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Bell Canada / over billing

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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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A  30th of Mar, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I just want to make note of the following:

I have been in touch with someone who was successful in litigating against Bell. From my conversations with them, it appears that feedback from others is a 'make or break' for punitive damages. I have to conclusively show that Bell is doing this a lot and that it is deliberate, 'willful' and essentially requires punitive damages as a deterrent.

I did not know this, but it is possible to take such a suit and switch it to a class-action in a higher court. If I get enough responses from people whose experience is very similar to mine, I will consider this. I will certainly keep track and if I get enough of one category I will inquire what can be done for people in that category to form a class-action. I can not speak much to the probability of success except to make note that it definitely exists, has been done before and in recent years there are a couple of Supreme Court precedents that provide key elements of a successful claim for large punitive damages.

This has cost me so dearly already that I doubt I will be able to find the fortitude to move to a higher court myself. However, if I am successful, it paves the way for others to follow and makes gaining punitive damages more likely in subsequent cases.
N  10th of Apr, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I`ve been using Bell High Performance internet 3 years. Back then, they were offering 5 MB/s plan for the same price as they charge today and my ACTUAL Transfer rate was at 4.8 MB/s and my download speed was at 700 kb/s. Last year they changed the 5 MB/s plan to 7 MB/s plan with the same price, BUT the ACTUAL transfer rate was reduced to 3.8 MB/s and download speed to 600 kb/s.

Last week there was a service interruption which caused the internet to be disconnected for couple hours. After the service came back online, my ACTUAL transfer rate and download speed, equally, were reduced to >>> 0.3 MB/s <<< and that’s just ridiculous. Next day I called Bell tech support and they said I should not be expecting speed more that 215 kb/s (0.215 MB/s). He said if you need higher speed then I would suggest upgrading the plan,

This is just a rip-off, according to the contract, they must provide 7 MB/s transfer rate, not 0.215MB/s!!!

Although it`s not hard to figure out what’s going on here, we all know economy is in depression, and of course, Bell is losing money. Therefore they lower their speeds in order to force customer to move up to more expensive plans and so make some money.

A  26th of Apr, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Try checking the calculation of the taxes on your bill. They have their own system of "rounding up" sometimes two places. I have contacted the different government agencies involved and they agree Bell is in the wrong. I haven't had the time to follow up on this. Both officials I spoke to "unofficially" recommended I file a class action suit. If only I had the time...
A  28th of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have been paying for Bell Sympatico's top DSL service since I came to Kingston, ON in 2007. Recently, I complained to colleague that my DSL has always been slow. He suggested I run a DSL speed test at DSLReports.com. I ran the tests and showed him the results. He indicated that the results from the speed tests showed that my DSL speeds were significantly slower than they should be. I was getting 450k down when I should have been getting 5gig with the package I am subscribed to.

I contacted Bell support and told them that I thought that my DSL speeds did not reflect the service that I was paying for. Bell quickly identified the problem. The phone number that had been assigned to my Sympatico account was not the proper phone number. The Technical rep told me that the problem with my DSL speeds would be cleared up once he put the correct phone number in. Three days afterward my DSL was indeed working as per my subscribed service. I again contacted Bell and asked what they intended to do about compensating me for the 3 years of charging me for a service that they never provided. The Bell Service Rep, and then the Bell Service Rep Supervisor both told me that without a point of reference as to when the service became unsatisfactory, they could only compensate me for one half months internet. I told the representative that the point of reference was at account creation when the Bell rep assigned the wrong phone number to my internet account. He disagreed re-offered to credit me one half month's service. He gave me the address to make a formal complaint to the General Manager at Bell Internet Client Services in Ottawa. He also told me that because I had never complained about my DSL speeds to Bell support prior that they could not identify when the problem occurred. Again, I informed him that Technical Support indicated that the problem existed solely because the wrong information had been entered at account creation, and thus was his point of reference. He then told me that when customers get a new service that they should always check to ensure they are receiving the services they requested.

