The following is an account of what happened to a friend of mine. For whatever reason he decided to check the tax calculation on his cellular bill and found a mistake:

I have just noticed and believe that Bell Canada has been incorrectly charging the GST and PST on my Bell Mobility account.

My exact example is as follows:

Plan charge of $20
Usage charge of $22.80
Long Distance charge of $3.00
Subtotal of $45.80

The above was/is undisputed and agreed upon by both Bell and myself. However the discrepancy lies with the tax amounts charged.

They were charging $2.31 for GST and $3.76 for PST. I can’t tell you why I decided to double check the amounts but I do periodically with all my bills and when I did I discovered that those amounts were incorrect. 5% GST on $45.80 should be $2.29 and 8% PST should be $3.66.

The difference was only $0.12 but it was the principle of the matter. If Bell is doing this with all of its customers they are making quite a mint! I spent just over an hour on the phone with Bell, and at times it got quite heated. In the end I got my $0.12 back but couldn’t get it through their heads that their system was improperly calculating the amounts. And for the life of me they refused to follow the simple calculations on a calculator. Now I will be going back through my previous bills to see just how much they have over charged me.

After talking to a couple of my own friends and asking them to double check their bills, they too have small discrepancies. I know its only a few cents, but on a large scale, Bell is potentially taking in millions of dollars that they should not be.

I am curious to know if anyone else has had the same complaint or if I am missing something?

Let’s do the math together, shall we?

Actual math: $45.80 x 5% (GST) = $2.29

Bell’s math has to be either $45.80 x 5.05% (GST) = $2.31  OR $46.25 x 5% (GST) = $2.31

For the PST:

Actual math: $45.80 x 8% = $3.66

Bell’s math:  $45.80 x 8.22%= $3.76  OR $47.00 x 8% (PST) = $3.76

Now a simple calculation on say 3 million customers being overcharged $0.12 per month = $360,000 per month = $4.32 million a year from miscalculating the tax.  Nice work if you can get it.

Bell’s math is just wrong.  Or am I?  Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?