Bell’s Touch-Tone Fee Named “Canada’s Dumbest Charge” By CBC Marketplace

According to an investigation by CBC Marketplace, Bell customers with landlines continue to pay for using touch-tone phones, despite the charge not showing up on bills. Bell has been charging $2.80 to customers for using a touch-tone phone, but removed the fee, only to increase phone plans by the same amount.

A Canada-wide vote by CBC Marketplace had its viewers dub the Bell Touch-Tone fee “Canada’s dumbest charge.” The CBC estimates the fee generated over $80 million for Bell in 2013, based on 2.6 million landline customers nationwide.

Bell spokesperson Jason Laszlo told the CBC:

“After Bell privatized our Atlantic Canada affiliate Bell Aliant at the end of 2014, we applied to the CRTC to amalgamate our billing approaches to landline, including permission to finally remove the Touch-Tone fee item from customer bills.”


“Touch-Tone has long been included in the advertised price for home phone, so the price remains the same. The CRTC decision simply means we no longer have to show it as a separate item on customer bills. Of course rotary dial customers continue to pay a lower rate because they do not have Touch-Tone capability,”

So if you want to save $2.80 from Bell’s landline service, you’ll need to go use a rotary phone. I wonder how you’ll be able to navigate through Bell’s service menu though to make the change…

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  • makeittalk

    With other far less costly options available these days, Bell altogether appears a “dumbest” choice.

  • poopchute

    “So if you want to save $2.80 from Bell’s landline service, you’ll need to go use a rotary phone. I wonder how you’ll be able to navigate through Bell’s service menu though to make the change…”

    Not true. They don’t actually use rotary technology any more. Just refuse to pay the fee, they will remove it, and you will go on using your phone the same as always.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Bell will not allow you to remove the touch tone fee so it’s not even a choice anymore. The only way to not pay it is if you are grandfathered in.

    Also, if you are one of the rare people not paying touch tone fees, you can still use touch tone banking and other touch tone services by simply sliding a switch on your phone from “rotary” to “touch-tone”

    Of course, the correct response to the news is to cancel Bell altogether.

  • MrXax

    Home phones, like cable and satellite TV, will be dead soon enough. RIP, Bell.

  • Not only this, they REFUSE to allow you the chance to use a rotary system…if you went touch-tone, you’re stuck with it FOREVER…and if you want a new install with a new number? TOUCH-TONE ONLY! You have absolutely ZERO choice!

    Ever priced how much you pay for callerID on an hourly basis? Figure it takes about 1/100th of a second for that data pulse to be received. Then figure what they charge, and divide that by how many calls you get over the course of a month, and you can figure the “per-call charge” for the service.

    We calculated that to be roughly $12,000.00/hour.

    Not even lawyers rip you off that badly…

    And that “1/11th of a second data pulse” is the exact same data that they need in order to route and track calls for billing purposes…so basically, they’re just giving you what they already USED TO CREATE FOR FREE, but telling you it’s something new, so that they can bill you for it, while they raise your rates “to add new services.”

    HUGE SCAMS in place for decades…they’re stolen BILLIONS from their customers because of their monopoly over the years…and it’s high time that was put to an end.

    ESPECIALLY knowing that Mexico has faster, higher quality telephone AND internet service than Canada does, at SIGNIFICANTLY lower cost, and that this has been the case for at least 20 years now!

  • Actually, it’s still in use…but if you EVER change your service, you lose that capability. FOREVER.

    As well as the extra $33.60 + $4.37 in “HST” annually, from that point forward…UNTIL YOU DIE!!!

    Crooked corporations are as bad (or worse) for our personal lives and finances as bankers and politicians are, any more…

  • ????Dennis

    Great comment, thanks. Never thought of called id pricing in the matter before. I personally don’t use a landline, but will definitely be bugging my co-worker about this. He pays $40 a month for one from bell, hahaha.

  • Well, many moons back when I used to run a BBS, I had four lines, so I paid very close attention to the rates and fees since then.

    Of course, back then, all four of those lines set me back almost $25.00 a month! Not “per line” mind you, but ALL FOUR!

    Now I’m down to one line, “acceptable” quality service, which is beaten to a pulp by Mexicans on all fronts…but for considerably more than I used to pay for 4 times what I’m getting now.

    How anybody can call that “industry advancement”…well…they’ll likely be counting the little leather buttons on the wall soon enough…

  • The second someone offers unlimited (and not “time-limited unlimited” or “bandwidth-limited unlimited” or “time-of-day-limited unlimited” [etc.] like the corporate ISPs “offer”, but “ACTUALLY UNLIMITED”) cellular internet, at a reasonable price…landlines will be dead.

    But not a single second before.

    Oh, and battery life is going to need absolutely amazing improvements before then, as well…because we’ll almost be guaranteed to have to buy some “disposable appliance” with a permanent, “not user serviceable” battery in whatever they use to “offer” such services and pricing through. You know…so we have to replace it every year when they tell us we need a newer/better/faster version…”because NOW it comes with a BLUE power button!”


  • MrXax

    Do people use phones to talk to people anymore? I mean, I know some do (and they’re always around me on public transit), but I feel like personal voice calls are few and far between these days.

  • Well, most of the dumb little kids don’t even talk to eachother in person. They spend their time sitting directly across the table from eachother SENDING TEXT MESSAGES!