Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Accounts at

My Accounts is an online service of Bell Canada where a customer can access their various Bell services (telephone, wireless, digital voice, internet and television) and view current and past bills, pay bills, view unbilled charges, modify services and so forth. A single username and password are required. The customer then links their various accounts to the username. Sounds wonderful, but in reality, My Accounts is a crappy online account management system.

My wife and I each have a cellphone. The cellphones are registered in my name under a single Bell Mobility account since I get a discounted plan because I am a municipal employee. Again, that sounds wonderful, but the execution is far from perfect. On the My Accounts page, I can access my landline account, my single Bell Mobility account and the accounts for each cellphone. While I can view bills, pay bills and change other options, it seems that I am unable to modify services for each cellphone. The mobile accounts are listed under "View/Modify my Services", however, when I click on the accounts, no option appears that allows me to modify my services.

So I go back to my main Bell Mobility account and select Edit User Privileges. I get this description:

User privileges allows the primary account holder to manage which applications each mobile user can access online. You will need to set up a profile for each of these mobile phones within account #000000000

What is this business about needing to set up a profile? There is no link on the page to help you set up a profile. What is a profile? Is it the username registered earlier? Who knows? I know that in the previous version of My Accounts, I was able to modify my wireless services. Now, no such option appears. What is going on? Help or descriptions are non-existent. Why can't I change service options from my main Bell Mobility account? After all, both phones are registered in my name and appear on a single bill!

Why can't telecommunication companies get anything right? Why do they need to make things so convoluted and complex? For example, from the Main Menu I can choose to update my Account Info (my contact name and mailing address) and update my Personal Profile (my email address and marketing preferences). Shouldn't those two be on a single page? It gets better. Clicking on Update my Account Info brings up two options: Change My Account Contact Information and Update My Personal Profile. Um, weren't those two options already listed on the Main Menu page? Now that is just dumb system design. Who did Bell have testing the latest version of My Accounts before unleashing it on its customers?

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