(♪♪)>>Gill: This is “Marketplace”. Cellphone bills gone wild.>>Why is it costing us that much?>>Gill: Insiders share their tricks.>>Ask him if he’s going to warm transfer you.>>Gill: It’s the people versus the cellphone companies.>>Mission accomplished.>>Gill: You can’t afford to miss this. It’s your “Marketplace”. (♪♪)>>Charslie: Okay, you patched in? (phone ringing) We’re setting up our very own call centre. Three customers are about to take on the big three cellphone companies. It’s a call centre challenge. (♪♪) No-nonsense Nancy is ready to rumble with Rogers. Says they’re refusing to replace her dud of a phone.>>I’m usually not one for conflict, but this one just pushed me to the edge.>>Charslie: Darrin is duking it out with Bell. He feels tricked into a deal too good to be true, and now he wants his money back.>>My message to Bell is I’m coming back to try again.>>Charslie: This Italian mama is taking on Telus.>>This is outrageous.>>Charslie: To keep Maria’s business, they’re going to have to make her an offer she can’t refuse. Our customers can’t solve their problems. So we’re calling in two of the pros to help them win their battles. They have the inside scoop. The tips and tricks you need to know.>>Hi, my name is Ron. How can I help you today?>>Charslie: Ron Finnigan spent years on the cellphone service front lines.>>Thank you for holding.>>This retired rep was a pro and has the proof.>>I won this award for good service and excellent sales.>>Charslie: Ron’s heard all your complaints.>>Cellphone providers can do a better job.>>Charslie: To help make it better, he’s about to tell all.>>I want to help you the viewer get the best deal you can.>>It’s ringing.>>Charslie: Professional bill buster Mohammed Halabi takes on the big three every day.>>Transfer me to customer relations. It can be, like, 40 minutes, an hour, on hold.>>Press one.>>Frustrating. Very frustrating.>>Charslie: He’s worked on the inside selling phones for one of the big guys. Fed-up customers hire him to fight their battles.>>That’s just B.S.>>Charslie: He knows the right buttons to push to beat down bills.>>Mission accomplished.>>Charslie: Hi Mohammed. Hi Ron. Thank you guys so much for coming. Welcome to our call centre.>>Thank you.>>Thank you.>>Charslie: So we have our three very frustrated customers. They’re standing by. They’re ready to hit the phones. Sound good?>>Sounds good.>>Charslie: Okay, so Mohammed, you’re going to talk them through this. You’re gonna help them solve their problems. And, Ron, you’re going to be giving us the scoop, fill us in on what’s really happening on the other line.>>Absolutely.>>Charslie: So let’s meet our first caller. Nancy Hebert from Mount Hope, Ontario, come on down. (♪♪)>>This is the phone that causes all my grief.>>Charslie: Nancy says Rogers sold her a dud.>>I’ve just spent two years with a phone that randomly shuts off.>>Charslie: It’s her only phone, so she tried to fix the problem pronto.>>So I’ve talked to clerks in the store, agents over the phone. I have written a letter to Rogers.>>Charslie: She says all she’s been offered is a used refurbished phone.>>It says your device is new.>>Charslie: Now she’s going into cellphone battle mode.>>Rogers, do the right thing or I’m walking.>>Charslie: Hi, Nancy.>>Hi.>>This is Mohammed. Ron.>>Hi, nice to meet you.>>So I think you deserve a free phone.>>Perfect.>>There shouldn’t have been any quibble at all once you’ve demonstrated the phone is defective. It should have been replaced.>>Charslie: All right, you go hit that phone, Nancy. We got your back.>>Okay, thank you. (♪♪)>>Testing. Testing. Can you hear me?>>Yes, I can.>>I’ll be occasionally talking into your ear.>>Charslie: We’re good to go. We’re rolling. Nancy, dial that phone. (♪♪)>>I have been two years in a contract with a phone that shuts off constantly. And I want to know whether Rogers is going to do right by me.>>Charslie: Ron says front line reps don’t have much power. When he was taking calls, here’s all he could offer.>>Probably the most that they can give you a credit for is $50. They certainly can’t give you a free phone.>>Charslie: Not much power and not much time. Rogers’ reps are rewarded based on how quickly they deal with calls. That’s why Mohammed’s strategy is to bypass the front line and ask for customer relations. To do that, try this.