Bell Mobility / billing discrepancy / general incompetence

ON, Canada Review updated:

Last summer (of 2009) I got a job in the North (Whitehorse, YT). I called Bell to know if they had service in the city and if I could keep my existing phone/plan (HTC touch, voice / data). The rep told me that there was no Bell service up there, that I had to cancel my contract, or sell it to someone who might want to take it over. I found this odd because I had visited Bell's website earlier that week and it looked as though they had service up there. I assumed that the rep meant there was no consumer service up there and their line infrastructure was intended only for business customers. Having no time to spare and no interested buyers, I cancelled my 3 year contract, of which had only been in effect for one and a half years. I swallowed hard and paid the cancellation fee.

In the following days, once settled in my new City, I began looking for a mobile phone. To my chagrin, I found that there were only two carriers to choose from up there: Northwestel and... you guessed it, Bell!

I should have listened to my gut and gone with Northwestel but Bell had started offering the Blackberry Tour in their lineup and I just couldn't resist (even though no 3G up there.

I was lucky enough to have the cancellation fee I paid refunded, and reactivate the previously cancelled contract but I still ended up buying a new phone at the non-commital price (the HTC stayed in Ottawa). The rep that told me Bell didn't have service in Whitehorse cost me $700.00 (although I did get a new phone).

The story doesn't end there. New blackberry, new data plan, I was happy again, until their greed fueled incompetence ruined it again... I don't know if Bell still offers this feature, and I don't care. The feature I'm talking about is called "MyFive". Basically, you can have unlimited local and long distance voice and text to five canadian numbers for the people you call the most. With most of my family in southern Ontario, I thought this was the ideal way to stay in touch while I was away for work.

What I am about to say, I say with absolute earnestness: I made a grand total of 15 local calls all under 5 minutes each, during the 3 short months I was there. The rest were my "myFive" numbers.

The first month under the new plan was great, a little more expensive than I was used to, but no issues. This was not the case for the following months. Upon close inspection of my December bill I noticed that they counted one of my "myFive" conversations as a local call. This conversation was of course of a few hours in duration. Since their billing system failed to see that the outgoing number was one of my "myFive" numbers, the converstation ended up taking the remainder of monthly alloted minutes, being charged as long distance and the remaining calls that month were also being billed at the overage rate. In all, the overage charges were in the neighbourhood of $300.00.

I called four times to get this discrepancy resolved, nobody there knew what to do. I spoke with someone who claimed they were a manager there (Frank Firtana). They keep telling me that the charges are valid.

Again, I swallowed hard and paid. As soon as my contract is over, I'm gone.

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  • Tu
      6th of Apr, 2010

    Just a little known fact... Northwestel became a subsidiary of BCE Inc. in 1988 and of Bell Canada in 1999.

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  • Tu
      6th of Apr, 2010

    I recently purchased the Blackberry Tour 9630 based upon a promise from the local Bell Mobility Store in Yellowknife that it was 3G ready; that it was ready for the much anticipated network upgrade due to be released in my area. The upgrade is now in place and I am surprised to be told today by the same store, that my phone will not benefit from the 3G network as it is not compatible. This is certainly just another scam to try to sell hardware. When are these folks going to realize the money is in the long term satisfaction and loyalty of the client, not in the sales commission for the poorly trained agent. Why does the mobility business have to smell like a used car sales lot?

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  • Ny
      29th of Sep, 2010

    I am having the same issue I even have call logs on the call that called me and my cell getting the call all time stamped to match what they billed me for and shouldnt have.

    i have talked to 4 reps over many weeks and no one will admit they made a mistake and reverse the bill they say they are right and call logs are not evidence enough to reverse the billing

    all i got was an address for a Jeff Gau in vancouver to write a letter to.

    I am so mad they can have the phone and the contract and stuff it down their throats.

    0 Votes
  • Tu
      7th of Oct, 2010

    An update here that represents my continuing frustration with being misled by a Bell store representative on the connect ability of the 9630 to the HSPA/3G network when launched. Purposeful or not it is shameful that Bell will not take some responsibility. I telephoned customer service today to advise my increasing displeasure with the situation I find myself in. I sought some comfort by requesting an offer from Bell of a compatible Blackberry at the advertised 3-year term price. I spoke to the customer service representative and her supervisor for nearly an hour with nothing but artificial concern for my situation. They held steadfast to the company policy line. Amazingly they repeated over and over again that I had no purchase credits to use on a new phone. I said of course, as I had used them up when I purchased the BB9630 Tour! They also met my challenge of misrepresentation with the statement that, "we were not witness to your conversations with the sales representative, therefor how can we substantiate the facts when they now deny saying your phone would work on the HSPA network". My only options according to Bell are to simply buy a new phone at full retail; sell my phone and use the proceeds to by a new phone; or switch to another carrier although I must honor my present contract for its full term. At the end of my phone call I asked for the names and employee numbers of both of the persons I spoke with. This is not yet over as I intend to continue to lobby my case.

    One more thing...I must say that I am now very angry with the CRTC for allowing an oligopoly to develop in this most vital public service element of modern society.

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  • Ar
      3rd of Jun, 2016
    Bell Mobility - General
    Bell Mobility

    This is from perspective of a Bell Technical Support employee. I want to show how things are on our end so people can understand and not assume that we have more authority and abilities than we really do. At the same time that blame goes to the company and quite a bit of agents for their lack of patience and interest in the job, customers are also to be blamed for their lack of knowledge and research of their purchases and devices.

