Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Wee Rant

subtitle: RING THAT, BELL



The Bag Lady is on the warpath.

She is ordinarily quite easy-going, and easy to get along with. Some might say she is just plain easy, but that's not true! She has standards and morals and all those other good things.....

Anyway.

She has had satellite television on the ranch for many years now, and has been mostly satisfied with it. One tends to get in a rut, a wee bit, and when things go wrong, one tends to let it slide, thinking it will get better. Such a thing happened with her satellite provider. The television would simply go blank. No audio, no picture. At first it was rare, and brief. Then it started happening with more frequency. Until it got to the point where the Rancher and the Bag Lady decided that perhaps it was time to switch providers. There were other considerations, too, but that was the main one. And no, before you ask, they didn't bother to call their provider and complain because neither of them felt like sitting on hold on the phone for the required hours, waiting to speak to a service representative who could not speak clear English. (Lord forgive me for being politically incorrect, but it damned well pisses me off to not be able to understand someone who is supposed to be serving me! I don't care what colour someone is, or what country they originally hailed from, but for God's sake, if they are working in a position where their main contact with the public is verbal, they should be able to speak English clearly! Damn - is my redneck showing?)

*ahem* Anyway.

The Bag Lady took advantage of a *deal* offered by the satellite provider's competition and, for the most part, has been very happy with it so far, thank you very much. She waited a week after switching in order to make sure that she was going to be happy with the new provider, and to make sure any kinks were worked out, then she called her old service provider and canceled her service. The (non-English-as-first-language speaking) fellow that she talked to tried to convince her not to cancel her service, but she was determined, and had already purchased the new satellite. He told her that because they bill in advance (of course!!) her next bill would reflect the fact that she canceled her service at the beginning of December, and would be for an amount in the neighbourhood of $9.00. Fine.

The Bag Lady finally received said bill and opened it to discover to her shock and dismay that not only was the bill for the same amount as usual for the month of January, but they had dinged her (again) for the month of December, putting her bill in arrears. She called the service provider in a rage and when, after being on hold the requisite half an hour, she finally got to speak to a (non-English-as-first-language speaking) service representative, she immediately requested to speak to a supervisor. She then had to sit on hold for another half an hour, only to have the first fellow come back on the line and tell her that his supervisor was still too busy to speak to her and would call her back.

By this time, the Bag Lady was beyond annoyed. The (non-English-as-first-launguage speaking) fellow tried to tell her that she should go ahead and pay this bill and that the NEXT bill would reflect a credit balance of almost $70.00. She proceeded to tell him that that simply was not going to happen. Why would she pay them for services she did not take advantage of? She has not used their satellite since before the end of November. He said that they required 30 days notice to close her account. Well, that would be the end of December, wouldn't it? She was under the impression that her account was up-to-date, except for the $9.00 which her next bill would consist of. And now she is so angry she doesn't even want to pay them the $9.00! If you add up all those blank spots in the programming, surely that was $9.00 worth of television that she paid for and did not get to see!!

And why would she want a credit balance with this company? She has no intention of ever dealing with them again in any capacity whatsoever, so a credit balance would do her no earthly good. And in her experience, getting them to cut her a check for the credit balance would be like asking for an audience with the Queen of England. There is a very remote possibility, but........

She rarely loses her temper, but cannot see this ending well. Especially considering that she has to wait for this supervisor to call her back. She has things to do which require not being in the house, waiting by the phone for a call that, more than likely, will not come; unless, of course, she actually physically leaves her house to go do something important. Like feed her cows. Then the phone will ring. GRRR. Perhaps she should take a shower - that usually makes the phone ring, doesn't it?

^^
^^
^^

(those little marks represent time flying, which, BTW, it did NOT!)

