Friday, 29 November 2013

Trapped in the Corporate Interest.

After my bad experience with my phone company recently – British Telecom, if anybody’s interested – I decided to explore the possibility of switching my phone supply to my ISP from whom I already get my broadband and anti-virus software. I talked to them at length and found that I could save a substantial amount of money every month, but several things bothered me:

1. They insisted I had a 24 month contract, with a substantial penalty being incurred in the event of leaving prematurely. But suppose they prove troublesome and I want to leave on perfectly reasonable grounds? I can’t do so without wasting a lot of money. This is, of course, one way in which the corporate world controls its customers.

2. It occurred to me that if you have several products through one company it’s all the more difficult to leave anyway, since you have to re-arrange not one facility, but several. That discourages people from leaving, and is another way in which the corporate world controls and traps its customers.

3. They insisted I accept a variable direct debit to pay for variable items like call charges. I don’t like that because it means I’m giving a company the right to walk into my bank account when they want to and take whatever they say I owe them. I’m not the sort to default on my bills, but I do like to pay them how and when I want to. It’s simply a matter of being in control of my bank account, and not allowing a company to have even a small measure of control over it. I have no option but to accept a standing direct debit for my broadband, but I don’t want to relinquish any more control than I absolutely have to.

The whole thing strikes me as a symptom of how society is increasingly being operated for the benefit of the corporate world, and not in the primary interest of the people who make up society. Given due consideration, I’m taking the view that there are times when principles are more important than saving money, so I think the ISP is going to have to go whistle. I’ll continue the search for a more acceptable alternative.

No comments: