Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I suspect the company may be run by the Cheshire Cat

'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where - ' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
' - so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'

Ode to Bell-Aliant

" Oh Bell Aliant, how do I love thee, let me count the ways....

Okay, so I was really going to write an Ode, but upon finding out that it is actually a poem with 3 parts, consisting of 10 rhyming lines that is supposed to be sung by a choir, I've decided instead to just do a general rant about Bell- Aliant.

I have a Pay-As-You-Go phone, that I don't like. My brother has a contract on a phone that he no longer uses, yet is still paying for.

I got the cockamamy idea that I would take over his phone contract, and switch my phone number to simple.

Save him $40 a month, and give me a phone that works more than 35% of the time, all without giving Bell-Aliant any more money than the universe was already giving to it.

What could be so hard about that?

First we do our due diligence. My brother provides me with his phone, and all the information that comes with it... account numbers, ID numbers.

We change the email address, and password. I print of the last bill, which he pays in full, and sends me on my merry way to the local Bell Aliant store.

At this point I am shining my pride up... you know making sure it is ready for the fall.

I go to the Bell Store. They tell me what I want is impossible. At this point my patience is still intact, so I explain again.

And again.

And again.

And finally the representative and I come to a conclusion.

That maybe what I'm asking for is not the equivalent of walking on water. It is simply switching some names and numbers around.

Yes she believes it can be done. But not by her, and not for me.

My brother must call Bell and put me on his account.

Then I can call Bell and tell them what I want and they can give it to me.

Not a simple solution. A few hoops to jump through, but none of them seem to be on fire, so I'm still blindly believing that this process is close to over.

My brother calls to put my name on his account, explaining the situation.

This is when they get out the gas and light the hoops.

They pretty much tell him that what we want to do is possible, but Hell will freeze over before all the stars align to make it so.

Or maybe we would just have to sacrifice a virgin or something.

Or maybe it's not even possible at all. They aren't really sure.

He did manage to get them to put my name on the account. And they said they would waive the transfer fee for the number swap just to be nice to us.

He then came up with a better plan.

"I think your best bet is to write your phone number down on a piece of paper, take the paper and the phones in to the store, and state very plainly that you will give them money on a recurring basis if they can make that ( point to the new phone ) ring when people call that ( point to your phone number ) number."

I thought he was just being sarcastic at the time, but now I see it was actually the best option.

At any rate, my name was on the account, and I now call to finally have the numbers switched.

I am told it is impossible to do over the phone. I must go to the Bell Representative in my area.

Off I trot.

Un-aware that they are lining up the hungry lions on the other side of the flaming hoops.

At the store, I am told that no, it can't be done. I don't have to have my NAME on the account... I have to OWN the account.

Yup you guessed it, I have to go call Bell.

She's not really sure if I can call or if my brother has to call, but she can do nothing for me until I get an elusive thing called "Transfer of Responsibility"

Now the fact that this is different from what she told me three days earlier, would surprise most people. But I was past the point of caring enough to bother to be surprised.

Also I was starting to discern that maybe Bell changes their policies on an hourly basis just for sh#ts and giggles.

I call Bell.

YES!! She can help me!!

Well, she thinks she can, could I hold please.

For 15 minutes.

Nope, sorry she can't really help me that much. She is happy to report that there is a $20 fee, but that has been waived. And she can do the Transfer of Responsibilities. She just needs to do a credit check.

As someone who already holds two accounts with Bell, and has been a customer who has never had a late payment in 7 years, I should have been insulted.

Instead I said "Sure thing."

Another 15 minutes of asking me for everything from my mother's maiden name to my shoe size and she tried to put me on hold again.

At which point I am nearly in tears as I say, I'm sorry, but I can't wait any longer, I am late for work.

She rambles off a new account number for me to use when I call back and I hang up. My soul is crushed a little with the disappointment that I've spent half an hour on the phone for no good reason at all.

That night after work I try again.

I get a very helpful woman that tells me she can't find the account number.

My head explodes.

As I wipe the brains off the wall and shove them back in my skull I tell her, that I don't mind giving all my information all over again.

Instead she puts me on hold to try and find the account.

My rising blood pressure correlates with the numbers on the phone display counting the minutes that I am on hold.

She does return, and has found the account number. She then takes twenty minutes verifying all of the information already keyed in, by reading it all back to me at the pace of snail on sedatives.

I'm pretty sure I could hear her flipping through the plastic pages of her training manual through out the entire call.

If I could have been face to face with her I might have ripped the "THIS IS MY FIRST DAY! :)" pin right off of her and stabbed her with it.

Finally I am put on hold for the actual credit check.

Five minutes later Miss Cheerful Employee of the Month gets back to me with the excitement of a kid who just found out there are three Christmases

"Good news and Great news!!"

She was ecstatic to report that my credit check came through clean.

The great news was not, as I had hoped, that they would give me some sort of compensation for all the B-S they had put me through.

The great news was that I did not need a $250 retainer to have the phone in my name.

That is probably why the people at the store send you back home to call someone. Because if that woman had of been with-in striking distance, I would be up for manslaughter right now.

I calmly thank her for the good news and great news and hang up.

This morning I went to the Bell store again, to have the numbers swapped. I was informed of a $20 fee.

They found no record anywhere of the memo that had been made earlier that this fee would be waived for me.

I'm pretty sure I swore about that one. Out loud. In public. With no remorse.

Bell has a way of bringing out the best in people.

After a half hour or so, I was finally told that it may or may not have worked, something somewhere was backed up and I wouldn't be able to actually use the phone for a few hours.

It was dead anyway.

I was told that if it didn't work by the afternoon, to come back to the store.

And that if I wanted to try and get the $20 fee waived, that I should call Bell.

I wouldn't call Bell again if you offered to have the next 20 months waived from my account.

My tale of woe should end here. But I have one more thing to add.

After three weeks of dealing with this company to finally get everything sorted out, you would think that I would be on the phone right this minute. Maybe even talking all night long.

Instead, I am blogging about it, because I plugged my phone in at work today and forgot to take it home with me.

Excuse me while I go hang myself with my phone charger.

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