D4D

Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're a cunt

Archive for the category “Customer Services”

On Being A Cretin

With life taking several turns over the last year, I’d given up a bit on going to the gym.  OK, I’d given up on it a lot. So I’d put my membership on hiatus, paying a small maintenance fee rather than the full monthly amount. (Because while I’m definitely an idiot, as will be shown shortly, I’m not a complete idiot)   It meant I wouldn’t have to pay a re-joining fee etc., and could reactivate things really easily once I was back to being in the mood for it.

Last month, I decided I wanted to get back to going.  Again, a number of reasons, but mainly just realising I wanted to do more, as well as some preparation for my idiot event in September – of which more later.

So I went to the PureGym website, logged in, and reactivated my membership.  Oddly, I had to pay a joining fee again, but I thought I’d just not read the terms and conditions properly, and it’s not a huge amount, so there we go. The proper payment comes out of my bank about a week later, and all good. Job done, I’m going back to the gym from June 1st.

Come June 1st, I look at my bank account, and there’s that maintenance charge again.  Weird.  Maybe it’s connected to that billing cock-up where I paid a joining fee.

So I call PureGym, to try and find what’s going on.  They tell me that the Direct Debit reference I’ve given them isn’t connecting to any of their records, so they’ll need more information from the bank, to know where that DD started, where it’s going etc.   Annoying, but indicative that a significant cock-up has occurred.

I ring the bank, and speak to someone there.  Let’s cancel that under the DD guarantee, here’s the details, it’s a Direct Debit for The Gym…   And a light goes on in my head.   I’m a cretin.

For whatever reason, I’ve got “PureGym” in my head as the one I’m going to. (And it’s one I was a member of, in two different locations)  Only that’s not the one I’m using. I’m using “The Gym”, and that’s where the maintenance payment’s come from. So I’ve re-joined a gym I don’t want, and not restarted the membership of the gym I do want.   For fuck’s sake.

The lady at the bank (having laughed) reinstated the DD for the Gym, and re-paid the money to them that’d gone out that day.  Then I went back to PureGym, explained that I’m a complete idiot, what had happened, and asked if it was possible to get my money and joining fee back from them.  No problem if not, we’d class it as an idiot tax, but if possible it’d be great.

And they did. It’s not a standard thing, but I’d not used the gym, it was still on the first full day of “membership”, and – I suspect most importantly – I’d admitted it was entirely my fault, and that I’m a moron.  (It also made them laugh, which is fine)

All told, I got lucky in many ways.  I’m lucky that (in general) my bank are pretty good on this stuff. I’m lucky that both gyms in question are month-to-month ones rather than contracts. I’m lucky that the people in both cases were nice, and obviously far more used to people shouting and swearing, and making out it’s all Their fault.

I’ve not lost anything (except some self-respect) and it’s all worked out.   But man alive, do I feel like an absolute cretin.

On Dealing With FitBit

This week, I was unlucky enough to have to try and deal with FitBit‘s idiotic e-commerce system.  I’ve had a Fitbit for several years now (well, two or three devices over that time, but all Fitbit devices) and the strap on the current one is getting a bit ropy, so I wanted to order a new one.

The ordering part is… OK, I suppose.  Then we get to entering addresses.  It tells me that it can’t validate my preferred delivery address at all, and won’t progress the order any further.  Not “Would you like to add this address to the system?” or “Please confirm the details, and we’ll accept your word for it that you know where the hell you work“.  Just point-blank ‘Computer says No‘ dead-end.  So far, so unhelpful.

In fairness, that should’ve been the warning sign.  But I carried on.  Rather than delivering to my office, I’ll set it to deliver to home.  That’s OK, except for the standard “Royal Mail PAF says this address should be in [nearest city], so do you want to use that, or the info you’ve entered”.  I’m used to that – it’s ridiculous, but it’s PAF, so I’m used to it, and it’s not going to change.

Enter in the card details, all well and good. Do the ‘Verified By Visa’ bag-o’-shite verification, and complete the transaction.  Get the email saying “It’s on its way”.  Happy day, job done.

