Bell vs Rogers, part three

June 29 2009 by Ellen Roseman

The last time I pitted these two against each other, people seemed more annoyed with Rogers. In the earlier round, Bell seemed to be the more irritating of the two.

It’s clear that both big communications companies have lots of critics. It’s clear that both have problems managing their customer service.

Today, Rogers and Bell are waging a price war, forcing customers to think twice about which company to use for which part of their telecom needs. I believe you should use their feud to your own advantage.

Bargain for the best deals you can get. Find the retention or loyalty departments, who have the power to give you incentives to make you stay. Threaten to leave if you can’t get what you want. Get proof of the great prices you were offered, since the billing department often has other ideas.

Here are some of the comments I’ve been getting about the whole Bell vs Rogers vs others debate. My Star column last week attracted more than 60 comments. We all have an opinion, right? So, let’s hear it.

33 comments

  1. Lior

    Jun 30 2009

    In terms of customer service, both Rogers and Bell suck. Instead of competing for pricing, why not compete for service? Make customer service the forefront of your business and then, even if you’re not necessarily the cheapest, you will still have a loyal following.

    I have a feeling that all these savings — and these two companies pushing their margins to razor thin levels just so that they can brag about having an x number of customers — is ultimately accelerating cuts in places like customer service.

    Bell is a clear example, having moved their call centres to India, where they are staffed by a group of incompetent amateurs.

  2. Al

    Jun 30 2009

    While Rogers is a ripoff, Bell is completely incompetent.

    A while ago, Rogers told me I had a computer virus. Since I’m always using up to date anti-virus tools, I found it hard to believe. The virus they mentioned had come out five years earlier. They suspended my internet for five days, claiming this was a second offense.

    During those days, I ventured into a Bell store to check out their internet services. After talking to a rep, I decided not to go through with it. But they did.

    At least 13 times, I was charged for internet access and modem rental that I never started. Each time I called, they acknowledged their error and sent me credits or cheques.

    Finally, the account was closed but they kept sending the invoices with the billing and credit. Gotta love the admin.

    The problem, we all know, is lack of competition. It’s an oligopoly where the companies don’t compete on price. Elsewhere in the world, we see better service, coverage and lower prices. Wonderful.

  3. FS

    Jul 1 2009

    Any advice on how I can threaten to leave when I still time left on my contract? Everytime I call complaining about their lack of customer support, all I get are empty promises because they know I have some time left on my contract. Any help here is appreciated. Thanks.

  4. Cynthia

    Jul 1 2009

    If you think Rogers’ customer service is bad, wait till September when it is no longer provided by Canadians. They are closing their centre here in town, and I’m sure it is not the only one closing.

  5. CJ

    Jul 2 2009

    I recently went through the process to change from Rogers to Bell TV and Internet.

    Not only will you get different quotes for the so-called bundles, depending on the sales agent or contact, but Bell also categorically refuses to give you a quote in writing via E-mail or otherwise.

    They have numerous excuses for this approach. The most innovative one is that they can’t send an E-mail to a Rogers E-mail address.

    In addition, once the technician comes to install the dish, you are faced with a long contract document for the lease of the receiver and you have to sign on the spot.

    Luckily enough, the technician had to come twice. Upon my request, he left me with that contract the first time so that I had the opportunity to read it before he came for the second time.

    Note that there was a clause in it where you would have to give a credit card number, which I would have refused. After calling Bell, I found fortunately they didn’t insist. For obvious reasons, I am not keen to provide such credit info on a document that can wind up in any place.

    My conclusion is that Bell has not finalized the process from the Ma Bell days to being a commercially viable organization.

  6. Frances

    Jul 4 2009

    There is no such thing as a system access fee. It is just another scam to get more money out of us. Object to it, strenuously.

    Try Star Choice for satellite tv. We are doing fairly well with it.

    Look for a smaller internet service provider. Bell and Rogers aren’t the only game in town.

    Try Yak, or a similar company, for long distance.

  7. freedom 55 and bell free

    Jul 6 2009

    Bell’s still as lame as ever. They may advertise better deals and service, but once you add up all the lost time and money they’ve stolen – er nickel and dimed – from your account, then it’s the most expensive on the planet.

    Also, don’t forget all the dinner time calls to upgrade and the time, money and frustration to undo all of that when they change your services on the word of a CHILD.

