Sunday, 20 February 2011

The art of manipulation honed to the limits

The contract with our current Internet provider (Play Online) expires soon. Their service generally sucks. Connection speeds are comparable to those standard in Belarus and my shoddy modem stops trasferring data whenever it feels like. Wrangling with customer service of P4 is a big ordeal, so the decision to give up on them was an easy one. We don't know yet what company will our new provider be (only mobile internet is comes into play), but we have already taken steps to break up with Play Online. We send them a letter in which we noticed them we wanted to terminate the contract on its expiration date. In response we received a missive in an electronic form, scan of its print below. Watch out for the underlined words and phrases.

Now a small exercice in translation. A word which crops up four times in the missive, not accidentally, is , it doesn't have a short equivalent in English, so I decided to do it into Eglish as 'as much as'. Slightly stilted, if you have better suggestions, please let me know.

Ref. no. 2723****

Dear Sir,

We confirm the reception of your letter dated 2 February 2011 regarding the cancellation of services provided by P4 sp. z o.o.

On this occasion we are glad to thank Sir for the current cooperation and by the same token for placing trust in our company.

Especially for Sir we prepared an offer "RePlay Online Great with a discount" without a modem. As part of this bargain we offer you a discount of 10 PLN for the whole contractual period what adds up to a saving of as much as 120 PLN. The monthly allowance under this contract is as much as 5 gigabytes and the contract length is only 12 months.

There is also a possibility to prolong the contract for 18 months, under a modem plan. Under "RePlay Online for Christmas" special offer, the monthly charge for first four months will amount to mere 1 PLN. The monthly allowance under this plan is as much as 5 gigabytes. After the discount period ends, the monthly charge will be mere 45 PLN.

We will be pleased, if you get in touch with our Customer Service at the number *500 (call only from  mobiles in Play) in order to learn about the details of the offer and to place an order. The order will be effected by courrier free of charge.

If your decision is upheld, we inform that the Contract for the number +48791****** will be terminated on 9 April 2011, after the cancellation period, defined in paragraph 14 point 5 of P4 Terms of Telecommunication Services for Subscribers, expires. The current Play Online number will be transferred to Play Online pre-paid service, in which the service account may be topped up only when necessary. When the new plan is activated, Sir will receive as much as 1 gigabyte of data transfer to be used up within 30 days.

Yours sincerely,

Anna M****

Now some essential remarks.

1. Our letter was dated 26 January 2011. Why the hell did they change the date? Never mind that.

2. Especially for Sir (specjalnie dla Pana) is nothing but a barefaced lie. The same plan is offered to any customer who wishes to prolong their contract.

3. The contract set out 1 April 2011 as expiration date, so why did they discretionally prolong it by eight days? But to make up for this they gave 1 gigabyte as a farewell gift, so this can be forgiven.

Now let's get to the core of what I'm drivng at.
The word (as much as) was used four times.
The word tylko (only) was used once.
The word zaledwie (mere(ly)) was used two times.

Back in August 2007 I did my first job as telemarketer for another mobile operator. I went through some trainings and realised the importance of these seemingly unimportant words. A human beign feels a natural need to make a good deal. By using those words hard-sellers persuade their clients victims they do so, although the deal in fact is not a big bargain. Believe us, you'll pay so little and we'll give you so much. How can you turn down such a great offer?

That job was a big nuisance, but with hindsight proved to be a very valuable experience. Now I'm very sensitive to all kinds of manipulations I am exposed to and can make wiser and well-thought-out consumer decisions and I don't fall for all the twaddle I'm being said. And after all I sometimes sympathise with those poor people who sometimes call me to sell a product or a service and try to make me believe I can strike a great deal.


Pan Steeva said...

Please let us know if you're connection improves. We have a radio based internet system, which we are thinking of changing, but Era mobile phone connection here is often bad and I wonder if any other network might use a different antenna and be better. (No fixed line connection.)

On the wording of the letter, the promotions I dislike are those which say something like "cost is from 120 PLN and you can get up to 5Gb". This means to me that you can get very little for 120 PLN or pay a lot for 5Gb. I ignore such adverts on the basis that I cannot trust companies that try to fool me.

However, Colgate has been getting away for years by advertising that 'no other toothpaste is better' ie they are not better than other toothpastes, and they seem to do all right.

Nick said...

Try Satellite instead of useless Telecoms. Technitel offers the Tooway system in Poland which I had to use because no fixed telephone lones in my village in Lubelskie and the cost of so called 3G via Orange was exorbitant and difficult to control with unpleasant surprises at every turn.