Bell wants to charge $2 for paper bills

March 31 2012 by Ellen Roseman

Companies save money by going to electronic billing. Too bad they don’t share the savings with their customers.

Telus switched to paperless billing in 2010, creating a big debate at my blog and at Moneyville. Royal Bank also went paperless, which I wrote about here.

Now Bell Canada has made its intentions clear. Internet customers must opt in to electronic billing by June 1 and stop receiving paper bills. Otherwise, they’ll have to pay $2 a month for mailed invoices.

Bell talks about being environmentally friendly and giving more timely access to billing information. But the big driver of this change — cutting corporate costs — is not mentioned.

Is paperless practical for all Canadians? I don’t think so, at least not yet.

Some Bell landline customers, even if they have home computers or smartphones, don’t feel comfortable monitoring their accounts online. It seems unfair to add $24 a year to their costs, especially if they’re older or on fixed incomes.

As for me, I pay more attention to bills I get in the mail. I open up the envelope and read the contents. I make sure to pay on time.

With electronic bills, there are more steps. First, I get an email, telling me to click a link. Then, I put in my user name and password. Then, I lcheck my statement on the screen. Then, I push print if I want a copy (assuming I have enough paper in my printer).

My advice: Ask Bell for concessions. Talk about your loyalty. Threaten to leave if you can’t get what you want. I know some people have already won the right to keep getting paper bills at no cost.

It’s a competitive market and some rival firms haven’t switched to e-billing. If Bell is smart, it will make accommodations to hold onto long-time customers.

59 comments

  1. WM

    Mar 31 2012

    Hello Ellen, I admire the work you do and read your columns regularly. I just received this new and unexpected message from Bell.

    I’m soon to be 69 years old. I have never purchased anything through my computer nor do I ever wish to do so.

    Sometimes my computer doesn’t work and it takes time to have someone come and help me out.

    I am very uncomfortable with the demand to sign on to this new procedure OR face a billing charge for paper payments in the amount of $2.00 every month!

    I’ve been ‘with’ Bell for as long as I can remember and I have paid every bill promptly at the bank. I never owe a balance.

    I am so distressed that Bell dismisses my loyalty and now is ready to take more of my fixed income if I can’t do what they say.

    ——————————————————————————–

    From: bellcustomerservice@internet.e.bell.ca
    Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 23:43:18 +0000
    Subject: Important notification regarding your Bell bill

    Update about your paper bill.

    As part of our ongoing effort to be environmentally friendly and to improve the level of billing information you have access to, we are pleased to let you know that as of June 2012, Bell is moving to e-bill as our standard method of delivering invoices to our Bell Internet clients.

    With e-bill, you can enjoy benefits like:

    • Reducing paper bill clutter – and your environmental footprint

    • Accessing your bills and account information online anytime, 24/7

    • Viewing your current bills as soon as they are ready – we’ll even notify you every month

    • Receiving more billing detail as systems are upgraded

    If you prefer, we are pleased to provide you the option of continuing to receive a paper bill. However, please note that starting with your June invoice, you will be charged a $2 monthly fee for paper bills.

    To make the switch to e-bill, simply log in to MyBell, and ensure that only the box that says “I want to receive an e-bill” is selected.

    If we don’t hear from you by June 1, 2012, we will continue to deliver your paper bill and the $2 fee will apply.

    Haven’t registered for MyBell yet? Simply follow these steps:
    • Register at bell.ca/mybell
    • Go to the top of the page and click on My Profile
    • Click on Link a bill to MyBell

  2. MA

    Mar 31 2012

    Subject: RE: Important notification regarding your Bell bill
    Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 22:51:52 -0400

    Dear Sir,

    I am shocked to you want to charge $2 for paper bill. I am old customer. I have been receiving paper bill up to now so I would like to receice paper bill in future.

    But I am not going to pay two dollars extra for paper bill. It is your legal responsibility to send me the bill by mail. If I did not receive my bill, how do you expect the payment?

    To generate the bill, envelope and mailing, it must be costing Bell more than $5. Instead of giving credit for not receiving paper bill, you are charging two dollars extra.

    If you would give me a $5 per month credit for not receiving paper bill, then I can consider it. Otherwise please continue as usual sending me the paper bill.

    Thanks.

  3. RR

    Mar 31 2012

    After I have been a Bell customer for 48 years, I am simply unwilling to pay the monthly surcharge to find out what I owe.

    I am also not prepared to authorize Bell to have free access to my bank account because of their over-billing history.

    Consequently, I am now looking for a service provider who is still willing to issue a monthly statement without extra charge.

    It seems that technological progress is only profitable for untouchable or domineering corporations, but never in favour of consumers.

    Grocery chains have already tried to introduce self-serving checkout counters to improve their profit margin. The next step might be to charge extra when a customer prefers to have his/her purchase rung up by a cashier.

  4. RR

    Mar 31 2012

    II received an email from Bell saying that as of June 1, they are charging $2 per month for paper statements.

    I told them I don’t pay my bills online and I’m a long term Bell customer for all of our business. They agreed to discontinue the $2.00 fee. Nice of them.

    I then asked the nice online chat person what would happen to someone like my mother, who doesn’t have a computer, and who wouldn’t even know about something like this. They said that \unfortunately, yes, they will be charged an extra $2 per month as of June for a paper statement\.

    So, for anyone who has NO OPTION online, they are charging $24 per year for the privilege of paying them! This is almost as bad as Direct Energy (and thanks for your great work there!).

    This is absolutely outrageous. They are obviously hoping that the many many millions of customers who continue to pay their bills either via the mail or at the bank will not notice this.

    When will Bell ever get it when it comes to customer service?

  5. PD

    Mar 31 2012

    I am just about ready to tell Bell to take a long walk off a short pier!

