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Forums > Social Chat > Rant about the way companies try to confuse you.

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:This morning I got a Gas bill through the door. Seeing it laying there didn't make me bounce about happily and I was even less happy when I checked the estimated amount of gas used, against the meter as it was way under the actual reading. Now I can't blame the gas company for that but when I tried to work out the actual bill I came up on this

Written by: gas bill
We convert your units to kilowatt hours in the following way:gas units used x imperical metric conversion factor (2.83) truncated to one decimal place x volume conversion factor (1.022640) x calorific value (39.2) divided by kilowatt hour conversion factor (3.6) = Kilowatt hours(kWh) used.



The bill has the units used as the meter reading now minus the reading you paid up to on the last bill. Then you have to perform this long winded calculation above to find out your kWh used.

After that you are told that 6677 kWh are charged ar a rate of 2.043pence per kHw and anything over and above that amount are charged at 3.616 pence per kWh

Now what I want to know is.... why can't they just charge you per unit used in the first place instead of making you do all that calculator button pressing to convert it into kWh???

I think they do it just to confuse people. To make it harder for you to check what they are charging you.

I'm not saying it is only the Gas companies that do this. Lots of companies try to baffle their customers this way.

I think it's time we complained and got it stopped!

Here endeth a rant of a woman with a HUGE gas bill.


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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:well, i suppose it is possible that with all the conversion, if they round up many of the numbers, you will end up paying slightly more..........then with all the customers they have they'll make a tonne of extra cashola, possibly wink

it probably helps them make more money in some dastardous way............


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:You should get a quantum meter skully - its so much easier, to see how much money you have left instead. You get a card with a chip on it which you can get topped up at the post office, then you put it into the meter - rather like an electricity pay as you go meter. My mum would go through about 10 per week, plus you can use the emergency credit button on it if you forget to top it up and it runs out.

Phone the gas company and ask about having one installed hug


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:hmm, in tassie we've recently had gas pipelines installed thoughtout the city, apparently them digging trenchs in all the main roads has meant the road life will drop by about 5 years. cant wait to see the gas company helping pay for the roads they wrecked.................as if

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:Tink, I don't think I'd like that, because I'd always be forgetting to get credit. I'm rubbish enough with my phone ubblol Nice idea for organised people though. Do they charge more per unit for the gas or less on that system? Not that I want this to turn into a discussion about gas bills.

Majestic they only round up in one place in that calculation so I'm, guessing that the amount of money that adds to their coffers is minimal. If that is the reason they do it then thats all the more reason we try to stop this.

I also hate how some online sites/brochures quote a mix of prices, some containing VAT and some not. An example of this is the company I get parts for my hoop making from. They quote products excluding VAT but the post package and postage including. Why not quote them both the same way?

Look inside holiday brochures and tell me exactly what you will pay for a certain holiday. I bet you once you go to the travel agents you will find that, in loads of tiny print at the back of the book, there are umpteen added costs that you didn't notice.

When you buy plane tickets on line they advertise flights from 9.99, when you book those flights you get all the added taxes and such that take the flight up to 25 odd pounds.


I'm just sick of companies trying to confuse* customers with these methods to try to dupe them into thinking they will be paying a lower price or so they can't check easily that they are not being over charged.

*I use the word confuse in the place of lie because somewhere in tiny print they will have the real cost or an explination of how you work out the cost.


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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:You'd probably end up paying more, just like you do with mobile phone top ups compared to being on contract, but the extra goes towards using the machine i think, and its easier to keep on top of your finances that way smile

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

Stalking amidst the desert, carrying an oversized scalpel...
Location: Huddersfield + Hull Uni... UK.

Total posts: 1019
Posted:I recall, at GCSE Physics, we had to do conversions from and to kWh.

These equations should be simple, and having learnt them at school, they shouldn't confuse you.

wink


Willy - is bad for your health...

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Uh oh.... I smell... I smeeeell... the plot biggrin

Actually be prepared UK! You have to blast this Tunnel that is coming from mainland Europe and cut all the telephone wires!

You're going to be metrically abducted smile finally devil

Written by:
Original and full coverage here
There have been three major Weights and Measures Acts in recent times (1963, 1976 and 1985) all gradually abolishing various units, as well re-defining the standards. All the Apothecaries' measures are now gone, and of the Troy measures, only the ounce remains. The legislation decreed that -
From the 1st October 1995, for economic, public health, public safety and administrative purposes, only metric units were to be allowed EXCEPT that -

pounds and ounces for weighing of goods sold from bulk
pints and fluid ounces for beer, cider, waters, lemonades and fruit juices in RETURNABLE containers
therms for gas supply
fathoms for marine navigation
could be used until 31st December 1999.
The following could continue to be used WITHOUT time limit -

miles, yards, feet and inches for road traffic signs and related measurements of speed and distance
pints for dispensing draught beer and cider, and for milk in RETURNABLE containers
acres for land registration purposes
troy ounces for transactions in precious metals.
Sports were exempt from all of this, but most of them have (voluntarily) changed their relevant regulations into statements of equivalent metric measures.
That was how the legislation was framed. In common usage the 'old' units are still very apparent.




and just wait for the pound (sterling) to disappear ..... *gg* soon - very soon.... woahahaha devil


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Igirisujin
SILVER Member since Jul 2005

Igirisujin

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Preston

Total posts: 2666
Posted:Bah skully dont stand for that, ring them up and demand they send someone out to actually read your gas meter , you shouldnt have to pay a silly estimate. They only do that so they can charge you for gas you might not even have used. We used to get them and they would allways estimate our gas usage at 200 to 300 quid! Wich is daft couse we never get bills like that when we get our meter read.

