D4D

Abusing fuckwits for 30 years

Archive for the category “Finances”

Turbo Near-Miss

While driving down to London yesterday (of which more in another post) my car started to make an odd noise. Primarily a whining noise when under acceleration, and generally not all that well.

I called my usual garage, told them what was happening, and got told “Oh, first time we can look at it will be September 3rd”.  (The usual “fob off the customer” approach that they’ve excelled at so many times)  So instead I contacted the other dealership in the area – part of the same group, but run as a separate entity – and the person there made noises of “Oooh, that’s not good”, and asked if I could bring it in the next day (today)

I did so, and as I’d suspected, the turbo is on its way out.  Bollocks.

So the car’s booked in for the work – not cheap, but less than getting a replacement vehicle – and I’ve got a replacement vehicle while they do it.

So far, the new dealership looks really promising – the service department have been great so far, and the deal I’ve got from them has been positive.  It may be that they turn out to be shite – but if not, I’ve got other options.

It’s surprising to see the difference between the two dealerships – the previous/main one (as I’ve mentioned before) consists of a patronising bunch of fuckknuckles. They seem so complacent about everything, and their idea of customer service appears to be to make the customer feel like a fuckwit.

What they’ve never understood – and the new place appears to – is that the service department is just as much of a sales tool as the actual cars in the showroom.  If I’m being treated like crap by the service department with the current vehicle, what on earth would make me buy another car of the same make, and lock myself into further years of being treated like crap?

That’s what the new one seems to understand – that this is the way to keep people coming back. It’s what the Saab garage I used with the previous car understood – and so did the Ford one before that.

We’ll see what happens now, and how things go after the repair. I’m hoping that this time won’t have the same knock-on after-effects that it did when the same thing happened on the Saab.  (Although this time it’ll also help that the turbo was just on the way out, rather than having gone pop when travelling at speed, as the Saab one did!)

Nearly Done

Today marks the six-year anniversary of when I declared myself bankrupt.

The next twelve months is the final stage of it all – Bankruptcy is a strange edge-case when it comes to credit-score reporting, because it actually has a duration.

If it had been a simple marker, it would expire today and all would be well.

But because it lasts a year, it doesn’t come off the record until six years after the bankruptcy period *ends*. So, another year of it being on the record.

It’s an oddity, and one that seems to confuse a lot of people when it comes to asking about when these things expire.

Still, only another 12 months to go. Could be worse.

Illumination

On Friday morning, while it was still dark, I started the car to go to the client office – and one of the headlight bulbs blew.

Bollocks.

I’m not a fan of driving with one bulb out, but in this case it was going to have to happen, so off I went, a bit more carefully than usual, as a bigger swathe of the road than usual was in darkness.

On the way home though, I dropped in to one of the local(ish) Halfords, and got a new bulb sorted and fitted. Yeah, in theory I could fit it myself – but seeing the struggle the lad had with getting to it (the space was extremely tight/narrow) I’d have had issues, so it makes sense to get them to do it. (Also, when he opened the packaging for the first bulb and dropped the bulb through the engine block, he just went to get a replacement – that wouldn’t have happened if it’d been me doing it!)

From start to finish, it took less than half an hour – even with the difficulties the lad had. And all for less than £20.

I really don’t get why so many people seem to have problems with getting bulbs replaced. Some people I see in the village have had the same bulb out for weeks, if not months. I understand that sometimes you just get used to the problem existing, rather than fixing it – but at the same time, working headlights are a pretty basic requirement, I’d have said.

And besides, if it’s only £20 all-in to fix it, really, I don’t get the point of not bothering. but maybe I’m missing something. Wouldn’t be the first time, after all.

Expensive

For a number of reasons, the last month has been idiotically expensive.  Some of it has been voluntary, some of it has been necessary. All of it has added up.

