I didn’t break it

A couple of days ago, I received a phone call from my mom stating that the home phone was out of service. There was no dial tone and no calls were able to be made or received. The DSL internet connection uses the same line as the phone but that appeared to be working just fine. I’ve read somewhere that the phone uses two percent of the phone line so the DSL modem is able to use the rest so maybe that why those aren’t affected but there’s no reason why it would just suddenly stop.

I had to make a call to Bell Canada’s Tech Support line and I hate calling them because they’re never any help. The people who can help are off duty because their office hours are 8:00am to 4:00pm or something. Every time I call after hours, I’ll get someone in India whom I can hardly understand. Luckily, this time I spoke with someone who was clear when speaking English.

I told the representative the issue with the phone line but that took a while because she reiterated everything I said back to me. That’s not really a bad thing since she’s making sure that she understands the problem because if she didn’t, she wouldn’t be able to relay the correct information to the corresponding people.

Me: My parents phone line appears to have gone done. There’s no dial tone and when someone tries to call, they get a busy signal. The DSL line appears to be okay though since we’re connected to the internet without any issues.
CSR: Okay, so your phone line does not work. There’s no dial tone and when people call you, they get a busy signal?
Me: Correct. Could we have a technician come over and check the phone line?
CSR: Of course. Could I ask you some questions before we send someone out?
Me: Sure!
CSR: Outside your house, is there a gray box?
Me: Ummm, I’m not sure about that.
CSR: Okay, no problem. Have you tried testing the connection on other jacks other than the one that your phones presently connected to?
Me: Yes. We have two phone jacks in the house and I’ve tested it on the phone on both of them and I get the same result.
CSR: Okay, so you have two phone jacks and you’ve tried both of them and they don’t work?
Me: Correct.
CSR: Okay, I’ll schedule a technician to check the lines for tomorrow but before I do, I have to let you know that if he finds that the problem is inside the house, there will be a fee of up to $79.35.
Me: Whoa, that’s a lot for a test. So if the problem isn’t inside the house, there’s no charge?
CSR: That’s right.
Me: Okay, can we schedule someone for tomorrow.
CSR: Sure. Will the hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm be good for you?
Me: Yes, that’s fine.
CSR: Okay, the technician will give you a call if he’s not able to make it during those hours tomorrow.

I don’t know why their hours are like that. Couldn’t they have someone working after regular business hours? It’s a residential line and like most residents, we are at work between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm.

Yesterday, I get a call from my dad saying that no one has come by the house to check the phone. I didn’t receive any phone calls from the technician so I had assumed that he stopped by the house. I called up Bell and asked for a status update.

Me: A technician was schedule to check our phone line yesterday and I haven’t heard back from anyone yet so I’m just following up on the status of that.
CSR: Our records shows that the technician was there and the problem is inside the house.
Me: What do you mean? No one showed up at the house.
CSR: Yes, he was there and he checked the lines but he didn’t find any issues.
Me: So he’s assuming that the problem is inside the house?
CSR: Yes and if you would like a diagnostic, there’s going to be a charge of $79 to get the line tested.
Me: Is there any sort of diagnostic that I can do on my own? I mean, $79 is a pretty hefty fee for a test.
CSR: No, unfortunately there isn’t anything you can do to test the line.
Me: Okay, so if the technician comes here and finds that the problem is inside the house, what would he do?
CSR: He can repair the jacks and that can cost up to $99 per jack.
Me: What?! Are you serious? I’ll have to call you back and think about that.

I’m sure that if the phone jack needs to be replaced, it wouldn’t cost $99 to buy a new one and install it. I’ve taken one of them apart and it’s just four screws. It’s not hard to wind the wires around the screws and then tighten the screws. I could get my little brother to do that and pay him with a year’s subscription to Xbox Live.

If getting the line tested and repaired will cost over $150, I’d consider switching providers. I can probably save $150 by switch over to Rogers or something. If a company provides a service and their equipment fails, it shouldn’t be up to the customer to pay for repairs. If I’m hosting my website using someone’s server and that server goes down, I shouldn’t have to pay for a technician to go and get it back up. If it costs $99 to repair a phone jack then I think that Bell is paying their field technician a bit too much.