This is a tough one to sum up. I will paste my email & description of situation.
Basically, Telus is a huge corporation in Canada. They have been unbelievably disappointing in handling the death of my mother - who had a cell phone with a new contract and under my father's name - they are 66 years old and have been together for 43 years - old school, they kept the phones all under my dad's name. I am also a client, my phone broke, I stopped using it, and began using my mother's in mid-October 2010.
Mid-February, I paid my bills to Telus - yes, very late, read below to understand why. I spoke to Telus asking for compassion regarding a reactivation fee of $289. Telus never communicated to me directly that there was this fee I owed, I find out from a Telus Store. Read below for all the gory details.
I would also like to mention that it is shocking that Telus does not have a special compassionate department to handle difficult and unique situations regarding death, serious illness and serious accidents. Death happens to all of us, so it is a normal experience. and incredibly difficult and all of us handle our grief differently. I was told Telus has 7 million customers, therefore, they are unable to treat any customer special. It is likely that they have to handle identical or extremely similar situations daily and as a huge corporation they should have a better handling of this.
I also have a business account with Telus - between all my accounts I pay $300-$650 monthly. I was shocked today when I was told that I was not a valued enough customer to receive extra care and attention because they have 7 million customers.
Here is an email, I sent to a friend, who forwarded it to the Director of Customer Service at Telus.
I have attached in WORD Document in detail outlining my mother's illness and TELUS experience. I wanted to detail my mother's illness because I do not think that the employees of TELUS understand how all consuming an experience like this is.
From the beginning, I really did not understand that it would be so absolute that there was no negotiations regarding our TELUS contracts. I believed that we could discuss with TELUS the merging of our two contracts - 9135 and 9169 - considering there was a death of one of the users and we are long time TELUS customers.
I have been horrified and brought to anxiety and tears over this whole situation.
TELUS wants me to pay a reactivation fee for 9135. I have been asking for forgiveness of this fee considering I was not using the phone because it was broken and I was too preoccupied with critical life experience to manage it appropriately.
I procrastinated on contacting Telus regarding my mother's phone contract after her passing because I anticipated it would be difficult both emotionally and logistically. To no avail, Telus has absolutely reaffirmed my initial expectations through not only their total lack of compassion, but also
the complete rigidity of their policies in this unusual circumstance.
The phone manner of both individuals I spoke to this morning was shocking. As a paying customer for several years I felt not only disrespected and insignificant, but genuinely hurt that the representatives of your company were able to make a traumatic event in my personal life signicantly
This is the word document I attached to the email:
TIMELINE OF MOM’S HEALTH:
OCTOBER.4.2010 – I was told my mother was terminal with cancer.
MID-OCTOBER – My Blackberry (9135) broke. I did not go to Telus Store to solve problem, I began using my Mom’s iPhone (9169).
I worked 8-10 hours/day to set up my work/job so that I could be absent during November.
Before & after I work I was at my parents’ home spending time with family and assisting in care giving.
OCTOBER.21.2010 – I moved into my parent’s home to participate in full time care giving around work. I was still working full time extra hours – I had to hire and train staff to ideally take my position.
END OF OCTOBER – My mother lost her ability to walk due to the cancer in her spine.
NOVEMBER.1ST 3RD – My mother & I Birthday’s, we spent our days together. We had our Birthday Dinner’s in my Mom’s bedroom around her bed. She was unable to get out of bed. All she wanted to do for my Birthday was go for a drive to the beach – she was in too much pain to move.
NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, JANUARY – I was living full time at my parents.
I was overwhelmed with seeing my mother dying from cancer; running a retail store going into the busiest season; my manager getting sick and ultimately giving her resignation November.30th; the end of a new relationship because he was unable to offer me support; watching 2 dogs; taking on the responsibilities of care giving for my mother; and, ultimately, spending as much time with my mother saying our good-bye’s.
Care giving includes the responsibility of ensuring the overall comfort of my mother – including eating healthy foods (so lots of cooking & baking), keeping the house clean, helping my mom to the washroom (she was unable to walk), and ultimately, giving her the medications for her pain on time and the correct amount (which is stressful as there is a lot of care and due diligence involved with this).
My mother was moved into a hospital bed in my parents’ living room.
I continued to do everything I was doing in November. Work became more intense and busy as it is our busiest month of the year.
DECEMBER.17.2011 – My mother was transferred by ambulance to the palliative ward at Vancouver General Hospital. We originally believed she would be there for a week to assess her medications, then she would return home for Christmas. She never left the hospital.
I took on the role of “Santa Clause” for my whole family – a niece (8 years old), a nephew (6 years old), a 38-year-old sister with a severe mental disability, my other sister & her husband, my father and mother. I took on the responsibility of hanging the Christmas lights, decorating the tree and house, baking, buying the gifts, wrapping the gifts, filling the stockings, making breakfast for Christmas morning (at the hospital), and some dishes for Christmas Dinner (also at the hospital).
I spent as much time at the hospital as possible. When I was not at the hospital, I was at work and/or watching my niece and nephew.
