Tuesday 3 August 2010

my top 7 peeves, now 8 things that really irk me

I wanted to write an article on what I would describe as pet hates; you know the things that you tolerate because you have too, or are too lazy to question, the things that just downright annoy you. I usually try to limit myself on the number of words that I will use on the average blog post to approximately one thousand words or so, I don’t want the articles becoming to verbose. But this target was not going to work this time around, as I started and put the pen to paper it was obvious that words just would not stop flowing, and so it would appear that I have quite the exhaustive list of pet hates. I needed to reframe my initial plan, to rework the idea and so I decided to cull the list down to the top 7 things that really annoy me, but rest assured they are many more. One more thing I am an Australian, and not surprisingly I also live in Australia so the majority of things that I write about will have an Australian feel to them, particularly when I am referring to laws and politics. Most of the items on my “top 7 peeves”  list relate solely to Australia, they may be relevant to where you live but the remedies that I may speak of refer only to Australia, so now I have the introduction and disclaimer out the way let's get on with the list.

I hate having to pay to receive an invoice, this is a nasty little thing that crept in slowly at first, an idea I think telecommunication companies first introduced, but this nifty little fee has spread far and wide and is cropping up more and more often on invoices from a multitude of companies across all industries. This is just plain wrong on so many fronts, firstly I don’t want your invoice at all, but begrudging I’ll accept it and pay for whatever goods and services you have provided me with, but honestly do I really have to pay for the honour of you presenting me a bill, a demand for payment so to speak. This is just insulting, but worse still in my opinion are the corny excuses they use to justify this fee. I don’t think it is fair to charge me a fee for alerting me of the debt I owe them for whatever the goods or services that I may have purchased. I know that there are options to avoid it, like I can opt to save the world and receive an emailed copy or I can just opt in to a direct debit arrangement and never receive an invoice at all. But these are really all just measures to save the company money; they don’t interest me in the slightest.

But finally I just don’t like that rather than providing an incentive to encourage the desired behaviour they use a fee, a punishment if you will on a transaction that is neither a good nor service. I would prefer if I was offered a saving for adopting the desired behaviour, the carrot instead of the stick.

Now as I alluded to above, these companies also use corny excuses to justify their behaviour and the fees, and this is also a pet hate, a big no-no. Why should I trust a company who can’t even be straightforward and honest with their motives and reasons for applying fees? I am not an idiot; they do this to save money by eradicating a cost, or by adding a fee to recoup the cost. This is all about them and yes of course I do not have to deal with them, or I can opt for the alternative to avoid the fee, but that’s not the point they lied to us, with lines like “ help reduce your environmental impact on this world and receive you invoice as a non polluting email”.

And this moves me on to my next pet hate, green washing, well I don’t know if that’s what you call it but the art of deflecting criticism of behaviour by implying that this fee or action is done to help save the environment. A classic example of this is the Green Shopping bags; these are going to save the world, and oh if you're not using them you are part of the problem, what crap! The other alternatives may have flaws but the bottom line is some thing that was free now costs the consumer. On the other side of the argument is the government and if they get involved then usually their favourite solution to any problem is to introduce a new tax, fee or fine and we wonder where business get their ideas from. Bottom line this is disguising the true motives of these organisations is to con us it to buying their product and if we don't that implies that we don't care for the environment or some similar dribble .  This practice is often successfully used as a means to deflect criticism of government policies and is becoming more widespread as a useful way to shame people in to silence, both a disgusting and immoral act.

I don’t buy cars very often, actually I don’t even have a car at the moment but I distaste dealer delivery costs. These have all but disappeared since a recent introduction by the ACCC, to mandate the use of an all up price when marketing motor vehicle in adverting. Gone are the days when you see a motor vehicle advertised at a set price only to find it was thousands of dollars more expensive than originally advertised. This tactic is also used by airlines; I however understand that even in this field the practice is to be outlawed. What particular annoyed me about the dealer delivery charge, is that is the majority of cases it was just a bogus charge, I was picking the car up. Yes I know there was more involved than that, but really the name was an oxymoron and I think car dealerships must have thought we were all morons as well. The charge is still there, it's just they have removed the loophole that allowed them to ignore it in their advertising and we the consumer is better off for it.

Credit Card Fees and surcharges also really annoy me these were introduced a couple of years ago when the Reserve Bank changed the rules on interchange fees, I am not really sure what these fees were or how they worked. The bottom line is this change in the rules allowed organisations to recoup the cost of fees charged by the bank or card provider to the merchant. The recoup was done by slugging their customers with an additional fee if a credit card was used to settle the account. So what’s wrong with that? Well nothing except under this new arrangement I had to pay for the privilege of using something that previously had no direct cost to me, and that its use was beneficial to the merchant.  The merchant chooses to have these facilities in place, they have them to encourage people to purchase goods and services even if the individual may have insufficient savings to purchase by allowing the customer to pay with credit but without any of the account keeping nightmares that credit provision brings with it. Suffice to say, I don’t shop at merchants that utilize this practice.

But what really annoys me is that it was unnecessary government intervention that actually resulted in consumers paying more for the same services as before the intervention. This is not the first time this has happened and again it was with the banking industry. The government in all their wisdom thought that it was unfair that some people, people who had actually saved some money to be spared the cost of account keeping fees on bank accounts by maintaining a minimum balance. The government voiced their concern and the banks promptly responded by abolishing the fee waiver and proceeded to charge everyone equally, account keeping fees were now for everyone . Way to protect the consumer Mr Government, fortunately the banks have been voluntary reducing a lot of these fees lately, coincidently because they fear government interference again. I am not going to telling them that unnecessary government intervention is usually beneficial to them.

Finally the last pet hate on this list is the, the no liability signs that you often see on children's playgrounds at fast food establishments that explicitly state that they are non liable for any injuries that occur on their equipment and that they are not liable for any negligent acts. I am not a lawyer, but you can not indemnify against negligence and it is a common law right of any individual injured by your negligence to sue for recompense.  These signs are bogus, if someone injures you due to their negligence they are liable for damages, and no sign can diminish your rights.

And in case you were wondering the word count on this article was just shire of 1500 words , do you have any pet hates? Why not leave a comment and share them with my audience, I always love to hear your opinions.


I just wondered outside to collect the mail and was alerted to another pet hate, the important information about your account letter. I am sufficiently annoyed to add this to the list of "my top 7 peeves, now 8 things that really irk me" . I just received a loverly letter from our telecommunications provider that the cost of our land line was increasing again. I don't begrudge companies the right to increase their prices, but I don't have to like it either. I am really thinking of sending them an important notice about their customer database being reduced by one as I find another carrier, but I won't because like I said at the beginning of the this post pet hates are things that you tolerate because you have too, or are too lazy to question, the things that just downright annoy you.

1 comment:

  1. No. 9: "Loverly" bloggers who can't spell.