Cellphone number portability at last!

Cellphone users of the world (well Canada) rejoice, you have nothing to lose but one of your chains.  After stalling for two years cellphone providers have finally knuckled under to CRTC pressure and now allow you to take your phone number with you when you give your provider du jour the heave ho.

Number portability has been one important chain to bind users to a particular service provider whether you were satisfied or not.  The other of course is the multi-year contract. 

I worked in the insurance industry for over fifteen years and I think I know my way around a contract, but I have never seen anything like a cellphone contract.  It might as well be written in Sanskrit for all the good it does you.  I am especially troubled by the carrier’s insistence that the contract be signed in blood.

Years ago, in the movie “The Phantom of the Paradise”, Satan, in the form of the head of a record company (talk about a stereotype), offered aspiring musicians contracts with the final clause “all that is excluded is deemed included…”.  This is the way I feel about cellphone contracts.

I am with Bell Mobility, but have been with Rogers in the past, and both offer contracts that are similarly dense.  Like many service contracts I smell the brimstone odor of a Legal Department operating under the supreme directive of burying us under mounds of text until we just throw up our hands in despair and sign on the dotted line.

The first time you realize you might have made a mistake is when representatives from the provider show up at your front door and demand your first born.  Apparently, one of the clauses of the contract drafts them into servitude in the provider’s customer service centre. This solves the mystery of why so many Customer Service Reps sound souless. 

Bell Mobility also distinguishes itself every month by sending me a bill that reads like it was written by Martin Buber.  Some months I am foolish enough to try to read and understand it, this usually results in a series of mini-strokes and I give up and just go into rehab.

Still, with many people using a cellphone as their principal phone these days number portability is a tiny step toward some kind of liberation. 

Now, if they could just explain what a “system access fee” is for…

2 Responses to “Cellphone number portability at last!”

  1. Wesley Cox says:

    Peter:
    Seven or eight years ago I bought a $150 cell phone – “pay as you go” and the store activated me into the Rogers system. Their most despicable demerit was “wiping out” all unused minutes unless you kicked in another payment before month’s end. But when you called them they replied by automated “voice mail” which NEVER worked adequately and it required two to three hours on wired phone before I’d be transfered to a human and OK another $10 plus tax rip-off. I subsequently OK’d their automatically using my credit card number monthly to keep the account alive. I had about 500 minutes accumulated when I decided to kiss them off. But ROGERS (which your dear old dad subsidizes) never quit stealing my monthly stipend, sent me “letters” when I called them to STOP THIEF! They never answered ONE of their fourteen “letters of acknowledgment”. (Called LTK’s). I sent my intents and despairs to my attorney before getting a NAME of one operative at ROGERS, hopefully the worst gawdam bunch of thieves in telecommunications – they should be BANISHED after their one human promised to mail me their $50 in five months of theft – I’m still waiting. They are the most lawless, corrupt, anti-democratic and thieving, ignorant bunch of bastards this side of the Bush Administration and should be de-certified. My new cell phone (for wife’s emergency use only) is TELUS – only somewhat more honest. (We have received ONE call from wife’s sister and made NONE outgoing on cell phone). I’d do better with semaphore flags.
    Do you realize when you make a LD cell phone call YOU pay 50 cents a minute and your called person also pays 50 cents a minute to receive your call? $1 a minute. All OK’d by CRTC. The c**ksuckers.
    Cell phone administration is a gawdam sh*t-in-your-hat Mafia approved by CRTC, the country’s most a**hole government agency – look ’em up – every employee has his/her own direct dial phone at hand as well as the secondary switchboard service – their cost as a useless agency seems to be grand larceny from what I’ve been able to sneak-peek. Their offices are lavish beyond description. Their mandate is utterly featherbed. I think CRTC needs investigation and accounting before public tar-and-feathering.
    Wes Cox

  2. Peter McGarvey says:

    And I thought that I had strong feelings about our telcos. Unfortunately, Bell and Rogers still think and act like monopolies (which they are). What we need in the Canadian cellphone marketplace is a few more players who would actively compete against them.

    It is disgusting that our cellphone rates are much higher than almost anywhere else in the civilized world.

    Of course bad service and ripoff rates are not just in Canada, for some American horror stories take a look at the current issue of P.C. World.

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