees.  What isn’t audited, much less independently verified, is Cogeco’s usage measurement tool.

Cogeco customers have resorted to installing their own third party monitoring tools, from built-in traffic measurement in some routers to software applications that they run on their computers.  Thus far, reports of serious discrepancies have caused an indefinite delay before Cogeco actually begins billing overlimit fees and penalties, but many customers are asking why they have to resort to checking up on Cogeco in the first place.

One Toronto resident can’t understand it:  “Since when do customers in this country have to validate a business billing system?   Customers should be assured of fair and accurate billing under the law in Canada. I see a lot of legal challenges coming for this.”

Cogeco customers note the discrepancies will add up — to Internet Overcharges:

“Ever since I slapped Tomato [third party firmware] onto my router and started monitoring my [usage], Cogeco has constantly been anywhere from 20mb to 700mb off every day,” complains one user. “Any discrepancy is unacceptable with their outrageous overage charges,” the user adds. “Twenty five to thirty gigabytes is the difference between paying fifty dollars a month for your Internet or eighty dollars a month,” says another, adding that the problems are “unacceptable.”

As Karl Bode notes in his story, whether the meter works right or not, the customer will still be expected to pay in the end.

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