    Things were much better in the ’80s service wise. Got worse in the ’90s and hit rock bottom, showing how much lower they can go, in the ’00s.

    I’m proud to say that of the $5,000/ year I spend on service, none of it goes to Bell. What do I do with the savings? I spend it at the cottage and take longer trips in Europe.

    Freedom 55

  8. Howadr

    Jul 7 2009

    My Rogers contract just came up for renewal. I have 4 services and was getting 10% discount. I pointed out that their website mentioned 15% discount for 4 services. Without hesitation I was given the 15%. I should have asked for more. Easy. I have been with Rogers for many years and they have always bent over backwards to help.

  9. Brett

    Sep 12 2009

    Rogers Rock, 15 years with them.

    If you have an iPhone (or any phone really) on Fido or Rogers, you have to get the EPP (Employee price plan)

    It includes:
    – 200 daytime minutes
    – Unlimited evenings and weekends starting at 5pm

    Cost – $17.50 per month

    To get this plan, just go to an actual Fido or Rogers store. Or call in and ask for it. It is a hidden or unadvertised plan. It is similar to the Telus or Bell EPP plan, except that the unlimited evenings and weekends start earlier.

    To get on this plan, you have to be a member of one of the following: Aeroplan, Air Miles, Petro Points, Esso Extra, CAA, etc. There is a long list.

    This is only available until May 12, apparently, so get it quick.

  10. Denise

    Sep 27 2009

    I have been a Rogers customer for over 10 years and contacted them last week to discuss ways to reduce my internet and cable bills. The agent and I worked out a way to downgrade my plans (he never did offer any discounts, but then again I did not threaten to cancel).

    I also agreed to switch from Bell to Rogers home phone on the Classic Value Plan that TW mentioned in an earlier post. The end result will supposedly be that I will be saving 50% ($200 down to $108)! I downgraded VIP to classic digital cable and high speed internet to what is probably light.

    I do regret that I did not try to bargain. What also bothers me is that I was told that, although the Classic Value plan can be bundled and is not a promotion, I will not receive the 15% discount on my phone service (only on the internet and cable) because it is so deeply discounted.

    This just doesn’t make sense – I have 3 services that are not promotions but can’t get the 15% discount on the phone because they’ve put together a package that is already a good deal? Sounds like a scam to me.

  11. Howie

    Oct 23 2009

    Thought I would leave a note to balance out the unfortunate service situations others have been faced with.

    I have been with Rogers for as long as I can remember and have the 4 service, 15% bundle. It has not been perfect – I have had a couple of issues to contend with over the past year (including an overzealous contract technician that billed me for phantom jack installations). But these were all resolved to my satisfaction.

    In every case, I have asked for a rep in Consolidated Accounts whom I found to always have more knowledge (and authority?). Curious to know who these people are and what qualifies one for their service – is it a 4 service bundle?

  12. Gail

    Feb 12 2010

    We have 2 cell phones with Rogers: one contract expires Feb. 24/10; the other expires Mar. 14/10. When we purchased the 2nd phone, we switched to a family plan.

    Because of the rate increases without additional services and the removal of the bundling discount on all services unless you sign a multi-year contract, we decided not to renew our wireless contracts when they expired.

    I contacted Rogers in January to give 30 days notice for the wireless contract which expires Feb. 24/10, and was told that I had made ‘an implied verbal contract extension’ when we switched to a family plan, so this contract now had a new expiry date of Mar. 14/10.

    I said there was no mention of extending the contract when we switched plans. In fact, we were told we were entitled to switch plans without penalty at any time!

    The response I received was that their representative should have told me of the ‘implied verbal contract extension’, but even if she hadn’t, the ‘implied contract extension’ still applied and superceded any and all written contracts!

    Several emails and telephone conversations later, I metaphorically threw up my hands in disgust and asked what I need to do to be able to ‘port’ our cell phone numbers when we reached our ‘implied verbal contract extension’ date of Mar. 14/10. I was informed that I must call Rogers… AGAIN…exactly 30 days before the contract expiry date to give them official notice that I would not renew the contracts and that I would be porting our numbers.

    Today is EXACTLY 30 days prior to Mar. 14/20, so I called Rogers. Now I’ve been told that if I give the required 30 day cancellation notice, I will not be able to port my telephone number at the end of the 30 days. But if I do not give 30 days cancellation notice, I will be able to port my numbers… but they will charge me a fee for cancelling the contract (which is expiring anyways!)

