Exclusive Hidden camera investigation: Misleading sales tactics for Bell services (Marketplace)


[♪] Erica:This is
your
Marketplace. Erica:We get a job on the
inside to learn the Bell sell.
Sales secrets revealed.They’re only paying us
for commission so they’re only paying us if we make sales. Erica:A special
Go Public/Marketplace
investigation how not to
get duped at the door.
[ ♪ ] [ ♪ ] Erica:We’re
going undercover.
We’re waiting for
the people to come out. Erica:Following door-to-door
sales reps selling
Bell Canada’s
latest home services.
We’ve heard a lot of complaints
so we’re doing something no
one’s done before.Getting one of our own hired
at a company that sells
Bell door-to-door.We want to learn for
ourselves why people
who buy in feel misled.[ ♪ ] Hello. Erica:Gary Gemus remembers
the front porch sales pitch.
Fibe had just come to the
area and that’s why they were calling on people. Erica:They’re
selling Fibe internet and TV.
Voice-over:Bell offers
blazing fast internet
and industry leading
security features
all on Canada’s largest
fibre optic network.
They were offering some
very good incentives as far as pricing was concerned. Erica:For TV,
internet and home phone,
Gary says the sales rep
guarantees a monthly price
of 145.90 for two years.I asked him, is there going
to be any increases and he said no, no, no, this is 145.90
and it’s going to be for the full 24 months. Erica:With that
guarantee, he signs up.
But his monthly bill does
in fact go up a few bucks.
It’s not the dollar
value, it’s the principle. If you say you’re
guaranteeing a price, you better back it up. Erica:Is Gary an isolated
case or are other reps selling
Bellmaking false
promises at the door?
[ ♪ ] Erica:We’re about
to find out.
Our undercover producer arrives
for door-to-door training.
She’s here to learn
all the sales tactics.
Mohamed Abdelhadiis the man behind Mox 1
business solutions,
a subcontractor
hired to sell
Bell. Do you know your intro?I hope so.Okay, let’s hear it. Erica:We
rehearse a sales script.
Producer:Because your
name is on my list,
you’re eligible
for fantastic deals.
Erica:Mohamed’s
making sure we know our lines.
Huge. -Producer:Huge deals.
-On-going.-On-going deals.
-Discounts.-Huge on-going discounts.
-You got it. Erica:We’re told to
stick to that training script.
You know what’s
really cool about this one, it works, and this
one is teachable. Everybody can make a
ton of money from it. [ ♪ ] Erica:The promise of
money is a big motivator.
Man:I do.Erica:The team is made
up of mostly 20 somethings.
Erica:With big dreams.Erica:With script in hand,
teams fan out to neighbourhoods
outside Toronto.Over seven days, we shadow
trainers day and night.
They hit hundreds
of homes a day.
Erica:Reps are
given leads by Bell,
names and addresses targeting
potentially new customers.
[ ♪ ] Erica:John Lawford is a
lawyer who heads up the public
interest advocacy
centre, a consumer watchdog.
We advise people to be,
you know, extremely careful at the door. Erica:He
agrees to watch along.
So if you’re game, let’s
take a look at what they say. Sure, great. Erica:First up,
the pitch on price.
Erica:Forever?Really?Gary’s price was guaranteed
too but his bill crept up.
He called Bell to find out why.They say, well, it’s in the
contract that we’re allowed to bill you if our
administration costs go up. And other incidents other
than the service itself. Erica:Yep, Bell says
prices are subject to change.
It’s in the fine print.Erica:A key detail Bell says
it requires customers be told
but Gary says it
was never mentioned.
Back on hidden
camera, same story.
Erica:Not once does our
undercover producer hear sales
reps reveal that
price could go up.
Your forever price or
the maximum price Bell
can ever charge you.Erica: A forever price?
