: Nearly $800 Bell invoice - unbelievable
2007-06-21, 02:00 PM
I hope not to let this sound like a rant, but its a pretty interesting situation/story.
We have a bell canada account for a business. 4 lines in total. 2 of them used for fax, 2 of them connected to a PBX. this is located in an office within a building. a few weeks ago we moved into a renovated office within the same building.
during the move, we had a phone company onsite which added a few more digital phones for us to connect to the pbx. during the reno,we ran all new lines from this office to the utility room where lines come from all offices. the guys from the phone company were great and connected our new phones to the pbx, and our fax lines connected to where the lines from the old office faxes were. everything worked beautifully.
at the same time, we had notified bell canada about the move, which i prob shouldnt have, but mainly to update the account with new address (although it was only a suite change). that same afternoon, a bell technician comes by, but we inform him that everything is working. he says he will go outside to "tag the line" which i'm not sure why it was needed, as our 4 lines came in the building into the utility room from 20 years back. anyway, he disappears without saying anything to anyone, and 1 of our 4 lines goes down. no dial tone from it when it enters the building at all. 5 hours of calling (2.5 hours of being on hold, 11 different bell representatives on the phone), and the line eventually came back.
now we receive the bell canada invoice, and its around $800.
~$200 for installation of 2 phone jacks - NEVER OCCURED
~$500 for activation of 4 lines - 4 lines that were ALREADY ACTIVE.
i've been in shock for 2 days about this. we have an account with 4 lines, many features, and heavy LD use. the bill gets pretty expensive. we've had this account for 20 years. this kind of treatment is just rediculous.
a tech came on site, never showed id, never asked about signing any papers to agree on the work that was done, did no installation at all in the office, no connecting of lines in the building, and left.
i think we may get back the $200 for the installation of 2 phone jacks that never happened. but $500 to activate 4 already active lines is a joke.
at a minimum, i know 3 places of residence that i have bell canada with for the phone line will be changing to a different service, most likely rogers.
i cant wait to find out if i can move these 4 business lines to rogers as well.
i've never been impressed with bell's pricing for these phones lines and features. unfortunately this really leaves me even more unhappy than i already was..
Wow, that is a really horrific story and sadly pretty typical of Bell Canada.
Please let us know how it ends up.
2007-06-21, 03:18 PM
Who owns the PBX? It sounds like this is a Bell PBX which they manage, so you need them every time you want to make a change to a line. If it's a phone company PBX then, administratively, it's no different from having <n> 2-wire phone lines coming in to the building and x-connected to your office jacks.
What did you mean by "bring in a few more digital phones"? I think some information is missing here. Ignoring this for a moment, it sounds like you just needed to swap the wires going to the old suite (4 pair?) with the wires going to the new suite, followed by an update to the billing information for your account(s).
Maybe it's time to bring in another carrier's PBX
2007-06-21, 03:23 PM
bell solely supplies 4 analog lines. we have a phone company that came in years back and put in a PBX, and connected 2 lines to it.
that day during the move, actually after the move, everything was working. but when the bell tech left, we lost 1 line. the line coming in the building had no dial tone , before it even goes to the PBX.
it was frustrating that day when the line was gone, especially for business. but it did come back.
the worst part was the $700 charges by bell canada, for effectively doing no work.
2007-06-21, 09:03 PM
Okay. It's your PBX, and it's connection to the outside world is multiple analog lines, rather than a trunk (single set of 4 wires capable of carrying 24 voice channels). It sounds like Bell doesn't even know that there is a PBX, and doesn't have to touch the equipment on client side of the PBX (your offices).
If that's the case, your move should have involved swapping jacks on the client side of the PBX, with absolutely no involvement from Bell - perhaps just the company you used to install the PBX (which I assume is there just so you can call/pick up extensions etc.).
As far as I can tell, the Bell lines still terminate on the street side of the PBX. Nothing changed!
During the past 15 years, I had do move my office and staff (4 people) several times. Once to a new building and several times within the same building. Each time I provided written exact instructions of what needed to be done and each time Bell did a massive screwup. One time I was without phones for several days. Very sad. I ended up knowing the names of the customer relations department personnel far too well.
