Let’s Play Judge Judy

Maybe you’ve been following this story? A Toronto woman is suing her cell phone provider for the break-up of her marriage.

But wait, there’s more.

The woman, Gabriella Nagy, contracted with the cell phone company, Rogers, to provide her with a cell phone in her maiden name and have the bills sent to her under that name. She paid that bill herself. The cable bill, also from Rogers, was sent to the same address but in the husband’s name. The husband paid the cable bill.

One day, the family added internet and home phone services from Rogers. Rogers claims they “were informed that Ms. Nagy and her husband wished to have all services consolidated onto a single bill when the couple called to add additional services to their account.”

Gabriella Nagy, of course, says she was never consulted about having her cell phone bill absorbed with the other bills and that she would certainly never have agreed to have her cell phone bill consolidated with the other Rogers bills.

Because, Gabriella was having an affair.

And when her husband opened the first consolidated Rogers bill, he saw hours-long conversations to one particular number and got suspicious. He called the number and asked the person at the other end if they were having an affair with his wife. The person said yes and the husband immediately left the home and filed for divorce.

Poor Gabriella was so stressed by all this that she became clinically depressed and could no longer function at work and was fired from her $100,000 per year job.

She filed a suit against Rogers alleging the company:

Unilaterally terminated its cellular contract with the plaintiff that had been in her maiden name and included it in the husband’s account that was under his surname.

 and that

The plaintiff’s maiden name and the husband’s surname were different. Such unilateral action by the defendant was done without the knowledge, information, belief, acquiescence or approval of the plaintiff

Gabriella Nagy wants $600,000 from Rogers.

Rogers says it can’t be held responsible for “the marriage breakup and its effects” because they would have  “would have happened, regardless of the form in which the plaintiff and her husband received their invoices for Rogers services.”

Who’s right and why? Would you award Gabriella Nagy the $600,000 or would you dismiss this case? (Please do not use any hate you have for Rogers, or cell phone providers in general, influence your judgement.)


63 responses to “Let’s Play Judge Judy

  1. Well, if you omit the outcome, would someone be entitled to a settlement based on a company consolidating a household’s accounts without one of the person’s expressed permission (assuming that was the case)? While Rogers has no way of knowing what would have happened to the marriage had the affair been revealed in a different manner, I find it difficult to hold Rogers accountable for the events that occurred because of Ms Nagy’s actions. It’s pretty clear she understood her actions would not have been well received by her husband.

  2. I am laughing over here. I read this story yesterday, and I was just thinking that this would be *exactly* the sort of thing you’d write about on your blog. I was thinking of forwarding it to you.

    I don’t think that Gabriella deserves a penny, but I do think that it was wrong of Rogers to bundle Gabriella’s phone billing in with her hubby’s cable/internet/home phone at his request (I got that from the story). He shouldn’t be able to request her phone bills. That being said, I’m sure he didn’t intend to do that. In fact, I’m sure it probably went down something like this.

    Husband: I’d like to get the internet/cable/home phone bundle with you guys as well as my cellphone.

    Mindless Rogers drone: OK, address please?

    Husband: 123 Whatever St., Toronto, Mk5 6h7.

    Mindless Rogers Drone: You already have cellphone service with us, correct?

    Husband: Yeah.

    MRd: Do you just want all the services at this address rolled into one bill?

    Husband: Yeah, makes sense.

    And then the MRd just hooked all the services at the address into one bill without checking to see if the names on the cellphone accts were different.

    Rogers was careless, not malicious. She probably deserves an apology and maybe some free cell minutes from Rogers, but $600,000? I think not.

    If you screw around on your spouse, you’re taking the chance on getting found out, whether it’s by cell bill, or someone seeing you and your paramour at a restaurant. Rogers shouldn’t be paying for something that resulted from her bad behaviour.

  3. I view this story as more as another notice to people that our actions are no longer private.

    I also find it humorous that she had an affair, is mad at Roger’s for her husband finding out, but now has her name in the news by filing her lawsuit.
    Really, what’s worse. Her husband finding out or all of Canada knowing what she did?

  4. Anon & Alison – She’s not suing Rogers because her marriage broke up — she’s suing them for breach of contract and violation of privacy. And I think she has a case. Forget about what happened as a result of all this. The fact is that she had a cell phone in her name and they sent her bill to someone other than the person in whose name the cell phone is. They can’t just assume because people are living at the same address they should bundle their bills all together. I think there’s a lot of personal and ostensibly confidential information that can be gleaned from someone’s utility bill and the company should ensure that those bills are going only to the people with whom they have a contract for that utility.

  5. Glen – I guess I’m looking at this story differently. Her affair and her marital problems and her unemployment issues I don’t care about. I don’t have to like her or what she’s done or is doing to still think that Rogers screwed up by assuming because the husband wanted to bundle up all his services that this would include a cell phone under someone else’s name just because they have the same address.

  6. Of course most of the readers of your blog being with it modern types will be unaware of the fact that a generation ago most women couldn’t get a loan without a man co signing and that it was just assumed that the man of the hose would be in control of all decisions dealing with the outside world. When I first heard this I thought as others have, “stupid twit why call on a cell phone and leave the bill around for hubby to read” Then later realized that she had in fact taken some care to keep her bill to herself and Rogers had swapped her bill to another name without her approval. Rogers is at fault here for not treating her as the autonomous person she is and lumping her in with her soon to be ex husband. By the way if my cell phone company wants to send my bill to another party without my permission for them to pay it that’s alright by me.

