Just how untransparent can they be?

In the snailmail today was a notice from Bell Canada:

We’re going green.

Dear R LEE

We are writing to notify you about an important change to our eBill program.

You are currently receiving a paper invoice, along with a monthly email notification advising you that your online bill can be viewed by logging in at the Bell Web site.  Following your next bill, we will be discontinuing your paper invoice to help reduce paper waste and protect our forests.

If you would prefer to continue receiving a paper bill in the mail, you have the option of keeping this arrangement now and in the future.  Simply log in to bell.ca/staypaper and click on “I wish to keep receiving paper bills”.

Thank you for choosing Bell.

Sincerely,
Jim Myers
Senior Vice-President, Customer Experience

OK, let’s start with “We’re going green.” — this has become the “ISO 9000″ of the 21st century IMHO.

What I mean by that is back when the ISO 9000-series standards were first developed, they were initally the business equivalent of cod-liver oil — they were told it was good for them, but implementing the requirements for certification wasn’t always terribly palatable.

For companies that already had good quality and documentation practices in place, it wasn’t that difficult, but for many it was a real sea-change — and when they came out the other side, they probably really were better companies, with more consistent quality in their products and services (note: I didn’t say better quality, since implementing any of the ISO 9000-series requirements doesn’t guarantee that quality will improve, just that you will have documented the quality — good or poor — of what you do.)

But as more and more large companies insisted on their vendors being ISO certified, an industry of consultants sprang up around certification (and training to go with it) to make it cheaper, easier and more palatable, with the result being that getting ISO certification became a part of the price of entry into the game.  I won’t go so far as to say it became meaningless, but it certainly has lost some of its value as a differentiator between a supplier you want to deal with and one you don’t.

So, what I mean is that being green in the noughties is something companies have to do just to stay in the game, and which any good profit-seeking company will want to spend the least amount of money on to acheive the appearance of.

Which for me means that they may as well have said “We’re still here to make as much profit off you as we can.”  Fair enough, that’s what they’re in business for — I just object to the lack of transparency in cloaking it with green.

Next: I don’t particularly enjoy having them shout out my name in the salutation, I mean really, how hard is it to automate putting it into proper upper and lower case letters…

Then, the use of the Royal “We” — alright, so that’s a stylistic letter writing formula that I’m quibbling about, but the letter is written over the name of one individual, the Vice-President of Customer Experience.  Why not say “I am writing you…” — it’s certainly not as if the whole company was in on writing the letter…

OK, on to the part that really gets up my nose:

Following your next bill, we will be discontinuing your paper invoice to help reduce paper waste and protect our forests.

Now, as an individual concerned with the environment, I will certainly choose ways that I can “reduce paper waste and protect our forests”, but their statement says that they will be doing it for that reason.

Which is a load of crap: they’re doing it to reduce their costs and maximize profit.

As I’ve said before, I don’t have a problem with a company wanting to make a profit and reducing costs can certainly be a legitimate way to do that — I just take issue with it when there’s a attendant increase in the cost to society as a result (but that’s a rant for another day…)

So if they would not be so untransparent and just admit that they’re eliminating the paper bill using a “negative option” strategy (something which got the Rogers Cable company into hot water some time ago…) I would happily elect to not receive the bill in the mail.

Maybe if enough of Bell’s customers insisted the same thing, that they come clean and say the reason for eliminating the paper bill is to cut their costs and increase their profit, before allowing them to discontinue sending it, then maybe they’d do it.

Well, I don’t plan on holding my breath waiting for Mr. Myers to ‘fess up and admit that Bell is just trying to squeeze a few more pennies of profit out of each customer this way, but if you are a customer of Bell Canada and feel the way I do about this, then why not let them know how you feel and just perhaps we can get him to do it — particularly if we all threaten to click on “I wish to keep receiving paper bills” if they don’t.

And thank you for choosing Unconventional Wisdom.

