Loyalty is a virtue, surely? So those who remain customers of the same firm year after year should expect to be treated well, right? Nope. Instead, they are all too often treated like gullible fools to be ripped off. How depressing.
The latest example of this trend, exposed by consumer magazine Which?, is TV-and-broadband packages that can come with “loyalty penalties” – you read that right – of up to nearly £700 a year.
But there are examples of the same disreputable behaviour from firms supplying mobile phones, insurance and mortgages.
The Competition and Markets Authority recently found consumers were being overcharged by a total of about £4 billion a year. And the most likely to over-pay were poor people and the elderly.
We all know we should switch, we should haggle, but do we really have to?
Once upon a time, car garages were the places where people went to get ripped off. “Oh dear,” the mechanic would say, “this is going to cost you.” Then along came Kwik Fit, which built a business empire partly on the idea of trust and fair-dealing.
Feels like there’s a new gap in another market or two.