Bell Canada / over billing
I am making a claim in Small Claims Court against Bell Canada for over billing, failing to deliver a promised Internet speed and deliberately wasting my time in an attempt to discourage me from complaining. They over charged me by hundreds or thousands of dollars and refuse to give me back a nickel.
If you can send email that would help me to Bell310@SeekPhone.info or visit the site and use the contact form -- http://SeekPhone.info, I would very much appreciate it. Many people have complaints, but none have contacted that mail address yet.
I have assembled some information and am working on more to establish that my various complaints are not particular to me. Bell has a long-standing pattern of such abusive behavior going back at least a decade.
The BBB (notorious for NOT listing complaints against companies), shows hundreds of complaints against Bell. It gives Bell its lowest rating (F) of its thirteen different ratings. Amway, a company with a less than spotless public record has the highest possible rating (A). The number one complaint at the BBB is over billing.
I am looking for any material that people can supply that might help me with my claim and in particular to establish Bell's pattern of overcharging and dealing in bad faith. Any information you can supply as to the nature of the complaint, the investigation and resolution (if any) would be very much appreciated.
Just an Email with your story (mailto: Bell310@SeekPhone.info) would be helpful.
None of the agencies charged with oversight is doing its job, as far as I can tell. There are plenty of agencies that should have stopped this behavior and there is plenty of legislation to do it with. Despite that, after ten years of this, it goes on.
Here is an older CRTC decision that clearly shows that despite the obvious bad faith on Bell's part (you can see background at PIAC's site), the CRTC was unwilling to make a decision that would act as a deterrent to future abuse. The decision they made here still left some of Bell's victims over-charged. I would not be going to court now if the CRTC had done its job, because Bell would not have over-charged me in the first place. It is decisions such as this that has made illegal over charging a money-making proposition for Bell. (sic -- in one court decision, DeWolf Vs Bell, they were found to be in violation of the criminal code)
For Bell, cheating customers is a net profit making activity even though they officially lose some (all as far as I can tell) of the formal challenges made against them.
Note that I contacted the CRTC quite some time ago with my complaints before during and after filing my claim against Bell. So far there has been no response at all from them.
I also contacted a cynical body (CCTS) that claims to be an impartial body that accepts and mediates complaints against a group of companies that includes Bell. It is funded entirely by the group it is charged with overseeing. Their (untimely) response to my complaint was to send me back an Email asking me to enter into a legal agreement before they would investigate. Whether by accident or design they sent me back a PDF file with their claim set up, with part of my information missing, part incorrect, and a status of
CLOSED. That is, they had closed my complaint prior to investigation.
Bell has a very well documented habit of essentially 'negative option billing' customers such as me. It is completely outside the bounds of acceptable business behavior. It would never be tolerated from most businesses. Bell, without my knowledge or permission, simply changed the rules by which it billed me and started billing me more than ten times (more than 100 times in one instance) the real value of what I was getting. This is a very common practice with them. In my case, it was contrary to an explicit agreement. However, I submit that no customer should ever have to continuously monitor a vendor to prevent the vendor from deliberately cheating them by suddenly over-charging, contrary to their original agreement. Bell is absolutely notorious for this.
Please be one of the few people that actually responds in a timely fashion. So far, despite plenty of postings and contacts to various people and agencies only two have responded. One was a columnist who has had numerous complaints sent to them about Bell and the other was someone who successfully sued Bell themselves. They are being very helpful. However, I am expecting Bell to defend very aggressively and would like as much evidence as possible to increase my chances of an award for punitive damages.
In my complaint, which is typical of complaints against Bell, Bell promised me a thing and delivered something else. They also promised me a price and charged me something else. When confronted the first
time, in 2005, they gave me *some* of my money back. The second time they did it, they offered me no compensation at all (it's worse -- see below).
Bell uses a variety of noxious practices. I would very much appreciate it if people could send along any stories and/or supporting material that would help me to establish this beyond doubt. These practices include:
# Improper Charges
# Cutting off Service
# Unauthorized Billing Increases and Changes.
# Threatening to cut off service resulting in fees (this is disallowed by legislation, but they threatened to do it to me anyway).
# Refusing to give a street Address and contact information. I was actually unable to ever get the name and street address where I could provably deliver court documents. I ended up delivering them to a Bell Store and half expect Bell to claim it never was served.
# Deliberately unpleasant/frustrating customer service. In one case, someone claims to have spend a thousand hours with them. I personally have had several weeks of time wasted and the number
continues to climb.
# Attempts to Frustrate -- "Customer Avoidance"
# Charging without consent. They just change the rules and slap the charges on your bill.
# Passing the buck in a deliberate effort to frustrate complainants.
# Over billing and billing issues
# A policy of aggressive upselling that includes complete falsehoods about the service offered. They do this as a matter of course constantly while pretending to deal with a complaint.
# They have policy of misrepresentation. For example, their bills read 'savings' highlighted and circled when they are charging the maximum rate -- ten times or more what customers usually pay. This is one of the ways they manage to over bill and get away with it for so long before people notice.
# Offering and charging for wrong Internet speeds. This is a particularly egregious practice. They offer and charge for 3-6Mb service on lines they know can carry much less. In one case personally known to me, this went on for years, during which the client complained. Bell finally admitted that the speed being charged was not possible on that line. No refund was offered.
# Harassing Calls -- Despite telling me on three different occasions *NOT* to pay my bill while they 'investigated', their collections people repeatedly harassed me. I am not alone in this.
# Offering fake reference numbers or refusing to give any reference that would allow you to prove a call took place.
# Constantly Broken Promises (more than a dozen in my case)
# Wasting customer's time
# Billing for services not installed. Some have been billed for services they did not even get and were still refused a refund.
# Broken refund promises. It is typical to initially offer a refund, 'up sell', provide and bill the 'up sold' service (but sometimes, as in my case, not even the one promised), and then deny a refund offer was ever made.
# False claims of 'investigations'. As in my case, people at call centers say they are starting an investigation when they do not even have the power to make notes on the file.
As you can see if you look around, there are many complaints similar to the above about Bell. However, I cannot thus far get any of these complainants to contact me directly so that I can make a credible claim in court that I have first-hand knowledge of the problems not being limited to me.
If you have a complaint about Bell, please get in touch. Whatever the court will allow me to publish, I will so that that you will have a better chance at getting some of your own money back.
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