oh, i thought this was done already. i thought the blogs about bell canada were at an end. after all, since i'm no longer a customer, it stands to reason that there is nothing further that they could do to hurt/ annoy/ gouge me. ah, so much for reason.
the day before yesterday, i received a bill in the mail. this was not my "final bill", for services rendered, which has already been paid. this is a bill charging me for a disconnection fee ($25, which i think is asinine, but which i can probably come to terms with) and a fee for the early termination of my contract ($75).
that second charge had me scratching my head. early termination of contract? i certainly never signed a contract with bell and, even if i had, i would have looked at it carefully enough to determined that it included no provision that they leave my previous number active without telling me and then try to blame me (and charge me) for their mistake.
so, once again, since i obviously have far too much time on my hands, i call bell to get the matter sorted out. when i get through to someone, after the obligatory delay, i already have my back up. after getting me to enter my relevant information, they ask me for that same information once again when i'm connected to a live human. i'm curt with the woman who i speak to; nay, i am rude. i feel sorry, because this is bad behaviour on my part and i regret it. of course it doesn't matter, because she can't help me. she's in the collections department and i need to talk to customer service in order to get this resolved. she transfers me and the man to whom i am connected asks e to repeat the information i've already given twice since i picked up the phone. while i'm in the process of doing so, he disconnects me.
this could be a case of "accidents happen", but i will note that this is the second time that i've been disconnected when i've called bell to complain. i will also say that, at this point, i was not angry and rude, so this wasn't the cause of me getting disconnected.
i call back and am routed once more to the credit department, who once more cannot help me. the gentleman who transfers me actually sends me back to the introductory menu, where, as a non-customer, i am routed once again to the credit department. they finally transfer me to customer service. so what i've just written about has all been the process of getting to someone who can listen to my complaint.
listen, in fact, is all she does. she asks me once again for my relevant information and then explains coolly and without any soupcon of remorse that it would be impossible for her to make any changes in the account because this is standard treatment for all bell's customers. my argument that they should feel some moral obligation to waive the charges because my reason for leaving was their own incompetence and subsequent intransigence falls, as i might have predicted, on deaf ears.
my second line of argument should be more compelling. i have never heard tell of this contract whose terms i am violating. if there was a contract, shouldn't i have been given a copy? i could have received a copy at any time, if i had only asked. let me repeat that: if i had asked for a copy of the contract, the existence of which was unknown to me until wednesday, they would have sent me one. the woman brushes off the deranged logic of this statement as standard operating procedure. she says that the person who set up my service should have told me that i had a contract, but if he didn't, that's not bell's problem- it's just one in a long series of employee mistakes.
her next response is even more puzzling. apparently, it was the responsibility of my new service provider to tell me about the existence of my contract with bell. huh? apparently bell was under no obligation to inform me of the contract when it went into effect, but my new provider, should have told me about it when i ended my bell service. that's ludicrous and i tell her so, but she sticks to her guns.
so that is the end game. i am to pay bell a hundred dollars to end a contract they never told me about and never forwarded, a contract that i ended because of their malfeasance. what's most galling about this whole situation, actually, is their flat refusal at every point in this sad saga to take any responsibility for any portion of the mistake. while they were eventually forced to remove the charges from the line they left open, no one has ever admitted that the company made a mistake. every time i have called, i have been given different information and told, with no sense of corporate remorse, that the person to whom i had previously spoken had not done their job properly. as far as i can tell, no one is doing their job properly. and bell considers this to be standard customer service.
yesterday, when i went to get my mail, i found a strange little envelope with the ubiquitous new bell logo. it obviously wasn't a bill, so i opened it. enclosed was a letter from steve bickley, senior vice-president of residential services. mr. bickley wanted me to know that i was important to bell and that, if i wanted to come back to them, they would let me do so without charging me for reconnection.
my advice to mr. bickley, not that he'll ever hear it, is that he could have saved the postage, as well as the tree killed to make the card, if he had concentrated on establishing customer service that was prepared to deal with a problem without trying to blame the customer, other employees, or the competition. the best way to win customers is to make sure you don't give them reason to leave in the first place.