Sydney senior accuses Bell of upselling and overcharging him

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Sydney senior accuses Bell of upselling and overcharging him

A senior in Sydney, N.S., says he has been overcharged by his phone and cable provider, Bell, after being sold a package he didn't really want.

Joe Dithurbide, 78, says after an introductory price for phone and cable, he was convinced to accept a two-year bundle that included internet, even though he doesn't own a computer.

He did receive two more cable channels, which he enjoys.

He says the price was supposed to be $119, but it wasn't made clear to him that that didn't include taxes and other fees, which bring the bill closer to $138.

In recent months, he's received a bill for that amount, as well as one for $150 and another for $193.99.

Choked up

Dithurbide gets emotional when he talks about it, saying it's a fight with Bell every time he gets his bill.

And every time, he says, Bell shaves money off the bill with no explanation either for the initial charge or the reduced price.

"I told them I'll give them the $119 willingly, what I agreed to, and that's all they're going to get," said the senior. "If they want to cut me off, cut me off."

Dithurbide thinks cable providers are targeting seniors for upselling.

Singling out seniors?

"Rumours outside in the real world is that the cable companies in this town, both [Bell] and the other outfit, they're going after the senior citizens because the seniors citizens, for the most part, they got no more interest, they got no more fight in them," Dithurbide said.

He says he's tried to rally other seniors to take on the telecom companies as a group, without success.

"But I'm not going to leave it alone," said Dithurbide. "I'm on a fixed income. I only have so much money coming in."

Saying he's "bitter" about the whole experience, he just wants the situation resolved once and for all.

"Put me back on regular television and if you can get me back to my $110 minimum, put me back on that," he said in frustration. "Get rid of that junk, but I want my two channels. They were in the package. I want 'em."

In response to questions from CBC News about Dithurbide's experience, a Bell spokesperson emailed a statement encouraging him to contact the company.

"Our agents are coached to provide the best services and pricing for a customer's specific needs, and of course are required to disclose all pertinent information. We take any concerns about our sales and services practices very seriously, and would welcome this customer to contact us to review his account."