The deadline has now passed, the Bag Lady has not received a call from the esteemed supervisor. She now feels especially vindicated in her decision to turf this satellite provider. This, in the Bag Lady's lowly opinion, is just another example of how sick our society has become. Big corporations are not willing to go that extra mile, or to put any effort into customer service or customer satisfaction. They are just like the sleazy, slimy guys who hang around in bars, looking to pick up *broads* or *chicks* (insert derogatory descriptive word for women currently in fashion here), oozing charm until they get what they want, then forgetting to call when they promise they will! As soon as the big corporations get you signed up and have your money, forget about getting anything else from them! Oh how the Bag Lady longs for the good ol' days where if a company did you wrong, you had some sort of recourse, even if it was simply to bad mouth them around town and do some small harm to their reputation! ~~sigh~~

So the Bag Lady will now go out and feed her poor hungry cows and will call Bell-frickin'-ExpressVu in the morning and go through this all over again. (and believe me, she would never have called them by name in this blog post if they had simply kept their word and called her back when they said they would!!!!!)

29 comments:

new*me said...

The last one we changed from said we'd get a check back in the mail with our refund. It took 3 months! It was about $100........I called every month. I honestly think I would have never gotten it if I hadn't called.

We had problems this summer with our satellite....come to find out it was our tree that had grown taller! Lucky for us they moved the satellite instead of us having to cut back a tree that is over 100 yrs old.

Hoping for a peaceful resolution for you and to remind you as I often have to remind myself.........just breathe ;)

Hilary said...

Oh boy.. have you read Frank's latest post "An Open Letter to Bell Canada?" You two can commiserate. Bad, bad Bell!

http://fpbaron.blogspot.com/

tokaiangel said...

I want to make you a satellite provider voodoo doll stuffed with hay so you can feed it to the cows..... honestly I don't know anybody who hasn't had this sort of trouble with their provider. I've been with the same provider for years now and still they mess me around - I'm not even trying to leave them! And the worst part of all is that the more it happens, the more acceptable this sort of service becomes.

I vote we start up our own supernice company and take all their business. ...

TA x

Geosomin said...

Ah yes... Bell Express Vu.
They, as the young uns say, suck @ss.
After having our basic service with them go up about $15 in 2 years we got annoyed and tried to cancel our service...we were put on hold, twice, for 25 minutes and then offered all manner of free stuff and free movies to stay on.
I figure...if you want free channels, threaten to disconnect.
Bad service can be from a lose connector or some branches/snow being in front of the dish reducing reception...but it's not like they'll help you fix the problem.
Then there was the fun with appropriate billing afor the few months after. I managed to get english speaking assistance but I have to say...not impressed at all.

It took a while before I thought "you b@st@rds" every time I saw a Bell symbol or ad...:)

MizFit said...

that stuff pushes this ALWAYS MELLOW MIZ (wink) way over the edge as well.

direct tv is my nemisis.

the Bag Lady said...

Annette - ah, yes, the old cheque is in the mail ploy! Works both ways, doesn't it? I do not want to send them money only to have a credit with them for the rest of my life!

Hilary - perhaps Frank and I should join forces. David and Davida against Goliath?

TA - What a good idea!! Wonder where I can get a hair off of Bell's head.... or do you think the remote control would work?

And we could have the best, nicest company in the world, and all our blogging buddies could work for us!

Geo - we've dealt with ExpressVu for some 12 years. In that time, the price has almost doubled, but the service remained the same.
And there was no interference with the dish - the first guy I talked to when I called to cancel told me it was because our equipment is old. Excuse me? We replaced the receiver only 5 years ago. Old?
~sigh~

Miz - I am generally pretty mellow, too, but when I get angry, it's ugly. I generally lose my mind and say all manner of things that I don't remember saying after I calm down!

Or I cry. Not sure which is worse.

Melissa said...

Wow. That sucks. The only time I get REALLY ASSERTIVE is when dealing with companies on the telephone. I take no prisoners. So you go girl. Mostly my phone rants have to do with internet and why isn't the DSL modem working....and sometimes credit card companies, one of whom I said outright to: "That's called stealing." The representative did not actually disagree...by then she was feeling pretty beaten down and had no arguments left. So you're not the only one who can get not pretty, BL.