Sounds like it’s– Yeah, I would interpret that
as being– going past say a two-year contract and into
another period of time. Erica: Is that problematic? Yes, because if their
contract comes in the mail and it says the price may change,
that’s — it’s contrary to what’s said at the door so
overall that can be enough to, you know, mislead a consumer. There have been many times where
the Competition Bureau of Canada has gone after companies for
talking about a guaranteed price for lifetime or forever. [ ♪ ] Erica:And it’s not
just the forever price.
Sales reps are also twisting
the truth about another deal,
a one-year promo discount.Erica:New customers get a
special discount for signing up
with Bell at the door.Because we are going
door-to-door though, what I’m going to do
for you is very simple. I’m going to give
it to you for about $131. Okay? I’m not gonna give it to
you for three months, nor am I gonna give it
you for six months, okay? But I will give it to
you for one year. Erica:And here’s the thing,
they also lead you to believe
you’ll be getting that one-year
discount year after year.
It’s part of their training.Erica:Sure enough,
out in the field.
Erica:But some ofBell’scall
centre employees contact us
warning they often can’t renew
those deals at the door so
sales reps shouldn’t be
making that promise.
It looks like they are
promising something that they can’t deliver. Yeah, it looks
that way to me too. That’s law school 101 is you
can’t guarantee the outcome of a negotiation, right, and it’s
unfortunate it looks like it’s being used to try to entice
people into a sale. Hello. Erica:When Gary
called to complain.
He says the customer service
rep confirmed he’s not the only
customer feeling duped.Customer service
basically responded in that, yes, I know, we’ve had some
issues with this situation where other people have not been given
the full story and dealing with the same situation. I said, well, I think it’s
up to Bell to honour what was basically told us at the door. Erica:But Bell won’t budge.He says the sales rep told
him you should have read
the contract.You can’t just put the
responsibility just on the consumer because the
consumer is relying on aBellrepresentative. Erica:Time to let you
in on another sales tactic.
We learn how to
sell you on speed.
One really easy
thing they can do, is if they ever do a
speed test on their phone, a hundred times out of–
like 99 out of a hundred times, their internet speed is not
what they’re paying for. [ ♪ ] Erica:Sure enough.In the field, the rep gets
this customer to test her
current speed.Erica:And it doesn’t
look good.
Erica:The rep
promises
Bellcan do better.What Bell is promising
you guys is this…
Erica:She’s sold on
speed, signs up with Bell.
Can you make those
speed guarantees? Interestingly,
most of the contracts, and I’ve looked at Bell’s, has
a clause saying there are many factors that affect your speed. Erica: How does
that sit with you? It’s an important factor,
speed is right after price, so it’s disturbing because I
think it can mislead somebody into signing up for
a contract, yeah. Erica:The high-speed pitch
worked for this home owner.
She got Fibe installed.So, do those promises stack up?Time for us to
make a house call.
Hi, Rhona.
Erica Johnson. Hi, Erica,
nice to meet you. -Come in.
-Thank you. Erica:We tell Rhona Carleton
about our undercover work.
What was it about the pitch
that you found appealing? We had some lagging
with computer speed, we thought we could
improve our computer speed. Erica:But when we take
a look at the actual pitch.
What I’m doing is
I’m going to bump —
Erica: Uh-oh. We lost signal…
[ Laughter ] Erica: ..on your wi-fi. That’s hilarious. Erica:We get the wi-fi back.This is your download speed.My download speed right now,
it’s like 50 times way better.
Erica:What was
her promise to you?
You’re going to get 50
megabytes per second and that was supposed to be the minimum. When the sales
rep came to your door, she got you to do a speed test. Let’s do one now, and see
what you’re getting. Okay. Erica:We use a
Google speed test,
same one the sales rep used.Oh, my. Oh, my. So, that’s interesting.3.18 is your download speed.So it hasn’t improved at all
according to the test she did at the door. Correct, yeah. This is not 50
megabytes per second. Erica: Belladvertises up to
a specific speed but the sales
rep went further, guaranteed a
minimum speed of 50 megabytes
per second.Do you feel misled? Absolutely. Erica:We know different
tests sometimes turn up
different results so Rhona
takes the Bell speed test,
too, the one
recommended on its own website.
