Thursday, October 11, 2012

No, I didn't die....

Wow, talk about a hiatus!  Not sure what happened but apparently it wasn't exciting enough to let anyone else know about it... ;)

So here is my solemn pledge to actually blog on my blog.  What a concept!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bell Hell Part Deux - Could I Finally be done??

Hallelujah - I am probably jinxing myself, but I think the great Bell Debacle of 2011 is finally resolved. On Friday morning I was put on a plan for $55 (+$10 for sharing) a month with 200 daytime minutes, 1GB of data, unlimited nights & weekends and unlimted texting. They offered me free call display and voicemail as well as 10% off until the remainder of my contract for my trouble. I was told it was done and told to go to Future Shop to get the SIM card loaded, only to be told after Future Shop was on the phone with Bell for 1.5+ hours that they couldn't do anything. I finally got the 3G up and running on the iPad Friday night after another 2 hour call when I got home. I just spoke to Jose @ Executive Customer Relations who called regarding the letter I sent late Thursday night (see "Bell Hell"). I caught him up on what had occurred since and told him 10% just was not enough. Originally on Friday I have been offered 50% off the $55 plan but I turned it down as part of that offer was a higher $60 data plan. I told Jose I wanted the 50% off of my current set up. He said he could not do that, but he could offer me 50% for 6 months + 200 Long Distance Minutes a month until the end of my contract. I took the deal and told him how I was totally flabbergasted by the lack of competence demonstrated by the 15+ people I had dealt with since Wednesday and that only 1 person amongst that group gave me accurate infromation and was able to assist me. If you talk to Manoch in the iPad department, say Hi!! Unless Bell does a whole lot of changing in the next year, I really cannot see me staying with them once my contract expires - but only time will tell!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bell Hell

