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Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

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Review by crumbworks See Profile

  • Location: North York,ON
  • Cost: $36 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Reliable - hardly any downtime"
Bad "Atrocious customer service - outsourced and often inept; Terrible caps and throttling"
Overall "Choose Bell only if you have no other choice -- which you probably do"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·TekSavvy DSL
Bell Canada is absolutely inept. The only way that the service is tolerable is if you never have to actually interact with them after the initial installation.

Their ineptitude can initially be summed up by one experience: at one point, the local node going into my building was down for a week or so. They sent out the wrong repair team twice for it -- the first technician only trained on home phone repair, the second for satellite service repair. Seriously, are you kidding me?!

If I had one positive, it is that the connection is reliable. I have had rather minimal downtime overall. That one week mentioned above is about the only extensive downtime I've had. Other than that, just a few blips of an hour or so every few months.

Calling them is a joke. You are virtually guaranteed to be frustrated by a whole multitude of things -- from long wait times to useless, scripted responses. I haven't reached someone locally in a very long time, and I wonder: how can someone in India know how to resolve issues for an ISP that doesn't even exist over there? (oh, and as per some policy, they have to tell you that they are in Canada when you ask. Idiocy...)

I've escalated calls before. I end up reaching another guy in India who is often times harder to understand than the first guy.... and the answers I have received from them are just as scripted and useless, and have never helped me one bit.

Their technical support is simply painful. They will never, ever admit that the problem is on their end. They simply tell you to reset your modem/router as if that is a universal resolution for any problem. Even when my old rental modem had smoke coming out of it, the person had the tenacity to ask me to power cycle it. Seriously.

Installing new service is as pleasant as being punched in the face. I helped my friend set up Sympatico last year. They don't even make any effort to help you. They forgot to ship out her modem and when it arrived, it took them weeks to fix some sort of glitch to get it to work. When she called them, their answer was to simply "wait a bit longer".

While I am on a grandfathered service with no bandwidth cap, there is still no excuse for having such ridiculously limitations as a whole. I can say with certainly that since I upgraded from dial-up in 1999, I have never had less than 60 GB total usage per month.

The worst part has to be the throttling. Basically, as I said, the service is tolerable as long as you don't have to interact with them because the connection is usually quite stable, but then Bell thought "let's find a way to screw people over even further" and decided on this massive throttling between 4pm and 2am every day. It is absolutely awful, especially since it affects resellers (like TekSavvy).

To be frank, I am only with Bell because my family has some sort of long-standing loyalty with them and they are too lazy to switch.

When I move elsewhere and leave my family with this grandfathered no-cap service, I am positive I will not go with Bell -- or Rogers even, due to both having a cap. I will certainly be considering TekSavvy due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews that I have read.

All in all, Bell is just a waste of time and money. Their service is worthless.

(Update, 05/2010)
After being with Bell Sympatico / Bell Internet for about 9 years, I have switched to TekSavvy. Bell's connection was reliable, but I switched for the reasons mentioned above. Since it uses existing Bell infrastructure, I get the same reliability without any of the headaches.

(Update 05/2012)
I didn't cancel the unlimited Bell Internet account. I left it to my parents at their place, since it is a nice grandfathered "perk". However, I underestimated the atrociousness of Bell once again: my parents never really review their bill in detail, but I did when I visited them recently. Bell has apparently been increasing the price of their grandfathered DSL plans once every few months in an effort to strong-arm long-time and loyal customers into switching to the capped tier packages.

How much has it risen to, you may ask?

...$71.95/month, plus $5 for the modem rental, for unlimited 6 Mbps.

What an absolutely unacceptable and abhorrently immoral business practice. In short: I could not let them continue to throw their money at Bell. They are in the process of switching away as well. I'm also doing the same with their landline, where Bell was gouging them as well.

(Update 02/2013)
My parents have been with TekSavvy now for nearly a year and are very satisfied. Absolutely no issues. While it took them a few months for the initial costs to even things out (set-up fees, cost of purchased gateway, etc.), they are now saving an incredible sum in the long run. Bell is dead to us.

member for 8.2 years, 89 visits, last login: 182 days ago
updated 2.1 years ago




Thanks for the feedback... really needed that

This is scary man!
I work from home (sort of IT-Operations) and throttling is no fun for me.

Thanks for this review and I was almost all set to have them.




Bell can be good.

I've just had a good deal with the bell loyalty department.
I got a 25Mbps download 125GB bandwith Cap for $50 a month.
It is limited for one year, but it's still a lot better than nothing.

Here's a hint on negotiations. Works with me every time.
When they charge you for stupid things, let them do it, but
do NOT use the service. Now let time go by and it flies.
After a while of paying for nothing, it's time for you to strike back.
Do NOT offend the teletobies. If you ever have to say something negative, say that you are very disappointed with Bell. And put a gentle, educated, and a soft tone and beguile them to pity you. And try to minimize your time in the billing/technical support people. It is really a waste of time. Get to the loyalty department and again, be nice. Everyone is defensive when offended.