When the CRTC ordered Bell, Telus and MTS to refund money to urban customers who were overcharged for phone service, they probably thought it would be seen as a punishment.
Bell, on the other hand, saw it as an opportunity.
Bell, ordered to pay each customer a $67.41 rebate, instead sent out a letter to customers offering them a coupon worth $100 — provided that they agreed to a two-year contract.
In the letter mailed to eligible Bell customers, the company states: “The exact amount of the rebate will be determined by the CRTC shortly, but could be up to $67 per home phone line, and will be sent to you in 2011.”
The letter also contains a $100 coupon toward the activation of a new Bell TV subscription or a new Bell Mobility activation. In both cases, customers would have to lock into a two-year contract and would no longer be eligible for the rebate.
“It seems to violate, if not the precise terms, at least the intent of the decision 2010-637 which set this procedure up,” Janigan [executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre] said in an interview. He’s advising Bell customers to ignore the offer and take the money.
In its promotional letter, Bell offers opposing advice.
“Don’t wait for your home phone customer rebate cheque in the mail next year,” it states, “This is a limited time offer.”
Well, at least you can say this for Bell: they never pass on an opportunity. Even if it means screwing over their customers.