Woman Sues Mobile Phone Provider, Because Consolidated Bill 'Revealed' Her Affair

from the first-world-problems dept

Ah, modern technology. Michael Geist points us to the story of a woman in Canada who is suing her mobile phone provider, Rogers, for supposedly “revealing” the fact that she was having an affair. Basically, she had a mobile phone account with Rogers under her maiden name, which she used to have long chats with someone she was having an affair with. Her husband had set up the family’s cable TV service, also from Rogers. At one point, he called Rogers to add internet and home phone service to the account, and Rogers then mailed a “global” bill that included all accounts. In looking over the bill, the husband noticed the long phone calls all to one number, and called it, and got the guy to admit to the affair. Following that, he left the wife.

Now the woman, whose husband walked out, is suing the communications giant for $600,000 for alleged invasion of privacy and breach of contract, the results of which she says have ruined her life.

I don’t know, but I’d have to say that, perhaps, having the affair was the key problem here, rather than the bill. Hell, the husband could have just as easily opened the original mobile phone bill which was sent to the same house. It doesn’t say so, but it seems likely that when the guy called to add services, Rogers asked if he wanted the bills consolidated and the guy just said yes.

Furthermore, the whole thing gets more bizarre later, when the story also claims that the “jilted third-party” later got access to the woman’s voicemail and “harassed” her and “taunted” her (ex-)husband. And, on top of that, the article later notes “the wrongdoing that occurred in 2007 reoccurred” because the phone was still being billed to her husband’s account in 2009. This part is left vague, but, it makes you wonder why two years after her husband had left her, she hadn’t set up separate phone service for herself.

I’m sure it sucks to have all that happen, but it seems like a pretty big stretch to blame your mobile phone provider for the affair you had that caused your spouse to leave you…

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Companies: rogers

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Comments on “Woman Sues Mobile Phone Provider, Because Consolidated Bill 'Revealed' Her Affair”

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Big_Mike (profile) says:

Ex Wife

My ex blames the amount of time I spent on-line for our break up but I think it was the guy she was seeing on the side… I don’t know if I should sue the guy she had on the side or my ISP…

They should make this a game show. All disputes go before a panel like American Idol and the true cases get to move on but the stupid ones get ridiculed. Imagine some one like Simon… “Let me get this strait, You had an affair, Your husband found out about it through a phone bill and now your life is ruined and that is the phone companies fault? Are you a complete idiot or is some of you missing?”

I would watch it… Hell I would sue people to be on TV, oops did I say that out loud?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Makes sense to me

Actually, I was just wondering if this goofy broad had ever seen a Law and Order or CSI episode. How can she not have figured out how to go to a Currency Exchange and buy a throwaway phone?

I know this, when I’m out taggin’ bitches like a chamillionaire, I always call them on my throwaway phone….

Holy Christ, am I ever white….

Kathy (profile) says:

Like it or not...

Like it or not even if what she did was despicable, unless her husbands name was on the mobile account or he had account privileges, it’s likely that her privacy was violated when they gave him the ability to bundle in her account. As a tech/law community we can’t allow our moral outrage to blind us to the legal issues here. I suspect she has a real case here and while I don’t support her actions, I do support her suing them provided it was a completely separate account from him.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Like it or not...

Let’s assume her account was “a completely separate account” from her husband. And let’s assume that despite the “completely separate account” her mobile provider lumped her bill with her husband’s bill.

You suspect that this alleged error violated her privacy and that she has a “real case here.”

My question, what Canadian statute are you relying on? I.e., the statute which states that companies cannot combine bills sent to one household.

Another AC says:

Re: Like it or not...

I tend to agree with the basic logic of your statement. After reading the referenced article, my opinion could go either way. If the original account was in her Maiden name and Rogers did terminate the original account without notice in effort to combine billing, then she will have some ground to stand on(however morally wrong that ground is). If the original account was kept intact and simply added to the combined bill, then her ground will get a little shakier. Either way, there are vows made when you walk into a marriage and an implied sense of sharing EVERYTHING. Regardless of the merits of her suit, she deserves any emotional trauma she has received.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Like it or not...

I’m assuming you fired from the hip here. He consolidated all of his bills into one bill. Logic dictates it was under his name and he got a separate bill for it… but the wife paid for it. So he didn’t bother opening the cell phone bill ever because the wife was taking care of it.

But hey they said “some stuff” and “consolidate all of your bills into one easy payment!” “Hey easy sounds good, errr… go for that? I guess? can i watch TV now?”

Beta says:

Re: Like it or not...

