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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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  • Ryan Matthews

    I used to work for the other guy on their corporate sales team. Targets were pretty aggressive and majority of people had challenges hitting them. I ended up being short the equivalent of 1 voice only line to qualify for my year end targets, which resulted in me getting a letter 2 weeks before Christmas telling me I had until December 31st to pay back all of my commissions from that year (approximately $3k). It was my 6 month old sons first Christmas and they told me if I didn’t pay them I was going to go to collections. This happened to 2 other people in my department at the same time. Ended up going to collections and just paying it with a credit card. Never have I had as much anxiety in a job in my life.

  • I’m fortunate to have the ability to understand what services I need and how much I should be paying for them.

    Sorry Bell employees, but you should find a better position at another company.

  • Aceclutch

    Cousin works at call center in Fido. He says the managers are pretty chills. Guess it depends on location

  • Léon

    OK Bell, “Let’s Talk”. How ironic that they are a corporate sponsor of the mental health awareness campaign while apparently fostering such an unhealthy corporate culture for their own employees!

  • Nick

    Every month I have to call Bell because they are not honouring the price I was told when I signed up. They keep making excuses and tell me that the next bill will be correct. So I pay the bill because I have to and then the next one is incorrect as well. The cycle continues. Then later on my bill changes again and I’m told that the promotion has ended on that product even tho the sales person said I would have the original price for the length of the contract. SCAMMERS!!

  • Gord Henderson

    If I were you Ryan, I would contact the CBC reporter about your experience. It’s unacceptable.

  • james

    when i called bell for friends to lower their bill they added and activated a home phone without telling us because it was cheaper to have 3 services then 2.. we had no idea until several calls and one rep said you have all 3 services and provided a phone # to us.. very shady stay clear of bell

  • FragilityG4

    Although I agree that if you don’t like your job get a new one, this is wrong. It’s a pathetic way to not give out monetary bonuses. The bonus is you get to keep your job. It’s even more pathetic that we have to get the government in to tell a company you shouldn’t sell people what they don’t need.

  • Mélanie Lord

    Same problem as the “non-existent deal” in the article.

    We have Bell satellite and they have been trying for over a year to have us switch to Fibe. This would cost more and reduce our services so we have always refused. A few months ago, they made us an offer that we accepted. On the day they were supposed to come connect our new equipment, no one showed up. When we called them, they said we had cancelled (which we never did). They refused to let me listen to the recording from this imaginary call. In speaking to different reps, it came out the they cancelled since the deal was no longer in effect when they offered it and they were refusing to honour the agreement.

    All in all, Bell sucks.

  • Hosaka

    It depends on the company and the company’s work culture. Fido is owned by Rogers.

    Bell is straight up evil.

  • ThatSalesGuy

    Hi. Bell employee here, at the retail mobility level. I work in one of the high volume tier A locations in the country.
    I’ll be frank.
    The company doesn’t care about existing customers at a retail level. This can be said for ANY of the telecommunications providers, at a retail level.

    If an existing customer walks in, you have one goal and one directive. “You better add a new number or new postpaid service to their account.”

    If you’ve exhausted all avenues, in adding a tablet, an iPad, or a month to month cell phone plan with their old phone, and the answer is still no, you better sell them on extended warranty insurance for their phone, and at least 3 accessories.

    Hardware upgrades are frowned upon, unless you can add a new postpaid service.

    Your personal target goes up by over 2 new numbers added everyday. If one day you can’t add anything, you’re automatically in the red, with your assigned target.

    When you’re doing your best to be a “consultant” and aid clients in finding the right phone for them, while trying to keep their bills the same or lower, so you get a good review in the survey that the client will get after their visit, it’s a losing battle.

    Your mission everyday is to add new numbers for new clients, and make damn sure that your hardware upgrades for existing clients, are adding new services, ultimately increasing their monthly bills.

    The problem is also that the devices are increasing in outright value. And clients want them for free in store. They want to pay the same $65-$85 per month, for 24 months, to pay off the the device over $1000.

    Sure, $65 x 24 months or $85 x 24 is well over the outright cost of your new phone. But roughly only $22 – $33 of your monthly rate goes towards the cost of the phone. You’re going to to pay something upfront for that new iPhone X or Note 8, or Pixel XL 2. The remainder you’re going to to pay off.

    But the desire is also to have 6GB-10GB of data with LTE Advanced speeds, delivered to you no matter where you are in Canada, on towers being connected by fibre optics (a very costly upgrade) with roughly 37 million total people, (not subscribers) spread out over the immense surface of Canada.

    The price per month is going up. It’s a guarantee.

    But our job is to make sure it’s going up even more by adding something to your existing plan.

    I’m not proud of it, I’m sickened by it. If I’m told to make sure the senior citizen coming into the store already on Bell, is leaving with an iPad or Android tablet for all her grandkids… I’m going to be sick to my stomach in the backroom later.

    I’m going to have nightmares about work.

    I’m also going to be buying my phone in the future at the outright price and put my existing SIM card into it, to keep my bill and plan the same. That’s the only way to avoid the increase, and the high pressure sales tactics.

  • Bill___A

    I remember going into a store, “The Source” which is owned by Bell. The manager came up to me and tried to sell me a mobile phone. I told him I wasn’t interested. He was then very cold and I didn’t get any help finding the item that I was actually interested in.
    I found this to be strange.

    The simple act of walking by or into a store does not mean that I am interested in buying a new phone or getting service with a different carrier (I’m not with Bell. Years ago, they could not give me a straight answer as to US roaming costs – so it was a no go). So I lead a “Bell Free” life and many thousands of dollars go to other providers.

  • Karl Allen Petersen

    I recently signed up with Telus for internet here in surrey, BC. On my first bill they charged me 200$ for cancelation fee even though I didn’t cancel was still using it they can’t tell me how that happened.
    Karl Petersen
    Surrey, BC
    Nov 26, 2017

  • mcfilmmakers

    That’s not legal

  • ?????

    Welcome to the world of big corporations. It’s no surprise this is happening. It seems there are always a large amount of sales jobs available with the big phone companies for their kiosks in malls. Canada’s big banks also have hire pressure sales positions with low pay. Canada’s new economic slaves without employment protection = economic prey/slaves.

  • ?????

    The problem is that Canada’s big corporations retain most large (and competent) law firms throughout the country to stem litigation like this. Yes, what the company did is not legal, but then the system is highly flawed to obtain justice against big telcos, big banks, etc. In conjunction, Canadian labour laws are sadly unbalanced leaning to protect these often criminal companies. It seems either the government does not care (and not enough people will speak out and demand change) and/or the government is run by these criminal corporations.

  • ?????

    It seems this problem though will not go away unless the government forces Bell to change to operate “above board.” This can be said about many large Canadian corporations.

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