Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bell Comes Through

I haven’t had much luck with Bell’s customer service until recently. I’ve had some crazy battles with Bell including being made to pay the same bill twice many years ago and a more recent running battle to get their internet service to work. A problem with my telephone sent me back to Bell’s customer service.

It all started Friday when I started getting calls where the caller would hang up after one ring. My first thought that some kid was just having fun proved wrong when a friend sent an email asking what was wrong with my phone. It turned out that callers got one ring followed by static. My strategy at this point was to “hope the problem goes away.” By Sunday, it was clear that I would have to try another solution.

Ever since Bell “gave” every customer the wiring inside their homes, we have to pay for any repairs. I had visions of having a Bell technician in to mess with the wiring for $100 and not fix the problem. This is what happened the last time a Bell technician came to “fix” my internet connection.

After some Google searches, I learnt that there is a demarcation point on the side of my house that separates the Bell side from my side. I decided that I wanted to know whether the problem was mine or Bell’s before calling them.

I cut open one of my many spare phone wires, did a little soldering, and added some alligator clips to rig up a phone that could be attached to bare wires. Then I disconnected the Bell cable coming to the demarcation point and connected my rigged up phone directly to the Bell cable. At this point, my whole house was disconnected from Bell.

I then phoned my home number from a cell phone and the call went to static after one ring. So it was clear that the problem was on the Bell side and not in my house. Whew.

Next was the dreaded call to Bell’s customer service. I was prepared for a long wait, but was connected to an actual human in less than 15 minutes. Maybe my expectations were too low, but this was better than I had hoped.

A friendly guy with an Indian accent took the information from me including the details of my test at the demarcation point. I certainly wasn’t expecting the person answering the phone to understand anything technical, but he seemed quite knowledgeable.

An hour or so later (on a Sunday!) an actual technician called to say he was coming over. He trudged through the snow to the demarcation point and quickly established that there was a problem with the Bell cable coming to my house.

After an hour or so of trudging around to my neighbours’ houses and driving back and forth to the other end of the cables for our area, he found a spare line that we could use until things get sorted out in the spring. Now I have a cable running across the snow between houses, and my telephone line has never been this clear. I’m guessing that the old cable has had problems since the day I bought my house 15 years ago.

So, thank you to Bell and in particular to technician Todd who worked bare handed while it snowed at 15 degrees below freezing. I’m sure he appreciated the hot pack I gave him to hold while he explained the work he had done before running off to his next job.

1 comment:

  1. Another Christmas Miracle!

    This might explain why your DSL connection was always a piece of poo-poo as well.

    You can now safely return to Mother Bell.