Don’t screw with me!

About two weeks ago I received notice of from Domestic and General about need to renew an insurance policy on my Freezer (a proline UFZ180P6). I notice that the cost was £66/yr and that it would renew automatically if I did nothing. The freezer is now over 4 years old so I thought spending that much is not good value. I’d prefer to get a new one if it broke down, or get a refurbished one at near to same cost of £66 (yes British Heart Foundation are doing some good deals).

But I notice that to cancel the insurance means I’d have to call an 08444 number which costs me 5p/min. I don’t like that- even though I could afford to spend 100 times that in a day because I’m rich. It’s just the principle that offends (can go into that another time). So I get onto their website where I spend 15 min cancelling (or so I thought) their insurance. But the email confirmations I get next day don’t reflect cancellation. So two nights later I decide to try again and this time it seems to be cancelled. Yes – I have loads of time and my principles tell me that for the greater good of all I spend my time like this. So that’s say 30 min total. Which is not great but I’d rather spend that time than give them 5p I thought, if it’s worth cancelling. But no. Read on.

This morning I receive two pieces of correspondence both undated – and it seems that this is now standard practice in this country of late. So you can’t really work out when correspondence is generated – advantage to ‘big business’ methinks.

20130624_120643_sm1st opened correspondence says, “Ensure continued protection of your Freezer” – renewal date 27th June 2013. Annual fee “£66.00” – as it was on correspondence about two weeks ago. So methinks fine that’s just them plugging that which I refused. [Yes – clicking the pictures makes um bigger. Chrysst!! You have to tell people everything these days.. Ok..stop picking your nose!]

20130624_120628_sm2nd correspondence opened tells me that “Your freezer is now Protected by Domestic and General“. So I’m like wut! (and holding back expletives here which were running in my mind.). My time has clearly been wasted going online. I’m not happy. But I note that it’s the same policy and same freezer but now the price I’ve been billed was £29.00!! The date of issue was 15th June 2013 (but that’s not the date on the correspondence – which is as I said undated).

I call D&G on their 08444 number spending my 5p/min now. They introduce the call as being recorded for quality and monitoring purposes, so I decide to record the call too – and I let them know this later on. The phone takes 5 min to answer.

So you bet – I was firm but in no shape or form abusive. After giving all the relevant details they go “That’s cancelled… on our system”. And I go (WTTE) ‘well you say that now, but I could have no knowledge of that and your conflicting correspondence’. I outline that I’ve wasted my time online and now the cost of my call and my personal time chasing an issue that is their fault. So I’ve spent in total about 40 mins and paid for the ‘pleasure’ – if you see what I mean. It’s not fair!! At this point – and it’s the usual – with most call centre people – I start getting cut up in mid-sentence. So I say “I notice at this point that your cutting up what I’m saying and that predicts that you’re about to label me as a hostile customer and put down the phone, but as I am recording this call and your company is too, I must let you know that I have not been hostile to you and have used no abusive language. I expect you to listen to what my dissatisfaction is“. So I explain that it is about the confusion and the waste of my time. I then say that I expect to be compensated £5 for the waste of my time and the cost of my call. The woman then goes (WTTE) ‘I don’t know what you mean’. I respond, ‘you know exactly what I mean’ and I repeat myself and state that I expect a check for £5 within 10 working days. I then put the phone down with 2 seconds notice. I’m not about to explain the meaning of words to a person on the other end who is fully fluent in English. I stated my case.

Some who read this may think this is about £5. I’ll let you know now it isn’t. I don’t care much about £5, it is the principle of how large companies waste our time. If I spend 30 min on line I expect to get it right. I don’t expect to have to be followed up by conflicting correspondence, then have to make a phone call  that costs me 50p. It’s pure rubbish. Just to let all know I spent similar amount of time with Tesco for £1 mismatch on their price, and on that occasion they offered me £5 for my time – which I did not in the end accept (simply because it was sufficient that they offered as a recognition of getting it wrong). This is about how big companies play a numbers game.

Game you wonder. Yes – did you notice that the price at D&G was £66/yr – and that following my attempts to cancel the evidence leads me to conclude they quickly renewed before 27th June at £29. My second online attempt to cancel must have gotten home and that’s why at 24th June (today), it appears on the system as cancelled. This is a numbers game, cuz I reckon that of 1000 customers companies treated in this way, probably at least 10% get hooked.

Something is wrong with business in this country – and something is also wrong about consumer vigilance. That’s why businesses know that with a certain percentage they will ‘get away with it’.

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