Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Mo Better Blues

Mo Better Blues is, of course, a film starring Denzel Washington, about a Blues musician.  It has naff all to do with the contents of this post, but you know me dear readers and my love of a punning headline. 

This post is actually about...well, I'm not going to tell you because the topic is so dry, you will navigate away from the page in a heartbeat.

I was inspired to write it because of my experiences and those of a lady whose name I have forgotten.  I heard about her story on the BBC Breakfast News programme this week.  This is what happened.

Florence (for want of a better name) had been a long-time and loyal customer of Nat West Bank (henceforth to be known as Nat Worst Bank).  She had bought her insurance from them every year, happily renewing her policies, innocently assuming that her loyalty was being rewarded by the offer of the best prices.  This year she was charged around £1000 for her house insurance.  She happily paid up.  Then she got talking to one of her neighbours who was astonished and told her that she too was with Nat Worst Bank, lived in a house identical to Flo's and had paid the princely sum of £300 for her insurance.

Aghast, Florence phoned Nat Worst.  And what was the outcome?  Did they say "Hands up!  You've rumbled us - it's a fair cop!"  Did they feck.  They lived up to their well-deserved reputation as grasping, manipulative, avaricious b'stards and told her to naff off.  It wasn't until Flo approached BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme which took up cudgels on her behalf that they grudgingly offered her the same deal as her neighbour.  To her credit, Flo told them what they could do with their offer and, via a price comparison website, sourced the right product for £200.

Hearing this, I decided to shop around for my pet insurance this year (having lazily let Mr Tesco renew without caring last year).  Lo and behold, I found a product half the price of the Tesco offer.  So I rang them to cancel.  I got put through to a call centre and a charming young man called Mo.  This filled me with a warm fuzzy feeling because it always brings to mind Mo Farrah, Olympic Wunderkind.
You paid HOW much?
So I told Mo that I wished to cancel my insurance policy and he affected mortification, distress and borderline hysteria before offering me about 10 million Clubcard (Loyalty) points, a price reduction of approximately a third and various other goodies.  This annoys the life out of me. If you can do it for me now, why not previously? You grasping, manipulative, avaricious b'stards.

Mo was vaguely apologetic but clearly sensed that he had lost the sale, so babbled a bit about calling the bank to cancel the direct debit and hung up.

Which of course, left me with Mo Better Blues.  

22 comments:

  1. Yep, they are all grasping b'stards. And btw, any blog post that mentions the gorgeous Denzel is ok by me :)

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  2. We do seem to be at a stage in our commercial development where loyalty is treated with contempt. I have several theories on this, but I suspect the commercial world cares not one jot.

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    1. Sadly, Andy I suspect you are right.

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  3. I heard the Money Box programme and also thought it shocking. They made the point that the rise of price comparison sites make companies look to their most loyal customers to make up the losses they make on tempting new people.

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    1. That's appalling! They're just utter shysters...

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    2. That's terrible - but it makes completely sense *faints with shock*

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  4. Oh I hate this big business grasping horrible behaviour......we have to ring Virgin to say we might go to sky before they give us a better offer type thing...when will someone just give us a good deal on Insurance or food or petrol or whatever that we are happy to pay a decent rate for....wouldn't that be good?

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    1. It would, wouldn't it? But highly unlikely I fear. Greed governs everything these days.

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  5. It's a shame you can't rely on loyalty any more to get you the best deal.

    It means, of course, more work for the consumer who has to keep shopping around, more work for companies who have to keep cancelling contracts and more work for banks who have to keep cancelling direct debits.

    Technology has not made our lives any easier, on the contrary we are now doing much more than we used to, paying more for poorer service, and getting ripped off if we take our eye off the ball into the bargain.

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    1. You're right and, funnily enough, we had a power cut at work today and nobody could do any work at all because we all use computers all day long. I managed to find a few bits of paper to file and that was it. So much for the wonders of technology.

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  6. I had to take the Nat Worst Bank to the ombudsman last year, they were truly dreadful! I try to shop around online for everything and the comparison websites really help, but sometimes I find I've lost a couple of days of my life doing it!

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    1. That's the problem - it's finding the time to do these things and if you work, your time for "real life" is really limited and stuff like this tends to slide under the radar. I hope you had a good result from the Ombudsman and Nat Worst got what they deserved./

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    2. Sadly the ombusman wasn't any better but we did get a small compensation payout - probably wouldn't recommend going to the ombudsman - banging your head against a brick wall springs to mind!!

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    3. I have heard that the financial ombudsman is a bit crap but then if nobody ever tries to take the banks to task they get away with their atrocious behaviour. Well done you!

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  7. This sort of thing infuriates me too. It's always the loyal customers who get shafted and those who aren't tech minded such as many elderly people. The info Rog gives on his comment is quite shocking, though it shouldn't surprise me.

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    1. I completely agree Trish and I think more people should be like Jay and make use of Ombudsmen. All it takes for evil to prosper, etc!

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  8. Landsakes this makes my heart sink. I worked on the financial pages on the Mail on Sunday for years and this was the sort of thing I wrote about ad nauseum. Can't believe its all still happening. (Obviously me and my writings had no affect, shocker) If you haven't got the time or the wherewithall you do get shafted - its bloody awful.

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    1. You're right Jody and, sadly it's so prevalent. See Rog's comment above - atrocious.

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  9. And you have to do everything twice - at least. It's such a disgusting way to treat people - and I don't know how they can expect to hold on to customers. I'm glad this is a relatively old post by the time I've caught up or my blood would be boiling!

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Oh go on - say something for God's sake...