Anyone who read DC comics in the 1960s will remember Bizarro World, a place where everything is the opposite of Earth. It was cubed shaped for a start, ugliness was beauty, stupidity was intelligence and perfection was perverse.
In one episode, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling Bizarro bonds: “Guaranteed to lose money for you”. I sometimes wonder if I’ve slipped through a wormhole and that’s the world I now inhabit — the same, but opposite.
Yesterday I received a fat envelope from Tesco to renew my car insurance. I whistled when I saw the figure on the bottom line which I thought was a bit steep.
I’ve been driving for a long time and haven’t made an insurance claim in the last twenty years, The only named drivers are me and Mrs P, no boy racers, so I couldn’t figure why they suddenly thought I was such a big risk. Not only that, but I’ve insured my car with Tesco for five years and naively thought that would put me in the valued loyal customer bracket.
I went online to see what other companies were offering. I won’t mention the name of the site, but it’s the one advertised by the opera singing bloke with the silly moustache and dinner suit.
I discovered that I could get exactly the same cover from Marks and Spencer for a quarter of what Tesco were asking for — 75% less!
So I rang Tesco to instruct them not to automatically renew my policy and got through to a pleasant woman with a Geordie accent who suggested that I shouldn’t cancel immediately. She explained that this would cancel their offered quotation and who knows — it would then be six, eight or ten times as much if I decided against switching to M&S. I declined.
What has happened to valued loyal customer status? People who pay their money, make no claims and cause no fuss. Time was when companies would bend over backwards to keep you on their books.
Of course, the insurance business model is based on consumer laziness. Draw them in with a cheap quote and then crank it up year by year and don’t shed a tear when they wave bye-bye.