Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bell Canada Punches Me in the Nose

Remember me saying that "Everything went smoothly with Bell Canada during my move?" Well, not quite everything, it turns out.

Tonight I got a call informing me that I had an outstanding bill of over $200, and I was like, what? I hadn't gotten any bills in the mail, and I've even registered for ebills to prevent just such a thing happening. Of course I'm happy to pay my bills, but why wasn't I getting them?

So I went online and logged into my Bell account, which happily informed me that I owed no money. But then I noticed that it was displaying my old address, and that the last bill was from obviously my account information had CHANGED.

My next step was to call Bell's notoriously awful outsourced technical support. First he wanted to verify my identity by using the new customer ID and account number THAT I HAD NEVER BEEN SENT. After we got around that little problem, we discovered that the final number in my postal code was incorrect. In his words: "You gave us the wrong postal code, which is why you haven't gotten your paper bills." My response: "I gave you the RIGHT postal code, and you entered it incorrectly."

I asked him how I could access my new account online, and he said "I'm not an expert on that, you'll need to email our support team or have an online chat with them. There is nobody you can talk to on the phone."

Then he tried to sell me Bell's cable service. I told him he was about to lose a customer entirely.

Armed with my new account number and customer ID I was ready to pay the bill online, but first I wanted to see what exactly I was paying for. So I registered for a new account at Bell's website...but it wouldn't let me complete the form because "Somebody is already using that email address."


I logged back into the old account and went through the laborious process of deleting it. Finally I managed to create a new account, and when I tried to hook it up to my billing information so I could see the bill...guess what? It wants to know my "bill date." And guess where that information is?

On the paper bill. Which I never received. Because they screwed up my postal code.

Remembering what the awful tech support guy had said -- that there's no way to get website help without using email or a chat window -- I searched the entire Bell site for contact info regarding account issues. Nope! Nothing.

So I tried chatting about "Billing" instead, and got a very slow (but fortunately human) typist who -- after the fifth identity check of the afternoon -- finally gave me my "bill date."

I entered the information. I clicked through a bunch of confusing windows. I finally clicked on the link that's supposed to show me the bill I have to pay...

..."Since your account is new, it will take at least fifteen minutes for this information to become available. Please check back later."

Fifteen minutes. Long enough for me to say: yes, Bell often sucks for two reasons: outsourced technical support and tangled bureaucracy.

I am still a customer. Barely.

I finally get into my bill and what do I see? THE BILLING ADDRESS IS STILL MY OLD ADDRESS. So buddy was telling me that I wasn't getting my bills because my POSTAL CODE was wrong, but I'm REALLY not getting my bills because THEY HAVEN'T CHANGED MY F*CKING ADDRESS.

What part of "I'm moving" didn't they understand?

Of course I discovered this at 7:04pm, and their support lines close at 7:00pm. Right on the button. They won't answer the doubt they're too busy sending stuff to my previous address, you know, the one I switched my phone service from.


Patrick said...

There's no excuse for giving money to Bell. Try Primus VOIP for phone service, and Teksavvy for internet - both have better offerings than Bell for lower cost, and much better service!

natloud said...

My fun experience with bell is that I could never ever talk to someone on the phone or on chat because I don't know the phone number that the account is linked to (i have internet and tv with them but the line is a dumby line since i don't have a home phone). to access any kind of help you have to "enter the phone number" you are calling about. no matter what service you are calling for! even if you pretend to be a new customer, they want a phone number! and fake ones dont work! i wanted to cry!

Adam Thornton said...

I hadn't thought of that, Saffron...they DO always have an automated request for "the number you are calling about." This is what I mean about Bell's red tape problem...they've consolidated all these disparate services and spread them around the world, and they pretend that it's all integrated...but the departments have no idea what the other departments are doing. ARGH!

Patrick, definitely food for thought! My excuse for giving money to Bell, however, is that it's supposed to be so easy. Ahem.

Morgan said...

Call Bell and ask to be transfered the their Retention Dept. They want to keep you as a customer, so they shouldbe willing to give you something - a break on the bill, something for free, etc. Tell them you want to stay a customer but you're frustrated and are thinking of going with Rogers/Volp/Fido etc.

That's how we got our iPhones from Rogers :)