Addicted to novelty since 2001

Switching from Telus to Shaw

Telus and Shaw are the two biggest broadband providers in BC. Derek is switching from the former to the latter:

Had Telus shown instead that it got the new competitive telecommunications landscape, by treating me and my family as valuable customers worth keeping, it would have been in line for tens (or maybe hundreds) of thousands of dollars of further revenue from us during the rest of our lifetimes. Now their share of our communications dollars is likely only to decline from that baseline, possibly to zero.

If you’re in sales, marketing or broadband, read the whole thing–it’s thoughtfully written and reflects thousands of customers’ view.

In the piece, Derek bemoans the fact that loyal existing customers are ignored while new customers are offered free iPods. Is it fair to expect, as an existing customer, to receive special offers to new customers? I’m not really sure, but he makes a good point.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard more complaints about Telus’s quality of service than I have about Shaw’s. Also, there are plenty of other reasons not to like Telus.

The Fringe Festival, incidentally, has drawn the same conclusion (I’m on the board). They recently moved offices (about 500 feet or so), and it’s been an utter fiasco trying to get their Internet and phone lines reconnected.

UPDATE: You can read other hilarious stories of appalling Telus customer service over at Travis’s blog and Caustic Sense.

19 Responses to “Switching from Telus to Shaw”

  1. Derek

    I don’t expect the same deal as new customers. I expect a better deal. As I mentioned on my blog, it’s just shoddy business to chase expensive new customers whose loyalty is essentially unknown, all the while letting your solid (and cheaper to retain) existing base dribble (or, in my case, stomp angrily) away.

    Telus makes it *in my interest* as a tech-savvy, spendy communications customer to go to the competition. By definition that’s not smart marketing. I’m leaving Telus both because I feel personally slighted by this marketing campaign, and because it indicates that Telus doesn’t understand how it should treat customers generally. That implies to me that, unless that attitude changes, the company is probably on the way out, however long its decline might eventually take.

    sally Reply:

    on july 14 2009 ..i was trying to call my parents..i cant contact the i called the shaw “0” and the operator answer..and ask whats the problem..i said i cant contact my parents..she asked whats the number so i told her. and then as i was telling her the country she keeps saying…pardon me?..with that kind of tune…but i didint really think about that..anyway.i thought she’s gonna try to dial it for me..but she said something about the i ask if she meant support she said ” apparantly thats what i said..with very rude tune…so i cant help but tell her…with manner on….low tune still…i said,you know that you are very mean..person?? i dont wanna judge her by her attitude towards me..but i just want her to know how rude she is..and she said okey “maam goodnite…i just find this telephone operator shouldnt be in this kind of job…specially if theres a person and cant really speak english….what she’s gonna say???? all i can say…OMG”””

  2. Kirsten

    A friend of mine moved apartments this summer and it took Telus SEVEN WEEKS to switch his ADSL line over. With that kind of treatment, you’d never get me to switch over to them, even for a free iPod.

    Telus may never realize that however much money they spend on putting pictures of cute animals on every visible space, it will have no effect next to the damage a few word-of-mouth stories can do to their business.

  3. Mel

    Chris and I ditched Telus completely when we switched to VOIP (around the time of the union website fiasco), and it won’t take long for it to save us the $120 cancellation charge Telus dinged us with.

    I’ve always preferred Shaw’s service – both customer and technical – to Telus; I’ve switched providers pretty much every time I’ve moved in the past 6 years, depending on who had the sweeter deal.

  4. donna

    I don’t hate Telus — hell, I used to work there, and up until the last two months, they treated me very well. Hell, they even paid me way more money than I ever expected during the crazy-ass layoffs — enough to lounge around and do dick all for 8 months… and I only worked there for a year and a half in total.

    But yeah, this whole strike thing is crap. All morning, my companies phone lines (1-888 number and regular number) were coming up as “not in service”. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. We had at LEAST two customers cancel because they’re terrified that we’re going out of business, and nothing I could say could convince them that the phone company fucked up. When we moved offices in September, there were so many broken promises and screwups that I’m *still* trying to catch up from the backlash after that.

    I work for a web hosting company. Without phones & internet, we don’t exist. Period.