    Why? Here’s two reasons, both of which rankle because of the outright lack of choice in one instance and negative option in the second.

    1. My internet plan originally had a 2G limit on it. I’ve had that plan for at least 10 years. As of February this year, I started getting email ‘reminders’ that I was close to my limit, but for $5 more a month, I could raise my limit to 40G!

    I ignored the first notice, with no apparent negative effect on my service. Then in March, I got a second notice.

    I called Bell internet to ask why I couldn’t upgrade to, say, 20G. Why was 40G my only choice?

    Of course, the CSR didn’t have an answer for me, which I understand because the front-line CSR’s don’t make policy, they just get the flak from people like me, which, I’m sure, they’re not paid well to tolerate.

    As my usage has gone up due to some project work, I ‘decided’ to pay the extra $5 for 40G limit.

    2. Here’s where the negative option thing comes in. I just got another email from Bell informing me that as they’re trying to be ‘environmentally sensitive’, and trying to ‘improve the level of billing access to which I could have access, as of June 2012, they’re moving to ebills as their standard method of billing.

    Of course, if I wish, I can continue to receive a paper bill, for an additional $2/month!

    Call me a Luddite if you wish, but I have no wish to receive an ebill or to pay online for any service. I simply don’t trust internet security to protect my banking information.

    And, I don’t appreciate being forced into accepting a billing method I did not ask for and don’t want. Calling Bell internet service was of no use.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but negative billing options are illegal. Rogers got their knuckles rapped for doing that a few years ago.

    I’d be curious to know how many other Bell internet customers find this ‘offer’ as objectionable as I do. I’d also be interested to see Bell’s response after a telephone call from you.

    Thanks for your help with this one, and for your work on behalf of Bell customers everywhere.

  6. LB

    Mar 31 2012

    I just received an email from Bell telling me if I want a paper bill, I must pay them a $2 fee every time!!

    Here we go again – another giant company bullying me into doing what they want.

    I like paper bills. Call me old fashioned.

    I rang them and was told, “yes, m’am, that’s correct – you will have to pay a fee…” etc.

    They tell me it’s in the name of what’s good for the planet etc. How come I don’t believe them? It’s a money grab.

    A small amount, it seems, but many small people paying small amounts adds up to big bucks.

    While I’m all for the good of the planet, I can still see through their game.

    Angry? You bet!

    You must have had other complaints about this – have you?

  7. Bell pensioner

    Mar 31 2012

    Hi Ellen, I spent 42 years of my life working for Bell when there were 52,000 of us. I am now a pensioner.

    I can tell you when I received this email as a customer of Bell, I was at at first flabbergasted and then disgusted.

    I realized that if I wanted to see a paper copy where I could truly analyze the content and look for errors that I frequently find, it would cost me an extra 24 dollars a year.

    At my age, neither my eyes nor my brain are well trained to peruse documents of any kind online (for example I still purchase a paper copy of the Star daily as opposed to reading it online as many of my younger friends do ). We are an aging population.

    I find it reprehensible that Bell is taking this step, if other corporations have done it, I am unaware.

    Mind you, driven by revenues as opposed to Customer Care, they have a huge opportunity to make a lot of money with this endeavour.

    When I retired in 1997, Bell was issuing 7 Million accounts per month (I had 10 years of my career in Billing). If you extrapolate even a small percentage who will prefer paper as opposed to online, the potential for cash flow is huge.

    As a customer, I followed the protocol outlined in the phone book. I sent an email protest to Bell Executive Office to explain that as a Bell pensioner and stockholder, I was alarmed that this was a step that would force many more customers into the arms of the competition.

    I immediately received an acknowledgement. I was impressed until I found out it was an automated one. It gave me a site to visit with their new updated process for escalating complaints.

    When I tried to enter the site, I received “Website Cannot be Found “. I guess that will reduce their workload… perhaps no-one will ever see my complaint.

  8. MrDisco

    Mar 31 2012

    This has absolutely nothing to do with ‘saving the planet’ and everything to do with cutting costs. It’s only a matter of time before every large corporation follows this path.

    Why not keep things the way they are and instead offer a discount for people who switch? Oh right because this is not about saving the planet…

  9. Pensioner

    Apr 1 2012

    Ellen:

    Obviously a call centre contact and a referral to a site which is not accessible won’t get our message across.

    Is Kevin Crull still the appropriate person to contact at Bell regarding residential service complaints?

    kevin.crull@bell.ca

    Thanks for all your help Ellen!

  10. Andrew

    Apr 1 2012

    I left Bell 6 months ago after 18 yrs. I don’t miss them or their prices. I am now paying $14.99 per month for the same service I paid $55 per month from Bell. In fact my next move is to switch to a Net Talk or Magic Jack where i’ll pay $29 to $39 per year and have free North American long distance. Bye Bye Bell.

  11. casoty

    Apr 1 2012

    Surprised that this has not come up before as Rogers (& TD Bank) initiated this same charge earlier this year. In the case of Rogers, I do not even recall a separate notice. I believe they slipped a three line msg at the end of one of the billing pages. Between the banks and telcos–two industries that continually report profits every quarter–the degree to which they cleverly create a new charge is amazing. People lack energy and time to fight them all the time and the number who are in this category is greater than those who complain. The cost of providing the exceptions still makes it worthwhile for them until they ‘ride out the storm’. This is part of their strategy which is simply greed considering they are all profitable. Sad.

  12. business owner

    Apr 2 2012

    Thanks for this article, Ellen. I feel the same way.
    One more issue was not mentioned, and this is the necessity to print bills for people owning small businesses. If you are a sole proprietor running your business from home, you are likely writing off some of your home expenses on “business use of home.” Guess what? You end up printing all your energy, utilities and telecommunications bills.