    At Bell Mobility, we are constantly pressured to perform and exceed stats required. Some of these stats are unrealistic and are not planned well. To make matters worse, Management usually have no understanding of how customer service works and just want numbers. I mean how can you limit the amount of time to handle a customer's call when you are supposed to help them? it gets really frustrating when people get so demanding and their issues take over 15 minutes to take care of (our handle time varies between 800-1100 seconds and if it goes around or over that hell is raised). If you ask for too much help from Tier 2 (on 50% or more of the calls), then its deemed that you have no knowledge and require training. Now, they don't provide any additional training (the initial one is even lacking as they say we should learn from trial and error) and there is nobody else to ask. Half the times the team manager(s) aren't around and if you ask them a question they get angry and refer you to documentations that are outdated and offer no help. It is very frustrating working there with no help or support and yet expected to exceed expectations. Management walk by us looking at us like road kill laughing at us. Morale is so low and everything they offer to employees has a catch to it ; ex: eating and drinking at your desk, you can do it between calls however there is no mute button so in case a call comes in they don't hear you eating or drinking, so you can't really eat or drink at your desk except on breaks and lunches. Many meetings and surveys get cancelled because of "business needs" on the phone and its busy ... well why is it busy ? because their forecasting is really horrible to say the least.

    To make matters worse, Bell Mobility introduced this new queue called specialty to deal with tablets and data devices. Here is the deal, they never informed us that it will have to do with the billing aspect as well until we were in the actual training class and it was too late to pull out. The "perks" that they offered us we got them about 8 weeks after they were promised. There is no management of the calls coming in to know the amount of agents needed so you never know if it will be a busy day and you need additional people or if it will be light day and can let people go for the day to decrease cost. So now the technical support department is slashed into 3 sections with specialty being the least of them. When people were trained for specialty they were trained for only 2 days on everything including bill where they never dealt with billing before. People on calls didn't know what they're doing and the billing documentations were outdated and did not apply to them, so they put customers on hold for 10-30 mins sometimes or even disconnect the call. The supervisors are not trained on these information so you can't ask them about anything. Bell has deceived its own employees too just like they did with their customers. No wonder morale is low and they constantly have to spend $ on PR and loyalty efforts. To make matters worse, the specialty agents don't get any extra pay even though they deal with troubleshooting for cellular devices (technical), data devices (technical and billing) and tablets (technical and billing) while not receiving any extra pay ; we get paid the same as the others in the Smart phone or voice Queue who deal with only cellular devices (technical) and maybe data devices (technical - most of them end up transferring the call to specialty anyways cold transfer).

    Now to our dear Bell customers. First, know what you're getting into. Don't just take the word of the agent or sales rep. Read about it on the internet as well on the Bell website and find out from multiple sources. Understand everything including billing process and the technical information on the device you're receiving. Learn about it, find out what others said about it before getting it. If you encounter a problem with your device, do basic troubleshooting from the user guide or from the internet by going to google. Don't expect the agents to know all about your phone, we don't have them in front of us and we look at the guide too (unless we dealt with the phone personally or have a simulator for it). Sometimes people call to ask such stupid questions like how to do something ; go look it up for god sake. I find that Canadian and North American customers are generally less knowledgeable, less aware, and less intelligent when it comes to their cellular services than the rest of the world. I traveled to many countries and so I seen and compared this. True that some agents may lie or not give proper information due to the lack of training they were provided in the first place, but at the same time you customers owe it to yourself to search and find out first before crying like little girls on the phone to the point we're annoyed enough to route you elsewhere.

    Remember, when you're calling into Bell you're dealing with people who are not being paid enough to deal with the ### they have to hear and listen to and deal with. People are usually under-trained and are expected to rely on documents that are out-dated or don't even relate to what we're trying to do. Those documents are created by those who don't know how the job is and never done it before. We are not sitting there with phones on our table to know what the hell you're talking about, so we rely on searching google and reading the user guide on lots of the devices. Therefore sometimes its really useless calling all together and might as well just search it yourself. The work condition is miserable to say the least with no management around to help if needed and the lighting of the place is so bad its depressing, and the seating areas don't help your back or your neck. The company is even fighting the presence of a union within and there has been news of employees being threatened if they join (according to sources published within company internal communications). Now why would a company not want a union for its employees to make things better for them ?? so for customers, this is what you deal with when you call in. I personally think its better off not to call except to dispute bills and disconnect your service. Even better, switch to a different telecommunication company all together so you rid yourself of headache of dealing with incompetent unhappy employees who don't even want to be there, and we as employees don't have to deal with your IQ of a squirrel l intelligent, your miserable attitude, and your stupid questions. This is my personal opinion based on what I seen from the company and its customers.

    At the end, we're both very frustrated (employees and customers). The only employees that are not frustrated are usually pets of management and they get what they want and have good shifts that don't change and have the weekend off. Alot of agents hours changed constantly so you can't plan your life and the days off are horrible (non-weekend) so it adds more to the frustration. Bell employees are not being treated well to the point they're giving away their shifts to work less to get away, and bell customers are frustrated because of the poor service they receive as a result of the low morale and corporate culture of the company. The company promises surveys about employee satisfaction, only one was done within last 2 years and results were never shown. Wonder what that tells you about this company!!

    We both should blame the management for not understanding how things are really working for customer facing agents. If anyone wants more information or advice contact me. Feel free to forward this to management of Bell Mobility if possible so they can read and learn better.

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  • Cr
      3rd of Jun, 2016

    you can get any fee or charges waived by asking to speak to CRA, even if they are valid usage charges. You may not get CRA if you ask for a supervisor, that might only get you a more experienced representative...just keep asking to escalate until you get to CRA to get anything waived. they can even send you out a free demo phone sometimes.

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