Or so I thought…

Half an hour later, I get another email. “There’s a problem with this transaction”, saying that either…

  • The billing address provided doesn’t match the address on file with your financial institution  (No, it matches fine)
  • Your financial institution denied the charge for unspecified reasons (OK, maybe)
  • Your financial institution denied the charge due to insufficient funds (Nope, definitely not)
  • Your financial institution doesn’t recognise Fitbit.com as a vendor   (that sounds like cock to me)

I call the card company.  Nope, all fine, not even a declined transaction.  And “doesn’t recognise the vendor” is a bag of cock.  To quote them, “If it were for ISIS-Iraq.com, we might be blocking it, but not standard stuff”

I call FitBit, who are *massively* incompetent, unable to understand basic English, and can only “resubmit the transaction”.  Can’t change the card details, just ‘resubmit it’.
“OK sir, that’s gone through fine, so you’ll get a confirmation in a minute”
“Has it actually gone through the card company this time?”
“Yes, it’s gone through fine”
“What’s the transaction authorisation code?”
“We don’t know yet, it hasn’t gone to the bank”
“……”

So…. Fitbit, these <sarcasm>masters of eCommerce</sarcasm>, don’t do the card transactions immediately. They cache them, for some fuckforsaken reason. And no-one knows ’til then what’ll happen.

When I checked the resubmitted one, the phone cretin had also decided to change the address for billing and delivery to the PAF-recommended one (without even asking) so I ended up talking to them again, they edited the order, and ‘confirmed the transaction’ again (i.e. re-submitted it, and played wait’n’see with the cards)

That failed too, unsurprisingly.  Same email, you need to speak to us, same list of possible reasons. Card company re-confirms that absolutely nothing has touched the account – they’ve had a 1p pre-authorisation amount go through, which verifies the card details, but after that, nothing else has been received by them at all.

In the end, I’ve called Fitbit (again!) and just cancelled the order.  There’s better and quicker ways to do this. Hell, I can get a pikey knock-off strap through Amazon for a tenth of the price, and it’d be delivered tomorrow.

The really telling thing though, for me, was that when I cancelled the order, there’s not even a process for it. No questions about why I want to cancel, no attempt to keep the order, nothing. Just “OK, that’s cancelled. You’ll get an email telling you so”.  That tells you everything you need to know about whether a company gives a shit or not.

A Week Of Wankers

Last week seemed to be purely populated by incompetents and clowns, sadly.  It meant I was dealing with cretins and “customer services” on about four fronts, which is… less than ideal.

My idiot bank has done an ‘update’ which means that payments done through the banking app aren’t going through. It works via the website, or via phone banking, but not through the app – neither the iOS or Android versions.  So I called them to explain, using the version numbers for the apps – and the in-app versions don’t even match up with the release versions. Genius.  The people I spoke to didn’t seem capable of even understanding the problem, and then when they did, told me there was a new version of the app that I needed to download.  Except… that version hasn’t actually been released and made available on the app-stores yet.  Genius².  So there’s a complaint in about that, where I was promised a callback within 48 hours. Seven days ago. Genius³

Following on from that, my shitbracket accountants continue to be the epitome of incompetence – failing to communicate on anything; breaking promises left, right and centre; failing to provide stuff within deadlines; needing to be nagged every inch of the way; the usual.  It’s a good job I’m not paying for the service at the moment (I’ve had an issue about their communications “skills” for the last 18 months, and their Operations Director promised I wouldn’t pay until that was sorted.  As they’re ongoing, and with no signs of improving, I’m still getting the service for free) although I’ve no idea what they’ll do instead as an apology when they get round to it.

Having made that complaint, including copying it to Directors, not one of them even bothered to acknowledge it. Which continues to confirm that they’re crap at communication.  Oh, and then they tried cancelling my account, then reinstated it, and fucked that up too.  Massively impressed, as I’m sure can be imagined.

On that one, I was promised a callback from the Operations Director (again) by the end of Monday. Still waiting.

There were a couple of others too, although to a much lesser degree. I’ve no idea where it’ll all end up (except with me getting apologies and some form of compensation) but it’s all good fun in the meantime.

Of course, it would be nice if these people just did the jobs they’re meant to, and did them without cocking it up, but there we go, that’s life.

Less Massive

Well, that concert. It was good – it just wasn’t what was advertised.

As I said on Friday, it had been promoted as playing the whole of “No Protection”, with live dubbing. Which would’ve been fine, and was entirely what was expected.

Instead, while a fair amount of the album was played, there was also a lot of other new stuff, and really it was more of a normal/standard gig, rather than the presentation of a particular piece of work.