    Companies did not think of your printing costs when they went paperless, otherwise they would have simplified the looks of their bills. Bills contain pictures, ads, large areas filled with color. So now you need to pay from your own pocket for company’s advertisement and branding.

    When companies go paperless, they should make bills look simple to consume minimum toner.

  13. MarieO

    Apr 2 2012

    I’m as disgusted by Bell’s customer services and practices as are the previous posters.

    Signing up for paperless billing, though, does not mean that you must pay your bill electronically. I pay by cheque and snail mail.

    Print out the paper bill. Cut the bill portion from the bottom of the front page and mail it along with your cheque to the Bell address on the bill.

    That way, you’re paying your bill but not providing Bell access to your bank account.

  14. Betty W

    Apr 2 2012

    If Bell’s e-care wasn’t so wonky then perhaps this change wouldn’t be so bad, but Bell’s electronic billing is a disaster. I’ll be cancelling my Bell service unless this charge is reversed.

  15. Mike W

    Apr 2 2012

    I just had to do a search to see who else feels that what Bell is doing is quite unreasonable.

    I’m thinking about all of the junk mail that Bells sends all of us, trying to hook us up to their TV service and whatever else they have to offer. So, does this cost them $2 each time? Are they now going to stop this tactic and just send us spam email? I doubt it.

  16. Ellen Roseman

    Apr 2 2012

    Reply to Pensioner, who asked about Kevin Crull. No, he’s not the right person to contact, since he runs CTV.

    You should Wade Ooosterman, president of Bell Mobility and residential services, and chief brand officer:

    http://www.bce.ca/aboutbce/executiveteams/oosterman/

    His email is wade.oosterman@bell.ca.

  17. Jurgen Richter

    Apr 2 2012

    Hi Ellen, again you’re our champion with consumer rights. Thank you!

    I hope there is some government intervention here to keep Bell’s billing process status quo.

    It’s fine to suggest threatening to move to another provider – but Bell knows this is an empty threat, as many of us have some sort of contract with them, either a cell phone, or this new Fibe TV that we are locked into, unless you pay them [again] a penalty to get out of it.

    I’m old-school and believe it’s the responsibility of the seller [of a service or goods] to provide an invoice/bill on their tab, not the buyer’s to go somewhere else to retrieve it.

    Seems tax departments and lawyers and accountants all want paper documents that can be archived. Who is to guarantee that Bell’s digital version will be available for that minimum 6-7 years typically required?

    Sure, we can all go fetch our bill and print it ourselves – but that goes against Bell’s spouted reasoning in their email about saving the environment, doesn’t it?

    As another poster said, it’s another cash grab to line executive pockets, and the disadvantaged [sic] customer is gouged again…

  18. Omer Cormier

    Apr 4 2012

    How does putting $2 a month into Bell coffers help the environment? This is just a money grab wrapped up in the environment blanket.

  19. JO

    Apr 4 2012

    I agree that that this charge is more about boosting profits than protecting the environment.

    Companies that claim they’re asking customers to go to electronic billing to be environmentally friendly are lying.

    Electronic billing relies on electricity. The production of electricity creates pollution. The more electricity used, the more pollution created.

    Electronic billing also relies on some sort of computer device. The manufacturing of these devices, and more importantly, their disposal, results in pollution.

    Millions of these devices end up in landfills. They leak toxic chemicals into the environment.

    Yes, cutting down trees to make paper for paper bills has an impact on the environment, but so does electronic billing.

    I am not saying that no one should have computers, but just pointing out the hypocrisy of anyone who claims electronic billing is environmentally friendly.

  20. MK

    Apr 4 2012

    I’m normally a passive observer who grumbles to myself with this sort of thing, but I figured I would drop you a line regarding this latest move by Bell.

    I will put aside my annoyance for having to \pay\ to receive my bill, but I just wanted to point out my experience trying to opt out of my paper bill.

    It’s one thing for companies to force negative billing on us, but Bell has made it difficult and confusing as well.

    The link to log in to \My Bell\ that was included in Bell’s email only worked today (Tuesday evening) for the first time (oddly enough after reading your article) and I received the email Friday.

    Every other time I clicked the link, it just opened up a blank page. And one or two times after I logged in manually to My Bell to change the billing setting, the page would not even load. It just got stuck on a \processing\ screen with no movement.

    I managed to log in again now and My Bell is undergoing \daily maintenance\.

    In addition, previously I could not find the proper page to opt for the paper bill. I found and clicked something earlier, but it was not the same wording as described in the email, and it also said that I would now receive both a paper bill and an electronic bill.

    So I guess I will still be charged the $2? I can’t seem to find the box that says \I want to receive an e-bill\, as described in Bell’s email.

    I have phone and internet service with Bell, and nowhere in the email does it mention what happens or what to do in this case.

    Your article stated that this only affects internet customers, as per the Bell representative you spoke with. So how does this affect me?

    I currently receive a \One Bill\ i.e. a single bill from Bell, with both internet and landline services on it. Will I get a paper bill for my landline portion and an electronic bill for my internet portion? Or will I still receive a landline bill that will include my internet portion on it? I am confused.

    My point is that it’s not very clear what happens in my situation.

    Anyway, the daily website maintenance is not Bell’s fault. But I have tried to log/logged in several times since Friday, and this still is not resolved.

    I have probably wasted over an hour trying to opt out. Now it looks like I am going to have to make a phone call to Bell and waste more time to make sure that this setting is/gets changed.

    I find this whole process and amount of time wasted ridiculous. If this email goes out to thousands of customers, should the link in the email not work?

    What about all the people who try the link, see that it doesn’t work and then forget about it?

    They will be billed because of Bell’s lazy error.

    ———————————————————————-

    I managed to log in again today. This time, their website seemed to be fully functional.

