1 EAGLETON NOTES: SID 62. Commercial Loyalty

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Tuesday, 19 May 2020

SID 62. Commercial Loyalty

I have been a customer of  BT (British Telecom) and it's predecessor the General Post Office for the last half century give or take a week or two. They have provided my landline phone service and my broadband. I have very little to complain about these days because the service is pretty good and fairly reliable given the ancient final delivery infrastructure ie the clapped out cables down our road. However they are expensive. 

I have been a customer of Vodafone since 1992 for my cellphone/mobile phone when it was actually difficult to have a contract directly with Vodafone because they marketed through intermediaries. I still have the same base number I was issued with then.

BT have gradually, and sometimes not so gradually, increased what I pay for my service. They keep telling me how good my package is. My package is a landline and broadband. I make no calls on my landline. If I did I would be paying considerably more.

Vodafone, on the other hand, have given me a better deal year on year either increasing what I can use or decreasing what they are charging me.

Vodafone will now provide broadband too over my landline. They will charge me about £30 per month less than BT. 

The contract will start on my birthday. Happy Birthday.

Bye bye BT. 

37 comments:

  1. You've gotta do what you've gotta do and these days every penny counts. Sounds like you're getting what we call naked broadband, internet without the home line.

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    1. Amy, in the UK almost all broadband come via a landline with a traditional telephone. I use my telephone for incoming calls because it is still expensive for many people to call cellphones here. Because my cellphone is always with me I find it more convenient, and a lot cheaper, to make all my calls on it. When I was in New Zealand I had a traditional landline but I could not get broadband via it (we lived on a lifestyle plot outside Napier and no one in the area could). So my internet came via a very expensive Telecom dongle. Then someone set up private broadband via microwave which was great. That meant I then had three providers.

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  2. Firstly, my apologies for the typos in my previous response re "Roman Holiday" etc. (I hate making typos...and I hate not noticing that I have!) :)

    I am with Telstra here, and have been since before the Last Supper, and the building of the ark. I don't have a mobile/cell phone, only my landline. I have no plans to change servers. I'm a creature of habit, I guess - one who hates change, in most cases.

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    1. Lee, I used to be a creature of habit and I generally avoid unnecessary change. I think half a century with the same provider supports that. However, I'm no longer prepared to pay providers for my loyalty. BT charge me £50/month and Vodafone will charge me £20 for exactly the same service.

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  3. A lot of shopping has to be done for these services now.

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  4. We tend to stay with the same providers of all sorts. Our bills are paid by direct debit, so as long as everything continues to work properly, we leave alone. I can't be bothered with all this swapping between Co's.

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    1. Cro, I was always loyal to the providers and, in return, I expected a decent and fair service. Truth be told I also found it much easier just to continue with existing providers. During the decade I lived in New Zealand half of my life, the company that insured my home in Scotland increased my premium by over £1000 a year and when I finished I was paying just under £1500 a year for my very modest Hebridean abode. When I realised that a friend with a 5-bedroom house in a desirable suburb outside Glasgow was paying nearer £300 a year I smelt a rat and discovered that I could get mine from a very reputable company for much the same. So now, to be honest, loyalty to a provider has gone. I choose my provider for my convenience and the best service and if I save money that is a plus.

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    2. I once had a car insurance policy like that, now my policy occasionally goes DOWN.

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  5. That extra money each month will come in handy. I find these big companies make me a bit annoyed sometimes - if one company can give a service at a decent price, why cannot the other? None of them seem overly concerned when you have a long record of company loyalty, either. It definitely pays to change things around sometimes.

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    1. Margaret, given that both Vodafone and BT will use exactly the same infrastructure to provide the service it is very hard to work out why BT are so much more expensive. Many of my neighbours have already left BT.

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  6. Fully agree. We were with TalkTalk in UK and they had no qualms about promising a certain rate to attract us in to a fixed term then upping the charges part way through (not in the small print on the deal). Yet you try and break that contract .... The providers have no loyalty (and that goes for so many services, including banks that have better deals for new customers than they offer to their existing) so why should the customers?

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    1. Tigger, I think that is why I find my experience with Vodafone so refreshing. They have constantly rewarded my loyalty with better service or better price.

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    1. Rachel, Vodafone have provided me with brilliant service for nearly 30 years at fair and reasonable prices. My neighbours who have their broadband are pleased. The infrastructure is now owned and maintained by a third party. I think my need for luck is about the same whoever I pay my money to.

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  8. I swap regularly, I started an EE Wi-Fi contract and a couple of months in they send an email saying that NHS employees get free unlimited data. Six hours later I get another email informing me that my data rate has increased. They got an email from me telling them where to stuff their virtue signalling. My rate has come back down again. I guess someone has to pay for all the TikTok videos but it isn't going to be me.

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    1. Adrian, it's taken me a long time to swap and, to be honest, Vodafone have provided me with an excellent service (BT's mobile phone service does not even cover my area) so I've never had need to swap in nearly 30 years.

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  9. My only fear is that the other companies have to rely on BT or Outreach if something goes wrong. Being without phone and broadband is now unthinkable.

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    1. That used to be the case, Potty. However Openreach are required by law to give the same treatment to everyone. You just report your fault to your own provider. As it happens when the line went down last winter and my neighbour and I reported it (she to Vodafone and me to BT) it was BT who didn't follow it up as quickly with Openreach. When the engineer came to fix the problem for my neighbour he didn't even know that I had also reported a fault. However when he was up the pole he renewed the whole box so sorted mine out at the same time. Later on that day I got a message from BT giving me a date for the repair of the fault that had already been repaired.

