Trials and tribulations of activating a TELUS phone



I’ve calmed down a bit since I wrote my initial post about my recent troubles with TELUS last week. I am now up and running but it was a bit of an adventure. Here is a chronology of my tribulations.

First, a bit of history. I’ve been with Rogers Wireless now for over 8 years. In that time, I’ve not had any major issues with their service except for the usual Canadian gasp each month as I open my bill. But that’s a story for another time.

Recently, I decided to transfer of my two wireless phones over to another carrier. With Bell and TELUS having just launched their HSPA networks, there were some new choices. Being with two carriers would give me the change to play with more phones. I opted for TELUS for two reasons: I wanted the HTC Hero and I was able to order it through the TELUS Employee Store courtesy of a friend who works there.

November 21st to November 26th 2009

I placed my order online on November 21st without any issue. One of the confirmation emails I received suggested that I set up my profile at There are two ways of creating an account: Providing your account number, PIN and postal code or my TELUS phone number. I did not have an account number, PIN or TELUS number so that was a dead end. I tried with the number that I wanted to port but that did not work. So much for that. I would have to wait for my phone…

November 27th 2009

Five days later, the phone was at my door.

During my purchase, I had specified that I wanted my number ported over and even provided the number. This was part of the checkout process and I thought to myself that the number transfer would be easier than I thought. When I got the phone, I popped the SIM in but the SIM was inactive (not that I was surprised). Online I went to activate it. And found myself again being asked for my account information to set up the necessary profile.

I still had no information such as an account number. Nothing had been in the box except the phone and SIM card. I then tried to go through the entire card activation process but the system told me that an an account already existed for me. It was time to call TELUS.

After an hour with their help desk, they determined that they could not locate my account but could create a ‘temporary account’ for me. But without a real account, they could not activate the SIM. They also kept asking me where I got the phone. The ‘TELUS Employee Store’ I answered several times with increasing frustration, going as far as explaining what that was several times. In the end, they determined that I would have to call the employee store directly. I was given a different toll-free number. I called but found that this department only works Monday to Friday normal business hours and it was Friday night.

November 30th 2009

I called the number mid-morning only to get a voice mail recording indicating that the department was only open from 0800 to 1700 Monday to Friday EST. Fine, except that it was now well past 1000 EST and I was still getting the recording. I left a message. Three hours later, I called again and got to speak to someone. I explained my situation and was told that I would have to email the Employee Store as the number I had called had nothing to do with the store. By now, I was getting frustrated and told this person that TELUS was not leaving a remarkable first impression with me. He was unmoved and hung up.

I fired off an email back to the employee store. Then it was back to waiting, leaving me with time to wonder why I was leaving Rogers. Was this really worth it?

December 1st 2009

24 hours later, I still had not received any email from the TELUS employee store despite their promise to answer back within 24 hours. Fortunately, I have a couple of friends at TELUS and decided to reach out to them to see if they knew of someone at TELUS’ customer support.

One of my friends took it upon herself to get this resolved. She was able to find someone who would be able to help and the emails flew back and forth all afternoon as they worked on getting me up and running. Finally, everything was done by early evening and I’m now a TELUS customer.

December 2nd 2009

After all this, I got a call from the customer service department asking me if everything was solved.


With any any large (or small) business, things will go wrong sometimes. I understand that (and have on the other end when they do). Where the difference comes is in how the business decides to handle the situation. Customer service is either something that they believe in or simply marketing lip service. At this point, I’m inclined to believe that it’s the latter for TELUS.

Thanks again to MS and JB for their help! If it was not for them, TELUS would probably have lost a customer before he even became one.