A while back, I was unsatisfied with the service my local phone company had given regarding a certain connection. I wrote to the Vice-President of Bell Canada to complain. It went like this:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am currently unsatisfied with the quality of service Bell has been offering. I am complaining about several instances where the quality of service is questionable. I will explain in detail my frustrating experience with Bell.

I had recently moved back to Ottawa to finish my university education. Having moved-in and settled, my ordeal with Bell started when I wanted a new telephone line. Asking for help from one of the representatives at Bell at Billings Bridge, I was given an application form for a new installation. After having filled the form, I was notified that it would take only two working days to have it installed. I was elated about the prompt service at that moment and I was looking forward to having a new number so quickly. I had also decided to partake on the new Simply One service plan and had purchased an Audiovox cellular phone at the store. Not knowing the consequences that would later haunt me, I was happy to make the purchase of the new phone and service.

The next day, I was somewhat unclear about the service I was going to have at my residence. I called Bell at 310-BELL to confirm that the right kind of service was being implemented. I found out that the service was indeed wrong, that it wasn't a "new installation" that was needed but instead a "new phone number (requiring connections) on an existing separate line" was needed. The representative informed me that I was unable to have the service until about one week-and-a-half later. At this time, I was upset that the service would take so long after the representative at the Bell Store assured me otherwise. Not knowing what my schedule was, I had no choice but to schedule the service on September 25th,1999. It was clear that the representative at the Bell Store did not make it clear what service was exactly needed. The person did not ask me specific questions so that I may be served better. It should be also noted that while I was being served, a whole pile of people had arrived behind me to demand some service, of which there was at the time not enough manpower to do so.

After waiting for more than a week, with my new phone line finally installed, I had discovered that my cellular phone was not working. I had initially called 310-BELL about the problem and they told me that there was either a programming error within the phone or that the phone was incompatible with the system. The representative suggested that I return to the store I bought the phone from to have it reprogrammed. I concurred. I spent an entire Monday afternoon in the Bell Store waiting for my phone to be reprogrammed and a work order to be sent out once again. I was assured that the problem was to be fixed by the next day.

And so, after waiting for the next day to come, it still did not work. I later phoned 310-BELL once again to ask why it wasn't working, and the representative tells me that the Audiovox phone is not compatible with the Simply One plan. Another surprise! Now the Bell Store sold me a product that was incompatible with the service! After having given this information, I returned yet again to the Bell Store to inform them of this situation. I spent the majority of the day, once again, trying to rectify the problem by returning the useless Audiovox phone and buying another one. This time, instead of spending an affordable $90.00 on the Audiovox phone, I had to pay more than $200.00 for a Nokia digital phone of equal size, weight and styling. I could have easily paid less than that amount for a ClearNet system Nokia phone.

After buying the phone, I was assured once again by the representative at the Bell Store that the service would resume by the end of the day. This was not true. I called 310-BELL once again to ask why my service was not working. It was discovered on the next day that the electronic serial number (ESN) was entered wrong in the system and that the cellular number was re-assigned to someone else. There was a confusion as to which cellular number was assign to my phone and no one notified me until much later. Finally, after yet another day of waiting, I had service to my cellular phone, but not all of it.

My Call Forwarding in the Simply One plan did not work for a few days later and neither did my Call Answer. I was expecting an important call for a job interview that week but I was unable to know whether or not the company called because of the failure of these phone services. Finally, the problem was rectified after yet another two days of waiting. The person who had enter my data had forgotten to switch my services on.

I must confess that this ordeal has left me in disbelieve with the amount of incompetence Bell Canada hires for their customer service. My experience with Bell as described in this letter depicts wasting of my time and the lack of training and technical knowledge that is inherent in almost every person I have contacted that represents Bell. I am not the one out to get people fired as I have not submitted names to get the workers in trouble. It is just a fact from my ordeal, that has led me to be patient until the last minute, that the quality of service is unsatisfactory.

After waiting for about three weeks for my phone services to be completely expedited, this letter now confirms that my patience has finally run out. I am questioning whether Bell values their customers and their loyalty at all.


They returned my letter apologizing for the service, and as compensation, they gave me two $25 dollar gift certificates. I was somewhat pleased that they acknowledged my complaint. They even had a representative call me up personally to discuss what had happened in the days following the reception of my letter.

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