Archive for Bell

It Seems That Canadians Don’t Really Like Bell Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 27, 2017 by itnerd

In the days since I posted this story and this story on Bell Canada’s sales tactics, I’ve gotten lots of emails and Tweets from people that make it clear that Bell Canada have really not made a lot of friends with Canadians. In fact, I have been pointed towards protest groups that have been set up in relation to Bell Canada and their activities. For example, I was pointed to a Google Community that has frequent postings about anything negative that Bell Canada does. Related to this, I also was pointed towards a Twitter feed called “Bell Canada Lies” that is similar to the Google Community.

The thing is that these two examples, combined with other things that I have seen in the last few days, is above and beyond anything that I have seen with any other Canadian telco. Bell Canada has a real PR issue that has existed long before I posted my stories on Bell. That’s a huge problem if you’re Bell. And the fact that people are bringing this to me is also not good for Bell. It says to me that Bell really needs to clean up its act and fast.

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If Canadians Want Bell Canada To Change Its Behavior, They Need To Stop Doing Business With Bell Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 22, 2017 by itnerd

Earlier this week it came to light that Bell Canada was forcing it’s call center staff to upsell customers at every opportunity. Since then customers have been coming out of the woodwork to say that that report is 100% accurate. For example, the CBC has a follow up report with some truly horrifying examples of what Bell is doing to customers. I encourage you to read it as some of the stories that are in that report are truly horrific. One thing that was suggested in that story was this:

The growing number of allegations about Bell employees using high-pressure sales tactics to upsell customers has prompted the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to call for a public inquiry.

“The CRTC needs to take a look at the sales practices of telecommunications and broadcasting companies in Canada with a particular emphasis on upselling or misleading sales,” PIAC executive director John Lawford said.

“Right now, there’s nothing in the Wireless Code that says you have to sell customers products that are suitable,” said Lawford.  

“If sales practices that are inappropriate and ripping off consumers are endemic in the industry, that’s completely appropriate for the CRTC to say ‘We’re going to set out rules.'”

The problem is, that’s not going to cut it. The CRTC has proven that it doesn’t have the will or ability to really act as a regulator. At least not when you compare them to the FTC or FCC in the states which does a far better job of this sort of thing. Though, they are free to surprise me by taking this on and producing results that will matter to Canadians. But I’m not holding my breath on that front.

The only real way to force Bell Canada to ensure that this behavior isn’t going on is to not do business with them. While Canada does have issues with having a truly competitive telco landscape, there is some choice out there in the form of Rogers and Telus. And shifting dollars away from a telco who on the wireless front accounts for 31.8% of complaints to the CCTS so far this year [Warning: PDF], would send Bell Canada a signal that this is not acceptable. And it would likely change their behavior way faster than any regulator or government could. The bottom line is this, Canadians have the power to do something about this and all they need to do is exercise that power. If they don’t, Bell will simply weather this storm and continue to do the things that are described in the CBC reports on this topic. Which is not good for Canadian consumers.

Bell Pressures Call Center Staff To Upsell Customers At All Costs: Bell Employees

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 21, 2017 by itnerd

I may be in India at the moment, but a story on the CBC was brought to my attention by the people that I am working for this week. Which really shows you how much play it is getting in the media. But in short some Bell employees and ex-employees claim that Bell pressures their call center staff to upsell customers all the time. As in every time they call in:

A longtime Bell Canada employee describes working in the company’s Scarborough, Ont., call centre as “a non-stop nightmare,” where she says she is forced to sell customers products they don’t need, don’t want, and may not understand, to hit sales targets and keep her job.

Andrea Rizzo, 50, has worked for Bell — Canada’s largest telecom service provider — for 20 years, and says the pressure to upsell customers who call in has become relentless.

She says employees are expected to make a sale on every call.

Rizzo is currently on stress leave, and worries about the repercussions of making her concerns public, but says the status quo has to change

The pressure comes in the form of those who listen into these calls:

Rizzo describes how coaches randomly listen in on customer calls without her knowledge, and rush to her desk if she’s not sealing a deal.

“They’ll sit next to you and say, ‘Don’t tell them that. No, put the call on hold,’ or ‘No, tell them you have no other options, this is the best choice they’re making,'” says Rizzo. “Some of them will take over the call and actually talk for us.”

She says she’s also coached to talk quickly, not to let the customer speak, and to bury the price of products and services.

“We’re supposed to mention the price really quickly and then jump to, ‘We can get a technician out for this day and this time.'”

And what’s really bad is that they are coached to not talk about the skinny bundle of TV services that Bell is legally required to offer.

That’s not cool.

Now Bell denies that it’s doing any of this. But based on my previous interactions with Bell, for example this interaction where I had a problem and they tried to sell me services before they would get around to trying to fix my problem, this story is entirely plausible. Plus I have heard stories like this from people inside Bell and from clients who experience this upselling first hand. In fact, it’s this behavior, along with the fact that they have contracts that start out at an attractive price before the price skyrockets a few months later that stops me from jumping from Rogers Gigabit Internet to Bell’s Fibe Gigabit offering. Now one would think that the bad press that Bell gets because of stories like these will encourage them to change their behavior. But I seriously doubt it. The way they do business based on what I hear from inside and outside the organization really gives me cause to pause, and this bad press is unlikely to change the way this company behaves. It make me wish that the Canadian government would do something about this as it is unacceptable that Bell is allowed to get away with behavior like this.

