Our new house required a landline because of the security system, so my wife and I decided to get Bell to give us the bare minimum landline that money could buy. We hadn't actually decided what to do about internet yet, whether to go DSL or cable, and we had already decided to stick with Rogers for television.
I got into the Bell website and they had this home phone lite, bare minimum telephone service, which is all we needed. I used their call back service and to my surprise the second I click on Submit, my phone was ringing. So far so good. Turns out that was the highlight of the call.
This female Bell Rep (BR) answers the call and I tell her I need to set up basic phone service for my new house.
For the next hour, I am treated with the most annoying experience I have ever faced with any phone sales rep. BR asks me a few questions, like how much internet do I use. What shows I like to watch. I answer a few questions, but reiterate that all I want is basic telephone service.
BR decides that I will be very satisfied with one of their phone packages. She proceeds to tell me all about their most expensive plan. It's got a long distance package, call display, voicemail, etc. I repeat again, all I want is basic telephone service.
BR thinks I need Call Waiting. I tell her no. BR asks me what happens if someone calls me while I'm on the phone. I tell her they'll have to call me back, or call my cell phone. BR thinks it would be better if I had Call Waiting. I repeat again, all I want is basic telephone service.
BR thinks I need long distance. I tell her no. She points out that Oakville is considered long distance. I tell her I don't call long distance. She points out Brampton is long distance. Again, I do not use long distance. BR points out that for just $5.99/month, I can get 15 cents per minute long distance. I do a quick calculation, noting that this gives me 40 15-cent minutes of long distance. I tell her that I haven't even used 40 minutes for the whole entire year. BR thinks I might use long distance, and $5.99 is well worth it. I tell her I use Skype (not actually true), and Google Voice (true). She says we'll discuss internet later. I repeat again, all I want is basic telephone service. BR gives up on the long distance.
BR believes I need voice mail. She says that if I'm away from home, I'll need it. I tell her this is why I have a cell phone. BR still thinks I need voice mail. I tell her no. BR asks what if I'm busy and I can't answer the phone? I tell her my phone has an answering machine. BR says Bell's voicemail allows you to call remotely and check your messages. I tell her that I rarely give out my landline and most people call my cellphone, which already has voicemail. (Also, I'm pretty sure my answering machine has a code that I can enter to check my messages.. I've never used it though.) BR gives up on the voice mail.
BR thinks I need some kind of maintenance package. You pay $6 per month and if your line ever breaks, and they will come in for free to fix it. Even if your phone breaks, they will come fix it (I think this is a lie, but anyway..). I tell her that I've been with Bell home phone for as long as I've been alive and I've never had a problem with my phone. She says that's great, but points out that if something does break, it will cost me $99 to have it repaired. I say no. BR gives up on the maintenance package.
Now BR thinks I need call display. Sometimes you're busy and you don't have time to pick up the phone, you can at least see who's calling. This way you'll know whether or not the call is important. I think about lying and saying my phone doesn't have a display, but then I think maybe that will prompt her to try to sell me a Bell phone, so instead I just say no. Once again, I repeat that all I want is basic telephone service.
Btw, I should mention that this whole time and beyond, whenever I said no she would give me at least 2 to 3 "Are you sure?". At this point I'm beginning to feel like I'm talking to Regis on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, like I need to say "No, FINAL ANSWER".
Finally, 45 minutes later, BR dejectedly confirms that I am only getting Home Phone Lite package. It's a $55 installation fee and comes out to around $30/month with all the access fees and taxes.
Next, BR brings up television. BR claims Bell has the most HD channels, however on the website they list 6 extra channels that I have never watched in my life. And they don't have internet. BR says Bell is absolutely the best HD experience. I look at the website and notice there is no sports channel in the basic package. In otherwords.. NEXT! I tell her that I would have to ask my wife (I figure she will understand this) if she is okay with a gaudy satellite sticking off the house. She gives up.
Next BR brings up the internet. At this point, I feel like I've won so I decide to let her have something so I let her explain to me my internet options. She asks me how much I use internet, and I say 4-5 hours per day. BR believes that I will be very satisfied with the ever popular Performance package. BR claims Bell has the best internet and also the cheapest offers. Performance is cheaper than the comparable Express package offered by Rogers. I look online and sure enough, it's cheaper. It's also slower.
Finally the jig is up, and I decide to close it all out. I am not interested in anything but the home phone service. Lite. BR is not too happy about this. BR brings up the bundles. BR will waive the home phone installation fee of $55, and the internet installation fee of $79, if I get them both today. I ask BR if I can get the home phone today, and sign up the internet on another day, will Bell credit me with the installation costs since I have indeed ordered two Bell services and therefore, am then bundled. BR says this is impossible. BR claims you can only bundle at the time of the initial call. (I have no way to confirm this, but I'm pretty sure it's a flat out lie.. it would make no sense at all if you couldn't bundle later on). BR's lie backfires. Seeing that I cannot bundle later on, I decide not to sign up for home phone either, until I can discuss with my wife about the internet. BR, realizing her mistake, asks a truly stupid and desperate question: How could a discussion with my wife change my final decision? I am about to ask BR if she is married, but I decide not to and tell her that I will have to call back later. Goodbye.
Later in the evening, my wife and I get on the phone and call Rogers. My wife's got Rogers wireless mobile so we can bundle it with Home Phone and it ends up being cheaper than Bell's Home Phone Lite. The Rogers rep is a guy (I don't know if this makes a difference, but all I can say is I felt way more at ease with this guy than the BR). 15 minutes later, we have set up the basic Rogers Home Phone (no setup fee), transferred our existing Rogers cable internet (no setup fee), transferred our HD television (no setup fee), and bundled it all together for an overall 15% discount. As a bonus when we were setting up the home phone, the Rogers guy tells us about a phone plan that wasn't even listed online (an older promotion) and he lets us sign up with that. It saves us an additional $6 per month.
I'm by no means a huge supporter of Rogers, but their customer service compared to Bell's? Wow. It's like night and day.