Saturday, February 8, 2014

My fee schedule

I've planned a vacation away over Spring Break and I booked the flight prior to Christmas.   Yesterday I  received a telephone message from the airline that the flight times have changed.   I've heard about this happening to others, mostly, it seems, when points have been used to book the flights.   Somehow, points customers seem to be fair game for inconveniencing.   But that's another post.   I had booked this flight to a tropical destination with my credit card.  Despite travelling regularly, I never seem to have enough points for anything before they expire.

The person representing the airline was pleased to inform me when I called back, after telling me the flight time was changing, that since the change originated with the airline, they would not be charging me a fee for the change.    I was mildly flabbergasted at this remark.   I resisted the urge to state that perhaps I would charge the airline for making the change to my plans.   I doubt I would have been successful.   


But this made me think of other times when  consumers/customers are charged or threatened with charges for their actions or failures but when the reverse does not apply.   I know that if I had called the airline to make a change to the flight, there would have been a hefty charge  to me.   I've seen posted notice in my doctor and dentist's office that a fee will be levied for missed appointments unless 24 hours notice is given.   How about a charge from me, when I'm kept cooling my heels in the waiting room for an hour?   I'm paying for parking as well.   I've tried calling and asking if the doctor/dentist is on time but the answer I receive doesn't necessarily reflect reality.    Specialists are especially prone to this.   After waiting months for the appointment we're grateful the appointed day has finally arrived.  I understand that emergencies/baby arrivals throw schedules off but some practitioners are routinely more than an hour behind.

I'm often charged a shipping and handling fee when I purchase something online.   What about a handling/inconvenience fee payable to me when I need to return defective/incorrect orders?  My time is valuable, too.   Government offices are notorious for this.   I read another blogger's post a while ago wherein she stated that one way she earned money during a period of unemployment was standing in the 2 hour queue that was the norm at that time for passport application processing.    I don't recall if she had made arrangements in advance with a person with less time to waste or if someone always came along  before she reached the front of the line to pay $20 or $30 to take her place.    It seems after a year of this situation the passport office became wise to it.   They didn't improve the service, ie. waiting time, but they began giving out numbers indicating your position in line.

I don't hear 'the customer is always right' very often any more.

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