Switch from Shaw Direct to Bell


Posted by ScottBlogs | Posted in Television Providers | Posted on 11-01-2010

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We have been loyal customers of Shaw Direct (Formerly StarChoice) since 2005. Five years of paying our bills on time and enjoying their programming.

We have been thinking about getting an HD PVR for a while now, and their prices are around $500. Currently Bell has a deal on where new accounts can get one for $299. We decided to call Shaw Direct to see if they would match that price and send us out a PVR. They said no.

We told them that we would cancel our account and switch to Bell – the girl on the other end said, “Okay, well, have a nice day then”. Are you serious?

Shaw Direct really doesn’t want our service at all! Back in the “StarChoice” days, customer service would bend over backwards to keep a customer happy – since their acquisition things seem less customer oriented. (see my Post “Free HD PVR – But Not Really” from last year for another Shaw Direct experience

To top it all off, we are saving by switching – in the long run!

The Numbers

Stay with Shaw Direct
$39.99 / month + tax = $537 (for 12 months)

Switch to Bell
HD PVR Cost + tax = $446
Service + tax (@ $25 promo rate) = $336
$200 Promo Credit (for PVR purchase) = -$200
Total Cost for 12 Month Period = $582

That’s like paying $45 for the HD PVR when the dust settles.

BUT there’s more. The regular package price for the service is also $34.99 with Bell, an additional savings of $5 per month, so after 11 months of paying the regular service price, we will have recouped that $45, and after that we will start saving. So, basically, in the long run, all this will have saved us money, AND we will have the HD PVR. Can’t go wrong with this switch.

If you’re with Shaw Direct and want a PVR, you might want to consider switching…

Summary of why we are switching

  • Great deal on HD PVR
  • Lower monthly cost saves us money
  • Better HD selection (more stations) in basic package
  • Better Pay Per View selection

Update: Added This Poll on Sept 19, 2012! Vote Please!

Who is the Best TV Provider?

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Update: (Oct 2, 2013)  In early 2013 we switched from Bell to Telus Optik. So far programming, picture quality, customer service, price, and PVR Quality are FAR SUPERIOR to Bell. Ended up with a ton of issues with Bell, and were HAPPY to cancel as soon as our contract ended. I will write up a post about Telus soon. In the mean time here are a few BELL Posts

Bell Canada – Liers
Bell Canada Update
The Idiot at Bell Tech Support
Shaw Direct vs Bell vs Telus

Comments (70)

As a former Bell sub, I can say

A) Read the fine print completely on the Bell contract

B) Good luck if they screw up your bill – you’ll find what real customer service is NOT

C) Simsubs galore – hope you like watching Toronto and Vancouver channels rather than US Nets.

D) Worst HD PQ in North America – a 720X1240 picture is really soft compared to Shaw/Rogers 1080X1920 resolution

E) If you buy extra sports packages, you’ll pay Bell more than anyone else in Canada charges

Remember in a Bell contract, you are liable for all charges over the length of the contract – but Bell can (& will) change the programming charges and packages when ever they want to.

Hi “Former Bell Customer”

Thanks for the comment. Just a few notes.

I agree 100% on “Good luck if they screw up your bill”. This has happened a few times and getting the issue corrected was a nightmare BUT in the end we did get what we wanted – that said, when we were with StarChoice (now Shaw Direct) the customer service was MILES better. StarChoice pretty much gave us whatever we wanted to keep us happy – except the Free PVR – which is why we went Bell. (still mixed feelings about the switch.

We get US networks just fine, and are able to watch all our shows no problem with proper time shifting… maybe we are just lucky?

When it comes to the picture quality, you are right, its not quite as good as others – generally speaking StarChoice had slightly better quality in some cases. most of the time Bell seems fine for us, but on occasion the quality is not great.

We don’t have much purchased for extra packages, the basic HD package works just fine for our needs, but good to know on the higher cost for sports etc.

We haven’t had any issues with them in regards to charge & programming changes. I know the same deal applies with cell phones – after 3 years with a Bell cell phone, we never saw any changes in our billing etc – perhaps we are just lucky.

Thx for the comment :)

Both have the same issues. I have been with Bell for 12+ years. In those years I have never got any promotionals for upgrades etc to existing loyal customers. I too wanted the HD PVR and had to shell out the $$ to upgrade everything, because only new customers could relish in a free HD PVR. I am seriously looking at shaw just for this reason and the the HD quality it has is not a big enough factor to pay for it.

If they could do something like the Cell phone company’s do.. with you contract you can upgrade every 2-3 years.. This way your not shelling out for expensive hardware upgrades etc…

I just wish both BellEV and Shaw would wake up and and recognize it’s loyal customers once and a while… Maybe then we would be convinced to stay!.

It’s a joke really. Customer retention is more important than getting new customers. A loyal customer will stick around forever. Treat them like crap, word gets around, and in the long run you lose business. I felt bad leaving starchoice/shaw direct after 5 years, BUT, a dollar is a dollar, and I am going where I can save the most money. StarChoice/Shaw didn’t want to humor me, so I now spend my money elsewhere.

