Re: Great Value
They've already done that in Europe.
Up 'til recently, the drill was to apply for a renewal with the local British embassy, paying the usual fee, plus postage.
Now they've changed it to run the whole lot though Paris and outsourced the whole shebang to a bunch of shady incompentant thieves.
There's now a surcharge for the privilege and your passports are returned using what has to be the most overpriced courier service on the planet*. The only payment methods are either something electronic unique to French bank accounts and post offices (very clever) or by enclosing all your Credit card details with the application (yes all, including the CVV details - driving a coach and horses through the rules here). There's a surcharge for Credit Card payments too.
To cap it all, the thieves in question run an enquiry number. This is a local, premium rate, number in each European country affected, each charged at the maximum allowed under local telco regulation rules. The first thing you're asked for is your Credit card details so they can charge you two euro a minute on top of that, which if not breaking the letter of the charge cap regulations is certainly at odds with the spirit of same. Then they put you on hold..........
Total cost runs to a shade over 100 quid a pop, plus any eye-wateringly expensive time on the phone spent bollocking them for screwing up, which they do all the time (hardly surprising when failure is so handsomely rewarded).
I had a total sense of humour failure. They make Ryanair look like philanthropic angels.
*and I'll bet a stack of cash that the courier service only sees about 10% of it, which would be nearer the market rate.