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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Current Affairs

Sixteen months ago I did a post about the Cutty Sark, a beautiful old 19th century tea clipper (the only one left), catching fire in her dry dock in Greenwich. She was undergoing a multi-million pound renovation. Fortunately this meant that a large amount of her was not on site.

The Cutty Sark in dry dock.

The fire in May 2007.

The burnt-out shell.


Earlier this week the findings of the enquiry into the fire were released. Not drunks or hoodies throwing lighted material in. A vacuum cleaner left on over the weekend that overheated and caught light. It had already been left on overnight "by accident" once.

Then there were the security guards who weren't guarding. They would have smelt a rat - or an overheating vacuum - not to mention heard it, if they'd actually been doing their rounds.

The renovation will cost an extra £10 million. The trustees "might" sue the contractors and the security firm.

They'd damn well better. Not only did a large part of my childhood and the national heritage go up in smoke, so did some of my money, as I have contributed to the restoration fund.

On a more personal note, I have had a couple of aggravations today that you won't believe.

Firstly, I took two pairs of shoes back to the shop to change them for a bigger size. They only had one pair, so I handed over my debit card for the part refund. Next thing I knew, the assistant didn't have it. Another member of staff stuck her nose in, asking in a rather patronising tone if I was sure I'd handed it over. Even though I told her not to talk to me like an idiot, she reported to her manager (a girl of about 12, apparently) that I had called HER an idiot. The manager of course is conversant with the customer always being right, and had a go at me. Meanwhile, my card was found ON THE FLOOR BEHIND THE CASH REGISTERS WHERE THEY HAD DROPPED IT.

I obtained a full refund and bought elsewhere. I have complained to the company.

I also received a much belated reply to a complaint to my bank and related credit card company. This was concerning a letter I received from them approving my consent to payments from my account relating to another person's account - a complete stranger whose account details they sent me. I immediately phoned to get the whole thing cancelled, and of course this cost me the price of a phone call. I wanted a small sum to reimburse me for a call I was forced to make because of their mistake. Just a pound or two would have sufficed. It was the principle.

The reply told me they would not reimburse me. Their reasoning? I had received a £12 good faith payment from them, so I was not out of pocket. The fact that this was the return of £12 they had taken from me because an online payment took 10 days instead of 2, laying me open to a late payment charge, seems to have escaped them. So I have to pay for one of their mistakes because they had to pay for the other one?

I have written to the Ombudsman.

I can but hope this person is one of those who loses their job in the bank takeover occasioned by those who sought to profit from the "credit crunch". Find a new line of work, darling.

7 comments:

SnarkAngel said...

So MANY similarities between our respective nations/societies, my dear. I feel your pain.

JoJo said...

Good for you Val for speaking up. These days you have to be so vigilant when it comes to these kinds of matters. The customer is no longer right anymore.

NEVER GIVE UP!!! ;)

BASRIC said...

My sympathies...no longer does customer service exist apparently on either side of the Atlantic. Of course here if you have to call to complain you have to talk with three people from India before I finally get high enough up the chain to reach someone who doesn't have such a strong accent and I can understand.

I myself am in the process of battling HP over a cord never received and $88.

Again...my sympathies.

Music Wench said...

I sympathize with you as well. So-called customer service seems to have been whittled down to recordings and people in other countries who try and tell me their name is Homer or Tom. Yeah, right. Makes me want to just scream.

Eliza said...

More power to you,Val! I vauely remember a time when the customer was valued and listened to...but it is a very dim and distant memory it seems :-(

I was upset by the whole Cutty Sark farce...and the knowledge that they 'might' sue the contractors is just stupid.The contractors were negligent and should pay at least some compensation..and that is from someone who hates the blame culture we find ouselves in these days

Diane said...

I couldn't believe a vacuum cleaner did all that damage! As for customer service, especially in the UK, it should be called 'customer what?'. What sends me off and spinning (the list gets ever longer!) is when you are waiting to pay for something perhaps, and the people behind the counter carry on with their conversation between themselves, and look at you as if you shouldn't be there. I always want to shout 'Er...I may be helping to pay your wages here, so some MANNERS might be nice'. I even apologised to the cashier in Boots the chemist the other day because my phone went just as I was handing over my credit card.

Tess said...

Customer service...What's that?

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