    I was actually able to access the proper web page and received a confirmation email from Bell, stating my bill is now changed.

    It only took about 6 days and almost 10 attempts.

    I’m on one of Bell’s grandfathered unlimited internet plans, which has been consistently increasing a couple of times a year by $5 per month.

    From what I hear, it’s their way of persuading users to leave the old unlimited plans.

    Let’s just say that when I move in a few months, I am seriously considering switching to one of the wholesalers like TekSavvy.

  21. DS

    Apr 4 2012

    At one time we did switch to paperless nwith Bell. However, there were several times we didn’t receive the notice that the e-bill was available.

    I really don’t want to have to give myself a reminder to retrieve the latest Bell bill, as I have enough reminders already!!

    Very often we would be charged a late fee and then I would have to give Bell a call to remove the fee.

    We would also have to call them and ask why we weren’t receiving our notices that the bill was now available. Of course, they had no answer for us.

    So if they are going to make everyone switch over, then their system has to be working 100% correctly. At the moment, it doesn’t work for us.

    Companies like Bell just create more and more problems and add more fees for consumers like us.

  22. JF

    Apr 4 2012

    This is simply a money grab by Bell, in my opinion. I’m on the preauthorized debit payment plan with Bell and receive a monthly paper invoice in the mail.

    Each month, the invoice comes with a return payment envelope included that serves absolutely no purpose.

    Instead of Bell charging the $2 in an attempt to save the environment…why doesn’t Bell remove the return payment envelopes to save money and the environment?

    Bell has forgotten that their customers who pay their bill electronically or by P.A.D. are saving the company big dollars in payroll alone.

    Bell can also charge off the current envelopes as an advertising expense, as the Bell logo is printed on it. This is a cost of doing business….yet they want to put this cost on their customers.

    Bell needs to wake up and look internally at a way to save the environment and not place it on the backs of their customers with unnecessary extra fees. Bell could improve their bottom line by looking at how they do business.

  23. DB

    Apr 4 2012

    This is being forced on small businesses as well.

    It’s a lie that this is saving the environment.

    Businesses still have to print the bills on their less efficient printers and more expensive paper than these large companies, because Revenue Canada only accepts printed invoices as proof.

  24. RR

    Apr 4 2012

    I was informed by Koodo Mobile of being charged $2 unless I went to ebilling.

    I was upset over this not only because of the $2 extra a month on my bill, but because of the cash grab.

    If they were serious about the environment and keeping customers happy, they should have offered a $2 discount if I chose to go to ebilling.

    I rightfully complained about this via email and phone. They gave me the environment speech and also said the $2 covered the cost of the paper and mailing that “they pay”. How ridiculous is that!

    I might not be a business major, but I’m pretty sure what I pay each month covers those costs. What I pay covers your costs plus profit – Business 101.

    I promptly expressed my displeasure with this dishonest approach to an existing customer and mentioned when my phone is paid off I’m switching providers. They were speechless and offered nothing.

    The extra $2 I pay was the least of the issue. It was the cash grab, dishonest marketing scheme and the relative stupidity they seem to feel about their customers is what angered me.

    Your article reaffirmed that I’m not the only one who thought this as well. Thanks for that.

  25. DB

    Apr 4 2012

    Your article about Bell’s push to e-billing was most timely.

    Just yesterday I was on the phone with them and got nowhere. I have always been a Bell customer but I hate to see customer relations again reaching a new low.

    Here is my situation.

    On Monday (April 2/12), I received snail mail from Bell which included a letter that started out \Below are the details of the offer and plan you selected and agreed to.\

    What followed was a list of services and beside each, a note indicating what I had agreed to, such as
    Contract term: 12 months and
    Invoice: paper bill provided at no cost

    On or about the same date, I received an email telling me to either accept e-billing or pay $2.00/month for a paper invoice.

    I don’t believe that Bell or any other company can come to a contractual agreement with a customer and then arbitrarily change the terms of the agreement to satisfy their objectives.

    I feel that I have been offered free paper billing for the 12 months of this contract.

    There are probably many Bell customers who have been given the same offer and are now being bullied into accepting changes to their contract.

    Will you take up our cause?

  26. CL

    Apr 4 2012

    Took your advice and called Bell to say I’m dropping them. Was paying about $76/month for internet & phone.

    With all the discounts I was given, it will now cost me about $50/month, plus faster internet, for 1 year.

    Where were these discounts before? Have lived at same address over 30 years.

  27. VL

    Apr 4 2012

    Two years ago, Bell Canada started billing me for an additional monthly rate. I had preauthorized billing through my bank.

    When I asked why I was now being double billed, and double PAYING, they told me that it was a bank error and that I had to do all the investigation.

    After eight months of calling in every month to have the double amount debited, and extensive investigation by me because Bell said it had nothing to do with their billing system, the bank provided me with raw data that showed my account number with a different customer name, address and telephone number.

    I was finally able to provide Bell with the raw data so they could correct their error.

    They, of course, had input the wrong bank account number of the other customer, who by the way, never reported that their telephone bill was being graciously paid by someone else.

    There are a lot of “gravy” charges on my bill already, which have all been approved by the CRTC.

    Network Charge $6.95

    Touch Tone Service $ 2.80 – There’s a good one!

    Digital Service fee $3.00

    Contribution Fee for CRTC’s LPIF $1.38

    Total = $14.13 per month X two million customers (minimum estimate) approximately $28,000,000 per month in Bell Canada’s pocket!

    I just found a charge of $.25 on my wireless service. I called 310 Bell and went through what seemed like endless choices before getting a lad in Costa Rica.

    I found out that although I had bundled service (which I assumed was also one stop service), he couldn’t help me and transferred me to Bell Mobility.

