/ Technology

This week in comments – call me on the telephone

It’s all about phones this week. Do you prefer simple mobiles or feature-rich smartphones? Why do companies charge loyal customers more to ring them? And are you fed up with nuisance sales calls?

Battle of the mobiles

Par Ailleurs has made a move to smartphones, but still keeps a basic mobile close at hand:

‘I resisted changing up to a smartphone for ages. I recently changed and am now utterly hooked. How handy are these things? Very! The only downside is of course, battery life. One to two days and it’s done for, but then it is quite a powerful mini-computer with a phone facility.

‘My personal answer is to keep my old steam-powered phone on a PAYG basis. That way I’ve always got a phone charged up for emergency use.’

Supermarkets can BOGOF with their confusing fruit pricing

Commenter Gill always seems to see fruit on offer:

‘A lot of supermarkets show prices of soft fruit on offer at “1/2 Price”. I never seem to see them at the full-price quoted, particularly because the “normal” pricing of soft fruit such as raspberries and strawberries can vary from week to week during early summer. Does the rule about items being on sale at the full price for 28 days before the offer, apply to highly seasonal fresh fruit?’

Wilf thinks missing unit prices on fruit and veg are rife:

‘The lack of unit pricing is widespread across many major supermarket departments, but fruit and veg products seem to lead the way. Of course, if customers refused to purchase misleading offers whilst complaining to store managements, then honest pricing might result, but unfortunately most customers haven’t time (or the will) to do so.’

Should petrol stations provide forecourt assistance?

Commenter William thinks forecourt attendants might have an ulterior motive:

‘Shouldn’t they be called forecourt salespeople? As I’m sure they’re not going to pass up the opportunity to try and flog stuff to the motorist.’

And Chas is also suspicious:

‘On occasions, I have used my local Shell garage and have been greeted by a young man offering to fill up for me and carry out a quick check of my vehicle. Although I do welcome the service, I am sceptical as to whether it is a public relations exercise or an opportunity to push the Shell Club Card, the application forms he has conveniently on his clipboard.

Microsoft launches ‘Surface’ – would you buy a Windows tablet?

Rich835 is keen on Microsoft’s new tablet:

‘I shall definitely be buying a Windows Tablet as soon as I can. I already have a Windows Phone and it’s great, it just works and it has an interface which makes total sense to me. A Windows tablet will compliment my Phone, my PC and my Xbox just nicely.

‘Apple software in general I find very difficult to use, but I’ve been a Windows man since the year dot, so whenever I look at an Apple product, the interface just makes no sense to me.’

But Dale isn’t interested:

‘Definitely not for me, after years of fighting to get things to work together without numerous re-loading of software and the training of people in the finer arts of Microsoft issues, I went to Apple Mac and have a system that just works well together and has done for years.’

Stop charging loyal customers more to call your company!

Derek Francis points to premium numbers as a reason for being left hanging on a customer services line:

‘We all know how long it takes to actually speak with a real person when we are making a complaint, having to listen to the various services we may be interested in etc, but the bottom line is – why should they hurry to respond? The longer we wait the more they make. They’ve got us all ways. It is disgusting.’

A phone call to action – no more nuisance sales calls

PeterW proposes an idea to stem unsolicited sales calls:

‘Maybe an answer would be some kind of plausible-sounding automated dialogue which the consumer could engage at the press of a button which would waste the telesales caller’s time? I sometimes use the tactic of telling them to stay on the line while I go away and fetch the person they have asked to speak to… then coming back a few minutes later and quietly hanging up the phone. Sadly it doesn’t take most of them long to ring off and try some other sucker.’

Ledswinger, who gets our Comment of the Week, is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, but still suffers from nuisance calls:

‘The problem is that the unscrupulous and crooked are finding it very easy to get round the rules that appear to bind TPS, due largely to poor lawmaking, poor supervision by Ofcom.

‘I routinely get recorded calls on my landline (apparently outside of TPS jurisdiction) trying to sell me rubbish I don’t want like home improvements, I get text messages on my mobile fraudulently referring to PPI compensation that I am apparently eligible for (having never taken out PPI), or offering me compensation for accidents I haven’t had. About time all of this was stamped on, because it isn’t just nuisance, it is often actively fraudulent or soliciting fraud.’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).