Shopping Discussion

Bell charging me for calling toll free numbers... UPDATE #2: official resolution

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 20th, 2019 7:08 pm
[OP]
Member
Nov 24, 2006
333 posts
180 upvotes
Winnipeg

Bell charging me for calling toll free numbers... UPDATE #2: official resolution

Received my Bell mobility bill and it was about 70 dollars more than I expected.

I called in and I was told that I am being charged $56 for a 112 minute call I made to a toll free (1-877) number.

I have unlimited Manitoba calling (not Canada-wide) and the 1-877 number is ultimately in Ontario.

I asked to speak to a supervisor and, after waiting nearly an hour, was told that I indeed need to pay it and it's all outlined in the terms of my agreement. I asked him to read me the terms over the phone where it specifically addressed that and he put me on hold for another 5 minutes then I got disconnected!

Needless to say, I'm not happy. I'm going to call back tomorrow, but I'm looking for advice.

Am I out to lunch? Is it reasonable to pay 50 cents per minute for a call to a toll free number?

Thanks for any advice you can provide.

update: Bell has agreed to reverse the charges and currently looking into why the charges have been happening. Will update further...

Update #2: An executive from Bell called me this week and referenced the CCTS complaint I filed. They acknowledged that the charges to toll free numbers were indeed due to a billing error. She apologized for the fact that it took so long and so many attempts to reach a resolution. I have her phone number which I may call if I encounter any future charges like this. And she added a 10% courtesy discount on my bill for the next 2 years.

I then receive an email from CCTS that advised that the matter is resolved, with an attached letter from Bell which outlined the full issue and resolution as stated above.

So, long story short, I am satisfied with the outcome. I do think that filing the CCTS complaint was helpful in that Bell seemed to have to respond directly to it and provide an official response.

Obviously, Bell's initial responses (first 5 actually) were atrocious. If I could do it again, I would have probably just filed the CCTS complaint after the first runaround I got from their CSR.
Last edited by gojetsgo on Jan 17th, 2019 9:16 am, edited 4 times in total.
135 replies
Newbie
Jul 14, 2015
52 posts
20 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
gojetsgo wrote:
Dec 13th, 2018 6:23 pm
Received my Bell mobility bill and it was about 70 dollars more than I expected.

I called in and I was told that I am being charged $56 for a 112 minute call I made to a toll free (1-877) number.

I have unlimited Manitoba calling (not Canada-wide) and the 1-877 number is ultimately in Ontario.

I asked to speak to a supervisor and, after waiting nearly an hour, was told that I indeed need to pay it and it's all outlined in the terms of my agreement. I asked him to read me the terms over the phone where it specifically addressed that and he put me on hold for another 5 minutes then I got disconnected!

Needless to say, I'm not happy. I'm going to call back tomorrow, but I'm looking for advice.

Am I out to lunch? Is it reasonable to pay 50 cents per minute for a call to a toll free number?

Thanks for any advice you can provide.
file a complaint with CRTC, https://www.ccts-cprst.ca/for-consumers/complaints/ ONLY if you cant get this resolved with bell
Deal Addict
Jan 29, 2017
1536 posts
1071 upvotes
Sounds like usual Bell billing shenanigans. 1-877 are toll-free, hope this was not some sort of phone scam.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
5718 posts
1378 upvotes
BC
Sounds like it was Bell's standard per minute rate for airtime (50 cents) when you exceed the monthly free minutes in your plan.

So your unlimited air time per month within MB wasn't applicable, and it didn't cost that much less than if you had called a regular long-distance number in Ontario unfortunately.

By all means demand that they complete the interrupted explanation of how that is covered in the wording of your plan, but they may be right on that.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 5, 2006
568 posts
393 upvotes
Calgary
on your billing does it show/confirm what the rep on the phone said, that you were charged for calling the 1877 number at $56?
If that's the case, don't waste more time calling in to any customer rep centres. Just file the complaint with CRTC and send in the billing pdf as proof of dispute.
I had a similar issue with Bell, wasted weeks calling and got to no where, but kept all of my documents/emails. Filed the complaint, the next day CRTC said my complaint was within their jurisdiction and asked for further documentation, Then 2 days later, I got an email from Bell telling me the issue has been resolved.