After the massive screweup, I wrote a letter which contained about 20 things they did wrong. 20!, not 1 or 2. After several more letters the company I worked for was credited with several months service, but it didn't really do me much good - just a big waste of my time.
When I retired last year, all they needed to do was shut down all the lines and send a fina bill to another office (since my office was closed - I gave them that address). Nope, sent the (incorrect) bill to my old address, which I forwarded to the other office to straighten out. Took about 6 months to get the billing correct.
As mentioned earlier - typical Bell.
2007-06-22, 07:06 AM
coghlan, you're right, i shouldnt have called bell to get involved at all. we had so many people involved to rush to have this whole office reno'd and operational within a few weeks.
it seemed simple enough.. lines from jacks in the old office were disconnected from the pbx. lines from the new office were connected to the pbx. pbx has been in utility room right where all the lines come in from outside. the phone company guys were actually really helpful. they connected new jacks from new office to our pbx and it was all working good. the bell tech came by while the phone company guys were there, and showed him that it was working. he said "i gotta go outside to tag the line".. and as soon as that happened the dial tone on one line was gone. as was he.
anyway, at least within the same day the dial tone came back. but i cant believe how they setup the invoice. a bunch of rediculous charges for work that never occured. but i guess thats typical bell. especially with businesses, they see they have money to spend, and i bet a lot of them dont question those bills too much when they have a hundred other more important things going on.
something that was actually nice on moving day, was cogeco for internet/tv. they had 2-3 guys come, they put in new jacks, moved lines from old office to new office, had the modem running, in about 30 minutes. even with a business account the internet is only about 50-55/month. any moving or jack installation like they did was free as well. i can only imagine if i had internet with bell how that would have went...
2007-06-22, 08:32 AM
I used to be a Bell and Sympatico customer.
After numerous screw-ups with Sympatico during 2 residential moves, I became a Rogers customer. Sympatico is still causing me grief, though, because other family members still subscribe and they're always calling me to fix problems - like recently when Sympatico moved their customers to Hotmail (disguised as Sympatico mail).
Although it caused some heated discussions with my wife, I also switched our phone service from Bell to Primus. Service is crystal clear and less expensive.
So long Bell. I won't be back.
2007-06-22, 09:03 AM
Not totally relevant to your Bell billing problem, but I've noticed some ads from Rogers recently for small business packages (digital telephone systems, Internet, etc. etc.) promising "total solutions" worry free. I've never had to purchase business telcom services but it's good to know there are alternatives to Bell.
2007-06-22, 09:25 AM
I manage a PBX on a full pipe PRI. Our service is with Rogers and it has been excellent. A couple of times I've had issues with some charges. One was actually a bit grey as to whether it was Rogers responsibility or not but in the end they waived charges without too much hassle. Right now I'm having problems services on our T1 service and getting quotes for an MPLS setup. I'm thinking of reccomending that busines be moved to Rogers as well.
I think even if you threaten to move your business to Rogers they will straighten your problem out quick. If not, then you may as well change service.
2007-06-22, 12:40 PM
thanks for the replies guys. nice to hear that other people have been able to switch their landlines to rogers for business use. as soon as i get a chance i'll be calling rogers regarding the phone. if i find out that i can switch the service over, i'll be speaking with bell and threaten to move my service to rogers. not only a few offices, but 3-4 places of residence i can move too
it'll be interesting to hear if they offer to waive those crazy charges.
2007-06-22, 12:57 PM
I have been with Bell Sympatico High Speed Internet for a few years now and they have NEVER gotten the invoice correct. Every month when the invoice came it was incorrect, I would call to correct the situation. Every time I called it took about 30 to 45 minutes to rectify the situation. Today, I finally had it and I cancelled and will NEVER be back with them again. I would like to know if there are other people here that have had this issue ? Before I was with AOL and they always sent me the correct invoice.
I'm not going to say that Rogers is always correct - they also screw up invoices, especially when you make changes, however, they are always easy to get in touch with and then always make the correction in the following month. That's a totally different story from Bell, who are difficult to contact and take months to make a correction.
2007-07-21, 04:10 AM
Another reason to switch to Cogeco or whoever else is in your neibourhood.