>>Ask him if he’s going to warm transfer you.>>Are you going to warm transfer me?>>Charlsie: What’s a warm transfer?>>It’s where he’ll actually get the other agent on the other line and conference in the call.>>Charslie: This way he will explain what we already know to the next person so she doesn’t have to waste her time.>>Exactly. Yeah.>>Charslie: After 11 minutes, she gets a warm transfer to customer relations. But it’s a cold response.>>They need to give me the phone of my choice for zero dollars. And if you can’t authorize that for me today, could you please put me on hold yet again and get me someone who can make that authorization for me? (♪♪)>>Charlsie: Is that true?>>He’s plainly lying. Nancy, ask to speak to a manager.>>Can you please escalate this call and put me through to a manager?>>Charslie: Mohammed’s not buying it, and the agent isn’t transferring to a manager. Why wouldn’t an agent want to transfer someone to a manager?>>It’s not so much they don’t want, their instructions are deal with the call and don’t transfer it. At each level they’re going to try and do whatever they can to stop her from going to a higher level because it is a negative for the people that transfer the call.>>Charslie: Ron says part of his performance was based on keeping transfers to a minimum. Mohammed says stand your ground.>>Nancy how are you feeling right about now?>>I’d like to get off this phone.>>Charslie: After 46 minutes into the call…>>Charslie: Finally she gets a manager. Persistence pays off.>>Charslie: Yeah, Nancy got what she wanted, a phone for zero dollars. In the end, she’s saving over $600.>>I’m going home happy. Stick with it, and you’ll get what you deserve. Thank you. (♪♪)>>Charslie: You guys ready for another call?>>We’re ready.>>Charslie: Okay, let’s bring in our next caller. Maria Iaci from Burnaby, B.C., come on down. Maria Iaci’s cellphone is all about family.>>I have five children and three grandchildren, another one on the way. I’ve been married for 37 years to the same man. I have a relationship with Telus that lasts more than most marriage last.>>Charslie: But she’s not feeling a lot of love for Telus these days.>>We are paying far too much, 227, 228, $245.>>Charslie: Maria and her husband use their phones for the basics.>>Cannoli. We’re making cannoli. Those are cannoli shells. I don’t play games. I don’t download things. Doesn’t fit my needs, nor does it fit my wallet.>>Charslie: Maria wants the plan changed and her bills slashed.>>Telus, let’s make this happen.>>Hi.>>Charslie: Hi Maria. Big smile on your face. I see you brought some accessories.>>Over 20 years these are some of the phones that I’ve gotten from them.>>You’re a loyal customer. That’s really important. So you know, I think today you need to get some discounts on your plan and get pricing that’s more reflective of your needs.>>They can update her pricing to make it much more attractive for her.>>Charslie: Are you ready?>>I’m excited.>>Charslie: I think you’re feisty. Go in there and get them Maria.>>Cha-ching!>>Pick up that phone. [Laughter]>>Go get them. (♪♪)>>Charslie: Maria’s account has phones for her, her husband and son. Mohammed thinks her $200 Bill shouldn’t be much more than 100 monthly.>>I feel that I’m paying way too much money for our three cellphones.>>Charslie: Maria gets transferred to the loyalty department. She’s on hold for 16 minutes.>>Charslie: Then finally a real person.>>Yeah, I am. I’m a 20-year loyal customer.>>Charslie: Mohammed says there’s cheaper deals for long-term customers like Maria, but those prices aren’t advertised. If you don’t ask, they may not tell.>>Tell him to please come back with something better than what’s offered in-market.>>I really want something to really wow me and that’s offered, like, way better than what’s in the market.>>In-market is what your new customer would be eligible for. It’s the prices that are publicized out in the market. The out-of-market plans or the loyalty plans are for tenured customers like Maria.>>I’ve been with you guys 20 years. And I think I deserve something, like, over the top.>>Give me a few moments Maria. I’m going to put you on a quick hold.