Bill Payment Times; Bell vs. Rogers, Will I Just Drop It Already?

February 22nd, 2006 by Potato

It used to be that you would have a fairly long time to pay your bills after you got them, since companies had to give plenty of time for the snailmail system to do its thing, for cheques to clear, etc. It seems now that internet banking/bill paying and the more reliable Canada Post has taken away some of that leniency. It used to be that most bills would give me 30 days from their print date to pay them; London Hydro used to give me 60 days to pay. In another day and age, I might have waited until the last minute to pay so as to accrue interest on my money in the interim, but there’s pretty much no way to make more than a cent or two these days, so it’s just not worth the risk of procrastinating and forgetting. But on my latest London Hydro bill, the settlement date is only 15 days from the date they printed it (giving me 13 after it arrived). Still plenty of time to pay it off, but now it almost feels like they don’t trust me anymore… Odder yet is TD Waterhouse; after my last trade with them, I got the slip that noted the date settlement must be made by: the date the slip arrived in the mail, 3 days after printing. Yikes!

Different times, indeed.

Speaking of omens of the end times, it looks like Bell is finally upgrading the lines in my parents’ neighbourhood, so they may finally have an alternative to Rogers for internet access. I don’t know what’s taken them so long. We first ordered it in 1998, and at the time they said it was available, then after 2 weeks of nothing, they finally got back to us and told us it wouldn’t work, but within a year an upgrade would be done and then we could get it. So I’m a little skeptical about whether they’ll actually do it this time.

It’s weird, because my parents are fairly centrally located, and even have a large brown Bell switchbox on their front yard. I don’t know how far they are from the building that actually delivers the DSL connection, but it can’t be too far. The house was built in 1987, so it only slightly predates multiline/network wiring. I’m pretty sure that’s the cause of our problems: we got a second line for me and my modem way back in the day, and I’m positive it’s piggybacked on the same copper cable the main line is on (and often, there is a tiny bit of cross-over between the two). This, somehow, must degrade the signal enough that a DSL wouldn’t run properly (or that’s my theory anyway). Since I’ve moved out and my siblings use their cellphones for conversations they don’t want on the mainline, I’ve suggested my parents try to cancel the second line and then see if DSL will work. Unfortunately, they want to keep it for backup purposes (in case they want to make two landline calls at once) and as a fax line… So I’m not sure they’ll be able to get DSL even if the aforementioned neighbourhood upgrades are carried out by Bell.

I mention this because my Dad was complaining about Rogers again: it was really slow during the day on Monday, and he even got dropped a few times. I told him he won’t see any improvement unless he calls to complain during a problem period, but he wants me to do it, and of course it’s never that bad when I’m over (weekends & evenings). It’s not running anywhere near as fast as it should (usually less than 600 kbps), but it’s stable as a rock whenever I’m there, and the last time I complained about the speed being way below where it should be, they just told me they don’t guarantee speeds and then tried to sell me a new modem for the extreme service.

Anyway, I’ve got more to say (but not necessarily on these topics) but I have to run now for more mind-melting MRI training.

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