VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Close the broadband sharks door

There's a good reason most major utility companies stopped selling on their doorstep almost a decade ago.

And that's because it's a scandal waiting to happen. However, with nearly everyone stuck at home, some personal salespeople just couldn't resist taking advantage of a trapped audience.

And as we report today, there is nothing these sharks will not say or do, no lows they will not sink to when it means you sign on the dotted line.

Cold callers chase the elderly and vulnerable. They know that they are more likely to be home to open the door and less secure to shop online (archive image)

Worse, knowing that if they can just get a foot in the door they have a better chance of getting a deal they have put people's lives at risk by rolling into their homes without the decency wearing a face mask.

Cold callers chase the elderly and vulnerable. They know they are more likely to be home to open the door and less confident online.

But as we have seen again and again, what is actually best for the customer goes out of the window when cynical companies motivate employees with commissions, bonuses and rankings.

It's all about the hard sell where it's acceptable to tell lies when you bring home a little extra bacon.

Energy and telecommunications providers have quickly distanced themselves from the embarrassed marketing firms named in our report.

However, they have a responsibility to ensure that the companies they work with can represent them – especially when visiting vulnerable people's homes.

My advice is: close the door.

Ian Ackerley, CEO of NS&I, saw no fuss over the decision to ditch premium bond checks

Ian Ackerley, CEO of NS&I, saw no excitement over the decision to ditch premium bond checks

look at it

NS&I CEO Ian Ackerley is a nice guy who never hides from difficult conversations.

But his desperate effort to appeal to teenagers leads him to forget his most loyal customers. During our conversation last week, Mr. Ackerley apologized deeply for the collapse of the government bank call center.

But when it came to NS & I's decision to cancel Premium Bond checks, he didn't seem to understand what it was about.

"We gave customers six months' notice," he said. "And most prices already go out electronically."

Regardless, the five million savers, many of whom have been customers for decades and still trust that they will receive their prize money in the mail.

If NS&I wants to avoid completely losing touch with its customers, it should care a little less about website redesigns and catchy Instagram posts – and instead focus on regaining saver trust with decent service.

If you have any thoughts on this please write to us at moneymail@dailymail.co.uk or Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.

I will be sure to forward your comments to Mr Ackerley.

Debt collectors are now trying to make taxpayers guilty because Covid has damaged the economy

Debt collectors are now trying to make taxpayers guilty, saying Covid damaged the economy

Tax debt trip

Debt collectors working on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs are back in business after a brief hiatus – and are trying a new tactic.

Gone are the usual aggressive demands. Instead, taxpayers now feel guilty.

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"Covid-19 has harmed the UK economy, which means it is more important than ever that tax debts be collected to support the recovery," a letter said.

"These are also needed to continue funding important public services like the NHS." Fair enough, you could say – it's just a shame the letter was sent in error.

Virgo action

An update for disgruntled Virgin Media customers.

After naming and shaming the telecommunications giant as one of the most accused companies that year, I promised to forward your stories of suffering for investigation.

In total, I sent Virgin a dossier of around 100 emails and letters that she promised to process as quickly as possible. Many cases have already been resolved.

If you don't get a response, it could be because you didn't provide the company with enough details to identify your account so you need to contact Virgin directly.

A spokesperson told Money Mail that "providing great service to our customers is a top priority".

It's very reassuring to hear – but customers need action, not words.


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