Walter Schultz did not want to give up anything. The licensed private investigator documents everything – so when he contacted Bell Mobility for a better deal at his service in February, he recorded the transactions.
Three different customer service representatives offered the same offer, which he accepted, offering 10GB of data for $ 55 per month.
But Bell then goes to the kitchen, ont., The man can’t have a deal with him – because it doesn’t.
“My initial reaction was laughter, it’s not real, it’s not happening … it’s ridiculous,” Schultz said.
These kinds of transactions – one thing promised and another delivered – seem to happen a lot with telecommunications providers.
- Got a story? Contact Rosa Go public Team
According to the Telecommunications-Telecommunications Services Complaints Commission (CCDS), which acts as a mediator between customers and telcos, misinformation or contract terms conflict with a pre-agreement.
From August 2019 to July 2020, more than 3,600 complaints out of 15,661 were filed with the CCDS. (It is difficult to say how many complaints are eligible. Some discounts are made when customers do not cooperate with the CCDS process, or when Telco offers another reasonable offer.)
Bell, one of Canada’s Big Three telcos and its largest wireless provider, had the most complaints so far in 2019-20, followed by Rogers Communications and Videotron.
Bell blames Schultz’s experience on sales reps – claiming they offered two separate offers, and later apologized.
But contract law professor and lawyer Anthony Timesis says a verbal contract can be as solid as it is written – a lot of clients don’t realize if there is evidence.
“Written excerpt, this is really irrelevant – it gets more hype in movies and television,” said Timesis, of the University of Ottawa.
He says that if the client accepts an offer, it can be considered a legal contract.
“The difference between a written and unwritten agreement has actually come to the fore. The law does not say that an oral promise is less of a bond than a written promise.”
But even those with evidence find it difficult to get what they are promised.
Schultz had plenty of evidence, but it didn’t seem to help him with Bell.
When he first spoke to an agent on February 27, he thought it was a deal because the agent told him. On record – Go Public asked – what the agent clearly needs to do is go to his local Bell store to pick up the new phone and the data offer will start.
Schultz even asked for a confirmation number and was told he didn’t need anything because everything was mentioned in his account.
Ask | The deal Schultz promised:
But when he came to the store on the same day, no one knew anything about any offer.
Schultz again called customer service – again he was said to be eligible for the promised contract. At this point, the agent said that Telco would send him a new phone and make a deal with him.
The deal came in an email on March 2, only 5GB – half the data promised for the same money.
Refusing to give up, Schultz followed up with a third Bell agent in an online chat – and was reiterated that there was no problem, the deal would be shown on his billing.
It never did. Instead, on March 29, Bell received a message that he could not get the offer because “there is no questionable plan.”
Schultz complained to the CCDS, but Bell refused to credit.
Instead, the telco commission already made him a different, “reasonable” offer, in that March 29 email, including 8GB for the G45. That offer would require Schultz to pay a little more per gigabyte.
He rejected it. At this point he says it’s not about cost.
“All I wanted was for them to respect the word. It’s a very simple thing.”
Bell struggles with customers over contracts
Bell has been fighting some of these complaints through the CCDS and the courts.
On one occasion, CCDS found favor with a customer who, in May 2019, verbally offered a fixed price for TV, Internet and telephone services as “guaranteed for life”, claiming that the offer was no longer available.
CCDS bellowed that the transcript of that conversation was not available – even though Telco claimed to have heard it recorded as part of an internal investigation into the same complaint.
“If the supplier says no, this is not agreed, we expect the supplier to be able to prove what the deal is,” CCDS Assistant Commissioner Josie Thibault told Co. Public.
Schultz says Bell’s response to CCDS in his case and key information such as the comments of an online chat agent confirming that he should get 10GB were “apparently missing”.
Then there is The case of David Ramsay This includes public in 2018.
The Toronto man took Bella to Small Claims Court and won after refusing to respect a verbal agreement made over the phone; He then emailed him a deal that prices might change.
‘Suck it,’ says the lawyer
In the case of Schultz, Bell said in an e-mail to Go Public that its “agents made mistakes in combining the two separate offers, and then we trained them in the proper process.”
As a result, at the beginning of the billing Mr. Did not reflect what was promised to Schultz. “
Telco apologized for calling it “this rare experience,” saying it “looks forward to rectifying the situation.”
Watch | Bell said the customer could not give him the contract:
According to Times Professor, a law professor, Bell’s responsibility is to keep their employees up to date or to deliver on their promises to their clients.
“In the end … it could be on Bell, it’s not a legal word, but it can be absorbed when something goes wrong by their employee. At least that mistake should be respected,” he said.
“There are some legal reasons why they have to do it anyway [if] Led the individual to reasonably believe that the offer was available. “
He says that is the biggest problem for consumers Is “access to justice” because enforcing consumer rights is often too costly if a telco refuses to budget and has CCDS rules against the complainant.
“Already consumers always feel they are vulnerable, I think they are, that’s why we have the law to protect them … but what [they] What am I going to do? Start legal action for $ 100? Most people will not, ”he said.
Schultz does not dismiss the court action, but wants to see what the CCDS decides. He vows to see his complaint about Bell to the end.
“Where does responsibility with this system begin and end? And when should they be held accountable for what they do?”
After contacting Go Public Bell, Schultz received a message from CCDS that Telco is now offering additional offers.
He says he will also consider the latest deals when he first wants the company to re-offer the deal.
Submit your story ideas
Go Public is an investigative news unit on CBC-TV, radio and the Internet.
We tell your stories, shed light on mistakes, and have powers of accountability.
If you have a story in the public interest, or if you are logged in with the information, please contact [email protected] with your name, contact information and brief summary. All emails will remain confidential until you decide to go public.
Follow BCCBCGoPublic On Twitter.
Read more stories Issued by General.