To whom it may concern: I am writing this letter to make you aware of the horrible service I have received from your company and to ask for your help in ensuring my issue is finally resolved. Forgive me for the amount of detail in this letter, but I think it only appropriate you are made aware of the staggering levels of incompetency at all levels of your customer care and technical service centers. I purchased an iPad 2 at Future Shop in Saint John, New Brunswick on March 30th, 2011. At approximately 2:00 PM on March 30th, I visited Bell at and saw that you can share your Smartphone data plan for $10.00 per month. Call #1 – Approximately 2:30PM March 30th I promptly called the Bell Mobility customer service line and spoke to a gentleman (unfortunately I did not get his name) I explained to him what I was looking for – information on sharing my current iPhone plan ($50 a month w/ 150 min and 500GB data) with my new iPad. The gentleman was not trained whatsoever on the sharing options with your products. He proceeded to place me on hold for approximately 30 minutes while he said he was transferring me to the “iPad Department”. When someone came back to the line, it was the same person & he told me the plan I saw on line was expired, despite the fact the site clearly says “Offer ends April 30, 2011”(see link above). He said the person he spoke to said I had to get a minimum 1GB plan and that the minimum plan was $65 per month and then I would have to pay an additional $10 to share the plan). I asked him why he did not transfer me like he said he was going to and he said he was giving me the information they gave him. I stated the option was unacceptable and asked to speak with the “iPad” department personally. He transferred me through to a Tanya. She again explained that the option to share my current plan for $10 expired in October (again despite the fact I told her I was looking at the Bell Site and it clearly says April 30th). I explained to her that I felt they were forcing me to take a more expensive plan that I did not need with more minutes and more data than I would use. She still refused to acknowledge the $10 option was still available. I asked to speak with her supervisor. She transferred me through to Toshana. Toshana again stated the $10 option was not available on my current plan and I would have to change to the $65.00 plan. At this point I had been on the phone for way too long and was extremely frustrated. I asked Toshana what sort of discount I would be offered for the horrible customer service I received that day. She said I would get 10% off for 1 year. I told her I wanted to think about it and asked how long the offer was valid for. She said it would be good for 7 days from March 30. I said I would think about it and call back. Call #2 – Late Afternoon March 30th After speaking to my husband, we begrudgingly decided to accept Toshana’s offer. I called back and spoke to a Don (employee number EX73536). I explained to him the situation and he read the notes on the account. He saw Shoshanna’s offer and changed my phone plan to the $65 plan. He then proceeded to try to add the $10 share option and ran into an issue and placed me on hold. After an ungodly amount of time, he came back and said he had just spoken to Tech Solutions and that the reason the system did not let add the $10 share was that this option was also expired and was no longer available. This was the 3rd time I been given information and then told it was expired – and this would continue to be a theme throughout the day. By this point I had been on the phone with Bell for approximately 2 hours. By this time I was so frustrated, I asked Don what would happened if I cancelled – he informed me I would need 30 days notice and it would cost $400. At this point he put me on hold AGAIN and after another agonizing delay he came back and said “good news – I found you a better plan!!” He said I could not share a regular iPhone data plan. He told me I had to get a separate phone and a separate data plan. Don offered me the following: $35 Atlantic Talk and More plan with 200 daytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends starting at 9PM and unlimited texting + $30 for 6GB of data to be shared between the iPad and iPhone. I asked Don what additional discounts could be offered because of the additional misinformation and time and poor service I received – he said “nothing – only the 10%). I told him I had to think about it and I would call back later than evening after I had time to digest the horrible service I received and that I wanted to speak with a manager but was in no mood to do so now. I asked him to put my plan back the way it was – he proceeded to tell me that was not possible as my plan was expired. After being put on hold AGAIN he put me on a $50 plan with 300 minutes and 500GB of data. He did not add sharing. Call #3 – Approximately 8:30PM March 30th After taking some time to decompress, I called back to accept Don’s offer and see if there were any other plans available. A young woman answered the call. I explained to her what I wanted and she was very honest and said she knew nothing about the iPad and did not want to give me wrong information again, which I appreciated. She said she was going to transfer me to someone who would know about the options available and would be able to help me. She cold transferred me. She did not give the next rep my information nor ensure they knew the sharing options. She transferred me to Gloria. I explained to Gloria who also stated she was not very familiar with the iPad. I told her that I wanted the plan Don offered and she kept saying the notes said the $10 plan was expired. I explained to her that I was not looking for the $10 plan anymore that I wanted the $35 + $30 plan. She knew nothing of your services or what was available. I demanded to speak with retention so I could discuss cancelling my contract. She put me through to Jeff. Again, Jeff kept saying that the $10 option to share with my current plan was expired. I said – I KNOW THAT IS NOT WHY I AM CALLING!! I told him I wanted the $35+$30 plan. He placed me on hold while he researched the plan. When he came back, he told me that THIS option was also no longer available. I demanded to speak with a supervisor. When he came back he said he spoke to his manager and that the $35+$30 plan was indeed no longer available, but “good news I can get you the plan you originally called about!!!” I told him NO – that is not acceptable. After the hellish day I have already had, the plan I wanted was the one Don had offered. I asked him if he could do it – he said no. I told him to cancel my service and there was no way I was paying $400. He said there was no way to waive the fee. I asked to speak with the manager. He put me on hold again for several minutes and came back and said the manager wanted to go through the account notes and would call me tomorrow – I said this was unacceptable and I wanted to speak to them now. He proceeded to put a man named Shannon on the phone – employee number 89746. For the 5th time that day I had to explain my story. I told him I wanted to cancel and that I will not pay the $400. He refused to waive the fee. I explained to him that all I wanted was the plan Don offered me. Shannon put me on hold for several minutes while he research options. He came back and said that I have been given wrong information by EVERYONE!! All of the plans I was offered today were available. After I at length explained to Shannon my thoughts about Bell’s poor customer service, poor training, poor management and pitiful information availability, Shannon FINALLY offered me a plan that I found acceptable and said he could set me up on the spot. He offered: $30 per month for 15 daytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends (9PM), unlimited