Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bell’s Pointless Persistence

I used to be a customer of Bell’s Sympatico internet service. For some reason, Bell is trying much harder to get me back as a customer than they ever worked to keep me as a customer.

My most recent mailing from Bell trumpets a very low monthly price of $22.95. Of course, the fine print says that this is for a level of service far below what I used to have with Bell. The real cost to me would be about double this figure.

However, I’m actually not very price sensitive when it comes to internet service. I just want it to work. I haven’t really noticed my Rogers’ internet service because it works and is fast; just the way I like it. I know that other people have had trouble with Rogers, but I’m one of the lucky ones so far.

I know a little about the technology Bell uses, and the quality and speed of service depends greatly on the length and quality of the phone line connection into the home. So, some people will have no trouble, and others will have no end of trouble. Unfortunately, I was in the latter camp after a forced upgrade to a “faster” modem.

My repeated complaints to Bell about having to reset the modem several times per hour got no reaction for a long time. Finally, a technician came out and ran around the house with some equipment. Between smokes he at one point decided that the chain holding one of my lamps was somehow connected to the phone line. This idea was then abandoned for another theory that led to the technician installing a length of phone wire on the side of my house.

None of this solved the problem, but Bell hit me with a surprise charge of $100. Nice. I wanted to talk to a competent person on the phone to try to narrow down the problem rather than jump straight to the $100 non-solution.

Even cancelling Bell’s internet service was painful. They claimed that some fine print in a contract obligated me to keep paying for another month after the current month. Even the process of mailing back the modem and various filters, etc. required a few phone calls to get everything straight.

So now Bell repeatedly invites me to “switch to a better online experience” and they claim to have “the most powerful internet”. Thanks, but no thanks.

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