Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Corporate Greed Gone Wild

Here is a scenario (and I bet you all can relate):

Have you ever signed up for, say, cable service? They offer one of those contracts to lock you into service for at least a year and offer you a discount. Most of the time the "discount" is really a reasonable cost for service. I don't know anyone who pays the full amount anyway. Next thing you know, the contract ends and out of nowhere your cable bill goes up. Not only does it go up, but also they've ADDED extra services you never requested such as Cinemax. Now your cable bill is suddenly twice the amount. Sometimes it's such a small amount you don't question it. You keep paying it in good faith. Then it goes up again. They've added more service you never requested. Now you have to take time out of your day to straighten out their mess.

Here is another scenario called Auto Renew. Many services will take your credit information and put in the fine print that the subscription will automatically renew each year. Let's say you only need the service for a few months. Next thing you know it has renewed on its own. You're paying money for service you don't need and may not realize it because it's buried in your credit statement. Then when you confront the situation, you're required to spend your personal time fixing it.

Hidden cancellations are another one designed to make it very difficult for the end user to cancel service. While companies make it very easy to add service, they often make it next to impossible to cancel service. The hope here is you'll get sick of trying to cancel it and abort the effort. 

Hidden fees are used to further gauge consumers. Companies will quote the base cost of something and then each month when you receive your bill you'll be faced with extra costs. While some of these costs may only be $1 or $2 extra a month, they all add up.

What's the problem here? 

The problem is we live in a society now driven by greed and scams designed to get as much money as possible out of consumers. Systems are designed to make money with little concern about ease of use when it comes to cancellation. The mantra seems to be to push every last dime out of the consumer as possible. Manipulation of the technology to create not a user friendly system on all fronts, but to avoid features that make it easy to cancel something. 

It's disgusting when you think about it. Making money should not be the end-all, be-all for systems. I'm very confident companies like AT&T make plenty of money. 

Recently I got a notice from Amazon that they now had annual fees added to my account. On top of taking their 55% to my 45%, now they are charging a $99 annual fee. They already make the lion's share of the profit, but they want to take additional money? Why? So they can make even more money. Why not keep it honest. Why not just say we're taking 60% to your 40%? Because it's all about manipulating more money. Do you honestly believe a monster corporation like Amazon needs yet a $100 more a year from small businesses? Do they realize how many books an author needs to sell to make up for that $100? It might not mean much to them, but it means a lot to authors and small business.

I just don't like the overall corporate attitude. It's teaching young people that as long as you get money it's okay. It's any wonder we have a generation of entitled people. When an overall mindset of entitlement prevails in the structures at large, what do we teach others? It's an overall selfish approach to the world. If we want to teach generosity then it has to start with something as simple as not having these corporate giants wring every last penny they can out of people vs. care about the service they provide and whether or not their systems are constructed in a way that serves the customer not gauges them. 

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