Mtlblog: Bell: "The internet doesn't belong to you!"
Bell Canada almost made me cry
"Please just process my order", I begged.
You don't have to read this. I just need to write it.
I'm going to be moving in mid-December to a non-profit Seniors Residence with access to and a lovely view of park land, complete with attractive benches and the St. Lawrence River. It's not nearly as modern as my current apartment, and for that reason alone, it will feel more like home. Plus, there's an old folks nursing home right next door that I can crawl over to when (if) it becomes necessary.
I started early making all the arrangements: Tenant Insurance, Hydro, hiring a mover. All went swimmingly until I tried to transfer my land-line phone and cancel Bell Internet -- because I've always liked the people at VMedia; they're intelligent, informative, professional yet friendly, helpful and never try to push anything on you.
I went to the Bell Store because I felt a need in this case to deal with people I could see, and they thought at first that they could handle it (and the Bell website said they could) but when they tried to do it they were denied access. So they dialled a direct number for me and put me on the Store phone whereupon I was switched around several times because, apparently, the fact that I was cancelling Bell Internet created some sort of crisis situation.
See, when I first moved to my current newly-built, modern apartment, I was dismayed to find that the only source for Internet was Bell's new "Fibe to the Home" at speeds and a price that I did not need nor want. I complained to the CRTC at the time, and emailed the Government and was assured that Bell would soon be selling wholesale to alternative Internet outlets.
But apparently Bell owns the government. After a few months, Cogeco (cable) was allowed into the building, but Bell counted, correctly, on tenant inertia -- mixed with fear of confrontation after hearing the painful saga of the one brave senior soul (who has since died) who had summoned up the temerity to make the switch.
Nevertheless, Bell wasn't satisfied. My phone rang frequently with strangers asking "How are you today" as a transparent segue into the introduction of new and wonderful Bell services. I stopped answering my phone eventually, letting the answer machine do it for me.
But now I'm moving, see? To a neighbourhood that Bell doesn't completely dominate. Finally, my chance to achieve justice! Justice that clearly had to be forcibly wrenched from the clutches of the almighty Bell.
But I wasn't man enough for the job. "Please," I found myself begging plaintively after harangues by several different "service" reps. "Please just process my order."
It's not their fault, I reminded myself; Bell makes them do this. But after about 20 minutes in which they had taken turns trying to wear me down, I began to fully realize the ravages of old age. This woman who is accustomed to having more stamina than just about anyone else she knows found herself on the verge of breaking down into tears.
Fortunately, by this time, the Bell Store staff had convened and made a decision to come to my aid. The manager got on the line and firmly suggested that Bell just process my order. But would you believe it escalated to the point where she finally had to ask to speak to a supervisor? She, herself, was then grilled as to her ID number etc. and had to repeat several times that she was not required to give her last name. Somebody was trying hard to out-authority her.
After that my brain just went blank; all I know is that, after about another 10 minutes, things seemed to quiet down and my order got processed. The Store people then apologized for what I'd been put through and, after thanking them for rescuing me, I walked back home in a daze.
Not long after, I received an emailed survey request from Bell entitled "How Are We Doing?" that, among other questions, asked whether or not I would recommend Bell to a friend. Of course, I ticked "No". Then I outlined, as politely and succinctly as I could, what had happened, but so far there's been no response. Nor do I expect one.
A couple of days later I felt a sudden surge of panic as I realized that I had no clue what time my phone would be cut off at my current address, and it was needed for the movers to contact me and to have access to the main entrance door. Bell charges $30. to move your phone line but won't tell you when that will happen.
It dawned on me that I should have asked for the transfer to occur the day after I move. My heart rate picked up. Take a deep breath, I said. They say you can make changes to the order. So I dialled the 310-Bell number. Guess what. No hard sell. Once an order is issued, you get to talk to an actual service person. (They'll probably start up again with the telecalls once I get moved.)
The only problem was that the connection kept cutting out. This is Bell we're talking about; the PHONE company. And their own phone line is not working properly! I asked the Service Rep to please call me instead, and about five minutes later he did. I explained that even though I was moving on the date on the order, I needed the phone transferred the day after the move.
Not a problem. The guy was nice; he said he'd email me a confirmation, which he did. But lo and also behold, he had changed the date for cancellation of the Internet (Bell gets an extra day of charges for Internet), but the date to transfer the phone remained as it had been.
They're trying to make me crazy, I thought. But they won't succeed, because, hahaha, I'm already there. I took a deep breath and dialled 310-Bell again and got a different Service Rep. She understood my problem but, for some reason, she wasn't allowed to make the change. She apologized, said she was going to have to get permission, and put me on hold.
I waited and waited while holding the phone out from my ear to reduce the noise of the music playing. Finally she came back with the good news that she could change the order. She took all my information again, and said she'd send me a revised order by email.
The revised Order has arriven. It thanks me for my loyalty to Bell, and has the correct date for transferring the phone and cancelling the Internet, but the phone number has an error in one place though it is correct in a place lower down the page. Maybe that won't be a problem? After all, they have the addresses and the dates are correct now.
Then it says there's only one thing more for me to do. I have to set up my online account. I already have an online Bell account, but I clicked the button anyway to see if there might be some kind of explanation -- which was, "Sorry, this link is no longer valid".
Still, I wondered: are they going to treat me as a brand new customer? Undaunted, I forged ahead and logged in to my old customer account, and under the heading "Quick Links" I saw, "Moving Soon? Bell Makes It Easy".
I think I need to take a nap now.
You can read the wisdom of two commenters to a CBC article about Bell's high pressure sales:
...these companies really require individuals with sociopath personalities.The scary part in the future will be artificial intelligence machines replacing these people..they would be free to roam the streets trying to apply their learned behaviour within society.
Looking at the people running the CRTC, there are former Bell brass on it. Corruption run wild!
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