Big faceless corporations are never fun to deal with, but with a litter perseverance and a lot of patience you can usually get what you paid for. Whether it’s trying to buy a laptop without an extended warranty, or waiting on hold while you ask for a box to return your second malfunctioning Xbox 360, in the end things usually work out. The frustration and time wasted is generally outweighed by your desire for the product. Sometimes though, there is no hope; sometimes you have to throw your hands up in the air, surrender and yell at the top of your lungs “Bell Canada, I give up, you suck and you suck bad”. You could also write it down and share it with others.
Moving day was coming fast
It started with my recent move. This was also not my first bad experience with Bell. When you have a problem with this company, there is no phone support that I’ve ever dealt with that approaches the depths of uselessness that Bell displays on a regular basis. Yes, I’ve dealt with Rogers support in the past and yes you may be put on hold for 40 minutes, but that’s a cake walk next to Bell support.
So two weeks later from my first phone call to bell and I still had no Internet. Before I moved a thought popped into my head and I wish that thought had of been stuck. There’s a thing called intuition folks, and I think I’ll start listening to it. A voice in my head told me not to transfer Bell, but to sever the ties all together. Canceling my phone line when I got an iPhone was quite an ordeal, and trying to get my TV to work a few years before that was also a challenging. Bell had failed me twice already, why bother with them this time around, this was a chance to start a clean slate, but no, the only efficient part of Bell’s support got to me, customer retention. If the rest of Bell’s many call centers came even close to their customer retention center quality they would probably still have me and many others as happy customers.
It all sounded so simple
Support told me a service transfer to my new place would be seamless. I give them my new address, move in, receive a modem in the mail with cables and instructions and plug it in. I would also be receiving a box and shipping label to return my then current bulky VDSL modem in exchange for a tiny DSL modem. So I figured why not just stay with Bell, it would be less work for me right? Wrong, oh how I was so very wrong.
At the beginning of the week there was a package for me, it was from Bell, how wonderful; I was glad I stayed with Bell. I opened the box, and this is where things started to go wrong. Inside was a small modem with no cables or instructions other than a single sheet of paper. It apologized for a defective modem and any inconvenience it had caused and hoped that the new modem would satisfy me and for me to return my old modem. I started scratching my head thinking “what modem?, I don’t have a defective modem and there’s no way the VDSL modem will fit in this box”. Oh well, there was obviously some kind of mix up, I had my own cables and how hard could it be to set up. Grab an Ethernet cable and a phone cord and we’ll be in business. Plug everything in and what do you get? A blank DSL connectivity light. Plug in the computer and no, there’s no connection. I run to the other phone socket, plug it in and still no good. Then I do all the typical refresh, recycle, power off, plug in, stand on one’s head etc, but still no good.
Now the rest is a bit fuzzy, because I figure I have spent well over 4 hours on the phone with Bell over the next week. First, when you call bell you are faced with the most idiotic voice and touch tone system you may ever come across. The voice activated menu system doesn’t work half the time and Bell human support never seemed to know who I was. I think the only thing working at Bell is the billing system. The voice system constantly said my number was not on file even though I had to provide it on every call I made over the next week.
Day one, mistakes happen, we are human
The first day the entire support system was down and no one could help me, I can understand this, I’m a web designer and developer, systems go down. The second day they would not help me when I was at work because they wanted me to do the plug in unplug ritual at home even though I had told them it had already been done several times. That evening I got home to find another package form Bell. Possibly a return box for the VDSL modem? No, another DSL modem apologizing for my broken modem. What is wrong with this company? At least now I could rule out defect modems, neither worked.
After a few days of calling and going through the whole ridiculous plug in your modem unplug it routine I got frustrated and said I want to cancel the service. It was obvious to me that there was no dry loop setup, especially considering I received a replacement modem, not a setup modem. I was redirected to someone who knew what he was talking about and was very polite. He said this was a very unusual situation and that they would rectify everything in no time. I believed him, heck I’m sure he believed himself. I was quickly connected to top level support and they spent several hours trouble shooting the problem and calling me back with questions. Eventually they said it was the phone number and that my account was linked to my new address but they didn’t know where the phone number for my dry loop was linked, possibly my old address? They fixed all my contact information and said Monday a tech support person would call me once they had moved the line.
Sorry doesn’t cut it – the last straw
The phone call never came, so that evening I called back. They sounded confused like usual and again I said I’m canceling. Again I was sent to top level support. Apparently my phone jacks had the wrong voltage and a tech support person would come to my apartment and rectify the situation. I told them I could not be home until 6:30, which was fine, the tech person would be there between 6:30 and 9:00. At 5:00pm that day the tech guy called to say he was at my place. I told him that I was at work and he was not supposed to be there until 6:30. I rushed home to be on time and called Bell to confirm it was still on since I was called at 5:00. They said yes it was still in the records. I waited all evening hoping I could leave eventually to grab a bite to eat. 9:30 rolled around and I called back, spent another 20 minutes on the phone while the tech guy told me how sorry they were. Bell support is always sorry, but you can only say you are sorry so many times before it becomes meanings. I was told there were no techs in the area and that I would have to rebook for the next day. I had plans for the next day and enough was enough. I said no re-booking, I’m canceling the service. I would have to wait until the next day since the business office was closed. When I called they tried again to retain me, but I said no, I’m so through with this company.
My question is how does a place run like this? Every time I call this joke of a company they acted like they have no idea who I was. I constantly had to tell them my address, phone number, and situation. Is there no record? No red flags? Like “hey we are about to loose this customer, make sure the tech guy shows up!” I was even told I would not have to pay for my down time? Wow, how nice, you mean I don’t have to pay for service I was not receiving. Then I was told I could have a month free, and that I could cancel without a 30 day notice if I gave them another chance. Yes thank you bell, thank you for letting me leave your disorganized disaster of an organization. Thank you for wasting several hours and two nights of my time, I have nothing better to do than hear how sorry you are.
Avoid Bell like you would avoid a sharp and prickly object
My suggestion to anyone thinking of Bell as their next service provider is to think long and hard, there are alternatives. My suggestion to Bell is to get organized, empower your employees, stop making them act like machines and let them make some decisions on their own. Don’t treat customers like morons, some of us do know what we are talking about. Keep a record of your customers complaints and don’t ask them the same thing every single time they call.
Who do you use?
I really wanted to go with TekSavvy as my next provider. They have incredible service from what I have read on DSL Reports, are proponents of network neutrality and every time I called them I got a real person and no automated service. Unfortunately TekSavvy is a reseller and uses Bell’s lines. They said a Bell technician might have to come into my place and that I would have to be around between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Most of us are working during those hours and that’s a huge time frame. In the end I grudgingly called Rogers. There are many many things I don’t like about Rogers, but too their credit they had me up and running in less than 24 hours and it took less than 10 minutes to set up.