A couple of weeks ago, we changed our company’s telephone supplier.
The catalyst for changing was simply a cold call I received (proof in itself that a) telemarketing companies still works and b) we practice what we preach), during which the salesperson promised cheaper bills, based upon our consumption. We weren’t looking for a new supplier, we weren’t unhappy with our existing supplier, we simply received a call from someone who promised cheaper bills.
Now neither Steve nor I consider ourselves suckers – Steve is particularly keen on ensuring we obtain the most competitive supplier for all our needs. Every time a renewal approaches, he scours the internet in search of the best price for the perfect product that suits our requirements. He even does the same for the family, not all of whom have access to the internet. As such, having listened to the patter and done some sums, we decided to swap to this supplier and duly gave them authorisation to complete the transfer.
Last week, we received a bill from the new phone supplier for around £125. Having arrived only a week or so into the new supply, it’s fair to say it came somewhat as an unexpected surprise. A telephone call was thus made to the new supplier for an explanation.
The customer service person on the other end of the phone stated that the bill related to “a simple porting charge” – jargon aside, what this means is a fee for transferring TO THE NEW SUPPLIER!
Now, notwith standing the questionable rationale behind wanting to charge a new customer such a fee, it hadn’t been mentioned during the sales calls. As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t best pleased, so stated my disdain to the rep. After a short while, he stated he would issue a credit note to cancel the fee from our account.
So OK, I hear you say, you got the refund…… well, absolutely, however whilst that’s all well and good, why did they do this in the first place? There was no mention of any such fee during the initial calls, despite there being several opportunities. All it has served to do is leave a bitter taste in our mouths and get us to question whether or not we made the right move in changing suppliers. How many more people do they do this to and how many don’t question it? I think this has to be the answer to my earlier question of why they do this!
Personally, I fail to see what benefit, other than that above, there is to gain from adopting such a policy. Sure, there may be some short terms financial gains, however I find it to be incredibly short sighted. Would you risk your brand in such a way? Given the ascension of social media, the risk of rapidly spread adverse PR across the internet ought to be seriously considered within any company’s new business policy, otherwise that company may find itself the subject of unwanted national or even international infamy, and don’t believe it when they say that all publicity is good publicity – ask Starbucks!!!
To end on a lighter note, since I had phoned the rep whilst Steve was in the shower, I decided not to tell him everything straight away – well as you can imagine, having fed him the initial piece of information, he went a little bit ballistic at hearing it was a “Simple porting charge”, insisting that he would “simply not pay it” (or words to that effect!!!!) He was muttering under his breath for hours…. I have to have my fun somehow!
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