>>Charslie: Six minutes later…>>Drumroll>>That’s not a savings. Tell him you deserve better pricing. This is standard pricing.>>If that’s my loyalty deal, like, what’s the last 20 years been?>>I think I’m going to go in on this one.>>Okay. (♪♪)>>Gill: Stay on the line. our cellphone challenge ramps up.>>We’re calling in today to either keep our business or move our business.>>Gill: Ready to hang up on your cellphone company? Join the live chat with our coach and get advice at cbc.ca/marketplace.>>Gill: “Marketplace”, always on call for you. (♪♪)>>Charslie: Cellphone bill buster Mohammed Halabi is about to talk tough with Telus.>>Tell him I’m going to speak to him on your behalf.>>I’m going to have to pass the phone on to a friend of mine.>>Charslie: Maria is having trouble convincing Telus to give her a discount on her pricey plan. There’s better deals for loyal customers. And Mohammed knows the right buttons to push. Former call centre service rep Ron Finnigan is listening in.>>So at this point, we’re — you know, 20-year long customer, in my view should be getting something a little bit better than this.>>Can you ask somebody who can do better? Because you’re going to end up losing that account that’s giving 20 year of business.>>Charlsie: Mohammed says never accept the first offer. Keep on escalating.>>Thank you.>>Charslie: After holding for over 7 minutes…>>Charslie: A manager comes on the line.>>We’ve been overpaying for years and years and years. I really don’t want to waste more time on this. I’m looking to spend about $115 a month on all three of these lines, and we’re calling in today to either keep our business or move our business. And you know, it’s your call.>>So what are you offering here right now?>>I’m sure you and I can figure something out Dave you know?>>Charslie: A few minutes later, the offer.>>Okay, say that again, sorry?>>Charlsie: Look how excited Maria is. (♪♪)>>Charslie: Three agents and 75 minutes later, Maria gets a deal. (♪♪)>>I am so thrilled. I can’t believe it went down that low. With the help of Mohammed anyways.>>You have to have some basic understanding of what’s available in the market, first of all.>>Charslie: Educate yourself.>>Educate yourself.>>Charslie: Maria saves about a thousand dollars a year on her cell bills.>>I will take that I can do this. If I can do it, anyone can.>>Charslie: Enjoy those savings. Ready for another call?>>Super excited.>>Charslie: Fantastic! Let’s meet our next caller. Darrin Maidlow from St. Albert, Alberta, come on down.>>My relationship with Bell mobility is currently strained.>>Charslie: Darrin’s beef with Bell starts with turbo sticks. A gadget that shares his cellphone data with his computer. A Bell rep called him up out of the blue and offered him two for free.>>I asked the reprasentative numerous times, this isn’t going to cost extra right? I’m not going to be paying for this, right? And he assured me that wasn’t the case.>>Charslie: Sure the sticks were free, but Darrin says he wasn’t told he’d be charged 30 bucks a month to use them.>>I immediately called Bell and spoke to a representative who assured me this problem would be corrected on my next bill.>>Charslie: Three years later, still no fix. He’s out of the contract but he’s out about a thousand bucks, and he wants it all back.>>What can you do? It’s me against a giant corporation. I don’t have the skills to take on Bell myself.>>Charslie: Don’t worry, Darrin. Help is here. Hi, Darrin.>>Hello.>>Charlsie: Welcome. So Mohammed, what do you think he’s entitled to?>>Well he was clearly promised that these were for free with no additional monthly charge. He was clearly wronged. They told him they were going to correct it, they didn’t. He should get his entire money back.>>Charslie: You ready to take it on?>>You bet.>>Good luck, Darrin.>>Thank you.>>I’ve seen this happen over and over again.>>Charslie: Ron says Darrin’s not alone. Ron’s dealt with customers misled about extra charges on stuff they thought would be totally free.>>Charslie: Darrin goes through it all again.>>Just the amount I paid for the turbo sticks each month for the three years.>>Cover the phone, mention the fact that somebody promised you a resolution. Right? That’s really important.>>Charslie: Darrin is feeling good. It’s the first time he gets a manager on the line. But then comes the offer.