Koodo halts data access, with inappropriate options to resume

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I got the following text from Koodo:

"Koodo: You've used 100% of your included 100MB of data.  To help manage your costs, your data has been temporarily turned off until 2018-01-06. To turn your data back on, respond 'YES' to get ?computed.BlockingNotificationNextTierSizeValue??computed.BlockingNotificationNextTierSizeUOM? of data for $-1. Or, visit koodo.com/selfserve for bigger data options starting at $10."

The confusing phrase in the above excerpt is:

"?computed.BlockingNotificationNextTierSizeValue??computed.BlockingNotificationNextTierSizeUOM? of data for $-1."

This is how it shows when I review the text message bubbles, but when it originally came in, it didn't show up like that.  Instead of the confusing phrase, I got presented with two options: (i) pay some menial amount for an extra 1MB of data and (ii) pay $20 for some number of GBs of data.  I think we can all agree that 1MB of data is useless for anything these days, so I was confused by its presentation as an option.  On the other hand, option (ii) seemed over the top for someone who often doesn't use up his 100MB plan (the holiday season is an exceptionally peak usage period for looking things up, coordinating,and getting around).  I was further confused that I wasn't given the option that was specified in my plan, which was an additional 50MB for $5.

Signing into to the Koodo site, as per the message, wasn't an option at the time because my login information was at home, in another city.  Since Koodo has never cut off my data before, I had never needed to sign in when travelling, and I used my Koodo website login strictly for managing bills at home.  The message also made the sign-in option confusing, as it said that the bigger data options started at $10, which was definitely not consistent with my plan.  When I eventually returned home, however, I did log in, and found that $5/50MB option specified in my plan was in fact still available; I was able to restore my data access.

I found it disturbing that you can be on the road and lose access to information.  If you were using GPS navigation and strayed from the planned route, you need access to the access to the trip planning servers to recalculate the route.  Apart for navigation specifically, what if you were enroute to a gathering that was being collectively being planned in real time, and you unexpectedly lost data access, and along with that, general map and email services, and web research capability?  What if you had decided to take local transit instead of driving, and had to look up how your transit card worked in another city?  You'd be stuck with the two inappropriate options presented in Koodo's text message rather than the option that was already provided for in your plan.  You might get lucky and find your way to public WiFi, possibly with loss in time, but that would be a wildcard.

I was wondering if anyone else had pre-arranged data overage provisions in their data plan and still got presented with the two (relatively) extreme options in a Koodo text message instead?

Details: iPhone SE, 100MB plan, travel in Ontario (Canada)
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andymhancock

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Posted 5 months ago

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Goran, Mobile Master

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Then I guess you'd have more data. 100mb is practically useless for the combined use what ifs you just named off. I'd have of line GPS as an option then instead. If you're enroute why do you need push email and gps and browser use at once until you reply yes? Guess you'd have to pull over or stop walking or biking or whatever and resume your data.

If you choose yes to continue data services and don't opt for the add-ons then you're charged as per your data overage rate.
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David, Mobile Master

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I second Goran's suggestion of a GPS using off-line maps - saves needing data when travelling internationally as well. A data allotment of 100MB is infinitesimal when using GPS maps. While other carriers, such as Telus lets you buy extra data in advance, Koodo went the route of Shock Free Data, with the option to add more data buckets, or continue to use data a pay-per-use rates, as decided by the user.


I'm surprised a fellow as worldly as you doesn't use a password safe such as 1Password, so you have your credentials with you at all times, and don't run into these sorts of issues!
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andymhancock

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Goran wrote: "Then I guess you'd have more data. 100mb is practically useless for the combined use what ifs you just named off."

I don't find that to be the case at all.  As I said, I almost always use less.  I'm guessing that my situation is not that rare, since the 100MB plan exists.

Goran wrote: "I'd have of line GPS as an option then instead."

It's definitely a remedial measure.  However, GPS was just one usage, and I described why connectivity is needed.

Goran wrote: "If you're enroute why do you need push email and gps and browser use at once until you reply yes?

