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VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Amazing support for our Pick up or Pay up campaign

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Your howls of despair: VICTORIA BISCHOFF has been blown away by the amazing response to our ‘Pick up or Pay up’ campaign

On Friday last week, I received a moderately excited call from the post room here at Every day Mail towers.

Greater than 1,000 letters had arrived for us in only three days.

When the crate made its strategy to my desk, it was immediately clear that each single envelope contained the coupon we had printed within the paper to collect support for our ‘Pick up or Pay up’ campaign.

Your backing: We have now received 1000’s of letters and emails supporting our ‘Pick up or Pay up’ campaign to impose fines of firms in the event that they fail to select up the phone inside in ten minutes

Since then, two more crates of letters have arrived, together with a whole bunch of emails.

So once I said in my column last Wednesday that I had been amazed by your response to our campaign, I stand corrected. Consider me blown away.

In my ten years at Money Mail, I even have never seen such overwhelming support — nor an overflowing postbag quite like this.

We’re calling for a latest consumer protection law that will see firms hit with hefty fines in the event that they fail to select up the phone inside ten minutes.

We also want businesses to be made to publish their each day call wait times on their web sites.

And it’s abundantly clear we’ve struck a nerve because 1000’s of you’ve now backed these demands in writing.

However it’s no wonder you’re fed up. As revealed here, we have now spent the past few weeks calling major corporations to observe their call wait times.

Yet it’s not only the length of time customers are being left on hold that’s the difficulty. Just finding the fitting number to call is a challenge. Many web sites refuse to disclose it unless you prove you can’t solve your problem online.

This implies answering reams of questions — and dodging constant prompts to make use of the corporate’s online chatbot service.

Virgin Media even had the cheek to remind customers online to ‘only get in contact if it is advisable’ — I can’t imagine many individuals are calling for fun.

Once you’ve found the phone number, you’re then required to press a tedious variety of buttons before the wait to talk to a human even begins.

Many demand you key in your account details or speak into the phone before you may go any further.

And all of the while an automatic voice tells you many times that your query could probably be answered online — which is especially frustrating for the 1000’s of elderly and vulnerable individuals who don’t use the web.

HMRC even had the gall to ask if we wanted to have interaction in a customer support feedback survey before we had spoken to anyone.

Meanwhile, some firms are only hanging up on people. E.ON and BT each did this after which texted us to attempt to resolve our query.

Others just said we couldn’t be put through ‘attributable to a high volume of calls’ and that was that.

This will not be customer support. It’s a nightmare. So please keep your letters of support coming.

Offering to assist

One again, I even have been left in awe of Money Mail readers’ generosity. Last week, I wrote on this column a few pensioner called James Scott who had lost a stone in weight because he cannot afford to eat greater than two meals a day.

Since then, 4 readers have contacted me to say they were so saddened by the story that they would really like to send him some money.

One woman, Pippy, said: ‘I felt compelled to put in writing to ask if I could help indirectly. I’m in no way wealthy, only a granny in her 60s on disability allowance. 

But I’m fortunate to have enough income to cover my bills and food. It breaks my heart to know that in England, within the twenty first century, we still have such poverty.’

One other reader, Colin, added: ‘Am I in a position to send a couple of quid to assist James? I’m a pensioner, too. I could help with £20 or £30 towards some food until this fuel crisis is accurately addressed.’

Inspired by your kind words, I even have donated the £150 council tax rebate I received last month in your behalf to the soup kitchen Amazing Grace in Blackpool, where James visits.

And the Every day Mail has agreed to top this as much as £500. So thanks on your truly heart-warming emails.

v.bischoff@dailymail.co.uk

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