Publicenergy has a fun experience, trying to end a contract with Carphone Warehouse. This sort of thing seems to be becoming a real problem – companies that get you signed into a contract, then make it very difficult for you to cancel again and get out of it. Surely trapping a customer into continuing to be a customer by refusing to cancel the contract without them jumping through an assortment of strange-shaped hoops can’t be good for business? Don’t a large percentage of them spend a long time going around complaining to anyone who’ll listen about how crap you are? Like publicenergy just did?
I’m not sure if there’s an easy solution to this. Legislation would be an obvious thing, but is probably unlikely here, and I really can’t see the Americans going for it. With politicians paid for by big business, they daren’t do too much to upset those who pay for their campaigns. The more likely answer is making reputations more important, and empowering ordinary customers like us to affect that reputation. Like the Internet is doing now. Hmm. Maybe the problem is on the way to solving itself?