Do the deal before the paperwork.

  spuds 12:48 28 Jun 2010

I don't know if anyone else if finding more so nowadays, that companies seem to make offers and incentives verbally, yet at the same time are unable to provide written evidence before the event.

Over the past week, I have had three telephone calls that have obviously originated from call centres, informing me that my previous contracts are due to expire. The caller makes certain offers if I continue renewal, yet when asked to provide written evidence before agreeing, the same "We don't do that" appears to be the uniformed response.

I always communicate via written form with these companies, yet at the times mentioned above, the companies seem to insist on 'over the phone' arrangements.

Yes these conversations are perhaps recorded,by the company, but have you ever tried to back-up your evidence at a later stage, when promises fail.

Do you have the same problem?.

  jack 13:10 28 Jun 2010

One in a vaguely similar vein, any way here is the tale.
The firm my late wife worked for has an employee's share scheme- shares are added annually and a 'small divi' is paid out -
When dealing with her affairs I contacted the firm the dealt with shares and dividend work for her former employers - Sending death certificate and redirecting funds to executor account after closing her personal bank account etc.
This firm seemed to be in two halves one side accepted my communication, but the side dealing with payments continued sending out to the now closed account and then when the credit bounced sent the payment as a personal cheque in her name- that I of could not pay in.
It took half a year before the penny dropped and everything started going as it should.
Then it all stopped.
A week or so ago I received a cheque made out to my late wife from another firm[Her late employer had given the work to another sharedealing firm]
So I returned it, with a copy of theall previous corresponance with the previous firm and instructed them to do as previously.
Here comes the rub.
I received a letter from the new firm thanking my and sorry to learn of the ladies demise[As if it had just happened -and Would please complete the enclosed form and ---- and ---wait for it
enclose a registration fee of £32.
To repeat work already carried out by their predecessor- for no fee at all?
No way
I got straight onto HR at the former employer and in due time got the fee waived as 'A Good Will gesture'
That says to me that every instance of an executor of a deceased employee could be in for this - I nice little earner- if they can get away with it.

  gengiscant 13:20 28 Jun 2010

Do you have the same problem?.
Oh yes, particularly with my mobile phone company round about upgrade time. i have no wish to be tied to a 24 month contract or an 18th month one for that matter but invariably I am promises are made verbally which do not match the written contract they are so loathe to provide before I commit myself.
i now stress that unless I receive written confirmation I prior to beginning of any new terms etc I shall take my business elsewhere. Seems to work.

  Forum Editor 18:26 28 Jun 2010

We live in a world that has wholeheartedly embraced the computer, and that's fine - computers have enabled businesses to operate in a way that would have been inconceivable two or three decades ago. We can order goods online, and they turn up at the door a few days later, all paid for electronically. Wherever I am in the world I can get cash from a machine, and check my bank account. I can pay all my household bills without picking up a pen, and I can't remember when I last sent a letter by post.

All this technology has made our lives easier in so many ways, and it has enabled businesses to trade online and make cost savings. These can be passed on in the form of lower selling prices, and increased competition has driven many businesses to look for any way to save operating costs. A reduction in paperwork is an obvious way, and your experience is a typical one. Many companies try to do everything via call centres, enabling them to reduce on office overheads.

It's a new way of working, and you either go with it or fight it. The truth is, it's not going away, this new way of working, and a new generation is growing up to accept that paperwork is largely (but not entirely) going to become a thing of the past in a digital world.

  canarieslover 18:50 28 Jun 2010

I think the point that most are making is that they are not offered a copy of the contract prior to agreeing to it. An e-mail confirming the offer with perhaps a link to the T & C's would suffice without resorting to a hard copy and postage. Not everyone has access to telephone recording equipment to prove what was verbally offered.

  ronalddonald 19:09 28 Jun 2010

I don't do any deals over the phone unless i can verify their details 1st.

  spuds 19:13 28 Jun 2010

But is it correct that someone from a call centre can offer certain incentives, then when asked to email or send the offers in writing, they state "We don't do that".

Agreeing on the telephone is one thing, but trying to get recompense if things go wrong is another, especially if the call centre representative as nothing to do with the original company, except as a selling machine on a bonus target?.

Modern technology as its advantages, but it can also have many disadvantages, especially if things go wrong, and you have no proof to back your side of the 'supposed' offers or story up. Once bitten, twice shy perhaps!.

Perhaps to add further to this type of modern marketing. A couple of years ago I had no less than three visits from a utility company sales rep. Over a period of the three days I was given three different prices for the same product, mainly due to daily price increases at the time. On each occasion no print-outs were available (due to technical problems!), but after signature a document would be sent. I took this up with the utility company (after being told porkies), and they agreed it was a bad practice, and they would look into making improvements. Two years have past, and that same utility company is still telling me "We don't do that".

My daddy use to say to me "Never put anything in writing, unless you want to stick with it, and make sure its watertight". That was the days, when a gentleman's agreement was usually honour bound, perhaps with a spit on the hand and then an handshake ;o)

  Forum Editor 19:28 28 Jun 2010

I was simply explaining a possible - if not probable - reason for it.

I'm aware of the pitfalls, and I constantly advise clients that it's in their interests to confirm all verbal offers and agreements by email.

What I do, when I agree to something over the phone, is confirm the terms under which I accepted the offer, and I do it by email. I write to the company concerned, saying something along the lines of:

"I have today agreed to accept an offer made to me over the phone by your company. The terms of the offer were as follows:

(I then enumerate the terms of the offer, including payment details)

I accept the offer based on these terms, and agree to be bound by them. I will not be bound by any additional terms or conditions, unless notified to me by you, via email, within 48 hours of the date of this email, and subsequently agreed to by me in writing.

It's usually enough, but of course everyone must use their own judgement about such things - I'm not saying that my method is legally watertight. It works for me, and so far I haven't had a problem.

  Þ² 19:30 28 Jun 2010

I haven't signed a contract or agreement in quite some time. The companies always keep their word, though I'd be refusing a random call centre call.

  WhiteTruckMan 21:08 28 Jun 2010

is end user license agreements for software. you only usually get to read that at the installation stage. So if you dont agree with it, the installation is terminated.

And the very best of good luck getting a refund from a vendor for software that has been opened!


  Forum Editor 22:54 28 Jun 2010

Some time ago I suggested to Microsoft that it printed the important points of its EULA on the outside of the software pack, so you could see what it was you were agreeing to before you bought the product. After all, you can't return opened software packs for a refund, so I thought it made sense.

The company's response was that the EULA was available on the Microsoft website for anyone to read.

Talk about missing the point entirely.

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