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Fun with Bell Canada

The following story is quite incredible.  I found it on the web in the process of posting my own adventures with Bell Canada to a complaint website.  It is stranger by far than my own story, and so astonishing that it surely qualifies as “Neat Stuff.”

I have not edited the story, other than fixing punctuation, translating a small amount of profanity into something suitable for a clergy website, and (because the narrative was in one enormous paragraph) dividing the whole thing into small bite-sized chunks.

Bell Canada [censored]

I arrived home from work at about 10 past four in the afternoon.  My neighbour excitedly rushed over to greet me as I was locking the car door.  Something important had happened because she started speaking to me before she’d even stopped running.

“They broke into your house!” she said.
“What, who?” I replied.
“The cops, the paramedics and the firemen.”

I asked her if there was a fire, or maybe a burglar.  She said “No. They wanted to know if I had a key or they’d have to break in.”
I’m still in the dark.  “Why did they need to get in my house?”
She said, “I tried to tell them that you were at work, that I waved you goodbye, this morning.  But they insisted that a 911 emergency call came from your phone and that they were required by law to gain access to the residence.”

“Damn” , I said.  I was a bit flustered by this.  “When did all this take place?”

She replied musically, “Around two o’clock this afternoon.”
“Well thanks, Judy, I’ll check into it.”
“Your door is broken” She added.  “I was basically standing guard until you got back home.  Here’s the number they gave me that you can call for compensation!”

I guess I’ll call right now.  But I couldn’t call, could I?  My line was dead.

Mmmmm.  Very strange.  It was working last night.  I was talking to my galpal Suzanne.

So I knocked on Judy’s door, asking to use her phone.  She was curious to learn that my non-working phone can dial 911.  I called Bell.  I explain my story and they tell me that it will be instantly fixed.  I’m sceptical, but they assure me there is a technician in my neighbourhood right now.  Cool.  I go home and just for kicks I pick up the phone and it’s got a dial-tone again.

So I called the Durham Region cops.  Yes they have record of the incursion and I was given a phone number and contact person for any follow-up.  Sweet.  I should have left it there.  Like an idiot who thinks he has rights, I called Bell again looking for an explanation for the phantom 911 call.  I was told that portable phones dial 911 when the batteries are low.  I doubt it but since I didn’t have a portable phone, I couldn’t dispute it.  She continued, “Well then you must have been jiggling the jack.” I repeated that I was at work – live alone, don’t have any pets and the only break and enter done today was done by cops.

I must have confused her, because there was a long silence.  The next person on the line asked me if I was dissatisfied with my Bell service.  I said that I was happy, but I wanted an explanation as to why my house was broken into and how can I prevent 911 calls from my phone when there’s nobody home.  Then I asked, sarcastically/half jokingly if lawyers need to get involved.  I was assured that that wouldn’t be necessary and that the matter would be escalated to an investigation.

I was happy.  I said thankyou and I was nice and polite.  I had been “handled” by the book by a skillful manager.  After I hung up, I was looking up Judy’s number so I could update her with the latest news.  I had the phone to my ear when the dial-tone disappeared.

Now I’m thinking all kinds of conspiracy.  Is it possible?

I went next door to talk to my pal Judy but her car was gone, so I walked a block to the nearest payphone.  I called Bell to get someone to check my phone and was told that it’d be a couple of days wait.  OK.  It was Tuesday, and a couple of days would be Thursday or Friday.  That’s right sir, I was informed.  I said, pick a day, Thursday or Friday and I’ll stay home all day.  She informed me that she couldn’t give me an exact day so I should arrange to have somebody at the house for both days.  So in my frustration, I said forget it.  We’re done.  Disconnect me, instead.  It was 3 or 4 days to the end of the month and I have my cell phone anyways.  I’ll reconnect when I get my holidays in a couple of months.

So far so good.  I get my last bill, which I pay, but then a month later, I get another bill which I postively one hundred percent will never pay.  It was a vanilla bill – no long distance or anything – just basic Bell service.  I called up and explianed that I’m disconnected, that I don’t have phone service, that I haven’t had phone service for 60 days since the 911 fiasco.  And I also explained that hell will freeze over twice before they get one sniff of that $24.95 that they’re trying to steal from me.

I was informed that I still possess their equipment – the phone that does the phantom dialing (by the way, it was a rotary dial phone so the only phantom dialing that could come from it would be if a real phantom did the dialing).  I returned the phone to the Bell Phone Centre of their choosing and thought that was the end of it.

The next month I got a new bill with interest charges on the previous month’s unpaid balance.  I was peeing myself laughing!  What are they?  Idiots?  After I called up again, I was informed that I was still connected until the return date of the equipment.  I basically told them “[censored], I will not be paying.” They billed me religiously for 14 months, and then quit.

The charges had increased to $54.00 or some such amount.  I just didn’t care.  The following month a collection agency is demanding $75.00 for this unpaid bill.  Somehow they got my work number and contacted me by phone.  This seemed like a prank call, so I just blew it off.  For the next year, I received escalating bills.  Pink envelopes with “overdue” in red ink.  Then there was threatening letters about the destruction of my credit rating and threats of court.  When I read “court”, I called the number.  I now owed $125.00 and it would be in my best interest if I paid it before legal action was taken.

However, I was really very annoyed.  Apparently they already trashed my credit rating.  By constantly querying my credit rating, it automatically deprecates.  Who knew?  You see, the only bill I ever didn’t pay was this one.  So it took them a year of queries to drag it down.  When my MasterCard came up for renewal they couldn’t renew it because of my bad credit rating.  I had never even had a balance carry over for a single month – ever.  So credit ratings can be destroyed by the rules of this whacko system.  So they did the damage already – Then I said the magic words.  Take me to court.  They didn’t take me to court.  They continued with the bogus interest rate until it was about $175.00 Then for some reason it just stopped for a couple of months.

Then I had a new collection agency asking for $195.00 with all the threats and coercion language they could muster.  By now I’m calloused and I just laugh at them.  I called up the new kid and told them the full story.  I explained about the 911 and the cops and the other collection agency and about hell freezing over twice.  I added that if they want money for nothing, they should sue me, Tee Hee.

The new kid cut his losses and gave up.  I haven’t heard a peep since.  It takes about three years for a wrecked credit rating to regrow to a respectable level.  But please, people, only check once a year.  The more checking that’s done the more it harms your credit rating.  I hope that changes soon.

That’s my Bell [censored] Ramble – Cheers everybody.

Prometheos ( Port Hope, Ontario )