Rogers says e-mail switch inconvenient but necessary

For Andrew Lauzon, it’s the last straw.

The Toronto-based general manager of upstart label Aperture Music said he is sick of Rogers@Home Internet service, and with the announcement this week that he has to switch his e-mail address, he has decided it’s time to change more than just the information on his business correspondence.

“More than likely I am going to Bell Sympatico,” he said. “I have heard that their service is very good. There are pros and cons to both, but I have had problems with Rogers. My e-mail address has been messing up for a month previous to the connectivity problems I have been having for weeks now. This changing of the e-mail address is it.”

Lauzon said he would have to change his business cards and get in touch with people that he hasn’t contacted in some time. In addition, he would also probably lose some contacts that he has only ever corresponded with by e-mail.

“I have changed my phone number before, but e-mail is something I looked at as a stable form of communication,” he said.

Lauzon is one of more than 400,00 Rogers customers that should have received correspondence from the company in the last few days, stating that the change is part of a goal to “take greater responsibility for the operation and management of the high-speed network.”

Alek Krstajik, the senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Rogers, said the change is also in reaction to some financial instability at another company.

“Rogers made a decision to repatriate certain pieces of the network and this was a move towards ensuring that we had a higher quality customer service aspect,” he said. “Because we didn’t manage all the pieces, at times, it might have been difficult to make changes, so we made a decision that we were going to improve the quality of the service by owning, controlling and maintaining the relevant pieces.”

He continued that the process, started a little over a year ago, was supposed to take upwards of 18 months to execute.

“What created this sense of urgency was the instability of Excite@Home down in Redwood, California,” he said. “We were made aware of that in September when they filed for bankruptcy.”

Krstajik explained that customers can go to the Rogers Web site, where they will find instructions to convert their mail.

Customers who went to complete the transition Thursday, the publicized first day of the project, found a notice that told them to wait until Friday at noon (eastern time) to allow for Rogers to complete all the testing procedures.

“We recognize that it is an inconvenience to customers that they have to change their e-mail address,” Krstajik said. “They wouldn’t want to do it if they didn’t have to. The vast majority are very accommodating.”

He added that Rogers would never do this unless there was a good reason and many of the services will be improved with the change.

“If their mail was, their new mail is,” he said. “Those mailboxes have already been set up and they are off to the races.”

To sweeten what some feel is a sour annoyance, Rogers is also offering daily draws for prizes with a total value of $170,000 to all the customers who have completed the transition.

“I have been around for a while and I have gone through what is referred to as the negative press and we did have some service issues,” he said. “When you look at that, you can chalk them up to a number of things including growing pains. At the end of the day, customers trust the fact that Rogers is doing this because it is in their interest and we don’t ever want to go through service interruptions again.”

Excite@Home, in Redwood City, Calif., is at

Rogers in Toronto is at