Might just be me but I reckon the world and its businesses therein are out to screw me.
This week’s Theory therefore pertains to the progressively money-hungry, unscrupulous and indeed, rapacious nature of some groups and the businesses behind which they stand…
I use the term ‘progressively’ because I honestly don’t think it used to be this way and yes, I do believe this phenomenon is becoming worse.
…I understand that in order to survive in this modern world, businesses need to be financially astute and to take advantages wherever they can but dishonest behaviour..?
I understand furthermore that as many will not wish to, they will find it difficult to accept the notion of unscrupulous professionals but here’s the thing: particularly in New Zealand, this has become a cutthroat era in which to be a business owner; if an opportunity to make/save a little cash presents itself, I doubt there is a professional out there who would be willing to overlook it…
In fact to see masterfully documented examples of such practise one needs only go back XXI weeks and take a look at Theory V; alternatively, additionally, a fine example can be found amid the horror of Unscrupulous.
…The problem with unscrupulous business practise is that many people are so unwilling to believe they are being played that simply, they accept what’s happening as normal procedure; they pay the extra, and go away without any idea they’ve been another victim of a duplicitous scheme.
To see another example of untoward business practise, look no further. As mentioned in a previous post Spark sent me a bill on the last day of last year; for the record the bill contained a full month’s charges. After a mild brouhaha, also to my forcibly paying over $300, I was credited over $200. Today, the 18th of January, I received another bill from Spark; this bill also contained a full month’s worth of charges but of course given my credit they saw no need to mention ‘date of last bill payment’, ‘date of next bill payment’; ‘total amount payable’, or in fact any information at all – it was only my propensity to feverishly cling to unfavourable instances that enabled my brain to quietly let on something was not right.
There shall be no prizes awarded for guessing what I did next, and regrettably, it was while speaking to Filipino Mary that I became more incensed with that infernal company than I ever have been.
The conversation began calmly enough; I inquired into whether Spark made a habit of sending out ‘monthly’ bills every 18 days, or if I was a special case..? Filipino Mary appeared at first taken aback by the nature of my grievance, also the ease with which I recounted details of a previous bill, until realising/being reminded of the disagreement we’d had regarding that very account; I then took this opportunity to give the company (always the company, never the operator) some light abuse about reneging on assurances that the past bill was to be cleared and not just credited to my account, as in fact it had been.
Filipino Mary apologised for the ‘misunderstanding’ and with regard to the recent bill, assured me that this was indeed normal procedure. Faced with the subsequent question of how receiving a monthly bill 18 days after the last monthly bill could ever be considered ‘procedure’, I detected a slight but hurried backtracking, as she now tried to tell me that my last bill had been sent on the 17th of December, as all Spark bills apparently were and was therefore covering 28 days worth of charges.
I rebutted, saying that I was looking straight at the last bill – which sadly had been irretrievably deleted – and the date of reception was clearly the 30th.
Filipino Jane took a moment to reassess then came back, telling me that, “Oh, oh, so sorry, I have, made mistake … No, no, your bill for new financial year…”
I advised her at this point that the ‘new financial year’ didn’t commence for a few more months yet.
“No, no, financial year, no, new year.”
“Yes, twenty-sixteen, new year, but I already pay last year,” for some reason adopting this Filipino’s intermittent speech patterns, “so why pay again this year, after only eighteen days?”
“Not eighteen days,” she said, ostensibly forgetting that I purported to be looking at my last bill, “twenty-eight days.”
“No no, thirty-first to eighteenth, pretty sure that’s only eighteen.”
Filipino Mary took some more ‘reassessment’ time which seemed only to be used to concoct more lies. “New year,” she said confidently, “new account.”
“What are you talking about?” I said disbelievingly; I had smelled bullshit some ago and its stench was really beginning to piss me off.
“New year,” she repeated as if it was me who was having difficulty understanding English, “new account.”
“No,” I said simply, “don’t give me that shit … A new year does not give your company the right to overcharge its clients.”
“Not overcharge, new year.”
“Thank you Mary, I am quite aware that this is a new fucking year, but I do not need some fucking shithouse telecommunications company (still directed at the company, never at the operator) who incidentally, cannot seem to even provide me with ten fucking gigabytes of Internet data without choking the fucking shit out of it…”
“OK, sorry sir, please let me put you to someone who can help you…”
“Thank you Mary,” I said with contrived coolness, swallowing hard and trying to prevent my shaking arm from hurling the phone across the room.
Instead of the hold music that I was expecting however, the phone went straight to the ringing stage, generally indicating an operator will be soon to pick it up; alas the phone continued ringing for the next twenty minutes before I begrudgingly took the hint.
Also occurring a few days ago, on my supposedly ‘No hidden fees’ and ‘100% royalties’ publishing site, while trying to upload a second title to my two-title plan I was stymied on the last stage by the claim that I ‘Don’t have enough credit’ to cover the $4.49 cost of something that I couldn’t quite understand but which was evidently a vital piece of something; then on going back through their ‘Pricing’ section I saw something that indicated not only does the sale price of my book now undergo myriad deductions, one of those deductions is commission.
Joke’s on them though – I haven’t even sold any copies.
Finally my old friend Valued Opinions, who incidentally, I have taken over the years for more than $500 in Subcards, is again refusing to pay me for my invaluable insight; after the last fracas with their rewards system – also documented in an earlier Theory wherein I perhaps wrongly accused NZ Post of the kind of underhandedness which is undoubtedly still founded in other areas – I made a point of keeping track of what and how much they were paying.
They currently owe me $60, and I’ve had nothing in months; thus I iterate – they’re out to screw us.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Reg Rit Able
Photography by Dee Sheat-Foll