CBC news is reporting that “Bell, Telus customers to pay for incoming text messages” (15 cents each, Bell starting Aug 8, Telus starting Aug 24). (CTV news report here.)
Since I signed a 3-year contract with Bell last year, I was not amused, to say the least, with the fact that I will soon be charged for incoming messages and spam messages. So I picked up my mobile phone and dialed *611 to talk to Bell customer services.
To make a long story short, here is what happened and it may help you.
- I nicely and politely reminded the Bell customer service rep that when I signed a contract with Bell last year, the contractual terms included free incoming messages. And I fully expect the contractual terms to be respected by both parties (Bell and me). I asked the rep where in the contract that I signed allowed Bell to change the terms during the contractual period?
- And I told the customer service rep (nicely) that I consider the fact that Bell wanting to change the contractual terms unilaterally and start charging me for incoming messages as a breach of contract. And Bell should let me out of the contract without penalty as I consider Bell has breached the contract I signed with them.
- At this point, the customer service rep (she has over five years experience with Bell) offered me the following to my surprise! * Free unlimited incoming messages, * free 30 outgoing messages per month! Free until the end of my contract in — 2010 — !!!! OK, totally unexpected from my end. But I suspect that their call centre may have received so much customer complains that they are handling the customers who threaten to walk out of their contract by waiving the charges to try to keep them. (Just my guess here.)
- If there is a Lesson here, call your Bell (or Telus) customer service rep and talk to them nicely. If you are firm and nice, you may get your incoming messages fees waived too. Again, what I did above got my fees waived. It may or may not work for you. So let me know if it works for you (or not) by leaving a comment. Thanks.
As of 8:25pm MST, according to the CBC news story “Bell, Telus customers to pay for incoming text messages“, the top two comments are the following,
1399 People recommended this comment,
Crooks. It costs them NOTHING.
When are we gonna stand up for ourselves and take down these criminals?
1139 People recommended this comment,
incoming texts are free in the entire rest of the world. Money grubbers.
I think Bell and Telus have made a serious mistake today. If enough customers were as outraged as I thought they were (see the thousands of complaining Canadians on the CBC site) and actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT rather than just bitching about it, may be they will get their stupid charges waived by Bell (or Telus) as well. And may be things will change, and change relatively quickly too (reversing the decision to charge customers for incoming messages).
You see, the rest of the world charge the sender of the messages but don’t charge the receivers. Think, for a moment, about the POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). It has always been, and should always be, the initiator of a long distance call to pay for the call (except collect call, and that is ONLY if you specifically ACCEPT the charges!). Now, imagine the receiver of a long distance call actually have to pay for the call automatically as well. It just doesn’t make sense!
If you think about it, we live in a new age with millions of blogs, Facebook, Social networks, and many other tools and I think we now have the power to bring one of the largest corporation to listen to us if enough of us do something about the crap that we had to deal with (instead of just bitching about it).
Good luck to you.
Please kindly leave a comment here to share your experience so others may benefit from it.
11:25pm MST Update:
Found and joined this Facebook group “Bell and Telus should not charge for incoming text messages“. I hope the various online and offline efforts (my blog posting here, and this Facebook group, angry customers calling Bell and Telus, etc) will bring some senses to Bell and Telus.
Stay tune and we should hopefully find that out soon enough (ah, hopefully).
28 July, 2008 Update: From CBC, “A Quebec man has launched a class action lawsuit against Bell Mobility and Telus, following a move by the cellphone providers to charge customers for incoming text messages.” [HT Paul]
Here is a report from CP (with video).