Chief adviser to the Pharaoh, in one very snazzy mutli-coloured coat

'Time goes by so slowly for those who wait...' - Whatever Happend To Baby Madonna?

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Gayle......!
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol !!!!!!

Total posts: 2444
Posted:Sounds like today is the day of bed news. If you need help working out the bill, send the figures my way and i'll see if i can make sense of them, at least to an estimated figure.

hug


Gayle.....!

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:I can work out the bill fine thanks. You people aren't getting my point here. Think about it. Why do you need to convert from units to kWh? You don't. The conversion does not need to be done. It's just a way the company makes it harder for people to check they are being billed correctly. How many of you ever check that their conversion calculations have been done correctly? I bet not many.

Joe as I said their estimate was lower than gas actually used so the bill was lower than it should be. Again you are missing the point of my rant.

Nevermind. I guess it's only me thats bothered when companies attempt to make life harder for their customers to see the clear final price they will be paying for goods or services they supply.


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Igirisujin
SILVER Member since Jul 2005

Igirisujin

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Preston

Total posts: 2666
Posted:Written by:
and I was even less happy when I checked the estimated amount of gas used, against the meter as it was way under the actual reading



Oh I didnt that last bit, I just saw I was even less happy when I checked the amount of gas... I thought they were trying to squize more money out of you like they usally do to my parents bills.


Chief adviser to the Pharaoh, in one very snazzy mutli-coloured coat

'Time goes by so slowly for those who wait...' - Whatever Happend To Baby Madonna?

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Asena
GOLD Member since Aug 2005

Asena

What a Bummer
Location: Shatfield, Hertfordshire

Total posts: 3224
Posted:I hate bills. I just pay em... dont even check the figures... mybe thats bad...

I know wat you mean, i think, tho skull. Boots has just changed their reciept style, making it sooo much harder to understand. It breaks it down so much, its confusing...


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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

Stalking amidst the desert, carrying an oversized scalpel...
Location: Huddersfield + Hull Uni... UK.

Total posts: 1019
Posted:Written by: Skulduggery
How many of you ever check that their conversion calculations have been done correctly?



Have you tried a search? wink

Written by: Skulduggery
Why do you need to convert from units to kWh? You don't. The conversion does not need to be done.



Anyway...

As far as I know, my understanding was that energy consumption was always calculated in kilowatts per hour.
EG.


Willy - is bad for your health...

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:I give up!

I only used the gas bill as an example. I am perfectly able to do the calculations. I even vaguely remembered the formular for how to do it. Yes, it may suprise you that I'm not some dumb idiot that never attended school.

Tell me though, just how many of you have ever checked that conversion calculation on your bill? Or is it just too much trouble to bother?

Flight prices.... when you log on the site and it says fly to Ireland for 5.99. You click that price to book it. As you go along it adds on airport tax etc. Do you at the end of putting in all your details think, "well damn that's more than I expected", but still book it because you can't be bothered to go searching again for a cheaper flight?

These companies rely on making it hard to see the final price. They make you either feel that calculating it for yourself will take too much time so you just accept their calculations or they get you to invest enought time before you are resigned to just paying whatever it ends up being.

Ok that rant might not make much sense because I'm crap at putting things into text at the best of times. I'm even worse when I'm angry.


Feed me Chocolate!!! Feed me NOW!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Don't give up smile

I'm with you 100%; I've posted elsewhere about business tactics that are, IMO, based on blagging and deception.

Prime example is buying a mobile phone, which apparently is 'free', but which comes with a contract designed to suck you dry over the next 18 months, and is written in such a deliberately convoluted fashion that understanding it requires the equivalent of studying for a degree smile

You're right about the gas bill- you've used 'x' units of gas that cost 'y' amount of pence- it's a very straightforward matter and does not require any added complexity.

But, this stuff is so rife in our society that it's just seen as normal- most people genuinely do not see it for what it is.

I'm glad you do see it, cos, the more people come to realise that this kind of stuff is either unnecessary, or an outright con; then the sooner companies who want to focus on honesty and being straight with their customers, will start to benefit, and ultimately it will become counter-productive for other companies to use deception and lack of clarity to boost their profits.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

Stalking amidst the desert, carrying an oversized scalpel...
Location: Huddersfield + Hull Uni... UK.

Total posts: 1019
Posted:Wow, people on HoP are really [censored] touchy lately.

Written by: Skulduggery

I give up!

I only used the gas bill as an example. I am perfectly able to do the calculations. I even vaguely remembered the formular for how to do it. Yes, it may suprise you that I'm not some dumb idiot that never attended school.