89 Responses to Just how untransparent can they be?

  1. Angus Sheach says:

    re: the “paperless Ma Bell” – more like Big Brother Bell.. anyway… I’ve tried every which way to get the link they provided ( bell.ca/staypaper) and guess what?
    It doesn’t work. BIG SURPRISE!

    • Rob says:

      It appears that you have to login to your online account with Bell in order to access the link. But then, they wouldn’t want to make it easy to opt out, now would they? :)

  2. I wish to keep receiving paper bills, Thank you

  3. I wish to keep receiving paper bills.

    PS: I had a hard time connecting to your Website
    bell.ca/stay paper.

  4. I wish to keep receiving paper bills.

  5. How on earth can I log in bell.ca/staypaper to register that I want to receive paper bills.
    I have tried numerous times only to fail repeatedly.
    Is this Website for real?

  6. I wish to keep receiving paper bills.
    Thank you.

  7. and again,I wish to keep receiving paper bills and why can I not access your bell.ca/staypaper website ????

    • Rob says:

      Um. Phylis, I seem to have touched a nerve with this post — seems like there are at least a few people like you, who are a little cranky with Bell Canada (rightly so, IMHO) and who wish to continue receiving a paper bill from them. I assume you reached my blog as a result of a search for “bell.ca/staypaper”, but you won’t be able to make your request from here — I (thankfully) have nothing to to with Bell Canada, other than being a customer.

      Now, I can’t say for certain — you’ll need to confirm this with someone at Bell Canada, but I don’t know exactly who or how you’d get in contact with them — but it seems to me that if you are not all ready signed up to receive an electronic bill on the Bell.ca website, you will still receive a paper one. After all, they can’t expect you to pay a bill you never receive in any form.

      So the first thing is: are you signed up to access your Bell account on their website? If the answer to that is “no” then I suspect you don’t need to do anything to keep receiving a paper bill. But check that out with Bell Canada to be certain — I don’t work for them, so it’s purely my own speculation based on the logic of the situation (but when did Bell ever exhibit much in the way of logic?)

      If, on the other hand, you are signed up to access your account via the web, the next question is: did you ever sign up to receive your bill electronically? Now, it’s possible that just by having signed up to access your account online, it may mean you automatically agreed to receive a bill electronically — since I don’t work for Bell, I can’t be certain one way or the other. The simplest thing to do would be for you to log in and see if they are already providing your bill electronically. If you can access your bill electronically, then you do need to let them know that you want to keep receiving a paper bill as well.

      Now, once you are logged in to your Bell account, you can then type the bell.ca/staypaper URL into your browser’s address line and it should take you to the page where you can confirm that you wish to keep receiving a paper bill.

      But if you aren’t registered to access your Bell Canada account online, and you want to be really certain that you’ll keep getting a paper bill, then you’ll want to go to the registration page at: https://www.bell.ca/mybell/PrsMyAccts_Registration.page which will let you sign up for online access. Once you are registered, login and then type the bell.ca/staypaper address into your browser to go to the page to request you get a paper bill.

      Hope that helps you, Phylis, and anyone else frustrated by Bell’s instructions that don’t work.

  8. m capone says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills, Thank you

  9. William Isberg says:

    I prefer to keep getting the paper copy,thank you!

  10. John MacKenzie says:

    I just got the letter too and find it incredibly insulting to us as customers to think that by simply ceasing to send paper bills, they are somehow now GREEN? come on, that is a joke if you think you are green because of that letter.

    Also it wouldn’t be that bad if they would email you the ACTUAL bill as an attachment, and not a link telling you to login and view it… 10 clicks later and you might find it!

    most people need paper bills for their records so it will just be printed off anyway!

  11. Rob says:

    You’re absolutely right, John — they are mostly just transferring the consumption (and cost) of paper to their customers. Nothing much green about that… I suppose that there’s a small reduction in the carbon footprint of the bill since it only makes one trip in the mail, with the attendant transportation by truck, train or airplane.

