Telus: The future is friendly… unless you’re a broke deadbeat. 4 theories on why Telus dissed its customers


In case you missed it—and we forgive you, as the debacle was short-lived—Canadian wireless provider Telus called customers “broke deadbeats” on its own website. Roughly an hour later, the paragraph was completely removed.

I attempted to reach out to Telus by contacting a local PR rep by email. I have not received a response. This was the original text, copy and pasted from the website (plus brackets for clarification):

[Consumer:] Why do I need a credit check?

[Telus:] You may be broke, therefore highly unlikely to pay your bill.

We just don’t want to lose money, you dead beat. You know how it is…

But why was it there in the first place? Here are four theories.

1. The misguided humour of an underpaid or frustrated employee. Perhaps one who was quitting that day anyway, and decided to exit with a bang. If so, let this be a lesson to businesses: pay well those who write your copy!

2. A hacker with things on his mind other than money. Perhaps some tech-savvy basement dweller that Telus cut off services for because he wasn’t coughing up the dough. A creative mode of revenge, admittedly, and sophisticatedly not-over-the-top to boot.

3. A placeholder passed on through production. This theory would suggest that Telus likes to thoroughly insult its customer base behind their backs, as opposed to using generic alphabet or “lorem ipsum” text. Thanks, guys! Well, they learned the hard way there are risks involved with this method of web design. (Oh, and let me guess: a customer service rep wrote the placeholders.) *Note: this is believed to actually be a very accurate theory by the rumour mill.

4. Telus was telling it like it is. Maybe they really did want to credit check everyone because they believe they attract a clientele of broke deadbeats. I mean, the part about not losing money is pretty logical, isn’t it? Then they realized their wording could have been a little more gentle, so they took it down for a re-write by somebody who doesn’t have anger oozing from under his fingernails.

No matter the reason, it’s an oddly worrisome mix of humorous and crudely insulting.

Raise your hands, broke deadbeats of the world! And rebel against credit check demands!


(A screenshot highlighting the section of the webpage.)