D4D

Life Jim, but not as we know it.

Archive for the category “Cynicism”

New Year

Normally, I don’t celebrate New Year – I couldn’t give a shit about midnight, Auld Lang Syne, fireworks and so on. Entirely not my thing.

However, over the last few years, I’ve been going out for meals on New Year’s Eve, and being back home (or, more usually, still driving home on beautifully clear and empty roads) by midnight.

This year though, it’s all a bit underwhelming – even the offering at Helene Darroze (where I went last year) is disappointing, as there’s very little change from what I had last year. There’s nowhere else that’s massively grabbing me as a “want to try” (or at least nowhere that’s currently released their menu)  so for now, I’m really not sure what I’m going to be doing.

Mind you, right now I’m actually quite OK with that, of actually doing sod-all for New Year.

Fiscal Alterations

Over the coming year, there may well be some interesting changes in the finances, although I don’t completely know yet whether they’ll happen – because no-one is willing to give a definitive answer.  Needless to say, that’s frustrating. But hey ho.

The change, if it happens, will be significant. Basically, come August 2018, it’ll be the full six years since my bankruptcy was declared.  In theory, that means it should come off my credit score, as all things do after six years.  The thing is, no-one can tell me whether it’ll happen. It might be that it won’t come off for a further year, because while it was declared in 2012, the official bankruptcy period lasts a year, so it remained ‘active’ until 2013.

Even when I’ve asked financial advisors and debt counselling people, the best answer I’ve been able to get out of any of them is “It depends”

If that’s the case, it won’t come off my record until August 2019. It’s still livable with, and there’s nothing hyper-urgent or anything about clearing the record. It’d just be nice to know.

Once that’s off my record, then it’s a case of onwards and upwards. I’m doing OK already, but really it’ll be nice to have the clear record. Indeed, for now it’s the only thing that’s holding things back, so I’m looking forward to having it gone.  But only time will tell when it’s going to happen.

Return As Found

Earlier this month, I wrote a bit about some of the electrical issues that’ve been niggling on my current car, and something about the hassles I’ve had with the garage along the way.

Today was (hopefully) the final stage of that – the car had a new battery last week, which has helped, but there was still an issue with the starter motor.  The garage spent a fair amount of time arguing with Kia (or at least saying they were arguing with Kia) but in the end I got it as a free replacement – so I’m quite happy on that score.

So today was the day for getting that fitted, and I’m vaguely optimistic that this will be the job done.  Time will tell, of course, but it’s got some good runs and conditions over the next few weeks, which should help me find out whether we’re finally sorted.

However, both of the most recent visits have obviously required a complete disconnection of the battery (obviously, in the case of the replacement battery!) which has resulted in the car computer being totally reset. I don’t mind that, in general – I try to be realistic about these things.  But at the same time, I would have thought that a basic level of customer service would be to at least set the clock and calendar back to the correct settings.

I’m obviously wrong though, and utterly unreasonable. 🙂

 

All told, the entire thing has left me less than happy with Kia as a whole – even taking into account that replacement starter motor. A lot of this could (indeed, should) have been sorted on the first return visit, and shouldn’t have taken another three visits and a bundle of arguments. My experience as a customer has been woeful, and has currently put me off having another car from Kia, as that would mean keeping on using the same garages.

Anyway, even with that replacement starter, next time the car needs anything doing to it, I’m going to try the other local Kia dealership – it’s the same distance from me, but in the opposite direction – and see if they’re any better.  It’ll be interesting to see if they can do better than the current ones…

Recharging and Vindication

A couple of weeks back now, I took my car to the local Kia dealership (as it’s a Kia) for its MoT.  It had been serviced there a couple of weeks prior, and at that point the dealership hadn’t impressed me for a couple of reasons I won’t go into for now.

It passed the MoT just fine – needed two bulbs replacing, and that was it.  But that evening, once I was home, the car wouldn’t start – the battery was completely flat.  The only thing different to its usual treatment was the MoT, and the recovery guy who came out to sort things agreed it was likely they’d done something to flatten the bloody thing.

I spoke to the dealership the next day, and they denied all possibility that the problem was down to them. Couldn’t happen, sir. You left here fine (forgetting that it was running when I got in, I hadn’t had to start it) so it can’t be us. Just one of those things.  If you really want to check, we’ve got a super-expensive tool for testing batteries properly, you can come in and we’ll do the check.

Which I did.  Went in, and this super-tool said “Battery 100% OK”. Fair enough, it might be one of those things, I suppose.  They were quite patronising about it all, and again insisted it couldn’t be anything to do with them.  The only other way to find anything (“sir”) would be to drop it in for a couple of days, let it wait around and we’ll see if it drains, or what might be wrong.

