April 24, 2006

611 Is A Joke

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 11:40 am

I’ve been trying to get a land line put into my new apartment for a few days now. As you might imagine, what with me blogging about it right now and all, it has not gone swimmingly well. As I see it, there are two possibilities at this point. Either (1) all of Bell Canada’s internal processes are designed specifically to provide their employees with inadequate or misleading information, or (2) they’re all a bunch of liars and thieves.

Having hit a very thin window of charitable mood, let us assume option 1.

I called Bell on Friday, spoke to a very courteous young man, and informed him that my fiancee is a doctor and was on call this weekend, and we would very much like to have a land line installed, please and thank you. He said that yes, Bell can indeed do rush jobs in circumstances like that, and that they would install the line as soonest as possiblest, and that it would go live sometime Saturday morning. He offered, in short, everything I could have asked for: a prompt response in an urgent situation. The bricks that build customer loyalty, really.

It was a shame, I think, that it didn’t play out that way. On Saturday, nothing happened. I pick up the phone and get dead air, I call the number they gave me and the message says that number is “not assigned”.

On Sunday, I phone Bell, and the girl at the other end insists that it is a problem at my end. “It appears to work fine from our end”, she says.

That would be, I observe, a lie, because when I phone that number from my cellphone I am told that the number is not assigned. Not busy or unavailable; unassigned. She then tries to sell me line insurance, and tell me that she’ll send a technician tomorrow to take a look at it.

That turns out to be another lie, because the next morning I don’t get a technician – I get a phone call, saying that the previous tenant hasn’t disconnected their phone service, so they can’t put a new one in. This message appears while I’m in the shower, so I don’t get the chance to tell them that this is another bunch of lies, because (1) the previous tenant (my current landlord) has moved their old number to a new line at their new place, and (2) I pick up the phone and there’s no dial tone, so there’s very-obviously no service on that line, and (3) none of that matters, because this is my fucking phone line now.

The root of this problem, I expect, is that my landlord didn’t use Bell. So maybe my apartment is some sort of cursed consumer-ground now as far as Bell is concerned, and punishment for the consumer-sins of the previous tenant will be visited upon subsequent tenants for untold generations. Or, more likely, their databases don’t talk nice to each other and I’m in the middle of that fuckup getting finger-cuffed.

But I really don’t care about any of that; what I want, here, is not to be repeatedly and reflexively lied to by the people I’m trying to give my money. This isn’t, I think, too much to ask.

Update: It’s the most remarkable thing, but the guy came by and installed my line yesterday. He was a very nice man who I did not belabor with the river of bile I’d been saving up for the occasion, mostly because of his very civil approach. He came to the door, introduced himself and said “I’m here to make sure your phone is connected. Could I take a look at it?” and, behold!, it worked.

I asked him what the difficulty was, and he said that he’d had to move a few wires around in the cabinet at the end of the road. His explanation was completely unrelated to anything I’d been told earlier, and you may now employ your surprised faces at any time.


  1. Land lines are so twencen.

    Comment by Mike Kozlowski — April 24, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

  2. Koz, you should be flogged for even *thinking* about typing “twencen.”


    Comment by Skwid — April 24, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

  3. Land lines also get great reception, something that’s inexplicably sporadic in my apartment, and more importantly, they work during power failures. Which are a rare occurrence, admittedly but the sort of thing that frequently coincides with other things going wrong which is why my doctor fiancee needs one.

    Also, the “flogging” proposal has my full support.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — April 25, 2006 @ 10:07 am

  4. I would have assumed VOIP would be your technology of choice – landlines, especially at the inflated prices Bell charges are somewhat oldfashioned aren’t they?

    Comment by Mehmet — April 25, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  5. For long distance VOIP is pretty much the only game in town these days, and there’s a lot of long distance in my immediate future. But no landline equals no internet, which equals no Internet Protocol, which means no Voice Over the aforementioned Internet Protocol. Soon, we will fixy. Soon…

    Comment by Mike Hoye — April 26, 2006 @ 10:17 am

  6. You can get internet over the cable, you know :-)
    Just to clear things up a tad on that point…

    Bell are specialists in the Thievery and Lying to Customers sector. They still think they are the only landline supplier in the country. (Bell “Canada”? What were they thinking? OH, maybe it was originally Bell “Upper Canada”!)

    There are others. Knowing your resourcefulness to be at the top of the heap, I have no doubt you could locate one out there in Ontario-land.

    Bell’s crappy attitude pushed me to VoIP and I’m so very glad I landed there. I understand that you may not be willing to head that far off the “self-powered” track with a doctor in the house, but, a UPS of appropriate size could power your (supposed) cable modem and VoIP router during disaster scenarios.

    The only disaster this setup would not handle would be one where everything is lacking power (another grid hit?) except Bell and emergency services such as hospitals.

    A bonus that my VoIP provider gives me is that I can have my cell phone ring at the same time as the home phone. This might be a good tradeoff for the somewhat slim disaster ‘gap’ – non?

    Best of, uh, “luck” with Bell. FWIW: the CRTC might be interested in this little “service” story.

    Comment by janice — April 26, 2006 @ 11:08 am

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