Tuesday, 21 July 2009

An Update on Our Cell Phone Trials

It is unbelievable to think that this story could get any more convoluted, but in this age of mega-company bullshit I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised. If you are new to the story, I direct your attention to my post of May 28th of this year and that of the following day. In those writings I tell of the mess that a family plan has made of our cell phone bill and how when we tried to upgrade and improve upon our deficiencies we were met with outrageous costs, crazy wait times, nickel and dime text plans, and long distance charges that could honestly pay for a mortgage on a small home. We solved a lot of these problems for the Younger Son when he purchased an American pre-paid cell phone for his time south of the border. By signing on with Uncle Sam, he now has unlimited texting, unlimited minutes after 7:00 pm and on weekends, and 400 minutes of talk time per month. This is the kind of voice/data plan that is unheard of here in the Great White North where our telecommunication companies prefer to operate by a "complain loudly and profanely and see what you can get" kind of policy. We figured that we would re-evaluate our options at the end of the summer when Younger Son returns and our phones were closer to being freed of the contract bondage of Bell. (Or is that Hell?) In the meantime, we would put it all on the back-burner and attempt to enjoy the summer. How naive we were!

Last week, The Husband opened the latest bill to discover a $326.00 text charge, all on Younger Son's phone. When he examined the dates more closely, he discovered that most of these texts were made in a span of a week before he left for the States, and Ma Bell had failed to inform us of their new $0.15 charge for all texts incoming and outgoing to and from the United States. Not only that, we spoke to Bell that very week to change our plan so that we could avoid huge overages such as these, and nobody at the corporate dungeon saw fit to inform us of the new policy nor did they offer to grandfather our new plan. After peeling himself off of the ceiling and after the windows ceased rattling, The Husband got on the phone to Bell to argue the bill and the underhandedness of the entire exercise. He sat on the phone with "Emily the Bitch" (Bell has named their automated system Emily. The bitch is The Husband's colourful description.) for almost 20 minutes before he was able to speak with a live human being. At least we think she was live. She disappeared after a few minutes to discuss the case with her supervisors. 55 minutes after he began his customer service call to Bell Cellular, they cut him off. I heard the cussing here 10 kilometres away from the distillery. The litany of profanity that escaped from his mouth would make Al Swearengen on Deadwood blush with embarrassment. Once again, he called Emily the Bitch, swore continually and profanely at her, until she connected him to a person without a mechanical voice. Again, and not so calmly, he voiced his displeasure until Bell agreed that they were slightly slimy in their handling of the matter and assented to removing all but latest charges from the bill, over $200.00 in total. The exercise took another 50 minutes until all seemed right with the world-for now!

Yesterday, we received our bill from Bell. It arrived in an 8 1/2 x 11 manila envelope and was as thick as a university acceptance letter. The bill totaled 42 pages!! 42!!! When I examined the itemized accounting, I first noted the $200.00 credit coming our way. Good enough, but I was a bit freaked out by Younger Son's 22 page bill all his own, especially since he hasn't been here for 8 weeks and has been using his other cell phone. The reason? Bell felt it necessary to itemize each and every single one of the credited text messages that they had previously billed us for. We had a 22 page bill filled with $0.15 credits, each one accounted for by day and time. 22 pages??? It is the most ridiculous thing you ever saw, not to mention one of the most wasteful. I believe that they need to charge the stupid fees in order to pay for the stupid billing.

We here in Canada are about to welcome three new cell platforms this fall. As a result of the impending competition Bell, Rogers, and Telus are falling all over themselves to lock in customers. Take some advice from an old friend-DON'T DO IT!! Wait and see. Never again will we bundle, family plan or engage in a cell contract. Everybody's needs are just too diverse and the costs are just too great. In the meantime we deal with Curly, Larry, Moe and Emily the Bitch.

1 comment:

  1. First, I figured out why they could only credit me $200.70 of the $336 text messaging charge. It actually cost them over $100 to have someone key in each individual credit of $.15 as well as the cost of all those trees!

    Second, the credits (all 1338 of them) show up as "Customer Experience Adjustment". I am trying to figure out exactly what that means. Are they giving me credit for enduring their customer service? Are they trying to adjust me? Are they trying to give me another experience with Bell?

    THE husband