Judge Says Bell Can’t Promise A Price And Change It Later

Bell has taken some serious hits lately on the customer service front. Including having the highest amount of complaints to the CCTS so far this year. Well, here’s another hit. A Bell customer took Bell to court over their pricing strategy and won in epic fashion. Here’s the details from the CBC:

In a judgment issued last month in a Toronto small claims court, Deputy Judge William C. De Lucia said that Bell’s attempt to impose new terms after a verbal contract guaranteeing a monthly price for 24 months had been struck was “high-handed, arbitrary and unacceptable.”

It all started in November 2016, when David Ramsay called a Bell customer service representative to inquire about TV and internet services.

The sales agent told Ramsay he could get Bell’s Fibe TV and internet services “for $112.90 a month for 24 months” and then said he’d get an “email confirmation of everything that was just discussed.”

But when the email arrived, it said prices were actually “subject to change” and that Bell was planning to increase its price for internet service by $5, two months later.

“I was stunned and appalled to find these buried terms in an email,” says Ramsay. “I had a contract, and this ain’t that contract.”

Ramsay called Bell to say the emailed contract was different from the verbal contract he’d made on the phone.

I’ve heard this from other Bell customers and this is one reason why I have not switched from Rogers to them. This business practice really rubs people the wrong way.

Here’s what ultimately led to this epic win:

In a move that was pivotal to his legal case, he requested a transcript of the call in which the customer service rep promised him a fixed price for two years.

All contact centers be it sales, customer service or technical support record your calls and keep them for anywhere from six months to two years. And they have to tell you that before you talk to someone live. I know this because I help contact centers set up these recording systems and design the policies for them. You have a right in Canada to get a copy of the recording or the transcript. Usually through the privacy office of the company.

There were two other things that I should mention about this case:

  1. Bell tried to pay off this guy before the case got to court and get him to sign a hush agreement. He refused. And good for him for doing so.
  2. The customer complained to the CCTS before going to court. They closed his case. But when this judgement against Bell surfaced, the CCTS changed its tune and said that they will look at falling in line with this judgement and look into previous complaints of a similar nature.

This underscores the fact that while Bell is the worst when it comes to this sort of thing, the telco industry in Canada needs a serious shakeup due to the fact that Canadians don’t get the best value from any of the “big 3” telcos. It’s high time that one of the “big 3” simply just offer Canadians the best deal possible right up front. No tricks. No gotchas. No fine print. The other two would fall in line instantly if they did that. If that doesn’t happen, I say that the Canadian Government needs to step in and clean up the business practices of the telco industry. Because, clearly the “big 3” are unwilling to do so on their own.

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