D4D

There's never a stungun around when you need one

Slowing Down – Allegedly

Last week, I wrote about how things were slowing down a bit at last from the madness of January. And that’s true – well, kind-of.

As it is, before the end of February I’ve got scheduled (in no particular order)…

  • A very fancy meal in London, which I’m looking forward to (and for the faffing about I’ve had to do, had bloody better be worth it)
  • A birthday event in Oxford  (it’s hard to call them birthday parties when the person isn’t a child!)
  • A gig in Manchester (another mid-weeker, I must be fucking mental)
  • A gig in Oxford
  • The final bit of work on the car for this session (I hope)
  • New glasses to collect
  • A full weekend break on the South Coast

So yes, not really all that quiet after all…

Healthy Car

Following on from the car’s various issues over the last month, it now appears (touch wood) to be all sorted.

However, it means that in the last month it’s had

  • MOT (Passed with no problem)
  • Two separate broken pipes to the turbo, on different occasions – but weirdly, at the exact same location. (i.e. while driving, both times the engine management light came on at the same junction)
  • 150,000 mile service, which included a couple of other small fixes too

Thankfully, it’s not been massively expensive, and the fixes have been small ones. But still, it would’ve been a nicer/easier month without having to do them. (as well as the hire of replacement cars while it was being unreliable) Such is life.

There’s one more bit that needs doing, which is booked in for a couple of weeks time (a bit annoying, as I thought they were doing it at the same time as the service, but such is life) but for now it seems like all’s well again.

Since the main bits of work, it’s had another 1,000 miles added on, so it all feels like it’s settled in again. But as always, time will tell.

Slowing Down – Sort of

For the first time this year, I’ve got a weekend that’s being spent primarily at home. It’s about time.

As I’ve written before, it’s been a chaotic start to the year. I don’t regret a bit of it, and it’s all been my choice, but at the same time I’m definitely knackered and glad of a pause.

The last couple of weeks have involved mid-week concerts – one in Manchester, one in London – which have made for late nights (well, early mornings) so having a weekend without a lot of mileage is definitely a boon.

I’ve still got more stuff booked in, but it shouldn’t be quite as manic for the next couple of weeks, at least.

Missing Letters

Way back in early December, I posted a couple of letters, both by Royal Mail Special Delivery – a service that tracks the letter, requires a signature on delivery, and is guaranteed to be delivered the next working day by 1pm.

In my case, one letter arrived, and the other didn’t.

After a week, I raised this with Royal Mail through Twitter, and they were… pretty slack, to be fair. The letter had disappeared into the system, they needed to investigate, blah blah. At no point did the words “sorry” pass their (online) lips.

Another week or so passed, and they came back with “we can’t find it, can’t you check with the recipients whether they’ve received it or not“. Which is taking the piss, as that was the entire reason for sending the sodding thing by Special Delivery in the first place.  And still, no sorry.

I ended up having to file a compensation claim with Royal Mail – again, the person who paid for the service has to jump through all the hoops, fill in the forms and so on – and wait even more. Still no “sorry”.

I finally got the response today to that compensation claim. They’ve taken six weeks to acknowledge that this “guaranteed service” isn’t, has failed, and I’ve finally got my money back.

The kicker, in my opinion, is that in that letter they say…

“If you need to cover yourself against this in future, I suggest you send items by Special Delivery “Guaranteed”

So the fucking clowns recommend I use the service that lost this letter in the first place – because it’s better. What the fuck?

All told, the customer-service experience of this process has been abysmal.

  • It’s taken nearly two months to get this sorted
  • Once we were past that ‘guaranteed delivery’ timeline, it should’ve been an automatic process to say “Yep, we fucked up, here’s your money back”
  • If you can’t guarantee delivery, don’t guarantee delivery.
  • If you don’t trust your own tracking systems and still require ‘proof’ that the item was posted into the system, you’re doing it wrong

February

And lo, already we’re a month through 2016. How time flies when you’re having fun, and all that rot.

Of course, with it being February we’re now going to be pummeled for the next couple of weeks about all the romantic shite you can do on the 14th – and on no other day, according to marketing twerds – and all that gubbins.

I’m still really tempted to book a table for a meal, and then go on my own, looking really sad as if I’ve been dumped or the other person hasn’t made it, and just generally messing with the whole thing for everyone around me…

Car Health – Hopefully Sorted

Another day, another visit to the garage.

Having been repaired last week during the MOT, the same issue (or at least what appeared to be the same issue) recurred on Friday. Annoying, to say the least.

With everything else that was going on, the car didn’t get to revisit the garage again ’til yesterday (Tuesday) for them to find out what the problem was this time.

It turns out to have been *another* pipe to the turbo inlets that had perished and snapped. So – a similar issue, but not the same one, even though it presented in precisely the same way. (And bizarrely, occurred at precisely the same place)

Thankfully, both issues have been resolved quickly, easily and fairly cheaply. All the same, I’m hoping that there won’t be any more for a while.

In a ‘tempting fate’ moment, I took the hire car back today, and I’ll use the Saab for tomorrow Manchester run. If it fails me on that run, then I think I’ll be starting to look for a new vehicle before very long at all.

Desperate and Gullible

It was interesting yesterday to see the BBC’s piece about the growing prevalence of ‘online rental fraud’ – basically, where a fraudster/criminal advertises a rental property for a great price, and people then pay a deposit for it without ever seeing the property – because it’s a great price in a sought-after area.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Yep – the fraudster doesn’t own the property, doesn’t represent the agents, and has no real connection to it at all. They’ve just grabbed photos, submitted the ad, and then people pay the ‘deposit’ into an account named by the fraudster.

Now, while I think it’s pretty scummy, I can’t help but also see it as more of an idiot tax. You’ve got to be pretty desperate – and pretty fucking dim – to put down money without seeing the place you’re renting, particularly without ever meeting an agent/agency/landlord etc.  I know that these people are good at getting people to believe they’re valid, and that there’s this urgency – but really, it’s still taking advantage of people too dumb to look at a deal and think “what’s wrong with this picture?”

Maybe that’s harsh. Maybe not.  For me, it’s hard to feel real sympathy for someone who just leaves themselves open to this sort of shit. Take a look at what one victim says in the article…

[He] said: “I was willing to take the flat without a viewing based on the location, just on the price of it.

[I felt] anger, disgust, I was really disappointed. I was thinking, ‘Wow I’ve spent money I couldn’t afford and what’s happening to me right now? I’m in a nightmare and I can’t wake up’.'”

I think the worst part, probably, is that now it’s been mentioned by BBC and on TV, it’s something that other scammers will look at and thing “Oooh, that’s a good idea”, so it’ll become even more prevalent…

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