If you’re connected to me on Facebook, you may know that we recently experienced some frustration with Bell customer service related to the installation of Fibe TV in our house. To sum up, we were Bell Satellite subscribers and we received a highly deceptive phone call from a Bell telemarketing representative informing us that our service was being upgraded and scheduling an appointment. What we were never told was that:

  • We had the choice to refuse;
  • There is a $100 “migration fee;” and
  • Channel packages are not portable and have to be re-selected post-installation.

Thanks to my wife, we ended up with some degree of satisfaction after several phone calls with the “Customer Loyalty” department. They tried to brush us off, made out like they were doing us a big favour even talking to us, and at one point were very rude. But Jenn persevered and we got most of what we wanted.

A happy outcome of the whole miserable experience with Bell was that our Internet service has (knock on wood) significantly improved. For almost a year we have been paying for a service called “Fibe 15/10” which is theoretically supposed to provide us with 15 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds. While we occasionally saw decent speeds, the Internet would regularly fail, especially if more than one person in the house was using the Internet. Since my wife and I both work frequently from home, it was really not a tenable situation. We had complained about it numerous times, and at least twice a technician was dispatched, but the problem was never resolved. In fact, Bell Technical Support were usually in a great hurry to get us off the phone if the usual “Please unplug your router, wait 30 secs and plug it back in again” instructions failed to fix things.

Our Fibe TV installation took two separate visits over two days. After working for several hours on a Sunday afternoon, the Bell technician (who was extremely competent and very polite) disappeared for over two hours. On his return, he asked me if we had problems with our Internet. When I replied, “Yes,” he told me that something called a DSLAM at the local exchange was defective. This was the source of our connectivity issues, and it prevented the IP-based Fibe TV from working at all. He had replaced the defective equipment, but because our installation was being performed on a Sunday, there was no one at the data centre who was able to connect it properly — hence the need for a return visit.

I am glad that the story had a happy ending (so far — we are less than two weeks in to our new service), but I have to wonder why Bell never checked the equipment when we repeatedly had problems in the past. In fact, previous technicians had gone to the local exchange to work on our Internet problems, but no one ever noticed that the DSLAM was defective until one brilliant TV installer figured it out.

I would love to give up on companies like Bell altogether. The big media companies in Canada (Bell, Telus, Rogers) are all basically oligarchies that do whatever they want because they know that customers are too confused to switch and the lack of choice means that changing providers is virtually meaningless. Something has got to change in Canada. The companies have to be held more accountable for the service that they offer and their pricing structures.

fr_CAFrançais du Canada