    I asked why I was charged $.25 for text messaging when I do not use the service. (I use about 4 minutes of voice calls per year and pay $20 per month to ensure that I have 911 access.)

    The Bell rep in the Sherbrooke, Que., call centre answered in French only and told me that their system was down and I would have to call back.

    I said that in the good old days if that were to happen, when I was working in Customer Service at Bell Canada, we would have followed up to call the customer back.

    She advised me that they do not call customers back and said to try again in about 45 minutes.

    I just called Bell Mobility again and the lad who answered didn’t know anything about the system being down, but he wasn’t in Sherbrooke. However, he did agree to give me a $0.25 write off. That took only about 12 minutes.

    I suppose eventually when Bell Canada starts charging us for calling them, I may have to pay for two calls!

    So now I am faced with having to scrutinize my bill online. Who knows whether my computer will be working tomorrow or how long I will be able to manage a computer?

    I have a choice, of course. I can disconnect my Sympatico service and connect to Rogers’ service, comparable to Bell’s. The inconvenience will be mine.

    Not great customer service from Bell, but do they care?

    When and if Bell Canada responds to my memo, they will tell me that they are contributing to a GREEN environment. Shouldn’t that be GREED?

  28. DG

    Apr 4 2012

    Sure, Bell is encouraging us to pay an extra $2. It’s to be “environmentally friendly.”

    I’ve been paying $2 to get my invoices for over a year from Solo Mobile (BELL).

    They sent me an extra sheet of paper with only one line on it: Paper invoice charge $2.

    They couldn’t have added this line on another page?

    I enjoyed reading your article!

  29. MW

    Apr 5 2012

    Thank you for forwarding my email to Bell. I was surprised to receive a call from an executive assistant at Bell.

    Bell is prepared, as a “good faith gesture,” to issue us a $24 credit on our next bill (if we wish to continue to have a paper copy mailed to us) to cover the upcoming charges over the course of 12 months, starting in June.

    After talking it over with my husband, we’ve decided to accept the offer.

    Again, thank you for your help. It was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated!

  30. LL

    Apr 5 2012

    I didn’t know about Bell’s plan to charge $2/month for paperless bills starting June 1 for internet customers.

    Why? I’m not connected electronically to Bell. I don’t have a Bell email address or a Sympatico address.

    Like the customers you quoted in the April 4 item, I resent being dinged for yet another fee.

    I could switch, but as you’ve heard from countless of your readers, getting service, never mind prompt service, is almost impossible.

    I have 4 Bell telecommunication services (2 of them are bundled–land line and TV).

    I also have a mobile plan that is so good (inexpensive) that one Bell store employee told me I would have to cancel it (then pay more for a new account) in order to bundle it with the other services.

    I keep getting notices to sign up as an internet customer and reminding me about all the savings I’ll enjoy if my internet service is bundled. I’ve tried to do this (bundling) to no avail.

    I’m thinking about saving up all of these (paper) notices, along with one of my (paper) bills for my internet account, and forwarding them to the person who’s in charge of Bell’s effort \to save the environment\.

    Now, in order to \save\ $2/month, I have to set up another account with Bell, provide contact information to them that they already have, and establish an online contact with the company that I don’t want to maintain.

    By the way, I tried to investigate how to set up an e-billing account this evening. It can’t be done without registration.

    Is it enough to simply have the number of the internet account? No.

    To say that the experience was frustrating and unproductive shouldn’t surprise you in the least.

    I initiated a Live Chat with the help desk. After waiting for 5 minutes, after a prompt that thanked me for my patience, I exited.

    I think this imposed $2/month fee is a Hobson’s choice.

  31. Aaron

    Apr 5 2012

    I understand the frustration but all of the users on this website obviously dont know how much it cost to print off the amount of bills that bell prints off. how much is one color ink cartridge? obviously you all are not taking that into account.

  32. Caz

    Apr 7 2012

    To Aaron:

    That’s called the cost of doing business. They now suddenly want to profit more from customers by shifting their business costs directly to consumers.
    Think of it this way…grocery and department stores spend a large amount of money on heating/air conditioning and lighting. Should we then start having a surcharge added to the bottom of our receipts when we buy something?
    Bell, etc. just wants to gouge people for more money.

  33. Ron Creaser

    Apr 8 2012

    If you want to continue helping people Re: Bell, let me suggest this. I am 83 years old and pay $50/month for Bell high speed. People should check their internet speed on a regular basis, both by Bell’s speed test and Speedtest.net.

    I have had “high speed” internet from bell for many years and just now tested my speed. I was to have up to 6 Mbps speed. I peaked at 1.3 Mbps.

    I had a technician come to my place. He ran a number of tests and said I was too far from the central office and “the best I would ever get was a peak service at 1.3 and regular at 1.1, 1/6th of what I paid all these years for.

    I live at Dawes just north of Danforth and the office is at Main St. and Kingston Rd. The distance is less than 4 kilometers and yet I am too far away.

    People need to test. They may also be “too far away” to get the service they pay for and Bell will never tell them. Be proactive.

  34. LG

    Apr 9 2012

    We thought you would get a kick out of our recent “issues” with Bell. We were in Florida for the winter and had our phone service put on a seasonal hold.

    We received a confirming email from Bell, dated Dec. 19, confirming they would charge us $40 and our phone service would be up and running on March 29.

    When we got home on Sunday, April 1, imagine our surprise to find no phone service and therefore no internet.

    We used our cell phones, which are pay-as-you-go, to call Bell. We talked to Vince, who kept putting us on hold, and were told they could not get us running until April 4. We said that was not good enough and they, in essence said, tough! That took $20 on one cell phone.

    Later, still unhappy, we called in again. I explained to a young lady called June that I was overwrought, as our daughter-in-law was sick in hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, and we needed to know how she was doing.

