February 10 2010 by Ellen Roseman
I think contracts should be written and signed by both parties. A verbal contract is unfair — especially if the consumer is not aware that it exists.
Suppose you’re speaking to Bell Canada and you’re offered a discount. You say OK, but don’t ask any questions. You have no idea you’ve entered into an informal contract.
Some time later, you switch your business to another firm. Bell makes you repay all your monthly discounts, going back to when you received them, in your final bill.
Since you didn’t know you had a contract, you didn’t know when it expired. And if you did know the expiry date, you could have delayed your switch for a few months.
I wrote about this issue here a few months ago, but now I have an update. Daryl Charanduk, whose comment appears in the earlier post, appealed Bell’s decision to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS).
CCTS upheld Bell’s verbal contract, based on the information given by both sides. Check out its decision posted below.
As for Charanduk, he’s still unhappy with Bell. But he’s happy he switched. Now he’s paying much less than he did with Bell, even after receiving the fictitious discount that was later clawed back.