    And on a personal note, I had an overdue payment due on a cell phone that I maintain for my mother. Rather than suspend the phone as I would expect, they cancelled the service without warning. What the hell? That’s just bizarre. Do you not *want* to keep my service? It’s not like cancelling it does any good – the contract was over 3 years prior. I recommended to my mother that she just get a new phone with a new provider, but she wanted to keep the number. Meh. She’s less indignant than I am. :)

    Telus doesn’t seem to understand that having a strongly recognized brand (and brand recognition is *vitally* important to them) only goes so far: You have to have a brand that isn’t strongly recognized as being a total fuckup.

    I recognize that they’re on strike and that some services are therefore totally fucked up while they’re sorting out their labour issues… but seriously, SORT OUT THE LABOUR ISSUES ALREADY. It’s time to start capitulating before everyone throws out their home phones and gets Bell cells.

  5. Luc

    //begin rant//

    I have never — EVER — experienced as many problems with customer service from a company as I have with Telus.

    I don’t kid myself into believing any big companies’ ad campaigns full of crap about how much they care about their loyal customers. But normally, with any of these companies, if I am unsatisfied regarding a product or service, there is a process in place to help resolve the problem, and usually it’s done quickly and efficiently. Not with Telus. Not ever with Telus.

    I could write a novella about the problems I’ve experienced with Telus’ internet, phone, and mobile services. Mostly with internet service, but always, always, always with any level of customer service at Telus. Moving to a new address seems to really throw them completely out of whack.

    I’ve discovered that it’s absolutely guaranteed (it’s almost funny at this point), that if I call Telus for anything at all — to add a service or discontinue a service, or because I’m experiencing a problem, or there’s a mistake on my bill, whatever — no matter how long I’m on the line with them, no matter how much they click away in my account file to “help” me: IT WILL NOT FIX THE PROBLEM.

    It’s a universal absolute with Telus. Every single time I’ve called to rectify something, it has taken several months, and over a dozen staff over that period of time, to finally fix it. Like when I was paying two internet bills: one for my new apartment, and one for the apartment I had just moved out of.

    I’m a big believer in not shooting the messenger. I don’t like to blame the person on the other end of the phone line for the problems that saturate a company like Telus. I believe in being nice, polite, patient, even to a fault, because I know it serves me better in the end, and it’s just good manners. But the one and only single time in my life when I have totally lost it on the phone was with a Telus customer service rep, whose openly dismissive attitude towards me was offensive to me as a customer.

    One of the problems at the time (there were several separate issues, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m focussing on this one) was I discovered that I had been signed up, without my consent or knowledge, for a three-year internet service plan. I wanted OUT of this plan, and wanted to be put on the regular month-by-month plan. I don’t like contracts like this, and I don’t care how much I’m saving with or without it.

    I was told that, yup, here it is, right here in your file: they called you and you said ‘yes, put me on the three-year plan.’ This, it seems, is all the approval you need. No signature, no confirmation number (more on that later), no proof at all, just someone typing something into your file. I told her I want out of the plan. “But it’s such a great deal,” she says. I don’t care, that’s not the point. I want off that plan. “Why? Are you leaving Telus?” That’s not the point either, I simply want to be removed from this plan that I never signed up for in the first place.

    “Well, it’s a $120 cancellation fee.” What?? To cancel something I didn’t ask for in the first place? Obviously, there’s been an error. I need your help to fix this. “Well, I can’t cancel it without charging you $120. It’s a good deal you know, you should keep it.”

    I don’t want the deal, I don’t want the plan. What I need is your help here. “Well, I can’t help you.”

    I asked to speak to her manager, as she was clearly and completely refusing to help me in any way.

    “I am my manager,” she snapped impatiently. Oh really? So, what, YOU own the company? You’re the top of the food chain? I want to speak to YOUR boss, I don’t care if you’re the department manager. “I am my boss, I’m the manager here.” She refused to budge.

    I held to my usual approach, trying to appeal to her desire to want to help (however dim it appeared), and letting her understand that I am frustrated and helpless and need her to help me. I was stupefied at how she really didn’t give a flying crap.

    No go. She refused to help me. “Keep the plan, or cancel it and pay $120. It says here that you clearly signed up for it. You’re responsible for this.”

    I did not want to hang up. I truly believed I could at least annoy her into helping me. I mean, if I keep her on the line long enough, she doesn’t get to fill her quota of “customers helped” so she’ll do whatever she needs to do to get me off the line. I was on the phone for 30 minutes with her.

