Beware of your carrier article
With Verizon and AT&T eliminating unlimited data plans thus increasing the cost of monthly usage relative to what was available in the past. I thought this article represented an appropriate example of a carrier looking out for its bottom line rather than what is in the best interest of the customer:
July 18, 2011
Why is my cellphone provider trying to trick me? By DIANNE NICE
Globe and Mail Update
In wake of $10-million BCE fine, Competition Bureau offers tips to avoid being duped
Every now and then, I get a call from a service provider under the guise of ensuring I'm getting the best deal possible.
While it's nice to think that businesses look out for their customers, often the deals seem to be of more benefit to the company than to me.
My cellphone provider, for example, has tried twice to "upgrade" me from my $10 a month prepaid service. First the company lied, telling me I'm averaging $13 a month in cellphone charges and should switch to the $15 monthly plan. I assured them that they're wrong about how much talking I do - I rarely use my cellphone - and that $13 is still less than $15.
The second time, they offered the $15 plan again, but said I could have it for $10 for the first 10 months if I signed a three-year contract. How is that a better deal, I wondered, when I already have a $10 plan with no contract? It seemed to me the company was trying to trick me into spending more money for a service I didn't want or need.
I wasn't too surprised to hear recently that BCE Inc. BCE-T was ordered by the Competition Bureau to pay a $10-million fine for misleading consumers [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe...rticle2079066]. The bureau alleged that Bell had misrepresented the prices of some of its services by adding hidden fees that made it impossible to obtain the advertised price.
Greg Scott, senior communications adviser at the Competition Bureau, says consumers should be wary when a company offers a deal that promises amazing savings. "There could be a costly catch," he warns.
Consumers need to be vigilant when evaluating ads and pricing information, says Mr. Scott. "Advertised prices may not reflect additional charges."
Other tips from the Competition Bureau:
1. When reviewing disclaimers or fine print, be on alert for hidden fees to avoid paying more than you bargained for.
2. Do not send money or give credit card or account details until you are satisfied that you understand the terms of a transaction.
3. Before confirming or completing a transaction, take time to review and note the total price to be paid. Make sure that it matches up with what you are ultimately charged.
4. When comparing the price of products or services, ensure that the price you are comparing is the total price.
To that I'd add my own tip: Make sure you know the details of the services you're already receiving. It'll make it much harder for companies to "up sell" a plan that benefits them more than you.
- 07-19-11, 12:19 PM #2
Ties back to a news story!
Gives me information that could be useful
Doesn't bash anyone blatently!
She must be used to writing for hardcopy not blogs usually!
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- 07-19-11, 08:29 PM #5
- 07-19-11, 09:01 PM #7
they are with Wind because they are on a budget and don't REALLY need to be connected all the time, they have wifi at home and work.
I look at Wind, and the little guys all the time for a weekend phone but they just have such crap coverage
June 28, 2011 Bell hit with $10-million penalty for 'tricking consumers' By IAIN MARLOW From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Competition Bureau finds BCE Inc. misrepresented prices of some of its home phone, Internet, wireless and TV services
An increasingly assertive Competition Bureau has gone after the largest communications company in the country, forcing BCE Inc. BCE-T to pay $10-million for misleading consumers in a case that could ripple beyond the sector.
The bureau alleged that since December, 2007, Bell has misrepresented to consumers the prices of some of its wireless, Internet, home phone and satellite TV services by tacking on hidden fees that make its advertised price impossible to obtain. Although Bell said it "fundamentally disagrees" with the bureau's findings, it has agreed to pay the considerable sum and align its "non-compliant advertising," as well as pay an additional $100,000 to cover the cost of the agency's investigation.
Competition Bureau Commissioner Melanie Aitken, who has made a name for herself championing consumers against other big sectors such as airlines and real estate, said she hopes the size and severity of Bell's penalty sends a clear message about obfuscating the true cost of goods and services in Canada.
"They were tricking consumers by burying mandatory fees in fine-print disclaimers," Ms. Aitken said in an interview. "We're very hopeful, and anticipate, that this will send a signal. I mean, it is a pretty substantial penalty ... And by no means would I limit that to this industry."
The telecom sector is infamous for burying additional costs or contractual obligations in fine print, particularly in wireless, where consumers are often hit with extra fees when they try to switch providers. Ms. Aitken said she was not at liberty to say whether other, similar investigations are taking place, either into Bell's rivals in the Canadian telecom sector or other companies.
Bell spokesman Mark Langton said in an e-mail, "Our advertising always has and always will comply with all applicable laws and regulations. That would include aligning with the bureau's new view."
This is not the first time Ms. Aitken's bureau has targeted big telecom companies: Late last year, the bureau said it was taking Rogers Communications Inc. to court seeking a $10-million penalty over "misleading" advertising related to Rogers' new wireless rivals, such as Wind Mobile. Rogers has denied the charges, and is planning on battling the bureau's lawyers in court.
This week, the newly emboldened bureau - which was granted sweeping new powers in 2009 - came out against a proposed joint venture between Air Canada and United Continental, after taking aggressive stances against credit card and gasoline companies.
- 07-20-11, 02:32 AM #9
I wish that someone in America would step up like that. $10 million is nothing to them, but still. In America, the big companies would just pay the bureau $15 million to not say anything at all, and it works. And that's sad for consumers.
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