Archive for the ‘complaints’ Category

Dear Halifax
I’d like to write and tell you how much I’ve appreciated your service and care over the past eight or ten years I’ve been banking with you.
I’d like to, well, it’s good to have ambition but if I did so I’d be lying through my teeth.
In reality the service that you’ve provided me over the past near decade has gone from adequate to abysmal. Once upon a time, all those years I could go to my local branch. Then you started pushing all of your customers to take your paid-for accounts and people like me, who feel that the liquidity that our saving with you provides as well as the percentage that you accrue from our interest payments is probably enough considering the service you provide were sidelined and relegated.
This came to a head after I had waited in line only to be told that talking to some-one in branch was now reserved  for fee paying customers only and that in future I should use telephone or online banking. However, he did deal with my request at that time because of the length of time I had been queuing.
Your voice recognition software and interface have never been perfect but it was getting there. Until that is this summer when you started tinkering all over again and it’s now a nightmare once more. And spare a thought for your operators, the only time they get to speak to anyone is after having gone through the third circle of hell which is your 0845 number. Can you imagine if everyone you spoke to all day long was spitting with rage? Well, I suppose you can, you just have to tell them that you work in the banking industry.
Until recently I could call & pay my rent and bills as the money always goes to the same people. Thanks the latest changes I need their account details. Guess what, with these fancy new mobile phones I don’t need to be at home to do my banking so I don’t often tend to have such details at hand. Stupid me eh? Thinking I could give money to the same people in the same way that I have been for the last three years…
So, what is actually wrong with your telephone banking. Sorry if this is teaching your granny to suck eggs but from my experience it’s self evident that you’ve not put your latest incarnation through any testing (for example if the words “two” and “too” pose a risk of confusion and therefore frustration and anger, think of a different number…)
So, we have to think of a memorable number for the sake of security. So every-one uses their birthday or anniversary. Memorable numbers which are also secure and unknown to anybody else are pretty much mutually exclusive but whatever. I don’t know if I tried to put my digits in wrong one time but all of a sudden I started go through to an associate who would ask the most imponderable ‘security’ questions; such as:
“you went to the supermarket four days ago, how much did you spend?”
“I don’t know, about £10 or £20.”
“Sorry I can’t take an ‘or’ answer. How much did you spend?”
“Alright, split the difference, let’s say £15.”
“And you went to a cash machine last Friday, how much did you take out?”
“I have no idea, I went a few times and I was drunk on most of those occasions, I’d guess about £20 each time.”
“I’m sorry, you haven’t been able to answer your security questions adequately…”
Another time I rang I was able to remember greater detail of my financial activities and asked whether there couldn’t be a question I set which only I would know the answer to. It appears not. Because if some-one found out the answer then I wouldn’t be protected. Well here’s a thing, I won’t use anything as obvious as my birthday or my anniversary and I cross my heart and promise to never call you when there are muggers listening. There are other memorable questions with not so obvious answers; for example
“How are you?”
I could guess “fine” or “very well” but I, and I guess no telephone banking fraudsters, wouldn’t think of “slamming like a sh*thouse door” in a month of Sundays. As it stands anyone who has access to a diary, organiser, or a birthday card could access most people’s accounts. & I know you advise people not to use birthdays or anniversaries but get real! It’s either that or their debit card’s PIN.
And so I thought to myself it might be a better idea to try online banking instead. What a fool I am. Perhaps I’m just naive when it comes to the internet, not having had much experience of it, only having worked in online research and marketing on and of for the past 12 years, so what do I know? But here’s a thing. Having to give a name, a password AND a memorable phrase or whatever is not security, it’s stupid. The more barriers to entry (security) the more likely it is people are going to have to write down the details that they need to provide (stupidity). So, while your systems appear safe from your side, it’s bunk from ours.
The registration details I was given were in my full name, every time I register for anything online I use Dan, it’s only my mother that calls me Daniel when she’s cross with me. So that was wrong when I tried to log in the first time. Used my own password and the code that was text to me, blah blah blah, needless to say I cannot access my account online. Maybe I should phone in and go through that electronic version of Hades so I can get a new set of details every time I want to administer my account for myself.
Or maybe I should just take up someone else’s services.  I hear all the other highstreet banks have had lots of complaints. I can bet you don’t get many complaints since it’s impossible to email you a complaint unless you’re already logged in or you’re masochistic enough to instigate first contact with your phone system. A fantastic wheeze whereby you can tell the FSA in all faith that you hardly receive any complaints. My hat is off to your brilliant Machiavellian stratagem.
So, here’s how you can help me. When I phone in perhaps I could have an option to go straight into the queue for an operator. Waiting a couple of minutes is certainly better than the psychological torture of trying to deal with that cheery voiced kill-bot that would drive the Dalai Lama into conniptions of blood lust and try to imagineer a way of getting access to our accounts online which don’t result in your customers wishing your corporation was possessed of a single neck so they could cheerily strangle your entire operation in one fatal swoop.
But I doubt any of my complaints or suggestions will be heeded, I do expect a standard response which won’t even begin to cover anything I’ve raised herein, so I’m off. Toodles. It’s been unpleasant.

