New frontiers in customer service: Bell telemarketers swear and make death threats

New frontiers in customer service: Bell telemarketers swear and make death threats

Late last year, the CRTC announced that it was slapping Bell Canada with $1.3 million in fines for violating the National Do Not Call List that the regulator had set up. This was a huge jump from the tens of thousands of dollars the CRTC had fined companies in the past—it was kind of hard to imagine what Bell had done to deserve it. Today, the Toronto Star is reporting the details of exactly what Bell’s telemarketers did wrong: profanity, abuse, suggestions of homicide.The calls from the telemarketing companies on contract—some of them in India—were at times aggressive and abusive, documents show. In some cases, telemarketers cursed at people who showed no interest in their sales pitch and even threatened them.

An example of one of those calls:

“I had a telemarketer call, on behalf of Bell Canada offering me a free cellphone … he kept interrupting me saying, ‘You listen to me, I have this offer,’ so I asked what company he works for. I intended to ask to be placed on their ‘do not call’ list. He says, ‘Shut the f— up’. . . I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘You shut the f— up,’” stated a complaint made to the CRTC last July.

“I asked to speak to a manager, and after a few moments of silence someone said, ‘Where do you live . . . I come and kill you.’”

And then there’s our favourite: when one person complained about being annoyed at home, a telemarketer responded, “Why the f— did you pick up the phone?” Hard to imagine why Bell continues to trail Rogers [PDF] in the wireless world.

While we certainly hope that Bell cuts out the death threats, this level of hilariously bad customer relations is great fodder for bloggers and reporters everywhere. Perhaps Bell could go even further and deliver people’s monthly bills in bags of flaming dog excrement or on bricks hurled through customers’ windows.

• Bell telemarketers aggressive, abusive: CRTC documents [Toronto Star]