Bell Canada Wants To Block Access To Pirate Websites…… WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 28, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re into “acquiring” content via torrent sites and you’re Canadian, you are likely not going to like what I am about to write. In what has to be considered to be an over the top move, Bell Canada is floating the idea of blocking any or all access to websites that are related to piracy:

Canada is a safe haven for internet pirates, Bell Canada says. The telecom giant wants the federal government to fight back by blocking Canadians’ access to piracy websites and stiffening the penalties for violations.

“People are actually leaving the regulated [TV] system, not just because they want to watch Netflix but because they want to watch free content,” Rob Malcolmson, Bell’s senior VP of regulatory affairs, told federal politicians last week. He was speaking at a government hearing in Ottawa on NAFTA negotiations.

According to Malcolmson, this is how the website-blocking plan would work: an independent agency, such as Canada’s broadcast regulator (the CRTC), would create a blacklist of sites that allow people to download or stream pirated content like movies and TV shows.

Internet service providers, like Bell, would then be required to prevent their customers from accessing the sites.

“So you would mandate all [internet providers] across the country to essentially block access to a blacklist of egregious piracy sites,” said Malcolmson. Canadians made 1.88 billion visits to piracy sites last year, according to Bell.

Hmm….. The government and private companies putting together a list of sites they consider “pirates” and blocking them from your view. There certainly no potential for abuse here. None whatsoever. Also, Bell Canada owns the rights to some the content that is being pirated. Thus I am sure that this factors into this proposal, even though they likely won’t admit it.

The fact this that this is an insane over-reach if it were to be adopted. Hopefully Canadian politicians have the common sense to smack Bell Canada into reality as they are way offside here.

BREAKING: Phone Service Down For Many Canadians

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 4, 2017 by itnerd

There’s some sort major outage that seems to be affecting many Canadians. According to Canadian Outages,  cellphones, Internet, TV and phone lines are down for people across the country. Specifically those on Bell and Telus. By extension those on Virgin and Koodo are also affected as those brands are owned by Bell and Telus respectively. Outage reports are coming in from Halifax, Toronto, St. John’s, Dartmouth, Moncton, Ottawa, Saint John, Fredericton, Mississauga, Calgary and Sydney.

This a a major problem because according to the CBC, it’s affecting critical services such as people’s ability to dial 911:

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia government’s Emergency Management Office says 911 service itself is not being impacted, but people whose phones are down may not be able to call.

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services has ordered all ambulances and on-duty crews to return to their stations and monitor their tablets for emergency calls. 

I’ll be keeping an eye on this to provide any updates as they develop.

UPDATE: There are now reports via Canadian Outages that Rogers has issues as well as Bell Aliant.

UPDATE #2: It seems you can take Rogers off the list in terms of outages in Atlantic Canada based on what I am seeing on social media.

UPDATE #3: It is becoming clear that cellular phones are affected by this outage as the CBC story that I linked to indicates that landlines are apparently not affected.

UPDATE #4: The CBC story has changed to say that its both landlines and cell phones that are affected by this outage. CBC also confirms that Rogers is not affected by this.

UPDATE #5: We have a cause for this epic outage:

UPDATE #6: Service is apparently being restored.

UPDATE #7: Apparently service has been restored (Bell) or on its way to being restored (Telus).

Hyundai’s BlueLink & Kia’s UVO Intelligence Services Hits Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on June 9, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday, Bell Canada announced that they were teaming up with Hyundai Canada and Kia Canada to bring Hyundai’s BlueLink and Kia’s UVO Intelligence Services to Canada. If you have a vehicle that is properly equipped, you’ll get emergency roadside assistance and automatic collision notification, and connect a suite of services like remote start, climate control, local search, remote door lock/unlock, maintenance alerts and on-demand diagnostics.

The first Kia Canada vehicles that will get Uvo Intelligence will be the 2018 Optima and 2018 Rio 5-door. Over at Hyundai Canada, you can expect to see BlueLink in the 2018 Elantra GT and the 2018 Sonata. More vehicles will surely follow with this functionality. Both Hyundai Canada and Kia Canada will serve this functionality up free for 5 years.

Bell Ignored Ransom Demand Prior To Data Breach

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 19, 2017 by itnerd

Earlier this week I told you about Bell having customer data leak and the possibility that more leaks would be coming. It now seems that the reason for the leak was the fact that Bell ignored a ransom demand from the hacker behind this. Here’s what The Financial Post had to say:

“A demand for payment was made by the hacker, but it was not paid,” Bell spokesman Marc Choma said via email on Tuesday. “We did not reply to their demand.”

You can completely understand why Bell didn’t pay. It would have opened the floodgates for extortion. But you still have to wonder how this happened in the first place? Bell isn’t exactly offering up those details. But the Canadian Privacy Commissioner is investigating and if they discover that Bell dropped the ball, we’ll be told pretty darn quick.