WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Egg causes anger by voiding cards

Egg, bought from Prudential by Citigroup in 2007, risked a consumer revolt by withdrawing credit cards from 160,000 customers having what it termed a 'higher than acceptable risk profile' (Daily Mail, 3 February).

Financial services' blogs were deluged by cardholders complaining that the real reason was that their perfect payment records meant they incurred no interest, and accused Egg of 'using this as an excuse to get rid of unprofitable customers' (Evening Standard, 5 February).

MP John McFall called for an immediate Office of Fair Trading inquiry (Observer, 3 February).

In Egg's defence, Peter Brooker, public affairs director of credit agency Experian, said the move would not have 'a negative impact on people's credit rating' (BBC News, 2 February).

Angela Knight, of the British Bankers' Association, said this is 'a sensible way of looking after business' (Sunday Mirror, 3 February).

Egg's action was blamed on its American owners, who are exposed to the subprime mortgage crisis.

Based on 42 items from 2-5 February 2008

- Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.


Apart overdosing on the word ‘eggstreme' in describing Egg's actions, blogosphere reactions were very similar to the newspapers - more than any event compared so far. Puns, however, such as Egg's customers being "fried", "scrambled", "boiled" or "poached" because they were ‘bad eggs' were disappointingly absent in the print commentaries.

The blogs tended to be more realistic than the papers with the understandable outrage of those ditched by Egg meeting a stern ‘wake up' response from bloggers saying it's entirely understandable - those paying off debts promptly cause Egg to lose money as they devote admin resource to them without any return.

Disgruntled Egg customers said in retaliation they dropped their Egg cards on the floor and watched them smash into hundreds of pieces.

Much of the chat was more light-hearted than the papers, discussing the new Egg advert, for example, where guinea pigs run up huge debts, then their credit cards vanish whilst the lab staff write everything down on a clipboard and then dissolve into tears of laughter.

Bloggers postulated that even guinea pigs probably received Egg credit cards in the post in the days when lenders were prepared to lend to anyone, or thing, with a pulse.

Sourced from over 70 million blogs by Nielsen Online www.nielsen-online.com



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