There is a law “Statement of Consumer Rights“, which applies to your local home telephone services. It states that if there were any billing errors that caused additional charges (i.e. overbilled), customer has a right for refund during one year for recurring services and 150 days for non-recurring.
Bell customer figured out that he was overbilling by mistake during 1.5 years for $8.95 per month + taxes. Bell added Wire Care and Phone Care maintenance plans to the customer’s account without any consent. This complaint described in Bell Canada adds Extra Features to the Home Phone without Customer’s Consent.
Statement of Consumer Rights tells the following:
Refunds for billing errors
You should inform your phone company if you notice that your telephone bill includes a charge that should not have been billed or that was overbilled. You have the right to receive a refund for any billing error as long as you report it within a set period of time. Billing errors for recurring charges, such as monthly local telephone service, must be disputed within one year, while billing errors for non recurring charges, such as directory assistance charges, must be disputed within 150 days of the date of the bill. Any refund that you receive for a billing error should also be credited with interest.
Entire document in PDF format is located here: Statement of Consumer Rights
The billing error was happening every month during 1.5 years. Since the law allows to dispute errors within one year, the customer asked Bell to issue refund only for the last 12 months. Bell did not want to look into the law at all. Customer service representatives were referencing purely to internal Bell policies, violating the official law.
Here are several e-mail replies from Bell to the customer who was referencing to the Statement of Consumer Rights.
Customer asked for refund to be issued for the last 12 months, but Bell representative did different thing, and did not address the original problem at all:
I can appreciate your concern. Our records indicate that the WireCare and the PhoneCare Maintenance plan has been on your line since September xxth, 2008. I can assure you that we do not access our customers’ account unless requested by our customer.
As we have millions of customers, we rely on our clients to review their bills each month and contact us immediately if there are any discrepancies. A breakdown is provided every month showing details of your services and equipment. This gives our customers’ an opportunity to review what is on their line, and contact us to make any necessary changes.
I appreciate that you have taken the time to voice your concerns to us. The WireCare and PhoneCare maintenance plan will be removed from your line on March xxth, 2010.
One more reply from Bell after customer clarified again what he wanted:
Please be assured that according to Bell’s policy we are unable to credit you for the last one year. I can assure you that we do not access our customers’ account unless requested by our customer. You have this maintenance plans on your account from September xxth, 2008. You should have told the very next month if you do not need the plan on your account.
All the excerpts from Bell replies given here are just ~2-5% of entire replies, that were just tons of general prepared sentences about how good Bell is, and how they work for the customer satisfaction. It is very disrespectful to customer: forcing to read absolutely useless text. Bell can’t obey the simple law!
This is the most common reply which I’ve read about 10 times and heard about 5 times on the phone:
I appreciate what you are saying and can understand your frustration. I further realize that the standard rebate you are entitled to under our Terms of Service does not fully address the inconvenience and personal loss to you. Our society is becoming increasingly dependent on technologies and fortunately, we have reliable systems second to none. That’s not to say however, that these are infallible and when something happens, the effects can be far reaching.
Although I am very sympathetic to your situation, it would be inappropriate for us to compensate some customers and not others. While I cannot offer you financial compensation, I can reaffirm our commitment to quality and we will try to prevent such an occurrence in future.
The most useless reply ever! Customer spent time and asked specific questions…