Her speed is better but still
short of what was promised.
If you’re selling me 50
megabytes per second and I’m paying for 50
megabytes per second, that’s what I
should be able to get. So, meet your commitments. Erica:More
sales tactics revealed.
So let’s go downstairs and
see exactly what kind of setup we have down there. Erica:Promised fiberoptics.This is the wiring
coming in from outside. Erica:So where is it?And we go looking for answers.Hi, Mr. Abdelhadi,
Erica Johnson fromCBC.Erica:This is
your
Marketplace. Erica:The real deal
on your
Marketplace. [ ♪ ] Erica: Marketplaceand
Go Publicare teaming upinvestigating door-to-door
sales for Canada’s biggest
telecom,Bell.We’re tagging along
undercover to hear the pitch.
Erica:So far, sales reps are
misleading customers on prices.
And speed.This is not 50
megabytes per second. [ ♪ ] Erica:Another
sales tactic to sell
Bell?Emphasizing fiberoptics.Erica:Fiberoptics sure was
a selling point for Gary Gemus.
They mention that, you know,
it was fiberoptics and that that’s the best quality and
you’re going to get the highest speed from an
internet standpoint. Erica:So we ask to see
those fiberoptic cables.
This is the wiring. But inside, as you can see… Erica:It’s not
a fiberoptic cable.
It’s just regular copper.At the door, they said
we were getting fiberoptics. So, you know, there’s a major,
major issue that I think has to be addressed. [ ♪ ] Erica:So
what’s really going on?
In Gary’s neighbourhood,
fiberoptic cables only go to a
box on his street
called a node.
So this is where my
supposedly fiberoptics is going to my house. We are at least 300
feet from our house. Erica:From here, it’s old
fashioned copper wiring back
to his home.Meaning you can’t get
the same speed as an
all fiber connection.What they told me at
the door isn’t correct. I don’t have fiber
coming into the house, I have fiber at the road so I’m
not sure technology-wise if and when that’s going to be
available to me into my home or whether that’s just
marketing ploy that they have. Erica:So what’s the
impression being left
at the door?Our undercover producer
questions that because the rep
knows this neighbourhood
is just like Gary’s,
it’s not fiber
direct to the home.
CertainlyBellneeds to wake
up and come to the party and make sure that they deliver
what they say they’re going to deliver. Erica:We’ve sure got
questions for
Bellso wesay let’s talk.[ Phone Ringing ] After the tone,
please record your message. We’ve been trying for some
time now to get an interview with somebody fromBellto
talk about your door-to-door sales reps. Erica:Will Bell
ever answer our call?
Well, we wait to hear
back about an interview…
Our undercover producer’s
getting a pep talk with the
team heading back out
to sell
Bell. Erica:Mohamed Abdelhadi
runs Mox 1 door-to-door sales
reps for hire.He pumps up the team.[ ♪ ] Erica:The chance to make
good money is what enticed
Krys Weiss to join that
team two years ago.
I had the impression
that I’d be making roughly a thousand dollars per week. Erica:But there’s serious
pressure to sell to make that
kind of cash.They’re only paying us
for commission so they’re only paying us if we make sales. Erica:Mostly on commission,
working six days a week,
knocking on doors for hours.One of the first quotas that
we would have to do is basically we would have to hit
60 houses on a night. We’re setting our soul
outside of the door. And we have to do everything
that we can do to guarantee a sale for the company. Erica:To
guarantee that sale,
he was trained to literally
get a foot in the door.
I would just basically point
in front of a doorway and stick my hand in front of the
household so that they know that I want to get inside,
especially considering this is a very cold environment. Erica:In training, we’re
told to use the weather to
our advantage, too.They key between, like,
whether it can be a successful sale or not successful sale is
really stepping into the house. The one thing I like to do is
like if it’s cold outside or it’s hot outside, I’ll talk
just about the weather, I’m like hey, like,
it’s super cold outside, do you mind if we just step
inside so we don’t freeze to death. Erica:Out in
the field, it works.
