Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #8 British Airways

British Airways are a failing airline. Every time we travel with them, there’s a problem (plus the food is repulsive) but our recent experience is the worst so far.

Having recently been obliged to re-book an outward flight to Peru following a death in the family, I was shocked to learn from Cox & Kings, the travel agency, that BA insisted on cancelling both the outward and return flights and obliged me to book two new return tickets, even though we were proposing to come back on the same day as the original booking. 

Cox & Kings would not disclose the precise amount we were obliged to pay to BA in addition to our original booking for reasons of ‘commercial confidentiality’, apparently, but the total extra cost of £2,202 per person (£4,404) comprised of three elements: a pair of one-way internal flights in Peru; one night in an airport hotel; and a pair of world traveller plus return tickets from Gatwick to Lima with BA. It is reasonable to assume these BA tickets must have cost at the very least £1,500 per person and probably even more. 

I explained this to BA and asked: Can you please explain why it was necessary to buy two return tickets, rather than simply changing the date of the outward flights and retaining the original return bookings, and how this can be justified?

Their reply was incomprehensible so I asked them to explain themselves more clearly. I got no further answer. This is the original response:

Thanks for contacting our Press Office about your experience when you travelled to Lima last month.  I'm sorry you are unhappy with the cost you incurred to change your booking.  I know this must be disappointing, especially as you were looking to change this due to a bereavement.  Please accept my condolences for your loss.   

I've checked your booking and I can see you were initially booked in the lowest booking class in our World Traveller Plus cabin.  Your travel agent called us on 07 May to ask how much it would be to make a change to the booking.  Your agent was advised the booking was a trade deal and as such they would need to go by the deal fare rules.  Our Trade Support team had no further contact with your agent.

On 09 May your agent has changed the dates of the booking.  They have also changed the booking class to more flexible tickets in World Traveller Plus.  To make a change there would have been a change fee along with any difference in fares.  We can't see how much you were charged for your booking or the change however, it appears there may not have been any lower fares available.  This may explain why there was a greater cost than you expected to pay to make the changes.  Your agent should have made you aware of the rules of your ticket.  I'm sorry this doesn't appear to have been the case.  

Thanks once again for getting in touch and for giving me the chance to explain our position.  I do hope despite this experience we can welcome you on board in the future.  Please let me know if you need any further assistance. 

Best regards

Lyndsey Gaff
British Airways Customer Relations

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.