I agree. From my reading of the article, her account was separate from the one he set up, and the only connection between them was the mailing address. Consolidating her account with his was a violation of trust and a breach of privacy, whether Canadian law allows her to sue or not.

(As for the morality of her actions, I don’t see that it’s relevant; even if what she was doing with the account was wrong, that doesn’t excuse Rogers.)

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Like it or not...

Well, if she was married, but she used her maiden name to get the account…isn’t that fraud?

And as I mention below, even if there was a privacy violation (they ARE married, marriage may affect privacy rights), she is asking for $600,000 because of her ruined marriage, but Rogers had nothing to do with her affair.

DCX2 says:

Re: Like it or not...

Well, the marriage makes this whole privacy thing more complicated. But I do sortof agree that perhaps Rogers should have been more careful about consolidating the bill, given the different last names and all.

However…the lady is suing for $600,000. This is probably due to the fact that she’s now divorced. But her divorce is not the fault of Rogers, so Rogers should not be on the hook for that kind of damages.

GregfromCanada says:

Forget the infidelity, this is a red herring

The important thing here isn’t even privacy, its contract law.

The woman had a contract in her name with Rogers, Rogers abused and broke that contract.

I imagine it happened something like this: Either the Rogers agent noticed two accounts with different names at the same address and asked the person he was speaking with if they knew this other account holder or the “husband” initiated the request by saying this person with a different surname was his wife. This was the first breach of contract, giving away personal information of a customer without that costumer’s express permission. In either case the Rogers agent took that information, “thats my wife”?, at face value, and without confirming that this information was true, terminated her contact and created a new contract with her “husband”?.

Now imagine you are a student, or someone else sharing a house, or renting a room in a shared household (which, BTY is a lot of people under 30). Now Rogers notices that there are several people with different names and separate contracts living at the same address and starts asking someone you live with questions about you. What if they say they are your husband or wife? See where this is going?

What if the information the “husband” gleaned from the bill has nothing to do with an affair, but still caused damages? What if they were going to split up and was speaking to an attorney, or the spouse was trying get help escaping an abusive relationship?

If Rogers isn’t taken to task for this breach of contract, then it sets a precedent for all corporations in Ontario; that it’s okay to give their customer’s information to another customer and change their contract without getting their approval.

Just as a side note, if you read the Star article you get this likely overlooked gem:

“After her husband left her and their two children, ages 6 and 7…”

So your wife has an affair and you leave your kids? Some father he is, no wonder she was looking for someone else to love her.

DCX2 says:

Re: Still a red herring...

Step back a moment. Remove the marriage from the scenario. Remove the kids.

Two students, A and B, have accounts with Rogers. B adds some new Internet service, and the bill gets consolidated. A feels that their privacy rights have been infringed, and sues Rogers.

How much in damages do you think A deserves? I doubt the figure you’re generating in your head is in the vicinity of $600,000.

Rogers did not ruin their marriage. That woman ruined her marriage. If her husband was so bad, she should have divorced him before making booty calls. But all of that is beside the point – that woman wants money from Rogers to make up for the marriage that *SHE* ruined. She wants a handout.

jenningsthecat (profile) says:

Re: Forget the infidelity, this is a red herring

I agree too. If the account was indeed in the wife’s name then Rogers had no right to ‘consolidate’ the bills. They screwed up big time, and need to be held accountable.

It seems that Rogers has taken the concept of ‘bundling’ WAY too far. (The Canadians reading this will know what I’m talking about…)


This is how I understand this: The article does say that the account was under HER name (she even used her maiden name). Not his. Rogers wasn’t supposed to combine the TV bill (under his name) and the cell phone bill (under her name) without HER consent. That’s just the law. At least it is here in Canada. Even married, you need to be a proxy to have access to these information. So yes, she does have a case there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

in canada, maiden names are often not changed. further, as the bill was in her name only, the husband should have no rights and no access to it. if she had died in a car crash, they would probably make him jump though hoops before they would allow him access. rogers appears to have screwed up, and the 600k number is pretty small. consider the ny price for a lost pair of pants at a dry cleaner, wasn’t that one 50 million to start?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes but if you don’t change your name, you are still married and as such are combined as a domestic partnership. Take work benefits for instance, or a mortgage, you may have different last names but that marriage puts you under one account.

And lets not bring american lawsuits into this. They’ll sue a person for giving them hot coffee.

Anonymous Coward says:

To all the peeps talking about contract law.

You may be correct, Rodgers may have violated her phone contract. But if that is the case, why is the affair mentioned at all? Violation of a contract is not usually punishable by fines more than double or triple the total value of the contract. So where does $600,000 come from?

