Slashdot reports on an overview article in The UK-based Independent newspaper, which lists a number of important cases where internet-enabled consumers undertook disruptive and winning actions against what they saw as corporate abuse.
Slashdot writes: ‘Consumer militancy’ is becoming ever more common, as individuals join forces on the internet to fight back against the state and big business. Businesses from banks to soccer clubs have been the target of these groups, in each case facing the fury of consumers who feel they have been wronged. For example, ‘A mass revolt has left the high street banks facing thousands of claims from customers seeking to claw back some of the Â£4.75bn levied annually on charges for overdrafts and bounced cheques. More than one million forms demanding refunds have been downloaded from a number of consumer websites. The banks are settling out of court, often paying Â£1,000 a time.’
Case studies from the Independent:
While average gas and electricity bills approached Â£1,000 last year, a record 4 million householders have dumped their supplier after an internet-led consumer campaign. British Gas admitted yesterday it lost 1.1m customers in just 12 months, and two weeks ago slashed gas bills by 17 per cent and electricity bills by 11 per cent. Other big suppliers, Powergen and npower, are expected to follow suit.
Plans for road pricing have faced massive public opposition spearheaded by an internet campaign. In just three months 1.8 million people have signed an online petition, linked to a new section of the Downing Street website, launched by a disgruntled motorist from Telford.
From Devon to Inverness, planning applications for superstores are being thwarted by residents’ campaigns orchestrated on the internet. Tesco scrapped a superstore plan in Darlington last year following opposition and this week residents sank a Tesco plan for a Â£130m retail development in Tolworth, Surrey. Friends of the Earth is co-ordinating the protests across the country.