    It ended with me shouting at her and swearing a lot and — I kid you not, something I’ve never ever done before in my life, but had seen done in movies by hammy actors — slamming the receiver on the kitchen counter repeatedly, shouting things like “Why are you so fucking stupid??!! What the fuck is wrong with you?? What is so fucking complicated about this?? Why are you refusing to help me?!!”

    I’m not proud of that moment, as comical as it is now. No customer should reach that point. And like I said: Never done that before, super calm and patient guy. I like being nice. People who yell and swear at others really offend me, but I turned into one that day.

    I ended up hanging up on her in a rage.

    The next day, I cancelled my internet with them (which I continued to be charged for for more than four months, not surprisingly), and switched to Shaw. And discovered that they have people in their customer service department who know the difference between a Mac and a PC. That was nice too.

    When I called to cancel my service, I spoke to a rather nice fellow. I joked that, despite what my file in front of him says, I’m not about to yell at him like a crazy person. I’m not even going to go into how utterly and wholly dissatisfied I am with Telus’ service or that the company he works for is the worst I’ve ever encountered, and I didn’t want him to try any last-chance sales pitches in his script.

    I was ready to chew my leg off to get out of this damned trap. He sounded… apologetic and even sad. He seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. Maybe because, in his department, he is constantly taking calls like mine, from people wanting out. It must be like getting dumped over the phone every five minutes: “I hate you! I never want to see you again! Go to hell!” At any rate, he quickly and politely cancelled my service. And then I asked:

    “Can I have the confirmation number please? I’m asking because, in my entire history with Telus, I always end up having to call back again and again to fix the same mistakes that don’t get fixed. I can guarantee to you, no matter how thorough you will be in cancelling my service, I’ll be calling back in a few weeks because it’ll still be on.”

    “Um.. we, uh, we don’t have confirmation numbers for when people cancel their accounts.”

    I laughed and laughed and laughed. Like, a crazy person laughs, you know? I mean, it was so.. fitting. “That’s just perfect,” I said. “Really, it’s totally not a surprise to me. It’s completely stupid, but it’s not a surprise.”

    “It’ll be here in your file if you need to call back.” Oh, of course it will. Thank goodness for my file!

    I am trapped for another 18 months with Telus Mobility (cancelling at this point is a far too expensive option), after which I shall not return. I am currently in the process of switching my landline to VOIP. The less I have to deal with Telus the better.

    And when I’m completely switched away from Telus — internet, phone, and cel — I shall throw a party celebrating the fact that I am no longer giving them a red cent. You’re all invited.

    // end rant //

    SteveP Reply:

    you are right. i have the same problem with telus. they are probably the worst in the world. i recently changed my phone company. telus does not seem to understand what to do with my inernet service. i am without internet for 14 days. they are not doing anything about it. i cant get out of it as i have stupidly singed a contract to get 400 dollars for computer. i hate telus. i will never ask even my enemy to be with telus.

  6. Andy

    Cross posted to Derek’s comments as well:

    There’s at least one Professor of Business Economics and Management at Caltech who agrees with Derek:

    The Price is Right Mysterious

    He also tries to explain airline pricing, though I pretty much understood that airlines want the flea-market model: “so, how much is it worth to you?”

  7. Tim de Vries

    As a long time customer of Telus, I have used almost all of their packages. I must admit that once set up, properly…, the service was fine. Recently though, I moved from Ponoka to Rimbey, albeit only temporarily, however, in the time it took Telus to connect my service, they had also taken the time to block all the previously unblocked ports that I use, ie, http, ftp, ssh, and of course, they had already blocked smtp, (outgoing email). They tell me it is so that they can stop viruses and spam, which as many of you will acknowledge, that that is just crap to be a bit vulgar. I still get email and web viruses, although my non-Telus virus solution does detect and delete. I STILL get a wholly unreasonable amount of spam and this is with their spam detection system fully operational (or so they say). On asking about running a server package, for which any customer, even a new one, would pay more than double the dynamic package, they tell me that if it is found that spam or viruses are being sent that they would disconnect my account with any contractual obligation still remaining. Further to this, the cost of the server packages, if you sign up for two or more years is still only five dollars ($5.00) less that the original price. ???? BTW, that’s the same discount dynamic users get if they sign up for an equal amount of time.

    Of course I tried to speak to a manager, but they couldn’t come to the telephone (Ironic isn’t it), because they were too busy with labour dispute meetings. Go figure.

