October 2, 2009, 6:25 am

Bell-BCE Customer Service Issue: Another Client Bites The Dust

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance
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A few years ago, I left Bell for an obvious reason: saving $20 per month! I never had any complaints against Bell personally other than the fact that they were charging me way more than the competition and acted reactively by saying “oh… there is nothing we can do”! Since then (remember, it has been 5 years), I receive a letter from their marketing department every 3 weeks or so… so much time, energy and paper wasted in a tasteless and uninteresting effort (if you can call it that) to get a client back on board.

However, one of my readers, let’s call him Jack, had an interesting client issue with Bell at the time of cancelling his Bell TV service. A month after cancelling the service, he received another Bell TV bill of $64 and continued to charge his credit card after having removed the authorization. Who hasn’t received such a bill after having cancelled a service? I seriously think that if we could separate these revenue errors into another column in any Telecom company’s financial statement, it may represent up to 10% of their total income! So Mr. Jack sent an email to Bell TV services asking why he was billed and when he will receive his money back. The (very quick) answer was interesting:

“Dear Mr. Jack,

Thank you for your email inquiry dated 8/3/09. My name is Anirvan Halder

EX37715 and I am pleased to assist you.”

Anirvan Halder EX37715? What is this? Was this guy was born from a union between Anakin Skywalker and R2D2? The rest of the email was an exact copy/paste of corporate BS saying that he was part of the family (where CP3O is the godfather) and they were sorry for their loss (of income!) and that he will receive his check within 10 business days.

So 16 days later, I’ll let you guess… no check from Bell TV (surprised? Hahaha!). So here’s part of Mr. Jack’s email (addressed to Mr. I-work-in-India-but-I-swear-I-know-the-weather-in-Montreal-and-I-cheer-for-the-Montreal-Canadiens-with-a-Molson-EX37715 😉 ).

“I am now formally requesting full reimbursement plus accumulated interest calculated at your late payment rate for unregulated items of 26.80% per annum. As of today, August 29, 2009, it has been 67 days overdue and the interest charged is $3.17.

As per your customer commitment statement, I am looking for delight. Simply put, that’s your mission: To delight your customers with the products, services and customer support that you provide to your customers every day.”

For me, it appeared to be a fair looking request. After all, Bell reserves the right to charge their clients astronomical interest rates (their lawyers look at the maximum rate they could charge before falling into the loan shark abusive interest rate category and they back up .20%). Since it was a formal request, Mr. Jack made sure George Cope in person (the CEO) got this email. The funny part is that Mr. Cope read it on a Sunday morning just before going out to the park with his kid, Jason EX344512 and his daughter Annie W-2398-JP (thx to the receipt email feature on Mr. Jack’s ROGERS Blackberry 😉 ).

Unfortunately, Mr. Jack completely forgot to send Hannibal Lecter EX37715 his PIN number. So, the robot couldn’t help him out with his request (even though Mr. Jack copied and pasted all previous emails with confirmation numbers attached). I let you guess how delighted Mr. Jack was by now!

So long story short, Mr. Jack finally received his check after 2 months of emails back and forth and after speaking with a customer relationship manager (sent by Mr. Cope himself!). However, it didn’t turn out pretty. I’ll let you read the final email from Mr. Jack to Mr. Cope:

“Mr. Cope,

I was speaking with Mr. Francois Boisjoli and it seems that he is missing this last piece of communication from your company representatives. Mr. Boisjoli was uncomfortable sharing his personal email address but did mention that you were able to forward it from your address.

I was hoping that he was calling to find a way to “make amends” and try to win back a customer. As usual, with Bell, it seems your staff are not interested or not allowed to pursue such activities. Pity.

He was also not well versed in the Bell customer commitment nor the clarity commitment. I believe I feel worse about Bell than before he called. I am not sure what your objectives are but from a customer point of view, there seems to be a number of disconnects in your business.”

I found this story pretty funny as it was pushed this far for a $64 bill. And this IS the point. Why do we, as customers, have to fight up to the rank of the CEO of a billionaire company to get a simple refund due to THEIR mistakes?

I recently read an article from Leger & Leger Marketing which is the biggest survey company in Quebec (maybe Canada?). They were making a list of the companies who represent the biggest failures in term of trustworthiness. Guess what BCE was there! Companies on this shameless list have the unnatural capacity of over promising and under delivering to the extent that Marvin the Martian EX377568 will soon be ruling the world!

All right, enough of thisl;-), here’s the list if you are curious (to come later one today!)

Air Transat

Air Canada


Direct Energy

Future Shop


American Express

Circuit City



Visa TD




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if this make you fell better, Bell Mobility is not even better. The only way for someone to fix a problem there is to tell them you want to cancell their services and then but only then they listen to you.
A technician told me I should not used my cell (my main and only phone) at home – to use it only downtown. Pissed I asked him to transferred me to a Customer Services Agent – then told me a bunch of stupidities – overall I told her I had more than enough to put up with this Bell Crap and thta I would not wait another 10 months of being unable to use my cell paying 65$ a month for not getting connection signals in my area!
Bottom line the problem was fixed – but it took 3 hours of my precious time. At the end of this contract – I planning to leave Bell Mobility (hopefully they will stop purchasing new Cell phone Provider such as Virgin Mobile)