In the last month or so, it’s included…

  • Four new tyres for the car (Necessary, as all four were getting close to their wear limits)
  • MOT for the car (Necessary!) – thankfully, it only needed two new bulbs, so the MOT itself wasn’t all that expensive
  • Car Insurance – (Necessary, but also Voluntary – I paid the entire lot at once, rather than monthly, which saved about £60)
  • Tickets to see a band called The The in London next year (Entirely voluntary, of course)
  • Tickets to see Macbeth at the RSC in Stratford-on-Avon next year (Also entirely voluntary)
  • Tickets to see Titus Andronicus at the Barbican in London early next year (Voluntary)
  • New walking boots (Necessary, considering the damage I sustained from the broken old ones)

And that doesn’t include all the usual stuff.

So yeah, fairly expensive. It’s all still within my budgets and limits, and the majority will be paid off this month – but all the same, it’ll be nice if I can have a quieter October and November, with less outgoings!

Five Years A Bankrupt

It’s five years today since I declared myself bankrupt. As of today, I’m in the final year of it being on my record – and who knows what’ll happen from there.

It’s been a tough process, and it’s not one I’d recommend to anyone else – if nothing else, I’m pretty sure that most people going through it would also end up losing a lot more than I did – but for me, it’s worked out for the best.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts along the way, and will end up writing another post for a year’s time, when it’s finally all done and dusted.

Something New – Quick Update

Last week, I wrote about starting off with getting a new card from Monzo, and how things had gone so far.  At the time, I was waiting for the card to arrive, so I could connect it to the account and so on.

The card actually arrived on Saturday, rather than the expected/predicted Friday, but I can live with that.  Even out of usual business hours etc., it was a simple case of opening the phone app, doing the linking process, and it was immediately sorted with the top-up I’d put on it.

I’ve used it for some payments over the last few days, and so far I’m really impressed. It’s all been painless, and the updates and notifications come through to the app so fast you can’t really believe it’s been that quick.

As I said last time, I’ll write more about the entire thing in a month or so – but right now, yeah, I’m actually impressed with Monzo. Let’s hope things stay that way.

Something New

Over the last week or so, I’ve been trying something new (well, new-ish) in the financial sector – Monzo.

I’ve been aware of a few of this type of “new banking” start-ups of late, but Monzo interested me when I read this article that talked about how closely it kept track of payments, and their whole customer service set-up.   In my own experience with banks, it’s customer service that is their greatest weakness, so I’m interested in how other ‘non high-street’ new financial organisations address it.

At the moment it’s “only” a pre-paid credit card option, driven entirely through a smartphone app – but they’ve got their banking licence, and are aiming to be starting a current account as well, again all driven through smartphone apps.

So far, the experience has been pretty good. (Note – for purposes of this, I used my iPhone – I can’t say anything at all about the Android version) I got the app through the App Store, and went through the initial stages.  Basically, just a name and date-of-birth for verification purposes, and then they order your card.

This took some time – but the expectations were managed all the way through, showing the queue of applicants, where I was in that queue, how many people were before me, and how many after.   Now, my cynicism kicks in slightly here, as I noticed that the number of applicants always stayed around the 25,000 mark, so it *could* just be a steady flow of incoming customers, or it *could* be all smoke-and-mirrors guff to make me think they know what they’re up to.

It took about four days to get to the top of the queue (I could’ve jumped places if I’d promoted Monzo on social media, but frankly, fuck off) and once that happened, I got a notification to say so.  This was where the identity stuff came in, and needed address details, plus an in-app photo of driving licence for proof-of-address, and a 5-second video to prove I’m real.

I’ve done an initial top-up (of a completely manageable amount – if the entire thing turns out to be a scam, I won’t be screwed) and the card has been sent to my home address. It’s due to arrive today, at which point I’ll have to connect it to the app – slightly annoying, as surely they know all the necessary details already – and then it should be ready to go.

I’ll write more about it in a month or so, once I’ve used it and seen how I feel about the entire thing.  So far, though, it’s been an interesting and positive experience – I hope it continues to be so!

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