  7. Well I have no hate for Rogers, I don’t even have a cell phone and I’ll remember not to get one if I’m thinking of having an affair. Though I’m sure cell phones have made the whole thing easier. But I digress…

    I don’t see why Rogers should pay her. Obviously it was wrong to consolidate all the bills without her consent – though from what I’ve heard from people, providers often do that without your consent. She maybe should have thought of that before using the same phone company as her other services.

    Obviously, she knew the shit would hit the fan if her husband saw her cell bill. So it was up to her to make sure he didn’t. Have it sent to her office or change providers.

    She’s obviously not cut out to be having affairs.

  8. I am siding with the woman on this one. It seems that Rogers has breached her privacy, and as a result she has lost everything. If it’s all true, I think she deserves the money.

  9. But on the other hand, discounting the whole situation, legally speaking, she probably does have a case.

    I mean, they could simply have been roommates and I wouldn’t necessarily want my roommate to know who I’m phoning.

  10. Just a thought…perhaps she should take it further and consider sueing the director/producers of the movie “Unfaithful” for $500,007.42 since I suspect that film brainwashed her to cheat on her husband.

  11. I think we are starting to gain on the States in the litigation arena.

    I remember back in the 80s, my friend was routinely receiving the phone bill of another David M. Walker. The only way he knew it was the wrong bill was that he didn’t recognize the long-distance numbers he’d supposedly called. But nobody thought about suing anybody. He just called up and got the confusion sorted out. He accepted Bell Canada’s apology and went on his way. Why is everyone so quick to sue these days?

  12. This, in my view, is a frivolous lawsuit.

    As a result of a phone company error, she was caught doing something willfully wrong.

    The consequences that resulted are because of decisions and choices that she made.

    Leaving the phone company out of the picture, the same consequences would have likely occurred if the husband had stumbled across her phone bill or grown suspicious for any number of other reasons.

    She needs to take responsibility for the consequences of her own actions and move on with her life.

  13. Dave1949 – Exactly. Thank you for getting it and seeing beyond the fact that she cheated on her husband, which automatically makes her an unsympathetic hussy who should be wearing a big, red “A” on her shirt from now on.

    Dr. Monkey – What if your phone company decided to send your phone bill to the neighbour across the street because you both live on Wysteria Lane and your neighbour Jazz – decided to call everyone on your call list and started harassing them in your name or something. Wouldn’t you be tempted to kick that phone company’s ass?

    Jazz – So we should blithely accept that people we contract some rather personal and private information with have the right to do whatever they want with that information? Maybe they’ll sell your address to advertisers? Maybe they’ll sell your identity to people who need new ones? Okay, that’s far-fetched, but the basic point is that we expect these people to keep our personal information private and when they don’t they should be held accountable. As you say, they could have just been roommates. Or neighbours.

    Finola – I agree. Even if she had lost nothing. Even if her phone bill didn’t incriminate her, Rogers had no business wiping out her personal account and blending it with her husband’s. It’s so Neanderthal.

    MM – Are you being facetious? Tsk. Tsk. I thought we were way past the time when wives were considered chattel of their husbands and that what was hers was his and that women had no expectation of privacy if they were married.

    Alison – Maybe. But what would you do in her shoes? Just slink off into the sunset with your adulterous tail tucked between your legs and try to put your life back together? Rogers fucked up and they need to be held to account. $600,000 even seems like a fairly reasonable amount of money.

    Mike – The lawsuit isn’t about her infidelity. It’s about Rogers running roughshod over the contract they had with her. She’s not her husband’s property. Just because he calls up and asks for a consolidated bill, they have no business assuming that the little woman’s cell phone will be included in that. It was in HER name – not his. Morally, sure she messed up and would maybe have wrecked her marriage somewhere along the line anyway. But legally, what sticks in my craw is exactly what Dave1949 said – this cell phone client deserved to have her contract honoured, not arbitrarily nullified because Rogers assumed her man would be looking after her from now on. It’s amazing to me that so many people support Rogers on this, I thought it would be the opposite.

  14. This is not at all a frivolous lawsuit. Some friends of mine moved after living in the same house for a dozen years or so. When they called Bell to have the phone number transferred to their new house, they discovered that Bell had disconnected it on the say-so of the new owners, who hadn’t yet taken possession of the house–and who certainly weren’t the account holders! This took a lot of work for my friends to sort out.

    The woman in the story is responsible for her divorce by having an affair, but that doesn’t exonerate Rogers from changing her account without her permission.

    – RG>

  15. They had two clients a Ms Nagy and another person. Without consulting with both clients they are liable for the damage done..

    Find for the plaintiff.

    What if Ms Nagy had been an abused wife and set up this cell phone account to arrange leaving her husband in a safe manner (as advised by many women’s shelters) and instead of finding out about an affair, found out she was planning on leaving.? Instead of filing for divorce he killed her?

    I believe the precedent set in a case like this is very very important.

    Women should not be absorbed by their husbands simply because they share the same domicile.

  16. Grouchy – You know, if these companies didn’t have such friggin’ complicated billing systems to begin with they might not cause themselves so many damn problems. I can’t even being to tell you how many times I’ve had to call my cell company to straighten out yet another mess on my bill. Add-ons, bundles, packages, shared time, weekend time, incoming, outgoing, system access, unlimited, limited, per per use, etc., etc. Just give me one price and include everything I need to make my phone do what it was designed to do. How difficult is that?

