"The reality is that in much, perhaps most, of our economic lives, consumer power is an illusion."
I'd like to add, to the labyrinthine pile of confusion presented, the whole business of no company being responsible, as per my difficulties with BT last month. It's happened again to my girlfriend. Details aside, it isn't enough to present your side of things to the company that you're dealing with - or, indeed, vice versa - as they're only acting on behalf of another company. This other company need to be contacted, but naturally they've passed the matter on to the company that's now dealing with you, so either a). it needs to be sorted out with them, or b). the "parent" company will let their "clients" know, but you'll be at the whim and mercy of their inter-company communication games.
I really wouldn't mind either a state-run affair, or a capitalist society, so long as the thing worked. As it is, they're both shit, on the whole.