texting and $30 per month for 6GB of data to be shared between my iPhone and iPad. He said he would still give me the 10% off but could offer no more off the bill, BUT he would extend the offer until the end of my contract and would also give me free call display and voicemail until the end of my contract (December 2010). I then asked him TWICE whether or not there was a $10 share fee and both times was told NO. I told him I would accept the offer and asked that he change over my account as I did not want to have to call back again and be put through the ringer. He put me on hold while he made the required changes. After several minutes he came back and advised me he had everything done and he assigned a phone number to my iPad (506) 654-7883. He said he could not set up the SIM card over the phone (he did not even ask for the card number I had purchased at Future Shop). He said I would have to visit a Bell Store the next day and recommended I visit future shop as it was where I bought the iPad. He said all they would have to do is activate the card and I would be good to go. I thanked him for his time and patience. I hung up the phone at approximately 10:45. By this time I had been on the phone with Bell for 4.5-5 hours and went to bed thinking my nightmare was over. Call #4 – Approximately 1:30PM March 31 I went to Future Shop in Saint John. I went to the Cell desk and was served by a very nice lady named Pam. I explained to Pam what I was there for and she promptly called the Bell line to set up the SIM card. Much to my SHOCK she was told the offer was expired. After several minutes on hold she was then told – oh it’s not expired after all but there is a $10 charge. At that point I took over the call. I spoke to someone names Serge. I explained to Serge that Shannon explicitly told me in no uncertain terms that there was no $10 fee. He said there were no notes that he was waiving a fee. I again stated there would be no note as he was not waiving anything – he said there was NO CHARGE. I demanded to speak to a manager. He transferred me to Scott – employee #EX857770. I demanded they cancel my contract and waive the $400 fee. He said why should Bell waive it, you signed a contract. I explained that I know I signed a contract; however Bell is also under contract to ensure I am provided services and am treated in a fair manner. I stated Bell should ensure that your staff is trained, that you offer accurate information, and that you can deliver what is promised. Scott said they cannot waive the $10 or the $400. I told Scott – “fine, set up the plan and charged me the $10. I will try to reach Shannon and if it’s not resolved I will short pay the invoices”. He then stated he could not do the plan change himself and would have to transfer me AGAIN. I gave the phone back to Pam at Future Shop so she could do her job. After Pam was put through to the department that could activate the SIM, I waited for approximately another 30 minutes but since this was my lunch hour I had to do back to work. Pam said she had all of the information she needed and that I could do and she would get it taken care of. Later that afternoon Pam called me back and told me that after all of that BELL was not able to do what Shannon had promised after all. She told me that the department was going to get Shannon to call me back directly by that evening. She left me a case number they had given her – 4503750. I was at Future Shop for approximately 2 hours on the phone. Call #5 – Approximately 7:30 PM I called and was speaking to a Jason. He was very nice. I gave him the tracking number and I explained the issue, he reviewed the account notes. I told him I needed to speak with Shannon in retention, that he was supposed to have called me back and did not. Jason put me on hold to get me over to retention. He came back once or twice to let me know he was still on hold. He then hung up on me. Call #6 I immediately called back and spoke to Peter. I told Peter I did not want to review the issue again; I just wanted to be transferred to retention. He said they will want to know why I want to speak to them. I told him I had explained it enough, but if he wanted to see a catalogue of incompetence, he was free to review my account but I wanted to be transferred. He put me on hold for approximately 20-30 minutes while he waited for someone in retention. He transferred me to Katherine. I again reviewed the issue with her. She placed me on hold. She came back and told me that Shannon was on lunch, but that he was going to call me back immediately upon his return. She said she gave my information to her manager personally and that they were both guaranteeing he would call me by 10PM. I asked her what I could do if he doesn’t. She said – “Don’t worry – he will”. I unfortunately took her word for it. I should have stayed on hold. Call #7 – 11PM Atlantic I was not sure if Katherine meant 10PM EST or ATL so I waited until 11PM my time. Still no call from Shannon. I called back. To my disgust – I discovered that the center CLOSED AT 9PM EST. Please tell me how someone was supposed to call me when you are now even open? I called your technical department at 877-328-2123 in hopes that SOMEONE who works at Bell might actually know what they are doing. The gentleman I spoke with said retention and customer service are closed. I asked to speak with a manager in his department. They said there is no one there. He gave me the hours of operation. I told him if he wanted to see how incompetent his colleagues are to take a gander at my file. In the past 36 hours I have spent more than nine hours on the phone with Bell. I am shocked and disgusted by the terrible service I have received from your company. I can understand one person making one mistake. I can even understand two. The fact that EVERY SINGLE PERSON I spoke to gave me wrong information and false promises shows the lack respect you offer your customers. How am I supposed to be confident in you as a business? How am I supposed to trust you with my personal information? Why should I invest my money in your wireless, TV and home phone service if you are not willing to invest in training your people so they actually know what they are doing? Why should I have to pay a $400 fee to cancel a service when I have wasted over 9 hours of my time on an issue which is not even yet resolved? I was absolutely dumbfounded when I was told by one of the representatives I spoke with today (I believe it was Scott) that they received 6 weeks of full time training before they were put on the floor. I am not sure what training program you are using, but I suggest you throw it out and start from scratch because it is obviously not working. My experience is a testament to the systematic failure of your corporation’s training program as a whole and your inability to ensure you have qualified, trained employees on staff. This is what I feel needs to happen – I want the plan as promised to me by Shannon: • $30 per month for 15 daytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends (9PM), unlimited texting • $30 per month for 6GB of data to be shared between my iPhone and iPad. • 10% off for the life of the contract • Free Caller ID and Voicemail for the life of the contract • No $10 share fee If you cannot meet this offer as quoted by Shannon, I think you have no choice but to agree that I should no longer be held liable to a contract when you cannot offer me the services as quoted. I will also be cancelling my home phone and Satellite television services. I pay for well over $200 a month in services with Bell and have been a customer since the mid 1990s. I guess I made the false assumption that you would value me as a customer. Perhaps Rogers will. I look forward to your response and a prompt and satisfying resolution to this matter. Sincerely. Jessica Walker

