Never give up

In these days of horrible customer service and big companies who try to throw their weight around and ignore their customers it's important to never give in to their tactics and just keep being a pain in their ass until they eventually listen to you. This past year I've had some real challenges but I can quickly become a pit-bull when people try to ignore me. These are just some of the fights, some large and some small, that I won by persevering.

logo_streamWrongful Dismissal

Stream Global Services wrongfully dismissed me from my lousy job as a call centre agent last November. They claimed to have fired me for cause, which was a lie. They tried to get my EI denied, but I filed an appeal with the Board of Directors with EI and it didn't even get to a hearing. They approved my claim immediately.

I filed a complaint under the Employment Standards Act for their failure to pay me notice and just over a year later I got not only my two weeks' notice, but a portion of the commissions they didn't pay me.

Self Employment Program

logo_SEB_programThis was one of the most protracted fights I've ever had. After applied to take the program in London I was met with the most arrogant, ignorant man I have ever met in my life. He lied about emails and phone calls that never happened, all just to protect his ass. I appealed to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and they bought all his lies and confirmed my denial into the program. I filed a complaints with the Ontario Ombudsman's Office and, at first, they bought the lies passed on from the Ministry, but after an hour and a half phone call with a senior official at the Ombudsman's office they went back to the Ministry and a further investigation turned up all the lies that had been told. I got a letter of apology from the Ministry and they allowed me to apply again through the St. Thomas office and even paid my cab fare there. I have now been approved to take the course at the St. Thomas office and they are paying my transportation for the entire course. If I am approved for the program I will receive $423 a week to aunch my business, which will certainly help.


Bell Canada

logo_BellLike all the big telecoms they are raising prices, nickel and diming us to death. I guess they need us to pay for their takeover of Astral and Maple Leaf Sports. We already pay some of the highest rates for TV, cell phones and internet in the world. Bell had a license to print money by having a monopoly for decades, all on the back of the taxpayers but their greed knows no bounds. They assault us with a ridiculous amount of advertising and force us to buy packages with channels we don't want. Thanks to their cronies at the CRTC everything they wat is virtually rubber stamped. Bell has killed hundreds of good customer service jobs in Canada and gone with cheap offshore call centres. They are one of the worst corporate citizens out there.

I was sick of these ongoing charges so I contacted another company who, of course, were going to provide an even better service at a much lower cost. Having worked at one of Bell's horrible call centres I knew the games they play so I called to cancel. The next thing I know they are sending me a new HD-PVR receiver for free and dropping my bill an astounding $40 a month with no change in service, in fact, they increased my data cap to 95GB, twice what I had. It pays to fight.

logo_RexallRexall Drugs

They are right around the corner from me so naturally I have been dealing with them for almost three years since I moved here. Not sure it's a great thing, but all the staff know my voice on the phone. Their delivery driver, Nancy, was great and always brought me extra things like a bag of milk or a loaf of bread when I needed it. Most of my medications are covered under my drug plan, but my needles aren't, and they're expensive so I've always put them on my MasterCard with no problems. Monday I phoned to order my needles and was told that they can no longer charge my credit card. I could only write a cheque, which I don't use, or pay cash, which I rarely have. The local staff were getting a lot of complaints about this new policy, no doubt instituted by some bean-counter at Head Office.

I called their customer service line and had a pointless conversation with an agent who didn't even know they had changed their policy. After putting me on hold forever she promised that either the local store manager or their Regional Manager would call me back "right away". I was out of milk so I said I needed to know if they were delivering or not. Naturally I got no call.

I walked to the closest pharmacy, Shoppers Drug Mart, and met with the pharmacist. He was very pleasant and said there would be no problem charging anything to my credit card or bringing me things like milk or anything else. I bought my needles and he threw in a sample box of needles which really helps. He said he would phone Rexall and get all my prescriptions, just over seven hundred dollars a month. Wednesday I finally get a call from the Rexall Regional Manager and I told her it was too late and I had moved to Shoppers. Ironic that she did not offer to change their policy back. I suggested that no company in this economy, especially those in depressed London, could afford to lose customers and she agreed.


Way back in May of this year I was having an incredibly tough time trying to get a new keyboard for my Dell laptop. This is a computer I have had for seven years and seven keyboards have had to be changed because the writing wears off. Finally I managed to reach a lady in Michael Dell's office and the next day I received a new keyboard by courier, free. In one of our conversations she asked if I was considering getting a new computer, but I said there was no way I could afford it. I then got a call from a sales rep in Toronto who offered to sell me the computer I wanted at less than half price. An offer I could not refuse. I got the computer a few days later, and the trouble started. I could not adequately describe all the problems I had but they were things I had not seen in thirty years of computer consulting. Thus started the long and very trying saga with Dell.

A gazillion emails, two replacement computers, hours on the phone with Tech Support and it looks like I finally have a functional computer. I figure I've wasted at least three hundreds hours transferring data back and forth, transferring and registering my programs and on and on. Dell's own backup program, which would have made all this much easier, didn't work. Three months of back and forth emails on this one issue and we got nowhere. The backup finally worked yesterday. I hated not having a backup since September 13th. Things do go wrong at the worst possible time so I was very nervous all the time.

While this sounds like a litany of complaints about Dell, what I do sincerely appreciate is that they never gave up on me. Some were more helpful than others but no one tried to blow me off. They worked tirelessly to make this right and I sincerely appreciate it. If you bought a dud at a Future Shop I highly doubt you would get this kind of amazing warranty service.

Yes, it's sad that we have to fight so hard for our consumer rights. That's why a recent survey showed that ninety-five percent of people are unhappy with the customer service they receive. It's no wonder.

Think ICBC is a bad deal?

A few years ago I saw a small classified ad for a Ford Ranger. I was getting into renovating and needed a truck. After I went to the shop and decided to buy the truck I wanted to leave my car for some bodywork to sell it, so I needed plates and insurance to be able to drive the truck.

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