    Mudmama – An excellent analogy and I totally agree. I’m just completely astonished that so many people don’t see this. I hope they do a follow-up story on this case because I’d love to see how it turns out.

  17. Rogers messed and should be accountable. I don’t agree with what she did (but we don’t know all the details), and I don’t approve of being lawsuit crazy, but like others have pointed out, it does set a precedent. It makes it way to easy for people to access information that is not meant for them if they rule in Rogers favour.

  18. She is partly the author of her own misfortune, as the legal texts might put it. I’m not sure that a judge would find her expectation that Rogers would enable her bad behaviour, compelling.

    And arbitrarily and unilaterally changing a contract without consulting all the relevant parties? I’m not saying it’s right, but internet and cell phone companies do that constantly. They’ve set ample precedent that they’re not to be trusted.

    But the story also points out a potential danger of our increasingly cross-linked data and databases. It’s become incredibly powerful, hence way too easy to do that kind of stuff, with the best of lame-assed-ill-considered good intentions, or carelessly, or maliciously. Coupla keystrokes by someone you’ll never know can screw you.

    Sorta like, say, what Facebook does every time they unilaterally drop your digital drawers a little further for you, without asking…

  19. So, leaving aside the whole moral morass of the infidelity and the divorce, you’re saying that Rogers should fork over $600,000 for violating her privacy? How much should my friend have got from Bell Canada for them sending another guy his bill and sending the other guy’s bill to him? $50, 000? $100,000? Because if you strip away the details, it’s exactly the same thing: a bill for one person’s account was sent to another person.

    Should I sue Canada Post because one of my Hydro One bills was put in the wrong post office box, and the person who had that box assumed it was their bill and opened it before realizing the mistake? All that data on my electricity usage in The Wrong Hands!!! Oh the tragedy. The bill was returned to me with an apology and an explanation. Maybe I should sue the person who opened it as well as the staff at the Post Office.

    I hardly think that Gabriella’s case was a case of paternalism and women as chattels. It looks to me like a stupid, simple mistake. I did say previously I did think Rogers is at fault, but I still don’t think she’s entitled to that much money.

  20. I was writing about her expectation of privacy when I realized that I get my own cell phone bill, addressed to me in my own name, and my husband never looks at it because it’s not his bill, even though he could, if he wanted to, open the envelope and check it out. It would be interesting to look up what sort of precedents there are for this case. But I am busy with other things now, sorry. However, I do recall from torts class (back in the mists of time) that it was no defence to say that the consequences were unintended or could not be anticipated. If you struck a hockey player and he died because he had a hidden but pre-existing condition, you would still be responsible for his death, even though normally, no one else would have died from such a blow. You take your victim as you find them.

  21. One of the nice thing about the law is that it completely leaves out the emotions out of a situation. The law is that there is a contract, Rogers terminated this contract without her express authorization and therefore is liable to her. The fact that it ended her marriage is irrelevant.

    So, yes, Rogers SHOULD compensate her but probably NOT to that extent. I’ll leave it to the judge to determine the award. Then she can use the money to start fresh in another city.

    On the other hand, I would also let the plaintiff knows that having a cell phone bill in her name and sent to her home address is pretty darn stupid. Having it sent to her work is also tricky. A PO box is much safer…

  22. Julia – I don’t think the weak skull principle applies here. I don’t think Rogers is responsible for the breakup of her marriage, just the breach of privacy.

    As for whether breach of privacy is worth $600,000, I don’t think it is either, but you always go into a lawsuit seeking as high damages as possible, because they’re easily lowered, but almost never increased. As Sylvie said, leave it to the judge to decide the damage.

    alison – this isn’t the same as your CP example. Unless the person who received your Hydro bill then called Ottawa Hydro and got them to put your account in their name.

    coyote – Yes, cell providers change contracts unilaterally all the time, but unilaterally transferring the account (i.e. the contractee) is a bit of a stretch. Presumably, they could transfer the account over to one of their lackeys, who then ‘authorizes’ a bunch of extra features, then transfer it back to your name to pay for them. (I hope I didn’t just give them any ideas…)

    – RG>

  23. Meanie – Ya, we’re not here to judge this woman’s morals or her marriage, even though Rogers is trying to make the case about that instead of fessing up that they screwed up big time.

    Coyote – You’ll note that her lawsuit doesn’t really say anything about misfortune. She’s not even asking for damages for pain and suffering. She (or her lawyer) are smart enough to just make this about the privacy issue. It gives me the willies that they just lumped this woman in with her husband like that.

    Alison – Holy heck. I’m usually lucky if I can get you to comment once every couple of weeks and here you are 3 times in one day. Hot diggity! I don’t think it was a mistake in the way that a bill accidentally gets sent to the wrong address. And I don’t even think the husband ever expected that when he said “yes, bundle all my Rogers bills into one consolidated bill” that Rogers would then decide, all on their own that they might as well stick this other bill, belonging to a completely different person, into his bill, too. They made the decision that they would take his wife’s bill and combine it with his bills. It’s not the same as mixing up an address. It’s making a dangerous assumption on Rogers part. Did you read Mudmama’s example of how this precedent could be harmful?

