Saturday, March 26, 2011


Many years ago I heard from a family member (likely it was an account by my paternal grandmother in Fredericton, New Brunswick following the death of my grandfather) that my grandfather despised Canadian Pacific Railway even though he always traveled by CPR and on his death he had a considerable amount of money invested in it. Apparently my grandfather was disgruntled by the tardiness and inconsistency of railway travel. I feel the same way about Bell Canada. I am prompted to evoke this particular repugnance first because I received from Bell today yet another bill (a so-called annual “Maintenance Service Agreement” which is about as useful as buying tsunami insurance) and then this evening I got a scary email message from my home internet provider (Bell Sympatico) that I should give them another $5 per month to avoid exceeding the limits of my current internet plan. An examination of my historical usage has satisfied me that any occasions of excess usage far from warrant the extra monthly charge. This type of marketing disturbs me enormously because it is largely without foundation. This ploy is reminiscent of another communication which I received from Bell previously. That mass mailing promoted a newer and more expensive long-distance plan allegedly for the reason that it too would save money in the long run. When I called Bell about the matter and asked them to prove the proposition to me based upon my historical records, it was readily apparent that there were no savings to be had at all. This I view as tantamount to misleading advertising, based as it is completely upon hypothetical or mistaken or no information at all. It hardly comforts me to be guided in my dealings with this huge corporation by the prescription “caveat emptor”! To the unwary Bell represents a leach which eats away at one’s resources by small but incremental bites. Every month I pay Bell for multiple services; viz., house phone, house internet, house wireless internet (2nd outlet), office phone, office internet, cellular phone and annual maintenance. I won’t even begin to think about what I pay in all! In light of this monthly drain it annoys me no end to receive such rubbish communications from Bell.

There are a couple of reasons I won’t even think about changing providers. First, there is general inertia. It is such an overwhelming pain to have to reorganize all these services. Second, I have no proof (other than the competitive media hype) that the alternate providers are indeed any better. Third, even if the alternate providers were better, it’s likely only a matter of time before they too begin their gradual escalation of costs. Besides it pleases me to have an effigy to burn from time to time; Bell is after all a convenient target for many. As corrosive as Bell’s baseless communications are, I am at least tuned into their gambits. Besides I have heard of people who, in moments of frustration and anger, seek to vent their spleen by sudden shifts from one provider to another, often with less than satisfactory results.

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