We just have not-even-premium cable TV. I've often wondered if satellite service is prone to glitches. I'm not much of a TV person actually, but if I lived out on a farm in Canada I might be...

Leah J. Utas said...

Bell has a lousy reputation and is a thoroughly disreputable company known for using bait-and-switch billing to lure customers. ( Attn Bell. These are my words. My name is above. Come after me. Please.) though mostly it's with Internet. Do not give up and make sure you call, write, and email and complain to the CRTC as regards their billing practises. If you like, I can help you write the nasty letters. I find that sort of thing fun, but that's just me.
I had something similar when I switched over to Shaw for Internet. It took a while but it got sorted out and they ended up extending my deal for a month. One time they said I owed them about $100 but by the time that phone call concluded they owed me $16.
It can be done.

bunnygirl said...

That sucks, BL! Keep after them until they pay you nuisance money just to go away!

the Bag Lady said...

Melissa - oh yes, if you lived on a farm in northern Alberta, you would probably want satellite. The only other choice is what we like to call "Peasant-view". The kind where you use an antenna and get really fuzzy pictures....

dfLeah - I will remember your offer if I need assistance with letter-writing. I'm hoping to resolve it simply by being my own charming self. If that doesn't work, I'll bring out the big guns. (You, and maybe Melissa...!)

BG - That's a great idea! If I can stand to stay on hold long enough to make a nuisance of myself.... :)

Conny said...

OMG! Reading your rant made me believe you're writing about AT&T here in the States!! Maybe Bell Express Vu is a subsidiary of theirs. They are known for their "customer disservice" as I like to say. My family have vowed to NEVER use their services again, or any subsidiary or company they choose to take over.

Sorry you had to (and may again) go through that ordeal. Even that apology (from me) is more than you're likely to get from Bell.

Reb said...

Just keep pushing "0" instead of all the "if you want ... push X" It is supposed to take you directly to customer service. You might still have to hold, but at least you skip the annoying as hell call director.

Then be perfectly politically incorrect and ask to speak to someone whose first language is English as you can't understand their accent. Or swear at them, that should get you a supervisor right away too.

Good luck getting them off your back.

Reb said...

Oh and document everything and then ignore the bills, it won't hurt your credit rating, if you can prove they are in the wrong - you can insist it be taken off immediately.

solarity said...

I'm planning to get satellite when I can finally afford it. I'm glad that company does not offer it here! I will have to take a survey among the neighbors and see who the winner is.

And I'm going to include a note in my next (quarterly) bill thanking my garbage company for making changing my address and service so easy and efficient, in striking contrast to the phone company which billed me for two months for something I told them I wanted cancelled. We'll see if the credit shows up on next month's bill.

(rant over)
Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Conny - you could be right - all those big companies are connected somehow, aren't they? If not a subsidiary, then perhaps they are second cousins....

Reb - I did ask immediately to speak to a supervisor, and would have done so even if the person who answered the phone spoke perfect English. I was so angry, I didn't want to waste my breath by having to go through it all twice, and I knew the first line of defense would be "you need to speak to a supervisor" :)

Mary Anne - when we first got satellite, we had an American provider. The Canadian govt changed the regulations and insisted we Canadians had to use Canadian satellite providers. I think the original provider was called Direct TV, and they had exactly the same equipment etc. as Bell ExpressVu, so I believe they are connected.....I'm just sayin'.

And I wonder if your garbage collection company would like to take over some of these big corporations and show them what real customer service is supposed to be! But they probably don't want the hassle.....

Marste said...

Ohhhh, I feel your pain. My cable company is RIDICULOUS. Unfortunately, cable in California is determined solely by zip code. I can't switch to a different provider, unless I want to switch to satellite, but my apartment doesn't allow satellite dishes. *EPIC SIGH* ;)

But for several months, there were mysterious charges on my bill, resulting in long phone calls to the cable company. Nightmare. GOD.

the Bag Lady said...

Marste - so many of these big corporations know that they have us by the short hairs... and take full advantage of it! It's so freakin' annoying!

CrazyLady said...