I was with bell for over ten years got my flat screen and the picture was not up to par phoned bell and was told I should buy a hd receiver, no promo offered and they said i’d have to go to the bell store to find out how much. received a mailing from shaw free pvr if I sign up for a 3 yr. contract no problem there how often do you switch your satellite got 2 hd recievers as well free with the 100 dollar credit 3 months for 29.00 and a free install the outcome better picture definetly cheaper yes and not just for the initial 3 months the install allowed me to relocate tv locations and add an additional tv now glad I took up shaws offer didn’t even touch on how they handle programming you can subscribe to one additional channel for $2 extra or bundle it for $5 combined with Netflix am getting tons of programming for a lot less switch to shaw with confidence I did

Things change depending on your location and when you sign up. Shaw will give me an hd- PVR for $300 as of August 2013; (they used to loan or give them on payments but claim there was too much abuse of their equipment) . This is in central Alberta (Canada). I’ve learned since to make due with my dual deck VCR and the Shaw On Demand choices. But Shaw now offers limited time channels…and you find them disappearing suddenly without warning. That’ll heat yer bonnet! I’m feeling pushed into trying another server, that Shaw ain’t what it used to be a few years ago.

Just thought I would mention that Starchoice was never “acquired” by Shaw (Well not in the last 10 years that is). Shaw has owned Starchoice for a looooong time, it’s just recently that they decided to “rebrand” it, as well as other Shaw owned services as “Shaw Direct”. This was done so it’s name directly reflects it as being under the Shaw umbrella of companies. Much like Bell rebranded “Expressvu” to simply “Bell TV” last year also.

In any case, both companies do have their ups and downs, but I really hope you don’t have to deal with Bell customer support anytime soon! You will fast realize the difference between Canadian customer support call centres and Indian customer support call centres. (Shaw direct CSR’s are from Mississauga I believe, whereas unless you are a new customer speaking to the sales line, Bell will have you speaking with someone in India/Phils…onoes!).

FTR I use Shaw Cable personally, but have worked selling both Bell and Starchoice in the past.

Cheers! :)

Thanks for the comment. I did have to deal with Bell support for a few issues, but most of which were a faulty PVR, which they replaced… 3 times! Ultimately the problem was resolved however, so at least that is good.

When I was with StarChoice, their customer service was fantastic, so I never had a beef there – but now with Bell, not only did I get a free PVR, but my monthly bills are still less – and haven’t had a problem in a LONG time. So fingers crossed that it stays that way!

What a difference a month or two can make. In mid-June, compare Shaw Direct versus Bell. You will find Shaw Direct has a better promo especially regarding a DVR. Shaw Direct lets you own your own HDPVR for basically $200 after the dust settles. They also are acquiring access to a new satellite later this year which should help greatly on their programming offerings. Right now, it looks like Shaw Direct is trying harder to get and keep customers. Eastlink TV? Let’s not talk about them. That’s why I’m researching Shaw Direct and Bell!

I am looking to switch to Shaw (from Bell) for a completly different reason. I should say for the most part I am happy with Bell TV although I whould like to upgrade to a HDPVR and Bell really doesent care that I have been a Bell TV customer for almost 8 years. $500 please.
The main reason I want to change is Bell’s attitude towards Snowbirds who take their dish and receiver south with them. Big no no with Bell but not so with Shaw. Bell will actually cut off your service if they find out you are using your satellite receiver out of the country. This is not hearsay, I know someone that this happened to. I was told once it had somthing to do with the CRTC, so why does it not apply to Shaw? I do also know Snowbirds who think cust service fron Shaw is wonderful (from the US too). I’m researching the details now.

When we were with StarChoice (Now Shaw Direct) We had the best customer service experiences EVER. If it weren’t for ultimately getting a Free PVR by going with BELL, we would have stayed with Shaw Direct.

Good luck on bringing it south of the boarder, hope that works well 😀 I suspect that Shaw should not allow it, but they just turn a blind eye, but not really sure.

i just switched to shaw direct biggest mistake i ever made. first of all installation isnt free like they told me. second they say there is no contract but try to cancel , they want all the equipment that u paid for back with no refund and they charge u 200$ cancalation fee. that is not a company that i would have done business with had i known.

There is a huge difference between the old Star Choice and Shaw Direct. I just cancelled and my final bill is for 2 months! The reason given was that they bill a month in advance! This is a complete rip-off. Whenever I put my old Star Choice on their winter holiday rate (this was at my summer cabin), they refunded me the prepaid month. It is a dishonest dealer that makes you prepay and then charges you on top of that to cancel. Why don’t they just not charge for prepayment??

@ Calvin Smith,

The Reason SD wants you to send back the equipment or pay that cancellation fee is because when they set up a customer they are roughly 700 dollars in the hole for the actual cost of the dish and installation that you don’t pay for. Each time they send out an installer it costs the company roughly $200 for the installer (Time/Labour) Roughly about $100 for the dish and $100/Per line and thats at 2 free receiver installs so $200 thats a lot of money and if you cancel your service within a year they need to get that money back some how. SD subsidizes the cost of their equipment just like any other company. The actual cost of acquisition is far more money than customers realise.

