I sent this email to the client retention department at Bell Canada today. Read below for a crazy service story… I’ll update this blog with if and how they respond. Based on the experience I’ve had so far, I expect a big “f*** you” from them, but you never know.

(Typos not corrected since I wrote the email fast and angrily)

Will Bell do the right thing for me as their client or give me a big f**k you?


I’m writing to you today as a last effort before I cancel my contract with Bell Mobility. I’m fully aware of the $500 fine to do so, but frankly, my experience with has been so unbelievably terrible that do extricate myself from this situation, I’m willing to pay it – unless whoever receives this now can correct it.

I signed a contract with Bell in February of 2011 for, I believe, a three-year term. I got a BlackBerry Torch and went about my business… During the summer, I started having problems with my Torch: weak signal, dropped calls, terrible lag, the phone would tell me the SIM card needed to be inserted even if it was, etc. Overall it was just not working properly.

This led to my first repair adventure, which I will detail below to the best of my memory (it should all be on file anyway):

I took my Torch back to the Bell store at Centre Rockland (Montreal) and was assisted by the staff that day… They took my Torch for repair and gave me a loaner BlackBerry. I’m not an especially picky person, and really, I just need the phone for calling and emailing, so I didn’t mind that the antiquated BlackBerry they gave me in return didn’t even have Web service on it. I also didn’t complain that it was slow and laggy, considering it was just supposed to be for a few days or so. I took the phone and went about my day, but it was in such bad shape that I couldn’t even make outgoing phone calls.

So I brought the loaner back to the store and they searched for another one in stock. The only other one they had was in such bad shape, it required Scotchtape to hold the backing on it. I said no thank you, and the staff promised to call me when a better quality loaner would be available.

Meanwhile, I left with my still-broken Torch and struggled with it for a few days while waiting.

The store called me back about a week later and told me they had a functioning BlackBerry loaner, so I went in, hooked it up, and tested it. The trackball didn’t work at all, so that one also was not going to do. I left, and returned again, but again, the only option they had required Scotchtape to make the backing stay on – I can’t imagine that’s within a company like Bell Canada’s acceptable parameters of customer service?

At that point, the woman who was helping me went way above and beyond and offered to purchase a BlackBerry case with her own money so that I would be satisfied. I said thank you but I thought that was unreasonable for her, so I declined. At the same time, however, another woman who worked there said she happened to have her own, personal, extra BlackBerry in her bag (she had just gotten a new one) and insisted on lending it to me while I had my Torch repaired.

I accepted and they took my Torch, repaired it as best as they could, and gave it back to me a week or so later and I returned the phone that was lent to me (this can all be corroborated by the store manager, Chantal Veilleux).

So that whole story was behind me by late-September and I my Torch was supposedly fixed… then later in the fall, it started acting up again. All the same issues including dropping calls, bad reception, lag, etc. I called Bell support at that point and was on with a fellow in support for probably close to 45 minutes as he walked me through some tips and tricks to make my BlackBerry work better including closing applications, etc., and so forth. I’ve followed all of the steps since, but the lag started again, etc., etc., etc.

At that point, I called in again and Bell advised me that they would send me a properly-functioning loaner BlackBerry and I could send them my Torch for repair again. I followed all of the steps, sent in my Torch, used the loaner for a couple of weeks, got my Torch back, followed the steps to get it working again, and started using it. That would have been early-November.

Then, starting just a few weeks later, the phone started acting up again – same problems … dropped calls, poor reception, lag, etc. At that point, I spoke with several people in both customer service and client retention, and they all told me the same thing: Send it in for repair.

Now, I’m a reasonable person with reasonable expectations, which is why I jumped through the hoops I jumped through on the first two repairs. I’m at the point now, however, where I simply refuse to accept that the burden should remain on me to go through the repair process over and over and over again. The Torch Bell sold me is obviously faulty and needs to be replaced. I’ve been given the story several times that Bell just sells the product but doesn’t warranty it, and so forth. I agree to a certain point that the burden should be on BlackBerry, but I am BELL’s customer – I signed a contract with BELL and it’s BELL that’s been making my life miserable. On top of all of this, I’ve had several billing problems (bills not sent to me, bills paid but not credited properly, I’ve been harassed by Bell collections even though I’m all paid up, etc).

I’m sending this email to make a very simple request: I believe that given my goodwill as a client to go for constant repairs and all the problems I’ve had, that Bell should take it upon themselves to REPLACE my phone at their cost. I’m not asking for an upgrade – I’ll gladly take a new Torch. I believe the phone I was sold is faulty and has to be replaced, not repaired. I’ll gladly take any kind of properly-working smartphone on which I have full email and Web access (this is a work phone, not a toy), and preferably a fixed keyboard (not a virtual keyboard). I don’t care if it’s a one-for-one swap with a new Torch or other comparable BlackBerry model, or an Android of comparable functionality. If it has to be a virtual keyboard, the only one I’ll take is an iPhone – but please do not be under the impression this whole thing is just a ploy for a free iPhone. I’m not insisting on that – I just want a proper smartphone that works.

I thank you for taking the time to read this email and I implore you to act in good faith and repair my trust in Bell.

I will not pay one red cent to replace my Torch. If the answer is anything other than “Mr. Sidel, we apologize and will replace your phone” then I am going to cancel my contract as soon as I see fit.

Thank you and have a nice day