    The sad thing is Bell Canada used to be a company in the business of providing good products and services — now, it’s just a company built on selling.

    Not on selling products or services, as far as I can tell, just on selling. It probably pains them to actually have to (but even then, only occasionally, if the complaints that are rampant on the internet are anything to go by) provide customers with something after they’ve made the sale…

    And yes, their web site is painfully bad, it’s slow, it’s confusing, it’s poorly organized and implemented (as a Program Manager in the Product Development division of a company that has created a web based application suite, I feel qualified to say that…)

    Reaching your goal in *only* 10 clicks (and without suffering high blood-pressure getting there) on their site is probably to be celebrated — I have often just given up in frustration when trying to find some useful information. Oh, there are endless places where they offer to sell you something, but try to find out any details about what it is you’re signing up for and… well, the title bar on the browser ought to display “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter”

  12. ghislain smeets says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  13. HUBERT hEATH says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. With your technoligy you should be able to have a more consumer friendly website

  14. C. D. Dixon says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills.

  15. W.B. Eggleston says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills.

  16. Bruno Foradori says:

    “I wish to keep receiving paper bills.

  17. Eve Zaremba says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills.
    Couldn’t get to bell.ca/staypaper. Does it exist?

  18. Ruth Johnson says:

    I DO NOT WANT TO RECEIVE MY BILL BY E-MAIL !!!

    I want to continue to receive paper bills!

  19. Bhupendra Jani says:

    I wish to keep receiving my paper bills.Thank you.

  20. robert farnel says:

    i wish to keep receiving my paper bills. THANK YOU

  21. Joan Sims says:

    I wish to keep receiving my paper bills. Thanks.

  22. Karen Whitwell says:

    April 2nd 2009 at 8:38

    I wish o keep receiving my paper bills. Thank You.

  23. Joan McFarlane says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  24. Andre says:

    Shame shame shame Bell. Can’t even bring up the link in the email they sent to check account balance much less the link to stay with paper. I will be switching from these nincomps as soon as it is convenient.

  25. Shirley says:

    Could not access link (of course). Actual message was “Oops – This link appears to be broken”. Signed in and had live chat – was assured this link was now working – requested other option if this was not the case. Only was told I’m sorry – Please try again. I tried again – still the oops message.
    I want paper bills – just connecting to Bell’s website is a pain without attempting to access the bill. Tried bell.ca/staypaper in the browser after I had signed in – didn’t work for me.

  26. Richard says:

    I also wish to continue to receive paper, as you cannot trust Bell with their billing. I in the process of trying to straighten out 3 changes to my billing. Pass the costs on to us, of course, yet the price of their services keeps on rising. Hope we soon get some new competition for them and I will be gone.

  27. Linda Gerry says:

    I wish to continue to receive a paper bill. I need this information in a hard copy for income tax purposes for my home business. Also, Bell does not make it easy as I have gone to the website and cannot find the statement “I wish to keep receiving paper bills”. How customer friendly is that? Please send me a snail mail acknowledgement or an e-mail acknowledgement of my request.

  28. wai szeto says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  29. wai szeto says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  30. R Brousseau says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  31. M Kachra says:

    I wish to receive paper bills

  32. Orval Wiens says:

    I wish to continue receiving paper bills.

  33. SA Appleby says:

    I wish to continue receiving paper bills!

  34. georgina king says:

    I have tried repeatly to reply regarding future paper bills at your website bell.ca/staypaper but cannot connect to any of the listed.

    It would appear that you do not want anyone to indicate that they still wish to receive a paper bill and have made it so that one cannot connect. I wish to receive paper bills in future to avoid problems which I have had in the past. Thank you.

  35. Martin W says:

    I finally found a way to “staypaper”! Yes, your browser will connect only to Bell’s OOOps page which has no useful links…Yea Bell did it to us again.

