All phone holds should be barred

Dafna Harel-Kfir

Now it has been proven beyond all doubt that this is the only way to benefit consumers, these measures should be extended to all service providers.

For years the complaints piled up while companies for their part pushed around customers and saved themselves the bother of the expenses involved in providing proper telephone service, until a new law was recently enacted to save consumers.

For years we got used to being kept hanging on the line. Customers wasted long hours on tiresome waiting, listening to frustrating instructions and brainwashing ads until they finally got through to call center staff. Many of the calls got cut off before fruition meaning more time had to be wasted on a repeated attempt. Sometimes the aim of the call was merely a brief question, sometimes a significant complaint worth a lot of money to the caller but the dreadful phone service resulted in many postponing the call to a later date, or to forego or even forget to make the call. But wonder of wonders when the law requires the companies to provide proper service the consumer finds salvation.

The conclusion, for better or for worse, depending on who you ask, is that competition is not the cure for all consumers' ills. Sometimes it is just the opposite. In the age of competition, consumers often track prices and companies are happy to forget about service. The major mobile phone companies fired many employees and the new companies found it difficult to field efficient and fast call center staff.

To assist competition, legislators should have set minimally required standards, which if not met would result in penalties. And now that it has been proven beyond all doubt that this is the only way to benefit consumers, it would be right to extend these measures to encompass all companies and service providers from insurance firms to the health funds, and even government departments and their various branches from the Tax Authority to the Ministry of Transport. Who will take up the challenge?

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 7, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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