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Telus Customer Service

A little over a month ago I wrote an article entitled “An Example of Horrible Customer Service by Telus” describing my recent experiences with Telus and my cell phone. Today I’m writing the follow-up of what actually ended up happening.

Palm Treo 700wx Cell Phone

Many of you may not know this but a long time ago there was a small company called Clearnet that had excellent customer service and I was proud to be one of their customers. I referred a lot of people to them. It didn’t take long for them to grow and get acquired by Telus, another up and coming company at the time. They too had great customer service back then. However today things have changed a lot. Telus has grown into another large telecommunication company and changed its ways. It’s now acting more or less like all the other large major telecommunications company which is unfortunate. I’m only mentionning this because I want you to know that I didn’t always think this way about Telus.

Getting back to my adventure, and without re-iterating it (you can find it here), I phoned them again to get another reimbursement on my second data payment which was coming due. I initially thought it was suppose to be around $300 but it ended up being $430. The good news is that Telus did reimburse that amount because of the precedence from my previous reimbursement and the fact that I completely turned off my internet (data) access. That’s the good news.

Sadly the story doesn’t quite end there. They did admit that they can’t cancel my data plan (even at a penalty) because I bought the phone at a discount (with the data plan). Ok, I can understand this but I wouldn’t have bought this phone or the data plan had I known ahead about the issues I would have faced. So I really lose out here to the tune of about $250 because I can’t cancel a plan I can’t use!

The worse part is that Telus customer service couldn’t help me terminate the data plan no matter what. The problem is that every time I shut off the phone and restart it, the data plan re-activates itself automatically and the phone tries to reconnect! So if I don’t pay attention just one time, I’ll get hit with all kinds of bandwidth charges (approx $12-25/day based on the previous charges). Telus customer service said they couldn’t prevent this, I just have to be vigilant with my phone. What!?! You will continue to charge me for a plan I can’t use and on top of that you can’t disable it from my phone so that it doesn’t accidentally come back on and charge me. I’m not impressed!

This is nowhere near a win-win situation. This is a clear lose-lose. Sure Telus might make some money now ($250 for the data plan over a year). But once my plan is over I will never use their service again. Not only that but I will never refer them. This article and my prior one have already reached a large number of people who will never use them either because of this situation. On top of that as my company LandlordMax grows and the need to purchase more cell phones increases do you think I will use Telus? Not likely. Yes they made $250 today but they lost a lot of money over the total lifetime of their customer (me). Had they correctly resolved this issue they could have made a lot more money. Not only that but imagine the value of my publishing a very positive experience with them on this blog…

Let me push it one notch further and give you an example of the value of customer service. Recently we had a customer that purchased LandlordMax but didn’t receive their license information by email. What happened is that it was sent to a Hotmail email address and was probably incorrectly sent to the junk folder where it was easily missed. On top of that this customer thought they purchased the shipped version rather than the download only so they were getting annoyed when nothing was coming in the mail. Three weeks after their initial purchase they contacted us asking what’s happening as they’ve never heard anything from us. We immediately replied explaining the situation. Our reply doesn’t make it through, same issue.

We do post the following warning on our support page (as illustrated below):

Important Notice: Some email providers may wrongly filter emails from LandlordMax as spam/junk email and automatically move them to your spam/junk/bulk folder. If you do not receive a response within 1-2 business days, please look into these folders as this is probably what happened. This is currently especially true for email accounts with Comcast, Yahoo, GMail, and Hotmail.

But not everyone pays attention to this (I can’t blame anyone I don’t always either). So who’s at fault here? The customer, Hotmail, us? Who really knows, it’s not important, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the customer didn’t get their response from us. PERIOD! So two days later we get an irate email (very understandably). It now appears that we’re ignoring their support emails as well. We reply again. Same issue.

At this point I also personally contact him from another domain, from FollowSteph.com rather than just LandlordMax.com. The email finally makes it through to them. We’ve now established communication. I personally explained what happened send them bookmarks to our prior responses so that they can themself see that we did respond and how.