    I’m not sure if you were also aware that Telus started out as Alberta Government Telephones (AGT). They promised they would never move their head office out of Edmonton. It is now in Vancouver, possibly due to the customer base. Also, since taking over AGT, Telus has spread to British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and now finally to Saskatchewan. (All on the backs of existing customers) Now God Forbid, you actually go to AOL, (myself, I’ve had a nightmare with them also), but even if you did, you would still be leasing a DSL line vicariously through Telus.

    Support those who support you. If they lie, cheat, and essentially steal from you, drop em like the steaming hot plate of shit that they are.

    Merry Christmas, Telus.


  8. J Hiscock

    I TOO have never met a company quite like Telus (mobility). W/O getting into too much detail, I have had to call their customer “service” line for the last 6 months as apparently the “coding” on my bill has been wrong. My $40 family plan has been approaching $110 every month because I’m being charged an additional family member charge of $15 each time. While Telus has admitted that this is a “mistake on their part,” and that “our technicians are working on the problem 24/7,” it never seems to be fixed. Last month, Jan 9th, I called YET AGAIN with the same problem, where I met a seemingly competant individual (the first in a long line of INcompetents I might add), who apparently “fixed” the coding on my account very simply. With the correct bill rate in hand I paid the darn thing again. This month I get a bill for (GET THIS!!!) over $164.00 dollars!!! Investigating the call-by-call report I notice that (surprise!) on the 9th of January all of my wife’s and my day-time calls are being billed $0.35 each. Needless to say the both of us never even neared the 400 included minutes that we have been given on the account. Then you call the reps and they are once again completely oblivious, seemingly unable to admit there is a problem with anything and that perhaps “one of (our) children” used the phone too much…WE DON’T HAVE KIDS! Our phones are off almost all the time. ARGGGGGGGH!

    “Free calling on your birthday.” Don’t even get me started. I have called Telus Mobility on no less than 8 occasions to fix my wife’s and my birthdays. Every time I call they verify that “oh, yes” I have your brithday down as Sept and your wife’s down as Feb (which is correct), however every Feb and Sept we get a happy little text greeting telling us that we hope we can enjoy the free calling…however I get my wife’s message and she always gets mine. It’s not the fact that I’m worried about getting something free on my birthday, because let’s face it, nothing in life is free (especially from TELUS), but the fact that these incompetents cannot get anything right. Then when one complains and requests to get out of a contract they tell you it will be $560 please. I don’t think so!

  9. RS

    I switched too but the bad news is that Telus wins again ,cause Shaw buys the service from Telus?????????

  10. TK




  11. S.L. Webster

    I do not have a website but we have been trying to get a phone line installed at our place in rural B.C. Unfortunately Telus is the only provider out there. They have a horrible reputation. Applied beginning of July and nothing has been done to date. I have logged hours on the phone trying to sort this mess out. Each time I’m assurred all is well and IT ISN’T!! Telus has no competition out there. For a communications company their lack of communication is appalling. We are mobility customers as well. I am getting sick of telling my story over and over. Time to move on to another provider, at least here in Alberta anyway.

  12. Rick Hyne

    Well, I am looking at Telus for server service including two IP’s and they will give me a great deal on a five year package. Why, you ask given this Blog is about dumping Telus that I write to suggest doing business with them?

    SHAW COMMUNICATIONS – that’s why.

    Normally, I don’t have a problem with Shaw as I have always found their customer service accommodating. However, having now been FORCED twice in a year to change my IP due to their Internal issues, I am now having to look for a dependable provider for high speed services with static addresses.

    Customer service, I guess, is gone. Just like people’s stocks, its gone and will never return.

    These guys are much like many politicians, stock brokers, real estate agents and the like – have all become arrogant and have forgot the basis of who they serve.

  13. Dung Le


    I only have a few words to tell you people about Telus service. It is very bad, frustrating, and ridiculous! Here is a quick example.

    Yesterday going home from work, my line (telephone + internet) got disconnected outside my house. I called to talk to an agent, after answering all the questions from Telus auto response machine, it put me on hold to talk to an agent (hopefully this time it will be a human) while on hold the machine played me a song then another song then an advertisement with something like “looking for a job as call agent or in call center with Telus….?” At this point I cant stand it no more I hung up the phone.

    I called in for service which I pay for, I did not call in to listen to Telus’ ads. I will give up Telus service asap.

    Thanks for this website where I can share my comment.


  14. jake

    Telus is awful to deal with. Began eliminating them some time ago and the big day comes next month when we cancel the last of their services. Yahoo!

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