    Julia – Thanks. It’s interesting that her suit isn’t about the consequences of the action at all, however. She seems to be focussing only on the privacy thing. Which I think is smart on her part. It keeps all that messy extramarital stuff out of it.

    Sylvie – It’s so difficult for people to make that separation. Just like when they debate capital punishment and inevitably ask “Oh ya, what if some guy came and tortured and killed your child? Wouldn’t you want him killed, too?” As if that were a legal argument. Yes, this situation is getting all tangled up with her messy personal life, but I think the basic law suit is important and I hope she does get all the money she asks for, if for no other reason than it might make other utility companies take their responsibilities to their clients a little more seriously. (btw – as Julia says, it’s perfectly reasonable for a married couple to have separate mail that the other doesn’t touch. I don’t suppose Gabriella got this cell phone just so she could have an affair. She probably had it for ages and her husband never opened her bill and had no reason to, so she’d have no reason to think he ever would.)

    Grouchy – As I said to Sylvie, I think Rogers should be fined the max in order to send a message to other providers to take their client privacy issues seriously and to stop fucking around with us generally.

  24. The company was careless, but the woman was stupid and careless. They should just hire her at her old salary. Seems like a good match.

  25. I have a burning hatred for cell phone companies across the board. My particular situation was sort of the opposite to this woman’s in that it turns out that you can walk into a BELL MOBILITY store buy a phone and attach it to SOMEONE ELSE’S BILL without them even asking. (and yes I swear this is the truth as it was done to me – 5 times) It would have been less bizarre if we were all french but thats another story.
    Part of what I have read about this story is that the man with whom she was having an affair – AFTER the affair had ended had successfully called ROGERS to access her voicemail, and began to leave her many defamatory messages. IF in fact this was true (and we have only heard one side of the story here) this is a CLEAR violation of her privacy and in my mind – criminal. The phone companies and their security is suspect at best.
    Oh and just so that you know my issue with Bell Mobility took some 4 months to resolve as – GET THIS – while someone else could just add their phone to MY bill I was not allowed to terminate their service. THEY had to terminate the service and request to remove it from MY bill.
    Farking cell phone companies.

  26. Lebowski – there totally needs to be a free legal service for suing cell phone companies (who, as I’ve recently declared on my blog, are all a bunch of fucks.)

    – RG>

  27. I think even Judge Judy would want to see the actual contract before rendering a verdict. Who knows, maybe there is something in the contract which protects rogers from claims of woes caused the customer when using the service. Perhaps there is a clause allowing Rogers to terminate the contract. I use a pay as you go plan on my cell. I have no idea what contractual relationship exists between myself and my cell phone provider.

    However, from the purely common sense part of the equation, the plaintiff’s actions caused her marital problems. Rogers seems to have only been the messenger. We all know it doesn’t make any sense to shoot the messenger. 🙂

  28. Maybe her biggest problem wasn’t the phone bill, maybe her bigger problem was the affair.

    And I’m all for blaming Rogers.

    If you make abstraction of the affair, the accounts got all messed up. (Assuming that they did.) Rogers should absorb any cost related to their fuck up like late charges, maybe throw in a free month or something.

  29. I agree that there is some merit to the case, but I think the damages claimed are excessive. Chances are the affair would eventually have been discovered in some other way.

  30. Her suit is about the consequences which is why she is claiming so much. Normally, breach of contract damages are about putting the person back in the position where they would have been if the contract had not been breached. If the marriage had not broken up, her only damages would have been about the loss of privacy. What is that worth? That’s why you need precedents. I don’t know what those precedents are.

    In fact, do we even know if the contract said anything about privacy? Is it an implied term, that Rogers will keep your information private? Check out privacy laws here.

  31. I find it intriguing how easily Rogers was able to accomplish this ‘bundling of services’, what with all the secret passwords and PINs needed just to talk to someone about your account and the fact that if I talk to one CSR regarding my home phone, I am then transferred or directed to call another number for my cellphone issues.

    And then, there is the interesting fact that this all happened 3 years ago! As in any kind of bargaining, one always starts way too high. She is now asking for double her annual salary for each year off the job she lost. If she really is only concerned about the breach of privacy, why wait so long?

  32. Quick question, has anyone reading this blog ever read their complete cell phone contract ?

    The fact rogers was able to bundle the woman’s cell account easily together with the other services at the same address suggests (to me) there was another link besides the address. Otherwise students living at the same address would be having this same problem constantly. Or maybe they do, can anyone comment ?

  33. ocdriver – Generally no, and that’s why (a) those types of stupid clauses are generally stricken when this type of dispute gets to court, and (b) there are privacy laws to protect the privacy of companies’ customers.

    I did read my contract, and Bell Mobility still found a way to outright lie to me and screw me over.

    – RG>

  34. Geewits – Ha ha – that sounds like a perfect solution!

    Lebowski – That’s insane. I’m telling you, the real problem in all of this is the incredibly complicated billing systems these companies have. They figured they’d charge for every stupid little thing separately, then create a bunch of weird bundles, none of which include the thing you actually want so that you have to buy add-ons, then add a bunch of other stuff like SAFs which no one understands — then clients will pay tons of money and they won’t know why. Meanwhile the whole mess outfoxes even the companies themselves who no longer seem to have a clue what they’re doing.

    Grouchy – see above

    OC – I’m gonna assume her lawyer read the contract and figures he has a case.

