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Customer Service: Demand it or be Denied

Customer Service: Demand it or be Denied

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom ruled against the FEC in the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission thus paving the way for the giant corporations and their lobbyists to give unlimited contributions to politicians, thereby making them indentured to these corporations.

The fallout of this ruling has been catastrophic for the American consumer. Proclamations by the spin doctors of these corporations like “…the merger between our two companies is going to be a boon for our customers…” notwithstanding, the average American customers are increasingly being forced to do business with near-monopolies or oligopolies in almost all aspects of their lives.

When a company is allowed to dodge competition and becomes a monopoly, customer service inevitably suffers. Be it, cable providers, phone companies, insurance companies, airlines or banks, when major corporations do every imaginable thing to suppress competition and rig the game, they have no incentive to provide – forget, great – any customer service. The following examples provide some detail.

The cable companies almost always finish 1 and 2 in the list of the companies with the worst customer service. Charging high monthly fee to lease set-top-boxes, DVR’s and cable modem; questionable billing practices including bogus fees; deceptive marketing and misleading promotions; arbitrary price increase; and unreasonable wait times to fix problems are some of the reasons for their customers’ ire.

The phone companies closely follow the cable companies in the worst customer service category. Cramming (is the unethical practice of adding unauthorized third-party charges to a customer’s bill in exchange for a commission); settling a class action lawsuit for overcharging their customers; slow data connections; dropped calls; billing errors; passing on almost all the government surcharges onto the customers; and making it difficult and cost prohibitive to terminate contracts.

 The health insurance companies are also at the top of customer dissatisfaction; unabated increase in premiums; significant reduction in coverage; runaway increases in drug costs; shrinking in-network physicians and services; and arbitrary denial of claims.

The big airlines don’t fare much better either. The vast difference in prices customers pay for the same seat in coach class; excessive change fee; excessive baggage fee; lost luggage; shrinking seats; sudden itinerary changes; flight cancellations; long delays on the tarmac; rude staff.

The banks play from the same playbook, too. The quadruple-whammy: 1. the customers/taxpayers bailed out the “too big to fail banks”. 2. For this generous gesture, the banks quickly proceeded to pick the pockets of these customers/taxpayers - when the government levied huge fines on these banks for their bad behavior – by passing on those fines to their customers in the form of increased fees. 3. The government let these banks claim the fines they levied on them as an expense, so the customer/taxpayer got screwed again, when the banks reduced their tax liability. 4. Not one banker who was involved in the 2008 market meltdown was ever held accountable for their actions but instead they all got to keep their fat compensation packages. There are also high overdraft fees; minimum balance fee for basic checking and savings; high ATM fees; high closing costs on home mortgages; opening/signing up customers for unwanted accounts to generate fees.

When companies have a monopoly or conduct their business in a marketplace where there are only a few players, they have little incentive to be consumer friendly. So surprise! They aren’t. They get away with charging whatever they want, while offering services that are often spotty at best and at worst no service at all.

So what can we as customer do? It would not take long to stop some of these companies if we would just stand up to them for even for one day. How long do you think they’ll last before they change their ways. I’m guessing not too long. So imagine then, if no one purchased a ticket from an airline, opened a bank account, bought a policy, as a sign of protest for a day, or maybe two. I’m sure they will put up a fight initially, but will cave sooner rather than later, but alas, there are just not enough people willing to undertake this fight and the big corporations know it.  

Image Sources: consumerist.com, logos.wikia.com, aetnamedicare.com, cbsnews.com and wellsfargo.com



Last Updated: 2017-10-26 19:54:40

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