Monday, April 26, 2010

Bell and Blackberry are also a bunch of fucks

For the last two weeks, I've had a loaner Blackberry from Bell, because my phone (a Blackberry Pearl 8130) was sent in for extended warranty repairs. You see, when I had tried to update my firmware to the latest version, it caused a bunch of problems.

Because it's been more than a year since I had my phone, the extended warranty required me to take my phone into the store, rather than them send me a new phone and I return the old one (which is what happened when my phone broke inside the standard warranty period). So this inevitably long trip takes time out of my work day.

Finally, two weeks after giving in my phone, and having to put up with the various problems from transferring data to the loaner, I get a call that my phone is back.

Good, I thought. They found out what's wrong with it.

Nevermind that the exact same problems I had with my phone, I also encountered with the loaner phone. This despite the phone rep I had spoken to (the one who told me I'd have to take it into the store) assuring me that it must be a problem with the handset, otherwise he'd be getting calls like mine all the time. I have long been convinced that the problems I've had were with the Blackberry firmware, but there's no way to file bug reports, so the best you can do is update to the latest firmware when it comes out and hope they fixed your problems (which it never does)0.

Anyway, I went in today to pick up my phone.

They handed it back to me with a note saying that Blackberry didn't look at it because there's damage to the casing (from frequently being taken out of and replaced into the holster), and they'd charge me $92 or so before even looking inside it.

Excuse me? Warranty mean anything to you? My problems are with the inside, not the outside.

They asked if I wanted to pay the $92 and I asked them how much it would cost for a new phone (starting at $129), and how much it would cost to break my contract ($260!).

I was about to leave, when I realized that they didn't pay me back my deposit for the loaner. Also $280--more than they sell a new one for with no contract!

After about fifteen minutes of looking around, they concluded they lost the record of my deposit and I'd have to come back into the store (again!) with my receipt so they can refund me.

So these are my options:
- I pay $92 to have them send my phone away for another two weeks or more with the possibility that they fix the problems that I was also encountering with the loaner phone

- I keep my phone on the old firmware, voiding the extended warranty (which requires the customer to keep the phone's firmware up to date)

- I stay with Bell and switch to a different, cheaper phone (at least $130 plus tax and transferring fees)

- I pay $260 to drop my contract and move to a different provider (a "door #3 provider"), probably also invoking a bunch of other hidden fees, not to mention the price of the phone I'd probably have to buy with the new provider.

And this doesn't even include the saga of all the bullshit I had to take from Bell when I got this Blackberry in the first place!

I wish they still sold real cell phones, the kind that don't have cameras, try to play mp3s do your laundry.

Because the people who sell the things we have now are all a bunch of fucks.

- RG>


jason said...

For under $50 you can buy an unlocked, contract-free GSM cell phone that just makes calls, no camera etc (check out Tiger Direct). Bell is building a GSM network so you might even be able to keep your old carrier. Or you could switch to Fido or Rogers when Bell makes you grouchy.

Anonymous said...

my kid is bugging me for cell phone, mostly for texting, and this story just confirms why I dont have a tv, or cable, or a cell, or those many other fun tools that end up being a hassle.


Anonymous said...

When I went to the Telephone Booth store at my local mall, the guy sold me a Bell phone, and offered to pay for the $300+ cancellation fee that Rogers was going to fine me for stopping my contract early. Maybe you can go to a store where they sell multiple companies' phones and ask for them to pay the cancellation fee for a new phone with a new company? I personnally have not been too happy with Bell, so I'd rather go back with Rogers...

RealGrouchy said...

jason - I might investigate that alternative. Problem is that I'd have to find a device for music and calendar/reminders (and I don't want to buy an iAnything)

Eric - I would use my phone for texting, if only Bell didn't charge me 15c to receive them (solicited or not). I'd even buy a texting plan for a couple bucks a month, except I don't want to give them a penny more of my money than I have to.

Anonymous - But doesn't that require signing a new contract with a different company? The phrase "Same shit, different asshole" comes to mind.

- RG>

Anonymous said...

Kinda. But at least you'd probably get a new phone with a properly installed firmware and you would get rid of the problem of paying for anything. You would get a new contract, sure, but it might be worth getting rid of the headache.

Anonymous said...

Don't go to Rogers. I would first call Bell's "customer retention" line which no one tells you about, but which exists. They are often able to do things for you the knobs in the store can't/won't. If that doesn't work do what Jason says. You can get an unlocked phone that will still play music and pretty much all of them have a calendar -- just no SIM card so you'll lose all your stored data. There is also a way you can unlock a phone online (google it) I'm not sure how that works though. When your Bell contract expires then they'll offer you all sorts of stuff to stay with them and you can begin an intense re-negotiation process with them and the other 2 carriers to see who will offer you the best deal. You'll have a lot of clout at that point - use it. Don't sign anymore contracts though -- or at least none longer than a year. Because as long as you're under contract, they don't cre about you. Once your contract expires you can go on a month-to-month plan too --just like when you rent an apartment. You have to ask though, they won't offer it.