Friday, 28 September 2018
My generation was brought up to regard loyalty as a virtue. The Second Scout Law, which I promised to obey in about 1947, then read:
A Scout is loyal to the King, his country, his country, his scoutmasters, his parents, his employers, and to those under him.
Perhaps wisely the current law stops short at "A Scout is loyal" and doesn't go into detail.
Unfortunately the message doesn't seem to have percolated into the minds of those who run our businesses. Maybe their current leaders never joined the Scouts.
A report published today by the charity Citizens' Advice reveals a "loyalty penalty." Those of us who stick loyally be our insurers, banks, mobilephone and broadband operators are ripped off by on average by £877 a year. The worst affected are the elderly: we are either too too trusting or too ga-ga to notice.
Happily, though elderly I am alert to the problem,but greatly resent having to spend several mornings in July each year, when both my home and car insurances become due, searching the internet, checking comparable conditions about what exactly is covered and what the excesses are, before choosing yet another company. Even Saga, which I had naively assumed to be a charity devoted to the welfare of we elderly, turns out to be a publicly quoted company not averse to ripping us off if we aren't ever watchful.
I'm pretty confident that my energy supplier Ecotricity, for both gas and electricity, treats me fairly. I hope I'm not mistaken
Banks are major culprits. A few weeks ago I received a letter from Lloyds informing me that my allegedly favourable savings account, which accumulates the princely interest rate of 3%, (0.5% below inflation) will shortly run out of time and be re-invested in another savings account paying 0.2%. They even send me an illustration that if I put £1000 in this account at the end of a whole year it will be worth £1002. Whoopee!
I suppose they ease their conscience (or comply with the law) by arguing that they have at least warned me, though it;s in pretty small print.
How they have the cheek to offer these derisory rates of interest when, if I borrow from them, they'll charge me 25.9% (yes, that's 25.9 - not 2.59) beats me.
Clearly the guiding principle of our businesses is not fairness, or the Golden Rule of "Do as you would be done by" which I believe operates in every major religion, but "What we can get away with."
We live in a sick society. I'm surprised there is not more outrage. Where is "Occupy" when you need them?