Update: They gave me £20 for the inconvenience I had experienced but expressed having no intention of changing their security process except for ongoing reviews & they definitely did NOT deliberately put up barriers to customer complaints.


Dear BBC One.

Why oh why was I watching TV the other night? I pay my license fee so I feel I have ever right to do so but what I saw was indisputably one of the worst programmes I think I have ever been unfortunate enough to witness. (& I’ve been unemployed, I’ve seen Doctors!)

Of course I’m talking about “That’s Britain!” I found it to be ham fisted, trite, moronic, patronising and condescending all at the same time. Quite an accomplishment, even for Nick Knowles! Seriously, Ade Edmondson looking at how electricity’s made? Surely he need look no further than the tomb of Lord Reith, I’m assuming the whole affair was powered by hooking his rapidly spinning remains to a generator? If not you’ve missed a money saving trick there for sure. At least in that case Julia Bradbury’s leering mug would offer value for money, I appreciate that financial constraints prevent you employing some-one with telegenic appeal so that at least can be forgiven.

While my cat, Beezer, continues to leave better television formats waiting in his litter tray each day (and that poor blighter is currently suffering from a case of worms) Edmondson is on the trail of a letter. Is it his resignation or a suicide note? Perhaps a simple letter apology would be enough so long as there was also a promise never to do it again.

Honestly, if I wanted to watch two ill-informed, opinionated talentless hot air machines in front of a wall with random words written upon it I’d go to the park to look at some graffiti on the wall of the public toilet (clearly the most appropriate wall for this kind of meretricious pap) and then spark up a conversation with a couple of the hand dryers and street drinkers down there. At least there would be the chance of catching sight of a squirrel or a pigeon by way of relief from the meaningless drivel that come out of the heads of Knowles and Bradbury spurred on by people with so much time on their hands that they can actually be bothered to tweet in and add their two pence worth to the ‘debate.’

That’s not Britain. Britain demands more.

It may suit you to treat Britons like mindless zombies who you can dole this detritus out to while you sink your hands into our pockets (and you don’t even give us the fleeting joy of a reach around)  but the only thing that zombies want to satisfy them is brains so lets start seeing some, please! I thought when Adrian Child and Christine Bleakly chipped to the other side things would pick up, considering how hard it would be to get much worse but you, in your desperate race to utter mediocrity, managed it. And managed it with aplomb!

If you really want to know what Britain is, it’s Charlie Brooker, Victoria Coren , Benjamin Zephaniah, and Damien Hurst. It’s Will Self, John Snow, Jonathan Dimbleby and Stephanie Flanders. It’s not DVD shifting comedians playing at being milkmen and posties in order to enlighten us as to what a hard job they do so please, stop pretending that it is and try, do please try to find just one good idea. (Beezer is always available for consultation if needs be.)

