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September 13, 2005

Telus is brutal

I think that most cellphone providers are pretty brutal. I've dealt with three major Canadian ones (Bell, Telus and Fido) and I can say that only Fido has been a good experience. Even Fido was only a good experience as far as customer service goes. Their network had terrible coverage and I didn't stick with them for very long.

I cancelled a cellphone with Telus a few months ago (after an adventure on their automated answering service and a wait of 45 minutes) and since then, Telus has been sending me these bills:


As far as I can tell, the negative sign means that Telus owes me money. $12.79. If I don't pay the negative money that is due, they will still owe me $12.79 next month. I once got a bill just like this from Fido. They were nice enough to include a cheque with the first negative bill.


I attempted to make an payment for the full amount owed to Telus:

attempt a payment.jpg


payment failure.jpg

I really don't think the ATM machines have a negative sign (or would accept such a payment). My last attempt is writing a cheque. I wonder if these are read by a person or machine at the bank?


Posted by Alistair Howard at September 13, 2005 11:57 PM


Cute, but I would not recommend putting that cheque in the ATM as a joke. I won't go into how cheques are processed, but the main point is that there is no good outcome. The use of a fraudulent cheque is a crime, so it would be very difficult to refute the payment if it did clear. In short, having used your PIN number to process a fraudulent cheque will not put you in a favorable light. Of course, you never really did plan on trying it did you. But I figured the above should be said, just for all the kids out there who think it might be a fun thing to try next weekend.

Posted by: Dave at September 14, 2005 12:42 PM

What if I mailed the cheque to Telus? Is a negative valued cheque fradulent? Or is it just a bad idea to write incorrect cheques?

And what would the bank do with a bill stub with a negative amount?

Obviously this is all stupid and I should just call Telus but I thought I would just play along for a bit.

Posted by: Alistair at September 14, 2005 02:27 PM

I was just talking to my moms last night about the exact same problem: she cancelled her Telus mobile account half a year ago and has been receiving negative-ammount bills every month since. Nothing's been done about it, even after she complained to a rep.

Good luck getting your $12.

Posted by: Jeff Werner at September 14, 2005 04:25 PM

The bank itself is not really concerned with the value of any bill. Banks just care about how much you want to give to the company in question. Some people pay less then companies ask for, other choose to have a credit so they do not have to deal with things for a few months. The stub is only used to reference the companies' bank account.

I thought about negative checks more today, and I am not really sure it is fraudulent to write them. Since, while your actions could be interpreted as deliberately deceiving, I am not so sure the intent to harm exists. Even so, if a bank noticed you writing incorrect cheques, they would certainly take note of you. Plus your credit rating would likely take a hit. This is only a guess since no one really knows the exact formula used to calculate credit ratings. But it is largely agreed upon that writing incomplete and overdrawn cheques lowers that score. On the other hand, the significance of a single such cheque is also debatable. But in general, yeah, not a good idea to write incomplete cheques. Still, empirical evidence is always best.

Posted by: Dave at September 15, 2005 12:03 AM

Good to get this information now, as I am going to be canceling my Telus Mobile on Monday. Lucky they don't owe me money. Unlucky that I owe them $100 though. Maybe I can play their tricks back at them, for your revenge of course, by sending them threatening monthly reminders of how much I owe them.

Posted by: Shawn at September 15, 2005 03:43 AM