If you don't have exact documentation, I'd suggest writing an email to Bell department and asking about the billing issue and using their response emails as proof for your CRTC complaint.

Good luck
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 29, 2012
5459 posts
3352 upvotes
anjesh wrote:
Dec 13th, 2018 6:48 pm
file a complaint with CRTC, https://www.ccts-cprst.ca/for-consumers/complaints/ ONLY if you cant get this resolved with bell
In fact no, a CCTS complaint should be filed every single time the telco doesn't resolve the issue in your favor instantly. Coercion is the ONLY thing these bullies, liars and thieves understand.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 3, 2014
2497 posts
1490 upvotes
Vancouver(ish)
gojetsgo wrote:
Dec 13th, 2018 6:23 pm
I have unlimited Manitoba calling (not Canada-wide) and the 1-877 number is ultimately in Ontario...

...Am I out to lunch? Is it reasonable to pay 50 cents per minute for a call to a toll free number?
I would say that if this is more a national toll-free number (for example, to a company that has locations all across the country, such as Royal Bank or Was Mart, etc), then it would be reasonable to consider it to be a call to a local number and within your unlimited calling plan. However, if it's a regional toll-free number - to a company that has offices only in Ontario or otherwise not in Manitoba (such as the Ontario Lottery Commission), then yes - it would be considered as being long distance for you.

Normally toll-free numbers are set up to be accessible based on region, so people outside certain areas can't call in, but if this isn't done, it's not the fault of the caller's phone company.

Your phone company certainly shouldn't be charging you long distance or out-of-plan rates if it's a toll-free number available to Manitobans which just so happens to terminate outside of Manitoba.
Proud RFD member since January 31, 2007. Feel free to add 3,034 to my post count.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Feb 13, 2015
966 posts
658 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario
Need more info. What was the number called? Do you have unlimited minutes etc...
😎Thanks RFD😎
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 28, 2005
2819 posts
893 upvotes
Montreal
post the relevant info from your bill
Koodo & Tangerine customer since 2006
Deal Addict
Apr 28, 2017
1250 posts
1404 upvotes
If you went over your minutes, the number being toll free is irrelevant
[OP]
Member
Nov 24, 2006
333 posts
180 upvotes
Winnipeg
I have unlimited Manitoba calling on my plan.

The number I called was a toll-free number beginning with 1-877. It is a government of Canada toll free number.

I went back and looked through previous bills and I was charged a few other times too, but lesser amounts.

I spoke to a supervisor today to ask for the clause in my agreement that indicates toll free numbers are extra. He read this:

"Calls to special numbers excluding those operated by bell, including those beginning with # or * or 'short codes' are billed per call and are not included within your rate plan or add-ons and may result in additional charges"

The supervisors interpretation was that included toll-free calls.

I also asked if I had unlimited Canada wide calling (as opposed to Manitoba-wide), would I be charged extra and he said yes. Everyone in Bell mobility is charged separately for toll free calls.

This conflicts with the information I received yesterday that said I am charged it because the call terminated outside Manitoba.

I am pretty angry now, and I'm thinking about going to both CRTC and contacting CBC marketplace.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2152 posts
721 upvotes
Mississauga
macnut wrote:
Dec 13th, 2018 8:37 pm
Sounds like it was Bell's standard per minute rate for airtime (50 cents) when you exceed the monthly free minutes in your plan.

So your unlimited air time per month within MB wasn't applicable, and it didn't cost that much less than if you had called a regular long-distance number in Ontario unfortunately.

By all means demand that they complete the interrupted explanation of how that is covered in the wording of your plan, but they may be right on that.
That is what I was thinking too..it sounds like airtime charges rather than long distance charges. Normally toll free numbers give just free long distance charges you still have to pay the airtime.
[OP]
Member
Nov 24, 2006
333 posts
180 upvotes
Winnipeg
Just looked and I was also charged for calls to other 1-800 numbers, including Sun Life.

But strangely, I wasnt charged for calling the 1-866 number for PC Optimum.
Last edited by gojetsgo on Dec 14th, 2018 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Member
Nov 24, 2006
333 posts
180 upvotes
Winnipeg
User381785 wrote:
Dec 14th, 2018 11:15 am
If you went over your minutes, the number being toll free is irrelevant
I have unlimited Manitoba calling.

Top