    Nat – Ya, she seems to have a lot of problems beyond the fact that she was willing to use Rogers for every communications device in her home. I somehow thought you’d be willing to blame Rogers.

    Milan – She’s not really suing for emotional suffering or anything, just for the privacy breach. I think the protocol is to ask for more than you think you’re going to get so that you’ll get what you really need.

    Julia – If we’re talking about consequences then we also have to include the loss of her job and income; her declining mental health and the persistent harassment by her erstwhile lover – I’m not sure what that’s all about.

    Violetsky – I know, eh? I was thinking the same thing. I’ve had them refuse to talk to me because I couldn’t remember some secret password from 4 years ago. I think the fact that it happened 3 years ago is just because it takes this bloody long to get the legal wheels rolling.

    Grouchy – We need more competition in this field. Right now these 3 have the market cornered and all offer the same crap for the same high rates in exactly the same way. Wait until you quit Bell. Then they send you cute letters and postcards every couple of weeks with sad puppies on them and stuff, telling you they miss you and begging you to come back — offering all sorts. It’s pathetic. And costly, I imagine.

  35. XUP – Agreed, and it would be cheaper for me to switch to Wind Mobile (the new kid on the block) if it weren’t for Bell’s $20/month penalty to cancel before the end of my contract.

    The thing that got me was that the contract lists the name of the plan, but not what that plan entails. Not to be outsmarted, I had the guy write out exactly what the plan meant (so many minutes, free evenings and weekends, no system access fee, etc.). Then, when they charged me the System Access Fee anyway, their excuse was that he didn’t write it on *their* copy of the contract!

    There’s a couple of us legalese-hating luddites who are starting a StyroPhone service. We can run a string to your place if you like, but you’ll have to provide the plastic cup.

    – RG>

  36. Grouchy – Oh sure, and that’s how it starts. I have to buy my own plastic cup (or maybe YOU’LL provide one for free if I sign a 3-year contract, eh?) Then you’ll charge a string-knotting fee so the string won’t slip out of the cup. Then I have to pay extra for any length of string over 6 inches that I need. Then you’ll charge me for assembling the string and cup even though I’m not allowed to do it myself or even get a friend to do it for me or I’ll forfeit the string. And that’s it — unless I actually use the system. Then I have to pay an additional condensation fee because my breath is liable to steam up the cup. Where does it end?

  37. Grouchy – There’s also Virgin. Do they belong to anyone yet? They have some good deals and they’re a little more “proven” than Wind.

  38. Virgin piggy-backs on somebody else’s network (I think Bell’s), though they’re not a subsidiary like Fido is to Rogers. Wind, on the other hand, has its own cell towers.

    We only provide the cup if you order the two girls.

    – RG>

  39. Grouchy – Two girls? Exactly what kind of cup are we talking about here, anyway? I wonder why The Source, who used to be all about Rogers is now all about Virgin and frowns darkly whenever they’re asked about the dissolution of the relationship?

  40. XUP wrote:
    ” I’m gonna assume her lawyer read the contract and figures he has a case. ”

    Well then, in that case, I will assume her lawyer is correct then say guilty as charged, however the damages requested are outrageously high and a product of the customers actions. Most likely she would have been caught eventually, if it was only a case of her husband opening her mail once by accident. If she had not been having an affair their would have been no problem. Thus I’ll go with a cash award of $1.00 to the plaintiff.

  41. I think she should not be awarded a penny because if she was we would never be able to use the phrase: Cheaters never prosper.

  42. Realgrouchy – you’re sick. 😀
    Actually my only disappointment with this whole debacle is that they printed her married name and not her maiden name. I wouldn’t mind a “kick at her can” in y’all know what I mean! LOL! Hey we know she likes it right?

    The long and short of this case is that there IS a monetary loss – irrelevant that it was an affair – what is she was a big time executive and that her husband worked for a competitor? A phone call trace would easily disclose LOTS of information. In that situation the fact that he was able to access what is obviously private records of her phone calls is the issue. The penalty could have been much greater.
    These companies have to stop “streamlining” billing for their OWN good – or pass on real saving to the customers after explaining the downside of a “bulk bill”.
    Oh something that I forgot to mention…. the final end result of my last issue with Bell, Bell Mobility etc…..
    Bell finally did bend to my wishes and I demanded restitution. They gave me 3 months of free long distance (after looking at my cell phone bill) deal for them right?
    There is a guy in Thailand that I talked to for hours on end as well as Japan, England, Germany, B.C., Columbia…. I did get a call accusing me of abusing the privilege but I told them to kindly fuggoff.

  43. XUP – ask Lebowski about the girls/cup reference.

    As for the Source, they were recently bought by BCE or one of those related companies, which would cause a conflict to sell a competitor’s phones. Now they’ve got Bell Mobility and Virgin Wireless (the latter of which uses the network of the former).

    – RG>

  44. Oh, and Cedarflame, I think you should write that “never” phrase down on a piece of paper, then burn it. Are you seriously saying that if you were to, say, cheat at a friendly poker game at age 20, then you should never be eligible for restitution if someone were to t-bone your car and make you lose a couple limbs at age 40, because you are–by virtue of having cheated once in your life–a “cheater”?

    Guess what, cheaters can be wronged too. And Rogers cheated and they shouldn’t prosper either.

    – RG>

  45. I don’t know-I’m just surprised she was so depressed that she couldn’t work. Why was she having the affair anyway? Obviously her marriage wasn’t that good. I’m not sure who I’d back in this case. I sort of see both sides. I think legally she should win her case when it comes down to it.