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is up with the TV Networks???

I am confused...

Why do television networks (I am looking at you Fox) insist on airing new television shows for only 1 or 2 episodes and then cancelling them?

Why don't networks give shows the chance to find an audience? I don't know about you, but I find a new series normally takes a few episodes to truly get into a groove. Not only that, but in the first few weeks of a new TV season, viewers are playing a balancing act - trying to maintain their loyalty to their favourite returning shows while attempting to "taste test" the new programming.

I caught the first two episodes of Lonestar and was really looking forward to a smart drama that would be able to sustain my interest and keep me invested in the characters. I do admit I PVRed Lonestar while watching my returning favourites live, but I loved the two episodes that aired. Lonestar was quickly becoming one of my favourite shows. THEN Fox pulled the rug out from underneath me and cancelled it...

I have a theory about why new shows usually have lower ratings:


I am sure there are people out there who don't watch new series at the beginning of the season for fear of getting attached and then it being cancelled. Perhaps if networks were not so trigger happy, the ratings on these shows would be higher...

Just saying...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Budget Travel 101

Those who know me know that there is one thing I love to do more than any other – Travel! Coming a close second is helping others plan their vacations – I like to think if it as living vicariously through others. It is always fun to shop and spend other people’s money.

Unfortunately, no matter where you go, travel costs money. Sometimes lots of it!

Because I do tend to go away at least twice a year, people always assume I have money to burn, but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that I am a hard-core bargain hunter. I am like a dog with a bone – I will not book anything unless I KNOW I am getting the best possible deal.

The secret to finding a great deal is to be flexible and to be willing to spend lots of time researching:
• Make sure your travel agent knows you are on the prowl for a deal. They are constantly receiving notices of sell offs etc. They can also tag you onto a group deal they may be working (wedding etc) and get you the same discounted rates.
• Don’t be afraid to check out sites like Expedia, iTravel2000, Travelocity, Priceline, Cheaptickets, Orbitz, or Hotwire. I booked a trip to Mexico at a 5* All Inclusive resort last year using Expedia. The price was cheaper than both my Travel Agent AND Air Canada Vacations who was the actual provider of the service. There were 6 people in our party and we saved approximately $200 PER PERSON. Same airline, same services.
• If you find a good deal, check out the same flights/vacations on other sites including the official site of the airline/travel company. Quite often, they will actually be cheaper.
• Use the ITA to search multiple airlines at once (
• Sign up for saver emails from the various Air travel providers (Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing in Canada, and the variety of carriers in the US), as well as the internet travel sites (like Expedia). If you do not mind the junk mail, you get notified of some great deals.
• If you don’t mind the drive, both Bangor and Portland airports have discount travel airlines (JetBlue, AirTran, Allegiant) and even the regular airlines are often quite a bit less than the Canadian carriers. Depending on how many are in your party and the amount of savings per person, it may be worth the commute.

Here are some of the sites I use to find deals for hotels, flights, and pre-packaged vacations:
• (flights only)

If in your search you find a deal on a hotel or resort, but are concerned about the quality, I recommend asking your travel agent, if you have one. They have likely had clients at most of the resorts, and may have even visited themselves. If you aren’t working with an agent, what I like to do it use Here, you can enter the name of the hotel you are interested in, and it will bring up guest reviews, photos, etc. The photos are great because they are not “official” hotel marketing photos. They are actual vacation photos taken by guests so you will get a sense of what the hotel is really like. Tripadvisor also takes the users’ ratings and ranks the hotels/resorts in each city. If I know what area I want to be in, I often go to Tripadvisor, look up the town, and then find out the ranking of the hotels. THEN I begin my search at the sites above looking for the nicest hotel I can find at the best price.

Make sure if you do visit Tripadvisor that you read as many reviews as possible regarding the hotels. One person’s heaven may be another person’s hell. There can be quite a range of reviews for the same hotel, often during the very same week. You shouldn’t allow one bad review stop you from going somewhere. Likewise, if there is only one good review in a list of 100, chances are you are not going to be pleased if you stay there!

Enjoy your vacation!!!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blog Merge!!

I'm baaaacckkkk!! You may have noticed the large dump of posts today! No, I did not have an exceptionally exciting weekend... I just decided to take some of my posts from my other blogs, stick them here, and start over with just one!!

Here we go! (originally posted 08/05/2009)

Okay, so I am finally getting this thing started! If there is one thing I love to do - its plan vacations. When that vacation happens to be to my favourite place on earth, that is just icing on the cake! This time, said vacation happens to be for my family, but I also love living vicariously through others.

This is where I will be blogging about my experiences planning our trip. Along the way, I will offer advice and tips on not only how to plan your Disney vacation, but vacation planning in general.

This Christmas, my husband Paul, my son Ethan, and I are finally getting to spend Christmas in Disney World!! I am incredibly excited - I cannot wait to walk up Main Street USA and see all those Xmas decorations!!

This is the largest trip I have ever planned for myself. Previously, we have taken my sister and mother separately to the house of mouse. This time, they are both coming, along with my father (who, incidentally, has never been on a plane before. He is terrified... EEK!!).

More details to come!!!