Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Predictions for 2018

Here are some predictions for 2018 based on our experience of 2017 and the years preceding. I can’t guarantee any of these things will happen, but…

Multi Level Marketing schemes won’t go away

Multi Level Marketing schemes like Amway and Herbalife will continue to do their best to recruit people into their pyramids and when we warn people not to waste their time, effort and money we will be accused of being “haters”, “not wanting people to improve their lives”, and not “understanding passive income”.

Meanwhile the income statements that some countries force them to produce each year will continue to show that only the tiny handful at the top of the pyramid make any money, all at the expense of the multitudes beneath them.

Neither will pyramid schemes

Companies like AIM Global with their ridiculous (and also illegal) C247 product (that they claim can treat 100 diseases) will continue to do their best to recruit people into their bogus businesses. World Ventures will also continue to recruit people with their idea that you must pay to get hotel discounts when you can get those discounts for free elsewhere. Hopefully the forthcoming new consumer protection framework might help us combat them.

Ponzi schemes will continue to flourish

MMM Global has collapsed but there are already rumours that Sergei Mavrodi, its founder (and convicted criminal), is already working on a new Ponzi scam. People will fall for it all over again, even some of the gullible ones who fell for the original MMM scam. Their “serial victim” status will hurt them even more.

Bitcoin will continue to fascinate people

I admit it, it fascinates me. However, the exponential increase in value it experienced in 2017 came to a dramatic halt in late 2017, showing that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can ever increase that way indefinitely. All bubbles eventually burst. The blockchain technology underpinning Bitcoin is certainly something that will play a part in our future but so will gullibility and greed.

Bitcoin, like any conventional currency, wasn’t “an investment” in 2017 and it won’t be in 2018 either.

People won’t read things

In 2018 lots of people will again fail to read things before they sign them. Whether it’s a banking, hire purchase or tenancy agreement, lots people will just ask “Where do I sign” and put pen to paper. They’ll pay the price later on when they realise they can’t cancel the agreement when they want, they’re burdened with massive penalties for defaulting or they realised they signed a pact with the devil. And it will be way too late because once their signature hit the paper they were committed.

People won’t write things

The opposite will also be true. When they DO want a commitment from someone, maybe a tenancy or when they sell a car or lend money to a friend, they’ll forget to get the agreement, all of it, in writing. When things go wrong, they’ll then find they have nothing wave in front of the courts, the police or Consumer Watchdog. There’ll be no proof that the agreement ever even occurred.

Even if they DO sign an agreement they’ll forget “when a transaction has been reduced into writing, the writing is regarded as the exclusive memorial of the transaction and no evidence may be given to contradict, alter, add or vary its terms” (thanks Judge Dow!). So no verbal agreements after the written one. No “but we later agreed that…” arguments are permitted.

Companies will begin to understand Facebook has changed everything

I’ve spent the last year telling people that Facebook has changed everything. I’m not speaking figuratively and I’m not exaggerating for effect, I genuinely believed that every aspect of everyday life changed in 2017 because of Facebook. That is certainly the case in business. Whether companies like it or not (and almost all of them really hate it), we consumers are now in charge. We decide how we complain, we decide how we celebrate, we decide how we communicate to other people about our experiences. And no company can stop us.

And companies need to know that it’s only going to get worse (for them) in 2018. We live in the Consumer Anarchy Age. We’ll express ourselves however, whenever and wherever we feel like it! And there’s nothing they can do about it.

It’ll be artistic

Every year Consumer Watchdog has a theme. 2015 was Travel, 2016 was Education, 2017 was Health and the theme for 2018 is Art. We’ll be exploring the role art, creativity and performance play in customer service but also in problem solving, consumer education and enjoying life.

And we’ll be asking companies why they can’t make the experience of buying goods and services from them a beautiful one. Why can’t their premises be artistic? Why can’t they lift our spirits rather than quash them?

If we can do it, why can’t they?

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