Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
# 2:17:00 PM:

Greedy greedy me

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Lena from Telus's "Loyalty and Retention" department left a message on my home phone this afternoon. This was likely not a follow-up to my previous phone call, but rather one to the email I sent pointing out my earlier blog entry and telling the company I was leaving—but Lena's message was nearly two days later, and more than 24 hours after I bought and hooked up my Shaw cable modem. Why Abdul in Sales couldn't have passed me on to the Loyalty and Retention department when I said I was going to cancel two days ago, I don't know. Now it's too late.

Anyway, in her message, which was quite polite, Lena (Lina?) tried to make the argument that every ADSL customer has been the recipient of some promotional offer when he or she first signed up, and said that mine, back in 1998, was a price of $24.95 a month. Which would have been pretty sweet, but I didn't remember any such deal.

So I checked my bank records, since Telus has been automatically deducting the amount from my account the whole time:

  • The least I paid (in early 1999) was $41.43 for one month, and if I recall correctly that was pro-rated after an ADSL outage of more than a week.
  • The most I paid was $74.37 a month—in fact, for the entire period between my first signup in 1998 and when I changed plans in September 2002 (more than four years), I was paying a rate of either $70.55 or $74.37 per month.
  • When I moved from the clunky old two-piece modem I rented from Telus to a newer D-Link model I purchased, my price moved down to the $47 range, which still isn't cheap.
  • I've never paid as little $24.95 a month, though that sure would have been nice.

I don't mind having paid $74 a month back then—early adopters are used to paying more, and we should because early deployments are limited and expensive to support. But I kept paying that $74 until I made the effort to find something cheaper.

Lena went on to retread what I learned from Abdul, that I could get the new-customer pricing, but not the new-customer iPod promotion, and that there wasn't any other special promotion for me as a long-term customer. There was some blather about 1000 long-distance minutes at some good rate, but I suspect that's not a special deal for long-term customers either.

Here's some irony. I don't call long distance. If I need to get in touch with someone far away, I use my Internet connection.

Maybe it's a lousy analogy (I'm not Telus's girlfriend, and I don't expect customer monogamy from them), but one way to imagine the company's attitude to long-term customers, based on Lena's message, is like this:

Me: Why don't you ever buy me flowers or take me to dinner anymore? You even forgot our seventh anniversary! And you're buying gadgets and dinner to try to bribe guys into the poker-buddy group where you work at Makita now too!

Telus: Hey baby, I know I don't buy you flowers and take you out to dinner anymore. And I know I've forgotten our anniversary every year for seven years now. But I bought you that awesome bouquet and took you to Bishop's on our first date!

Me: Well, that was nice, seven years ago. But it wasn't a bouquet, it was a single carnation, and we had to split the bill at Bishop's, in case you don't remember.

Telus: Um, I got Fred a new Makita drill press when he joined the poker group. You can have one of those. [Sheepish grin.]

Me: [Blank stare.]

I'm not calling Lena back. They don't get it. I'm calling the service line to cancel, thanks very much.

I hope Shaw doesn't turn out like this in a year or two.


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