|Another victim from "Modern times" (1936)|
I'll spare the gory details but for weeks I tried to get a person to deal with what I was sure was a simple computer error. But they would not engage me. The only real person I reached dismissed my demand for a refund but assured me that, a) they would issue a cancellation (!) and b) they could not find my account(!!) Trying to keep my steam in check, I tried to reason with the person, but was politely transferred to another department: the dial tone. Thereafter every few days I would write or call or Tweet, only eliciting occasional Dada responses like, "We're glad your issue is resolved", or "Please send me your information, I'm happy to help! ^Ashley". Are there any humans left in the company? We may never know. Here three months later, now with the help of a state consumer affairs officer in full combat gear, Centrylink was forced to issue a partial refund, but they still made money on the deal.
Natural selection dictates that if a company can make money through a defensible error this (illegal) tactic will form part of their income stream and grow until it reaches resistance (judicial fines). This is happening in any sector where the personal relationships that used to regulate community business are removed by global e-commerce. Our beloved free market system is dissolving before our eyes into organized criminality. At this point it still pretends to "service" but increasingly, as limits fall away and the two will become indistinguishable and we little people will be scrambling for our lives.