    However, if you log into your account, and enter in the bell search field you will get a page where there is a clickable link “select paper”. That takes you to a page “Opting Out of Paperless Billing”. Now click the “submit” button. You will see the same page but the button is now labelled “Done”. So click it and you will go back to your accounts page.

    What a horrible hash Bell can make of such a simple thing!!!

  36. Martin W says:

    Enter “bell.ca/staypaper” in the bell search field.

  37. Rob says:

    Sigh. It appears that people keep finding my post via searching on bell.ca/staypaper, then they come here and leave a comment believing that I am somehow associated with Bell Canada — I am most definitely NOT associated with them in any way, other than as a customer.

    So, if you really want to keep receiving a paper bill from Bell Canada, don’t bother leaving a comment here to that effect — there’s nothing I can do about it.

    If you look back in the comments, I’ve posted what I do know about how to actually submit your request — you need to be logged in to your online Bell Canada account to get to the bell.ca/staypaper website in order to make your request.

    Now, if you don’t already have an online account with them, I’ve also included a link to the page on their website that will let you create an online account — go there first, create your online account and once you are logged in, then you can access the bell.ca/staypaper website to make your request to continue receiving paper bills.

    But if I keep getting comments from people who mistakenly think this is the place they can make their request, then I will have to close the comments on this post. I’ll give it a little while longer before doing that.

  38. Andree Lefebvre says:

    simply log in to bell.ca/staypaper? I have tried to log in this site but can’t get there to let you know that I wish to stay paper. Is this for real?

  39. Donald Kelly says:

    Bell.ca/staypaper does not seem to be a valid site. I wish to receive my paper bill each month….

  40. Dan Lee says:

    I wish to receive my paper bill each month thank you

  41. Linda Lukoff says:

    I would like to receive paper bills from Bell.
    Thank you.

  42. Judy Emmerson says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. Thank you.

  43. G. Brown says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. Thank you.

  44. G.Roussel says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. Thanks

  45. J.Harriss says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. Thanks

  46. DidiM says:

    Hello Everyone,
    Yesterday I made the mistake of making a tentative agreement to go back to Bell after spending a delightful half hour on the phone – with a terrific Bell Sales Rep. The condition I demanded – before agreeing to change providers – was: That I get a detailed copy via email of our verbal agreement.

    Well, today has been a comedic little horror show of – multiple phone calls and messages – to confirm my order. The majority of the phone messages & “Welcoming Back” emails were in French… even though I had clearly stated I wanted all correspondence to be in English!!
    The French only welcome & we’ll get back to you, email I received was from Jim Meyers. But when I replied to HIS email… I received another French only automatic email, followed up by a phone call from some girl- while I was on the phone on hold with another Bell rep; to tell them – I had NOT made a firm commitment – unless and until the terms were verified by email as requested… etc…
    Then I got another phone call from a Bell Rep – asking me what my address was… in French. Although she did speak to me in very broken English afterwards.

    Then when I called Bell back and pressed on #2 for English… a rep answered in French and went through an entire dialogue in French – but quickly changed to English (another nice fellow) — but why the hell do they ask you to press #2 for English and then send you to a French line????

    Long story short…. when I reiterated my conditional agreement conversation… I was told…”Oh no – We can’t put anything in writing for you… but honestly – you can believe us.

    So – Bell wants our business – promises the world – but won’t back up anything in writing!!! What kind of business does that – except shysters????

    Long story short… If this is the “New Bell” that inundates you with pleas to come back… God help their customers.

    I think I’m going to write a Blog about this.

    Didi

  47. Peter Walford-Davis says:

    I wish to continue receiving our paper bill.

    Thank you.

  48. Peter Walford-Davis says:

    We wish to continue to receive the psper bill.

    Thank you.

  49. walter skweres says:

    i wish to keep receiving paper bills. 905 873 6822

  50. Ron says:

    I wish to keep receiving my paper bills

  51. iris dooley says:

    I wish to keep recieving my paper bills

  52. gerard vachon says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  53. Sharon Northrup says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  54. w r swanton says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills.

