How Citywest is ripping off cellular customers $6.95 each month

So it seems that Citywest has been charging customers a $6.95 “System access fee”.  Once upon a time, this was a license fee that all radio users had to pay, but that was a long time ago, and no longer the case.

So when Citywest advertises a cellular deal for $30/month, they are actually charging you $30/month PLUS a $6.95 “we’re going to rip you off because you don’t know any better” fee.

Instead of advertising the service as $36.95 a month, they choose to call it $30/month + $6.95 system access fee.

Does anybody have a recent Citywest cellular bill that they’d like to scan and post?  I’m interested in seeing if the “System Access Fee” is listed with the taxes.

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Of course, Citywest isn’t the only carrier that does this.  In fact there’s a class-action suit against the larger ones:

Does anybody have a recent bill we could see?  Are they really still charging this? 

Here’s a good analogy:  Let’s say the government decides to get rid of the GST, but Citywest keeps charging you 6% on each bill as “Goods and services tax” – even years after the government got rid of the GST-- would that be ok? 

That’s basically what they’re doing here.  This used to be a legitimate government fee, but it was dropped a long time ago.

Yes, they are charging that fee.  It is on my September CityWest bill. :imp:


PetroCanada Wireless FAQ:

[quote]Are there any monthly service charges or system access fees to pay?

There are no system access fees with Petro-Canada Mobility.  Currently, a monthly service charge of $0.99 is required across Canada for 911 services and will be deducted automatically from your account balance.[/quote]

Rogers Pay-as-you-go:  no system access fee (though the normal Rogers contracts does have it)

7-11 Wireless:  no system access fee

Fido pay-as-you-go:  adds $6.95 system access fee

Calling zpaperboyz – here’s a nice story for you.

Let’s hear Mr. Brown talk his way out of this one.  Remember Mr. Brown – easy talking points, stay on message, don’t contradict yourself.

I’m thinking I’m going to file a small-claims suit for all the months I paid $6.95 when I didn’t have to…  I was told flat out that it was a government fee and it had to be charged.  If that wasn’t the case (and it appears it isn’t), then I think the $6.95 either needs to be dropped (and refunded to all those who paid it), or it needs to be added to the normal $30 or whatever you pay per month.

hitest, you have a scanner, can you scan that portion of your bill?  Is it listed with the taxes and 911 fee? 

In case you win that small claims lawsuit and they repay everyone back,  are there regulations against the provider raising the rate after a little while? 

Sorry MiG, I don’t have a scanner, but, I do at work methinks:-)

Looking at my bill it says:

Citytel 100      25.00
City of PR 911 Service    .90
CityWest emergency access  .10
System Access Fee    6.95
GST    1.98
Prov Taxes    2.31

Total  37.24

I think it’s deceptive, and it’s a shame that our city-owned company would act like this.

If the cost of a contract is $36.95 then SAY it’s $36.95.  Don’t tell us that it’s $30 + some fee mumble mumble tax you gotta pay mumble government system access fee mumble mumble.  That’s just sleazy, and I know the employees of Citywest are not sleazy – they’re our neighbours and friends.  Why make them into liars? 

Now I’ll bet the first thing that comes out in defence of Citywest is “everybody does it.”  That’s just bullshit.  It’s not true, there are cell companies that do not charge it, and even if everybody else is ok with ripping off their customers, it’s no excuse for OUR OWN COMPANY to do it.

My analogy is a good one, I think:  let’s say the government gets rid of the GST.  Is it ok for Citywest to keep charging it and listing it with the taxes, and just pocketing the money?  I say no, it’s deceptive and sleazy. 

So really, what it should say is “Citytel 100 – $31.95” – that’s the true cost.  Why is $6.95 of the cost separated and put with the taxes?  It gives the impression that this is something that it’s not.  It’s not a tax.

Interesting. :imp:
When I signed on for one year back in June I did see the 6.95 fee, but, didn’t really know why it was there.  So this is an unnecessary cash-grab!  Nice. :imp:

Here is a portion of my Citywest phone bill with the System Access Fee:

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Well, it was many years ago when I first signed up, and I did ask about the fee.  The woman said it was a government fee, not something Citytel (at the time) had any control over.  Turns out it was a complete lie.

I wonder what they tell people these days?  I mean, the $25/month you’re paying is for access to their system isn’t it?  Isn’t that a system access fee as well?

Thanks hoser, that confirms it.

They sandwich it between two LEGITIMATE government taxes.  I wonder why they would do that?  To give the impression that this is also a legitimate government tax.

Oh my… Not good.  :neutral_face:

sorry didnt see other one

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You probably should blur out your phone number, Astrothug :wink:  Or not… do you have free incoming calls like Fido?  Do you want people to call you?  heh

Yours has more colours  :smiley:

damn; thanks Mig thats all I need is all those pissed of people phoning me… blacked out …hope it was not too late… :smiley:

It will be on your Rogers bill
It will be on your Telus bill
Your Virgin bill
Your Bell bill
it’s even on my Solomobile bill
as well as your citywest bill.

And it will be there unless they win that class action suit. Then they’ll name it something else and raise it.
The users out here in Nechako valley also pay $1.00 a month to Rogers, Bell or Telus for “911” access and we don’t get 911 service. I write letters everytime some regional or city rep proposes researching a ‘grant’ so they can deliver it. They’ve been robbing us for 12 years and there’s no way I want my tax money handed to a known thief.

BTW the system access fee is in no way new or original to cell users. Since deregulation in the USA it is charged on your local telephone as well. As well as a fee for 911 access, plus about $1 a month for (forget the name) a ‘fund to help the poor keep their telephones’, (in otherwords the ability to have a phone for only that access fee that costs you everytime it is picked up: that’s called LMS Local Measured Service.
Dial 0 and if you’re lucky you’ll get some disinterested call center person. You have to dial 00 to get a geniune ‘operator’ and they even charge for that.

Not exactly true. 

It’s not on Virgin Mobile.
It’s not on Rogers pay-as-you go.
It’s not on Telus Pay & Talk.
It’s not on 7-11’s service.
It’s not on PetroCanada’s service.
It’s not on SearsConnect’s service.
Solomobile only charges $3.95 for their “screw you” fee.

All of which are cheaper than Citywest, and all of which allow roaming anywhere in Canada for free.  When you add the $6.95 extra-profit-fee that Citywest charges, then those are even cheaper.

Virgin Mobile: “We’re really, really predictable. So we won’t stick you with hidden fees (like System Access Fees or Activation Charges) the way some other phone companies do.”

SearsConnect:  “No Additional Fees! (No Activation fees - No system access fees - No 911 fees)”

Example of a comparison:

Citywest 100 plan.  100 minutes, $31.95.  Roaming outside of Rupert costs extra.
Virgin Mobile.  200 minutes.  $20.00/month (no system access fee).  Roaming anywhere in Canada free.

So like I said, the “everybody else does it” defense is bullshit. 

So when Citywest says “we’re ready to compete” they really mean “we hope people don’t notice that our competition doesn’t charge customers a $6.95 screw you tax.”

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