Tuesday, 20 October 2015

not in the right club?


Today's inertia rip-off was trickier to fix than I'd expected.

Nowadays many big organisations use inertia selling to increase fees and jack-up prices, in a kind of anti customer relationship management approach.

Our last household insurance policy was an example. They'd progressively wind the annual price up until a consumer pain threshold was passed, when we'd bail and go to someone else. Same with the car breakdown service. Better to let the last one lapse and start a new one. Kind of anti-loyalty rewards.

Today's example was a regular payment that I queried to one of the big well-known British financial service providers. First their currently published website phone numbers had all changed. You call he numbers and a recorded message reads out the new ones.

When I eventually got through to someone (maybe after 20 minutes), they couldn't find any record of me, even when I quoted a reference number.

Of course they'd acquired various companies and rebadged them, but behind it were all the creaky old systems, each with their own unhelp desks.

I went through all the questions, listened to all the messages and eventually got to speak to a human. We talked but the human had a script to follow and was unable to help. I dictated all of my details and asked them to call me back when they had more news.

Maybe this is all carefully engineered, like making the 'cancel subscription' buttons in web systems hard to find or not putting a phone number onto telecoms provider sites?

Anyway, a day later they did call me back, showing an Italian phone number. Maybe they have done a deal with Telecom Italia for their network?

The person dialling me (apparently from Ireland) was still not able to assist.

Instead, they transferred me to another number, which ominously said it was premium. It added that I could redial another number to get a cheaper rate. I'm still not sure who was paying for that call because they had originally called me.

I decided to wait on the line, listening to badly compressed pop music and then again went through the whole who I was, date of birth blah blah thing again (6th time by now).

Amazingly they found a record of me, although they had wrongly transcribed the address into their system. It was a plot number instead of an apartment address. They'd actually got the plot number wrong too, as well as the area, which they had as Shellsea. Yes, that well-known Royal Borough next to Kensington.

This is where it all got very silly because they now would not give me any information based upon their security guidelines. If I couldn't match their incorrect address, they wouldn't identify me. I asked them if they could, instead, send me a copy of their information, so that I could work out what to do/cancel etc.

Yes, they could, but they would have to send it to the address on file. But that's no good. It's not a proper address. And so it went on.

I have resolved it now, but the whole situation was another example of anti-customer relationship. That's another relationship club I'm better away from, but perhaps that's all part of the marketing plan too?

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