Through our further communications I also find out that they meant to select the shipped CD rather than just the downloadable version. At this point I could have simply instructed them to send us the regular $15 shipping and manufacturing charge so that we could ship them the CD. I decided otherwise, instead I told them because of all the difficulties we’ve had communicating the least we could do is send them the CD free of charge (whether or not it’s our fault). A simple gesture of positive goodwill but it’s very positively received:

“Thanks so much. I’ll definitely utilize it and refer you business.”

This is how you turn a customer who has had a negative experience into one that really appreciates your company and the effort you go through to help them. Understand your customer and think past today, think about how valuable they are for the total life of your business and beyond.

Telus customer service missed this simple step with me. They instead decided to get the most they could from me today and forget about my value to them tomorrow. This is the not the company I used to know from before. And unfortunately I believe this type of behavior will eventually catch up with them.

And that’s the end of my story. I eventually got reimbursed for all the data payments I didn’t use. I cannot cancel the data plan on my cell phone, even at a penalty (I asked). I also cannot turn off the data plan so that it doesn’t accidentally turns itself back on. I might no longer be extremely upset, but I’m not happy either. I doubt I’ll ever get a cell phone from Telus again, nor will I refer anyone. But at least it’s over.

Like this article?


  •     CW
    · June 23rd, 2007  · 9:48 pm  · Permalink

    Can’t you switch to a simpler plan for $10? Or is downgrading not allowed? Also, could you not purchase a cheap telus headset used and sell your 700, so at least you could recover the cost of that?

    BTW, there’s a telus employee over at the forums at cellphones.ca. He’s very honest, speaking as an individual and not a rep. Worth a try to talk to, maybe.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. What service would you choose instead? I’m in the process of (reluctantly) buying my first cell phone and I’ve heard horror stories about all of them. I was going to go for telus just because they were cheap, but…….

  •     Steph
    · June 23rd, 2007  · 9:56 pm  · Permalink

    Hi CW,

    I’m actually on the lowest data plan at $250/year. As for selling it, possibly but then you start to add the time of configuring the phones, cost of purchasing used, etc. it becomes almost not worth it…

    And thanks for the lead, I’ll take a quick look.

    And you’re welcome. As to what service, I don’t know… I’m sure they all have their issues. I too have heard a lot of horror stories. The only thing I know for sure is that it won’t be Telus for me personally.

  •     FollowSteph.com » An Example of Horrible Customer Service by Telus
    · June 23rd, 2007  · 10:00 pm  · Permalink

    […] You can find the conclusion of this story on my follow up article: “Telus Customer Service“ […]

  •     Bill
    · June 25th, 2007  · 9:47 am  · Permalink

    Thanks for the posting. I had something similar happen with Bell. They refused to listen or do anything for me even though I was flexible with a resolution. They are ignorant about the concept of customer loyalty and their poor customer service was enough of a reason for me to switch to Rogers (although I am sure there are plenty of horror stories about Rogers as well). I was a single user at that point, so they didn’t really care. However, about a year later I became a Team Leader at my current company and when they decided they wanted to get everyone a Blackberry, of course I recommended the 20 or so employees go with Rogers. The one thing I do remember is that when I did switch over to Rogers, the data coverage was so much better than that offered by Bell. I hear people complain about Telus and the quality of their signal and reception so I’ll add that on to their poor customer service when someone asks me.

  •     Travis
    · August 29th, 2007  · 5:57 pm  · Permalink

    I was looking recently at the Telus HTC P4000 with a 3 year contract drops the price to $250. I am currently on a month to month and was offered a plan by telus for $17.30 a month with a new contract and it has unlimited this and that so I thought it would be a great idea.

