Residential Telus customers not on a Telus Long Distance Plan will understand this tale of customer woe.
In November 2007, Telus Corp. introduced a “Long Distance Network Access” fee of $2.95 a month for those customers in Alberta and British Columbia who don’t have Telus long distance plans. Telus customers with long distance plans pay a fee of $4.95 per month.
About a year ago, I wrangled with Telus to cancel my useless long distance plan and associated $4.95 administration fee. I rarely used long distance, and those monthly calls I did make usually amounted to less than the cost of the administration fee. Rather than get hosed with Telus long distance, I’ve been using pre-paid long distance cards, which actually have WAY better rates than Telus with a plan!
Thinking back, I think I called Telus three times to CANCEL my long distance plan. I can understand why Telus loves their admin fee. Doing the math: five bucks a month, times 12 months, is a nice $60 bucks a year! Not convinced how sweet this fee is? Just multiply this $60 bucks by the number of years I paid this freaking fee…and I get $360 bucks! Now multiply this number again by the number of Telus long distance customers! Yikes! Now this figure doesn’t include compounding…so now I’m getting pissed all over again.
Anyhow, until this November 2007, I’ve been pretty darn happy NOT paying the Telus $4.95 administration fee and using my pre-paid phone cards. Then in November, I find a new Telus happy-go-lucky charge – the Long Distance Access Fee at $2.95 a month! Yikes!
Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall says the fee is not unlike a distribution fee charged by utility companies.
“It’s not uncommon to take fee increases to recoup costs,” says Hall. “The company has invested more than a billion on its wireline network to improve service.” Hall also says about 80 per cent of customers charged the $2.95 fee would benefit by signing up for a long-distance plan.
Do you see where I am going with this? Since I make sooo few long distance calls, I am one of the 20 per cent of customers who get screwed with the $2.95 fee. I simply do not make enough long distance calls per month to even exceed the dang alternative, the $4.95 administration fee!
When I called Telus last month to complain about this new fee, they tried to sell me a long distance plan. Can you feel my blood boil? Anyways, Telus Corp’s answer to customers like me is to put “Call Guardian” on my line. This means no long distance calls can be dialed from my line. I can still use my pre-paid 1-800 number phone cards, but if there’s ever an emergency I cannot quickly dial a long distance phone from my line. The addition of Call Guardian is the only way I can avoid paying either the $4.95 admin fee or the $2.95 access fee.
I’ve sent in a complaint to the CRTC. I think Telus is attempting to make third-party long distance providers less competitive with their fee structure.
Don’t be afraid to call Telus and complain. I’m waiting for Telus to refund me this access fee for the month of November. I’ll let you know how this works out for me.