Consumer Vengeance

I started this blog to get other peoples views about being ripped off. Personally, I am tired of the multinationals and corporations showing disrespect to me the consumer and treating me as furniture or a statistic. I'm an object to be manipulated, queued or exploited. What I want are examples of your experiences and what you did to get your own back on the call centres and banks etc.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Motorway service stations

Why do the petrol stations on the M1 hike up their prices by several pence per litre just because they know that people don’t want to leave their route to hunt for cheaper. Do they think we don’t notice? Of course we do, but we pay anyway. Why?
Go into the shop at the motorway services and Mars bars are 58pence instead of 42pence? We pay. Why?
We have to stop paying the people who are ripping us off. Of course, 16 pence extra for a mars bar is not going to change our lives, nor is a couple of quid extra to fill up our tank, but it adds up and wouldn’t you rather have it in your pocket than in someone else’s.

Call centres

What do you think about placing them abroad?
I’m not sure whether I’m for or against it. I’ve been arguing for years that the western world should be spreading some of its wealth around and if they put a call centre in India, it gives the local economy jobs and reasons to train and educate etc. I read somewhere that the Indians need a degree just to work there. I don’t know if that’s true. It would be nice to think that the wages are higher than the normal for the area but the suspicion is that the call centre has been moved there for financial reasons rather than altruistic reasons.
And its bloody frustrating when the line isn’t crystal clear and the person is difficult to understand.

Banks ... and now HSBC are mumbling about charging to use a cashpoint.

Banks! They take your money then charge you for you to get at it while they invest it for themselves. Then they start up a call centre and tell you it’s for your own good – all in the name of improved customer service. Last week I rang a bank I don’t even deal with just to find out their credit card rate and I couldn’t get it because the machine wouldn’t let me pass without me giving my birthday! What the hell do they need that for? Why so intrusive?
I remember when cashpoints were put into walls. the banks made a load of people redundant becuase they didn't need them any more now that the hole in the walls were so easy and accessible and they guaranteed they would be free. Sheer greed, HSBC. Sheer greed.
You ring up and a machine wants your account number, your telephone number or your birthday and puts you through to another voice and more options, who then put you through to more options and then on hold. When a person answers, they ask you for the same information that you’ve already given and if you want to speak to another department they ask for it too. When does the consumer start being taken seriously?
A bank has to make money, and it’s crucial that they do - that in itself is fair enough. If the banks start to struggle, the economy will lose confidence and that’s bad for us all. And if banks start to go under, we’re all in deep shit! It’s about being realistic and the consumer getting a fair deal.


I ordered this laptop from Dell. This is the second one. This first one arrived and the spec was wrong even though the tech people had confirmed that there wouldn’t be a problem before the thing was delivered. I spent twenty minutes trying to sort it out on the phone speaking to someone I couldn’t even understand and getting nowhere and then when I eventually decided to register my dissatisfaction by making a complaint, I was told I couldn’t make a complaint on the phone. They can’t wait to talk you into buying something on the phone but when it goes tits up, suddenly they don’t want to talk to you.
And the technical problems - I was told the technical department couldn’t make calls so I had to ring them. They make the mistakes and I’m left footing the phone bill! Not customer service.

Consumer Watchdogs

The consumer watchdogs are sluggish, disinterested and toothless and in this country and riddled through with bureaucracy. We put up with too much, although we probably get there eventually. A good example would be the pirated music. The record companies kept the price of CD’S artificially high for years in this country and then complain when people look at cheaper options. Most people would rather have the CD with its proper cover with a write up, maybe a couple of extra tracks and maybe a video version, but are put off by the price so they look to pirates.
When we kick ass, like the fuel protests, it works. The government took notice and it stopped the hikes in fuel tax. The fuel companies took notice too although memories are short and sometimes it’s difficult to know whether the prices are justified or not. Consumer power works. Consumer protest works. But how often does it happen? Why don’t we ever protest? The corporations and multinationals are herding us around like sheep and riding roughshod over our best interests and rights. Consumer power can change the profile of shopping. What I would like is to see a consumer oriented organisation that has the consumer’s interests at heart but doesn’t fuck around. It needs to be consumer driven.

The Ideal Scenario

Lets’s say for example, Texaco have the most expensive petrol on the M1 for no apparent reason considering that in a village 3 miles away, it is being sold at 5 pence per litre cheaper (though we know that could never happen, right?). This consumer led organisation would send a letter to the manager asking him why the petrol is so expensive. (He doesn’t dictate the price himself but he would pass the letter on to his area manager.) If there is no reply to the letter, or if the reasoning is not satisfactory, the consumer led organisation would then send memoranda/communiqué/email etc to its members to embargo that filling station for one day/one week etc. It would work if enough people did it. Of course, there may be legal consequences that would need to be ironed out first. It would only have to happen two or three times effectively before just the letter itself would be enough to send palpitations through a company.Who shall we go for first? You tell me…

What a dream…


My only poor effort is with junk mail. When I get it, I erase my address, write return to sender on the envelope and send it back. Someone pays for the return, whether it’s the royal mail or the sender. If it’s the royal mail, eventually they will get fed up and tell the sender to get their act together. If the sender has to pay for each letter that is returned, surely all it takes is enough letters before they review their mailing policies.
How can we turn the tables on the call centre? What about the guys who ring up in the vening and weekends trying tom sell things?