Dan Cash

When I lived in London I used to get really wound up by two things, people who would stop immediately upon getting off the escalator and people who would stop suddenly in the middle of the path for no discernible reason. Some Scot actually slapped me once when I crashed into her when, after having stood all the way down on the left of the escalator she just stood there. At about 5.30 on a weekday afternoon as I was coming home.

But I digressed before I even began telling you about what people do in Brighton that’s even more gear grindingly, irritatingly, moronically stupid. It’s the idiots who stand in doorways.

Perhaps they do it all over these days but I’ve only really noticed it around Brighton in the past year or two. It doesn’t matter if it’s some-one leaving a shop counting their change, they can’t decide whether to go left or right so they stop dead or if they’re Spanish or Japanese holiday makers in the summer, maybe they’re commuters standing in the door of a train all the way from Brighton to Worthing tutting and complaining because all these people want to get past at every stop.

Just Minding Her Own Business…

My favourite is the one that has a large and heavy case which, for security, they keep between their feet; in an entrance-way; on a commuter train. And they have the gall to suggest that Britain’s dumbing down! They haven’t seen the start of it! I’m amazed we’ve even got enough collective consciousness left to tie our own shoe laces. Today I had to get my bike on the train past some klutz in a red coat who’d found such a prime location, right in the middle of a narrow doorway that she had got in the way of a woman with a pushchair and a guy with a bike getting off and me getting on. Why?! How could she not see how awkward and in the way she was? Was the constant bumping and jostling and people looking her in the face and tutting and sighing and saying “excuse me” or “d’uh!” not enough to tell her “GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!”?

I suppose if it was pelting down with rain that it might be understandable if people were sheltering in shop doorways but these people seem to do it as a social activity, meeting up with their friends in order to swell their own execrable ranks. How can they seem genuinely put out when you ask them to move? With all the tutting and sighing and rolling of eyes it’s as if they’re doing you a favour. Yeah, thanks for that! Owe you one mate, a big one. It’s enough to send a semi-comatose narcoleptic into conniptions so how on earth your friendly neighbourhood fuming misanthrope is supposed to cope I just don’t know!

So Kate Moss says “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and once again we’re treated to tabloid OUTRAGE as super skinny models make young girls anorexic. Except Kate isn’t that thin any more & the problem of obesity is far more common and threatening more lives in the west than a few  girls taking skipping lunch to its illogical conclusion.

It’s easy to blame slender models for the apparent increase in childhood anorexia and eating disorders as well as body dysmorphia but that’s simply shooting at the most obvious target until you actually look a little deeper.

Designers use extremely thin models for their haute couture ranges and runway shows it’s true but what girls are interested in high end fashion when their pocket money will barely stretch to buying more than a few bits from Primark, let alone titles such as Vogue or Harpers?

It’s still more or less acceptable in many areas to point and laugh at fatties trundling down the street and the very fat are something of a curiosity, they draw our attention whether we like to admit it or not. Our governments try to tell us to eat healthily and everyone knows that to have a slender body is to have a healthy body but the message is not getting across. In a recent survey in Scotland it was revealed that some parents thought that a can of Coke or a bag of chips counted toward their ‘five a day’- a programme set up by central government to get people eating at least 5 pieces of fruit or vegetables every day.

While the powers that be are trying to convince us that obesity is becoming an epidemic and yet information is so thin on the ground is it any surprise that children are confusing the message and becoming dangerously thin while there’s a constant soundtrack murmuring ‘Britain’s getting fatter, loose more weight’?

Much as we need to stop blaming the overweight for their own failings when it comes to moderate portion sizes we should also stop blaming the thin for promoting the idea of thinness as ideal. By the very nature of their title models have bodies that others strive toward. Models shouldn’t be the spokespeople for any agenda, they’re there to look pretty. If you’ve ever been caught in conversation with a model you’ll know it’s almost, but not quite as soul destroying as time spent with an actor or musician, the more successful they are the more vapid, insular, self delusional and short sighted -in terms of world view- they become, hardly a great ambassador for any cause and certainly not for something as important as the younger generation’s long term health.