I was with Bell Satellite for 3 years, then Shaw Direct came knocking on our door one evening. The salesman did a great snow job on us, and promised us all sorts of things, which we never got. Even after complaining to Shaw Direct, they wouldn’t stand behind us, and to solve the problem, they offered me more channels for 6 months.
One of the first things I noticed when I went from Bell to Shaw, was picture quality….Shaw was not as clear Bell when it came to HD, which really disappointed me.
So after 8 months, I called Bell, and was offered more channels (including HD), a free PVR and free installation, if I were to go back to Bell. So I canceled my business with Shaw, and they wanted to charge me $ 200.00 cancel fee because I hadn’t stayed with them for a year….which I was told in the beginning was 6 months, not a year. However, they told me if I were to send back (at their expense) the HD and Digital recievers, they would wave the $200.00.
I too never liked the fact of speaking with someone in India or some other Country, but so far, everytime I’ve called Bell, I have spoken to someone with no accent, sounding very CanEHdian.
So now I’m signe up with Bell for 2 years, and hopefully I won’t be searching for a new Satellite supplier after my term with them. I agree that Shaw AND Bell, could do much more to keep their “Existing” clients, rather than just catering to the New client. Time will tell I guess

I too should also mention, that Shaw Direct, will not reimburse me for the receivers (that I purchased). They told me they would charge me $200.00 if I didn’t return them, which is really blackmail. So they are basically taking back what I paid for, and telling me to buzz off. They will REALLY have to changer their sales pitch before I would even consider going back to Shaw in a couple of years. So yes, they do sweet talk to you when you call…..just as long as you remain their client. Tell them you’re cancelling, and you will see a very different side to them. When I had cancelled with Bell the last time, they took back the receivers, even sent me post paid boxes to send back at their expense. They even left me with their satellite dish. They gave me a new one when they returned to install again….no charge for anything….including the HD PVR. Lets see Shaw do that. I know I made the right decision this time.

I am with Shaw since 3 years now. I got the DR500 with them, now I am trying to have their new HD PVR. I requested to have the monthly payment they said NO, they ned me to pay the total amount. I am thinking switching to Bell. Can someone help me to know if I am doing right.
Thank you

Anybody who wants to go Bell should take a serious look at this person’s blog I found today:


After a recent experience of being lied to by Bell Internet,,overcharged and having to hassle them and getting only a partial refund -all because a CSR knowingly,or unknowingly lied offering a ‘free modem and free shipping’ and what with all the Bell TV horror stories I hear(even from my own sister….every time there’s a strong wind,it blows the dish out of alignment[because Bell installed it on the Facia Board!] and after the first time,Bell said they would charge them to come back…and she says Bell’s CSRs are obnoxious)…then there’s the Bell rants on the Digital Home Canada Forum……ok,so Shaw Direct isn’t perfect,but we’re coming up on 10 yrs with them next January and have very few,if any complaints…..and while a “free PVR” sounds great….is it worth the price one has to pay?

I was considering changing from Bell to Shaw. I had received a flyer in the mail from Shaw showing 49.72/per mnth with over 250 channels and over 25 in HD. Presently, I pay about $90.00/month from Bell and I dont have a PVR. After reading some of your comments, I am beginning to second guess myself and stay with Bell.

Do not stay with bell look at a superior network like Telus optic or Eastlink.Bell is the very worst had Bell and telus .Take good advice or suffer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just got shaw direct with the hd 600 its around 300 channels + around 27 in HD, 25 bucks for 6 months then 49 after. You will not get a better deal. plus i own the 600 if i want i could sell it for 50 bucks and buy a 605 or 630.

So the moral of the story is “You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Truth be told, the only reason we switched to Bell TV is VOD. ShawDirect has PPV, but you have to catch it at the right showtimes. Also, Bell PPV is less expensive.

After 12 years with Bell we are now switching to Shaw. I’m finally sick of Bell screwing up my bill & also the sheer cost of their packages.

If you ever have any problems with Bell DO NOT go to the “appropriate” department from their phone menu – go to “cancel your service”, they are the only ones who possess a brain, actually listen to you & have the authorization to DO something including offering incentives to stop you canceling!

Bell tech support is a nightmare & usually starts in India then transfers to Toronto when the idiot in India finally accepts they cannot help! The Canadian ones aren’t much better though. I spoke to one who was obviously working from home. I could hear the TV in the background & his wife yelling at their kid – very professional NOT! Also all of our the local tech guys say the support staff think they know more than the techs & rarely pass on correct information!

Then there’s the cost of programming to get the channels you want which are bundled with an amazing array of crap. Over $100 a month for the garbage now on TV is beyond a joke.

Shaw new customer February promo in Atlantic Canada gets me a FREE HDPVR ($200 up front & $200 in programming credits = in effect I’m simply pre-paying the first 4 months) + $50 pay-per-view & all the channels I get from Bell for $42.99+tax per month for a year!! When I called to cancel Bell I was offered a free PVR + $15/month programming credit for a year – sorry guys not enough, I’m off 😉

Both companies have problems & it’s about time they paid more attention to offering existing customers deals without being forced to do it to keep the customer!