    When I went to look at the phones and decided on the P4000 I was told I have to get the 4MB $25 data plan. I didn’t want this since the device has built in wifi and I told them honestly that 4mb wouldn’t be sufficient, I was shocked at the little amount they provide for $25 considering that the cost for them to send 4MB is close to $0. And why should I pay $300 a year for a service I honestly wouldn’t need considering I have wifi at home and work. I was then told I can still get the phone without the dataplan but I would have to play $150 more to opt out of the plan. I find this really scummy, you can use the phone fine without a data plan, you dont even need to renew this plan after 12 months, so why isnt there an option to just say I do not want the plan.

    I have been with Telus for over 8 years now, and was very happy with their service early on, but it seems as they get bigger they are loosing the quality and customer service they once had.

  •     Joy Natufe
    · September 3rd, 2007  · 1:47 pm  · Permalink

    I have just signed up for and connected to telus internet high speed for a three months trial run.I would like to know more about how and when I receive my free computer set. Thanks.

  •     Joy Natufe
    · September 3rd, 2007  · 1:51 pm  · Permalink

    I have just signed up for and connected to telus internet high speed for a three months trial run.I would like to know more about how and when I receive my free computer set. Thanks.

    I’ll appreciate your response on the above via my e-mail. Thanks. Joy.

  •     Steph
    · September 3rd, 2007  · 2:00 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Joy,

    I’m sorry but I don’t know anything about the offer Telus gave you. I’m not actually affiliated with Telus, this post was me as a consumer describing the issues I personally faced when dealing with them.

  •     Steph
    · September 3rd, 2007  · 2:04 pm  · Permalink

    What you all don’t know is that this story has another major step that turned for the worse. The good news is that I did record every conversation I’ve since had with Telus, the only thing is I don’t know if I’m yet willing to share it publicly. At the end of the day you can add another several hundred dollars to the cost.

    A quick teaser of part of the new issues I’ve had to deal with. I’ve now had to return my initial Treo that I paid $200 for, without any reimbursement. If I didn’t return it I would have been charged another $300. In addition to this, they charged me for another phone.

    So I have to pay for a phone that I have to return (which they can then go ahead and sell making revenue on it twice), and if I don’t return it I’m charged a $300 fee. And in addition to this I have to pay for my second phone. Great times!

    But like I said, I do have every conversation recorded. The question is, is it worth going public with it…

  •     john
    · September 21st, 2007  · 5:21 am  · Permalink

    sorry to say, but your story has holes everywhere.

    1st, you did not monitor your usage, this would be your fault. they did provide you with 3 months of unlimited data usage. you cannot expect them to monitor your usage and inform you of your overages because it is YOUR money and you can spend it how you please.

    2nd, they provided you with a $400 discount towards your phone. the data feature you have is $25/month for 1year equaling $300. telus does not make up the cost of the discount with the feature. telus also does not profit from the full $25/month because they are providing you with a service making it gross revenue. in addition, you did sign a contract to have the phone subsidized and i would advise you to read your ENTIRE contract to avoid these type of issues in the future.

    3rd, since you were unable to remove the feature because the year was not up. its very likely repairs on your phone will be FREE of cost (covered under the warranty). look at what you’re asking telus to believe. you want them to take your word that you are not using data just because you said so, what evidence do you have to provide them? you should’ve taken your phone into repairs to try to have the issue resolved as this is a hardware issue. you cannot expect a CSR to or a technician to repair a hardware issue because they do not have access to the HARDWARE.

    i would advise you to review your opinion of telus. they did provide you with the credits (yes they gave you a hard time. however, which company enjoys giving hundreds of dollars away?). if you examine the other service providers’ customer service you will find out that telus exceeds them by far.

    seems that almost everyone that contacts a CSR rep for any reason deems customer service = credits and no credits = poor customer service. if you’re going to another provider and run into a simlar situation. i would not recommend you to expect credits as a resolution to issues. the majority of people that contact CSR are the ones that do not take any personal responsibility. i’ve read your idea of good customer service. again, the issue was basically resolved with a $15 credit. if the client took PERSONAL responsibility regarding the matter there would be no issue to begin with. the difference between your “good” customer service and telus’s “poor” customer service is the $15 credit compared to the hundreds of dollars you were requesting from telus. what if they live in japan, would you be willing to waive the higher fee for shipping? you may, but it will be a lower probability because of the higher cost (similar to your telus issue??).

    finally, yes…i am employeed as a quality assurance analyst, but not for telus. i am a consumer of telus and i am personally very happy with their service.

