Saturday, 11 December 2010

Royal Fail

Royal Mail AGAIN! This time they have been incredibly unhelpful.

I ordered something online. Royal Mail won't let you know at what time they will be delivering items, so you have to take a day off work and stay in all day. I did this. I waited all morning. Then I had to go out for two minutes, just around the corner. I left a huge fluorescent note above the letter box, saying:

"Deliveries - I have popped out, just around the corner, and will be back in a couple of minutes, or ring me at 01970 617737 and I will be back in a few seconds."

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Philips - putting barriers in place

Past experiences with Philips
In March 2009 I had the misfortune of trying to use Philips' Customer Services department. A product bought from them had failed (surround-sound speakers) and was within the Philips warranty period. They made it difficult to contact them, sent me round various departments, had contact forms which did not work, did nothing when I contacted them (so I had to keep getting in touch every nine days to complain again). In the end it took two months and a huge amount of effort on my part before they would honour the warranty. Even then I was unhappy with them - we should all be concerned about waste of the Earth's resources. Yet when I asked Philips about getting the speakers repaired, even if I had to pay, I was told that Philips no longer repair faulty products - that it is cheaper to buy new. However environmentally it is a disgrace - if a product breaks after a year Philips expect you to throw it away and buy more, even if the fault is something that is easy to fix. Electrical goods have some of the most damaging manufacturing processes and include many toxic substances; recycling can not deal with the sheer amount of goods that Western society produces then discards. Any decent manufacturer would have the ingenuity and inclination to design their products to be easily (and cheaply) repairable, and would either have their own repair scheme or would enable repairs to be made by small local companies. Philips are a big let-down here, and I am very disappointed. On top of the fact that it took two months before it was resolved, during which time I had no sound from my PC, limiting its creative uses massively.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Royal Mail - mountains of junk through your letterbox

Royal Mail - again. In a saga that goes back a long way...

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is supposed to help you prevent all the wasteful junk that comes through your door. Except it is a bit rubbish, because it is run by the junkmail industry, i.e. the people sending you the unwanted rubbish in the first place. That is why they use an 'opt-out' system so that you have to go out of your way to stop receiving junkmail, rather than 'opt-in' whereby you would get no junkmail unless you asked for it, and would save mountains of paper overnight. The MPS still try and put you off opting-out first, and even then it only lasts a limited period and they do not inform you when the registration runs out. Just to show how utterly crap they are, they ignore companies who address junkmail to 'The Occupier' - their advice in those cases is "If you are receiving mailings addressed to the occupier or homeowner you must contact the company who sent the mailing directly and ask to be removed from their delivery lists" - my emphasis. Right, so you should spend your time writing to unscrupulous junkmail companies, giving them your confirmed contact details? As if that won't just increase the amount of unsolicited crap that comes through your door?

Friday, 14 May 2010

Game download services

The idea of being able to easily download PC games is a great one. There are potentially environmental benefits (no physical products to ship around the world); in an ideal world savings from not needing to make and ship physical products would be passed on to the consumer; and it can be quicker to get hold of a game in some cases.

There are a number of game download companies, all competing for customers. Once someone joins a service then - if they are happy with it - it is likely that they will stick with it for all their gaming needs. It should therefore be important to companies to offer the best possible service to the customer, with the fewest barriers - to put the needs of the customer first.

Monday, 5 April 2010

LoveFilm, but sod the environment

This began around twelve months ago, in May 2009. I was a Lovefilm customer - the subscription service whereby DVD films are sent to you and you return them in the post when you have finished with them. As you can imagine, this kind of service uses a massive amount of paper every year for all their envelopes (and letters, and unwanted promotional spam slipped in with the films...). At that point I noticed that they don't use 100% post-consumer waste for their envelopes and paperwork, which is the best option environmentally, and the only one for any decent company with an environmental policy that is worth more than the paper it is printed on. The recycling industry is facing huge problems because companies like Lovefilm don't buy post-consumer waste products, and there is no excuse for them not to do so. I asked their Customer Service department if Lovefilm would be switching to post-consumer waste paper, and giving reasons why.