23 April 2010 – problems, problems



The first day of my holiday was spent sorting out crap on the phone. Honestly, I may as well have been at work except I was the one doing the complaining and someone else was in a call centre listening to me. It all began with O2.

My phone contract is coming to an end so Commando and I went into town to renew it and upgrade my phone. This should have all been quite simple. It wasn’t. The girl in the O2 shop was pretty disinterested from the outset. What she was offering me didn’t sound very enticing, especially as the insurance on the phone, which she said was compulsory was almost double what I’d been paying before. When I said I wasn’t happy she actually shrugged in a take it or leave it kind of way. Of course, I asked to speak to the manager. The manager shrugged too.
“That’s the deal, if you don’t like it you don’t have to take it,” she said.
I wouldn’t mind but I’ve been an O2 customer for years and years and I would have expected better treatment and some kind of loyalty discount not a huge rise in price.
“I’ll leave it then,” I said.

Back at home I called O2, thinking they must have some kind of customer retention deals. We have them at the Mad House, most companies do because it’s cheaper to keep the customers you have than it is to entice new ones. Seriously, I think they train their staff at the Basil Fawlty school of customer service and charm. They couldn’t have been less interested if I’d been offering to sell them a pound coin for a fiver.

Then I had a call from Bard. Southampton City Council have sent him a court summons for unpaid council tax. This wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d ever sent him a bill in the first place or if he was actually liable for council tax, which he isn’t. When he called them they were less than helpful and basically told him he’d have to go to court. He’s never been to court in his life and he’s never owed anyone any money either. Of course, when I rang they wouldn’t talk to me because of the data protection act but I did get them to answer a couple of ‘theoretical’ questions. One being should someone have a bill before they get a court summons for not paying it? The answer to that was yes. Two being should someone on JobSeekers Allowance have to pay council tax? The answer to that was no.
“I rest my case then,” I said. “It seems an awful waste of tax payers money to make someone go to court for an outstanding bill they’ve never been sent for a service they do not have to pay for in the first place. Then I drafted two letters, one to the council and the other to our local MP. I signed them as Bard. Grrr! Bureaucracy gone mad!

After all that my phone rang. It was someone from a rival company of Mad House, trying to sell me cheap appliance insurance. I actually laughed out loud. When I said I already had it with Mad House so he was wasting his time talking to me he said he could sell it to me cheaper. Now we have tables of all the other insurance providers at work and I know his company is one of the most expensive. I told him where I worked and that I got staff discount. Even then he insisted he could get me a better deal and continued to argue with me until I put the phone down on him. Grrrr!

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