I was a bit quick on the keyboard.  I might not be enroute, but I might certainly be on the move, away from anyone's home, or not at a known public WiFi site.  The effect is the same.  With some participants in the gathering possibly coming from other suburbs (or me going to another suburb), there is the potential to be very late.  Real-time coordination is common in such situations, and even in the lead-up, e.g. to converge on a consensus regarding venue and timing, as well as for last minute changes.  This might take place via texting or email, depending on the individual(s) and situations.

Goran wrote: "Guess you'd have to pull over or stop walking or biking or whatever and resume your data.  If you choose yes to continue data services and don't opt for the add-ons then you're charged as per your data overage rate."

The problem is not that I have to stop.  The problem is that data was suspended, and the two options presented in the text message (of which only one is usable) are way different from the provision in my plan.  *Before* December, it was as you described -- just continue using data, and have the overage provision kick in.  Wouldn't it be nice if that were still the case.

David said: "I second Goran's suggestion of a GPS using off-line maps
- saves needing data when travelling internationally as well. A data allotment of 100MB is infinitesimal when using GPS maps."

I hope that I've adequately addressed this in responding to similar comments from Goran above.

David said: "While other carriers, such as Telus lets you buy extra data in advance, Koodo went the route of Shock Free Data, with the option to add more data buckets, or continue to use data a pay-per-use rates, as decided by the user."

Regardless of what it is called, it seems inappropriate to offer an option that is not useful (1MB) and an option that is orders of magnitude greater than both the plan itself and the overage provision, and not the actual provision itself.

David said: "I'm surprised a fellow as worldly as you doesn't use a password safe such as 1Password, so you have your credentials with you at all times, and don't run into these sorts of issues!"

I'm not sure what you mean by worldly.  I moved to iPhone specifically to minimize having to install apps.  The only exception that I've made is Google Maps.  However, I think this is tangential to the actual issue, as described in my preceding paragraph above.  In fact, it struck me as so inappropriate that I was wondering whether I accurately recalled the options presented.  As I said, reviewing the text later does not generate the same options -- it only displays the cryptic code captured in my original post.  This is why I posted, to see if: (1) anyone else is getting their data halted, and (2) whether they see the same disparate options that I seem to recall.

Thanks!
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Mayumi, Mobile Master

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The text you received is not proper one. It's somehow glitched one.

It should say like this after " To turn your data back on, respond 'YES' to.... "





If you respond "yes", then you can continue your data with your pay-per-use rate.

If you click the link to get more options, then you can choose either 300 mb for $10 or 1 Gb for $20
(Edited)
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andymhancock

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Thank you, Mayumi.  I got a similar message displayed when the text was initially received.  I only get the cryptic code when I returned to the text message to review it.  The only thing is, I did not get sensible choices when the message was initially received, and I did not get the choice that was specified in my data plan.  While I could have selected one of the nonsensical choices from the message when it was initially displayed, there were barriers to accessing my online account at the time (never having to do that away from home before) in order to see what happened to the overage provision in my plan.  If *anything*, it would seem logical to have the overage provision in my plan as one of the immediately selectable choices in the initially displayed message, and to have the other (nonsensical) choices accessible only by forcing the user to log in (along with the accompanying barriers).

I think this is worth reporting to Koodo, even though their policy seems to be to charge users for every attempt at contact.
(Edited)
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Mayumi, Mobile Master

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You don't have to log in to self serve IF you are ok with paying your overage rate(amount is varies depends on your plan) or without having data until end of your billing cycle.

Logging into self serve gives you better overage charge choices.  Like,,, my overage rate is $10 for 100MB, $7 for 100MB with new plans,  but I can get 300MB for same $10 if I logged in. 

There seems have some system error on your text.  Ill flag it to Koodo :)
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David, Mobile Master

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It is a per MB charge you are assessed, not a 1MB purchase. If you prefer going straight to overage charges, Telus still offers it currently, stopping your data at $50 of overages.
The majority of Koodo customers wanted, and appreciate the data being stopped before overages are applied.
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andymhancock

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@Mayumi: Thanks for flagging this to Koodo (is this one of the powers of being a Mobile Master?).

