#77 – You jilt Ma Bell at your peril.

It is getting ridiculous. It has been suggested that we be more proactive about this matter. It is like using hot compresses to draw a boil. There is a definite similarity to that analogy. We really need to let the bad out. The foolishness with Ma Bell has festered long enough.

In blog entry number 67 of July 31, the situation was described in detail. We had been seduced by Ma Bell again. We went back to Bell Canada for telephone, Internet and television services. That was a gutsy move and we knew better but we wanted to believe. We had demanded a written quote, which we got, but Ma Bell does not believe in keeping any kind of promise. The system does not allow it. And you, you fool, even while she is abusing you, you make excuses for her.

Bell executives must live in a very strange world. They have been dumping employees for a long time. Today, the company has many thousands of retirees yet seems to have few, if any, real employees. The executives must sit in a darkened, climate conditioned, sound-proofed room somewhere and write their own rules on how to do business. They must pass these rules out under the door to workers provided by a temp firm who then distribute them to the various out-sourced workers in call centres, sweat shops or contracted to drive a Bell (leased) van. These contract people read these rules to customers and then try to enforce them.

If this approach to doing business gets the call centre people shouted at by angry customers, what do Bell executives care. The company wins back a few new customers every week or so to keep a reasonable cash flow going. The Bell executives know that the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission will keep the regulated services safe and profitable for them and Bell’s millions of miles of copper wires will always bring them revenue.

They also have advertising agencies that will entice new customers for them. They do not call it lying. They prefer to call their advertised offers hyperbole and cover their asses with small print. A recent letter from Bell, signed by a ‘Steve Bickley, senior vice-president, residential services,’ is a good example of the enticement. It promises consumers Bell TV for $30 per month. It sounds like one hell of an offer until you read the small print the says “from” $30 per month “in the Bell Bundle.” There are another eight lines of tiny type on the back of the letter that few people would understand.

But nowhere in that tiny type does it tell you that further rules will be written as needed by the Bell executives at their pleasure. And you may be quite sure that none of their rules will be of assistance to the consumer.

To-date, there have been eight telephone conversations (number eight came in as I entered this blog) with people with a range of accents and one frustrating argument with a clerk at the Bell store in the Barrie Power Centre. The clerk refused to refund a bill of $99 plus HST of $12.87 for a receiver box that did not work as we had cancelled the service two weeks after connecting the box. It appears that Bell Canada does not have a money back warrantee for suckers.

Of all the communication with Bell Canada in regards to our recent foray into Bell services, we have not had the opportunity to speak to anyone who could understand that we had a contract and that we had no intention of paying three times the contracted price for Bell services. Contracted-out call centres hardly care.

The big surprise is that Bell Canada also seems to have contracted out its collection services. That used to be one of the better jobs at Bell. The last three calls have informed us that we owe amounts of either $192, $332 and $700 and something. Each caller has been politely informed that Bell Canada is more than welcome to take the claim to small claims court. That might just be the one place in Canada where contracts are still being honoured.

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