A St. John’s man is suing Rogers Communications for more than a quarter of a million dollars, claiming a dispute over his bill wound up lowering his credit score and derailed his grandson’s mortgage.
“If you’re to quote me, you’ll have more expletives deleted than words,” Thomas Badcock said Thursday about the lawsuit.
The trouble for Badcock began, he says — in a statement of claim filed with Newfoundland Supreme Court on June 28 — in May 2012, when he asked Rogers to discontinue his cable television, telephone and Internet service, because he was switching to Bell Aliant.
The services were discontinued July 10, 2012 — three days earlier than Badcock wanted, so he asked to have it reconnected. In early August, he received a bill from Rogers for the entire month of July. When he contacted Rogers, he was told there was no end date given when he reconnected July 10, but that his invoice would be amended.
But in September, he received another bill, one with the July balance outstanding and charges for August as well. According to his statement of claim, he was again told the correction would be made, but another bill followed in October, and in November he started receiving calls from a collection agency representing Rogers, looking to collect $227.81.
“The Plaintiff explained to the agency that he did not owe that amount of money to the Defendant but instead was ridiculed for not paying his bills. Calls continued on a daily basis for the next several months,” reads the statement.
In May of this year, Badcock agreed to co-sign a mortgage for his grandson, but was told that because his name had been placed with a collection agency that downgraded his credit score, the mortgage would not be considered until the debt was paid. Last month, he contacted Rogers and threatened to sue unless the matter was resolved.
“After approximately a 30-minute telephone conversation, the defendant admitted the errors and the Plaintiff settled the account paying the defendant $5.73,” reads the statement of claim. A few days later, he received a notice from a collection agency, seeking $227.81 plus $482.51 for equipment that Badcock returned in October.
He says Rogers agreed no money was owed, and that an email would be forwarded showing that the credit bureau would be contacted and advised Badcock was not in arrears — an email that he has not seen yet.
In an email from Rogers spokeswoman Heather Robinson, the company declined to comment on the court case. “Since the matter is currently before the courts, we will not be making any comment,” wrote Robinson.
It’s actually the second time Badcock has sued Rogers — he went back as a customer after a previous similar problem, because Rogers apologized. He settled out of court for a nominal amount then, he says, but he won’t this time.
“I’m just fed up with corporations putting people’s names in for collection with no basis,” he said. And even if he did owe money, he doesn’t think a corporation should be able to send an account to a collection agency — and damage his or her credit rating — without oversight.
“This is morally wrong, it’s legally wrong, it’s constitutionally wrong, it’s every kind of wrong. The only person who should say that I owe money to anyone else and have it published worldwide is a judge. That’s why I’m pursuing this in Supreme Court, and I’m not settling out of court this time. I’m having it come to a head.”
Badcock is suing Rogers for $273,750, the size of the mortgage which he co-signed for his grandson (which was eventually worked out), a figure he says he chose “just to get their attention.” He’s also demanding Rogers take out full-page ads “in every major newspaper in the capital city of every province in Canada” that it will no longer send customer accounts to collection agencies without due process.
“My name remains with a collection agency. Even after I prepared this suit, I’m still trying to get someone to acknowledge that I owe them no money, and to get them to remove my name from the collection agency has not been done,” he said.
Badcock isn’t a stranger to the legal system, having had a lengthy courtroom tangle with Eastern Health over parking fees. Badcock, a cancer patient, went to court to argue that parking fees at hospitals should be illegal, a case that was thrown out in February.