Commercialism is not just for Christmas...

12th December 2014

Have we forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? So many people say it’s over-commercialised with companies making vast profits from people spending money they haven’t got on things they probably shouldn’t.

Talking of which, I think we’ve forgotten the true meaning of the customer. They too are often spending money they haven’t got on bills and statements, just because their service provider has decided to charge them.

To me, this is also blatant commercialism. Our latest research has shown that some companies could be profiteering with a mark-up of more than 400% on the true charge for producing and posting a bill, which we estimate can be as low as 35p for large volumes.

Until recently, big business quite rightly considered paper bills and statements the preferred means of communicating financial and other information to customers. Our figures show that not only do some companies feel they can pass this cost they have shouldered for decades on to the customer, but they can actually profit from the charges.

Take one of our supporters, who took out a broadband subscription this summer with the same company who supply her phone line. Instantly she was told she would have to pay £1.50 to keep a paper bill that they were quite happy to carry on supplying for free before she took out another service with them. So though they are receiving more money from her for the services, they now have another £1.50 going into their bank account for doing absolutely nothing. Imagine that repeated thousands of times across the UK.

Yes commercialism is alive and well – and it’s not just for Christmas!

Judith Donovan