  •     Steph
    · October 6th, 2007  · 1:16 pm  · Permalink

    Hi John,

    I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. I’ve intentionally left out some of the larger pieces that have happened since (which I have recorded) because it’s no longer worth pursuing…

    That being said, I appreciate your comments but I respectfully disagree. And since I can tell we won’t agree, and I don’t wish to start a flame war, I again thank you for your comments and wish you as much success as is possible as a quality assurance analyst as I know it’s not an easy job.


  •     darren
    · November 8th, 2007  · 4:28 pm  · Permalink

    I see that the TELUS customer service machine has not only impacted me. Sorry to hear about your cell phone issues.

    If you’d like to know more about what kind of cards I was dealt for TELUS TV and my bill (triple what it should have been after they disconnected me)…click my name. It’s ugly, I warn you.

  •     telus customer service (revisited) » timinganddelivery.com
    · November 9th, 2007  · 11:06 am  · Permalink

    […] the only person who’s been hit head-on by the TELUS customer service train…check out what Steph had to say about his cell phone experience (yikes!) or what wselent went through to get local phone service installed in his new […]

  •     MunnyGuy
    · December 9th, 2007  · 9:48 pm  · Permalink

    I had the same thing happen to me in April 2007 and just recently in Ocober 2007. My issue was with a Palm Treo 700wx, when I would do a simple google check the Treo would reconnect after I disconected from the Wireless manager. Also they had logs of the thing going online a 2am and staying on for 5- 8 hours and refreshing. My normal charge was about $25- $30 per month. This bill was $550-. Telus customer service was AWFUL with no empowerment at the lower levels. I was given every line in the book and given the run around. The only reason I was found closure was by going up the chain. They finally credited me the whole amount after about 5 hours on the phone. To be fair these 2 incidents with Telus’ Data Plan were the ONLY issues I had with them since 2001.

  •     Steph
    · December 10th, 2007  · 2:35 pm  · Permalink

    Hi MunnyGuy,

    That’s pretty amazing how similar your story is to mine. I wonder how many people have had this same experience. And yours was quite a while after mine, so it makes me wonder if it’s still going on…

  •     Gregory
    · December 21st, 2007  · 2:21 pm  · Permalink

    I recently got screwed over by telus as well. I told them twice to cancel my contract, and they told me both times it was. I continuely get billed, and they repeatidly tell me it’s my fault.

    This has to be the worst cell phone company ever!

  •     Steph
    · December 21st, 2007  · 10:42 pm  · Permalink

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having so many difficulties with Telus Gregory. Hopefully you can get this resolved sooner than later!

  •     Mark
    · February 8th, 2008  · 5:11 am  · Permalink

    Hi Steph,
    I just read your story on telus and it was like ready my own story. I got the

  •     Blane
    · April 16th, 2009  · 5:06 pm  · Permalink

    Hey, Steph!
    I am now looking into Pre Paid Legal, in an effort to avoid these types of situations. I have been a Verizon Wireless customer for about a decade now, and never had a problem, until I didn’t take a “free with plan” phone. I decided, having made something of myself (I had just completed a personal/business venture, that has since set my up quit nicely) I would treat myself to a Motorola Razor. BIG Mistake. It had several glitches. I got a Verizon store to exchange it for a phone that had more glitches. I was told I could buy a new one at full retail. Isn’t that a sweet deal? After several phone calls and E-mails, I walked into the local Verizon store, and simple said I would never use them again, and was willing to pay the early termination fee if they did not fix the problem. I was willing to take a no frills phone, and take the loss on the purchase price, of $150 USD. Luckily I got a human who treated me like…a human! He informed me that the Razor has several problems, but is such a good seller, that neither Verizon, nor Motorola were too concerned with fixing it. They were still flying off the shelf, 2 years after its expected “invaluable” date. Wow. Well that’s business, and had some one explained to me like that originally, I would have taken a whole different approach. The young man also offered me a smokin’ good deal, on the phone I had been eyeing for a few months (The Casio G’z One). Motorola (A company I had spent thousands of dollars on) will no longer receive any of my money, as I refuse to buy anything, from a manufacturer, that can’t even respond to a customer’s complaint. That young man salvaged my use of Verizon, but Motorola…not so lucky. Thank you for you story, I’ll let you know how the Pre Paid Legal thing pans out…