However, the problems went on. It’s never completely flattened on me again, but I’ve been more aware of the delays on starting, and I’ve given it some bigger runs just to ensure the battery is as topped as possible.

So last week, knowing I’d got a hire car for a day-trip to Leeds (of which more in another post) I also booked it in to the dealership again for today, so they could have it a couple of days and find out what the problem is.  It led to a bundle of fucking about, but it all came together in the end.

Lo and behold, this evening I got a call.  Apparently, the battery *is* fucked, despite what their super-tool said a week ago. So they’re replacing it, and will then see tomorrow how everything goes, and hopefully I’ll collect it on Wednesday.

It’s fair to say, we’re going to have words when I do collect it.  This has been a shitload of hassle, and it’s taken me a bundle of time away from work in order to keep on getting things sorted. My sense of humour has, as they say, somewhat failed about the whole thing.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens – but I do feel somewhat vindicated about the whole thing.

What the dealership doesn’t seem to realise is that the servicing department is as much of a sales tool as the showroom is. I’ve got a Kia, and so far I’ve been quite pleased with it. I would have considered getting another one – and it would likely have been from that dealership.  But if they can’t sort me out with a cheaper car and be competent, why the *fuck* would I stick with the same company once the current issues are sorted, let alone buy a new (to me) Kia?

King of the Air

Today, the news is full of the ‘shocking’ news of Monarch Airlines ceasing to trade.  I’m more surprised that anyone’s surprised, to be honest.

Now OK, Monarch are (semi) local to me, I know people who work(ed) there – but no-one who was in key positions, finance etc.  However, it’s no shock to me at all that they’ve gone under – in many ways I’ve been more surprised that they’ve gone on as long as they have.

The Wikipedia page contains a summary of it – but it’s stuff I was aware of anyway, having watched the news and so on.

Three years ago, they were nearly bankrupt. They got a last-minute bailout/buyout by Greybull Capital, which was all that allowed them to keep trading. Three years ago.

This time last year, rumours came up about their potential bankruptcy. They got a last-minute extension to their ATOL licence (similar to the activities of last weekend) after another £160-odd million fund injection from Greybull and other investors.

Between those warnings, the drop in customers in markets that were key to them (tourism to Tunisia and Egypt, primarily) and other competition, and the general atmosphere post-Brexit, it was no surprise at all.  I fully expect a couple of others to collapse as well.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shitty situation – for the people who work there, and for the passengers and customers who are currently wondering what’s going to happen.  But it still shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Personally, I know that I wouldn’t have booked anything with them, regardless.

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining – I suspect RyanAir are ecstatic about all those extra Monarch pilots and crew suddenly becoming available (and without even needing expensive relocation packages) that can fill the gaps in their current schedule.  Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if RyanAir didn’t aim to buy up a lot of the Monarch stuff – planes, staff, routes etc., and make money off the misfortune of Monarch.

Re-covered

Somehow, it’s already nearly a year since I got the latest car. Which, of course, means it’s also time for my insurance renewal to come through.

As usual, the current company have massively taken the piss, nearly doubling my premium this time round.  For some reason, rather than having a number of different under-writers, they’ve recently decided to stick with just the one – and that one happens to be nothing short of extortionate.

Still, that’s fine, they can fuck off.

As a result, I’ve already sorted out a new policy with a different company. It’s got all the cover and options I wanted, and is cheaper than what I’ve paid this year, let alone the ridiculous renewal price.

I truly don’t understand the business model of the insurance industry, this attitude of “keep on charging more ’til people leave”. Surely if someone’s been with a company for [x] years, and established a record of being safe, not claiming etc., then it should be easier/cheaper/better to keep them, rather than letting them sod off somewhere else?

I suppose it might be the law of diminshing returns, an expectation the customers will claim eventually. Using that it kind-of makes sense, if all the customers are paying up, and if we can get rid of them before they cost us, then we’ve made money out of it, and it’s cost “some other company”.

But it all seems pretty flawed to me, and pretty bloody dumb. Hey ho. Their loss, not mine.

Offering A Service

Every few days, I go past this office, and re-notice the window…

It’s a solicitor’s office, and I still can’t figure out whether they’re offering Abduction as a service to their clients (along with Domestic Violence!) or whether they actually mean they offer services based around Abduction and recovery of Abductees.

Either way, it always strikes me as an odd one to advertise – and even more so when it’s not clear what they’re actually doing.

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