Friday, 28 January 2011


Yet another lovely story from the beautiful people who hold our collective cojones in a metaphoric vice grip-our cell phone providers at Bell cellular.

Younger Son has had horrible karma with his phones. To his credit, he has never once dropped one of his phones from the roof of a 40 storey building, gone deep sea diving with the phone in his pocket, nor has he played road hockey using it as a puck. Neither has he had to retrieve it from the toilet, left it on the subway, dropped it, tampered with it, or picked it to pieces. He is unbelievably responsible with his phones, but he has been plagued with lemon after cell-lemon. Last year, he decided that enough was enough and went for the reliable (or so he thought) Blackberry curve on contract with Bell Cellular. Because of his history with hardware problems, he even consented to purchase the extended warranty plan at a cost of an extra $4.00/month. The initial cost of the phone on sale at Bell was a very reasonable $50.00. Younger Son did the happy dance all the way home, content in the knowledge that he and his Young Lady would now be wirelessly joined at the hip with unlimited text plans and Blackberry Messaging service. The earth continued revolving around the sun and all was right again with the universe. Until three days ago.

As seems to be the norm with Younger Son's phones, it began to go kerfluey. The "a" key stopped functioning all together which resulted in a makeshift solution from him causing many of his texts to resemble the following:

"Hi Mom. How's D@d?"

When the phone began to update all on its on and at inconvenient times, the boy knew that he had to approach the seventh circle of hell in search of answers-the Bell store at the Eaton's Centre. 

Now we all know that customer service is not high on any Canadian cell providers list of priorities, but Bell seems to take f*@#ing people over to new levels. After ascertaining that the phone could not be repaired, he was told to call customer service. God forbid that they should deal with it at a Bell store. No-he had to call an outsourced phone bank located in some country where snow is part of their mythology. Being the dutiful young man that he is, he calls-only to be told that he needs to call technical support. He explains that the phone has already been deemed unfixable by Bell employees, but it is to no avail. He must call technical support, they will in turn ascribe him a number and return him back to customer service. Are you all following this? He calls technical support only to be told that he cannot call from his phone. It is the only phone he has!!! No, they want him to call from a landline so that they can ask him questions regarding his broken Blackberry. After a series of screaming matches and a few calls to The Husband, Younger Son and Bell finally get on the same page and determine that his phone is busted. (That is the technical term!) Bell agrees to send him a new phone and tell him that it is a good thing that he purchased the extended warranty because his phone is just over a year old now and wouldn't be covered otherwise. So, instead they will only charge him $150.00 for the replacement phone. $150.00!!!!! The phone originally cost him $50 and he paid another $48 over the year for this warranty to have the privilege of merely paying another $150. He was devastated. He doesn't have $150.00. He called The Husband and the words that escaped from my man's mouth were unutterable even for me. He told Younger Son to arrange for the phone and he would get involved. Big talker. 

After spending a good chunk of his afternoon with extremely rude Bell customer service oxymorons and uttering a few more expletives I am certain, we are back to square one. This fee was obviously in the contract that Younger Son signed, and I refuse to get into something that is obviously legal, but oh the immorality of it all. It seems that the $150 is to cover the replacement cost of a phone that they value at $500 but sold at $50. And what a scam the extended warranty turned out to be. Younger Son swears that nobody at Bell ever once mentioned the $150 when they sold him the warranty. Expensive lesson learned? Absolutely, but isn't there just a bit of underhandedness here on the part of Bell? And how can they say with a straight face that the phone is worth $500, but sell it for $50?

Canadian cell phone companies are notorious for this kind of behaviour, but short of leaving Bell for probably another round of equally contemptible garbage with Ted's company, we are not certain what our next move is. We have become slaves to our cell phones and these assholes know it. Got a story about your cell phone provider? Share it in the comments below.

Trying to relax and remember that Shabbat is soon here.

***Shabbas Update***

The Husband is a gem of a man that impresses me more every day. After work, he was determined to settle this shit with Bell once and for all, so he spent yet another hour on the phone with yet another  "stupidvisor". After calmly and collectedly explaining the idiocy of this situation again, and expressing in no uncertain terms that he believed that a fraud had been perpetrated on Younger Son when the salesperson neglected to inform him of the $150 replacement fee and instead told him that any replacement would be fully covered, my guy was able to recover a rebate on Younger Son's monthly plan totally $180.00. In other words, he made $30.00 on the exchange. Not really, though. When you factor in the $48.00 spent on the extended warranty, he is still out 18 bucks, but it is better than before. We are still seriously considering reporting this mess to any number of press or consumer sites. More updates to follow, I am sure.


  1. I don't have any horror stories - but I do have a suggestion - send this link to Bell. Or better yet - one of the CBC shows is asking for worst cell phone bill stories. They would probably welcome it.

  2. Younger Son's Young Lady can regale you for hours with stories of her phone nightmares.