Friday, November 21, 2014

Calling Bell Canada, 310 Bell...and reaching the Philippines

Its been months since I've written anything here, but today I feel the need to get my rant on.  

I am a Bell Canada (or is it Bell Philippines) customer for both satellite television and wireless internet.  Until September I was only subscribed to the satellite TV service, but then added internet.  I called, got the "bundled" package, and instructed them to continue billing me as they had been previously, pre-authorized to my credit card.

Pretty simple right?  Wrong.

Today I received a collections call from Bell because my Bell Internet account was in arrears.  I live in Quebec, so the call was in French, but the script is the same.  "Make a payment now".  I'm a suspicious type so I told them I'd call THEM back.  Instead of calling the 1-800 number I was provided, I called 310 BELL instead and I proceeded to rip into the very pleasant young lady on the other end of the line....Christina I believe was the name.

A little history.

It turns out my "bundle" wasn't a bundle.  Shortly after signing up for the internet service I received what looked like a suspicious email claiming to be from Bell asking me to arrange pre-authorized payments on my account.  "I've already done that", I said to myself, sensing a scam.  I called 310 BELL and was told that yes my account was already pre-authorized and that they'd received a lot of calls about this email.  I was told to delete it and not to click on anything, which I did.  

Well it seems that Bells TV Satellite service and their Wireless Internet service, it doesn't seem they talk to each other.  I was continuing to be billed for Television, but they didn't include the internet portion on my bill.  Yes I should have checked my credit card statement more carefully, but I saw that Bell was indeed billing me each month so I figured all was as it should be.  

They never sent a paper bill for the internet service. make this long story just a bit longer, I was told by the CSR that the issue could be resolved and that the billing could indeed be bundled and paid by a single pre-authorized debit to my credit card, but first I needed to bring the internet account current.

Ugh....okay.  But I didn't have my wallet with me, it was locked in the car.  The nice CSR said no problem, she could wait.  While fetching my wallet it occurred to me that this young lady on the other end of the line, that it isn't her fault that she works for such a messed up company.  And I have worked in similar roles before myself and I know the stress that can come from dealing with outraged customers.

When I came back on the phone I apologized for being so surly (how very Canadian of me eh) and that I wasn't mad at her, I was mad at her employer.  I told her professional and courteous phone manner was appreciated.  I'd also noticed that she spoke with accented English and asked her what her native language was.  She told me it was Filipino.  "Really", I said...."Well I guess I should say como esta mar-ay".  That's a general greeting to a female in Tagalog (which is the native language in the Philippines.  

Christina (if I recall correctly) was quite taken back.  I told her I also knew como-esta par-ay (greeting to a guy) and salama (thank you).  She said it was great to talk to someone from Canada who speaks "my language".  

That struck me as odd.  Speaking to someone from Canada???   Isn't she in Canada???  Nope.  She told me that she worked in the Philippines.  

I realize the chances of this coming to light through mainstream media is pretty small given the amount of advertising Bell does and the fact that they own CTV among numerous other broadcast properties.

It looks like Bell will be losing a customer however.  Any suggestions.  I want to engage the services of a company that will employ people here in Canada and not ship jobs overseas.  

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