Rogers outages stop B.C. residents from making payments on food, festivals, ferries — and taxes

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From local tax bills to family groceries, ferry tickets to music festival merchandise, British Columbians across the province felt the sting of countrywide Rogers network outages on Friday.

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The sweeping Rogers network failure began in the early hours of Friday morning and hampered a wide variety of services.

In a statement issued around 7:30 p.m. Friday, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri said the company was making “meaningful progress” toward fixing its networks. But he could not give a timeline for when their services “will be fully restored,” he said.

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“Today we let you down,” he wrote. “We can and will do better.”

For Vancouver single mother Nicole Van Der Wyst, not only did she lose cell phone service like many Canadians — but she was also unable to buy groceries to feed her 10-year-old son on Friday. 

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When she lined up with her macaroni and cheese, strawberries and other food for her son, she was dismayed to find she had no way to pay, she said.

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“I rang everything through and tapped my card — it doesn’t work,” she said. 

The bank machine in the store didn’t work either, because it required the Roger network as well.

“No matter what I needed to do today, I could not access any money, at all,” she said. “So I got on transit, and I’m lucky I had money on my Compass card, otherwise I would have been stranded.”

Additionally, many financial websites require two-step authentication to a phone number, she said — many of which were down Friday too.

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“This hugely affects those of us who can’t buy food or medication and who don’t have access to other ways of purchasing these things,” she said.

“Some people say technology makes everybody’s lives better, but this is a perfect example of how technology makes things convenient — [but] it doesn’t necessarily make them better, in many ways.”

She said she wants to see Canada look more critically at how much influence big telecom firms have over our day-to-day lives, and although it’s complicated, more competition and fewer corporate mergers might have minimized Friday’s disruptions.

‘I don’t have any way of paying’

Also among those impacted is Surrey’s FVDED in the Park Festival, which advised attendees to print or save their tickets to their devices before arriving.

But after entering, fans at the popular electronic music festival found themselves unable to use their debit cards inside to buy food, drinks or merchandise for hours Friday — and many vendors inside saw long lineups as a result.

It came after the festival announced it was going cash-free this year, meaning only credit cards would work for those who had them on Friday.

“They just did it cashless yesterday and debit went down, and all they’re accepting is credit — but I don’t have a credit card,” said Megan Morton, who had her tickets reserved for two years. “They can’t get any of my money, and I can’t get my food or merchandise.

“Because they’re cash-free, I don’t have any way of paying.”

The festival’s organizers could not be reached by time of publication, but said on Facebook all merchants inside would take credit cards, or people could exchange cash for gift vouchers on site.

“I’ve been affected a lot, because I’m with Fido,” said attendee Sheryl Chicksi, whose phone carrier is owned by Rogers. “There’s no debit machines working in FVDED.

Interac debit and e-transfer services are offline in many locations across Canada. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Services disrupted

Some B.C. residents were warned they may be unable to pay their property taxes because of the massive telecommunications outage.

The city of Prince George posted a message informing residents they cannot accept payments via credit or debit card due to the outage. While the due date for property taxes is July 4 in many B.C. municipalities, in Prince George, it’s July 8.

E-Comm, which provides 911 services, said its services were functioning but warned that customers who use the Rogers network or those of its subsidaries and affiliates may be unable to connect for emergency calls.

In Metro Vancouver, TransLink informed riders they are unable to pay for transit or other services using debit, but credit and cash payments are still being accepted.

B.C. Ferries issued a travel advisory stating that there are service disruptions on all terminal and vessel debit, credit and ATM machines.





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