How Consumers Can Win Against Monopolies and Oligopolies

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  • world business
  • The Best Way For Consumers to Win Against Monopoly and Oligopoly Companies 
  • Monopolies and Oligopolies: How Consumers Can Get Them To Action Their Complaints

Most businesses rely on their customers so they strive to create the best customer experience possible in order to generate revenue. If they fail to do that, their customers will leave them for the competition. 

However, certain industries give consumers no choice because there’s a finite choice in providers. So, the businesses in those industries don’t often place a lot of emphasis on customer experience or customer satisfaction. 


Even if consumers have complaints and issues with customer service, pricing, or technical elements, it’s really hard to get a satisfying outcome. But, getting justice for yourself doesn’t have to be hard — there’s a way to win against these companies that won’t last for years and won’t cost you a fortune. 

Industries That Suffer From Monopoly Syndrome

Numerous industries are monopoly or oligopoly industries which leaves consumers with little to no choice. Here are some of the prominent ones: 

monopolyISP Companies

The ISP industry is infamous for how much it disregards consumer complaints. In fact, more than 20 million households in the US have complaints against ISPs that never got any resolution. 


To an extent, the internet service industry is a natural monopoly. But why? Well, the costs of starting an ISP company is very high. Think about it — the scope of the infrastructure, the barriers that a business would have to go through are preventing any aspiring ISPs from entering the industry. So, we only have a few companies that control this market. 


This is why they don’t have to make an effort to keep their customers happy. The consumers have nowhere else to go, so they stick with their providers despite the problems that are glaringly obvious like poor network quality, low speeds or speed throttling, etc. 

Cable Providers

Similarly to internet service providers, cable companies have an oligopoly market. In fact, in certain locations, cable companies have a monopoly over the area. Since they know that they can’t lose customers, they increase prices, fail to solve technical difficulties, and create a lot of problems for their consumers. The barriers to this industry are pretty much the same as they are for ISPs — high costs of infrastructure and licensing issues. 

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Utility Companies

Another infamous abuser of power is the utility industry. In most areas, you don’t have much of a choice when it comes to which provider you’ll choose. And again, as we’ve seen with ISPs and cable companies, they don’t work on customer experience. 


The prices might increase, the quality of service might drop — and yet, there’s little consumers can do about it. 


Many other industries are monopolies or oligopolies that fail to address customer concerns. Here are some of them: 


  • Railway infrastructure
  • Regional Bus Services
  • Airlines
  • Film and television production
  • Telecommunication networks

Why Do Consumers Have Trouble Getting Their Complaints Actioned In These Industries? 


Companies in monopoly or oligopoly settings are notorious for not handling customer complaints. This is because their focus is shifted away from the customers and onto elements like: 


  • Keeping the market the way it is with no new competition
  • Expanding across the country (or even the world in some cases)
  • Decrease the costs of operation and find ways to exploit their suppliers
  • Make sure that they are the ones bringing the innovations
  • Preventing governments from regulating their respective industries (unless it fits their agenda)


These seem quite ominous, but they are normal practices in monopoly/oligopoly industries. But you’ll notice that customers are nowhere on this list (except getting more of them). When you think about it, you don’t have much of a choice in these industries. 


And these businesses know that, so they don’t put in much effort into handling your issues.


What can consumers do to take back a little control? 

The Best Way to Handle Your Complaints Against These Companies and Win

Often when you sign up for services with ISPs, phone companies, banks, you’re signing away your right to outright sue them based on a section of your user agreement that says all disputes will be handled via arbitration.

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So, what is arbitration?


Arbitration is a process where a dispute with a company gets resolved for a lot less money and with a much faster turnaround. The case is taken over by a neutral party which then makes decisions instead of the company you are in dispute with. 


The person who makes the decisions is called an arbitrator and the decisions they make are binding. These are usually arbitration companies that have been licensed to perform this role. You can choose between companies that allow you to take your case to court if you want to or those who have a clause that prevents this. 


While you will still have to pay fees in order to file a claim, the costs are lower than what they would be for a court claim. Some companies may pay for your fees or at least a part of the fees. 


The process itself can be quite confusing, and this often results in consumers just giving up. The key is to press forward.


So, when you don’t know how to get a satisfying conclusion to your issue with a monopoly or an oligopoly company, arbitration is probably the best way to handle it. Not only will you save some money, but the process will be shorter and you can actually win. 

The Bottom Line

It’s a big problem when consumers are not the top concern of companies — especially companies as important and as costly as some of these are. ISPs, utility companies, airlines, telecommunication companies, etc. are very hard to get to. They will usually ignore customer complaints because their consumers have no other choice. 


It can seem like you’re backed against the wall with nowhere to go when you want an issue resolved. However, arbitration gives you a door and the resolution is usually on the other side. It’s a simple process and something that you can turn to when you don’t know what to do anymore.