In fairness, if it had been promoted as “just” a Mad Professor gig, I’d have still got the ticket, and still gone to the gig.  It’s just that it was promoted as one thing, and turned out to be something else.

I’ve got in touch with Archspace about it, and it’ll be interesting to see what their response is to the entire thing.

All told, I’m still glad I went. I just wish it had been what they’d said it would be.

Replacement Card

On Friday evening, while I was out for a meal, I paid using the card for one of my Barclays accounts.  That transaction, while all went OK, had traits that felt… odd. Wrong. Or at least just Not Quite Right.

So I called the bank straight after, and cancelled the card with immediate effect. That took a bit of explanation, as “I want to cancel the card from right now, no more transactions” apparently still needs discussion, and a whole bit of scripted text from the bank about “With the card cancelled, you won’t be able to use it”. (Well yeah, that’s why I’ve cancelled the cocking thing.)  But I assume they’ve had to deal with morons in the past who’ve cancelled the card and then complained they couldn’t use it for something.

Anyway, they told me my replacement card would be sent out as soon as possible, and all that jazz – all fine, I’m just happier knowing that I’ve handled it to the best of my abilities, should that transaction have turned out to be as dodgy as it felt like it could’ve been.

When I got home last night, there was the new card.

And I can’t deny, I’m impressed with that – a card that’s been requested in the late evening (10pm-ish) on a Friday, and is delivered on the Monday? Not bad going at all.

While Barclays have their moments of driving me absolutely crackers – and that’s still going through the Financial Ombudsman, so I assume Barclays are being dicks with the Ombudsman as well – I can’t deny that some of their systems are also pretty bloody good.

[Updated to mention : Having looked back, it turns out it’s not the first time I’ve been impressed by this replacement card system]

ReKindled (Again)

Just to top off a pretty expensive fortnight, while I was away over the weekend the Kindle broke. As with previous ones, the screen film cracked, so half of it is working and the other half isn’t. In short, fucked.

As it turns out though, I can’t be too annoyed (annoyed, sure, but not too annoyed) as it turns out I’ve had this one just short of three years. Considering that before that I had a spate of broken screens in less than a year, it could’ve lasted a lot less time.

Yes, I’d rather these things were more resilient, were designed to last longer than 18 months.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how things have progressed with Kindles, and whether they’ve improved the ways to reload content onto a new device. It was horrific three years ago, so I’m hoping for improvements, it’s fair to say. (And if that doesn’t happen, I’ve got a backup from the old device – so maybe I’ll just be able to roll that onto the new one.)

We’ll see.

EE’s broken payments

As I wrote yesterday, I ended up having some major issues with the cottage’s already-installed 3G Dongle through EE.

Basically, it’s either not been used for a while, or the previous people ran the account into the ground – there’s absolutely no credit or data available on it.  That’s OK, you can connect to EE still and add a credit.  Or at least you should be able to.

Basically, the device is set up so that it can still connect to ee.co.uk , and that doesn’t come out of the data allowance. All’s well and good. But. Ah, but.

The thing is, when it comes to processing payments, the processing isn’t all done on ee.co.uk.  It also goes off to get the 3D secure (also known as “Verified by Visa” or “Mastercard [something]“) from the relevant bank.  Only that’s from a different (and thus not-allowed) domain outside of EE, and because there’s no data allowance, the connection is refused, and the credit transaction fails.

All you get to see on screen is “An error occurred” with “Try again”.  Which is… unhelpful.

What’s more unhelpful is that EE’s transaction system has pre-authorised the amount you’ve topped up by. So the funds are then locked by your bank. They’ll be released when the transaction doesn’t complete – but it can take two to three working weeks for that to happen, because banks are paranoid and slow and shit.  And EE are just shit, because their failed transaction doesn’t release those funds.

Even better, you can’t then offer feedback or contact EE. Because – yes! – all the online feedback is done through a third party, and goes off to a different domain.

So you’re basically left with no data, no top-up, locked funds, and no way to contact EE to tell them so.

Even worse, I suspect it’s only because I’m a techie that I understand it this much – for Joe Public it’d just be “it’s broken, and EE are shit”.  (Which isn’t something I could argue with either, but at least I can understand why it’s broken!)  It’s a simple scenario, but one I’m willing to bet they’ve never tested, going on the assumption that people would top up before they ran out completely, etc. etc.

I’ve written to them to explain the same situation, so it’ll be interesting to see what they come back with (if anything)

Post Navigation