MISSED PAYMENT 9169 – This was my error. In December my father handed me the bill (which was well over $400!), I was shocked at the amount, as my mobile bills never went over $125. I took the bill to a quiet corner in the house to go over. I forgot it there, the bill was lost, and in the hectic situation of everything we did not pay the bill. My father found this bill this week (APRIL.1st.2011) when he was cleaning.
CHRISTMAS DAY – I spent the night at my parents’ house with my sister with the disability – we spent Christmas morning together opening gifts under the tree. Then we went to the hospital for breakfast – we ate around my mom’s hospital bed. The entire family came for dinner, we had dinner in the Palliative Ward Dining Room with my mother in a stretcher.
JANUARY – FIRST WEEK – We were hoping to transfer my mom to a hospice. Instead, the nurses began communicating that my mother could pass soon as she was beginning to show the final symptoms.
JANUARY.8TH.2011 2:00PM My Mother slipped into unconsciousness. My understanding is that once a patient reaches this point, they are likely to die in the next few days.
JANUARY.8TH-17TH I slept in my mother’s hospital room with my father and sister every night. For the first three nights, I literally slept on 2 kitchen chairs pushed together.
I sat by my mother’s bed diligently every day holding her hand, giving her water, cleaning her, making sure she was comfortable, watching her breathe, expecting at any moment she could die.
JANUARY.17TH.2011 3:45am my mother died. We covered her body, packed up her personal belongings and left the hospital.
JANUARY.19TH.2011 – We went to the funeral home, we planned the disposal of her body, discussed death certificates, and elements of the funeral.
JANUARY.19TH-20TH – I wrote her obituary so I could email 8:30am January.21st to the Vancouver Sun Province other smaller papers.
JANUARY.19TH-26TH – I participated heavily in the planning of my mothers’ funeral. Including, visiting the church, speaking with the priest, ordering flowers, dropping off vases for the flowers in Surrey on January.21st, visiting the hotel for the reception afterwards, planning the menu, asking friends and family to help set up the church and reception area, organizing the ushers, planning the slide show, helping my sister with the disability get an appropriate outfit, assisting with the organization of the speakers and music at the church.
JANUARY.27TH.2011 – My mother’s funeral.
Keep in my mind that from Mid-October to this point and specifically the last week of her life, I did not get a full night’s sleep, I was rarely alone, I did not have a moment to grieve, and I was consistently overwhelmed with responsibilities.
I am out of town on much needed rest and relaxation. During this period of time, I was violently ill with the stomach flu for a week.
During this time, I receive a text from TELUS asking if I had paid my bill (9169). I call immediately to notify them that the person who uses this phone had died mid-January. I tell them that I am out of town, as is mu father, I told them that we would get in touch with them by February.15th.2011 to begin handling the situation. Not once during this conversation did the woman offer any condolences or understanding of what we were experiencing with the death of our family member.
Within 3 days, I receive two more phone calls from TELUS. I did not check the messages, because I did not want to pay long distant charges. I call TELUS back after the second call, to tell them the circumstances once again. Again I tell them we will handle this by February.15th.2011. During this conversation, it was brought to my attention that TELUS believed my father had died because the phone was registered to him. I correct them. At this time, I was not aware that the 9135 number had been cancelled. Not once during this conversation did the woman offer any condolences or understanding of what we were experiencing with the death of our family member.
FEBRUARY.14TH.2011 – I mail two cheques to TELUS for the number 9135 for my outstanding bills from November, December and Janaury. The cheques are: #2108 for $227.46 and #2109 for $118.17 totaling $345.62.
FEBRUARY.15TH.2011 My father and I go to the TOM HARRIS TELUS Store on 4th Avenue in Vancouver. I tell the girl working that my family has 3 TELUS MOBILITY Accounts – my father, my mother and myself. I tell her that my mother died and we would like to sort our TELUS MOBILITY Accounts. She notifies me that the 9135 number has been cancelled and the telephone number was reassigned to another customer (we had this telephone # for approximately 10 years). She also told us we could not cancel the 9169 account because we had just signed a contract. I tell the girl again, that the person who uses that phone Died. The girl tells me there is nothing they can do at the TELUS STORE and we will have to contact TELUS. Not once during this conversation did this girl offer any condolences or understanding of what we were experiencing with the death of our family member.
FEBRUARY.16TH.2011 – My father called TELUS. I was not a part of this conversation so I am unable to specifically state was actually communicated. I can only state what my understanding of it was – second hand from my father.
I understood, that we would transfer the 9169 number to my name. I personally had to call in and have a conversation with TELUS regarding the reactivation fee on 9135 – asking for consideration of our circumstances and that we no longer needed two TELUS MOBILITY Accounts. That being said, I was unaware until today – APRIL.5th.2011 – that there was a deadline of MARCH.23rd.2011.
This conversation regarding my account was between TELUS and my Father, and not TELUS and myself – the name on the account. My father knew it was important for me to contact TELUS, however, I do not think he knew of the MARCH.23rd.2011 deadline either, because he did not communicate this deadline to me. I have not received communication directly from TELUS in regards to the deadline of payment of this reactivation fee by MARCH.23rd.2011 or it would be sent to a collections agency.
