Before Catherine went to New York City in May, I called Aliant, her cell phone provider, to convert her over to the Digital North America plan. Although the plan is $79/month, the prohibitive cost of Canadian cell phone calls when roaming in the U.S. makes it a real deal.
Because Aliant’s customer service agents are on strike, I had to deal with a manager. They took my request, but because they didn’t have access to the actual computer system where the actual change would actually be made, they had to take the details and submit a work order. I was assured that the request would be processed, and even if they were late getting to it, the effective date would be the date of my call.
Just to be sure, I called back the next day to confirm the change had been made. There was, alas, no record of the original work order. So another request was sent in, and again I was assured that the change would be made, and that Catherine would be covered.
On June 9, I received Catherine’s cell phone bill for May. With $299.56 in usage charges for the calls she made and received while in the U.S. Calls that should have been covered under the Digital North America plan at no additional charge.
As a side note, if you’ve ever casually thought about using your Aliant cell phone in the U.S. with a standard plan, here’s some incentive not to: the majority of Catherine’s calls were billed at $2.71 a minute. That means that a 20 minute call home was billed at $54.24.
I called Aliant today, and got the same “we don’t actually do anything here, we just pass along requests” response. The manager took my details and promised that someone would get back to me.
We’ll see what happens.
By the way, I have a deep new respect for the Aliant customer service folks: watching their managers conduct simple operations like “talking and typing at the same time” and “listening to people spell their name” and “knowing what services Aliant offers” with an utter lack of aplomb, you realize that our brothers and sisters on the picket lines truly are skilled professionals.