Why it's probably time to stop using Bell Internet…or telephone services altogether

June 3, 2013 by  

Bell wants you to know just how worthless and obsolete their telephone services are, apparently. Just try to give Bell your money over the phone. It’s like they don’t want to be paid.

Today, I had three different Bell services that I wanted to pay for via credit card, via telephone, each with their own account number. Here is my tale.

After 10 to 15 minutes in automated decision tree hell (and the holding associated with same), I hanged up and called the main Bell number (310-Bell) instead of the number on my bill. I get a rep quickly, who quickly asks all of the not-applicable questions, like “what account number are you calling about” (there are three, and the option I chose on their decision tree, to get to her, was specifically said to be for “multiple services”), and what is the location where that service is used (again, inapplicable, because some of the services are used at home, but billed at the office). I say that, first I’d like to pay for my 1-877 number. “Um, hold on sir so that I can process your payment”…followed by 10 more minutes of muzak (perhaps that’s being unfair to muzak: this stuff’s pure monotony)…while I wait on hold. Then the rep says: “Thank-you for holding sir, I’ll now be able to put you through to the credit department, which can process your payment”…back on hold…then someone who can take payment for my 1-877 line, but who advises she’ll have to transfer me to a different department to pay the two internet bills. She takes my payment in about 6 minutes, then transfers me…on hold…then: “I’m sorry sir, but we’re having technical difficulties so I’m going to give you another number and you can call that department directly.

I call the number. “For English, press 1”. I do so…looonnnnngggg pause (I wonder if I’m still connected)…then: “Please enter the ten digit number you are calling about…I do so…another HUGE delay…then a menu of options with the last one being “to speak to an agent, press 5″…I do that…silence…then another menu “for phone press 1, for internet press 2″…I do that…silence…then back to a menu, none of the options of which are to speak to an agent (deja vu all over again)…I choose “billing inquiries”…ring, ring…I get Tiana, who asks me for the account numbers…then security questions…then she says she can help me with the payment and says “Let me just send you to our credit department and they can process your payment”…more muzak. I’ve now been on the phone for 35 minutes…all to pay three fiddling bills totaling a couple of hundred dollars…I wait…the music appears to be calculated to maximize annoyance…as a bonus, the muzak is peppered with messages in which Bell tells me about various services and offers, and suggests I “speak to an agent today” about their new offers. Clearly, the brain trust over at Bell doesn’t realize that getting the right agent on the phone is a bit like cross between a carnival game, a sensory overload experiment, and a term of life imprisonment.

But I persist. Now it’s a matter of principle. I’ve been jotting this down as I go, so I want to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes. I’m about to find out…

It’s now been 40 minutes, and Tiana comes back on the line to thank me for holding and to tell me that we’re just waiting for an agent. Yeah, thanks for that Tiana…five more minutes. Tiana comes back on the phone. She advises that the credit department advises that they no longer accept payments over the phone unless the payment is overdue. I lose it. I advise that “well, guess what, this payment is going to be overdue.” I explain that it’s not her fault, that it’s Bell’s fault, that clearly it does not want my money, and that I’d rather cancel my two internet accounts than be treated this way and forced to wait 40 minutes only to be told they will not accept my payment via telephone. I told her that I want to speak with a human being, and I will cancel my Bell internet service before I let them use this abusive phone service (on hold, monotonous music, passed from department to department) to discourage me from using the phone and to herd me to their fiddling web site (which is one step from what they really want: automatic deductions…which, given the sums I pay each month, I’ll NEVER trust them to make properly). I again tell her it’s not her fault, but that the company can go straight to hell, and that I hope she tells her employer that when she is no longer needed as a customer service rep.

My point is this: rather than just saying that it does not accept payments via telephone, Bell is willing to waste 40 minutes of my time to pretend otherwise…only to admit it thereafter. It’s a bit like stringing a person along with the hope of marriage, only to tell them that you never intended to marry them, but were just enjoying the ride until they found out the truth. It’s abusive, and with the thousands I pay to that company each month, it’s unacceptable.

Bell’s new implicit slogan: “Bell: because you and your time don’t matter, and we’ve got enough regulations to eliminate meaningful competition, so go fiddle yourself, and pay up…without using our obsolete telephone system.”


Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!