    In addition, it was a year to the date that my sister’s 34-year-old son died tragically in the Philippines. I needed to let her know we were safe and sound, since she would have been fretting.

    June said she would see what she could do. She must have been an angel because magically, we had phone service on Monday morning.

    On Wednesday, I called Bell and asked to be reimbursed for the $40. Denise said they had sent an email to say this has been done.

    I told her that if I had received an email, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. I went on to say I was also looking for reimbursement for my cell phone air time, which was $30.

    Denise said she would re-send the email at 11:15 am on Wednesday, April 4. It still hadn’t arrived by 4:12 pm on Thursday, April 5!

    I wanted the $40 back. Bell, had confirmed our instructions and given us their undertaking to have the service reinstated on March 29, did not do the job they promised and voided their part of the contact.

    Denise said she was only authorized to offer me $10 towards our cell phone charges, but because she felt bad about the situation would up that to $20.

    I told her I didn’t think that was right. As seniors, we are careful with our money and it wasn’t unreasonable asking for $30. But if that was all that Bell was prepared to offer, thank you I’ll take it, albeit begrudgingly. How petty can they be?

    It took my husband 3 days on the phone, trying to find somebody that could tell us how to re-set our voice-mail box. Frustrating, you bet!

    Oh! And for the record, we have been receiving our monthly Bell invoices by email for several years.

  35. DS

    Apr 9 2012

    I have been using paperless billing with Bell (phone, satellite and internet) for several years. The only beneficiary is Bell.

    My billing date is the 24th of the month. If I check Bell’s web site on the 25th, the bill still isn’t ready. Nor on the 26th or the 27th.

    Finally, sometime between the 27th and 31st of the month, Bell sends me an e-mail that by e-bill is ready, and by then it is. But the payment clock started ticking on the 24th!

    Their “efficiency” has already cost me three to seven days! Now I have to go to my bank website and pay the bill… which takes another three or four days to appear on the Bell web site.

    This is less efficient than using paper bills and cheques!

    My worst experience, however, was with Bell’s cellular subsidiary brand, Virgin Mobile. For several months, late last year, they stopped sending out e-mail notifications that my bill was ready.

    I didn’t notice it until finally, one came by e-mail. And yes, they me charged interest.

    I paid it, rather than fight with Virgin Mobile and their billing department (does that tell you how much consumers like me hate dealing with the cellular phone companies?).

    I have now left Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile for cellular service, permanently.

    I’m now with Telus. So far, they have handled the transition seamlessly and have resolved a signup problem with one phone call. I have hope, but the jury is still out.

    From my perspective, electronic bill payment is a complete joke, from start to finish. It’s inefficient for the consumer and only profits the companies.

    Which reminds me. I’m still waiting for some discounts with ExpressVu I negotiated in January to appear on my Bell bill. Maybe by July.

  36. LD

    Apr 9 2012

    A good question to ask them is why “My Bell” rarely works.

    I signed up for e-bills months ago and wasn’t able to see my bill, just the balance!

    This went on for months. Countless phone calls and online “chats”, blaming my computer settings.

    They never had an answer as to why it didn’t work from various computers or devices.

    You’d think that a communications conglomerate would have a customer website that worked.

  37. DP

    Apr 9 2012

    I’m actually OK with what they are doing, because there are options for the end user to maintain the paperless stream with little or no additional cost.

    There are some useful software programs, which allow you to “print to file”.

    In fact, Microsoft Windows has built in functionality for this: Instead of printing to a printer, one can select the . Microsft .xps option and save it as a file.

    Once saved, simply double click it and it will open up again on Internet Explorer. This is included on all Windows systems and is free.

    Another option is to send the document to Microsoft One Note, if the user has MS Office, home and student edition. With that software, you can organize the bills as you would in a paper filing cabinet.

    MS Office home and student can be had for as little as $100 if one waits for it to go on sale at Staples or Walmart.

    I have been using these options for several years now. I keep all of my bills filed electronically. The paper ones are imaged and stored the same way, including tax returns.

    Since others will surely follow Bell’s lead, I thought it was worthy of mention if you wanted to provide a follow-up article.

  38. Aaron

    Apr 9 2012

    It’s obvious you guys don’t know anything about business. Did you all complain when supermarkets started charging for bags?

    This is a prime example of how the consumer has to bite the bullet and either buy their own bags or purchase them at checkout.

  39. Senior

    Apr 9 2012

    Here’s my letter to Bell:

    Dear Sirs,

    I have been computing since 1952 (60 years!) and I pay all my monthly bills electronically.

    However, I have consistently declined offers to receive those bills electronically, for a very simple reason:

    My wife (of 56 years) does not do computers. She has arthritis and does not have the manual dexterity to pick up the 13-digit bank account number with the mouse and paste it into the login window.

    And I am not prepared to use an arrangement whereby pointing to the browser’s bank bookmark gets you to their login page with the account number + password already entered — that is just a recipe for disaster in many ways.

    Should I die first, which is far more likely, all your emailed bills would go unread, including your final demand. You would cut off my wife’s phone service so that she could not contact anyone for help or 911 in an emergency.

    You should take a page out of Enbridge’s book: When you register as a “senior” with them, they allow you to miss a payment date without imposing a penalty; and it is very easy to miss one at our age, for all sorts of reasons — just look at my record of missed payments to you over the past couple of years.

    You will grow old one day, with all its trials and tribulations. Think about it.

  40. UW

    Apr 9 2012

    Few people will take the time to actually download and verify their bills. And once you pay your bill, you automatically accept all charges, errors or no errors.

    I believe Bell banks on this. If you don’t print your bills, you lose access to them as you can only go back 12 months online.

