If there's one thing we all know, it's that Canada's cell phone services are often overpriced and a total rip off. However, we're completely reliant on them, which gives us no other choice but to pay up regardless of how much we complain.
If you're with Rogers, Bell, Fido or any other provider for that matter, you've probably had strongly-worded phone conversations with call centre employees at one point or another. Whether it be to switch a service, fight overcharges or cancel a contract, they're always there to "help."
According to past telecom employees who recently spoke to CBC, "help" might be too strong of a word. "Swindle" might be more appropriate.
As they've revealed, workers get penalized for reducing bills and cancelling services. For that reason, they'll do whatever they can to avoid doing it. They've admitted to a bag of tricks they use to ensure you don't get what you want from them.
One trick is called "the hot potato game," says former call centre employee, Jason Harley. This is where reps will transfer you from agent to agent in order to avoid commission-costing scenarios. "If you pass it off to someone else, then they're the one taking the [financial] hit," he said.
Harley even admitted that sometimes, reps will actually lie to customers. They'll tell them they're going to do something such process a cancellation without really doing it.
Another tactic I'm sure we've all been victim to is long wait times on hold. If employees are dealing with a customer who won't back down from what they want, reps will simply put them on hold until they hang up the phone. That way, there's no lost commission.
Those who spoke to CBC did offer up some tips for customers to ensure that their requests always get taken care of:
- Use the "live chat" customer service option online and request a transcript be emailed to you.
- Employees who work from 9-5pm are usually the most experienced. They get better pay and are less reliant on commission.
- Ask for help from a manager — they're not penalized for reducing services.
- Always request an email after negotiating with a call centre rep — confirm that the email reflects your discussion.
- If possible, make your own recording of any call to a customer service rep.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is currently getting ready for a public hearing on October 22nd regarding the sales practices of telecoms. It is part of an inquiry ordered by the federal government after hundreds of current telecom workers contacted Go Public with claims of misleading and unethical sales practices.
In an email to Go Public, a Bell spokesperson wrote that their service teams are working to "correct any errors immediately," including applying credits where necessary.