One company that I have come to loathe is Bell Canada. Based on my experience they are the epitome of lousy customer service and poor value for the services they provide.
At one time my business with Bell consisted of my home and cellular phones along with their satellite television. All that remains is my cellular phone and based on my most recent experience, that too may be short lived when my contract is up for renewal.
On November 6th I visited the new Bell store on Hurontario Street in Collingwood. That location is in fact not a “Bell” store, but a franchise and in my opinion it should be clearly indicated as such. Real estate offices are essentially the same. My office is in effect not Royal LePAGE per say, but an independently owned and operated Brokerage and by law, it must be identified as such but I digress.
The purpose of my visit was (a) to see if my current cellular plan was the best one based on my usage and (b) I wanted to purchase a roaming package for a trip I was making to the U.S. In all fairness the salesperson in the store was helpful. She verified that there was a more cost effective cellular plan for me to be on but I would have to contact Bell themselves to make the switch. Has Bell ever called to offer me a better plan based on my cellular phone and data usage? No. Why not? My bank calls periodically to advise me of a better package for my banking needs and good for them. That’s how you build a stronger relationship with your valued clients.
After returning to my office I called Bell direct, verified that the plan recommended to me was in fact better, made the switch and also purchased a roaming package at a cost of $60 to take effect the following day, November 7th. Bell’s roaming packages are for 30 days in duration only. Why? How many people take a holiday or are otherwise away for 30 days. Why are they not available say on a per day basis? Because they essentially have you under contract, a monopoly so-to-speak and can get away with it that’s why.
Six days later while in Santa Barbara, California I received a text message from Bell advising that me I was exceeding my data plan suggesting I call them for a roaming package, which I had already bought. I called them only to find that my roaming package had inadvertently been applied to my son’s cellular phone (he is on my bill). After some 25 minutes on the phone I got the mess sorted out or so I thought. The following day I had no network access for data so no emails either in or out. Despite two more calls to Bell I remained unable to send or receive emails for the remaining 5 days of my travel as they had effectively suspended my data access.
Upon returning to Canada thus ending my roaming, my network access started again but only after I powered my phone off and on. Two days later (yesterday) my emails ceased coming yet again and once again I found had no network access. Yet another call was necessary to Bell today to have the problem resolved. All tolled I’ve made 6 calls to Bell in the past week which consumed well over an hour of my time. In the end, my $60 roaming plan was of no use to me as (a) I did not have one for the first six days of my travel the result of a Bell employee setting it up on the wrong phone and (b) once the roaming package was on my phone I had no network access.
One more call will now be required upon receiving my next bill in order to get a credit for all the data roaming charges that I racked up while away. I will also be requesting a refund for the $60 roaming package I paid for yet effectively never had use of.
Life’s best lessons are best learned by experience. Will I ever buy another roaming package? No! While out of the country my best advice to you is to turn off the roaming feature on your phone. Free Wi Fi is quickly becoming available everywhere. It was available free at the real estate conference I attended, free at my hotel, free in restaurants, coffee shops such as Starbucks etc. Using the Wi Fi feature on my phone or iPad I will simply send and receive email messages that way thus avoiding the cost and aggravation that I have endured over the past week dealing with Bell. It’s not hard to see why the CTRC is clamping down on the mobile phone carriers. They have had it too good for too long and Canadian consumers deserve better service and better value.
If like me you have had a similar frustrating experience I would like to hear from you.