Thursday, April 25, 2024

Born yesterday - the unwary customer

 Big companies treat us like idiots and should be treated likewise.
When they put their prices up annually, by inflation plus whatever number they can think of, or when they renew a subscription assuming you won’t query the direct debit, they rely on the fact that most of us can’t be bothered to query the new price and we will simply accept the increase without doing anything about it.
This is not the way to treat loyal customers but it happens all the time.
On four occasions recently I have baulked at the latest impost and, by cancelling or haggling, discovered these price increases are nonsensical attempts to rip-off the unwary.
For instance, Vodafone announced my charge was going up £2 a month to £27. A lengthy, painful phone call involving two separate departments eventually led to a charge of £12 a month with 5 gigabytes of data instead of 2.
The Daily Telegraph on line soared from £39 a year to over £180. I cancelled the subscription and was immediately offered the original deal for another year.
Norton, the anti-virus scam, came down from £100 a year to £40 after I rejected their price increase (apparently it's only £14 at Currys - so much for loyalty).
Meanwhile, in biggest scam yet, Sky said our TV and broadband package would go from £84 a month to £125.
After many negotiations and hours on the phone, they offered us the same deal for £110, then £100 if we took their new Sky Glass TV and eventually – when it was too late – they tried £90 a month without a new telly.
Instead, we cancelled the subscription (we were out of contract) and we’ve bought exactly the same package through Currys for just £64.50 a month.
Admittedly there is a danger that the transfer won’t go smoothly and we could end up without broadband for a while. It’s not concluded yet so there is always a chance this will fail one way or another.
Especially as the new deal means they insist on replacing a perfectly decent router and Sky box and propose sending someone out to do the work at their expense (on a Bank Holiday Monday) so it will be unnecessarily costly for them.
But it’s their own fault.
The helpful Sky call centre chap said Currys shouldn’t be making us offers like that but the fault lies not with Currys but with Sky’s nonsensical rip-off price rises.
Sadly, you just can’t trust any of these shysters. Doubtless other scamsters are playing the same game.


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jethro Tull = screaming agony


WANTED for murder: Ian Anderson, singer, flautist and only constant in the band Jethro Tull. The crime: Murder of a much-loved classic.

We saw Jethro Tull at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and, had it been possible to do so without disturbing half a row of geriatric fans like myself, we’d have left long before “Locomotive Breath” finally chugged into view.

This was supposed to a celebration of Tull’s seven decades in the music business but the result was a torture session in which we were obliged to listen to Anderson’s greatest flops.

Almost all the songs from Tull’s 1970s heyday were omitted (if you must, you can check out the setlist here), replaced by apocalyptic dirges, inaudible lyrics and interminable flute solos performed by someone so well past his prime it was embarrassing to witness.

The first, short, half included “Heavy Horses” and “Good Morning Weathercock” as well as “BourĂ©e” but other than that it was a flat five out of ten. We hoped for better from part two and were bitterly disappointed.

The last straw was the extensive, pointless, tuneless, gabbling drivel which preceded a perfunctory rendition of “Aqualung”. This was, supposedly, the culmination of the performance. Thesong, one of Tull’s bona fide five-star classics, was positively murdered. It was lamentable, awful, I could have cried.

By the time we got “Locomotive Breath” as an encore, I and many others had lost interest. I couldn’t bring myself even to applaud the end of the show – though in retrospect perhaps I should have clapped to celebrate the end of this hideous ordeal.

Sadly, this concert had determined me in the view that it is no longer worth attending any gig, concert or performance given by any artist or band older than me. It’s just so unutterably disappointing.