Typically, consumers as individuals have much less power than large institutions, and particularly government anointed ones like Telco’s and energy providers. As I look back over my archived records from years of dealing with problems along the road of life, I find that I have spent (wasted) massive amounts of time dealing with problems which were clearly the fault of a large organisation (and particularly, its incompetent systems). Does this sound familiar?: Eventually, after jumping through many hoops (necessary?), spending too much time holding a phone listening to advertising or platitudes, writing careful letters with CC’s to solicitors, or navigating tedious and complicated websites … and not giving up … you “win” and have a defective product replaced, an account rectified, a service actually provided, etc. Lucky me/you, we got (in the end) what we paid for.
In legal terms, a party can claim and expect to receive Compensatory Damages sufficient to “make one whole” meaning … to pay or award damages sufficient to put the party who was damaged back into the position he/she would have been without the fault of another.
So, after subtracting mandatory parts of life like work, sleeping, cleaning and cooking, we all have limited discretionary time. Being forced to then spend more of that scarce time dealing with (IMHO) excessively bureaucratic or incompetent systems just in order to obtain “wholeness” relative to some product or service subtracts from our lives and well-being. Shouldn’t this be compensated? When Telstra wastes over 7.5hours of my life having to continually chase issues over months just to get back to where my contract was, after I exercise cooling off rights, who is giving me back those hours? When (a decade back) Norton’s fobs me off to overseas “service centres” who instruct me how to deal with “problems with my computer” only to finally advise (call #4) that “of course, these two products are incompatible” … then why were they sold bundled together? Have they compensated me for not getting to play with my kids while instead performing pointless busywork?
Choice has done a great job of advocating for consumer rights regarding products and services. Most complaints “processes” involving larger organisations have zero incentive for them NOT to waste consumer’s time, but with a large incentive to cause as many as possible to drop by the wayside. Isn’t it time for advocacy for transparent, efficient, just processes for consumers to deal with? Maybe then we would really be “made whole.”