BEN WILKINSON: Sick of being left on hold? Then don’t let firms off the hook for woeful customer service… name and shame the worst offenders
Shoddy customer service seems to have become part and parcel of modern day Britain.
The nation turned a blind eye when standards slipped during the pandemic, because we all had to adapt to a new way of living while millions of us were confined to our homes. The Blitz spirit perhaps made us more forgiving.
But the worst of the pandemic is now in the rear-view mirror and we have a new challenge on our hands: the terrifying cost-of-living crisis driven by energy bill rises.
Waiting games: Appalling customer service has brought Britain to a standstill with barely anyone able to pick up the phone and help out or even reassure us
Yet when many of us have tried to speak to Britain’s biggest companies on the phone we are made to wait, and wait.
We are forced to sit through mundane hold music and recorded messages patronisingly advising us to go online when many customers simply don’t have that facility.
Appalling customer service has brought Britain to a standstill, with passports and driving licences all delayed and barely anyone able to answer our calls to help out or even reassure us. But today Money Mail says enough is enough.
Failing to pick up the phone to loyal customers is not only downright rude, it’s a dereliction of duty.
Yes, you can obviously vote with your feet and take your business elsewhere. But firms no longer seem to care. Only the threat of a major fine will make them listen.
We want to see firms forced to come clean on call waiting times, and also offer to call customers back if they aren’t able to answer the phone.
A common courtesy, surely? That’s why today we are launching our Pick Up Or Pay Up campaign.
It’s not acceptable for a company to take our business and then do all it can to avoid speaking to us on the phone. Our time is valuable, too. Many firms seem to have forgotten that.
We want to hear your tales of woeful service. We’d be delighted to name and shame those treating customers with contempt. Write to email@example.com or Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.
The Government’s reaction to the energy price crisis has been half-baked. Perhaps Boris and Rishi hope it will dissipate before the new cap comes into force in October.
But people living in fear of their energy bills need more help and much more reassurance.
The only real help the Government has offered is the £150 council tax rebate which only those living in less valuable homes will receive.
And despite bills soaring by more than 50 per cent last month, many households could be waiting months for this money.
Yet the real problem with this attempt at financial support is that it isn’t very well thought through.
The policy assumes that those living in big houses do not need help paying their energy bills.
Yet our older housing stock tends to be larger family homes that cost a lot to heat. The arbitrary council tax band criteria immediately excludes these households, despite the fact that the impact of rising prices is more acute for them.
These people will be getting annual bills worth thousands of pounds more in some cases — whether they can afford it or not. While many with smaller, more modern, well-insulated flats will get the £150 in their bank accounts whether they need it or not.
Has cryptocurrency finally had its day? Despite being heralded as the new digital gold, Bitcoin has proven to be no safe store of value, falling 50 per cent in six months.
Money Mail has warned that cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value and staking your nest egg could end in tears.
Now, it seems that the Emperor’s new clothes are falling off and millions of naive investors are realising their ‘assets’ could soon be worthless.
Once again we are left wondering how crypto firms have been able to advertise prolifically and fuel this Ponzi scheme.