Monday, October 13, 2008

Voting with my feet

I'm feeling all righteous. This week I've made some small changes that are of quite large significance to me (though possibly not to anyone else).

In the past week I have:

* Closed the bank account I have had since kindergarten. Which Bank? Yes, that one (of course). Having been a customer of the Commonwealth Bank from the days when my pocket money was 20c I've been through many ups and downs with them. On the whole the service is ... lacking, but never appallingly so.
No, the issue for me runs deeper than that. A few months ago I was writing a feature that led to me interviewing a fairly prominent businessperson with excellent environmental credentials. We were talking about corporate cultures and how some will never change to be more environmentally responsible. It was she who sowed the seed when she said, "When you talk to anyone from the Commonwealth Bank you can just tell they're never going to change."
So I did a little research of my own.
It appears she is right.
Just how 'green' any bank can be is kind of debatable, but I expect some corporate responsibility from an institution that deals with my savings. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that this bank is appalling ... and the powers that be ought to hang their head in shame.
Today I went into my local branch and asked to close the account. They naturally asked why and I told them - and they actually said this to me: "Ooh, I wouldn't be leaving this bank right now with all the financial instability. This is the best bank for keeping your money safe."
So if I wasn't enraged enough by their temerity last week, when they bought BankWest after crying poor and not handing on a full interest cut, I certainly was by today's little piece of fear-mongering.
Good riddance to them! I feel cleaner (and greener) already.

* Cancelled a too-good-to-be-true Telstra contract. Yes, we had one of those sales people come to our door telling us we were a "high-priority customer" Telstra wanted to woo back from Optus. The guy offered us an incredible deal: national calls capped at a dollar, lots of extras, a credit on our first bill, this kind of thing...
So we signed it.
But we had reservations from the start, because the modem for our cable broadband had to be replaced with a wireless one, which sounds less appealing. It's hard to work your way through all the various providers and plans and bundles, as almost all have something you want but none have everything you want.
Then last week there was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that said Telstra's sales group TSA, the group employing the guy who came to our house, had been allegedly harassing potential customers, being really pushy and promising anything and everything knowing full well they couldn't deliver on it.
Which got me thinking. There is no way I wish to financially reward, or be associated in any way at all, with a company that employs bullies and condones bullying behaviour.
So on Day 9 of the 10-day cooling-off period I cancelled that contract and told Telstra exactly why.

* I switched my electricity to Jack Green. I've been looking forward to doing this. Our contract for supply ended a fortnight ago, so the time was right. I still can't forgive Energy Australia for the time, about two years ago, when it was revealed that customers who thought they were on 100% green power were actually not. I have a sneaking suspicion we were among them because when this hit the media I rang Energy Australia and asked to speak to someone about whether or not we were actually signed up for 100% green power (as the paperwork in front of me said). They fobbed me off to their "Contracts" department and of course there was never a phone call back or a letter.
So now I am no longer a customer.

Oh, it feels so good!


Juliette said...

Good on you!!!
You would be surprised how many people are doing the same thing!!!

Fe said...

Well done! I did almost exactly the same things (from Westpac to St George, from Telstra to various other service providers) and from Energy Australia to Jack Green.

Feels good. Doesn't it?

Melody said...

Good for you. I *always* feel good when I do things like that. I'm looking forward to closing a lot of things in the the very near future...only because we're moving out of the country of course, but it is still going to feel good!!

Stomper Girl said...

Yay. Nothing like voting with your feet. Strangely, I recently severed my links with Telstra but they keep sending me accounts to tell me that my balance is $0.00. Not very green. And I had to specifically instruct them that the $11.70 I was in credit with them for needed to be paid out to be via cheque. Glad I wasn't paying THEM for that phone call.

M said...

People Power! (she says in her most feeble down-trodden consumer voice).