We left Bell as soon as Cogeco got to our city's area, and we'll never go back. Soon the pinheads at Bell will realize that there is more than just them out there:D, but it could be to late for the mothership called BELL>
2007-07-21, 05:54 PM
I can tell you something that I know from a Friend who use to work for Bell as a tech. The bell techs don’t like private phone companies touching the Bell lines as they see it as taking work away from them. The problem in your case is there might have not been any demarcation point, this is a jack where Bell hand off the lines to your private equipment, and when your private phone company moved or extended the lines the Bell tech was instructed to ‘tag’ the lines for demarcation. He then installed the demarcation jacks somewhere in the utility room and obviously screwed something up. He then sent in the paper work indicating he had moved the lines and installed demarcation jacks… and being for business service it’s expensive as always… Bell still thinks they control it all and has this attitude that they are the best and everyone must pay top dollar for their crapy service.
2007-07-22, 03:35 AM
hate to break it to you, but BELL does still own the phone lines, right up to the demarcation point. after the demarcation point, anybody can do anything with the lines they want.
the jacks being charged is another story and i'm sure it will be corrected.
nem, who has faith
2007-07-22, 04:08 PM
yeah.. the worst part was being charged for installation of 2 jacks at $100/piece when that never happened at all - all wiring, jacks, everything in the office had been there already.
basically we had to pay $117+tax/per (4 lines) for "activation or move" although we've had these lines for 20 years. it was a move, but from one office int he building to the one next door.
the best thing to have done was NOT to call bell ahead of time at all. we have the lines coming in the building into an electrical room. from there the lines went into a pbx which we own. from the pbx, lines go up to the office. the only change we needed was disconnecting lines from the office that went into the pbx, and connecting lines from the new office into our pbx. the main reason we called bell was to inform them that we were moving to a different suite and update the address. but somehow we lost service for 4-6 hours and ended up with $1000 bill. (nearly $800 was just activation & jack installs)
bell did refund the 2 installations that never occured, but since it was technically a move we have to pay $117/line.. about $530 including tax for the 4 lines.
anyhow, we've since ordered 2 new phone lines since the office is expanding.. i tell you i havent called bell for this, but rogers. the pricing is the same as home phone service, so a couple lines with 1 or 2 features will be relatively cheap. theyre even running lines and installing a few new jacks. $10 charge for installing 3 new jacks & running the lines - and it'll even get credited back to us.
we've been busy right now but as soon as i have a chance i'll be moving my 4 original lines to rogers..
2007-07-22, 05:34 PM
can't you just update your address/unit/suite via electronic/email? If not, since bell can be pretty dumb, and not to let this happen to some poor customer in the future, I advise the customer to tell bell Specifically that the LANDLORD of the building you are renting has changed your physical unit number to a different one, and your unit still has the same physical location etc so tell them a tech visit is NOT required since phones are NOT changing and only to update the Address as per the billing system only. No truck roll, no tech visit, no d-mark install, etc..
2007-07-22, 07:23 PM
thats a great idea Paolo. i'm a pretty technical guy, work in IT, and do cabling,networking all the time for diff small offices. this office i've been talking about i am the owner. the office which we renovated i actually ran cat5 and phone lines all over, put jacks myself.. i really wasnt 100% sure about calling bell, but i did so more to inform them. i've talked to them since, and even though it was just a suite change they said "technically you moved, so we have to activate 4 lines for you again"..
its too bad for them, we had phone bill 200-300/month for past 10 years, and prob bit less since the late 80s. we even had an account with 5 cell phones with bell, and it was like torture to deal with them. we've had great service and plan options for cell from rogers for 3 years now. 7 phones on an account with great rates and consistent credits whenever we ask to upgrade a phone.
now we have a 5th,6th line in the office, through rogers telecom. soon bell will lose us as a customer for these 4 lines. after 20 years of service it they offered nothing to reimburse us for paying $500 activation of 4 existing lines.. i really dont see why we should stay
2007-07-23, 12:15 AM
profets, i don't know if you have a yellow pages listing, but, if you switch all your accounts to rogers you will lose your yellow pages listing, which, if i remember correctly is included in your bell charges.
but double check, i'm not familiar with the business side of things...
nem, who did what he could but has no pull with the business side of things...