  55. I like my paper bills and prefer to have them

  56. dana ryckman says:

    I like to keep receiving my paper bills

  57. j crenna says:

    i like to keep receiving paper bills

  58. Edmund & Fern Moore says:

    WE wish to keep getting paper bills, thank you

  59. Devin Collin says:

    I wish to keep getting paper bills thank you

  60. Thomas Elvin says:

    I wish to receive paper bills

    Thank you

  61. Sara Williams says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. It is impossible to find the stay/paper site.
    Sara Williams

  62. Trevor says:

    I completely agree with Didi. Ma Bell, the institution you could allways trust has turned into a bunch of shysters. This is why I want a hard copy of my bill sent to me (for reference). As far as the “Were going green” letter – It sounds like negative option billing and it’s got Rogers written all over it but don’t you worry, I’ll get to the bottom of it. The only reason I’m still a Bell customer is the alternative is even worse! I’ve got a news flash for Mr. Myers – If you’re so concerned about our forests i.e. our environment, our country how abour keeping some jobs in Canada? I cringe at the thought of attempting to explain technical issues to a third world $2.00/day rep and feel like I won the lotto if I actually get through to a Canadian.

  63. beatrice says:

    i wish to keep receiving paper bills if pissible.thanks

  64. Ken Noble says:

    I would like to keep receiving my paper bills.
    Thank You

  65. Elroy Kranz says:

    I wish to continue to receive my monthly paper bill.

  66. Ragunathan says:

    I would like to keep receving my paper bills with out any charges.
    Thank you

  67. D. Helleman says:

    D Helleman
    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. I am 90 years old and do not have a computer. Thank you

  68. Kenneth Perkins says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills

  69. R.A SCULLY says:

    I wish to keep receiving the paper billing

  70. Jeff McKever says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bills. thanks!

  71. muhammed zakaria says:

    I wish to keep receiving paper bill, thanks

  72. DidiM says:

    Boy oh boy, I should have gone with Bell last year. I have been through 6 months of sheer hell with Videotron trying to get credited for close to $300.00 of overcharges. I’m glad to have found this page again. I have been going through hell with Videotron for the last 6 months. I was overcharged and for 6 months I must have spoken to at least 60 different customer service reps who ALL promised they would call me back and who ALL said I would be credited what was owed me etc…. I NEVER got ANY call backs and I was calling as often as 5 days a week trying to get some feedback. It got to the point where I had NO idea what I was even supposed to be paying a month. I even ended up writing the President of Videotron trying to get someone to call me back!!
    The long and short of this is: Yesterday I had a supervisor call me back – who told me the ONLY way I was going to be credited the monies owed me was to agree to a new 2 year contract – with penalties of $400.00 if I cancel in the first year etc…
    When I asked for a written copy of the verbal agreement he was making with me; he REFUSED. And that is what started all the mess in the first place!!
    So – the result is; any agent at Videotron can tell you ANYTHING – but – if they don’t honor the verbal agreement they made with you – YOU ARE SCREWED!! They treated me like a freaking criminal – when my record with them has been – almost 20 years of being a customer and I was never – ever late on a bill.
    This I know is going against all consumer laws and yet they are getting away with it. I am of course, not going to let this go and will be contacting – the CRTC – etc… but first want to hear from another agent on Tuesday or Wednesday – what my file reads as far as my balance is concerned.
    Like I said it’s been a nightmare – I even ended up in collections and had my line disconnected – all this again for money I DID NOT OWE – they owed me almost $300.00 for overcharges which at least 5 agents and 2 supervisors agreed to.
    And yet – the supervisor who call me yesterday – said – well – that’s too bad. Take my offer or leave it!! He let me know – that no matter what is promised – Videotron can change its mind and charge you whatever the helol they please.
    I’m rerpreating this – because it is so stunning and I’m still in shock over the brutal way they’ve treated such a longstanding excellent customer – because I was asking them to honor the multiple promises they made to me and then immediately broke.
    And to think, then they also have the power to wreck your credit standing – if some clerk decides they don’t like you… and the list goes on.