It was only by chance that someone more technically inclined than myself was able to identify that there was a problem with my DSL service in the first place. I had always assumed that my Bell Internet DSL was of poor quality because of how slow it had always been. I requested from the Bell Credit department compensation for the years of service that I was charged for, but only minimally received due to error on Bell's behalf and was again offered one half months worth of internet credit. I found this to be unacceptable.
A  4th of Mar, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I've been cancelling my service since December, but they're still sending bills and auto paid from my credit card. They refused to pay me back at once when I asked for, not until I get my finalized bill and have to wait for 6-8 weeks. It was actually their fault not closing my account but I just can't get back what I've paid extra.
N  3rd of Nov, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I am being over-charged by Bell; they also recently told me that someone else's bill had been credited to my account by mistake. I asked them how much I owed after that and made the payment in full. Now, a few days later, I have just receive another bill ov over $600.00 from them. Not to mention a few weeks since I made that final payment, I had paid 350.00. I only have Bell and the Internet bundle. I am not sure if they are committing fraud or if it is an outsider. I had to work to-day but will call them to-morrow and demand an audit or threaten to sue. Not sure what I should do. They also threatened to suspend my service in the same letter. If there is a class-action suit, let me know and I will gladly sign up. I am not sure how much money they have over-charged me altogether since I do not know for sure how long this has really been going on.
N  9th of Mar, 2012 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have been a loyal client of Bell, but I do not trust them anymore. They have made it a rule to break their promises, and also to over bill me more and more each month.
Recently, when I complained to their billing department, they presumed the client guilty! Then, they checked their records and found the proof about huge mistakes of Bell employees. Yet, they have not even apologized to me. Over a month later, they still have not corrected their mistakes, although their supervisor promised to do it immediately. I have never encountered such disrespectful treatment of clients in any other business in Canada.
A  18th of May, 2012 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Check this out - http://www.worstcanadianbellservice.com/
A  27th of Nov, 2012 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
They charged my mother-inlaw for years of internet service never installed, after repeated compalints, they credited 3 months and closed the file, claiming that POA is responsible for monitoring their mistake. This calls under the charging for services never deliverd catafory. She was a loyal customer at that address since 1968 and they had no problem treating her in a manner that would be considered fraudulent if perpatrated by an individual.
N  27th of Nov, 2012 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
BTW: I moved here from the states - the collusion and lack of oversight of telecom in Canada is rediculous. Canadians should be ashamed for letting politicians, CRTC and big companies run rampant over them. This type of abuse is the tip of the monetary iceberg - service itself costs much more than in the states because of the collusive oligopoly which is the telecommunications industry. The same is true of gasoline as well - price fixing which would be illegal under anti-trust laws in the US is common prtactice in Canada. Canada acts liek a third world nation with regards to corporate collusion.
N  11th of Dec, 2013 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have just been what I'll call served from a collection ( D & A Collection - Calgary aLBERTA )

It is over a cell phone from Bell Canada. I owned a farm north of Iron Bridge Ontrio ( near Sault Ste Marie )
but have always lived in London Ontario. Rogers does not have access to the closest cell phone tower near the farm
so being a Bell Controlled tower, I contacted Bell Canada in an Online Mode.

They did not have all phone areas in their drop down list, so I used their online cistomer service to do it right.
I was told to use Sudbury Ontario AND customer service was required to verify ALL information, and would get a proper
Phone number for an Iron Bridge Number.

Without contact, they started billing me for a phone I did not have and sent me a phone with a Sudbury phone number.
I contacted them again and they basically blew me off and hung up the phone when I asked for a supervisor.
They claimed everything was my fault and I'd have to pay them to correct the number. Anyone phoning would be paying
long distance charges.

Used the internet customer service. Very similar situation, but apparenting they didn't know I could cutand paste the
conversation to a file on my computer.

I tried other times to solve the situation but they similar results not being allowed past their customer dam.
I told them their service was unacceptable and wouldn't pay for it. They claimed I had already gone by their date of return,
based on the date me initially contacting them.

So they cut off the service, sent no bills to where I live and never contatced me again until this collection agency started phoning and
harassing me. I told them my story and they didn'y care. I was to pay them no matter what Bell Canada did. They claimed it was me not co-operating and Bell Canada had done all they could for customer satisfaction and I had never contacted Bell Canada.

I don't want to go to small claims court but will. Just more agony. Is there a smarter way ??


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