Oh you are so right on this one Bag Lady and let me tell you satellite providers are the same the world over !! Over here new customers get huge discounts to sign up... the loyal customers who have been paying x amount monthly for years just get treated like crap.

Don't let them win !!!

darksnark said...

Hello, This is Apu and I am to be helping you today! Oh...yes...I see...Please to hold... Hello, sorry you had to be holding for 30 days, but the problem is being that the account which you canceled 30 days ago is account is past due of the charges for the 30 days. Hmmm...I see...please to hold for my supervisor Mr. Ashkadoodle Ramaraja. As soon as he is getting off the phone with the suicide bombing training camp...I mean...oh...please to hold!

the Bag Lady said...

Crazylady - well, there is comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in my battle against the huge corporation! Thanks.

Marianne - that totally cracked me up! Almost spit coffee on the screen. And it is so true.... sadly.

Tricia said...

Oh man. First off, call them back. When you get someone, inform them that since they have (a) billed you for two months and (b) not called you back when they said they would, you are now recording the phone call for legal purposes (even if you aren't, it'll give you leverage). Then if/when the supervisor comes on the phone, re-state that you're recording the phone call and explain your position.

If he/she gives you trouble, inform the person that you were told you were billed in ADVANCE, so there's no reason why they billed you RETROACTIVELY. You might still have to pay the $9.00 (especially because the black-outs weren't reported), but they'll make sure that your account is canceled and the matter is resolved.

At least, that's what works for me.

Missicat said...

Sorry this is happening to you! Have heard more stories about sleazy satellite companies...your description is dead on!
TA's voodoo doll may work!

the Bag Lady said...

Tricia - I actually did think of recording the call. Stumbled around and found my old handheld recorder whilst waiting on hold, changed the batteries, found a blank tape (obviously I was on hold for quite awhile!), but couldn't get the recorder to work! I know that the company SAYS it's calls may be recorded - I wonder if they actually are....

Missicat - the voodoo doll is definitely on the list of things to try! I'm not sure about using the remote control in the doll though, I'm afraid it might give the cows indigestion!

Tom Rooney said...

BagLady, It's time that you hit them with a dose of their medicine. Send them a bill from you to them demanding that they pay immediately for a dollar amount above what they are changing you. That is for your time that you feel is much more valuable that they wasted by keeping you hanging.

the Bag Lady said...

Tom - what a great idea! If all of their dissatisfied customers did that, we could probably break the bastards! :)

kcinnova said...

What you've got with your TV, we had with our telephone. Verizon won't fix the problem because the lines on the street are old and the new fangled thing is everyone is switching to cell phone. Well, me? I want a land line! So I switched to cable but it costs an arm and a leg. It's a no-win situation.

Frank Baron said...

Ah, a kindred spirit.

Between the two of us Baggie, ole Ma Bell doesn't have a chance. ;)

diddums said...

Bad service and rude/uncaring staff these days seems to be endemic. I recently blogged about how I emailed an online store (a well-known, household-name store) to tell them there's a broken padlock on their site when you try to register (signifying that it could be insecure) and they just said "go and read the Help section"... as if it would help!!! I read it just in case they mentioned why the broken padlock was there (!) but of course they didn't. Reading other blogs, I discovered the site has been like that since 2006 at least, so (1) it's nothing new; (2) people have told them about it before and been ignored; (3) there must be thousands of people who haven't noticed the broken padlock and go through with their purchases (often regretting them for different reasons).

Of course I didn't go ahead with my own purchase... I didn't even bother trying to fight with them, I just walked away and found somewhere else to buy from.

Recently I saw in the news that this store is amongst others reporting a loss in profits and a drop in customers. It's all being blamed on the credit crunch, of course, but I wonder...???

the Bag Lady said...

kcinnova - the big corporations seem to have us over a barrel. And it sounds as though it's universal!

Frank - she had better watch out, with the two of us after her!!

Diddums - methinks you have a good point - this recent economic downturn is going to be such a *good excuse* for so many companies to pack it in...