Aerar

A commonplace of german politics

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Please hold the line…

28 March, 2010 (19:56) | economy, law & order, proposals | By: Aerar

(German version published on 29 December, 2009)

At last “Die Grünen” do some practical politics again and this is in consumerism this time (German) This was very helpful as in a snap sample they tested the retention time and the fees in phone hotlines. It was not really surprising that they found out that both could reach extremly high values. As a counter measure they propose that such hotlines should only be allowed to charge fees when the actual talk starts. A very good and logical proposal which I could only agree with.

Now fees in hotlines could not be generally condemned. Some important businesses and services such as astrologic forecasts or phone sex hotlines were completely impossible without. I am not too experienced in the latter two services but I consider that the customers have shorter queue times there. Because it is a hotline service. Assumingly the chaining prognose: “Your stars are positioned good today. Most probably you will meet one of our employees in the line today…” would force customers to leave the chain as soon as monotonous ongoing grunts in a sex hotline.

So the named problem obviously seems to be just a problem of support hotlines, which are an expensive nuisance for companies. So they want to let the callers pay for the trouble they make with their stupid requests for help. In the end it was the customer who has choosen as always the cheapest offer, so how could he honestly expect free support?

No, he can’t expect it, as he is not even capable of estimating the planned extra fees when he buys a product. And so manufacturers of computer printers, airline companies and telecom services, to name only a few, take every chance to obfuscate the true prices of their products by using hidden extra fees whenever they can. So what I propose is that companies have to name the true average win of each of their products including all product related extra costs. The companies know this numbers and they use them in their calculations. Revealing them would not be a drawback in competition if all companies would be effected. But it would be a good progress for the consumers who would then be able to realize the actual costs of a product. And maybe they would learn that quality has its price.

As a result offers could be formulated more clearly and would get more comparable. Many hidden passages in the fine print and in the general terms and conditions would become obsolete. And the time in the phone chains most probably would become shorter then. That would be nice as in avarage I spend a whole working day in the service chains over the year. I want that to stop. And I am ready to pay more for a product in return.