Wednesday, February 13, 2008

E-Telus: the future is expensive

Keeping up a blog is actually quite a bit of work. Pictures in particular, even as unorganized as they often appear on this page, take a long time to work with. There are lots of perks however, and our kids should have a pretty nice record of their childhood.

One perk I haven't yet taken advantage of is being able to rant to an audience. Although we aren't exactly trying to promote our blog, we do have a number of people who stumble on to this site.....which means a least someone will listen to here it is.

If you are like me, you probably don't scrutinize your telephone bill too much. I think they are made especially difficult to understand for that very reason. Now that I have my internet and television bills on the same paper, but on different billing cycles, it becomes tough to know exactly when and what I am paying for. Maybe this is the reason that Telus (our only local phone company) thinks they can get away with a $2.95 "LD access charge". I would never even have noticed this, except that Telus overcharged me by $50 last month, so I took a closer look at the bill. According to the company the "LD access charge" is levied on my account because the cost of providing long distance access is increasing. Because I am not signed up for a Telus long distance plan (which cost a minumum of $5/month to have the right to pay long distance rates which are at least 3-4 times higher than calling cards), I am now charged this access fee whether I use long distance or not.

The representative from Telus told me that a notification was sent out with my October bill. I, probably like most people, never even knew looked at this paper. I got 4 telephone calls from Telus trying to convince me to switch to Telus T.V. versus one small piece of non-descript junk mail to tell me I am being charged for something I don't even use.

I don't think there are many people that would argue that it is pretty crumby corporate behaviour to sneak in a monthly charge for a service that isn't being used. However, they may just be doing me a favour. The only way the charge can be eliminated is to block long distance access, which I have now done. Although I have mostly been using calling cards anyways, I did occasionally dial directly with Telus when I had no credit left on my cards. I figured that if my calling card to Austria costs 1 cent a minute, then Telus couldn't be more than 25 or 30 cents. Although it wouldn't be a frugal decision, I was sure that I could finance the 10 minute call. I wasn't very pleasantly surprised when I got my bill and saw that their rate to an Austrian land line is $1.45/minute. When I asked the billing department why I was paying 145 times the calling card rate I was told "we have a different business model than them". I couldn't help but agree. Telus' long distance business model must be to target the people who are too busy and rich to care about their money.....and the elderly who are just used to picking up their phone and dialing....because that used to be the only way to do it.


Anonymous said...

Putting long distance call blocking on your phone line isn't the only way to get rid of the $2.95 monthly LD access fee ... and if you change your mind, removing this feature later costs you about $10. Instead you can subscribe to YAK. YAK calls are billed at 3.5 cents per minute for North America and overseas calls are also very reasonable. Make sure that YAK is to contact Telus and inform them that YAK is now your LD provider.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to share this important piece of information. I am going out of my mind trying to figure out why our bill keeps going up. Somehow, they always seem to have a valuable explanation. After completing my conversation with an agent, I feel as if everything is solved and the bill will return to its original amount. Unfortunately that is never, ever the case.

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Anonymous said...

Telus overcharged me $400 !!!!! I almost had a heart attack :(

After speaking with their customer service rep over the phone, she took the charge off gracefully, and commented it was an error. The rep's voice was very calm and mono, like nothing has happened, but to me, it was an outrageous moment, for them to charge me this way and simply use an excuse to pass my anger : Sorry, it is an error.

I think they should prepare a customer comfort subsidy package for a big error they make like this!

Axin.Arch said...

I was shocked when I saw my bill with the charge of $949.32 for the extra incoming calls since I had a unlimited incoming calls since 2006. I was not aware of their change since I never had extra charges on my statement until my mother’s heart attack followed by stork. My incoming call exceeded the limitation that I was not aware of it. When I called TELUS to tell them they made a mistake their representative told me that I changed my plan in 2008 to reduce my payment by $5. I must have been very stupid to change the unlimited incoming calls to 500 minutes for $5 dollars. I remember they offered me additional phone for a good price and I add another phone for my husband not knowing they will change my plan. I believe this is TELUS trick to get you out of a plan that they no longer can support. Any advice to fight back my case would be greatly appreciated.

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