Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Comet do not want my friend's money

OK, here we go again. Another company trying to stop a friend of mine parting with his hard earned money - and also making him feel like a criminal at the same time! Good Grief...

"We need a new washing machine, our current one is only six years old and is now dead though I feel sorry for it, it’s kind of like it has been put out of its misery, it has suffered six years of abuse, massively over loaded by the wife (in which regard I would sometimes secretly take a few garments out after she had loaded it so as to extend its miserable life a little longer) and, sitting where it does in our utility room, constantly pelted with dirty football boots and school shoes by the kids.

I placed an order by phone with Comet at around 2:00pm on Monday requesting delivery on Friday, we couldn’t wait any longer, the dirty wash bin over flows daily as it is and the undies draws will surely all be empty by Thursday. I was advised that the order had been “selected for checking” and was told that I would get a “confirmation e-mail shortly”.

Having not received an e-mail I called Comet again at 5:00pm the same day to be advised that the order was in a queue and had not yet been confirmed, I was concerned that the Friday delivery slot would be lost (smelly PE kits hanging around over the weekend) so I called again at 7:45pm to be told it was still in the queue and that I should have an e-mail by the morning.

Yup - I had not received an e-mail by 9:30 the following morning so called again, I was put on hold while the operative checked with the “checking department” (work that one out) after which I was advised that I would “receive an e-mail within 30 minutes”.

Yup, no e-mail was forthcoming so I called yet again at 1:30pm to be told that the order details could not be accessed because the order was “being looked at” - eureka - and that I would get a call with 10 minutes.

Yup - no call was forthcoming so I called again at 2:00pm to be told, again, that the order was still “being looked at”, the operative advised that they could not get through to the “checking department” by phone. I advised that I would prefer to hold on the phone than wait for e-mails or calls from people who don’t exist, eventually after 20 minutes I was put through to the “checking department” to be told that the order was “still in the queue” though would be released immediately, I received a confirmation e-mail a minute or so later.

After all of this the operative was not even able to tell me WHY my order had been selected for checking in the first place my credit card account is in good order and the delivery address is the same as the card billing address, all they could say is that it is part of their security system and “that you wouldn’t have an issue with it if someone else was using your card would you sir” - they made it hard enough for ME to use my card yet alone anyone else!! In short if Comet had any reason to question any aspects of the transaction then they should have done so at the time the order was placed.

I simply wanted to call, place the order and wait for it to be delivered on the Friday secure in the knowledge that the delivery slot was booked. I could have placed an order with one of Comet’s competitors and had complete piece of mind in this regard, instead I was left with the feeling that my credentials and trustworthiness were being questioned by Comet and that I was being treated like a fraudster, a potential criminal - all with absolutely no indication that Comet valued my custom."

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Complaint Letter of the Year

I've just received a copy of a letter which, it is claimed, received the Complaint Letter of the Year Award in the UK and I just had to share it with you all:

Dear Cretins,
I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions. Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional perogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties - or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office: My initial installation was cancelled without warning, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57
minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website....HOW?

I alleviated the boredom by playing with my t..ticles for a few minutes - an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept. The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools - such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks my modem arrived... six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it. I estimate your internet server's downtime is roughly 35%... hours between about 6pm -midnight, Mon-Fri, and most of the weekend. I am still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 calls on my mobile to your no-help line, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly skilled bollock jugglers.

I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that no telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off); that I will be transferred to someone (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed); that I will be transferred to someone and then been redirected to the irritating
Scottish robot woman...and several other variations on this theme. Doubtless you are no longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of those crucially important t..ticle-moments to attend to. Frankly I don't care, it's far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustration's in print than to shout them at your unending hold music. Forgive me, therefore, if I continue.

I thought BT were, that they had attained the holy piss-pot of godawful customer relations, that no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to their customers. That's why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn't anyone else is there? How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless shower of bastards you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of distended rectum incompetents of the highest order.

British Telecom - w..nkers though they are - shine like brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless inadequacy. Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver - any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps bemused rage. I enclose two small deposits, selected with great care from my cats litter tray, as an expression of my utter and complete contempt for both you and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that they have not become desiccated during transit - they were satisfyingly moist at the time of posting, and I would feel considerable disappointment if you did not experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture. Consider them the very embodiment of my feelings towards NTL, and its worthless employees.

Have a nice day - may it be the last in you miserable short life, you irritatingly incompetent and infuriatingly unhelpful bunch of C***s.


Thursday, 23 October 2008

Preventing Orders During the Credit Crunch

My lack of recent posts has not been due to any improvements in organisations reducing their order prevention actvities. Far from it. It's just that I have been a tad busy with my own business and reading emails from some of you regarding your own Order Prevention Department Experiences (OPDE) which I thought I would share with you:

- An OPDE that I find hard to understand is that from "Ryan" who has managed (amazingly) to get plumbers and heating engineers to visit his place of residence to quote for some work. It took him a while to track some down that would turn up though. Now that one of them has remembered (after much prompting) to send a quote - he is now having to chase the chap to make a couple of agreed changes to the work so that it can get started. Is there really so much business out there for trades people that they can afford the luxury of potential customers pestering them to start the work? My own experience is that however much chasing you do to get a company to start the work, you will only have to do more chasing to get them to finish it!

- "Steve" in London sent me an email describing an OPDE that he has endured whereby his local chinese restaurant now refuses to take cash and insist on all payments being made by either debit or credit card. OK, I guess it's their restaurant so they can make the rules - but nowhere on the windows, menu or signs in the restaurant does it state this. Oh yes, the other thing is that tips can't be added to the bill total for the credit card payment - the tips do need to be left in cash! With making it so hard to pay the bill - who would leave a tip anyway?

