Orange, which is owned by Britain’s biggest mobile operator, EE, angered customers in the three months to the end of September after it changed the rules around its home broadband service. The company had been offering free home broadband services to its mobile customers but said in September that they would lose the free service unless they agreed to pay £14 a month to rent a telephone line from the firm.
Ofcom received around double the number of complaints about Orange than in the previous quarter, largely from customers who had expected to keep the free service until the end of their mobile contract.
“The spike in complaints came at around the same time as the company withdrew its free broadband offer, which reflects how customers felt about the changes,” said an Ofcom spokesman.
On average, 0.5 customers in every 1000 Orange customers complained about the broadband service in the three-month period, compared to an industry average of 0.24. At the other end of the spectrum, Sky and Virgin Media had the most satisfied broadband customers.
Moving to new methods of payment is far from an easy leap for most of us. Recent figures from the Payments Council show that many are concerned about the security of such methods. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed admitted they were worried that payments using the new technology might not be secure.
It is worth remembering, of course, that we all had the same fears about debit cards, cash machines and online banking when they were introduced, and these innovations have now become commonplace. None the less, it is important to be sure about the technology that you are using before you jump in with both feet and your smartphone. The following pointers should help.
Know your limits
Contactless cards allow you to pay instantly by waving your card over a reader in a shop instead of entering a Pin. New technology such as the Barclays PayTag, which is a sticker that you can attach to your phone, and Orange‘s Quick Tap app, which lets you make a purchase using your phone, allow you to cut out the card altogether.
These transactions carry more risk than a transaction using a card and Pin, as they don’t rely on a second level of identification – merely on the fact you have the phone or contactless card with you. Your main safeguard is that the system can be used only for small payments – different limits apply in each case.
However, even small payments add up, and it is important that you know how much you are taking on and check your statements regularly.
From a hillock in the San Joaquin Valley, Berne Evans III recently surveyed a citrus grove that stretches as far as the eye can see. “It’s the largest clementine planting in the world,” he said, smiling.
The groves make Mr. Evans the king of the Cuties, a brand of seedless, sweet and easy-to-peel mandarin that is storming the nation’s fruit aisles and changing eating habits that span generations. The navel orange, after reigning supreme for decades, has a challenger.
The rise of Cuties heralds the arrival of big-money marketing in a tradition-steeped corner of American industry. Techniques once reserved for promoting consumer products have now made their way into the produce section. Just as people have long asked for a “Kleenex” instead of a tissue, they are starting to ask for “Cuties” when they mean mandarins.
“I can’t think of any other produce that has done this,” says John Ball of San Diego branding firm MiresBall. It’s “a name that is the thing.”
Cuties reflect a defining reality of the American consumer experience: Convenience sells. It’s a simple idea, applied in an unexpected place in the case of Cuties. Few people may have looked at the traditional orange and considered it a candidate for the classic American “new and improved” treatment.
But part of the Cuties marketing message trumpets the fact that children find it easier to peel. “We are a very impatient nation,” says Jerry Della Femina, of Della Femina Advertising in New York. “We have always led the way on, ‘Isn’t this the easiest way to do it?'”
Strange Random Name Quote:
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- Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2006 wine review by (PB) (winecask.blogspot.com)
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- The fruits of our labour… (therecomesatime.typepad.com)
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