What you described in the you last message was the opposite of what Koodo's message displayed when it first arrived.  Instead allowing overage provisions to kick in without having to log in, and instead of having other overage options from logging in, my data access stopped, I was presented with options other than those in my plan prior to logging in, and I could only re-activate the overage provision in my plan later, after returning to my home town and obtaining the information needed to log in.

David said: "It is a per MB charge you are assessed, not a 1MB purchase."

That's not how the options were presented.  As I said in my original post, the options were $5 for 1MB, or $20 for some number of GBs.  The $5 for 1MB can be interpretted as a rate of $5/MB, but this is besides the point that I've been trying to make in my 1st and 2nd post of this thread, and my preceding paragraph above.

David said: "If you prefer going straight to overage charges, Telus still offers it currently, stopping your data at $50 of overages.  The majority of Koodo customers wanted, and appreciate the data being stopped before overages are applied."

This isn't accurate.  My data access was halted.  I could only re-enable it after logging in, some time later, after returning to my home town to obtain my login information.  Appreciation of the data stoppage is not the issue -- I appreciate that too.  The issue, as I've been describing, is that the two seamlessly selectable options are nonsensical, and the overage provision was not presented as a seamless option.  I could only re-enable it much later, and when you rely on your data on the road, that's highly problematic.

I haven't jail-broken my phone, and I have only one non-native app, so the nonsensical options can't be attributed to my phone configuration.  It would be incomprehensible to believe that the problem was due to lack of testing on the basic phone configuration options.  It leaves me wondering how such a mistake could be made.
(Edited)
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andymhancock

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I got an answer from Koodo after 1.5 hours on the phone last week.  It is likely that the mechanisms for presenting data overage options to the user via the phone did not pick up on the overage provision in my plan because of how old it is.  I'm baffled by how a plan started in 2015 could be considered obsolete. I'm also baffled by how the process designers could have overlooked the need to support all active plans, or by the possibility that it may have been difficult to compile a roster of active plan types.  They did not explain the existence of a 1MB overage option.  However, they did compensate me for 1 month's serivce.  I think they got a great deal, considering the minimalism of my plan, the difficulties caused by losing access while away from home, the hours dealing with the issue even prior to calling them, and mostly, all the customers who will opt for the larger of the two overage options presented simply because they need continuity of access while nomadic.
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Robert, Mobile Master

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Thanks for reporting back @us! 
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andymhancock

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It looks as if the problem persists, and I got caught on the road without access to my data again.
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Mayumi, Mobile Master

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Can you use the link to access top up?
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andymhancock

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It's not possible to decipher text message to see what the top-up options are, but no, I didn't tap on the link.  The person I spoke with at Koodo was able to lift the data blockage.  Apparently, the rule to not block data was not properly set by the person I spoke with 3 weeks ago, so hopefully, it's properly set now and I won't even have the need to see that above warning message or use the link.

To be fair, it sounds from talking with a Koodo rep that they may have had to rush deployment of software to deal with data caps and overage options.  This may have been needed to comply with regulations to help customers avoid exorbitant overage fees.  To compensate for the problems, they've added a generous overage provision to my plan....hope that I am able to access it when on the road.  If I run into blockage problems, I can apparently have them lifted by calling them, navigating the voicemail system, and possibly waiting on hold.  Without access to the internet, however, you need to have the support number and your PIN number stored on your phone.  Either that, or find your way to public WiFi somewhere (which is where I was contacting them from tonight).
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Mayumi, Mobile Master

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If you tap on the link, then you should see a page like this.


And you have choice to get 300mb for $10, or 1gb for $20. Or you just exit and not buying top up.
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andymhancock

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I suppose 300MB for $10 is good.  I would still prefer the overage provision in my plan (50MB for $5), since I rarely poke above my pre-overage volume of 100MB.  However, it is possible that if I click on the link, my plan's overage provision would have been presented as an option.

I wonder if this kind of message will be exploited by ill-doers as a kind of social engineering.  They can send such a message to unsuspecting users and have the link point to some URL that is some mis-spelling of the proper URL.  Who knows what kind of hack is possible (I'm not in IT security, so I can only imagine, and that's not worth very much).

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