Thanks for your comment. I totally agree with you. Our contract with Bell runs out in a month or so, and we are seriously considering switching. There customer service has turned out to be absolutely horrendous. Its hard though considering that both services have their major flaws.

When will a company come out that is actually worth while… never I bet.

for sure if you don’t switch they are only too happy to have you pay more and watch a substandard picture its bell i’m talking about. best thing I did was switching to shaw updated my recievers to hd free install only way you get noticed by bell is when you phone to cancel no deals for loyal customers until you threaten to cancel service then they try to reduce your billing with credits which are only good for a year. which requires you to phone to renegotiate every yr. combined with Netflix at $8 month I am paying less and definetly getting more programming

We’ve also been with Bell for some years now and are paying about $110/month for TV. We received a flyer in the mail for a basic package which includes all the stations we watch (without movies) and two free receivers all for $49.72.
So what I’m worried about is quality, not image as much as signal quality. I hear that the Shaw satellite is lower in the sky and consequently if you have tall trees (as we have) it may impede good reception. Is this true? I’m just outside of Ottawa to the west. Also what about storms. The other day there was barely any rain but the sky was covered and the signal completely went out. After a few hours I called Bell and the rep said the cloud cover in ottawa was very thick which was cutting our signal. Funny because I had seen much worse weather and the signal never went out. How is Shaw??


In my case, I have had no signal issues with any provider – Also, I have found that BELL has the worst picture quality. Starchoice (now Shaw Direct) had far better picture and sound quality, and once our Bell contract is over (in a few months) May be switching back to Shaw…

talked with the shaw installer and there is a 10 degree difference in the angle of the satellite between bell and shaw it could make a difference in your personal case but I have trees close by and got my new shaw dish mouted in the same location as the bell. the installer said that if the trees keep growing it may affect my signal nothing a little trimming won’t cure

Comments would be so much easier to read if contributors could write in proper English. Would you TALK for 200 words or so, non-stop, no pausing, no periods/stops?? My P.C. corrects bad spelling, and I do review whatever I write before I submit. God help us in this rapidly non-literary public [of Canada/USA].

I’m reading the comments and I say to myself Lord have a mercy. I think that every compagny have their flaws and they have their good side. Just like evey humain being. I am a customer of Shaw Direct and I think that they give good service. I am not saying they are perfect how can they be when regular unperfect humain being are behind it. They can only do the best they can. Us customers sure don’t make it easy on them. We want everything now, free, we are sometimes rude. Everything can’t be free. I’m sure they would love to give alot of things at no price but I think that we all know that not only it’s not going to happen but it’s not realistic. They invest in the material, the pay the material at a greater price than you pay. They have to pay all theirs employes. To those who suffered a job lost you know what it is. If Shaw starts giving everything for free, how will they survive ? As new customers we all got some promotions to start with. Having a compagny this big is not an easy thing, I would love to see some of you criticizing in the position of the boss who worked hard to get ine the position that he’s in how you would think, how would you make sure that everything balance and works out in a fair way, how would you make sure that all the employes and getting paid to feed their familly or themselves. I know what working with demanding people is did it for many years. They want everything, they often try to get something. It’s hard to deal with on an everyday basic. I say Good job to them because I know it’s no easy task. Don’t forget that they are a business. Their goal is not to give their things for free. It is to sell you a service that you have to pay for. The same way you do with gaz. You’ve being longtime customers with ultramar and all them other ones, do you ask them for free gaz ?? I know some of them gives points and that’s nice. It is not like Shaw Direct never gives. As soon as you come in they give you. They try to give you when they can. Why would a customer of 5 years get things for free when some of 13 years doesn’t. but thrust me that the day that customer is going to want something they will try more than their best to please her the best and logical way possible. People who are always looking for a way out by threatning, or always try a credit live a trace. It’s not about loyalty for them it’s about how they can have a certain control because they are the customers and that they think that they are always right. I love Shaw direct, i was always respectful to them they always responded in the same way. Our relationship is great and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

with so many spelling errors and typos. Why not correct your contribution before showing it to the internet world?? :-(

I agree, not just in some of the comments people post here, but everywhere online. I am very tempted to edit submitted comments before approving, however I also feel that those approved should be published as is.

One thing worse than blog comment grammar though, is posting to CraigsList – there is some HORRIBLE English there!

Thanks for your comments.

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I am moving back to Canada after a long period and have had DirecTV for about 10 years. Wonderful service, excellent picture quality, hundreds of HD channels – in fact I don’t watch any without HD. I even use my iPhone app to record shows.

If I could get DirecTV in Ontario I would. Reviewing the channel line-ups from Shaw Direct and Bell TV I’ll be giving up quality AND HD choices. Add to that I’m moving to a town that has Cogeco Cable whom I never heard of so not even sure what choices I have.

HI Allan,

If you kept your DirectTV Dish, installed it yourself, and kept paying your bill I bet it would still work – not sure how legal it would be though, but would probably still work… Afterall, its just a satellite signal, not like you need to be hard wired or anything….

Hmmm, The question then is whether I can remove my HD dish and have someone install it with the correct transponder info. Of course, according to my wife, I would be sacrificing local network TV – CBC, CTV etc.

