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Bell Customers, Employees Speak Out About High-Pressure Sales

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In the wake of a Go Public investigation, Bell Canada customers and employees are speaking out about high-pressure sales tactics.

In a statement to the CBC, Shaelene McInnis of Oshawa, Ontario said that Bell was charging her elderly in-laws for internet service without them knowing. She said:

“They’ve never even turned on a computer! They have absolutely no need for internet services.”

When she called Bell, she learned that a representative signed them up for Fibe TV, which automatically includes a fee for internet services. She proceeded to say that she would cancel the service if the bill wasn’t lowered.

“When he was trying to avoid taking it off the bill, I said to him, ‘How many other senior citizens are you doing this to? How many people are you charging when they don’t need internet service at all?'”

McInnis is one of many unhappy customers who emailed Go Public after reading a story earlier this week about Andrea Rizzo, a Bell call centre employee in Scarborough who said she is under “intense pressure” to make a sale on every call.

Another Bell customer said a representative offered him a TV and internet bundle for $78 per month. However, this customer said:

“After three months of constant calling and confusing answers with confusing bills, I was told that no such deal existed and was basically told I made this up.”

In addition to customers, a number of Bell employees are also speaking out. A customer service representative, who frequently sat at his desk in tears, said if you meet the stats, then they would raise them. A former manager said:

“I went on stress leave and returned to find things even worse when I came back.”

Toronto labour lawyer Lior Samfiru says the allegations being made by Bell employees are troubling. In a statement, Samfiru said:

“If it’s true that no matter who you’re talking to, you have to upsell them on x, y and z, that’s wrong. They should give more discretion to their salespeople to identify appropriate situations to upsell, and certainly not to penalize people for not upselling to someone who shouldn’t be sold to.”

He said that if the description of the environment is true, employees could make a legal claim against their employer regarding their health.

The growing number of complaints has also prompted the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to call for a public inquiry. In a statement, PIAC executive director John Lawford said:

“The CRTC needs to take a look at the sales practices of telecommunications and broadcasting companies in Canada with a particular emphasis on upselling or misleading sales. Right now, there’s nothing in the Wireless Code that says you have to sell customers products that are suitable.

If sales practices that are inappropriate and ripping off consumers are endemic in the industry, that’s completely appropriate for the CRTC to say ‘We’re going to set out rules.'”

Have you faced any of these issue with Bell or any other Canadian carrier? Let us know in the comments below!

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