I just spent the last few days interacting with Verizon on a couple of issues related to my phone, internet, and televisions. Three communication resources I can’t live without. And, they have to rank as the company with the worst possible customer service ever. They make it completely impossible to get a person on the phone. So, I used the chat feature on their website, but of course, you only get a sales rep to respond. And since I wasn’t calling about buying any new products, they were completely unhelpful. That’s Why I Hate Verizon.
Their reps are segmented by very specific categories (mobile phone, landline phone, tv, or internet) so no single person can address all of your issues which is ironic because they sell their products in bundles across all 3 categoires.
And the most frustrating part is that as a consumer, you need them. You can’t function properly without them. They are the only game in town and they know it, so what do they care? Essentially they are a monopoly and they don’t have any incentive or competitive reason to do a better job.
More Reasons I Hate Verizon – Among Others
It’s the same with Facebook. As the dominant player in the social media space (they also own Instagram and What’s App) there’s no way to get around taking part in their platforms.
And if we are talking about business monopolies you can’t leave out Amazon. While they provide excellent customer service, they are such huge employers in many towns across the US, they can work their people extremely hard for very low wages.
As women of a certain age we know, America has long been accustomed to monopolies. According to Investopedia, “to date, the most famous United States monopolies, are Andrew Carnegie’s Steel Company (now U.S. Steel), John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, and the American Tobacco Company.”
American monopolies date back to colonial administrators who awarded large companies exclusive contracts to help build the New World. “From the late 19th to the early 20th century, the three organizations mentioned above maintained singular control over the supply of their respective commodities. Without free-market competition, these companies could effectively keep the price for steel, oil, and tobacco high.”
Historically, there wasn’t any government regulation until the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act was passed which led to the eventual dismantling and restructuring of both companies.
For a company to be considered a monopoly the Federal Trade Commission has to define the market the business is engaged in and then prove they own more than 60% market share of it. We all remember AT&T which was broken up in 1982 because they basically owned all the telephone lines in the country. They virtually had no competition. Because of the Anti Trust Law it was broken down and the results were incredibly positive. New companies emerged, they could compete for customers and prices declined.
What is so surprising for our group, are the effects of today’s monopolies in the tech, pharmaceutical, financial, and food industries. They do way more harm than just driving up prices. They now contribute to much more dire matters like power outages, food insecurity, and sky rocketing drug prices.
For example, Insulin – which has been around for more than 100 years, is a drug that regulates diabetic symptoms and is used by 7.5 million people in the US. A recent study in 2018 found it costs 10 times more here than in non-US countries.
According to the Oxford Academic Journal of Law and Bio Sciences, “the United States comprises only 15 percent of the global insulin market, yet it accounts for almost 50 percent of insulin-related revenue worldwide.” It is pure robbery.
You probably remember an example of a recent successful breakup. The FTC won a two-year legal battle to break up Microsoft in 2000. They broke the company down into two operating units. one for producing the operating system and one for other software components. If you remember, before that you couldn’t buy a computer without using Microsoft Explorer as your browser. That’s because they were giving it away for free on their computers and therefore didn’t have any competition.
So why aren’t more monopolies broken up by the FTC? The answer: it is so expensive and time-consuming to both define the market a company participates in and prove that it owns more than 60% market share of it. Companies today are much more complicated and are engaged in multiple market segments. This makes it difficult for the FTC to successfully define the market Facebook (for example) serves. Are they a social media platform, an idea company or a messaging service, or “D” all of the above? Consequently, attempts to break it up by Congress have been unsuccessful.
While we remember the days when we could call the phone company or speak to our health insurance providers, we have to accept the fact that now we only get to communicate with chat BOTs or get lost in voicemail hell. As women of a certain age, it sucks to feel so powerless. So, for now, we remain consumers of monopolistic companies which drive prices up and provide us with poor customer service. That’s Why I Hate Verizon – among others.