Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Play.com - but don't try and email us

Beatles mania
It is sad to already have another example of companies making the lives of their customers more difficult. This time it is Play.com, the online shopping site (that began as just a games and DVD shop).

I have only recently got an Xbox 360. As someone who is concerned about the environment I was annoyed to find that the default controllers are not rechargeable unless you spend another £15 on a rechargeable battery pack. So the default is wasteful and environmentally harmful batteries - shame on you, Microsoft. I got round this by using only wired controllers, and getting one of the rechargeable battery packs for the one wireless controller.

Monday, 28 December 2009


The error - it was impossible to install the driver (either from the CD that came with the soundcard, or from the latest drivers on the Creative site).

Last night I was extremely annoyed with Creative, makers of PC sound cards and other peripherals. I wasted many hours trying to fix a problem with my new Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme Gamer soundcard. The drivers just wouldn't install. I was even forced to close my anti-virus protection (since Sophos flagged up the Creative software as 'very suspicious' - which shows that Creative are trying to do something more nefarious than just provide a straightforward driver), but the driver still wouldn't install, as the screenshot above shows. All I got was additional unwanted software attempting to make me register my soundcard with Creative (i.e. hand over personal data).

Thursday, 17 December 2009


A short complaint about Sony here.

On 10th December 09 I rang Sony to point out that their only online contact form wasn't working, and didn't seem to have been working for some time. If you go to their homepage to contact them, the most obvious link is 'Contact' at the bottom. Then you get to:

However if you click on that link to contact them online, you just see:

Friday, 4 September 2009

Toshiba Twistaround

Update: 25 Sept 09, Toshiba replied and included a link to a working WLAN driver, so the problem is fixed!

And now for an example of something that should be simple, being made incredibly difficult by a company.

After reinstalling Windows on a Toshiba laptop - a Toshiba Tecra S1 - I found that none of the drivers I'd downloaded from Toshiba's site worked for graphics and - more importantly - Ethernet. So I couldn't connect the laptop to the Internet. I therefore just want to ask Toshiba a simple question - what drivers do I need for this model, and where to do I download them from? The images below lead you through my experience. Click on the images to see larger versions.

1. I went to http://www.toshiba.co.uk/then clicked on 'Customer Support' on the left. The logical place to start?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Which? Awards 2009

We spotted that in the Which Awards 2009, the Co-operative Bank won 'Best Financial Service Provider'. We have now informed Which of the fact that the Co-operative Bank has misled customers about having ethical policies, and is adding extra barriers in the way of what should be a convenient service, as well as taking part in dubious negotiations with companies whose business it is to create electronic waste and which use repressive regimes in order to get cheaper labour. As a consumer watchdog Which should be aware of the darker side of one of their award winners.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Co-operative Bank update

Today we spoke to a Customer Assurance Manager at the Bank. He was able to give the Bank's perspective, which helped to fill in gaps in our knowledge and understand where the Bank is coming from. However it did not resolve what we feel are serious problems with the Bank's approach.

  • Many reports say that security is a concern for banks, and that they need to do something to battle online fraud.
  • However in some cases it is the companies that sell these security device 'solutions' who are doing the research that creates panics and drives the agenda. For example, Xiring - who are selling these security devices to the Co-operative Bank - "issued its own findings having carried out a survey of UK online banking customers". Yes, there is fraud, but those who shout the loudest warnings are those who have a vested interest in these solutions, which introduces bias. Some of the statistics come from the Government too - but if Iraq told us anything, it is that reports and statistics from civil servants bear little relation to reality, and if a civil servant is pressed for 'evidence' they may turn to the convenient figures from the security companies who are pushing for technological fixes just as easily as an old student thesis that they can tart up and present as 'research'.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Uncooperative Bank

Update: 9 August 09. The Co-operative Bank first received a latter about this on Tuesday, 26 May 2009. Since then they have received three more letters (including letters to David Anderson, the Bank's Chief Executive, and Dick Parkhouse, the Bank's Managing Director, both on Thursday, 16 July 2009). And they still have not replied, apart from acknowledgement letters. 46 days without responding - surely that is a record for poor customer service? It is an insult to their customers that the Bank care so little for their opinions.

Because the Bank has done nothing, we have gone ahead with promotion of this issue. We have now reached the point were a Google search for 'co-operative bank card readers' brings us up on the first page of results, and this site has been receiving a huge number of hits. We have also started sending details to media agencies who might want to cover the story. When will large organisations learn that it is in their best interests to listen to customers rather than frustrate them?

We asked a question

The Co-operative Bank has been talking about its new Chip and PIN Card Reader scheme, which forces people at home to use electronic, battery operated devices if they want to use the main online banking services.

Yet more unnecessary gadgets clutter the world...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Nation Wideboys

Update: 8 July 09, Nationwide rang to resolve the query. Victory for CCS!

Smiling and helpful customer services? We think not. Read on to find out why.

Nationwide are under the spotlight this week. They have a reputation for poor customer service in a number of places online e.g. 'It pays to decide NOT Nationwide' and 'Nationwide Building Society equals poor customer service'. The details below have been passed on by the customer in question - we will pass any comments on to them.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Royal Mail

Update: 7 July 09, Royal Mail refunded £10 of the £20 parcel they lost. CCS still counts this as a victory. Royal Mail said: "This payment is made without prejudice as an exceptional, one off, goodwill gesture." Victory for CCS!

Our first featured company is - Royal Mail!

We were made aware of the site 'Royal Mail ripoff' [since removed] by the person who set it up, and after some communication we have verified what they say so will be featuring Royal Mail here. They set up their site because they had attempted every other means of redress for their grievance with Royal Mail and got no satisfaction, which understandably left them frustrated and wanting to share their experience. We will hand over to them now, to explain things in their own words (the text in dark blue).


Have you ever had experience of poor customer service when dealing with companies? And felt powerless to do anything about it? Well, now you can send the examples here.

This blog will spotlight the things companies would rather keep as dirty secrets, so send them in. The blog will also include updates if the companies cave in and eventually treat their customers with the respect they deserve.