  46. OC – You’re not understanding what the case is even about. If you read through some of the comments, you’ll see I’ve addressed this several times.

    Cedar – Yes, because that would make an excellent legal precedent.

    Lebowski – (Have you seen her photo?) I don’t much care about this particular plaintiff, but it would be nice to get a precedent in place that says these companies can’t play fast and loose with your personal information. And, I think the fine at $600,000 is maybe just enough to get them to pay attention. Any less would be a drop in the bucket to them.

    Grouchy – I’m afraid to ask Lebowski stuff like that. And thanks for the skinny on the fatties.

    Linda – Absolutely. We may not like her or what she did, but what Rogers did should not be sloughed off lightly.

  47. I agree that Rogers shouldn’t be bundling bills together without the appropriate permissions, so if they in fact did consolidate them without her permission, there should be a penalty – although possibly not $600,000. However, at this point we just have her side of the story, and it is entirely possible that she’s remembering the facts in a way that benefits her. (For example, was her husband actually the one who called in to Rogers or did she do it?)

  48. I agree with you XUP. I don’t know Rogers’ side, but one thing I could imagine is that they may offer bills that do not print out the numbers. I’m with Telus and I don’t have the numbers printed anymore – that’s just how they do it. So if I had something to hide I would take the billing option that was either paperless or one that didn’t print the numbers. So if Rogers has that available and she didn’t take that, then I’d say she still has a good case, but maybe lesser damages. I’m just saying…

  49. Colette – Since the bill is in the husband’s name, I presume he was the one who had to call in to make the arrangements. That’s part of the craziness. You can’t call in and change a contract unless you’re the person whose name is on the contract.

    Jamine – I think she used her cell phone for work, too, which is why she got it billed to her in the first place. Itemizing the numbers perhaps was a way of keeping track of work calls vs personal calls. I know that’s what they do with our work cells.

  50. Of course don’t forget XUP that itemizing the invoice also lets you double check on if you are getting screwed by the cell phone company. Another reason that itemized billing is NOT the default position of the companies.

  51. XUP wrote:
    OC – You’re not understanding what the case is even about. If you read through some of the comments, you’ll see I’ve addressed this several times.
    I understand you want to view this as a privacy issue, HOWEVER, we don’t have any proof Rogers did anything inappropriate, only the claim of Mrs. Adultery. I confess, I did find your parallel example story interesting (the woman leaving her abusive husband), yet I would expect an assessment of damages to take into account the actions of the plaintiff. Thus I say the plaintiff should not be able collect as her own actions were the cause of her injury. I’m being very precise when I state: Rogers actions, assuming they did violate a contact, are not the cause of her damages. Her choice to have an affair caused the damages. Rogers messing with the bill may have revealed the situation, but they didn’t do anything which would cause the damages.
    Otherwise, she could sue “me” if I squealed on her and told her husband she was having an affair.
    The privacy issue is a separate and distinct matter, IMHO.

  52. Oc she couldn’t sue you if you ratted her out to her husband unless you had some sort of relationship which forbid you telling him such as being her therapist. Rogers sent her bill to her husband and that was the cause of the problem. Rogers has no right to send your bill to someone else and if they do that, and it ends up costing you then they may be liable. Now it is true that we have only heard her side of this so far but if that is actually what happened then Rogers is at fault. The fact of her committing adultery or not is entirely beside the point no matter how much it might offend you

  53. Right now, we’re really only hearing her side of the story, which, it’s fair to say, is likely biased. She has a lot to gain and nothing to lose.

    As a Rogers customer whose wife uses her maiden name, I have personal experience in this issue.

    Having amalgamated our phones and internet onto 1 bill, I can state unequivocally that it was a pain in the ass. I couldn’t just call up and do it. Squidette had to authorize adding her phone to the bill even though it was being billed to the same residential, non-apartment address. It involved multiple phone calls to get done.

    I suspect that records will show she authorized the change at some point. Even if they don’t, the fact that they were married and living at the same address is going to weigh against her. Perhaps a family lawyer reads this blog, and can weigh in, but I’m pretty sure that in a marriage, bills are considered communal property. Thus, no privacy was violated because there is no expectation of privacy.

    She’s going to have to prove damages resulting from the error, which will be nearly impossible in a civil court. Rogers will argue that because she was having an affair it is highly likely that the events would otherwise have unfolded as they did even without the phone issue. They will have mountains of research on their side. They’re going to argue that having the bills sent to her house where her husband lived gave her husband access to them anyway and thus there was no realistic expectation of privacy. It will be shown that her problems are wholly her own fault because her problems are, in fact, wholly her own fault.

    I hope Rogers fights it to the end.

    My guess is that if it goes to court, the judge tosses it out and assesses costs against her, but Rogers will refuse the costs to be nice. That’s my prediction.

    I would also say that if the roles were reversed and it was the cheating husband who was caught, it wouldn’t even have made local news. If it did somehow make the news, people would all be saying “scumbag, I hope she got him for everything he had”

    Why is it different because it’s a woman?