Erica:For Krys, the
pressure to sell was too much.
After two months, he quit.He has a message for the
people he pitched at the door.
I have to take
responsibility for my actions.I want to apologize
for misleading them.
So not talking to them about
the fine print that’s going
that’s in the contract.And that was a big
issue that I have, and I really want to say sorry. Erica:Coming
up, we catch up…
Is he coming this way?..with the man behind
those reps selling
Bell. Well, please tell us what
you say to customers who feel misled. Erica:This is
your
Marketplace. Erica:Telecom tricks
on your
Marketplace…Caught on camera.Misleading pitches.The maximum price
Bell
can ever charge you — Erica:On prices,
promos and speeds.
Hi there,
how’s it going today? All right. Erica:Consumer advocate
John Lawford says it’s
time for change.If this is a
widespread practice, it means Canadians are getting
ripped off at the door in quite a big way, and the question
would be whether anybody’s ever going to do anything about it. [ ♪ ] Erica:We’re still waiting
for an on-camera interview
withBell.A spokesperson keeps telling
us he’s working on our request.
Man:There’s a black SUV
just on the other side.
Erica:How about
the boss behind
those door-to-door sales?Bill, is he coming this way?The man who trained us,he won’t
give us an interview either.
Okay, ready?So we’re knocking on his door.Hi, Mr. Abdelhadi,
Erica Johnson fromCBC.Do you have a minute to
answer a few questions about your operation? Just talk toBell.Why are you training your
salespeople to mislead people
at the door?Talk toBell.
Thank you very much.You are responsible for —-Please talk toBell.
Thank you very much. -They’re wearing
Bell
uniforms. You’re training people
to mislead customers. You can talk toBell.-Thank you very much.
-Why are you doing that? I’m not the qualified
person for the interview. Well, you’re training people,
sending them out door-to-door, they’re making promises
that they often can’t -deliver on.
-Thank you very much. Please tell us what you say
to customers who feel misled by your sales people. You can talk toBell.
Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. No answers at all? I really appreciate it. We would appreciate if you
would stop misleading people at the door, sir. Thank you very much.
You can talk toBell.I really appreciate your time. See ya. Erica:We would like to talk to
Bellon camera but afterweeks of asking, no luck.Instead,Bellsends
a statement saying,
“The examples of
the sales practises you
provided are in no
way aligned with
Bell’scommitment to providingthe best customer
experience possible.”
It also says Abdelhadi and his
Mox 1 crew will no longer be
sellingBellat the door.Ties severed for
breaches of
Bell’spolicies.Belladds, “We apologize
to anyone who may have been
adversely affected
by this conduct.”
As for Rhona, an
apology may not be enough.
The customer is
the be-all and the end-all. Erica:Misled
on price and speed,
she hasn’t ruled
out leaving
Bell. Don’t create somebody
who’s an unhappy customer right upfront because
that’s what’s happened. Erica:The deal at the
door hasn’t exactly made Gary
a satisfied customer either.Transparency and honesty
and integrity is a major part in keeping the customer. Erica:After
hours of fighting Bell,
the telecom says it will
give Gary some money back,
81 bucks.But it was never
about the money.
Well, a pot of gold
is many different things. I will be very happy
if this helps somebody. That’s my pot of gold. Erica:If you feel you’ve been
duped at the door or on the
phone by any telecom provider,
check out our
Marketplacewebsite and fight back.[ ♪ ] Erica:The dirty truth
about makeup.
Asha:So the next person that
tried on a blush tester
would be putting
that on their face?
Oh, yes. Erica:From brushes
and bronzers,
to lip gloss and lipstick,is it a case of tryer beware?That’s unbelievably disgusting. Erica:Coming soon
on your
Marketplace. [ ♪ ]

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