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This is a question The Dirty Secrets of Your Trade

So, Television is a hot bed of lies, deceit and made up competitions. We can't say that we are that surprised... every job is full of this stuff. It's not like the newspapers currently kicking TV whilst it is down are all that innocent.

We'd like you to even things out a bit. Spill the beans on your own trade. Tell us the dirty secrets that the public need to know.

(, Thu 27 Sep 2007, 10:31)
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"Buy now interest-free for a year!"
... is what the sign by that washing machine says.

What it means is "Take it home now, Curry's get paid by a third party company to whom you owe the money. The interest rate is extortionate but we won't charge it to you for the first year (unless you ever miss a payment, in which case we'll clobber you for all of that year's interest)".

By law they have to send you a reminder letter before your first payment, when that year of interest-freedom is about to run out. The letter has to be sent at some point between two and four weeks prior to your first payment. They hate this because it means people are more likely to remember to pay.

To my shame, I used to work for a company that held lots of profiling information about pretty well everyone in the UK: your age, marital status, whether you owned your own house, when your car insurance expires, who you voted for, etc. - anything they could glean from any survey you've ever filled in, all cross-referenced and held in one massive database. I kid you not, our database had a field called "DogHasWind".

Anyway, the company who stumps up the cash to pay Comet for your new fridge freezer came to us.

They wanted to use our data to try to predict how likely people are to miss their first payment, dependant on when they receive the reminder letter. If we think you never have anything in the bank, they'll send the reminder letter as late as possible so you'll be most likely to be skint and thus miss your first payment. If we think you're quite forgetful, they'll send the letter as early as possible, so you're more likely to forget to put money by for it and thus miss your first payment.

There are not swear words harsh enough to describe these people.
(, Thu 27 Sep 2007, 13:52, Reply)

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