Last weekend I headed up to the Metro Centre in Gateshead to film some consumer technology items for BBC One’s Rip Off Britain.

Julia Somerville, Gloria Hunniford and Angela Ripon from Rip Off Britain

The BBC One Rip Off Britain Golden Girls: Julia Somerville, Gloria Hunniford and Angela Rippon

During the shoot at the Rip Off Britain ‘Pop Up Shop’ I worked on some incredibly disturbing ‘rip-off’ case studies where big-name service providers are being incredibly unfair, inflexible or insensitive to their hard-fought customers.

All of this made me reflect on how complicated buying almost any service in the UK has become, particularly many of the consumer technology products and services that we now take for granted.

Here are my thoughts on how we’ve wandered into this consumer minefield, what part the internet has had to play in our being there, and why shows like Rip Off Britain are so important in helping us to navigate through it.

Series 4 of Rip Off Britain broadcasts in September 2012 on BBC One. It airs daily during the daytime and weekly in the evening – watch this space for more details.