Somehow, it’s already nearly a year since I got the latest car. Which, of course, means it’s also time for my insurance renewal to come through.
As usual, the current company have massively taken the piss, nearly doubling my premium this time round. For some reason, rather than having a number of different under-writers, they’ve recently decided to stick with just the one – and that one happens to be nothing short of extortionate.
Still, that’s fine, they can fuck off.
As a result, I’ve already sorted out a new policy with a different company. It’s got all the cover and options I wanted, and is cheaper than what I’ve paid this year, let alone the ridiculous renewal price.
I truly don’t understand the business model of the insurance industry, this attitude of “keep on charging more ’til people leave”. Surely if someone’s been with a company for [x] years, and established a record of being safe, not claiming etc., then it should be easier/cheaper/better to keep them, rather than letting them sod off somewhere else?
I suppose it might be the law of diminshing returns, an expectation the customers will claim eventually. Using that it kind-of makes sense, if all the customers are paying up, and if we can get rid of them before they cost us, then we’ve made money out of it, and it’s cost “some other company”.
But it all seems pretty flawed to me, and pretty bloody dumb. Hey ho. Their loss, not mine.
A while back, I wrote about OpenTable and the dodgy wording of their Dining Points loyalty scheme. At the time, it had just been referred to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), who were investigating further.
Last week, they came back to me – and while it’s still informal, OpenTable are supposedly changing the wording on the screens, to make things clearer about how the Dining Points scheme works.
It’s still not a situation I’m entirely happy with, because it can still be easily misinterpreted, and there’s a lot of inherent dodginess in the entire thing. But at least it’s progress.
It’s still with the ASA, following on from my own responses, but it’ll be interesting to see whether anything else comes of it.
With the whole “Solo Dining” project I’ve been doing this year, one of my bugbears has become OpenTable (who provide a lot of the table-reservation services for restaurants) and – more particularly – their “Dining Points” loyalty plan.
As it says on that page about Dining Points,
OpenTable UK members can earn OpenTable Dining Points when they make and honor reservations made through opentable.com, or our related mobile sites and apps.
They say the same thing on another modal window to explain Dining Points.
Except that’s not true – not true at all. I queried why I’d received zero points for several reservations over the last year, and they then started to say (and this is a direct quote from one of the responses)
points are only given to diners who start their search on our website and not the restaurants website as you know. This is because as you came from the restaurant website, you are considered a customer of the restaurant and they use our services on the back end to take your reservation for them. If we started awarding points to the customers of our clients they would feel that we are trying to steal you as a customer.
So OpenTable are, frankly, liars. They say clearly throughout the site “make a booking through OpenTable, and get points“, with no provisos, asterisks, or get-out clauses. This isn’t even me being pedantic about something – they’ve said something (repeatedly, in black-and-white!) that’s simply not true.
This would’ve been an easy fix for OpenTable, if they’d had any sense at all. If they’d said “Oh, sod, sorry, here, have the points, and we’ll make that text clearer“, we’d be done. But no, they started backtracking, patronising, and explaining why I was so wrong to believe their “Get points every time you book” spiel. No apology, no “thanks for letting us know“, nothing. All the customer-service skills of a concrete monolith.
Having hit that concrete monolith with no joy, I decided to take it further. Having checked their criteria, I raised it with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and I’ve now had a confirmation from them that, having done an initial review, they’re going to investigate it further.
So, that’s going to be entertaining. I’m assuming that getting an ASA investigation done isn’t a trivial step, nor one that the ASA do for the fun of it. I’m also assuming that, because they’re investigating, the complaint has at least some merit.
As and when I hear back, I’ll write more here…