"Dear Valued Broadband TV Provider,

Thank you for supplying me with television shows. I am writing to inform you I can no longer pay money for all of them. In order to ensure your continued profitability I will make up the shortfall with bananas picked from my garden.

Please feel free to call me on 1234 5678 - a number that will never be answered by a real person - for any inquiries."


Would that work, do you think?

No, I don't think so, either - but why not? If in the first paragraph you replace "pay money for" with "supply"; "profitability" with "enjoyment"; and "bananas …" with "a channel you expressed no interest in having", that would be essentially what I was told by my broadband provider recently; that because it could no longer offer ITV Choice, I'd be given Syfy instead.

Perhaps for reasons beyond its control the provider has had to cease broadcasting ITV Choice, but shouldn't it at least offer some choice in replacement channel? Or a partial refund? Would an apology be too much to expect? This unwillingness to stick to the spirit of a contract agreed by both parties is also evident when the provider loses the rights to broadcast football leagues and other sports.

The provider's argument would be, of course, that if I don't like it, I can call to make other arrangements - but who of us living busy Hong Kong lives has the two or three spare hours needed to get through the maze of sometimes-bewildering telephone options to reach a living, breathing customer-service officer?

Valued customer? Valued customer's wallet, more like.