Alison Hammond has re-recorded home insurance audio T&Cs in her own voice and bubbly personality to make the content more engaging . We caught up with her to ask her how this method is more successful in capturing peoples’ attention so they know exactly what they are signing up to.
Please tell us about your campaign to simplify ts and cs for everyday people.
This is a great study that has been devised by Together Mutual Insurance, which discovered that no-one is reading their ts and cs. Well I say nobody- some people are but seven out of ten people don’t read the terms and conditions in full.
It’s just crazy and to be honest with you- I am one of those people believe it or not. It mainly happens with mobile phones, downloading software and going online and downloading subscription software. I just feel that people need to read these terms and conditions because if you don’t you can get yourself in to trouble!
Why do you think people respond better to a voice like yours as opposed to what we are used to?
I think when you hear someone talking to you- it actually goes in. I have recorded these audio ts and cs with Together Mutual mainly to simplify it and make it easier for people to understand. We have read them as they are written but then we have made them shorter and simpler it so they are much easier for people to grasp. I think it’s what we need really, because people haven’t got any time.
And people get bored half way through don’t they?
I think that’s the big thing- when you are reading ts and cs they are quite boring, they are very long- some people don’t actually understand them. A lot of us assume that the source can actually be trusted. But can it? No, it can’t always be trusted. I feel a lot of companies are taking advantage of the fact that we don’t read them. Things like having a direct debit deducted after failing to cancel a free trial, or losing your job because you didn’t realise it was only for six months or your hours get deducted because it was in the ts and cs and you didn’t read them. Another one is being locked into a contract longer than you wanted- this all happens quite a lot.
Have you been known to tick the ts and cs without reading them and have you fallen into any pitfalls as a consequence?
Definitely! I had a mobile- I loved my mobile phone! I had an insurance on it with my bank and when I was on holiday I broke my mobile phone but I didn’t worry because I thought it would be replaced as I was insured. My bank came back to me and I asked when I would get my phone replaced. They asked me when it happened and I told them it was seven days ago when I was on holiday. I asked again ‘when am I going to get my replacement?’ They told me that because I didn’t report it within the first 24 hours I wasn't allowed to have a new phone- I was absolutely devastated.
I had being paying this premium for three years and I was absolutely fuming. I had no one to argue with thought because I hadn’t read my ts and cs. I was lazy, they were too long and I couldn’t be bothered- that’s the consequence of not reading them.
According to a new survey, men are more gullible than women when it comes to agreeing to ts and cs without reading them- why do you think this is?
I have no idea! Maybe men don’t have the time in order to read their ts an cs. Men being men- maybe they can’t be bothered. But to be honest with you- I think women are exactly the same. I know I’m the same- we are all so busy- we all have things to do. A lot of people want things right here, right now- instantaneously. To get that you’ve just got to click- ‘yes’ and that’s what we are doing a lot of the time.
That idea of trusting the source- do you think men might be more trusting then women?
I think that men are definitely more trusting and I do feel we need to stop that as a lot of companies are now utilising the fact that we are quite trusting.
We just take what they say as correct- that they aren’t going to do anything untoward. We need to be more careful- a lot of things are being done because they know we are saying yes to these ts and cs.
Why do you think the over 55s are more savvy when it comes to disagreeing ts and cs?
I just think the older generation will probably take their time a bit more and have more time on their hands. They probably look into things more seriously.
I know my mum has a new phone and every time she gets the ts and cs for anything she asks the question- ‘what is this?’ She will click into more info and read the ts and cs.
I tell her to click ‘yes’ but she is a lot more controlled because it’s her phone and that generation understands mortgages and contracts so they will read them.
I suppose a few years ago you had to sign on the dotted line- there wasn’t a click a box option…
Absolutely! There was nothing like this years ago- you could tick the box, but you still wanted to read the contract before you signed it. Or you would say something along the lines of- ‘just wait, I’ll have a think about this- read the contract and come back to you.’ I think nowadays, everything is so fast moving- everyone just wants it now don’t they?
And why do you think Londoners are the biggest offenders?
Well if you’ve ever been into London- no-one looks at anyone, no-one says ‘good morning’. When you are on the escalator, everyone is telling you to move over if you are in the fast lane. It’s a very fast paced life and I can totally get why Londoners would just want to click ‘yes’ and move onto the next situation. Anyone in London who sends me an email wants a reply within the next five minutes. If I don’t reply, they come back to me and ask me if I have seen their email. Often I have but I will reply when I’m ready.
You have had so many TV appearances since you left the BB house so which has been the most memorable for you and why?
I have got some amazing memories but the one that sticks in my mind is more recently and that’s Comic Relief.
Strictly Come Dancing- absolutely loved that. I loved going to the jungle to Australia for a time. There are so many memories that stick in my mind- I really couldn’t pick just one. All of them have been fantastic experiences. I have been very lucky in my fifteen year career.
You all seem to have a lot of fun on This Morning- so is the atmosphere backstage just like the one the viewers see?
It is actually. It is very hectic backstage as well but you’ve got to remember we all get on really well. There are also the people behind the cameras who you don’t see as a viewer who I get on really well with as well. I am not in the studio as much as I’d like to be as I do most of my stuff out and about. But when I do go the studio, it’s about catching up, getting the gossip and enjoying myself.
You used to work as a holiday rep- so what was the weird and most wonderful thing that happened to you while you were working in that role?
I did Tunisia and I did Spain and I had some great fun and have great memories and then it all ended when I went into Big Brother. It was just before- I got a job in the cinema- I made it to Team Leader there, then I left.
I remember there was a fire when I was a rep and someone told me to get everyone out. I literally ran into this building full of smoke. One of the sun beds had caught on fire and all the smoke had gone into the hotel. I thought I was a full on fire fighter- then I got overwhelmed by the smoke and came out and didn’t save anyone but everyone was fine!
You have been in many a pantomime so what attracts you to these projects?
I love panto! I love being on stage live, I love the audience participation and it’s so much fun. You meet so many new people. I have done nine pantos now and I have another one this year. I absolutely love doing it and I wouldn’t stop doing it for the world! I did stop for about four years of my career and that is when I had Aiden, then after that I started again.
Which was your favourite panto role?
I loved Cinderella! Fairy Godmother- every time- that is my favourite panto! I think it’s a brilliant story and that is what I am doing this year actually.
What is next for you?
We have got the live This Morning show which is going to come to the NEC in Birmingham- my home town- which is great- that is happening in May. Then I’ll just be ticking over with This Morning really.
I am going on a family holiday- I haven’t had a holiday for ages so I can’t wait for that- I’m going to Jamaica over Easter so no Easter eggs for me- just cocktails and sunshine!
Are you a beach and pool kind of lady?
Oh completely! Beach and pool-we do a bit of adventure- we always hire a car and go off and do our own thing.