Further investigation required!

Hello Allan,

Don’t take anything for granted. As a good customer you should verify the informations yourself, If you like your compagny and you really want to stay with them find a way to see if it’s possible. If it,s not just go on the net for all the compagny that you have an intrest for and call them all. More importantly ask the right questions. This is the part that people often forget, ask to good questions.

What happens if you want cancel ?
Are their any additionnal charges ?
Can you only have a try out to see if you like them?

And so on. I know it’s alot of work but good things don’t come easy. At least you would know what you are talking about and what who are dealing with. Don’t take the fast and easy way out and than start crying saying that you didn’t know.

Stay informed.

Thanks Nishy but I suspect the FCC/CRTC rules are why DirecTV told me they weren’t in Canada.

I had heard recently, as someone mentioned, that a fellow from Toronto did take his receiver with him to Florida for the season

I have spoken with one individual in particular who has a ShawDirect dish on his RV, and takes it every winter down to Arizona, and it works no problem. I think the key is lining it up properly, which isnt as hard as it sounds. You can see the signal strength on the TV, so it is just about trial and error for the most part.

I switched to Shaw a couple of weeks ago – I’m REALLY impressed :-)

The installer is a local guy.
He has worked for Shaw for years & he is also an agent for them.
No more dealing with guys from 50-100 miles away if we have equipment problems.

I have a toll free number + name & extension # to connect DIRECTLY to my customer service rep for ANYTHING.
I can also email him & that’s a huge bonus for verification & also passing on info to my husband who is deaf. I emailed him about a couple of issues, he fixed them & emailed me back later the same day.
No more starting with someone in India, ending up with a person in Canada, making a second call for a different issue, & wondering afterwards what exactly was said! No more threatening to cancel just to get to someone who could actually do something!

I have almost halved my cost – including taxes, Bell was $102.07 Shaw is $56.34.
We haven’t lost any channels that we watch, we were able to add several individual channels we wanted & we have also gained some we are interested in. At current prices it will cost me less than $15 to include the extras I am currently getting for free for a year as part of the special promo I signed up for.

I got a PVR free. I had to pay $200.00+Tx up front for it but got that back immediately in programming credit. That’s no different to pre-paying the first (almost) 4 months rental up front & I don’t have a problem with that!

Quality of service – BETTER than Bell.
Our dish is slightly larger, the reception is equally as good & it DOES NOT break up in heavy rain. We have 100% signal from both satellites, Bell was 97% on one & 87% on the other! Bell receivers check for updates once every 24 hours & can do strange things if you don’t allow it or change the default time. Shaw updates when necessary!

Personally I would highly recommend Shaw, I am really pleased with them :-)

Allan: You are in for a nasty shock at what you CAN’T get in Canada from anybody! Way less HD channels, way less US programming, not to mention expensive & restrictive packages (the worst are the cell phone plans!).

Thanks to a 2002 Supreme Court ruling “it is illegal for Canadians to watch satellite television signals that originate directly from the United States of America” and could result in a fine of $5,000.

It IS illegal for DirecTV to *knowingly* provide service in Canada, they are not licensed to operate here.

If you’re still paying for your service when you move back here, if you maintain a US mailing address & continue to pay them from the US, if you set up the dish yourself (it’s not difficult) & if you don’t ask DT for help…. !!!!
You get the picture 😉 (excuse the pun!)

Good luck 😉

Hey OldTabby – surprised to hear you lost your signal in heavy rain. With Bell our only signal issues were when heavy snow accumulated on the dish (but that’s a problem with ANY dish).

Regardless, we may switch back. Still on the fence. Shaw Direct was better in MANY ways, but Bell is better in several ways also.

I think it is lose-lose no matter who you chose, with Shaw Direct coming out slightly ahead.

(Bell’s BIGGEST issue, is definitely their customer service – for that they get an F-)

I have been a shaw direct customer for 15+ years. Sevice is down hill, with the new satellite we lose our signal for hours on end when a storm is in the area, that did not happen with the older satellites, so we lose our HD almost instantly, they gave us the new local HD stations and took half of them away so they can charge you for time shifting, which was one of the main reasons we stayed with the dish over cable,we have no installer in our town anymore, hence you cannot get service unless you have an understanding how it works and can do it yourself. I have had the new HD PVR reciever replaced threee times as they keep sending “refurbished” ones that didn’t work for other people. Zero customer loyalty for long time suscribers. I kept wondering why they would not get the service person to call me, so I googled the installer and found the Kijji at looking for a new installer for the area, but they won’t tell you that. I would think twice before going to any dish again because of the complexity of the new signal causes you to lose channels at the first sign of a storm.

Well good luck with Bell. Dealing with them about anything , right from the getgo (installation) has been the biggest nightmare. I have spent literally hours on the phone with them, trying to get some kind of customer service, to no avail. Every ten minutes, I somehow get disconnected and have to start all over again, with another of their idiots, only to be somehow disconnected again. Am giving up and switching to Shaw.