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  10. Over here, whenever you threaten your current provider to leave, all of a sudden they come up with an almost irresistibly great offer, just to make you stay. Personally, I am too lazy to make many changes, but O.K. has recently made a really good deal with his almost ex-provider.

    Happy Birthday to you!

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    1. Meike, I've not had much luck with that except with Vodafone. When renewal comes I always have the same spiel "I like your service, I don't want to change. What will you do for me?" They have always responded. Last year when I tried that with BT they said "Ah. You pay for your line annually and your service monthly. You'll have to wait until your service contract ends." When that ended you can guess what happened. No way to get a better deal. That irritated me I have to confess.

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  11. I have stayed with our local version of your BT mainly because they own and maintain the infrastructure so we rely on them if anything breaks down.

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    1. JayCee that's the main reason why I have always stayed with BT. They no longer own the infrastructure. See my response to Potty above!

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  12. I stopped my contract with BT many years ago now. I regularly check all my services for good deals and it's surprising how much can be saved in this way. I don't mind paying a bit more for decent customer service, however. :)

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    1. Jules, until I came back from living in New Zealand I never changed anything and since then I've done what you do. However, also like you, I will happily pay for good service. We have an insurance agency for NFU on the Island. They are not the cheapest but they have a very good service record and have always been good in my experience.

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  13. Once upon a time I was with BT. Then I changed service provider. But, and what a butt that's turned out to be, I kept an email account with BT. I don't use it. It's for archive purposes because there is some stuff on there I'd rather not lose. So, at first, about ten years ago, they charged me £1.50/month for a dormant account. Now? Now it's a cool £7.50/month. Times that by 12 months. What is their actual cost? It's fleecing by another name. But then if they have you over a barrel they have you over a barrel. Law of the jungle.

    Mind you, having said that, Sky my now broadband and phone provider has pulled another stunt. They charge me £2.50/month for NOT subscribing to SKY TV. Seriously. Imagine you go into a shoe shop to purchase some laces. You'll then find yourself penalized for not buying shoes as well. You've got to laugh. Well, I do.

    Hope you are well and have sunshine to enjoy,
    U

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    1. Ursula, thank you for that heads up. I don't use my BT email addresses except for BT and. few other things which I have recently changes to various Gmail addresses. I have just gone onto MyBT and will deactivate my email addresses when the contract ends.

      Your Sky. story beggars belief. The sun came out about half a minute ago! Thank you.

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  14. Living in the US, our 'darling' county commissioners gave a 20 year contract to one internet/cable provider. With no competition, you can well imagine the extortionate rates they charge--not to mention their lack of service. Added to the monthly bill are a number of fees--ones that local/state/federal governments use to say they didn't raise taxes (e.g. Federal Universal Service, Regulatory Cost Recovery, Franchise Free, Public, Educ. & Govt Fee, 911 {UK 999} Fee, Broadcast TV fee, Regional Sport Fee). They amount to a third of the total bill. These fees aren't clarified when they send out two-year contract offers of $99 (£80) a month. With fees, the actual monthly cost turns out to be $153 (£125). Don't watch TV myself, but DH does. We no longer have a land line as that would cost another $60+ (£49) a month from a different provider. Satisfied with our mobile phone provider--same one we've had since the late 80s when we had a car phone. Good thing, too, since it is the only mobile service that consistently works in our area. Amazingly, the mobile bill did go down fairly significantly this past year.

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    1. Heavens above, Mary. I could hardly believe what I read. Your costs for phone and internet are astronomical compared with even the most expensive in the UK. We are also fortunate in the many of us even in the most remote parts of the UK have broadband and, in many cases fibre fast broadband too. If I used my landline for calls I would have almost unlimited UK calls for £5 a month. As it is I use my cellphone and all the calls I could possible use are included in my basic tariff.

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    2. This is one of the reasons that the acceleration of online schooling during this COVID crisis is a real problem for families who cannot afford these services. With libraries and other locations that offer free wifi closed, they have no way to access school materials--most of which are online through apps that must be downloaded to a computer. An assumption being made is that everyone has access to a computer and the internet. Wrong. Then, consider all the other activities from banking to government services (e.g. unemployment application) to job applications now done online and it is easy to see just how marginalized low income folks have become as a result. In many parts of the rural US, internet access and mobile service isn't available at any cost. A real and growing problem.

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    3. Mary, I had not realised how marginalising that could be. In all honesty there are relatively few low income people in the UK who don't have wifi. Life in the UK is almost impossible without it these days. As people in some (usually rural) area know.

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  15. I think it's important to go with the cheapest option. So much can be done via just the internet these days.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. Hello Mersad. It's a long time since we have been in touch with each other's blogs. I do almost everything on the internet. Without it life would need very severely re-adjusting and, indeed, many things would be either impossible or exceptionally difficult. I shall pop over and see how thing are in Bosnia Herzegovina.

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  16. Replies
    1. Thank you, Maywyn. My birthday is actually on the 4 June which is when my new broadband contract starts.

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  17. We have been all been strongly encouraged to move power providers too. I moved to a new company - which put in a smart meter that doesn't work and then went out of business. I was moved automatically to a company which uses a lot of nuclear power. I don't approve of nuclear power (mostly because the waste stays dangerous for so long) so I moved again - and have landed up back with British Gas - which was where we all started England. But I don't any longer know what the real cost of my power use is because of the problem with the smart meter at a time when no-one is allowed to come into the house due to the lockdown. What a muddle!

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    1. Lucy, that is frustrating in the extreme. I was with British Gas but moved to EDF when they increased my tariff substantially last year. We are not eligible for smart meters here on Lewis. I'm rather thankful for that after what you have said.

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