Julian Knight: If you want a swift reply, threaten to say goodbye

 

First let me pass a tip onto you which will save you hours of frustration and much expense. When calling a company with a customer service issue, always press the option where you say you are thinking of leaving – you are almost guaranteed to be answered within a couple of rings.

I use this ruse all the time and it works, even when I only want a question answered. It takes hundreds of pounds to acquire a customer so if you say you are thinking of leaving, alarm bells ring.

The cost of phoning these call centres is bobbing into the headlines, with consumer group Which? demanding an exemption for UK banks from a European-wide agreement coming in next year to ensure that calling a customer-complaints line is not billed at a premium rate.

I agree with Which? It is ridiculous that when a customer of any business rings to register a complaint they should pay through the nose for doing so.

The exemption for banks must be looked at as a matter of urgency, particularly considering they are one of the most complained about groups in the country.

Of course, though, you can bypass the big bills by using my tip and selecting the 'I am thinking of leaving you' option.

Insane fees

Rather sad to see that Bedlam Asset Management is reported to be closing its doors following the departure of a high-profile fund manager. Be aware, investor cash is 100 per cent safe.

At a time when fund managers were routinely charging through the nose for often underwhelming performance Bedlam and its colourful founder Jonathan Compton chose to follow the performance fee-related route. Their pitch was if investors didn't make money neither would they and despite the uptick in global markets over the past two years it seems Bedlam wasn't able to make enough cash.

Bedlam was never able to achieve the critical mass of investor cash needed to make enough money for its performance-fee model to prosper. I still believe Bedlam's fee structure has a place.

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