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Don’t get penalised for being loyal to your telecoms provider

The telecoms loyalty penalty

You might hope that being a loyal customer to a company would result in that company being loyal to you and treating you well. However, unfortunately, loyalty is penalised in many consumer sectors, including insurance, energy and telecoms. In so many cases, a new subscriber will get a better deal than a loyal customer who has been with the company for years.

Why do they do this? Well, it’s easy to entice a new customer with low-priced offers. Whereas companies can take advantage of the fact that many existing customers will stay, even if the pricing isn’t great, because people think it’s too much hassle to change.

Ofcom has recently announced changes which will hopefully help improve the situation in the telecoms sector. The regulator says that 40% of all households are overpaying for their broadband and the extra customers are paying could be at least £100 more a year.

why you should write not phone to complain

Ringing the changes

From 15 February 2020 all broadband providers must tell customers when their contract comes to an end and inform them about the best deals being offered to new clients. Does this go far enough to help the 8 and 1/2 million households affected get a better broadband deal and save money?

Issues with changing packages

With many providers you can upgrade online but to downgrade you have to ring the company’s customer service line. This means the inevitable long waits and then hearing them trying to convince you to stay or to upgrade. In its research Which? found that One in two of us abandon customer service calls.  69% of people who gave up on a call said they were on hold for too long.

I recently downgraded my package with Virgin Media. They refused to do it in writing. I refused to  discuss it over the phone and waste my time. I won. I emailed the CEO’s office and told them to give me the options in writing or I would go to the Ombudsman. I got my package downgraded. You can get CEO details from

Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy, Selina Chadha, told the BBC Moneybox programme that the regulator wants companies to treat their customers fairly. “It should be as easy to sign up to something and that would go for upgrading and downgrading as well I think that as a principle that’s absolutely right”.

Issues with switching providers

In December 2019 Ofcom launched a Consultation titled: Fair treatment and easier switching for broadband and mobile customers – Proposals to implement the new European Electronic Communications Code. However, given that the consultation document is 193 pages long (!), one does wonder how many consumers will actually respond!

A big issue for many consumers wanting to switch is not wanting to lose their email address. Companies must already allow customers to keep their phone number when switching and in 2020 I think we can all agree that one’s email address is as crucial as one’s number, possibly more so when it’s used as identification on so many websites! Chadha said Ofcom would do something about it if it was shown to be a barrier to switching. Seriously? Isn’t it obvious?!

10 Top Tips for getting the best Telecoms deals

  1. Have a good look at, and write down, what you are using with your current contract. What do you need? Check the download speeds. Check what you are and are not using. Do you use the add ons like Spotify, etc.
  2. Use comparison websites such as Moneysupermarket.com, Compare the market etc. as well as going to telecoms providers’ sites direct. Get an idea of the range of packages available and what you are prepared to pay before you make any decisions or start to haggle with your current provider.
  3. Use all the information you have gleaned from comparison and cashback sites when speaking to someone. Remember, if you’re ordering by telephone or on the internet you have 14 days to cancel should a better deal come along in the meantime.
  4. Haggle on the length of the deal you get offered as well as the price.
  5. Use cashback sites, such as Top Cashback and Quidco. Check them all as they have different offers.
  6. Consider any add ons that would give extra value if thrown in to any bundle but aren’t essential.
  7. If you can’t bear to wait on the phone, try Live Chat.
  8. Try contacting the CEO’s office. You can find the email address for any telecoms CEO on the website ceoemail.com Point out that you are a long standing loyal customer and that you don’t want to leave but will be forced to do so if it is not possible to receive a better offer. The CEO may not respond personally but someone from the Executive team will do.
  9. Check to see if you have any deals available with credit cards or discount cards you may have, such as a student card which may give you some money off a package.
  10. Be polite and assertive. If you are rude then no-one is going to want to offer you anything. Be assertive and persistent, politely arguing for a deal you want.

So let’s hope that Ofcom bring in more rules and soon. In the meantime to do fight for that better deal!

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All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers

 

 

 

 


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For lots of help, consumer laws, advice and  templates have another best seller! GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

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3 more habits of an effective complainer

Techniques to improve your complaining skills!

If you are not used to complaining, don’t like complaining, get fobbed off easily, but don’t like being out of pocket there are things you can do to help you improve your technique. Look out for the new book soon!

But in the meantime here are another three tips to start you off!

border shapes how to improve your complaining habits

1) Craft your tweet carefully

If you do tweet to call out a company on their poor response time, for example, take a moment to carefully word your tweet so that it clearly gets the message out to them and to the public, for the best response. Make sure you include the Twitter handle of the company (“@companyname”) so that they get to see your messages about them.

Jacob had been an emailing a company about a delivery that hadn’t arrived so he sent a tweet “hello @retailer my order hasn’t been delivered”. The company apologised and took it into direct messaging to get the personal details and order number. The company’s twitter team took ownership of the issue, contacted the courier department and located the parcel.

See 5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should).

2) Be principled

It’s always about the principle of the thing. If it’s an injustice then be ready to fight for it, to win.

Clive told me about a delivery pass he took out with a supermarket to cover 12 months delivery. After 3 months he received an email stating he would be charged 5p a plastic bag. They had estimated 8 bags per visit, a cost of £20 a year. He contacted customer services and was told that he had had 3 months to cancel the pass. Clive said he did not know he would be charged and requested either no charge for 12 months or 70% of the delivery cost back. Clive waited on the ‘phone for a supervisor for twenty minutes. “I now have £55 in vouchers. It’s only 5p a bag but it’s the principle!” he said.

3) Write well

It’s important to make sure your correspondence is written in good English. If the correspondence is not clear, you make it much harder for the reader to understand and provide assistance. Ask someone to help you if you think your letter writing isn’t good or if English isn’t your first language.

Unfortunately, too many businesses do not welcome complaints or do not make it easy to complain. If your correspondence is written poorly, many companies will assume that you won’t take matters further and will ignore you or fob you off. I have worked with companies who put in effort t

o understand what people want when correspondence is poor. But others do not, so if you want a solution to your problem then make your message clear.

101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

More tips in the best selling book 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer

 

 

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

 

For lots of help, consumer laws, advice and  templates have another best seller! GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!