Telus and Shaw promotions and retention plans

First published on May 29, 2012

After a mediocre experience with a smaller Internet provider, I am resigned to using the big companies for Internet and TV services. (If you’re looking for a landline phone plan, consider a VoIP provider.) In Metro Vancouver, if your building is not serviced by Novus, that means you have a choice between Telus and Shaw.

Telus and Shaw’s regular monthly rates are less than inspiring. However, they are always running promotions for new customers; and, just like with many cell phone companies, if you are an existing customer, you can get a much better rate if you ask for it.


At mall kiosks, retail locations, through advertisements, and direct mail, Telus and Shaw run continuous promotions for new customers only. Typically a “new customer” is someone who has not been a customer for the past 30 days to 6 months. They also have deals for students, usually around September each year. There are multiple marketing campaigns running at any time. Do a Google search to find out about what’s current, especially regarding direct mail promotions.

However, the low rates in their promotions typically don’t last very long (often 3-6 months), at which point the monthly fee can more than double. This leads many people to switch providers every year to take advantage of the latest deal. This is, of course a hassle for the customer.

A list of promotions I’ve recently received:

Retention plans

While Telus and Shaw spend a lot of time and effort attempting to lure new and not-so-new customers, they seem to neglect their existing customers when it comes to deals. However, this is not entirely the case; they have so-called retentions departments who will listen to why you want to leave them and attempt to keep you by giving you a better deal. They just seem to want to make you work for it.

A few notes on retention departments and plans:

  • Often you’ll find that if you indicate on the automatic phone menu that you are a new customer, you get through to someone right away. If you indicate that you are an existing customer, you get put on hold. You can press the appropriate number to indicate that you are a new customer, then simply tell the customer service representative that you are an existing customer. (Sometimes they all ask you for your existing account number no matter what.)
  • Typically to get to the retentions department, you have to say that you want to cancel your service or are willing to cancel a part of your service.
  • Be calm and courteous. Being aggressive and/or hostile does not make most customer service representatives want to help you. They spend most of their day on the phone, and can get tired and cranky like the rest of us. They also aren’t the direct cause of any of your distaste (if any) for the company.
  • Many people have recommended that you should indicate how a friend or family member is getting a better rate (if it’s true) and also what the competitor is offering. However, I was once thanked by someone at Telus for not trying to haggle by bringing up Shaw’s rates. I was also thanked for being honest and for not trying to “game” them. The best approach likely depends on who you talk to.

Got any tips for getting a good home or small business Internet / television / phone plan? Share them in the comments!


3 Responses to “Telus and Shaw promotions and retention plans”

  1. Ed says:

    I pay $41/month for a landline and a 6.0 internet connection. Basically I get a landline for free.

  2. JackMac says:

    Shaw is the new Telus. I work as a computer systems conslultant and service and I frequently help clients with their home computing needs. I’ve been doing this for well over 10 years and have had many experiences with both Shaw and Telus.

    For as long as I can remember, Telus has been extremely frustrating to deal with, particularly their overly aggressive customer retention. I remember my worst experience where a manager actually accused me "effectively stealing" from Telus because they had been giving me a "loyalty" discount. However, their bills and their accounting have also suffered for many years. It is only recently that after these many years, my experiences with Telus in the past couple months has been very pleasant and supportive. I hope they stay this way.

    The point of my post, however, is that it seems Shaw is now being overly aggressive with their retention. I called to cancel my Shaw account today and was put on hold for no reason for 10 minutes after I said I want to cancel. The new person that came on the line was apparently a customer retention individual who proceeded to try to talk me into keeping my account open, and trying to ask me all sorts of questions that are ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. I.e. "Do you need internet where you are moving?" "Where you are moving to?". He then left it open to me to negotiate and asked "are you sure there is nothing we can do to retain your business?" to which I said no. I was polite and said I just want to cancel. After which I was told that I needed to give them 30 days notice. Shaw already forces customers to prepay 30 days in advance, so adding 30 days to cancel is another method of theirs to scrape every last bit of change out of us. Rather that argue about them taking 30 days to flip a switch, I just proceeded.

    I’m really surprised at this. For many years I’ve been relatively happy with Shaw’s product and support. I can’t actually recall any problems that I’ve ever had with them. But, this aggressive and patronizing customer retention I find extremely aggravating.

  3. Mark says:

    I have only dealt with telus so far for my mobile and home services and although some days the internet is slow or my phone may start to glitch from time to time, which can be expected in a consumer based environment where devices are not built to last for ever, they are always extremely helpful and they make sure that you are taken care of. I have had some tough battles with Telus but in the end it comes down to who is on the other end of the line. We do not threaten to leave because I enjoy their services, we just keep on top of them until we are satisfied with the services we are expecting to get for the amount of money we give them each month.

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