    The customer representative I spoke to kept interrupting me in a very loud voice every time I tried to say anything, and spoke to me in the tone of voice you would use with a misbehaving 2 year old.

    She was incredibly rude, and for someone who SUPPOSEDLY spoke English, her pronunciation and poor vocabulary made it extremely difficult to understand her, even though she was almost shouting at me!

    All of our services at this point are with Rogers: Cable TV, internet, home phone and wireless. Don’t know if I want to switch to Bell after everything I’ve read, so maybe we’ll just go with a couple of pay-as-you go phones, find a small ISP and purchase a satellite!

    What I do know, however, is that Rogers WILL pay the ultimate price for treating a long term customer so poorly…Na, na, hey, hey, kissing Rogers goodbye!

  13. TK

    Feb 20 2010

    I am planning to dump my Roger$ Home Phone.

    System Access fee: With Bell, you can have them remove this. This is for their long-distance plan. (I use calling cards and VOIP anyway.)

    Roger$ refuses to remove the system access fee. (They say it is not for Long distance so they won’t waive it.)

    $5.95 for pure profit – Roger$ even charges this on their VOIP services.

    My solution is to keep the high-speed (DSL never could get above 300kbps, even though I paid full price with Bell).

    Use FreePhoneline.ca ($50 for configuration file, and buy an ATA for $50). You can register and use their soft phone for free.
    The line is free for life, long distance is free for most Canadian area codes. Webcalldirect.com is good for international calls

    I could also dump the cable and get a free-to-air satellite, and antenna. (I will save more than 15% and no local programming tax!)

  14. Lilia

    Feb 27 2010

    Bell IS THE WORST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

    My family first signed up to Bell for TV, phone and the Internet. When the set-up guy came, first of all, he came in with his SHOES on, STEPPING ONTO OUR CLEAN FLOOR.

    Second, that guy actually asked us for something to drink like water or pop!!!!!! My dad was nice enough to give a water bottle to him. Then they wanted to drill ugly holes onto our walls for setting up the satellite. THAT was when we found out that holes needed to be drilled.

    Rogers actually PAID so we customers don’t need to set up that stupid satellite. Rogers already bought wires that were buried down underground so the satellite wasn’t required; the wires can be connected instead of using the satellite. AND THAT WASN’T ALL FOR THE TV.

    For the internet, after setting up the modem and everything, the STUPID BELL INTERNET DIDN’T WORK!!! We called the company and they kept saying: “You must call ANOTHER number.”

    Every single time we call ANOTHER number, they tell us that they can’t solve the problem and they made us pay anyway WHEN WE DIDN’T EVEN GET A CHANCE TO GO ON THE INTERNET!!! So we switched to Rogers and everything was fixed!

    Believe me, don’t use Bell! It will just mess up your life like it did with mine.

  15. jpm

    Apr 18 2010

    Maybe all the complainers here should join the army and go to a war zone or Haiti for a spell. When you come back, maybe you’ll actually appreciate how good you have it here.

    Yes, these Canadian companies are not perfect, but they are not the worst.

  16. pat welch

    Nov 2 2010

    I’m finding my Bell bill higher than I can really afford and would like the phone no. for Bell Loyalty. My husband passed in Dec. 2009 and am now living on 66% income. Have been Bell customers since my marriage in 1956. Can you help? Thanks.

  17. sam

    Jan 28 2012

    I have had nothing but issues with Rogers and then Bell. Both corporations are taking advantage of the market because they can. There is nowhere else to go or trust. i

    I am still getting bills from Bell 8 months after I cancelled them. There’s no one to talk to you and you just go in circles.

    Then they have the nerve to charge you — not only for a service not provided but interest on the service that has been cancelled months previously.

    I have been going through this for years and years with both companies. I think the people need to speak up and the corporations should stop holding everybody hostage.

  18. Ana

    Nov 8 2012

    Per the complaint above, there’s no one to talk to and you just go in circles.

    Instead of having to deal with issues over the phone, it would be great if Rogers and Bell had a Customer Service Ambassador at every Retail outlet. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they put as much effort into keeping you a happy customer, as they do into selling you the merits of their product in the first place?

    Just saying.