>>Yeah, I was assured that they were free monthly. And I would really like to get all of my money back.>>Well, I absolutely did call. And I called several times, but after several attempts I gave up. I was assured that the first time I called it would be taken care of on my next bill, and it was not.>>Charslie: That’s right. Even though Darrin insists he complained, Bell says they have no record of his calls. (♪♪)>>This is just nonsense.>>It’s a bit odd to me that they have all these detailed notes about when they were put on the plan, and there’s no subsequent notes?>>Charslie: Hmm. So there are notes on the sale. But nothing about Darrin’s complaint. (♪♪)>>Excuse me. If you can let me finish. I don’t know why you’re cutting me off. I’m not even done talking yet.>>Gill: will Mohammed’s tough talk score a win this time?>>Gill: Hold the line. Hold your ground. This is your “Marketplace”.>>This is just — it’s nonsense. (♪♪) Tell him you’re going to pass the phone to somebody to speak on your behalf.>>Charslie: Mohammed Halabi is fighting on behalf of Bell customer Darrin who feels ripped off.>>He was promised these sticks would be free monthly. There was going to be no monthly cost for them.>>Charslie: But there was. About a thousand bucks over three years. Darrin’s hoping Mohammed can get him his money back.>>How would you feel if this happened to you? Let me ask you that question.>>That’s what he did.>>Charslie: After going back and forth for several minutes…>>So he finally gave up, and if there was going to be a cancellation fee — excuse me if you can let me finish.>>I don’t know why you’re cutting me off. I’m not even done talking yet.>>No, you can talk. Go ahead.>>Then I want to escalate this call because obviously this isn’t going anywhere.>>I’m not interested in waiting 24 to 48 hours — excuse me. I’m not interested. It’s within your capability to find me a feasible solution, and this isn’t acceptable.>>Charslie: Nice try. But no movement on the three-month credit worth $90.>>This is extremely frustrating. Because they’re making it seem like the fault is on you. When it isn’t. (♪♪)>>Charslie: Darrin’s heading home without a deal. Back in Edmonton, Bell plays telephone tag with Darrin. Today he’s going to give it another shot. (♪♪)>>Oh there we are. So I’m going to –>>Charlsie: Coach Mohammed conferences in from his Ontario office. He’s not ready to throw in the towel either.>>We’re good. I’m taking a big deep breath here before I start.>>Charlsie: A supervisor comes on the line.>>Charlsie: Valued customer? How about that. Off to a good start. And guess what she finds? (♪♪)>>Charslie: Well, well. Bell does have a record of Darrin calling in about the turbo sticks.>>Exactly. And that’s what’s really frustrating is that nobody left really proper notes on the account.>>Charslie: This call sure is different than what Bell said the first time around.>>Yes. He spent a lot of money over it.>>Charslie: And then comes this shocker…>>Charslie: What? Did you hear that? Sold under false pretenses.>>Okay, great. So this is obviously happened before. You’ve seen this kind of issue before.>>Charslie: Still with that admission, Darrin feels vindicated and seems this supervisor wants to help but says her hands are tied.>>Charslie: We asked Bell about the notes on Darrin’s calls and that thing about false pretenses. They tell us reps do their best to help customers and promote products accurately. And they’re still not going to give Darrin a full refund but he’s going to keep fighting.>>Bell, I hope you make the right call and reimburse me my money.>>Charslie: Coach Mohammed will stay by his side.>>I need to say farewell for now to one another. I hope the next time we talk it’s on awesome, positive monetary gain terms.>>Charslie: We’re gonna keep following this story.>>All right. So, until then, adios.>>Gill: Want to bust your cellphone Bills? Get our cellphone cheat sheet at cbc.ca/marketplace. Start dialing.>>So these are the electrodes.>>Gill: Wiring up doctors.>>David: What’s the longest you’ve ever been awake?>>I think close to 24 hours.>>David: 24 hours straight.>>Yeah.>>Gill: Marathon shifts.>>Too much. It’s just not safe.>>David: He’s falling back asleep.