Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #7 Amazon

Amazon claim they are becoming ‘earth’s most customer-centric company’. I’m not surprised, assuming ‘customer-centric’ means circling the customer like a vulture waiting to pounce even when the poor victim is still alive.
Amazon have taken three payments of £197.99 each for one item priced at £197.99 (a croquet set, since you ask).
One illegally stolen £197.99 has been repaid to a hitherto non-existent Amazon account which means I can only spend the money with this predator.
The other has simply been taken from my credit card and not repaid.
Naturally I have spoken at length to various Amazon operatives who either don’t understand the problem or can’t be arsed to do anything about it or maybe both.
Even when they promise to repay the money they say it will take three to five ‘business days’ for it to be re-credited to my credit card (not that it has been).
That, in itself, is a bloody cheek from this non-taxpaying behemoth given that it takes our money instantaneously and I don’t suppose there will ever be any compensation for their use of my cash since the beginning of May when I they took the first payment of £197.99 and failed to deliver the goods.
One Amazon operative said in an email: ‘On this occasion, I've now escalated this matter to the relevant department for full refund for this payment.’
That was more than a week ago. No sign of the money, of course, though this person did promise: ‘To serve you better I've created a follow up and I will contact you again, once we get an update from our billing team.
‘Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience; I hope you'll understand that we are interdependent and there are some areas that can only be addressed by another department.’
No I don’t understand and to add insult to injury the sign-off to the email declares: ‘Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company’ (their capital letters).
It could be that the people at Amazon are from another planet therefore they don’t understand what a customer-centric company looks like here on earth. I presume they’re based in Uranus which is where they can stick their customer-centric service.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #6 Apple

I started writing this while listening to some truly abominable musak and waiting for an Apple person to transfer me to another Apple person to sort out why they are refusing my Visa card payment for a renewed subscription to the ‘Express & Star’ newspaper app.
I have already spent half an hour talking to them. They said the problem was with Barclaycard even though I earlier spent half an hour talking to Barclaycard who said there was no problem at their end.
So I then went back to Barclaycard and told them Apple said the problem was at their end. They continued to deny it. Eventually a Barclaycard person, the fourth I spoke to, agreed to call Apple and the Apple person and the Barclaycard person had a conversation while I was hanging on the line.
I was then transferred to the first Apple person and 40 minutes into this call I am waiting to repeat everything all over again to another Apple person who will, as usual, want to know my inside leg measurement, the name of my great-great grandmother and the first concert I ever went to.
This is all so unutterably tedious I could scream. Now, one hour and five minutes into my third call, Apple have admitted there is a block on my card, agree they don’t know why, accept it should be lifted but don’t know how to do it. The Apple person has supposedly agreed to talk to a colleague and one of them will allegedly phone me back. I am not holding my breath.
They did call back. They said the card had been banned three years ago due to some unauthorised transactions. I have been using this card ever since. Suddenly they announce it’s banned. They cannot – that is to say, they will not – un-ban it.
I hate Apple.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #5 Barclays Bank

Yes, you have power of attorney. Yes, you have the right to manage the money in this account. But no, you do not have power to conduct telephone banking.
Therefore we cannot stop the two cheques you want stopped, even if they have been stolen and could be cashed in by criminals.
You must go to a branch, if you can find one that’s open and staffed by someone vaguely capable of handling your request to stop a cheque.
That might take you a day or two – our opening times are not advertised widely and of course you can’t just phone up a branch and find out when they are prepared to open their doors to their victims, sorry I mean customers – and the cheques might have been cashed by then.
Hard luck.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #4 Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is not there to offer objective reviews of hotels and holiday destinations – it’s there entirely to sell, sell, sell.
Which is why it rejected my review of Nonsuch Bay Resort in Antigua. I made a point of saying we booked our holiday though an independent agency called Tropic Breeze and included a link to their website.
Trip Advisor don’t sell holidays through Tropic Breeze so they don’t get included in the review. In the end, I put up this review instead:

I wrote a review for This website about how good the hotel was but as I mentioned a travel agency they rejected it. It's a great hotel and we had a good time but trip advisor is crooked.

