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My phoneless friend, Jason, said I had the gist of his Telus horror story right, but there were more details.  here, then, is the full story, direct from him:

About a year and a half ago, Sprint Canada offered us a chance to switch to them (from Telus) for home phone and long distance service.  It sounded like a good deal, but I was worried that it wouldn’t be as cheap as they were claiming - I recalled having experienced unexpected charges on my phone bills from them when I had lived in Calgary. I was assured that my bills would absolutely be no higher than the advertised amount.  I was sold.

The first bill included the additional “system access fees” that I had remembered but that the representative had assured me would be included in the quoted rate.  They had lied right to my face!  The bill was, however, less than we had been paying with Telus, so we didn’t bother switching back.

Four and a half months ago, we bought a new condo and started planning our move. I called Sprint to make arrangements for our phone services to move with us.  They wanted to charge us a $45 move fee. I also learned that Sprint had recently been bought out by Rogers.  This worried me because of the stories my friends had told me of the poor service they had received from Rogers Wireless.  The rep assured me that wouldn’t be a problem because Rogers Wireless was a different company.

I wasn’t convinced and decided that we would switch back to Telus on the day we moved.  I told the Sprint/Rogers rep as much. I then called Telus to make the arrangements.  We set July 22nd as the day our service would move. They said they would contact Rogers to arrange for the disconnection of our old service on that day.  Telus would hook up our new phone at our new home.

Telus employees were locked out on July 21st.  On July 22nd nothing happened.  Our phone service had not been moved.  I called our number from a cellular phone and our old line was apparently still active too.  Even worse, we discovered that weekend that the interphone at the front door to our condo seemed to require an active phone line to function!

The following Monday I called Telus to find out when they expected to be able to complete the process.  They weren’t sure.  I was mad!

I called up Rogers to find out if they, in the end, could move our service over. During that conversation it occurred to me to ask why they hadn’t disconnected our phone at our old place on the 22nd like Telus has supposedly asked them to.  The rep confirmed that the request had been inputted into the system, but had no idea why their service people hadn’t followed through.

I was starting to wonder if I shouldn’t just get a cell phone, but that wouldn’t do anything about the problem at our front door.  I wasn’t feeling any better once the rep told be that because of the lock-out they were so busy they wouldn’t be able to perform the move until August 25th - almost a month from then!  He also warned me that there was a possibility that if Telus employees were still locked-out, Rogers might not be able to move our line anyway. Telus controlled the line at our new home and would have to “release” it for Rogers to take over.

I was quite upset, but didn’t see many options for us.  I asked him to please set that up, and in the mean time, could he put a hold on our account so that the people who had just moved into our old apartment wouldn’t be able to make calls from our line?  Yes, he said he could. 

A week later I called back to see if there was any way that the process could be speeded up.  We were planning a housewarming party and couldn’t figure out how we were going to let our guests in.  This rep informed me that not only could she not have our phone moved any faster, she in fact did not see any record of my move request at all!  The last rep had apparently not entered it into the system after our conversation.  The best she could do for us was September 2nd.

The hold on our line had not been entered either, but she set one up for me while we were on the phone. To top it off, they asked us to be home from 8AM until 8PM that day. I was absolutely livid. She was quite apologetic and offered to give us credit for the amount of our last bill.  I was slightly appeased.

A week before the 2nd, I called back again to make sure everything was on track.  I was worried because the Telus labour disruption didn’t seem to be ending any time soon.  I was assured that on Rogers’ end everything was fine, but yes, there was still a chance that they might not be able to do anything on the 2nd.  She said that it was still possible that everything would be fine, though, since Telus did apparently have staff working on disconnections and hook-ups.

She said they would be sure to call to let us know if there was a problem.  I asked them how, if they wanted us to be home all day and we had no phone, they planned to let us know?! I insisted that they call me at work the day before if there was a problem. She said, yes, she’d mark that in the file.  I wasn’t feeling very confident.

I got home on the afternoon of Friday, the 2nd and waited with my wife who had been home all day.  There had been no call, but no Rogers service people showed up either.  I was ready to strangle someone.

On Monday morning I called up Rogers again to find out why they hadn’t called if they weren’t going to show up.  The rep had no idea - surprise, surprise!  When would they come? Well, there was really no point, the rep said, until Telus released the line in our new home. Rogers would call us when that happened.

I made sure to remind her that we could not be reached on our home phone since they hadn’t connected it yet, and could they please call me at work or on my cell phone?  Yes, she would mark that in the file.

Near the end of October, I decided to check our voicemail to see if anyone had left messages.  (Our message listed our alternate contact numbers, but some of my wife’s friends aren’t native English speakers and may not have understood clearly.)  There were 13 messages from Rogers dating back weeks, including one from the last rep I had spoken to!  I was quite disappointed that no one was paying attention to either our file or our voicemail message, but at least it seemed our phone was ready to be hooked up!

When I called the number that had been left, though, it was actually the accounts receivable department - they wanted to know why we hadn’t been paying our bill - we had phone service with Rogers, didn’t we? Amongst other things, I told the rep that we had no intention of paying for service that we hadn’t been receiving.  Oh.  Well, we had better be careful, because there was a chance that someone in the AR department might end up having our service disconnected if our bill went unpaid for too long. I hung up.

The last time I spoke with anyone from Rogers, they didn’t sound hopeful. I wanted to know if they were calling Telus every day to hound them into releasing our line.  They were not.

Well, it’s now been several months since we moved.  We’re getting fairly used to arranging to meet people down at the front door, or we watch for them on the lobby camera.

I’ve been told by several friends who know Telus employees that we would probably have been much better off calling Telus and complaining loudly.  They would undoubtedly have hooked up our phone by now.

Can anyone explain to me why I haven’t done that yet?  My brain is too busy thinking up nasty things to do to both companies to figure it out…


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