Have been a long-time customer of BellEV. Never received any promotions for customer loyalty. That said, in a single phone call to them earlier this year I got a free PVR for being a long-time customer, upgraded to a better package for less $ than I was paying + I was able to get a 3rd receiver (actually relocated existing receiver to another room) for a minimal charge ($45). When I checked Shaw at the time (and just today) I found their internet deal was about $35/mth more expensive. I’ll stick with Bell. better the devil you know…

We started with StarChoice in 1998, back when all services were pretty poor, and stayed on through the transitions to the current ShawDirect regime. We upgraded and replaced outdated receivers and dishes, replaced many a remote, and just stayed with this company for no particular reason.

Lately the customer service has been abysmal and we started comparing. It was ridiculous for us to stay with Shaw and not take advantage of Bell’s package. We contacted ShawDirect and told them of our change, they kept switching us up the food chain, trying to get us to change our minds, until we got to Mr. Uber Rude who told us they would charge us an extra thirty days after we had been a customer for 14 years! He must man the desk where customer service goes to die. Good riddance to that lot—they were terrible to deal with and we didn’t realize how much so until we started dealing with the competition.

The happy ending to the story is our new Bell system. It works great, none of the long pauses for channel changes etc. that Shaw couldn’t explain or deal with. And our regular channels are as clear as our HD channels had been with Shaw(our Shaw HD receiver was less than a year old). So, so far, we’re very happy with our change and feel silly not to have shopped around before.

you have to give 30 days notice of cancellation with bell as well keep that in mind for your next switch the transition from bell to shaw was perfect gave bell 30 days notice and set up the shaw install for 28 days no overlap of months bills by the way I was bell customer for over 12 yrs. compare the packages if you can you only get the real prices from bell when you cancel then they become competitive shaws promos are upfront no credits on my billing to renegotiate after a year switched to shaw and glad I did

i had both Star Choice and Bell.. Shaw is missing lots of channels on the line up…Bell has improved the customer service down the road..

The thirty day disconnect fee/delay is in fact an excuse for the slimy Shaw Direct company to bother you at home about your choice to leave their services. They claim they can’t take you off the calling list until the thirty days are up–and they charge you for that.

Be certain to put your package to the minimum one before you leave Shaw Direct–and tell them you want to quit as ‘soon as possible’–this will help you avoid the nasty period they charge you to harass you at home.

I used to be an employee with Saw Direct as a customer service, technical and sales agent.

I just want to forewarn any people wanting to set up a new account with Shaw Direct….to be careful!

I had to leave the company as I was so displeased with their values!

Their motto, sign up a customer no matter what it takes, once their our customer, their a sucker!

I can verify, first hand, that as a sales agent, we offer the world. The question is, do we honor it? Not in most cases. I brought this concern up with management only to be told…if you don’t like it, quit.

So, needless to say, I left. I didn’t want to be involved with empty promises and misleading customers.

disgruntled former employee sounds bitter. the deals are in black and white with shaw bell has their prices hidden behind credits the best prices copme from the loyalty dept. with bell but make sure you mark the date on the calendar as in a year you’ll have to phone bell to re negotiate what a way to do business!! shaw even gave a friend of mine a free month of programming after letting them know I got the idea of switching from him

if you purchase Shaw Direct and you want/need a free remote, within the first 6 months, claim that your remote is malfunctioning and they will send you a new one for free. You get the new one for free and you can keep your old remote.

About 5 years ago I purchase a new home and decided to rent out my old home. At the time I was using C-Band until they went digital and it was difficult to find a digital receiver. I live in a rural area that did not have cable or telecom TV service available at the time.

So I decided to change from the C-Band to the small satellite. I purchased both a Bell and a Shaw system and looked at the packages offered. I decided to go with Shaw for my home and Bell for the rental. So for a couple of years I subscribed to both services at the same time.

I did find Bell slightly cheaper by about $25.00 a year for similar packages however I felt the price difference was not worth the hassle of dealing with Bell. Their customer service was not completely terrible, but not nearly as good as Shaw Direct.

Some of the comparisons and issues:

First, both installations were free. The Bell installation was sloppy with the cables hanging loose and not properly secured to the building. (I was not there during installation but my renter was.) When I called Bell, they apologized but never offered to have the installer return and fix the problem. I fixed it myself.

Then I found out that I had to subscribe to Bell under my name to keep ownership of my receiver. If my renter subscribed then the receiver would belong to him. Recently I gave my father (also a Shaw customer) an older Shaw receiver since I upgraded. We had no problems with the transfer and he had it up and running under his subscription the same day.

The final straw with Bell was when my renter left and took the card out of the receiver making it a worthless pile of electronics. I could not get another card, I was told I would have to purchase a new receiver. Shaw receivers have no cards.

The only good that came out of all this is now my renters have to provide their own receiver if they want to use the dish. I no longer have to worry about increasing the rent to cover the cost and I no longer have to deal with Bell’s customer service.

I recently obtained a used Shaw dish and I’m going to have it installed on the rental so my renters will have a choice. I will have to pay for the installation as I will not be subscribing or purchasing a receiver.

Now things may have changed with Bell as this was about 4 or 5 years ago but when I compare my experiences, I’m more than happy to stay with Shaw and don’t mind paying the extra cash for great service.

