The Nightmare That is Videotron
Thieves is the only word I can think of
For most of my adult life, I either haven’t had cable TV or when I did it was always a modest package. Enough to get the breaking news, see a movie from time to time and of course watch my beloved Montreal Canadiens! This month I finally cut the cord once and for all and this story of vigilance in the face of thievery will explain why.
let’s begin in 2016 I was a Bell customer for TV, internet and cell phone service. This story isn’t about Bell, but suffice it to say that after being a Bell customer for 22 years the young lady I dealt with in customer service made it just clear enough that she, ergo they, didn’t give a shit and weren’t going to do anything about my problem. So I quit. I waited another 3 months until my phone contract was up and I left, never to be seen again.
That’s when I moved my TV and internet to Videotron. And it didn’t take long for the honeymoon the end there either. For starters, after just a few months of being a Videotron customer, I moved house. This meant that a Videotron technician would have to go to my new place and install the cable. The guy showed up on the right day and did the job. But a month later I had a charge on my bill for $60 + tx.
Lucky thing I looked at the bill. This was a charge for “calling a technician to my home” I was told. To which I replied, “Do you honestly think I’m going to pay for cable service at a place in which I no longer live”? There was some protest by the poor customer service agent who was put in this position by his incompetent management who made these policies… but I digress. They removed the charge and that was that. Anyone can make a mistake, right? Unless this wasn’t a mistake…
Throughout the fall of 2016 I was saying to myself, “I don’t need all these channels”. I decided I would trim the package down after all the US election coverage (I like news). Except I didn’t. Then I said I’d reduce the TV after the holiday break, which I did.
I called up Videotron, largely because the self-serve portal they have built pretty much only let’s you add services. Try to take something off your bill and it doesn’t work (what a concept, only let people buy more on the portal, don’t let people cancel anything — imagine if all businesses treated their customers this way!) Except it turns out this isn’t just on the portal and it isn’t a mistake. They’re outright trying to rob their customers.
I get on the phone and explain I want RDS, TSN, CBC News, NBC, a movie channel and the locals (TVA, CTV etc…). There is a local package available but if I want RDS, I have to also take RDS2 and RDS Info. To get TSN, same thing. For NBC, there is a little number “5” marked beside it on Videotron’s list, this means to take any channel with a 5 beside it, you have to also take 4 others so that there are a total of 5 of them.
I told them to cancel the TV service since they’re unable to give me what I want. I was asked “Do you want to cancel today sir?” to which I replied “Yes, this minute”. I was told at that point the TV service had been cancelled and that I had 10 business days to return the box. This was on Jan 9, 2017.
I noticed however that the TV was still working. Anyway i returned the box in a few days and then I received a bill in the same amount as usual. The next bill still had TV on it! I call them to cancel and they can’t even do that right I thought!
So, this morning I finally get on this. I call them again, prepared to go guns a blazin’ (again, the poor customer service people on the phone!). Sure enough this time I’m told that the service only cuts off when you bring the box back.
This of course does not align with what I was told on Jan 9, which was that the service would be cut on the 9th and I had a period of 10 business days to return the cable box. After I explained this in no uncertain terms, twice, it became clear this person was not going to help me. I requested a manager, and at that point I was put on hold for about 20 minutes… and then the call just cut off.
I call back. I’m on the phone with another guy… same story, I ask for a manager. I’m put on hold again. Now at this point I’ve managed to rifle through a drawer, find an old smart phone and charger and get it charging and on so that when this manager finally gets on the phone not only am I going to let him have it, but I’ll record it too. 7 minutes later the same customer service rep comes back on and says “Ok, the manager says you pay only $42 for this month, not $132”.
Still though. Fuck you Videotron. I shouldn’t feel like I won just by not get robbed. And let’s not forget that Videotron double bills you in the first month of your service, meaning that the entire time you are with them THEY OWE YOU A MONTH OF SERVICE.
No wonder people are cutting the cord. It’s not about better content being out there. Yes, it’s about saving money to a certain extent, but more than anything it’s about being treated fairly. And until Videotron, or Bell or Rogers or any of the others understand that, they are going to keep losing customers. The digital age has finally allowed this to happen… and these dinosaur companies with zero agility can’t seem to react in time to save their business. Perhaps this is why they resort to ripping off the customers they already have to make up the difference.
Be vigilant people, always check your bill and fight for what you think is fair. It’s a huge headache but in the end you’ll (usually) get what’s right.