Bell: It’s A New Day, But We’re Still Gonna Rip You Off Like Always

I lose more and more respect for Bell Canada with each passing day. I used to get great service from the company, but in the past 3 years or so that service has gone downhill, plus the sales tactics of some of the telemarketers representing a few departments have gotten way more aggressive than should be legal.

And now we can add to the list of complaints about this once great company the attempted bulk screwing of all of its customers.

You may not know this, but if you’re a Bell, Telus or MTS customer, odds are that in the next few months you’ll be getting a cheque in the mail. This is because of a CRTC decision ordering the companies to refund money that you put into a fund meant to pay for the expansion of rural broadband internet service. According to the numbers in this CBC article, Bell’s share of the fund is somewhere around $250 million, which would work out to each customer being entitled to $67.41.

Here’s where the screwing comes in. I haven’t gotten this letter yet, but Bell is apparently sending misleading information about the refund to customers. the note says that the amount each customer will receive has yet to be determined, but that it could be
up to $67 per home phone line.” Right away, who pulls a number like $67 out of his ass without thinking about it or knowing something he’s not telling you? But more importantly, the letter also comes with a coupon good for $100 towards a 2 year Bell TV subscription or Bell Mobility activation. If you take Bell up on it, not only are you stuck with a 2 year contract that you’ll have to pay full price for, but you’re no longer eligible for the rebate.

I’m sure this offer is going to sound great to quite a few people and that a good number of them will sign up, but what these people aren’t considering is that what Bell is doing is offering them something for free and using their own money to pay for it. Of each $100, only $33.59 is coming out of Bell’s pocket. The other $67.41 comes straight out of that cheque they’re supposed to be sending you. You’re not getting a deal unless you were already planning to turn around and put that money towards a dish or a cell phone. If you were going to do anything else with it, all you’re getting is scammed by a company that’s doing an end run of questionable legality around a government decision in order to hang onto money that it doesn’t want to give back to those to whom it rightfully belongs.

I hope the CRTC puts a stop to this dishonesty, but I won’t be holding my breath. What I will do is encourage all of you not to take Bell’s offer and to cash that cheque as soon as it hits your mailbox, then spend it on anything that Bell won’t make a cent on. It probably won’t work, but we as consumers need to send a message to Bell and others that we’re not as dumb as they think we are.

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