Pickle Monger (profile) says:


The main problem here (other than infidelity) is complete disregard for customer care the telcos have in Canada. We have 2(!) major competitors in the market: Rogers and Bell. There are more companies but the ownership is concentrated in the hands of those two companies. They say one thing and do something different. It took me over 12(!!!) hours over the period of 5 months to straighten out the billing with Bell. Nothing beats dealing with Bell Canada but Rogers Communications is not far behind.

Hugh Mann (profile) says:

Seems a straightforward privacy issue

If the woman had a separate account in her own (maiden) name, on whose say-so did Rogers compbine the bills?

Yeah, she may be a two-timing hussy, but her data gets to be just as private as her cuckolded husband’s.

It may very well have been a fairly “honest” mistake on Rogers’ part, but they may have screwed up. What if it were two unrelated roommates, rather than a husband and wife? And I don’t think it really matters that she shouldn’t have been having an affair. What if the calls were all to her doctor or something, and this disclosure resulted exposure of a private medical matter?

I wouldn’t be so quick to blame her and exonerate Rogers.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Seems a straightforward privacy issue

I think the reason so much of the story is focused on her is because the lawsuit isn’t “really” about data privacy. She is suing for lost wages because the “trauma” kept her from working.

I agree, Rogers screwed up big; however, they didn’t make her have an affair, they didn’t make her husband leave her, and they didn’t cause her to lose her job. They made a mistake and possibly violated contract law, Ontario doesn’t even have a privacy law which protects her data (although they should).

Anonymous Coward says:

She definitely won’t get $600,000. If it is found to be a breach of contract/privacy, I could see a settlement ranging of a few hundred to two thousand tops. Rogers could be guilty of a breach of her privacy, but they are in no way responsible for the amount of damage that information did to her life. That was purely her doing, if she didn’t have the affair she’d still be married.

Anonymous Coward says:

This woman may be entitled to a certain amount of restitution owing to the fact that Rogers changed the terms of her contract without her consent, but such restitution would be limited to some small multiple of the total value of the contract. Rogers is only responsible for the change of the contract terms, not the consequences that arose because of it, except to the extent that those consequences are quantifiable. Unless she is provably getting less in a divorce settlement where she otherwise could have gotten more, Rogers might only owe her a few hundred or maybe a couple of thousand… at most.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This has been said before-the value of the contract as a measurement of damages. But under many legal systems, the party that breached the contract is liable for ANY foreseeable damages that arise due to said breach of contract. What kind of damages are foreseeable from the release of arguabley confidential information? It is unclear, but this is why she SHOULD bring this suit-to find out. I am not saying she should win the full $600,000-not enough is known yet. But the issue must be addressed.

Anonymous Coward says:

This doesn’t seem strange at all. The account was under a different name. Just because they live at the same house, that doesn’t mean they should be on the same bill. Without seeing the contract she signed, it is at least POSSIBLE the phone company breached a duty here. Additionally, with regard to the statement ” the husband could have just as easily opened the original mobile phone bill” it should be pointed out that (in some jurisdictions at least – I am not sure about Canada) the husband could not legally open a bill addressed to someone other than himself.

Big_Mike (profile) says:

A lot of you are connecting the two wrongs and saying they should be connected. I crash into you on the road. I am liable for the damages to your car and your health as a result. Would I be liable for the fact that it was discovered through this accident that you were drunk, got a DUI, and that ruined your life?

Sure, if the company did wrong, they should be fined, but 600,000 dollars? remove the adultery problems after, then look at it as a clerical error, what would be the consequences then?

byteme says:

In the US, a spouse whose name is not directly part of an account has no more rights to information than a stranger on the street. AFAIK, most states require a spouse to be on any mortgage undertaken during the marriage and some states may require the same for a car title, but that’s it. Any other accounts do not recognize the bonds of marriage with respect to information access. After all, how could any company know if formerly married individuals recently got divorced?

The harm caused by the breach of contract/privacy should be taken into account. What if they were divorced over abuse and Rogers released the ex-wife’s information to the ex-husband, allowing him to find out her current (previously unknown to him) address? Then he goes to her place and kills her. Should Rogers only be held accountable for a simple “clerical error?”

Again, I’m not condoning her actions and if this hadn’t happened she would likely have been found out some other way. But, Rogers must be held accountable.

On another note, I wonder how many folks, adulterous or not, have cancelled their Rogers accounts for fear that Rogers will be loose with their private information.

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