Category Archives: Tedious processes

Painfully convoluted resolution processes (e.g., lot of messages back and forth or external mediation entities)

More Australia Post goodness

I logged into Auspost and saw that the ‘Customer Enquiry’ I had lodged on Monday had been marked ‘resolved’ by someone on their end. So I disputed that it had been resolved and was given the opportunity to ‘update’ them. The space was limited so I had to heavily edit my rant. I’ve pasted it below. I tried to be polite, and I think I mostly succeeded. I just hope they don’t start shitting in our letterbox.

Some back story: I signed up for the parcel lockers in November this year. I verified my identification and soon after received a ‘MyPost’ card in the mail. The most recent parcel I picked up from the parcel lockers was on Thursday 15th December. End back story.

In relation to this parcel that was taken to Campsie PO instead of the parcel locker – I authorised an agent to go to Campsie PO and collect the package which he did so yesterday. When the parcel was finally located, my agent was lectured at by an Auspost staff member who said that it was my fault I didn’t receive the parcel earlier because I didn’t have any contact details on my Auspost account. This parcel, according to the tracking, has been sitting at Campsie PO since Tuesday 13th December. Two full days before I last collected a parcel FROM THE PARCEL LOCKERS. I’m not sure how my contact details were missing on the 13th of December and then suddenly reappeared on the 15th of December, just in time for me to be notified about my most recent parcel locker pick up. So strange!

Continue reading More Australia Post goodness

On Australia Post’s unreliable mail redirection

Having moved houses recently, we needed mail to be redirected for some time, to give us the opportunity to catch accounts where the address hadn’t been updated yet. It worked well with Australia Post in the past. This time, it ended up being a symphony, or rather, a cacophony, of failures.

Continue reading On Australia Post’s unreliable mail redirection

Google Play Services

I used to like Google. A lot.  They claimed not to be evil, and then frays started to appear, and then David Mitchell confirmed that they were probably evil.

As a proper beginning to this post though, let it be known that  I am not an IT privacy or security expert, amateur or even that interested in the workings of such things.  I am someone who feels a moral compulsion to complain about big-business and the government, and how they are invading my privacy and the privacy of everyone else.  Trying desperately to avoid scoring a Godwin Point so early in the article, I would like you to imagine a point in not-too-distant history (I’m looking at you, 1930s–1940s) and how much worse this period could have been  had the government in question had the amount of data about their people as our governments do on us. Imagine if their government had been able to purchase last weeks shopping list from a large company, that illustrated what kind of things you bought, consequently revealing all sorts of things about you.

I transgress though. Admittedly, it is a bit big-headed of me to think that a god-like entity like Google would be specifically interested in my data — they harvest it from everyone and sell the data, share the data, mix it into their favourite cocktails and generally use it for nefarious purposes. It’s like the Soylent Green of the past decade or so.  There is always the counter argument: “I get Google for free and in return they get my browsing/life habits”.  It makes me a bit uncomfortable — just because I have nothing to hide doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to be private anyway.

Moving on though, to Google Play Services.   I have a Samsung phone, which has a model number.  It might be an S-something-or-other, and that I don’t know what kind of phone I have seems to be indicative of a non-Apple user.  Just saying.  Anyway, I have had it for a year or two (again, indicative of an non-Apple user) and it works.  Well, at least, it worked.  I don’t have very many apps installed — weather, maps, a fitness tracker, eBay, a news website app and the Monty Python Silly Walk game — just basic stuff really — but my phone recently became constipated,  like an old person missing out on their daily serving of prune juice.  And the battery was lasting for less than 12 hours.   So, while waiting a thousand years for my news app to open a couple of weeks ago, a warning thing popped up saying “Google Maps has stopped” — which was odd, since I didn’t have location services switched on, the global satellite thing was off, and I was also not using Maps.  I ignored it, and assumed that maybe it hadn’t shut down properly the last time I used it.

In retrospect, this was an optimistic thought, and in subsequent weeks, this infuriating little message kept popping up.  I checked the apps section of the phone several times – and not only after the message popped up, but at random, possibly surprising times for the phone and Maps was not running.  A few things were running, but nothing that looked like maps, and in my frustration, I shut down Google Play Services.  My phone instantly sped up, and the battery lasted quite a long time.  Google Play Services is a bit like a zombie though, and kept restarting itself at random times, which I would mostly be made aware of because of the random message that “Maps had stopped”. Again.

This morning, I got fed up with the whole thing and turned to the Internet to find out if I really needed it on my phone.

Continue reading Google Play Services

Alamo Car Rentals

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

We travelled to the US a few months ago, stayed in Chicago for a week, and then planned to drive a hire car from Chicago to Montana, and then go north to Calgary over 10 days.

Being a planney sort of person, I booked an economy car online at Expedia. Simple enough, but noticed that there was not an area to list an additional driver, who we shall call F.M.

Anyway – We arrived at the Alamo at O’Hare Airport and got to the counter fairly quickly. We were greeted by a woman who seemed overly friendly. Then, KAPOW.

Continue reading Alamo Car Rentals

Tides resort in Koh Samui, Thailand: Scam or not scam?

There are quite a few complaints about the time-share selling tactics of the Tides Resort being built on Koh Samui, in Thailand. We got to experience them first-hand recently. It’s as bad as it sounds.

Continue reading Tides resort in Koh Samui, Thailand: Scam or not scam?

CommonWealth Bank: Not So Helpful

I recently realised that I had been paying fees on my CommonWealth Bank Account that I shouldn’t have. When enquiring about why I hadn’t been informed about this, and left paying them, I was told that the information had been given to me through advertisements (Why not a personal message? I wonder…). Additionaly, my consent was needed for the fees to be waived, though it surfaced that my consent wasn’t so needed for the fees to be applied in the first place. In light of this extensive information and due process (not!), the bank refused to refund these undue fees.