Today, APRIL.5th.2011, MATTHEW of TELUS told me that Telus contacted me JANUARY.14TH and/or JANUARY.17TH and JANAURY.27TH.2011 to notify me of the cancellation of the account. The above dates are the dates of my mother’s death and funeral – exactly. I asked MATTHEW how TELUS contacted me, he was unable to tell me. I did not use the Blackberry with 9135 from MID-OCTOBER onwards – there is no activity on this phone. I am failing to understand, how TELUS is unable to see that there is no activity and yet still uses this number as a method of communicating very important information to me.
My experience with TELUS during the past few months has been difficult – I have not once been contacted by TELUS even after I explained the challenge of our situation – I do not feel that TELUS has set me up to win as a customer during these tough times. I did not receive any communication from TELUS in March telling me that MARCH.23rd.2011 was a deadline or I would have a collections agency after me. I received nothing in the mail. I asked MATTHEW about this – he said it was on its way – AFTER the due date and not before. When I questioned MATTHEW about TELUS not being in communication with me regarding this payment of $289.05 now $294.83 or it would be sent to a collections agency he told me “We have 7 million customers” we do not have time to be in communication about everything.
WOW! So my understanding from MATTHEW is that because TELUS is so big, they just are not able to provide excellent customer service in terms of assisting your customer through difficult life situations. My experience with TELUS has been there is NO compassion, there is NO sympathy, there is NO space for negotation when it comes to a death in the family or a late payment.
I was on the phone with TELUS for over an hour today. I was so shaken by my conversation with three different TELUS employees; I was left in tears and with anxiety. My experience of OCTOBER-FEBRUARY – the absolute worse four months of my life – has been brought to the forefront of my thoughts. It is extremely challenging mentally and especially emotionally to close someone’s life. We have had to do many things these past few months but nothing has been as challenging or as trying as dealing with TELUS. My experience has been a joke because it is absolutely laughable that someone looks me in the eye and tells me that the contract just got signed, has three years left on it and cannot be cancelled seconds after I tell this person that that user of the contract as DIED.
My understanding is that my mother’s cell phone was in my father’s name so TELUS will not cancel it. KATHY from TELUS told me today that I owed them $691.24. I asked her where she got this figure. KATHY told me that, my father communicated to TELUS on February 15th that we will be paying them $345.62. He called again two days later, and again stated that we would be paying them $345.62. She told me that TELUS has not received any payments for $345.62. I asked KATHY if TELUS received a payment for $227.46 and another for $118.17. KATHY said ‘Yes’ they have received these two payments. Then I asked KATHY if this equals $345.62. She said yes. Then I asked KATHY if my father was most likely discussing the same payment of $345.62 and not two different payments of $345.62. KATHY stated it was a possibility.
I was so confused during my conversation with KATHY, so I asked her if she could email me the details, because obviously neither my father nor I were understanding what TELUS has been telling us over the phone since mid-FEBRUARY. KATHY told me it was impossible to write anything down regarding our two accounts to send to me. What?!?! Therefore, all verbal communication with TELUS is just a he-said-she-said. When someone is going through a tough life situation – such as and not limited to – losing someone closest to you, it is understandable that they are not completely able to understand and digest everything being communicated to them. It is shocking that TELUS has not done anything to make this experience easier for us.
When I spoke to MATTHEW today, I told him I would like to speak to someone higher up. MATTHEW assured me he was the highest status and he had absolute final say in this situation. He told me there is a collections agency after me for $294 – I still have received not one direct communication from TELUS regarding this amount. TELUS is unable to verify how they communicated to me that this amount was owing and was due MARCH.23rd.2011. I have not received anything in the mail, I have not received a call on my landline (also TELUS and on my mobility account as alternative communication) and I have not received an email. I can only guess that they were texting and calling a telephone that has not been in use since mid-OCTOBER. They are the service provider for this telephone; therefore, they have the authority to see that this phone has not been in use since mid-OCTOBER.
I was never once offered one word of condolence from any TELUS employee until KATHY today.
You are asking yourself, why did I not call TELUS sooner?
Today I was on the phone for over an hour with three different TELUS employees and on hold two times. KATHY told me that she was going to transfer my call to someone else; I specifically asked her if TELUS could call me back. KATHY said NO – I could hold or call TELUS back. I chose to hold because I did not want to explain for 6th time my situation with the two numbers – 9169 & 9135. When MATTHEW got on the phone, he immediately, apologized about the long hold period, and that normally TELUS calls people back. Within 15 minutes, two different employees contradicted the simple concept of calling a customer back.
After this phone call today, I was absolutely in tears, I had to leave work because I was so shaken by my experience, and I have spent another 2 hours documenting this experience. Today only, this has occupied 4 hours. There is no incentive for me to call TELUS because I am left feeling like a small nothing that is signed into a contract with a huge corporation that has no compassion for anything outside of the strict wording and ruling of the contract, which obviously favours for TELUS and not the customer.
I have literally been begging for compassion from TELUS.