I am, even at this present moment, on hold and waiting to talk to a “customer service” representative in the cancellations department.  I think it’s a worrying sign not so much when a company like Bell has a specific department to handle cancellations (that’s just realistic based on their business practices), but when the hold wait for that department is in the 10+ minute range.

We’ve been Bell customers since I first moved out, primarily because there weren’t a whole lot of options and until recently it was a pain to switch.  Bell Canada was effectively a monopoly for a really, really long time and they haven’t really given up acting like it, despite the fact that there are actually viable alternatives.

They’ve been progressively increasing our rates and either keeping the service the same or in some cases, reducing it (for example when they began filtering BitTorrent traffic) and I have frankly had enough of it.  Dealing with their reps has also always been difficult.  The automated ‘assistant’ is giving everybody named Emily a bad name.  I think they would have significantly fewer verbal assaults on the poor schmucks in India if they did away with the voice prompts.  Bell needs to embrace the new generation of users.  We are inherently anti-social.  We prefer to type.  We hate speaking unless it is absolutely necessary.  Give us buttons to press.  We love buttons.  We are extremely comfortable with buttons and their function.

I’ve switched our phone service over to Primus VoIP which gives roughly the same quality of actual phone service, the same rate for long distance and significantly more features for about $15/month as opposed to the $25ish for Bell’s basic ‘you may have a telephone’ service and then another $7 to be able to make long distance calls at $0.05/minute.  Our internet provider is TekSavvy.  They provide a comparable service to the one Bell was giving us for about $40/month instead of $55.  They are very in-tune with their userbase, going so far as to offer semi-official support via the forums at DSL Reports.  It does have a cap, which Bell’s didn’t but I can’t imagine that we’ll need over 200GB in any given month and if we do, their overage charges are pretty reasonable.  Bell’s comparable service has a slightly faster ‘up to’ speed (which frankly, I doubt anybody has ever actually received) and a 50GB/month cap and the $5/month option of 40GB more.

My last call to Bell was a hair under 15 minutes long, 10 of those minutes spent either arguing with the digital ‘aide’ or on hold.  I had to enter my phone number twice with ‘her’ (admittedly this was a time that I just gave up and spelled it out aloud because my button pressing wasn’t registering), then give it to the first guy who picked up (generic customer service), then give it to woman who picked up (home phone department), then give it to the woman in the cancellations department.  As soon as I got to the last tier, she got all buddy buddy and tried to win me back.

“Hey, we have some great deals, what is your other provider offering”
“I’d prefer not to say”
*presumably cancellation-related mumbling and clicking going on* 
“Did you want to take your phone number with you?”
“No, thank you.  Everything else is already set up and working.”
“Well, we can offer some really good long distance rates on-“
“I. DON’T. WANT. IT. I apologize for my rudeness.”
“Oh, uh.  That’s fine.”
*more clicking and mumbling, somebody laughing loudly and shouting in some non-English language*
”Will there be anything else today?”
”No, that’s all.  Thank you.”
”Thank you for choosing Bell." *click*

The irony of the scripted closing statement is delicious.

never been this bored before