A small but important note. I will switch to Shaw Direct for one important reason. Bell TV has changed their signal footprint last summer to exclude most of United States. Thousands of us Snowbirds found this out this fall when coming to our winter homes or RV’ing to South.

I can assure you that Bell Customers with RV’s are fuming, can’t wait to dump Bell TV. CRTC has nothing to do it since this was confirmed by CRTC. Bell is giving any excuse they can thik of but not able to explain.

Shaw Direct will even sell us snowbirds larger elliptical dish specially designed to be used in Southern US. Regular dish works but is lacking signal strength for some HD channels.

I am stuck for this winter without Canadian TV. My friend went back to Ontario to get his Shaw TV, larger extra dish for $99, and is pleased to have Shaw. After 10+ years RV’ing with Bell dish I will be soooooo pleased to switch.

Not any more, I just tried and they say you must now provide an address for the second dish, plus the new LNB that is installed is not legal in the US as it uses miltary frequencies, so you cannot get any of the new HD stations if you do use it.. Not sure of the accuracy but that was from their technical support people. If you say it is for your RV they want a VIN number. I am going to switch, just don’t know to who.

Like Hank said, Shaw Direct has no problems with services being used in the States. I don’t think they can openly say they support use down there, but it’ll work and they don’t mind.

They actually have a blog (http://shawdirectblog.com/2012/12/06/home-away-from-home-program/) about using services somewhere other than your home. If you leave a comment or find their Facebook/Twitter pages, they can sign you up right away. It’s pretty painless.

I moved to a region that doesn’t have Cogeco cable after yearsof using cable, my significant other set up Bell. I despise them! I was left on hold for 30mins when just calling in to pay a bill that they couldn’t even find an account number for. I got charged feesthat I didn’t agree to. As well as had my service screw up multiple times with no help or explanation. I find the channel packaging to be messed up and I still have not received the pvr I ordered. Today a Shaw employee approached me at a mall, showed me the package, I agreed to their much cheaper packages and the free pvr they gave me for signing up. I still miss cogeco but Shaw seems like a light at the end of the bell nightmare.

I WAS a bell customer for 9 years, one of the best switch i made was switching over from bell to Shaw. BELL IS ONE OF THE WORST COMPANIES I HAVE EVER DEALT WITH.I have been with Shaw direct for the past 2 yrs now and I can tell you without a shred of a doubt they are the best satellite company in Canada.great service, and a great product overall.

Why go to Shaw Direct TV or Shaw Cable? They are very slow on getting new HD Channels. They are the only Cable/Satellite Provider that doesn’t have CBC News Network HD. If any people want to switch providers go to Telus optik.

After spending 45 mins on the phone with Bell Phillipines to find out why the technician (here in New Brunswick, Canada) did not show up to connect my dish for the 2nd day in a row, My wife I have decided to go with Shaw Direct.

Looking at switching from Bell satellitte to Shaw direct. Live in rural community. Left Bell mobility as service sucked. Packages for Bell satelitte are now limited to 3 packages only and pricey. Spoke with customer service and they really don’ care. SERIOUSLY considering switching to Shaw.

I’ve been with shaw off and on for 12 years.. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever had a problem.. You buy something that has a contract you read the contract.. If you don’t and you end up with problems regarding the contract who’s fault is that..

Hi guys,
I just cancelled my Bell, they were now charging me 108 a month, where a year ago they got me as a customer telling me that my TV would be first 3 months 40 something and then 59.99. That price was a lie, they increase with stupid reasons every months, and then youre stuck in a contract, espacially if you dont cancel 30 days before your contract ends, as soon as you pay your bill, the contract is automatically renewed without you knowing, then they turn around and say you should have read the fine litlle prints!!!!! Bell and Rogers are terrible when it comes to customer service, and no I do not want to have to speak with people in India who dont have a clue of our system, way of life or anything about our culture. Shaw it is for me now, I am getting the same channels, for 29.99 first 3 months, then 69.99 after. I made them give me all the information about cost, if I keep my service for at least a year, I will not have to return my PVR. If I cancel because there is no contract, they will wayve the 200 cancellation fee as soon as they receive the receivers, which I dont really pay for, since they are crediting back the amount of the second receiver, and I will monthly be paying the HD receiver, instead of upfront. I see that once you are a customer, if you want to upgrade the receivers must be paid in full, which may be a reason why I will switch later on, but for now its a good deal, and I will keep going for the best deal always! If I have to cancel over and over to get a good price, thats what I do!

I had been a star choice subscriber for over 15 years
this year I requested a second dish for my RV was willing to purchase it. was told that there would be a 50% monthly surcharge tacked on my bill(an extra $54.00 a month. it did not matter that I only have one receiver I would have to pay in order to move my receiver from house to RV and back to house.
in the past 15 years I have had to pay each time I upgraded receivers (full Price)
Shaw also charges an extra months rent when you unsubscribe

today I had my Bell service installed, free install, free pvr, some free programming. from little I’ve watched seems like better video, more HD and less per month than Shaw.