Continue reading CommonWealth Bank: Not So Helpful

Simply Electronics

Having had the most ancient model of Nokia for a while now, I decided the other week (month) that I would propel myself into the future and order a new telephone from the internet. The wonders of technology blah blah..

So. I went to a shopping website that helpfully told me where I could buy the phone from for the least expensive price. From this list I found this: SimplyElectronics(dot)net.

Don’t. Do. It. To. Yourself.

Continue reading Simply Electronics

Beware of Virgin Mobile’s Immutable Credit Limit

A couple of month ago, over Easter, I was puzzled, by a cryptic SMS from my operator, Virgin Mobile, letting me know that I was “approaching my agreed limit.” Not sure what they were referring to, and because we had been travelling past past the Blue Mountains that very day, with my trusty phone working as a GPS navigator, more for fun than need, I assumed I was getting close to my monthly 750 MB limit.

I was wrong. As it turned out, I was getting close to a never-agreed-upon forcibly-set-despite-my-requests credit limit of more than $350 on top of my monthly $25 fee. As it turns out, to “maximize the allowance completely” (I’m still not sure what it means, any suggestion welcome) without letting us “be hit with a massive bill at the end of the month,” Virgin enforces a limit of what one owes them, and cuts outgoing communication once it is reached.

This is a very commendable goal, and it would surely work but for two problems. First, this credit limit is based not on the monthly fee, (expressed in real hard dollars, R$, getting out of my pocket, 25 of them) but on the included usage (expressed in something akin to Virgin brownie points). For an added dose of confusion, and despite not having any link to real money, this included usage is also counted, at Virgin and many operators, in the same unit, dollars. I get 190 of what I will call fake dollars, F$, for R$25. Surely 25 is not equal to 190, so these two unfortunately like-named units are not the same. This becomes a problem when Virgin happily add up fake dollars, decides you have to pay them, and asks for real dollars. That’s a 7600% gain for them. Well done.

Second, once having discovered the speciousness of the entire business. it turns out that the customer has absolutely no say in what the limit is set at. Nobody can change it as it is “set to the correct amount.” Correct for Virgin, I’m sure…

As the icing on the cake, Virgin also seems to take pride in not warning their users when they reach their included quota, and only deems it appropriate to inform their customer about anything when the incurred debt is starting to loom close to this credit limit.

“Please help me create debts for you.” should be their motto.

So what follows is a summary of the email exchanges to get this charge I didn’t even know about reduced, and my credit limit lowered. It took putting the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO) in the loop to get a half satisfying answer (fee waived), and a rather lame excuse for not changing the credit limit (computer says no).

Well, I won’t be renewing my additional data plan. I can’t use it for fear of going above without warning. What is it good for then?

Continue reading Beware of Virgin Mobile’s Immutable Credit Limit

Unending spam from LastMinute

LastMinute does not care for their customers on spam matters. Make sure you don’t give them your email address unless you are willing to receive their “communications” ad vitam eternam

To: "lastminute.com" <[email protected]>, [email protected]
Subject: Re: 50% off restaurants | 50% off theatre | 50% off spa | More

Hello,

Please stop spamming me.

I have received half a dozen of messages similar to the ones below recently, for all of which
I’ve followed the unsubscribe link and was enventually greeted by a
message of the “You have been successfully unsubscribed” type. Or not.

Not to mention that, whenever I gave you this email address, I carefully
opted *out* of any promotional communication from you, as I always do.

Please unsubscribe *immediately* my address <XXX>
from *all* your databases, as I don’t trust you to use it “reasonnably.”

Also, let me remind you that the standard for electronic mail is *not* HTML, but plain text. You are therefore cutting yourself from a portion of your possible customers by not providing the content appropriately. I doubt they’d bother following that single link anyway, so it may prove to be a time saver for them…

On Fri, May 06, 2011 at 11:20:06AM -0000, lastminute.com wrote:
> This is an HTML email which could not be displayed by your email client. To display it in a web browser, please click here:
> [url=http://XXX]http://XXX[/url]

Nobody replied nor acted on this complaint. Same for the next two or three others I sent. I eventually got something looking like a satisfactory answer by writing to their infrastructure provider.

Continue reading Unending spam from LastMinute

Easy Flowers from easyflowers.com.au – Not quite

Dear Sir/Madam,

RE: Sale #: XXXXXX

I am writing to complain about your service.

I simply ordered some flowers (The Jospehine bunch) to be delivered to my mother on Mothers Day on Wednesday 4th May.

Thursday: I received a call from your customer service people to say that the florists were not able to deliver on Sunday, and that the flowers would have to be delivered on Friday or Saturday. Though annoyed that the flowers would not be delivered to my mother on Sunday, I agreed for Saturday on the proviso that the delivery fee be refunded, as I had paid extra to have the flowers delivered on Sunday. The fellow that I spoke to seemed a bit cavalier about the refund, but nonetheless assured me that the delivery fee would be refunded.

Later that day, I received a call from my mother, thanking me profusely for the flowers! The florist had rung her and asked her if she could deliver the flowers on the Friday – thus spoiling the surprise and moving the delivery day forward to Friday.

Friday: My mother rang me again to thank me for the nice white flowers. White. The flowers that I ordered were yellow and pink.

Please do something about this – my order has been completely stuffed up.

Yours etcetera,

J.Cuthbert

Continue reading Easy Flowers from easyflowers.com.au – Not quite