Archives for Bell

Toronto man wins important court case against Bell Canada

Canadians are growing increasingly unhappy with the way their telecoms provide service. Sometimes we feel powerless to do anything about it, but recently, a Toronto man proved that we can. According to CBC, “in a judgment issued last month in a Toronto small claims court, Deputy Judge William C. De Lucia said that Bell’s attempt to impose new terms after a verbal contract guaranteeing a monthly price for 24 months had been struck was “‘high-handed, arbitrary and unacceptable.’”

The plaintiff, David Ramsay, began his journey of discontent with Bell in November of 2016, when he called the company to sign up for TV and internet services. He ended up subscribing to Bell’s Fibe TV and internet services for $112.90 a month for 24 months. However, when he received an email confirmation of his contract, it said the prices were “subject to change” and “Bell was planning to increase its price for internet service by $5 two months later.”

Ramsay was understandably unhappy. “”I was stunned and appalled to find these buried terms in an email,” he told CBC. “I had a contract, and this ain’t that contract.”

Ramsay called Bell Canada to complain that the emailed contract was different from the verbal contract. On this call, he made an important request; a transcript of the original call where the service rep promised him a fixed price for two years. Bell was unrelenting, so Ramsay filed a complaint with the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (the CCTS), which insisted that Bell “had the right to increase prices and since the telecom had notified Ramsay of this fact — as well as an upcoming price increase —  it ruled that the telecom provider met its obligations and no further investigation was warranted.”

Left behind by the federal agency meant to help him, Ramsay consulted lawyers who agreed that a verbal agreement should be considered a binding contract. So Ramsay decided to take the matter to small claims court.

Several times, Bell offered to settle with Ramsay in return for a confidentiality agreement, but Ramsay declined. He told CBC, “I wanted a judge to rule on the merits of this case. And if I happened to win, I thought it’d be a useful case for others to know about.”

Ramsay’s biggest weapon in court was that sales transcript, where the sales rep states “Your total cost for the 24 months will be $112.90 per month” and “You’re going to get an email confirmation of everything that was just discussed.”

Deputy Judge De Lucia sided with Ramsay, and in his reasons for judgement, said “I find that Bell cannot unilaterally insert or impose new terms. Any imposition of new terms … is unenforceable.”

De Lucia ordered Bell to pay Ramsay $1,110 in damages for his time, inconveniences, and miscellaneous costs.

This case is important to Canadians for many reasons. Firstly, it could act as the trial case for a larger class action suit against telecoms who continue to use these unsavory sales tactics. It is also an example of telecoms being held accountable for their actions, and a rare case of the consumer coming out on top.

Source: CBC.ca – Customer takes Bell to court and wins, as judge agrees telecom giant can’t promise a price, then change it
Published: April 29, 2018

Bell Canada suffers data breach

Bell has been having a rough time with data security. In May 2017, 1.9 million customer email addresses, 1,700 names, and as many active phone numbers were accessed by hackers. Now, Bell has announced that again customer information was obtained by an “unknown-third party.”

“Hackers illegally accessed some customer information, including name, email address and in some cases phone number, user name and/or account number, for a limited number of Bell customers. There is no indication that any credit card or other banking information was accessed,” Bell said in a statement, published later by a local Toronto news site.

“We apologize to our customers and are contacting all those affected. There is an active RCMP investigation of the incident and Bell has notified appropriate government agencies including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Bell works closely with law enforcement, government and the broader technology industry to combat the growth of cyber crimes, and we have successfully supported law enforcement in past prosecutions of hackers.”

According to Bell, less than 100,000 customers have been impacted by the hack. Bell has not yet disclosed whether this breach is in connection with the May incident, or if they are unrelated.

Bell Canada suffers data breach

bellIf you get your wireless, television, or internet service with Bell Canada, be advised – there’s a chance a third-party hacker might have your information. According to Insauga, Canada’s primary carrier announced on May 16 that an anonymous hacker illegally obtained the information of approximately 1.9 million customer. This includes emails, names, and active phone numbers. Luckily no financial or personal information, including passwords, were accessed during the breach.

“We apologize to Bell customers for this situation and are contacting all those affected,” Bell said in a statement. “Please note that if your email address information was accessed, Bell will contact you by email. If your phone number was accessed, we will contact you by phone. If you haven’t been contacted by end of day May 16, your information was not accessed.”

