Tag Archives | boycotts

11850 moving Irish jobs to the Philippines – boycott anyone?

Twitter was abuzz last week of news that the company behind the 11850 directory enquiries service 11850 was closing down its Irish base with the loss of 78 jobs and moving them to the Philippines.

The story was covered last Thursday in the Irish Independent – Directory firm 11850 outsources 78 jobs to Asia. According to Twitter sources, the company behind 11850 is actually American, and it seems they’re turning to their global network for cheaper resources:

“Inevitably, the economic downturn has taken its toll on consumer and business spending, resulting in a decline in call volumes as a whole to all the 118 services.

“As a result, action is required to ensure the future delivery of services, and 11850 is fortunate to be able to draw on its global resources to meet that important objective and licence commitment.

The move to the Philippines did prompt some questioning as to how the new 11850 operators might be able to handle uniquely Irish names and place names. I wonder will they do as some British companies did when outsourcing jobs to India and bring the employees to the UK for some “immersion” training, and then make them watch Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Eastenders when they went back home.

Some people on Twitter also suggested that they would begin boycotting the 11850 service because of this move costing Irish jobs.

Boycotting is good! To be honest, we’re not good in Ireland at boycotting those companies that screw consumer around – how many people are still customers of the big banks despite everything they’ve done.

But would you be out of pocket if you stopped using 11850 and used another of the 118* services?

Back in 2008 I did some research (available here – Directory Enquiries Options and Costs) on the cost of calling directory enquiry services. At that time, the 11888 option was the cheapest, while the 11890 service was the fastest and best value for money option.

The SaveAFewBob.ie crew have recently provided an updated analysis on the costs of calling directory enquiries here – Directory Enquiries – Are you paying too much?. It seems that things haven’t change much in two years with this recent research also finding that 11888 was the cheapest option.

The sting in the tail though, is that 11888 is operated by the same people who run the 11850 number. So, if you’re boycotting 11850, you should also boycott 11888.

But then using the 11890 or Eircom 11811 alternatives is going to cost you more money.

The perennial dilemma for Irish consumers – pay dearly for your principles, or sell out for the cheaper cost!

Then again, you really shouldn’t be using directory enquiries services at all these days. Have internet on your phone? Is it free? A Google search for most businesses these days provides the contact numbers in the search results before you even have to click into the website.

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Boycotting businesses – sharing via Twitter @iboycott?

I recently noticed a particular new follower of @valueireland on Twitter – someone called “Craig Fleischmann”. His bio was interesting as it was alluding to something I’ve been thinking about developing in Twitter myself recently, but with an Irish focus obviously.

The username being used is “whotoavoid” and the bio is as follows:

Companies to avoid and why. Information not intended to recommend one company over another. Contact me at CFleischmann@lawyer.com if you have any questions.

One of the initial aims of ValueIreland.com through the original Value Ireland Forum was to allow Irish consumers to promote companies that provided worthwhile value for money, quality and service and to highlight those that didn’t so that others could avoid them.

I think that there is still a need for such recommendations, I believe, but how to best share this information is still a challenge. Since the original Value Ireland Forum was set up, many other alternative review sites have been set up – some worthwhile, and some a waste of time and money.

Much of the time with such review and recommendation sites, the difficulty is that you rarely know who you’re actually dealing with in the background – is it someone completely independent, someone who works for the company, or someone who has a grudge against the company. I’ve written about this before here – a particular problem is review sites such as MenuPages.ie that need to make money, and so bad reviews can mean bad business. Adrian Weckler has written about this recently as well.

As part of my initial thinking, I did set up the Twitter account @iboycott. My original thinking was that people could simply twitter to @iboycott any time they came across a company that they decided they weren’t using any more, while providing a reason as well.

For example:

@iboycott 3 Mobile because of their crap customer service and for leaving me abroad on business with no phone service.

Then for anyone interested, they could follow @iboycott to see what other people are saying about other companies.

I suppose there’s also the potential for businesses to also follow @iboycott to see what is causing their customers, or former customers, problems and potentially even follow up to address those issues.

What do you think? Useful idea? Waste of time?

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Taxi Confessions – why I’m boycotting taxis

This pretty dramatic e-mail came in to ValueIreland.com recently. Some strong stuff.

Ok – the following experiences, all happening directly after each other, are why I started boycotting taxis:

Taxi number one – told me that because of decentralization there were loopers driving taxis. Also said it was the easiest thing in the world to make up a fake number and then buy the light for the top and a “fare” machine and that thousands of taxi drivers were doing this and would probably rape you if you got in with them.

Taxi number two: After reassuring me that he was Ok because he was independently wealthy, spent 25 uninterrupted minutes (and believe me there was no opportunity to interrupt) exploring the Governments Economic policy and how that has contributed to the down fall of the country, including a revision of basic economics, because you need to understand that first. His language could be described as colourful.

Taxi number three. Smelled horrible, mumbled in a really peculiar way that I could only hear half the time but explained how he left on early retirement from Eircom and was finding it harder and harder to make a living and he was on less then minimum wage. He then proceeded to drive the wrong way up the road!

Taxi number four. After spotting 2 girls in mini skirts started laughing and wondering why they would bother claiming they were raped when they were dressed like that. This was the last straw.

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Do you boycott shops and businesses?

I was walking past a place this morning on the way to work and started trying to remember the last time I’d been in there. It took me a food few seconds to remember that I was actually boycotting the place and that that was the reason I hadn’t been in there for about 2 years.

Do you have your own personal boycotts of businesses? In the greater scheme of things, it’s not likely that individually any boycotts will have any impact, but it can make us feel better.

And despite our history, we’re not all that good at unified consumer action in our own best interests.

The Q102 and Consumers Association of Ireland “Ignore that Store” campaign before Christmas really fizzled out, and despite calls from a number of fronts for Irish consumers to boycott stores involved in the euro-sterling pricing controversy, the practice continued unabated.

While a minority of people may decide to take action by avoiding businesses, the example of the euro-sterling pricing controversy shows that enough people continue to shop in those stores meaning that it’s more profitable for the stores to continue the practice rather than change.

From my own perspective, there are a few businesses that I will conscoiously avoid.

  • There’s a coffee shop in Dublin 2 that I’ll avoid both for their extravagently expensive pricing as well as the owner/managers shockingly ignorent treatment of both his customers and his staff.
  • There’s the whole company group that I avoid any business or product that they sell because of their involvement in a predatory pricing policy a number of years ago with the sole intent of closing down one of their competitors (a successful action as it turned out unfortunately).
  • There’s also another whole company group that I avoid because of the other companies that they’ve invested in in the past – unsuccessfully as it turned out (to my delight).
  • I’ve added a new business to my boycott listing this week following weeks of suffering that persons guff on the Irish Dragons Den. And it’s unfortunate, because I used to enjoy their products and service.
  • I’ve also started to avoid local shop close to where I live because of their excessively expensive pricing, plus also the fact that the number of times I was overcharged or shortchanged just became too common to be coincidences.

I know these companies don’t miss my business, and wouldn’t care one way or the other, but it’s important for me. And the thing about it for me is that there are valid alternatives to all of the above where I’m more than happy to take my business instead.

I think that if more people acted when they noticed an issue rather than talking to Joe, the dodgier businesses out there would slowly but surely lose business and end up having to do something about it – ideally to the benefit of the consumer.

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