Bell has an offer for its customers: a $100 credit toward a new Bell TV subscription or a new cell phone. This sounds like a generous promotion until you read the body of the letter and fine print on the back.
As a long-time monopoly, Bell was regulated by the CRTC and one of the things Bell was directed to do was to set aside some of the money it collected from its customers for “future use”. CRTC has now decided that this money should be returned to customers.
Bell’s letter states that the rebate amount “could be up to $67 per home phone line”. However, “as an alternative” Bell is offering the $100 coupon. While it may not be obvious, the phrase “as an alternative” means that if you take the $100 offer you give up your right to the $67 rebate. The last line of the fine print on the back of the page is much more direct:
“By taking advantage of this offer, you will not be eligible for any other offers specific to this program, or the rebate cheque mandated by the CRTC.”
Leaving aside the question of whether customers are adequately warned that taking the coupon means they won’t get the $67, one has to question whether this is a good deal. The offer is obviously a bad deal for people who don’t want a new Bell TV subscription or a new cell phone, but what about people who do want one of these things?
The fine print states that the $100 cannot be combined with any other available offers. So, its real value is less than $100 when other offers are available, which seems to be almost all the time. Even if I wanted a new Bell service I’d be inclined to take my $67 in real money and turn down this $100 in “marketing” money.