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Archive for February, 2013

Internet Service Providers

I live in Quebec, Canada.

My parents, as far as I know, always had Videotron as their internet service provider (ISP). My sister also makes business with Videotron. Most people I know do.

One or two years ago, Bell had a really huge campaign in the province, providing a fiber network to everyone who would want it, at a price (approximately) matching Videotron’s prices. Thing is, Bell’s speed and bandwidth were better. A lot of people were switching sides, and Videotron tried to lower some prices when they threatened to switch.

Personally, I was always with Videotron (except for when I lived in Ontario and Alberta, and my ISP was Shaw), and found their service okay. The connection speed was correct, although the bandwidth was sometimes lacking if I didn’t want to pay a lot more. I had an Internet connection rated at 10Mbit/s for download, 1.5Mbit/s for upload, and 50GB of bandwidth, for 64$ per month.

Then a Bell representative knocked on my door, put his foot forward to make sure I couldn’t close it back, and offered me a connection rated at 25Mbit/s for download, 25Mbit/s for upload, and 125GB of bandwidth, for 51$ per month. That included a 28$ rebate that would never expire.

I only needed the Internet, and no TV, but the rep pushed me in accepting a 10$/month fiber TV, because then I would save 50$ on installation. As he said it, I could cancel the TV soon after. Although I didn’t really like the idea (things reps say can be very different from reality), I was scheduled to get a visit from a Bell technician between 8 and 9 am, February 26th, 2013, for the installation of Internet and TV.

 

After a week of pondering and wondering what I should do, who to cancel, I called Videotron and asked them if they wanted to lower their prices for me. I first talked to a very kind fellow, who transferred me to the Customer Satisfaction department, where I spoke to a bored, half-asleep person who sounded like he didn’t care about anything. He offered me a 5$ rebate (the utmost he could get me, even after many years of loyal faithfulness from my part), which would expire two years later.

I tentatively accepted the offer, and told myself that if Bell accepted to remove the TV from my order, I would call Videotron back to cancel my Internet service. After all, Videotron’s price was still higher than Bell’s, with less speed and less bandwidth.

Bell was okay with my decision. The person I spoke to sounded a bit weird and he felt like he didn’t know what he was doing, but I could remove the TV, with the only drawback being that I now had to pay 50$ for Internet activation.

Putting aside my unwillingness to change, I called back Videotron, and got the same sleepy person who didn’t even try to convince me one last time to stay with them. My Internet service was then cancelled. My Internet-month was to end the next Friday, the day before my scheduled appointment with Bell, so everything was fitting perfectly!

 

… until I got a phone call from a Bell supervisor. He wanted to confirm that I wished to cancel everything. I told him that no, I only wished to cancel the TV. He acknowledged this, and told me that I was still scheduled for Saturday morning for Internet and phone.

I don’t want any phone service, I said, but he replied something elusive in no clear terms that I was receiving this for free, and here’s your new phone number – oh you really don’t want it? Well don’t worry about it sir…

 

I received an email about thirty minutes later, confirming the cancellation. I got slightly suspicious, because it said nowhere that only the TV had been cancelled. I decided to make another call, just to make sure, only to be told that all my services had been cancelled. The lady at the phone gave me back my Internet service (after some struggling with her computer), and gave me a new phone number again (only then did they make it clear that Bell, offering a DSL connection, used the telephone lines, so absolutely needed to give me a phone number that would be totally invalid and useless. Why are you confusing customers by specifying an appointment for the phone line?).

The lady confirmed, more than once, that I still had my 28$ credit for life, and that my scheduled appointment was still Saturday morning.

 

I tried to go back to work, slightly pissed off already, until I got a confirmation email for the services. It mentioned only the Internet service, no TV, but I noticed that my appointment was for Saturday afternoon. I had important plans for Saturday, and even if I didn’t, the lady confirmed the schedule already, more than once.

I called back again, none too happy. The other lady I spoke to confirmed that my appointment was for Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t do anything. I then talked to someone else (a Bell technician, I think), only to confirm that I couldn’t get my previous appointment back. I hung up.

 

Meanwhile, a coworker was talking about a smaller ISP – Teksavvy. Their prices were very good, the connection seemed pretty fast, and the bandwidth was more that I ever saw Videotron or Bell offer. I tentatively imagined choosing the slowest package – 5Mbit/s for download, 1Mbit/s for upload, and 300GB bandwidth, all for 25$ per month. The only problem was that my Internet connection was to be cut two days later.

After about two hours of nervous pondering, I decided what the hell, and called Teksavvy. The young guy who answered me was very kind, and helped me through the subscription. The initial fees rose up to 200$, but with 25$ per month, it would quickly pay itself. It was with a bit of dismay that I learned that, under such short notice, I was only going to be connected two weeks later, meaning I was going to have a week and a half without Internet. Oh, what the hell…

I called Bell for the last time. The person I talked to this time was a bit reticent to cancel all my services (compared to the first time when they did this by themselves), but I finally hung up and checked the email confirmation with a feeling of relief.

 

Now, I would finally be able to catch up on my reading for the next two weeks.

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