  •     Steph
    · April 28th, 2009  · 12:38 am  · Permalink

    Hi Blane,

    It’s interesting how the cell phones work. Most are developed with a lifespan of 1-2 years at most. They know they’re not always ready for prime time, but they have to go out. And once they’re released, what’s the incentive to fix them? Most won’t sell for that long anyways so it’s almost wasted money. Especially if they’re already selling well. Plus they’re often not developed in way to make maintenance and bug fixes (never mind enhancements) that easy. Have you ever tried to upgrade a normal cell phone?

    Which is why I now generally try to buy phones with a longer lifespan. I hate to say it, but the iphone is such a phone. Apple really has only one model, and they plan on developing it for some time. They don’t offer model 1, 2, 3, xb2, 2ke5, and so on of the phone. You really just get one model (slightly different specs, and as time passes they add more hardware, but essentially it’s the same phone). And they plan on building up the phone over many years. They sell apps for the phone unrelated to the phone. It’s more than a phone, it’s more of a personal device with a phone attached to it rather than the other way around. Which is why I suspect this phone will be around for some time. Sure as time goes on the new versions of the phone will offer more, but over the last 2-3 years it’s the same OS for all models. And they’re working on version 3.0 of the phone OS. So they plan to resolve issues and build on their success.

    It’s unfortunate, but what you described seems to be the way the cell phone markets mainly work. Which is why I’m no longer willing to buy normal cell phones. I’m just as tired of you of under-quality phones. I’m more interested in phones that are more than principally phones (the incentives become different). I might be completely wrong, but my belief is that companies will put more effort behind these (long term) as they will have much longer lifespans.

    And thanks for letting me know if the Pre Paid Legal pans out.

  •     Dave
    · November 16th, 2009  · 6:09 pm  · Permalink

    In response to John, do you normally like dealing with a company that continually pays dis-respect to their customers in large portions? Do you think it is OK to hang up on your customers when the Telus agent hears something they don’t like, for example a simple complaint? Time after time again I fdeal with Telus’s lack of respect on an on-going basis, but hey, I don’t have a choice! The future is REAL friendly.

  •     Dave
    · January 30th, 2010  · 12:34 pm  · Permalink

    My encpsulated Telus story.

    I owed them $900
    They sent it to clllections
    I had to pay back $2200
    Not only was my credit rating ruined….
    I can’t get any of the overpayment back.
    I couldn’t even gat a copy of the bills sent
    to me.
    Telus is a rip-off pack of toads.

  •     c. larsh
    · August 12th, 2010  · 12:26 pm  · Permalink

    lots o blogs out there discusted with don;t telus they stole 400.00 can. in early contract cancellation 4days after i made last payment on con. because i wished to take my # with me before all had cleared their acc.

  •     FollowSteph.com – Why do Some Companies Just Not get Customer Service?
    · February 10th, 2011  · 5:13 pm  · Permalink

    […] I’ll probably show up on the search results for Pizzadelic. If it’s anything like my Telus adventure from a few years ago, I’ll be near the top of the search results for their website. How many […]

  •     Rob
    · October 21st, 2012  · 3:19 am  · Permalink

    Does anyone at Telus listen to customer complaints?
    They never post an E-mail address but want letters sent by mail!
    Who writes any more and sends snail mail?
    We have contracted for high speed internet service and are only getting 10mbs.
    The trouble is that there is no available alternative!

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