    In our case, Bell added a long distance product to our account on July 19, 2007. We are certain we didn’t order it.

    At $29.95 per month, we should have caught it years ago, but we didn’t. We trusted them, didn’t pay attention, whatever the reason. We didn’t catch it until this month and had it removed from our account.

    Here’s what I wrote to Bell:

    Dear Bell,

    It has come to our attention that you have been charging us $29.95 plus tax per month since July 19, 2007, for a product called \Unlimited Canada & US LD Plan\ that I believe neither myself nor my wife has ever ordered.

    In fact, we feel overwhelmingly confident that we did not order this product for a couple of reasons:

    1) This product was added to our account on July 19, 2007, just two days after returning from hospital with newborn twins. Considering the stress and sleep deprivation that comes with bringing home two 4 lb. children, it is beyond difficult to imagine that we would have taken the time out to order a telephone product, let alone a telephone product that we did not need.

    2) We have never had a need for an Unlimited Canada & US LD Plan. There’s a good reason.

    3) We have fairly consistently used YAK Communications for our long distance use – both before and after July 13, 2007.

    So, assuming that we were not acting under the influence of prematurely born multiples and that it was you who accidentally, in error, added the product to our account, we kindly request a full refund of $1287.85 plus tax (provided our calculations are correct).

    Bell responded that if the product was added in error, we should have advised them in 2007. They reminded us that once you pay your bill, you accept the charge.

    They will not admit any error and claim there is no way to determine if we added the product ourselves (and then forgot about it) or if Bell added it.

    They also told us that since we did in fact use the product (to make long distance calls), our savings from that product would probably exceed the cost.

    In other words, by reversing the $29.95 charge, they would have to add whatever we had saved.

    That’s only fair, so I asked them to check the bills since July 2007 to compare, but apparently they don’t keep records for that long.

    I did my own comparison for the last 12 months and found welost $195 plus tax over the last 12 months. If the previous years are similar, the actual loss is closer to $1,000 plus tax.

    We are 99.99% sure we did not add the product. We didn’t check our paperless bills. We didn’t catch the error so we pay and it sucks.

  41. Fern

    Apr 10 2012

    I am thinking of people who do not have internet like my mother,this means she will be penalized a service charge of $2.00 for receiving a paper billing.
    Or how about if your internet is down or your computer is broken,or you got laid off and you need to cut down some expenses like your internet.Receiving the bill by mail is more efficiant than electronic billing…less complications

  42. Geoff

    Apr 10 2012

    Cue the old people complaining and ignoring that there are positive environmental benefits.

    If you really hate it that much, just switch companies. It’s not the law you have to have a phone with Bell.

  43. D. Chim

    May 1 2012

    We have already have the service of paper bill. This tradition has been on all the time. Why we have to pay additional $2.00? Don’t forget we are paying only for telephone and communication services.

    Bell forced and requested you to get a ebill for them and pay for the services. Becuase of the services requested by Bell, they should pay you for the service of getting a ebill.

    You may charge them $5.00 by sending them a monthly bill. If they do not pay it, you can go to small claim court and fight for it.

    When Bell offers you the telephone services, automatically you are a debtor. It is legally required Bell to provide you with information to pay. The best way is to send you the invoice in the commercial practice. You have to pay $2.00 charges. This is the first time I have seen. It works out as $24.00 per year. To pay the charity, they will say thanks. This is really paid Bell for nothing!

    The other problem is those people that they do not know English, use of computer, seniors having problem of using computer, and some people like to pay the paper bill. Why we want to penalize them? They are Bell’s customers and helping Bell to make money. It is very much regrettable and sorrowful that Bell does not have any sense of social responsibility. Let them beaufify and enrich themselves with $2.00 and wither away. Eventually, the cash cow is killed.

    Now, as I am Bell’s loyal and valued customer, I strongly urge those seniors like me to stand up and fight to get rid of this unncessary sin charges. You are free to:

    1. take Bell to small claim court for charges not related to telephone and communication charges.

    2. charge Bell for the service you render to them by getting a ebill, as your services is requested by them, say $5.00 per month. Bell wants somebody to do something and they have to pay for it.

    3. keep up your complaint to regulatory bodies and ask them to intervene.

    4. Leave Bell and get other server who can provide a better service.

    Let’s work together, we will win.

  44. Theresa

    May 4 2012

    Bell is not the only one – Fido is another that charges for paper, and it. I agree it’s rude. With so many people changing over to ebilling – in whole the only one saving any amount of money is the company themselves.

  45. Ron

    May 16 2012

    I did not read through all the comments so I will apologize in advance if someone has already stated this.

    With this additional charge, does it not constitute a change in the contractual obligation that you have with them?

    If this is the case, do we not have recourse and can we cancel our services with them without penalty? Anybody?

  46. Nicolas

    May 18 2012

    Bottom line for ebills is more profit for Bell. Just got my notice last night and told Bell to disconnect all my services because I’m not accepting ebills or $2 per month extra for paper bills.

    I was on ebills with Bell before and it cost me extra money because they used to send the ebill 2-3 days before due date. Since I don’t check my email often, I was late paying.

    I don’t think its legal to force me to ebills.

  47. Gerry G

    May 28 2012

    I registered for e-bill 2 months ago so I won’t be charged the 2.00 per month. In reality I’m not saving anything, my bill is still the same amount as before.

    At the same time Bell finds it necessary to send all of their customers promotions for the services that they don’t curently have by regular mail, at least once a month free of charge. Is this fare?

    I received my last bill on e-bill and noticed the special note on it. It reads as followes.

    Effective June 3, 2012 , the monthly price of your home phone service will increase by $2.00. You will continue to benefit from bundle savings, where applicable. If you wish to bundle your services to enjoy recurring savings every month, or modify or cancel your service as a result of this change, please call us.