- Finally, "Sandra" sent me a fantastic email with images and cartoons of OPDE's - the one that made me laugh out loud was this:

I'm sure we've all experienced this level of customer service in the past? Until the next time...

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Ford Finance do not want me as a customer

Last month was pretty quiet on the Order Prevention Department front. Possibly this is because I have been working hard selling my own services, rather than trying to buy things at the moment. Or, perhaps this is just another symptom of the much advertised "credit crunch".

Still, I did find one company to annoy me; Ford Finance. Now, I don't want to be too hard on Ford Finance (gasps of breath are heard at the back) as they are not alone in being guilty of offering a specific type of bad service that many of us have endured. I am of course referring to the "Automated Telephone System". You know the "Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Accounts..." sort of thing.

Well, I am prepared to endure these systems as long as I get to speak to the right person in a reasonable amount of time. Is that too much to ask? Sage Software are also guilty of Order Prevention as their phone system has so many menu options and sub menus, that it can easily take a couple of minutes of button pressing before you get to hear the classic "Your call is important to us. You are currently in a queue and your call will be answered in approximately 8-10 minutes. Come on, if my call is that important to you, have more people available to pick up the phone! But I digress... this blog is about Ford Finance.

I needed to check a settlement statement on a policy that I had. So I called Ford Finance and got their Automated Order Prevention Department. The system asked my for my policy number - which I entered. It then asked me for my customer number - which I also entered. It then asked me to wait - which I did. Eventually the phone was picked up by a human being and I was asked for my policy number. I said that I had already entered this. There was a slight pause and then I was asked for my customer number. I said that I has already entered this information as well and why was I being asked twice? The poor chap on the other end of the phone was either new, or untrained, but had no idea that the phone system had already asked me for this information. In the end I had to repeat all my details again.

So, with such a poor automated phone system, coupled with poor staff and / or training - why on earth would I want to buy from them again?

Fight back I say - never do business with an organisation that has an Automated Order Prevention Department. You have been warned.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Premier Inn do not want my money

Last month I was delivering a sales training program just outside Bradford and I stayed for three nights in a local Premier Inn. Overall I thought the reception and room facilities pretty good and decent value.

In the morning all I wanted was a quick cup of tea, a chat with my client (who was also staying at the hotel) before driving over to their office to set-up for the training day. My client was sat in the breakfast area tucking into a cooked breakfast as I stood by the 'Please wait here to be seated' sign. The waitress asked if I wanted "the cooked breakfast (£7.50) or the continental (£2.95)". "Neither" I replied, "just a cup of tea".

Well it appears the only way she could let me sit down with my client and have a cup of tea was to charge me the £2.95 continental breakfast rate. Now, this is not unique to Premier Inn. I have stayed at many hotel chains who want to make it easy for themselves and just offer two breakfast choices in the morning: continental or cooked. But it seems impossible for them to accommodate someone, like me, who just wants a drink to get themselves going in the morning.

There was no leniency from my waitress. It was £2.95 or nothing. Even though I was on expenses and ultimately my client would be picking up the tab, I couldn't bring myself to pay £2.95 for a cup of tea. There seemed to be no way around this.

But there is. If you are also frustrated by this approach from hotels - can I suggest you follow my example? Go back to your room and use the tea / coffee making facilities in the room. It's not a great cup of tea made with UHT milk. But it certainly makes a point when you bring it back downstairs and carry it past the waitress to sit down with your colleagues.

Come on Premier Inn if you can't charge me for my cup of tea in the morning (I am willing to pay a reasonable price) why not make all the beverages complimentary?

So, this month's Order Prevention award goes to Premier Inn.

Anyone else annoyed by Hotels that offer this kind of service?

Thursday, 31 January 2008

BMW Dealers do not want my money

I'm looking for a new car. My accountant tells me that if I purchase one below 120 g/km CO2 emissions in this business year, I can write the whole lot off against tax. This meets my personal and business needs and so I started searching...

...actually, no I didn't. As I am not interested in cars very much, I asked a friend who was. He gave me a short list of ones to consider. On this list was the BMW 118d (snappy name?) and so I thought I would phone and get a test drive sorted:

BMW Bath
Phoned twice. Left messages - this was about 2 weeks ago. Still waiting for them to call me back.

BMW Bristol
I was working in the area and had 20 mins spare and so I dropped in. No 118d in the showroom, but they could get one for me to drive. Fantastic and so a date was booked.

2 days before the test drive I get a call. "Sorry, the 118d is on loan" they tell me as part of some promotion. "Would I be OK driving a 5 month old 118d with last years specification?" they asked. What choice did I have? "OK" I said.

On the test drive day I drove over to Bristol (about a 70min drive) at the agreed time. After waiting 20 minutes at reception the salesman ambled over and invited me to sit down whilst he "located the vehicle". Another 15 minutes passed while he decided that the vehicle had been sold earlier and that - actually - the only thing that could be offered was another car in the range which has automatic transmission. "How similar is this to the 118d?" I asked. "Not very", says the salesman. "But it's all I can do." I suggested that a better option of "what he could do" would be to source a 118d and get back to me with a definite date for a test drive. "Sure", he says "I'll do that on Monday". Today is Thursday and I still haven't heard from him.

So this month's award for Order Prevention goes to BMW a fine example of how to slow the customer down from parting with their hard earned cash.

Anyone else having similar experiences with the motor industry?