Just Because It's Free Doesn't Mean Customers Won't Complain

from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept

Earlier this year, UK retailer Carphone Warehouse got plenty of attention for its decision to offer “free” broadband to those who also buy fixed-line phone service. Some people believe that when a company offers you something for free, it means that customers don’t have much of a right to complain, but apparently no one told that to the free broadband subscribers. Perhaps that’s because it’s not very good. A new study found that complaints about this and other free broadband offerings have dragged down overall customer satisfaction levels with broadband in the UK. To be clear, 70% of the customers of the free (or should that be free*) services from Carphone Warehouse and Orange felt they were fine, but that still means 30% were complaining about the free internet access they had. At the very least, that suggests that service had to be pretty bad. While customers may give companies a little more leeway on free offerings, when it comes to something they’re likely to rely on and use frequently, problems with the service are definitely going to piss people off at any price.

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Comments on “Just Because It's Free Doesn't Mean Customers Won't Complain”

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CatBandit says:

Not Free!

I agree with Oxides on this one. That’s as plain as it gets – it isn’t free at all if the product or service availability is dependent on payment – upfront or continuing – for another product of service.

As important, the *payment* need not be in cash. It might be in the manner of relinguishing access to your desktop, being inundated with unwanted advertising or in some cases, hidden installations of malware like key-loggers or worse … becoming a beta tester for bad services or sucko bandwidth performance.

ehrichweiss says:

definitely happens..

I did tech support for an apartment complex in Chicago that got free broadband with their cable package that was also free. I have never in my life heard such crap spew from humans except when I was informed that a monkey had been elected to the whitehouse. The thing is, I don’t know who to blame cause the previous broadband provider sucked donkey balls and so did the cable operator who we contracted under. The operator’s stance seemed to be that since it was free, he didn’t need to fix problems as they came up and he could just freely ignore them and blame someone else when it caused problems. I was contracted through the broadband ISP and not the cable operator thankfully but I still had to deal with both freakin’ sides of that issue, rude and inconsiderate customers and idiot, cheapskate cable operators.

I prefer to pay for service regardless of the price of the item. You could give me a $500 laptop for free and I’d still pay $1000 for the service contract if you proved it was worth it to me(replacement warranty, etc.). But I still follow the ‘old’ saying “treat your Pinto like a Ferrari and you won’t treat your Ferrari like a Pinto”.

googly_eyes says:

The city that my parents live in offers “Free” WiFi to everyone from a company called MetroFi, all you have to do is endure banner adds, oh and the fact that the coverage is spotty and unreliable.

We have tried umpteen ways to try and boost the connection at my parents house, but it’s always unreliable at best.

Yet this company gets to boast about their “city wide” coverage, and is trying to push into all kinds of other cities based on their “success” where my parents live.

They tried paid service for some locations, but quickly abandoned that plan for the banner adds.(I wonder which paid more. hmmmm)

And yep, you guessed it, their support is non existent.
I bet there are a lot of people that can’t stand this service, and just ignore it. Yet the city probably hasn’t a clue about how people would rate the service, and will continue to offer civicly funded infrastructure to the company in perpetuity, thinking “what a great thing we are doing for our city”

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