Is Web keeping Banks and others honest? Guardian calls 2007 'Year of Consumer Power'

Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent of The Guardian calls 2007 The year of consumer power and tells us how in the UK and elsewhere new technology enabled media-savvy consumers to change corporate behaviour.

Over the past year, I shared some of my good, bad and ugly consumer experiences.
I was baffled at times for example when being told by a supervisor at ATT Wireless that I could not e-mail their office. Worse even in that case was the fact that even though she promised to call me back, 3 months later, I still have not heard from her or anyone in her office.

In the case of banks, Bank of America for example changed its online services for the better except for the fact that when some functions are not accessible beyond a certain date, there is no on screen information as to why and what the next step should be.

Another issue to me and others I think in a year when many companies claim the Green mantle, is why financial services companies ask you to save trees by giving up paper statements but charge you fee after fee when you need copies of documents.

It might be a good idea for some of them to attend the Customer Service is the New Marketing Summit in San Francisco on February 4.

Related: Tired of ATM Fees in the US and Abroad plus Giving Customers the Runaround, Is it your company practice? and Tuesday is Green Day

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Art et Vin, Wine Dining and Gallery: Tokyo Thursdays

Jan 3
Want to combine food, art and wine while in Tokyo, Art et Vin HAP gives you such an opportunity. They currently showcase prints by Hitoki Katsuno (my illustration from Art et Vin 'Gallery' page). You can find details (maps, schedule and more) on Tokyo Art Beat, one of my sources of inspiration for Tokyo Thursdays. Today is Tokyo Thursdays #21 Previously: 'Hello Please': How cute characters guide your daily life in Japan!
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Living Large as an Expat, 'Putting Privilege into Perspective' (Alan Paul)

Jan 4
Can our sense of reality get skewed when we join the Expat crowd and land in countries where we suddenly can afford domestic help (cook, chauffeur, gardener) that would be out of reach in our native or adopted land? Alan Paul tackles these issues in Putting Privilege Into Perspective (Expat Life, Wall Street Journal) and also its impact on children. One of my clients has a relative who moved recently to Mauritania. He can afford...