    I’d like to connect with other people who have fallen victim to this – no written agreement policy – either with videotron and/or bell. I will be blogging about this of course – but I also want to get others who have been through something like this, because I do know a number of people in the media who will hopefully give this outrage the time in the news it needs.
    The public needs to know – that without a written agreement – Videotron and/or Bell can do what it likes… and say what it likes. And yet ALL our telecommunication companies – refuse to put ANYTHING in writing for its customers.
    Please email me if you’d like to look at this further and of course I appreciate any feedback you may have
    DidiM

  73. I wish to keep recieving my paper bills.

  74. continue my paper bill.

  75. continue paper bill.

  76. JAMES BLACK says:

    Cant access your link bell.ca/staypaper to choose. by the looks of all the complaints this site was less than transparent.
    This is to inform you that I prefer to still receive PAPER BILLS in future thank you

  77. T Schimek says:

    “I wish to keep receiving paper bills” !

  78. Gary Morrison says:

    HI, I want to keep my paper BILL as my eye sight has deteriated due to diabetis. I will soon give up my email ID.

    Gary

  79. lila goldberg says:

    I WISH TO RECEIVE ALL PAPER BILLS FOR ALL MY ACCOUNTS WITH BELL
    LILA GOLDBERG. 514 489 2705

  80. lila goldberg says:

    CAN’T YOU SEEL THAT ALL IS FILLED IN . i WANT PAPER BILL PLEASE

  81. Nicholas I says:

    Dear consumers,

    I tried like all the communicators , I also cannot access as suggested in the letter I received as well . I did write back to Jim. Myers , Senior Vice president no less of customer service .
    Suggested he was transferring the Tree molestation to the consumers by printing the bill at home .I have a contract renewal date 0n Jan 25. I have now received 20 phone calls from the Philippines re this contract .Wasting trees versus wasting my time ? Furthermore the cost of those calls versus my cell phone are we overcharged in all areas .If the Philippines can make 10’s of thousands of phone calls .How come my cell phone is so ridiculously expensive ?.In closing I asked him how many b…l..s…t calls he gets at home from the Philippines?.

    The Bell harassment calls come from the Philippines but they are directed by the philistines .

    I wish this customer complaint site got to the bell preferably to Mr Jim Myers. But I am not tech savy enough .

    Nico

  82. Nicholas I says:

    I vote for my record keeping and keep the paper bill

  83. Nicholas I says:

    Dear customers ,

    I am considering a home invasion lawsuit against Bell for the numerous phone calls I get from apparently the Philippines on behalf of Bell Canada .\
    AS a public provider they are abusing my life and comfort as a Canadian tax paying citizen.
    Jim Myers should sent me phone support to answer the phone for me .
    Nico

  84. G.M.Sernas says:

    I wish to receive paper bills.

  85. Kevin says:

    Bell Sucks! Customer service is nonexistent. Spent an hour trying to “maintain” a paper bill for my account. Your link does not work. Look at number of complaints on Google. I am being charged a “System Access Fee”, have lost my $ 10.00/mth bundle discount on the internet, pay a $ 2.95/mth fee because I use an external long distance provider (much cheaper) and now it appears that you want to charge me $ 2. additional for an existing service. Incredible! Will definitely looking at competitor’s packages. In the meantime I want you to “continue” sending me a paper Bill!

  86. Nicholas I says:

    To all who have been ignored.

    Lets all not pay our bills collectively it may make them take notice .
    The consumer has spoken .

    Guaranteed there now be Electronic marketing adds added to our Email bills .

    Id did receive several phone calls re my contract from the Philippines on behalf of the Philistines.

    Bell and Rogers now own the Maple leafs . Conflict of interests seems to be in inevitable

    Nico .

    Going green ? Like in as “dollar bills” .

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