    From what i understand is that Bell is increasing everyones phone bill $2.00 per month anyhow, weather you want paper bills or not. If you opt for paper bills then in June your bill will be increased by $4.00 per month.

    It also sounds like Bells attitude is, if you don’t like it just cancel.

    If I am wrong about this please will someone correct me?

  48. ExpensesRising

    Jun 19 2012

    BELL CANADA:

    (1) Paper bill fee has been added to my June 2012 bill: $2.00
    (2) Bundle discounts have now decreased by $1.00 each: $2.00 for me.

    Increase in June 2012 bill: $4.00

    Conclusion: I’m switching service providers. This is getting more and more expensive for both internet and phone. I’m not thrilled about paperless billing either.

    I use a filing cabinet, where I keep one to two years’ worth of billing statements, to see how the billing fee changes over time.

    I will always print statements and file them accordingly. In my case, now I have to waste my ink/paper/time to do what Bell should be doing at their expense.

    Based on the fee changes that have occurred (within the same month, I might add), this has been the last straw for me.

  49. Denise Feltham

    Jul 1 2012

    I share your outrage regarding the $2.00 service charge for paper bills. I have a learning disability that affects organization and memory. As a result, for the first time I opened a Bell account, I missed my payment.

    This violates the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, which requires businesses to provide accommodations necessary to access customer service among other things.

    I emailed the relevant department at Bell and received a reply that they will accommodate people with visual impairments or those who do not have computers.

    I will be pursuing this discriminatory act against people with disabilities further.

  50. Toni Bajer

    Jul 19 2012

    Bell have increased their monthly rates for residential lines effective June 3, 2012, which was enough for me to give up on Bell and try VOIP instead.

    http://www.bell.ca/Residential_services/Price_updates

  51. John

    Jul 25 2012

    As with many of you, I too was annoyed with the $2 paper bill fee and the reduction of each bundling discount by $1. So I decided I would engage Bell in their games.

    I unsubscribed from their email marketing material. Then, I phoned their marketing office to remove myself from paper marketing material.

    Now, for what is Bell’s silly saving of $6 per month on my suite of services, they can no longer market to me.

    Please pass along the message. I think actions like this might cause Bell to pause and rethink their fee increase.

  52. Tania

    Jul 30 2012

    I actually liked this idea and I did opt for paperless ebill.

    I recently decided to cancel my home phone since having a cell phone is cheaper and more convenient for me. I told the customer rep that I noticed I keep getting the paper bill and also am being charged $2, even though I opted for the ebill.

    She said she would reimburse me and I continued (in my astonishment) to ask why in the world did they keep sending me the paper when I got the ebill? And she said, “Ma’am, some people want both” !!

    Hahaha…yeah but in reality not really funny, because I can’t imagine that ever happening. Dah! Isn’t that why they give you a choice?

    This is like dealing with criminals and not a real bona fide Canadian corporation. Sleazeball comes to mind actually.

    How sad that I am born here in Toronto and see such conduct from a company I once held in high esteem for many years.

  53. EA Lucas

    Aug 22 2012

    I just think that anyone getting charged 2 extra dollars for a paper bill should pay by cheque and send in their payment by mail.

    Maybe you cant control how you get billed, but you can still have the last say in how you pay.

  54. ripped off senior

    Aug 24 2012

    It’s nothing but GREED AND IRRESPONSIBLITY on behalf of Bell Canada.

    There must be people high up on the corporate ladder being paid huge bonuses to come up with the next money grabbing scheme.

    I cancelled my TV and soon will be cancelling phone and internet. I’m DISGUSTED.

  55. GT

    Sep 14 2012

    I have just spent more than 35 minutes trying to get someone to explain the purpose of the $2 paper bill fee.

    The two customer service reps were very polite, but could only state that the fee was imposed by CRTC and not Bell. They could not tell me where this fee actually went.

    I suggested that Bell could save a lot of money and save a lot more trees if they stopped sending so much “junk mail” and advertisements to encourage me to buy more.

    More money would be saved if they stopped phoning me to entice me to buy more by creating a bundle savings. They were able to give me a “promotional savings” for a 1 year term.

    Then I have to call them in a year to see what further savings they are going to negotiate with me.

    If Bell really wants to create customer loyalty, why not be HONEST at the start and try to reduce your bill at the outset, instead of adding more service fees and services?

    Guess I have a year to find a new sevice provider.

  56. T J

    Dec 5 2012

    What I have done, and urge each of you to do, is go to the CRTC site and register a complaint against Bell, since this is equivalent to an unapproved rate increase.

    No service has changed, yet we are being charged more.

    They should offer a $2 discount to clients who go paperless, not a $2 increase. The cost of paper and stamps has not increased, nor has your service level.

  57. Jason

    Jan 2 2013

    My home phone is with Bell and I have signed up for their E- Bill.

    Every month I keep on getting countless ad mail from them asking me to sign up for their Internet, Mobile phone and Internet service.

    How do I stop that ? Is there anywhere online on their website where I can stop this marketing material ?

    I no longer get my home phone bill in mail as its an E bill now, but they are more than happy to send me countless junk mail/ ad mail in my mail.

    Go figure. Does it cost them 2 bucks to mail this crap to me? If so, why don’t they stop it and become more environment friendly as they are claiming to be? lol.

  58. Carlie W

    Feb 19 2013

    I called and explained that my father was a senior, had vision issues and needed the paper bill to view with a magnifier. And they took care of the fee right away. Anyone else having eye troubles? :)

  59. Sheila

    Mar 3 2013

    Can someone tell me how Bell is listing the $2.00 charge on
    the phone bill? Is it neatly hidden in one of the charges or is it a seperate line? thanks in advance

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