Friday, 31 October 2014

More Royal Fail

Ah, Royal Fail.

I sent a parcel to a friend. A novel, some DVDs, a magazine, and a 16 GB USB stick with photos on. As usual I took a photo of it all in the packaging before posting, since I've experienced Royal Mail items going missing in the past. This is as much as I can do. Total value to replace: £20-30, them postage (another fiver?)

The items sent

The parcel never reached my friend. I then had to go through the clunky reporting process with Royal Mail (10th October). It takes so much time that it probably cost me an hour of my time, let's say another £6. We'll say Royal Mail has cost me £40 so far.

They state: "For all compensation claims for the contents of a letter or parcel you must provide:
Original proof posting
Original proof value (This evidence must show what it cost the claimant to acquire, purchase or manufacture the original item or repair in the case damaged)"

I included the original proof of posting. I didn't have the original receipts for the items - who does? I imagine most people don't have receipts for 99% of what is in their homes. However, the prices for these items were easy to find. I included printouts as examples of how much they cost, and assumed they would contact me for more information if required.

Today they sent me 6 piddling stamps (which don't even cover the postage costs), and claimed that I hadn't included enough information. I had included everything it was possible to include! They had never got in touch requesting further information or to ask questions, despite having my contact details. So they cost me £40 and wasted my time. That's what I call crappy service.

Oh, they don't include an email address on the letter they send, so there is no easy way to follow this up. They did point out that I could have paid even more money (maybe half the cost of the parcel!) to send it Special Delivery Guaranteed. Of course, according to them I still wouldn't have had enough evidence to get anything back when they lost it. What's more, my friend has a job, so is not there to sign for parcels. They then go back to the depot which is a pain for him to get to (especially in places like mine, where Royal Mail closed their in-town depots, and now people have to go to remote industrial estates). What a bunch of clowns.


11th November 2014: Another letter off Royal Mail after I queried their crappy response. They still refused my claim for a parcel they lost. They based the refusal on two things.

1. “we need our customers to provide us with an original certificate of posting” – I included that.
2. “and documented evidence of value” – I did that to the best degree possible. Unless something is brand new then no-one will have the receipt for each book and CD a year or so down the line. 99% of things in our homes no longer have receipts. So requiring original receipts is obviously ridiculous. I did the next best thing. I included photos of the items in the parcel (next to the addressed envelope); I included printouts of how much the items cost to buy, for anything over a few pounds; and for the lower-priced items it is easy to check the price on eBay, or I would have done that if asked.

Royal Mail is being obtuse and uncooperative, as usual.

9th December 2014: My continued complaints bore fruit - I was refunded the £20 parcel contents today. Great, a good outcome there, but it's a shame you have to work so hard, and RM still insisted (their get-out clause) that they will only refund with the receipts for each item, even though no-one keeps the original receipts after the first few weeks.

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)... 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