Letter: My Burnaby grandma got handed an 'egregious' price hike


My grandmother, who’s 85 and on a fixed income, had her Shaw bill shoot up nearly $100 because her “promotions ended.” Her normal bill for the last two years has been $138, including taxes, and is now over $220. This is standard business practice for Shaw - you have to call every two years to renegotiate your plan.

As it turns out, there are a lot of elders living in my grandmother’s building and they all had a similar experience this month, all of them had nearly $100 increases to their bills.
Nothing is more egregious to me than taking advantage of vulnerable, older populations, by increasing the cost of their only lifeline to the outside world. I usually handle these issues for my grandma because she doesn’t want anything to change or be sold something new that she doesn’t need.

So I phoned Shaw. After days of call backs and negotiations, the best they could offer her was a price of $170-plus for the exact same service she has had for the last two-plus years, or they could decrease her level of service and still have it cost $12/month more than she has been paying for the last two-plus years.
I find it hard to justify as I have worked in the tech and telecommunications sector for nearly 12 years, I understand the cost that the big telecom companies incur.

It costs them money when they have to acquire new customers, when they have to service existing ones (in person or on the phone) and of course to repair network outages and plan upgrades. There is no real “cost” to provide the service. They were making money at $138/month, that is crystal clear. And they are also poised to continue to make $138/month had nothing changed. Instead, they’ve had to speak with me for hours on the phone this past week and will continue to have to, which is ultimately hurting their bottom line. And the fact remains, a fixed income is fixed, my grandma is not going to make other sacrifices so that a greedy telecom company can line their pockets. 
Tyler Bagot, Burnaby

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