Too true about Shaw. I just had the same experience of being charged for 2 months in order to unsubscribe. I have sold my summer cottage. Then they wanted to know if the new owners would be subscribing. WHAT??? How should I know, I don’t even know them and they will make their own decisions. Customer service is terrible with Shaw Direct, it was much better with Star Choice. Every winter, when I put the account on holiday mode, they refunded me the prepaid amount. This is dishonest price-gouging.

Shaw had a deal called “Home Away From Home” that gave free installation, dish, and service at a second location. They terminated the free part in May 2013 in response to a CRTC ruling. They will now charge 50% of your main rate if you have had this service and 75% for new customers. On the other hand, if you already have the dish installed and a working receiver, then there is no need to sign up, unless you are looking for repair or installation service. You can also start and stop the second site’s plan as you wish. If you have a proper primary account and the receivers you use have been tested at home, then a satellite provider does not have any way to know where you are watching from – unless you want them to know. Shaw is willing to provide whatever service you are willing to pay for or leave you alone.

You are correct about the upcharge for a second location. I had to call for service & experienced the 50% upcharge because they disconnected the service to my cottage. but not my primary home. I believe they know where your second location is because they have a serial number for the LNB attached to the dish. Perhaps you could move the LNB from dish to dish? Anyway, I was so ticked off about being charged 50% more that I cancelled my primary account and had Bell Aliant fibreop installed that covers my home phone, internet & TV for $99.95/month. I will put my cottage on “vacation” for 6 months each year and reduce the service to minimum for the other months I am not at my cottage. So instead of receiving $1,200/year from me under the old plan, Shaw will only get about $360 a year from me. Oh, when I cancelled my primary account, they treated my cottage as a new account & reduced my programming! I may cancel them altogether in the next few weeks after I investigate the cost of Bell Satellite. Also, I am very please with Bell Aliant Fibreop – downloads are very fast.

Not any more.


Just got off the phone with a Shaw Direct Customer Rep, who got very rude and short with me, after I had asked him twice very nicely to speak to a supervisor about closing my account. Apparently, these people need 30 days notice to deactivate your signal, but they can connect you right away? I asked him since my account was already in hiatus mode, if they didn’t have the technology to terminate right away? The customer rep just reiterated company policy about the 30 days. He did however change my package, to a lower costing package, so that I may receive a refund of $34, instead of the $70 I would receive, if they were to terminate right away – money grab. Perhaps I should count my blessings, or maybe that is what Shaw wants me to do. I have been a loyal customer, since the early Star Choice days, never missed any payment, never had any problems with their customer service, they were friendly, helpful, and would bend over backwards to help.

I no longer subscribe to any cable or satellite services. I have been streaming for the last year before ‘cutting the chord’. I have a Roku player that streams, not only Netflix and HuluPlus, but an app called Plex, that provides me with all the major American networks. I also subscribe to unblockUs, which provides me with an American IP address (needed to watch American Netflix and HuluPlus). Roku player’s one time cost is around $80 bucks, available at Walmart. Netflix and HuluPlus is $8.00/month each. Plex is also available from iTunes for your mobile devices. The unblockUs Sevice is $5.00/month ( all monthly costs are in US funds). For Canadian content I use a $30 supersonic HDTV antenna and a $99 preamp to watch ‘live TV’ OTA. I live in between Kingston and Ottawa,and get the major Canadian networks for a $0 monthly cost.

So, after speaking to the Shaw Customer sevice rep, I’m really glad and feel I ‘ve done the right thing. Oh, and I don’t need a PVR, because I can watch the American shows at anytime I like. This approach might be worth your while to investigate to see if it fits your viewing needs before you decide that you have had enough of cable and satellite companies that are out to gouge you and try to hold you hostage to their services or lack there of.

Well out there in TV land, there are many comments looking at Bell vs Shaw

At first choice shaw looked great and after 27 years with Bell I was ready for a change.

In retrospect I wish I had stayed with bell. The PVR is far superior, simple to use and user friendly.

The shaw units have to be unplugged almost weekly to re set it and were always fighting with something or another to either get the programming,guide or PVR functions to work properly

Lastly my in-laws live with us 93 and 87 and the changeover has been a nightmare for us all

Good luck, stay or go with bell it’s far better……

Unfortunately, Canadian TV providers (Rogers, Bell, Shaw Direct) are way behind the 8-ball, in terms of all three competitive factors — customer service, price and technology.

I was with Shaw for 4 years and ended up switching to Bell since Bell had the better DVR and Cartoon Network. Also, although Bell and Shaw both constantly increase their monthly rates, Shaw gives you relatively nothing for the price increases, whilst Bell at least invests in new technology and acquiring new U.S. channels. Love watching Cartoon Network on Bell, and to remind you, it’s been two years since the channel’s launch, and it’s still not available on Rogers or Shaw.

Ultimately, in the satellite TV boxing ring, Bell is going to beat Shaw, especially once they release the Hopper and Joey system up here. Not sure how Shaw is going to compete against that. I’d say that Shaw would go the DirecTV route with the Genie, but knowing Shaw, that’s not going to happen. Receiver technology is the least bit important, as far as Shaw is concerned.

Of course, we’ll never be happy until DirecTV and Dish get up here… if they ever do so… one can dream, can’t he?

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