... and I only used the energy bill as an example. You did mention needless conversions, when in fact it's not that needless (maybe for the energy company at least)... just slightly time consuming for everybody else. I couldn't be bothered going into any discussion about other confusing jibber-jabber companies dish out. (... and I couldn't think of anything).

Written by:
Tell me though, just how many of you have ever checked that conversion calculation on your bill? Or is it just too much trouble to bother?



Next year, when I begin paying bills, I'll have a little go at the calculation, just for you. wink

Written by:
Flight prices.... when you log on the site and it says fly to Ireland for 5.99. You click that price to book it. As you go along it adds on airport tax etc. Do you at the end of putting in all your details think, "well damn that's more than I expected", but still book it because you can't be bothered to go searching again for a cheaper flight?

These companies rely on making it hard to see the final price. They make you either feel that calculating it for yourself will take too much time so you just accept their calculations or they get you to invest enought time before you are resigned to just paying whatever it ends up being.

Ok that rant might not make much sense because I'm crap at putting things into text at the best of times. I'm even worse when I'm angry.



Made sense to me...

But yea, I agree. So that's it.


Willy - is bad for your health...

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Eera
BRONZE Member since May 2003

old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:Isn't this why we employ lawyers? People paid to wade through incomprehensable small print.

The ones that make me laugh are the "you desperate guys can meet these hot chicks.." type adverts in bloke magazines. I've seen the same ads and pictures being used for 2 or more years, so Mr Lonely want to meet Hot Tamzin, rings up at $5.45 a minute to be connected to a phantom messagebox. Heh.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I only skimmed this one so forgive me if I misread what you wrote but I'd suggest that Skully eat less beans.

wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:I'm not sure Skully is being touchy, I can see at least half a dozen posts that completely miss the point of what she was saying. I personally have little experience of the obfuscation of companies, but I guess I'll have to deal with it when I leave University.

And if you wanted to hear about other people's point of view, and they say "I can't be bothered to think of something that answers your question, but I'll post anyway" then how would you feel?


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:what do you mean sethis? are you asking if anyone can spell post whoring ? wink

lawers are just as bad as companies at using jargon to confuse normal people


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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JauntyJames
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA

Total posts: 3533
Posted:Kick 'em in the shins. That'll teach them for trying to confuse honest consumers.

-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:skully is absolutely right (and my initial post was to explain why the company does it... redface but it's been offtopic spank)

I violently dislike all those kinds of offers that come with strings attached: mobile phones for free, the US-politics to add sales tax on the cashier and NOT on the sticker(!), flight prices that ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE by the time you try to book 'em (because they only had 5 seats at this price available!)

Excuse me for stereotyping: but this is THE NEW AMERICAN way of doing it! It's been (for me) the first place on the planet where I saw that coming from! my observation spank me for it...

And now my mad2

If you are VERY careful, you will notice the difference between a movie in the theatre and the same on the TV! In cinemas the movie lasted 90 minutes... on TV the same movie lasts 110 minutes eek and not even the director could tell where those adtl. 20 minutes came from... eek

Nono - it's not the commercial breaks only... there is a whole industry-sublet that extend movies for the TV. Every take is extended just as much - so people wouldn't notice... only a split-second at every stills, a slightly slower swing of the camera...

With these extra 20 minutes they earn another 2 million in commercial-ads revenue!!!!

To me this is just *&%$!!*#& outrageous!


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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fNi
GOLD Member since Mar 2004

fNi

master of disaster
Location: New York

Total posts: 3354
Posted:psh

its like that for anything; in the us most of the shows are slotted to half hour or hour time slots; were you to actually look at the running time, most shows last somewhere around 22 or 40 something minutes.

and Joe, they're also removing content as well as putting time in.

But its a good thing. It gives you time to get a sandwich or go to the bathroom or heaven forbid, be productive wink


kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

Stalking amidst the desert, carrying an oversized scalpel...
Location: Huddersfield + Hull Uni... UK.

Total posts: 1019
Posted:Written by: Sethis
And if you wanted to hear about other people's point of view, and they say "I can't be bothered to think of something that answers your question, but I'll post anyway" then how would you feel?



Let's not forget the "(... and I couldn't think of anything)" excuse that was there - that's the most important bit. Plus, I was giving my point of view, that kWh conversions aren't pointless. wink


Willy - is bad for your health...

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Dr_Molly


Dr_Molly

Pooh-Bah
Location: Away from home

Total posts: 2354
Posted:Skully - I get exactly the same disgruntled feeling at the shops in New York.

For some reason 'they' decided that it would be a good idea to add tax (I'm guessing sales tax) to goods after you take them off the shelves and when you get to the till. So unless your mental arithmetic is tiptop (not to mention remembering what fiddly percentage you're meant to be calculating) NOTHING costs what it says it does.

I don't understand how or why this is seen to be a good idea!

As far as I can see it would be the exact equivalent of not labelling VAT and only adding it at the till.

/rant

ps. if any passing New Yorkers could give me a hint of rationale for this system I would growl less in shops smile


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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:Written by: Skulduggery

it may suprise you that I'm not some dumb idiot that never attended school...


No, that'd be me redface ubblol


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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