Thursday, 11 July 2013


When I started this cell phone thing I really didn't know what I was getting into and I will say I'm glad that this is the last post about it. I have learned more about everything connected with these phones than I ever thought I wanted to know. One really good thing I did learn was that if you go shopping in person prepared with a checklist of what it is you want and how much you want to pay, chances are good that you will find the phone, the plan and the service you're looking for.

There are three kinds of mobile phones to choose from: The basic cell phone which I want, the features phone which Rogers calls Smartphone Lite and the really advanced Smartphone that's basically a mobile computer. The phones are available in all price ranges, starting around $50.00 and go up from there, depending on what's wanted. Even the cheap phones come equipped with a camera. Many, not all, can be purchased outright, while some only work with plans offered by the service provider. Blackberry does not work well on a prepaid plan as it needs the Blackberry Internet Server (BIS) to function properly.

I had made up a checklist with all the questions I wanted answers to before I went shopping and that worked well because there really is an amazing amount of stuff to know and it would be easy to forget to ask some important questions.The phone questions centered first on the features: Keypad (easy to see and use), Screen (easy to read indoors or out), the Camera, Camcorder, GPS and Hands Free Capability (yes to this, but in different ways). Then followed questions about durability and how well the phone would stand up to normal use. Next were the questions about Battery performance in terms of talk time, standby time, hours between recharging and how long before the battery needed to be replaced. The final phone questions covered the warranty – return policy, Manufacturer’s Warranty, coverage, procedure to return defective phone, any associated costs, loaner phone and cost, what would void warranty and finally anything not covered by warranty.

Once I had all the phone information I asked about what I would need in a plan if I used so many minutes at different times (day, evening, weekends), made long distance calls Canada-wide, sent out text messages, emailed, wanted Internet access, downloaded some stuff and wanted call display, voice mail, etc.

The more Data needed, the greater the cost. The Data Usage Estimator calculates how much data will be needed so no more is purchased than required - no sense paying for something not used.  

The final section covered Issue Resolution as this should definitely be known before signing on.

Having this checklist in hand, I started with the Bell store and this certainly supported my theory of dealing locally so that you’re able to rate the service before signing on. The lady that assisted me answered every question as I went down the checklist (and waited patiently while I wrote in the answers). Once she caught on to what I was doing, she started suggesting ideas and giving advice as to what she thought would work best for me. This was a friendly, informative 45 minute discussion, exactly the kind of service I was hoping for. When I asked about Issue Resolution, she told me that if a problem did come up, either with the phone or with Bell administration, just to come to the store and they would support the customer in trying to solve it. She even went as far as to say that they would know better who to talk to in those situations than the customer would. I was super impressed with the service, especially when I had told her upfront that I was only there for information and wouldn’t be buying that day.

Its probably obvious by now that I'm a stickler for good customer service. To me its a key element when deciding where to buy a product or service. After all, if service is the core of their business and they can't get that basic thing right, then don't expect them to be able to do more difficult things like solving problems.

I then went to The Source, which was right next-door to the Bell store. There I just went to check out phones I could buy outright but that went nowhere. The only thing the salesman wanted to do was sign me up to a month-by-month plan with VirginMobile, through which I could buy a smartphone on the Tab, even though I had said I didn’t want a smartphone. I simply don’t want – or have use for – anything that complicated.  It didn't take long to rate the service as poor and I was out of there in no time at all as it certainly wasn't a place where I wanted do business. If they won't listen to me when I'm buying, you can imagine how well they would listen if I brought them a problem.

I then went to Rogers where I received good service. Since for the past six years I’ve had the $100.00 a year plan with Rogers, I needed different information from them than I did from Bell. I was interested in the Doro phone sold through Rogers. This is a phone geared to seniors. It comes equipped with an emergency contact button, large keyboard, flashlight, daily reminder, etc. The lady at the local store was very helpful but then there was one question that she couldn’t answer (I wanted to know if I could take the money from my pay-as-you-go balance of $172.00 to pay the $99.00 cost of the phone). I fully understood where store staff wouldn’t have the authority to deal with that. Unfortunately, that meant I had to call their customer service at the 1-800 number and that was impossible – I never did get through and finally just hung up. So that’s a bit of a problem – a phone I like a lot, very good local service, terrible support service. I’ll need to think more about that.

Finally, I went to Telus and I hate to say that by this time I was really too tired to ask the right questions, even with the checklist, so I don’t really think I was able to judge them fairly. The service I received was ok – not outstanding – and I had to ask all the questions as nothing was volunteered so that was definitely work, but like I said, that could have been contributed to me. The jury is still out on that one.

There were other providers who had a kiosk at the mall but these seemed to me to be more sell spots then “I can provide the service you want” spots. I may be wrong but that was my impression so I didn't bother to stop in. 

Anyway, visiting the stores with a checklist is definitely the way to go. List everything you want but also what you don't want. Buying the right phone, with or without a plan, is a big consideration. Having all your questions answered and rating the service before signing should definitely make the buying decision easier. Anyone wanting a copy of my checklist can just email me at and I’ll forward it as an MS Word 10 Doc.

IMPORTANT: On the local news on Friday evening, there was a story about the great increase in the number of phones that are stolen everyday. Thieves are brazen enough to grab the phone you just placed on the table beside you or as you're returning it to your purse or backpack. The police want the public to be more aware of this and to have a locked code on their phone and keep their GPS turned on. Just thought I'd pass the information along.

Well, that's it for this week. I hope this information will come in handy next time you're considering another phone or plan.

No comments :

Post a Comment

I want this blog to be interesting, informative and current. Your comments let me know if I'm on track, so comments are greatly appreciated.
Thanks - Lenie