Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sleazy negative billing?

We got our phone bill this week.
We're with Telus. Used to be an honorable company called BC Tel. Been with them for like 40 years. This month's bill had an extra charge on it for $2.95 saying it was "LD network access." Did London Drugs start a phone company? Nope, Telus was billing us for access to a long distance network somewhere.
We never call long distance. We never asked to have a separate charge for access to long distance. They just slipped the charge onto our account. Sort of like those sleazy used car dealers used to do when they told you the fenders weren't included at the original price.
So we called customer service. Got a Chinese guy Erin, he began an argument that we had agreed to pay this access charge. He was hard to understand so we asked that he repeat it, thinking we missed something. There was no mention of such an addition on our previous Telus bill. So after a long dissertation that we had to pay it and it would be monthly = $35.40 a year! We asked for a supervisor.
Erin argued longer about how we had to pay the bill. Asked for the supervisor again. The supervisor isn't here right now. We asked that he transfer the phone to the person sitting next to him. He told us to call in again and repeat the whole procedure of answering metallic questions from a virtual voice. We asked again for a supervisor.
Well you know the procedure, he put us on hold hoping we'd give up in disgust. We stayed. Blood pressure rising over the poor service and frustration so far. Bad music.
Then Erin hung up.
After a repeat call-in with mounting aggravation, a nice man Sasha, arrives and explains that the 'other' telephone companies don't pay for long distance service for their customers and Telus is making their own customers pay. So I see it as Telus customers subsidizing Telus' competition. Why ever would Telus want to stick it to their own?
Easy, slipping another $2.95 onto everyone's bill would be a huge windfall profit to pay all those management bonuses for thinking up this one! Then they wouldn't have the hassle of dealing with their own competition. These guys must be ex bank employees!
So now I am blocked from calling long distance on my land-line but don't have the charge. Don't forget I had to call THEM to have it removed. And why can't Telus stop those telemarketting jerks from Toronto and Michigan from calling ME long distance every night at dinnertime?

Hmm, I am thinking that as I have two cell phones, internet service and a landline with Telus, I might have something to offer that competition myself. I never got a thing from Telus in appreciation of my patronage over the years. I probably would get a new computer or a car by changing all this business to someone else.
Sleazy negative billing has a way of catching up with you.
I think Erin lied about his name too.

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