Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Too much optimism


Typical! We had looked forward to something being done about all the junkmail crap posted through our letterboxes. However, things have been delayed. Even if they do get off the ground, it is still an arse-about-tit system - junkmail should be opt-in only. That would make administering the system a doddle, cut waste, and mean that we don't have to go out of our way to stop advertising crap from invading our homes.

The good news is that we came across some connected sites that are worth visiting if this is a topic which you're interested in:

Diary of a Junk Mail Campaigner is about how self-regulation by the junk mail industry is failing.
Royal Junk Mail shows the kind of crap that Royal Mail shove through your letterbox.
Stop Junk Mail has some useful advice.
Junk Buster - further advice on stopping junkmail.
Information Commisioner's Office - a form you can fill in if you get unwanted marketing calls.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Chemist Direct

Or 'chemist indirectly confusing and purposefully making things awkward for potential customers'?

I only ever buy from websites that don't require creating an account with a password. It is nice to be offered the option for that, but all quality sites enable 'guest' purchases, i.e. just like a shop - you buy what you want with minimal fuss. Recently I went to the Chemist Direct site. It offered a quick checkout/guest option, so I spent some time putting together an order of over £60.

When I went to pay the option for a guest account had disappeared. I then spent over an hour in contact with their customer support people trying to work out what had gone wrong. I tested different browsers and sent screenshots; looked at URL formation and so on. In all that time I had to leave my PC on even when I went out, since the order would otherwise have been lost. I had hoped we could resolve it and I could go on with the order.

Now you see it (a guest purchase option when basket is empty)...

...now you don't! It disappeared once products were added to the basket.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

BT can't communicate

A failing of many large companies is that when you click on help or contact us on their website (or when you ring them and get through to a voice menu with myriad options) the options they offer, trying to funnel you into a certain queue, don't match what you want to speak about. The sensible thing would be to always include an option for 'everything else', but many companies don't want to do that because... oh no... you might confuse them. Here is a recent example. Two months ago a new BT pole was put up on land by my house, without any prior warning or consultation. I didn't necessarily mind, I just wanted to know why, and whether it would lead to an improved service. There was no email address or phone number to contact on the pole. When you go to the BT website though, the options below are all that you are offered:


Monday, 12 December 2011

Anonymous cold calling


We have covered printed crap through your letter box in the past. What about all the obnoxious spam phone calls that you might get? Sometimes these are more than just a nuisance, for example the outright scam schemes targeting the elderly and computer-illiterate by telling them to pay to have viruses removed from their PCs. These calls are unaffected by whether you have registered with the toothless TPS or not. Here are some examples I received recently:

Monday, 7 November 2011

Potentially good news


Junk mail is an irritating scourge in the modern world: wasteful of resources and time, demanding attention like an obnoxious child, and hiding the important post amongst a sea of glossy paper waste. Royal Mail have received a high crap score from us for their part in promoting it. Well, the good news is that a new initiative should make it easier to opt out in future.
"The average UK household receives more than 370 items of unsolicited paper mail a year, the majority of it unaddressed." Source

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pestering Banks

Note the annoying nag screen - there is no
option to permanently disable it

When you use Internet Banking with the Co-operative Bank they now always make a popup box appear trying to persuade you to install extra software - see image above. Most people won't want to do that. Not only is it extra hassle (on top of the stupid and wasteful gadgets that many customers refuse to use on ethical grounds) but the Co-operative Bank state that they won't compensate you if the software damages your PC or data or causes problems.