Peripheral Vision

"I like surface noise. Life has surface noise." That's what John Peel said when he was asked why he preferred vinyl to CDs. This blog is about the surface noise of life as heard by one who listens.

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Location: Devon, United Kingdom

Monday, June 04, 2007

Is 123-REG a waste of good web space?

4th June - STILL nothing from 123-reg so-called customer services so-called technical support. Either they are incompetent or they just don't give a damn.
I suspect - and you read it here first - that they did a big promotion of their registration and hosting services to crank up the customer base in preparation for a take-over bid.

Here are some questions for 123-reg:

Why have you marked both my support requests as 'solved' when they clearly have not been solved?

Why does your so-called 'customer support' line have a continuous 25-minute+ delay time? Is this how you really make your money - charging 10p per minute to listen to crap music?

Why do you continue to advertise offers you clearly cannot support?

Why do I get the feeling that I will just be fobbed off with a standard paragraph rather than a proper answer?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

123-reg update - still waiting...

It is now 29th May and 123-Reg so-called 'customer support' has still not replied to my emails. They still have a recorded message on their 'technical support' line claiming an 'unprecedented volume of calls'. I doubt they even know what 'unprecedented' means, but I think this must set a precedent for lousy service.

43 minutes listening to poor renditions of Mozart pops then a put-upon male voice pipes up. He is grovellingly apologetic and tells me that 'management knows about the problem'. And, bless him, he solves my problem in a matter of minutes. So, I wonder, how long before 123-reg management actually DO something about the problem?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Are You Being Served?

'Customer Service' and the importance thereof has been rammed down the throats of upper management for so long now that you would have thought there was nothing more to say on the subject: all companies must, by now, have CS departments of surpassing quality. End of story.

But I fear this is far from the case.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the job of finding a new web hosting service for a number of domain names, in preparation for some radical changes we are making to our business management software. After considerable Googling, I settled on a company I had used before called 123-Reg, who were offering a decent deal for transferring names. I duly went through the transfer process, somewhat perplexed but not beaten by the byzantine convolutions apparently required by their unhelpfully-designed web site. At the end of it, I expected two of the domains to be running smoothly with the remainder on hold.

However, both domains, for which all steps had been completed and files duly uploaded, returned 'server not found' errors, despite my best efforts. Check all the steps. Re-check. Everything looks fine. I reach for the phone and dial their 'customer service' number. After the usual multiple button-pushing and a few minutes of Mozart, a soothing, female voice tells me the unsurprising news that due to 'unprecedented levels of traffic' it is unlikely that anyone will get around to talking to me for at least 25 minutes and that meanwhile they would be charging me 10p per minute to listen to pop classics.

Much as I love Mozart, the sound quality on my telephone is not what you would call 'high fidelity' and, in any case, I was not willing to clog my phone line for half an hour at my expense. So I scribbled a curt note on some headed paper and made for the fax machine, reminding myself that, just occasionally, it was indeed a useful gadget. It took me a minute or two to recall the sequence of operations, but I managed to get it to dial and swallow my original. Engaged. Never mind - it has auto-redial and will do so for at least three attempts. So I left it to it's dialling and went back to my pc to fire off an email, explaining the problem and requesting help.

Taking another look at their site, I noticed that they are owned by Pipex, for which no number was given. Directory enquiries provided me with - bless them - an 0800 number! Only two options to select from, one rang for a couple of munutes and then cut me off. The other was answered by a chap who sounded like his phone hadn't rung for a couple of weeks and he was quite surprised that there were still people out there who had his number. When I explained that DE had given me an 0800 number, he said that he didn't know there was such a thing and in any case 123-Reg was a separatge company, had nothing to do with him and he couldn't put me through to them. I asked him if he had any numbers for 123-Reg other than the useless one I had already dialled. He reluctantly admitted that he had a number for their head of Customer Service - jackpot! So I thought. But, with his number burned onto my redial list, I can reveal that the Head of Customer Service for 123-Reg is either dead at his desk with the receiver off-hook, or is so frightfully busy dealing with the thousands of complaints from dissatisfied customers that he hardly has time to put his phone down between calls. Either way, he does not answer.

Someone handed me a note to say that my fax, despite its auto-dial feature, had failed to get through.

So, here I am, a week later, with no response to phone, fax or email, a CS manager who is permanently unavailable and two web sites that do not work.

This is one company that had better get its 'customer service' act together pretty damn quick to avoid losing this customer - and, I suspect, many others.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Banks Get Slammed for Over-Charging

Just heard today that the OFT has criticized excessive charges imposed by credit card companies on their customers. About time too, OFT.

"Last summer, the OFT said that it had written to eight companies - including Barclaycard, HSBC, Halifax and Lloyds TSB - warning it believed their charges were ' excessive'. But the ruling, which is expected in the next few weeks, will affect all credit card companies, not only those involved in the investigation.

The OFT said the fees, which have helped plunge millions of families into debt, are ' disproportionately high'. The late payment charge, also known as a 'default charge', could be cut to £15 and possibly even lower. Most banks currently charge £20."

Well I know banks that charge £25 to £35, which is outright robbery. If you dare to challenge them, they say "Our charges reflect the costs involved", which we (and they) know is utter BS. They are making a good part of their obscene profits from these charges and now they have been found out.

If you have any of these ridicuous charges on your bank statement, telephone your bank and remind them of the OFT's judgement, asking them to remove the charges immediately.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Great British Banking Ripoff

If you happen to be one of the X million people in Britain without a 'full service' bank account, you may have noticed life getting increasingly complicated and expensive. More and more companies and utilities are pressing you to use Direct Debit to pay your bills and effectively fining you if you cannot, or choose not to pay by this method. Of course, they don't call it a fine - it is disguised as a 'discount' for those who do use DDs. Try paying your car insurance in instalments and you will likely find that the only options offered are full annual premium up front, or Direct Debit. If you don't happen to have several hundred quid in your back pocket, or a bank account, you are – to put it simply – stuffed.

Banks and credit card companies have recently been criticised by the Consumers Association for their “excessive” charges. Their response has been lightning fast – they kept right on making excessive charges. A reader has reported that the Alliance & Leicester turned a sub-£10 overdraft into a nearly £400 overdraft entirely with spurious bank charges, arising from their own failure to follow the client's instructions to cancel Direct Debits. Telephone calls and letters were apparently answered by robots, parroting the A&L Book of Rules. You know the one: “According to our records, the charges were raised according to our Code of Practice”. That's the C of P that gives them permission to do what the hell they like, and charge you for it.

Instead of lying down and getting shafted by your bank, try writing a letter of complaint about their grossly excessive profits at your expense. It probably won't get you very far, but at least they will know that we're on to them.