If you haven’t already heard from Bell, your information is likely safe. Bell has also clarified that this was in no way connected to the recent WannaCry global malware attack, and that the customers involved face little to no risk. However, Bell reminds customers to never give sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) over e-mail, and to beware of unsolicited or suspicious communications.

Should the CRTC Get Out of Telecom?

Schooley Mitchell complaintsFederal Conservative Party leadership candidate Maxime Bernier thinks the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) should be cut out of the telecom business. He said the agency has a “control freak mindset” which impedes investment and sustainable competition. Bernier is known as a long-time advocate for telecom deregulation.

“It’s not the role of the CRTC or the government to decide how this increasingly complex market should evolve,” Bernier was quoted as saying. “It’s up to the producers and consumers.”

How would deregulation even begin? Bernier believes the federal Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development could take over the CRTC’s more necessary telecom functions, such as 911 and the do-not-call list. He suggested reversing policies that allow preferential set-asides of airwave spectrum. He would also scrap last year’s decision to force major telecom providers to sell space on their high-speed networks to smaller rivals.

“Forcing some providers to share their networks will not do anything to increase investments, and ultimately won’t do anything to sustainably bring better and less expensive services to consumers,” said Bernier.

However, the decision in question was hailed by advocacy groups such as OpenMedia.ca, who called it the “first step towards ensuring small independent ISPs are able to sell fibre internet in Canada, which should expand access and affordability to users.”

While Bernier may not be completely right, he is not completely wrong either. Canada has some of the most expensive service prices, and companies like Bell and Rogers have a large monopoly on the telecom market. So does the CRTC need to be phased out or just reformed?

*Source: The Toronto Star

Canadians Following the Cord-Cutting Trend

telemarketersThe last few years have seen a lot of people engage in cord-cutting behavior, retiring their landline phones to rely only on their mobile devices. Canada is no exception to this trend. New data from Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw, and MTS shows that carriers have lost a combined 540,000 landline subscribers in 2015 and 2016.

This number only accounts for the major carriers. Convergence Consulting Group estimated, when taking into account smaller regional carriers, about 636,000 Canadians ditched their landlines in 2015.

By the end of 2016, it’s expected that 37 percent of Canadians will be wireless-only households. This actually poses a bit of an issue for telecom companies, who made $5.2 billion from home phone services in 2014, according to the Canadian Radio-televivision and Telecommunications Commission. Most users do not replace their landline with a designated home wireless phone, but continue to use the cell phones they already own.

So what will the telecoms do? Focus their attention elsewhere.

“Know at the end of the day, broadband is the only product they’ll most likely survive with,” Macquarie analyst Greg MacDonald was quoted as saying.

*Source: Mobile Syrup

AT&T Roaming Better Than Canadian Plans

AT&TIf you cross the U.S.-Canada border often for work, family, or whatever the reason, having a second phone to save on roaming fees may not be your best option. AT&T is now offering free roaming in Canada and Mexico to subscribers on a share plan of 15GB or higher. Considering how expensive roaming can get, this is a big deal for frequent travelers.

To break it down, it would be $100 a month for the 15GB plan plus $15 for the phone line, adding up to $115 a month, or $150 CAD. This is less expensive than any of Canada’s Big Three carriers’ 15GB plans. Bell and Rogers charge $155 CAD for the same, while Telus doesn’t offer a 15GB plan, but passes the $150 mark at 10GB.

“Around 20 percent of our postpaid base travels to Mexico or Canada once per year,” AT&T chief marketing officer, David Christopher, was quoted as saying in a press release. “This is a fantastic benefit for customers that will only get better.”

AT&T’s new roaming rates will begin May 20.

*Source: Mobile Syrup

Bell Canada, IBM Launch Hybrid Cloud Service

secure-cloud-partner-accessBell Canada and IBM have partnered to give Canadian businesses expanded access to cloud-computing services through Bell Business Cloud. Subscribers will now be able to connect to IBM Cloud via a high-speed, private Bell connection, and utilize a wide array of computing and storage options.

“Bell is an established leader in data hosting and cloud computing, providing customers with exceptional support from an expert nationwide team,” said Bell Business Markets President Tom Little, in a press release. “With businesses of all kinds increasingly relying on cloud services for their mission critical applications, adding IBM Cloud services to Bell Business Cloud provides customers with the seamless integration, security and dependability they expect and require.”

New services include Bell Cloud Connect, Bell Cloud Compute and Backup and Restore. The new offering will be available to mid and large businesses nationwide.