  54. Squid – It’s not different to me. And I agree that she shouldn’t have been screwing around and that wrecking her marriage is all down to her. And while Rogers may have made you jump through hoops to switch your billing, I’m thinking in this case someone screwed up and just arbitrarily lumped the wife’s bill in with the husband’s bills. That was a bad mistake, I think. If the bill had been under her married name, perhaps not so much, but since it was under a completely different name, they had no business making assumptions like that. There could be a lot of reasons why a wife has a separate cell phone — for work, for instance where there may be confidential information involved. Or as Mudmama said, an abused wife is usually told to get herself a bank account and cell phone before leaving the home. In either case the husband should not be privy to that information. Two people could also be living at the same address, but have no relationship other than that of roomates. And yes, I think if you contract with a company who asks for personal information from you that you should be able to expect that that information is kept private and not distributed to whomever they think it’s okay to give it to.

  55. I concur with Evolving Squid. My past experience with Rogers leads me to believe the reason the plaintiff’s bill was so easily bundled with her husband’s was due to some pre-existing connection. Example: perhaps when she opened the new account she got a discount because her family was already a Rogers customer. At that point the link would be made, but perhaps it was not obvious to the plaintiff.

    As for why she has a lawyer willing to take on the case, I have a little lawyer shopping experience from years ago that tells me you can always find a lawyer to take on a case, regardless of how hopeless it might be. In my research I found lawyers on both ends of the extreme and in the middle for a situation for which I was contemplating legal action. I found one lawyer who said it was a slam dunk in my favour and another who told me it was hopeless. I also spoke to a few lawyers whose opinion was in the middle. They stated winning was possible, but not certain, and as long as I was willing to spend the money they were willing to take the case.

    To wrap it up, XUP did ask us to play the role of Judge Judy, and in that role, based on the information available to me, I would rule in favour of the defendant.

  56. Rogers, at worst, made an honest mistake. The fact that her marriage has fallen apart is, frankly, irrelavent to any breach of privacy that may or may not have taken place.

    If the case actually gets to court, the judge will probably look at the overall track records of Rogers with respect to this sort of thing and determine that they made an mistake. The settlement, however, is unlikely to be $600K because there’s no way that she can say the inadvertant privacy violation (if that’s what it was) caused damages that in any way approach that amount. Rogers will say “we’ll unmerge the accounts, your honour, and even let them keep the bundling discounts they received”. And that will be that.

    About the only way an inconsequential story like this gets as much media coverage as it has is if someone actively seeks out a sympathetic reporter. She’s attempted to get this tried in the “court of public opinion” and failed. All she’s achieved is letting everyone know that she was cheating on her husband and he left her because of it.

  57. >>In either case the husband should not be privy to that information. Two people could also be living at the same address, but have no relationship other than that of roomates. And yes, I think if you contract with a company who asks for personal information from you that you should be able to expect that that information is kept private and not distributed to whomever they think it’s okay to give it to.

    Unfortunately, those scenarios are nice thought exercises but don’t apply in this case. They weren’t two people who coincidentally happened to live at the same address and when you’re married, you and your spouse are jointly responsible, so whether or not you *should* be able to keep things private doesn’t mean you *can* keep things private. Similarly, regardless of what abused spouses are told to do, that isn’t an issue in this case.

    Rogers will also counter that there are available pay-as-you-go cell phones that wouldn’t have had this issue. They’ll argue that she did not take reasonable steps to protect her privacy that were available to her.

    Rogers has all the cards. She will not win. Her lawsuit is frivolous, and if I was the judge would throw her case out with a strong rebuke to her and her lawyer.

    Her only hope is some small settlement that Rogers offers because they get tired of fighting it. That would be unfortunate, but they may not wish to spend money to prove their point in case they don’t get awarded costs. This might be her plan from the start… kick up a public stink and go for a settlement.

  58. OC, Gordon, Squid – You all raise some interesting points. I hope there are some follow-up stories to this case so we can see what actually happens and what the outcome will be. I have little sympathy for either of the sides in this case, but what was bothering me the most is that the woman was not treated as an autonomous person by Rogers. Now Squid is telling me that a married couple has no legal autonomy anymore and that makes me hyperventilate a bit. Seriously? If a person gets married all the debts incurred by one person are also the responsiblity of the other person? All earnings, winnings, inheritances, etc. by either party belong to both parties? If a wife enters into a contract of some sort, the husband is automatically party to that contract and vice versa? I’m really glad I never got married.

  59. Now Squid is telling me that a married couple has no legal autonomy anymore and that makes me hyperventilate a bit. Seriously? If a person gets married all the debts incurred by one person are also the responsiblity of the other person? All earnings, winnings, inheritances, etc. by either party belong to both parties? If a wife enters into a contract of some sort, the husband is automatically party to that contract and vice versa?

    I am not a family lawyer, but yes, that is essentially my understanding. It is very difficult to separate the two legally.

    In the case of winnings, it is my understanding that wives have successfully sued for half when the husband wins millions and hits the high road, for example, and I know people who have been burned by debts racked up by their spouse.

  60. From everything that I have read, and from the knowledge I have gained by working in a call centre in Canada for another cell phone company, it appears that Gabriella Nagy has no case at all.

    I worked for Nextel, and they have a complicated service agreement. Needless to say, you almost need to be a lawyer to understand it. Believe it or not, for Nextel, you do not have to be an account holder to work on an account. There are ways of being authorized to work on an account besides being the account holder or being labelled as “authorized” on that account; if the account has a passcode (much like a secret password) and you know the passcode, then bingo – you have access to work on that person’s account, which includes bills. If the account does not have a passcode and you are not the account holder or listed as “authorized,” as long as you know other pertinent information such as the SSN, account number, and other tidbits, you can still work on that person’s account. It’s within policy, within the service agreement, and there is no breach of contract or breach of privacy.

