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Further adventures of superlaportas

14 June 2011 by superlative

That word is meant to be a combination of superlative and Mary Portas, in case you were wondering. Now that I’ve written it, it looks more like the name of company selling porta-loos.


A while ago I wrote a post about how I have become more active in complaining when companies do things that I do not like. This was inspired in part by Mary Portas saying that it is the duty of a consumer to complain if a company does not provide a satisfactory service, and ultimately that you should take your custom elsewhere rather than put up with it. Putting up with it simply rewards their bad behaviour, inflicts it on more people as you continue to provide them with profit, and is very unfulfilling for the maltreated consumer.

The post I wrote in March concerned TalkTalk, and their hideous marketing tactics and intrusive phone calls. I don’t think I ever posted a follow up to it, but essentially my complaint was not well handled by them, and then they unceremoniously and unilaterally ‘considered the matter closed’.

I certainly did not consider it closed, and so after a bit of a delay I finally got around to cancelling my account with them and setting up a new broadband and phone account with Plusnet. Ironically, the cancellations department at TalkTalk have so far been very polite and efficient; it’s a shame the same service levels aren’t apparent in the rest of the company.

Plusnet have been very good so far, and the transfer has happened very smoothly. It’s early days, but at the moment I am pleased. More than that though, it is a much more satisfying feeling to know that I have taken my business away from TalkTalk and punished them in the only way really that a consumer can.

I think part of the problem with certain services is that it feels like it is just too much hassle to switch. Banks, telecommunications, utilities – all those things where you have an account and you need a continuous service. These are the companies we just put up with, and who merrily generate millions of pounds in profit each year while providing a rubbish service.

What I have learnt though is that switching actually isn’t that bad. In the past year I have changed bank and I have changed telephone company. I have also moved my savings around to a completely different bank, to make sure I get the best rate I can. Each one involved a bit of work, but not as much as you might think, and the end result has been very beneficial to me. Banks and phone companies seem to be legally obliged to facilitate you switching, presumably as a result of competition legislation. And naturally the company you are switching too is only too pleased to have you, and will often try to help with the legwork. In particularly, I’d always imagined changing bank would be a nightmare; in reality I hardly had to do anything at all, as everything transferred automatically.

So the lesson I have learnt is if you are not happy, complain. If you’re still not happy, go elsewhere. It’s really not as bad as you think, and you get a wonderful feeling of liberation afterwards.

We can all learn a lot from Mary Portas. Just don’t go too far and adopt the ginger fringe.

1 Comment »

  1. Urban Cynic says:

    I completely agree, I switched banks last year and it wasn’t a hassle at all. My BF switched from Orange to T-Mobile as he couldn’t get a decent signal in the flat and that was easy too – I’d recommended T-Mobile as I’ve had exemplary service from them.

    The big one for me was Facebook. I hated using their site; I think it’s a poorly managed service, their usability is arse and their customer service is non-existent; I decided that if I didn’t like what someone was providing me (free service or not) then I would vote with my feet & not use them. The same theory applied to X-Factor (don’t feed the trolls!)

    Good for you.

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