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Category: In the News (Page 1 of 3)

Bell Canada illegally overcharging on SALES TAX

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?

TheStar.com – Aeroplan’s loyalty goes only so far, readers find

This is my friend’s mother and father.   As from Michelle:

I share this story with you because I believe it’s important that everyone’s aware of the Aeroplan Policy; and because I’m incredibly proud that my Mom (Judi Landis) has fought the battle and won – she received her points credit (thanks to author Ellen Roseman, CIBC and not Aeroplan) earlier this week.”

You must fight for your rights and make sure that stupid policies in businesses are rectified.  Watch your points.  Defend your rights.

TheStar.com – Business – Aeroplan’s loyalty goes only so far, readers find.

April 18, 2009
Ellen Roseman

When Joel Landis died last August, he had collected more than 180,000 frequent-flyer points on his CIBC Aeroplan Visa card.

His widow, Judi, was hoping to take her grandchildren to Disney World a few months later.

She didn’t book the trip using his points, despite having his account number and password. “Wanting to do the right thing, I called Aeroplan to officially advise them of my husband’s death,” she says.

Joel’s account was shut down within 48 hours. She opened her own account and submitted a request in writing to have her husband’s points transferred to her.

Only then did she find out she would have to pay $1,897.06 to transfer the points.

“Aeroplan miles or rewards are personal and cannot be assigned, traded, willed or otherwise transferred,” the loyalty program’s terms and conditions say.

“However, reflecting its desire to express compassion, Aeroplan’s practice is to allow the transfer of miles.”

But compassion only goes so far. The transfer cost for surviving spouses of a deceased member is 1 cent a mile, plus a $30 administration fee (and GST).

Another Aeroplan member, a recent widower, thinks the policy is unfair.

“Most of the points we accumulated were through a joint CIBC Aerogold Visa account,” he says.

Since his wife was the primary cardholder, all the points were credited to her. But most of the charges were on his credit card, because he handled the accounts.

He called after her death and was told Aeroplan’s bereavement policy would restore the unused points to her account for a trip she was too sick to take.

When he asked to transfer the 60,000 points to his account, he was told there was a $600 charge.

“Excuse me? I said you have a `bereavement policy’ that protects her points, but that doesn’t extend to moving them to her widower’s account? I found this astounding.”

Judi Landis tried calling CIBC Visa to ask about restoring the points without a transfer cost.

“They had a hands-off approach,” she says, adding that the bank refused to intervene in a dispute with Aeroplan.

Still, I figured that CIBC had more “wiggle room” than Aeroplan in trying to keep a disgruntled customer happy.

CIBC competes fiercely with other credit-card issuers. Its Aerogold card, once the gold standard, is under pressure from other reward cards that are more flexible.

Aeroplan spokesperson JoAnne Hayes did not provide a comment, but deferred to Rob McLeod, spokesperson for CIBC Visa.

CIBC will work with the readers who contacted me to have their Aeroplan miles reinstated at no cost, McLeod said.

Landis wrote several times to Aeroplan’s chief executive Rupert Duschene. She never got a reply.

“When my husband died suddenly at age 62, we had just finished renovating the house. Everything was paid by credit card because we wanted to get the points,” she says.

“This is just an added bitter touch. For Aeroplan, loyalty only goes one way. It just doesn’t have a soul.”

Aeroplan should advise couples with two credit cards opening a single account to protect their assets in case one of them dies, she believes.

Even better, it should have a true bereavement plan.

“It would be reasonable to deduct a small portion of points or pay a flat fee of $135, as was the case for many years,” Landis says. “I should not be penalized for reporting my husband’s death, instead of surreptitiously using the points we jointly amassed.”

Write to onyourside@thestar.ca

No Warrent needed to see online activities.

Canadian judge: No warrant needed to see ISP logs

A Superior Court in Ontario, Canada has ruled that IP addresses are akin to your home address, and therefore people have no expectation of privacy when it comes to their online activities being accessed by law enforcement. This means that, in Canada, police can potentially request information from your ISP about online activities, and can do so without a warrant.”

ARRRGH!  The courts have it all wrong, yes the IP address can be associated to a street address, however the items accessed through that IP address is like mail delivered to the home.  If the police want to look into the mail that is delivered to my home they need to get a warrent.  Same goes with what I surf.

Sound investment advice

Dr. Marc Faber, the investment guru, concluded his monthly bulletin (June 2008) with the following comments.

Dr. Marc Faber tells it how it is:

“The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate. If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China. If we spend it on gasoline it goes to the Arabs. If we buy a computer, it will go to India. If we purchase fruits and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car, it will go to Germany. If we purchase useless crap, it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy. The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in the US.
I’ve been doing my part…..”

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