    I don’t know if Rogers operates the same way, but if they do and the husband knew the passcode or otherwise, then he has access to her cell account.

    Aside from this, here is why it appears Nagy has no case (again, from what I read and hear, and from what I know about these cell phone companies, having worked for one):

    1. The Rogers service agreement states that they can make changes regarding the aspects of your services as long as they notify you in advance. This is applicable if Rogers took it upon themselves to automatically consolidate the bills and notify Nagy and the husband. They might not have read the notifications (some versions of the story are indicating that Rogers did it on their own, as Rogers wanted to do it to save money on billing).

    2. Section 25 of the service agreement states, “Unless you provide express consent, or disclosure is pursuant to a legal power, all information regarding you kept by us,
    other than your name, address and listed telephone number, is confidential and may not be disclosed by us to anyone
    other than:
    – you;
    – a person who, in our reasonable judgment, is seeking the information as your agent”

    If the husband requested the bills to be consolidated, then Rogers will argue that the husband is the agent seeking the information.

    3. Section 26 of the service agreements states, “we will not be liable to you or anyone else (except for physical injuries as a result of our negligence) for:
    – any lost, stolen or damaged Cards or equipment;
    – any damages, including loss of profit, loss of earnings, financial loss, loss of business opportunities, personal injury, death or any other loss however caused, resulting directly or indirectly in connection with the terms and conditions herein and the Service or equipment”

    Nagy is contending that her $600000 suit is based on lost wages, which is covered under section 26.

    4. Most lawyers I have seen who have openly commented on this story have agreed that there is no causation here. This is important, because Nagy would have to prove that Rogers was the cause of the breakup (the breakup being the thing that made her lose her job, and wages, due to the corresponding emotional impact). This brings up the issue: what caused the marriage to break up – the affair or Rogers billing practices? The lawyers I have seen mostly agree the affair is the real reason why the marriage broke up (the bill consolidation was simply a means of finding out about the affair, but was not legally the cause), so as a matter of law, the affair is the cause, hence there is no causation by Rogers here, and subsequently no case. This is why, from what I have seen, the affair, as a matter of law, is 100% relevant to this case and will mitigate any responsibility of Rogers to being non-existent. Remember, this is what the case is all about – not that there was simply an alledged breach of privacy or contract, but that this alledged breach caused the marriage to break up, which in turn caused her emotional issues and subsequent loss of employment and wages. She won’t be able to show causation on the part of Rogers due to her own behaviour, so she’ll lose the case. As for the analogy of her getting killed by the husband if he discovered she was using the phone to get ready to leave him – yes, I see the point that a lot more people would question the billing practices for this case, but the underlying causation would still be with the husband who did the killing. Rogers would argue that they are not responsible for the actions of the husband, and the service agreement would also be used to save them from liability. Keep in mind that civil court judges and juries do use their emotions when making decisions, and Nagy’s actions have not been taken well by the court of public opinion so far.

    The points above seem to indicate there is no breach of contract, and no breach of privacy.
    Seems a little odious, doesn’t it? But Rogers appears to have abided by the contract, and therefore did not breach the contract or privacy.

    Those are the legal arguments. As for the moral side, she doesn’t deserve anything anyway. Personally, I think she’s a cheating slob who is looking for a free ride, and it would be repugnant to reward her. I watched her interviews with reporters, and she is not sorry about what she did. That is why she is blaming Rogers for her affair.

    Sorry folks, but this is exactly what it’s about – a cheating whore who got caught, blames others for it, and now wants to be rewarded for it. While I don’t necessarily like the things these big cell phone companies do sometimes, Nagy’s behaviour is far more repugnant to me as it was done with malicious, greedy intent while Rogers’ is not. At the most, Rogers simply made a mistake with no hostile intent at all. Can’t say that I defend them completely on this one or their privacy policy, but I take their side as compared to Nagy’s side, and I hope they countersue Nagy for the court costs and make her life even more miserable. She definitely deserves it.

    Please note that I normally side with the little guy against big corporations, but there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one of those exceptions.

    We don’t have all the details, and for we all know, maybe she is not truthful on all aspects regarding what happened with Rogers. She certainly wasn’t truthful with her husband. A cheater will always paint himself/herself out to be the victim, and everyone else is the bad guy. So it’s possible that Rogers did follow privacy policy, and maybe even possible that she did consent to the consolidation.

    Any polls that I see on the internet about whether or not Rogers should be blamed for this are in the neighbourhood of 80-20 against, meaning that 4 out of 5 people blame Nagy. I thought the number would be higher.

    It is very clear, and I mean VERY CLEAR, that Nagy is not sorry at all, and is looking to profit from her disgusting acts. As long as she is not truly sorry for what she has done, she deserves this bad life that she has. I have no sympathy for cheaters. If she could at least be big enough to accept responsibility for it, then maybe I’d give her a pass; with the way she is conducting herself, not a chance.

    Rogers probably needs to tighten their privacy policies, but Nagy is not the one who deserves to benefit from this. Every case is different, and if this case was different than how it actually is, then maybe she would deserve some cash. Not in this case though.

    If by some miracle she wins, I hope the husband sues her for the $600000 and wins it from her.

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