Here's the original review, rejected by Trip Advisor:

Don’t worry, be happy

We booked this hotel through Tropic Breeze who were really good, charged us less than we expected and secured us a room up-grade so if you're looking to travel to the Windies I highly recommend them.
As for the hotel, it was fab. Our room overlooking the beach was marvellous. It was a suite with its own sitting room, kitchen and balcony as well as large bedroom and big bathroom.
The food was exceptionally good for an all-inclusive hotel (plus you don't have to wear a hateful wristband).
The staff were among the friendliest and most helpful we have met anywhere, plus they had a sense of humour.
We particularly enjoyed the sailing, which is suitable for anyone from absolute beginners onwards. The water is warm if you capsize so don't be too anxious. And the instructors are exceptional: patient, helpful and concerned about safety.
Nonsuch Bay is not the poshest place in Antigua and it is somewhat cut off so you may need to hire a car if you want to explore. It also faces south-east so darkness descends early and there are none of the stunning sunsets to be had on the other side of the island.
But don't let that put you off. We really enjoyed our holiday and hope to return.
Several hotel staff said to us during our ten days at Nonsuch Bay: 'If you're happy, I'm happy.' It sounds a bit corny and they may be encouraged to use this phrase by the hotel management but we felt they really meant it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #3 BT

I knew it was a mistake. The moment I decided to ring BT to tell them how slow my superfast broadband was, I knew I would regret it.
Call me brave, call me foolhardy, I rang them anyway. Inspired by the latest attack on BT by a committee of MPs complaining about its terrible ‘broadbad’ service, I thought it was time to tackle the issue head-on.
Using BT’s own test on my computer I find I am enjoying a service of 5.09 Megabits per second (Mbps) though I am paying for somewhere between 27 to 36 Mbps.
So I call them and the first bloke I speak to says (and I quote): ‘You are not on superfast, it’s a basic copper connection you have there and 5 Mbps is the expected speed for your connection.’
He says superfast fibre optic broadband is actually available; I just haven’t got it. I point out I only switched to BT because I was promised superfast broadband so he says he’ll talk to a colleague.
‘You are on copper,’ he says again. ‘You are definitely not on superfast.’
Several minutes later I am transferred to a woman and I have to explain the whole thing once again. She listens and asks if we’re talking about a business line. I say we’re not so she tells me she can’t deal with it and I am transferred one more.
After a lengthy pause I have the pleasure of explaining the situation for a third time. I spend the next 36 minutes, followed by a brief pause to test the line, and a second bout of 23 minutes, in conversation with a woman whose English is not all that clear. This may have something to do with being based in Bombay.
Her first announcement comes as a shock as it completely contradicts her colleague. She says: ‘You are already connected to fibre optic.’
At this point I may have lost my sense of humour.
While I am waiting for her to carry out various tests and listening to something which would once have been called music but which is just a hiss and crackle down the line from India, I have time to reflect on the MPs’ report.
A couple of BT goons got into trouble for laughing at the report but with luck the Government will do something about the plan to separate BT from BT Openreach, the company which owns the nation’s broadband infrastructure. When 121 MPs agree the service is ‘dire’ surely someone will do something.
Breaking BT’s monopoly would be welcome to thousands of people whose lives are made a misery by the company’s bureaucratic indifference.
A self-employed friend spent weeks without any broadband as BT failed to effect repairs. She almost went out of business.
My hairdresser says when she complained about the slowness of her ‘superfast’ broadband she was told it was probably caused by the neighbour’s Christmas tree lights.
Worse still, another friend was visited three times by BT Openreach engineers after he complained about his ‘poor to atrocious’ broadband.
The third engineer declared the problem was the copper wires down the road being aged and fairly useless.
‘He told me to call BT Openreach,’ says my friend. ‘Even though he was from BT Openreach he couldn’t do anything about it himself.
‘I called BT and they said go to BT Openreach, which is part of the same company. Openreach said “You have got to speak to BT – only the provider of the line can talk to us”. I went back to BT who said they couldn’t help, I needed to go to Openreach.
‘This has gone on for six months. Ultimately a lady from Madras rang to ask, “Can we close this case now?” I have given up.’
BT says superfast broadband is available to 95 per cent of us and splitting up the company would leave less money for investment. It also says we’re ahead of most other countries.
If it’s so good, how come it’s so bad?
Ofcom is investigating the idea of splitting up BT but we can be pretty sure it will do whatever the telecoms giant tells it to do.
Meanwhile my friend in Bombay is back on the line saying she can’t find anything wrong so she will have to send out an engineer. If the fault is on my premises, rather than out in the road, I will have £129.99 taken from my bank account.
I balk at this so she offers yet another test which involves unscrewing the cover of the connector which brings BT into the house and plugging the router directly into the socket inside. Yet again the speed is tested.
The good news is it’s now 16.88 Mbps. Not exactly superfast but better than superslow. At the end of it all, Miss Bombay tells me: ‘You have been very patient and cooperative.’
Which makes me wonder how mad her other customers must get.

PS Six months later my BT broadband bill has soared to £26 per month and the speed is back at 3.4 Mbps. I ring to discuss the situation and half an hour later take part in an on-line diagnosis with an operative in India which gets us nowhere. Eventually she transfers me to some other department to discuss my extortionate bill and after a few moments the phone goes dead. Naturally they don’t bother to call back even though they certainly have the number.