Customer Service

Right, its back by popular demand, the Spen666 rant.

Today’s blog post is going to be a rant at several companies and their tactics or lack of customer service.



Recently, I came home to find a card from the Royal Mail saying they had tried to deliver a package but it was too large for my letterbox. The card said the package would be available for collection at the local delivery office. No problems, its only a couple of miles away. So the following day, after my post had been delivered ie > 24 hours after the card was left, I went to the Ilford Delivery Office to collect my parcel.

I joined the queue after having ensured that I had paid for my car parking and that I had the necessary proof of identity required by the Royal Mail. Eventually, I got served, only to be told that they did not have my package. Apparently the postman(woman) had not returned it to the delivery office, but not to worry “leave us your phone number and we will ring you to collect it when we receive it”. Not much good to me when I have to take time off work to attend at the delivery office as it is some 10+miles from my work and is not open when I return from work or set off for work. I therefore left empty handed, they did not even return the card, so I now cannot collect the parcel if I have another morning off work.

So, my questions to the Royal Mail are:

1. Where the F*%k is my package? If it is not at the delivery office, then who has it and what has the postman(woman) done with the same?

2. Why deliver a card telling me where and when I can collect the package and then you don’t have the package or know where it is?



I received a call recently at home from X at “American Express” purporting to tell me about their latest service for cardholders. He asked if it was convenient to talk now. I told him no, so he said he would ring back later. I said not to bother as I do not wish to have whatever the service was as I do not deal with unsolicited callers. I was then challenged quite aggressively as to how I could know I did not want the service. I’m not prepared to stand for my refusal to accept their service being challenged in an unsolicited call, so I spoke to a supervisor and made a formal complaint. All was going well when the supervisor said he would deal with the complaint and accepted my decision should not be challenged.

I asked for the outcome of my formal complaint to be notified to me in writing in accordance with American Express’s complaint’s procedure. Initially I was told this was not possible. When I referred him to the American Express complaint’s procedure, I received the surprising admission that he was not calling from American Express even though they had said they were initially.

So, it seems that not only do they screw up the economy, companies in the financial services are happy to have 3rd parties lying that they are American Express and mislead you.

I think this is a matter that the Financial Services Ombudsman may be interested in. I will wait to see what American Express have to say first to my formal written complaint, which I sent to their address, not to some 3rd party marketing company



This happened to me on Thursday evening when the CSMA telephoned my mobile number

“ This is X from the CSMA. Can I speak to Spen 666?”


“We are calling regarding our recent letter to you” [ Incidentally, I have not received a letter from them]


“Before we go any further can you just confirm…..[insert numerous pieces of personal data]

“ I do not give out personal data to unsolicited callers” [ I have no idea who the caller was and it could easily be a phishing]

“We are not asking for personal data”

“Ok, then what are you calling for”

“ we need to confirm ….[asks again for personal data from me] before I can proceed”

“I have told you that I do not give out personal data to unsolicited callers. How about if I ask you for…[requests same personal data from caller as she asked from me]”

“I’m not prepared to give you such information sir. The information I have requested I have in front of me.”

“well then, if a) you are not prepared to give me the same data, then I am not going to give you my personal data and b) if you have the information, you will not need me to tell you it”

“Ok sir, can you please call CSMA?”

“No, I have no reason to call CSMA”

“We need to speak to you regarding our letter”

“Well, speak away”

“I can’t”

“Well, if you are not prepared to discuss matters, then please stop calling me”

“I am prepared to discuss the matter sir”

“well go ahead then”

“I can’t until you confirm …[requests again personal data”

“I am not going to give personal data to you”

“We’ll call you back later then sir”

“What part of I’m not prepared to give personal data do you not understand. The answer will be the same whenever you call”


So, I have no idea of why CSMA (assuming it is them) called me or why they think I should call them. It would be a good call

“Hello CSMA”

“Good day, I’m calling you”

”why are you calling sir?”


Now CSMA seem to think the data protection act prevents them from speaking to me on the telephone, citing the need to ensure they are speaking to me. However, they are quite happy to put matters in writing and send it via the Royal Mail. Its not as if letters or packages have ever gone astray is it? I mean it has never been know has it? (who said see above)


I had a similar situation with E-on Energy when again they refused to speak. They sent me a letter which started “Dear Spen666, I refer  to our conversation of today’s date…” and went on to set out in writing the matters they wanted to talk about. So by their letter they accepted knowing it was me whom they were speaking to.


CSMA and other organisations, if you are not prepared to speak to me, then stop ringing me. I am not going to give out personal data to unsolicited callers, nor am I going to call your 08XX number to pay for the privilege of you speaking to me.

“I have no idea”


EAST COAST MAINLINE 1st Class Complimentary Offer

I travelled 1st class back to London tonight. now in first class their is supposed to be a complimentary food and drink service served at your seat. Indeed they announced this as the train left Newcastle.


Now I imagined that the complimentary food and drink service would perhaps include a drink of tea/coffee or water and perhaps say a sandwich or similar. Seems I was wrong.#The menu on the tables indicates that they would serve, sandwiches, crisps, cake and drinks. However, at the foot of the menu it says

“We may have to substitute or alter some items on the menu at short notice…”

So, it appears this have happened on my train.

The tea/coffee/ soft drinks have been substituted by NOTHING AT ALL

The sandwich has been substituted by NOTHING AT ALL

The cake has been substituted by NOTHING AT ALL

The crisps have been substituted by NOTHING AT ALL

I’m sure that I am being unreasonable in not thinking the substitute items are equally worthy. I’m sure also that I am ungrateful for  not thinking it was worth the extra cost to receive nothing at all extra to those in standard class.

Than you East Coast for allowing me the honour of travelling at rip off cost on  your trains. I would call it a  train service, but it seems that the service element has been forgotten.


VIRGIN MEDIA – my request to increase my broadband speed

Don’t get me started again on Virgin Media. I rang them last week to ask the cost of increasing the broadband speed. When I was given the price, I said that BT could do it cheaper. I was told to go with them then! So much for customer retention. When I spoke to the customer retention (aka disconnection) team, I was told that I was wrong to ask to upgrade my broadband speed and that I did not need it and should stick with the slower speed!


Now to me, that’s a bit like going to Tesco’s to buy a pork joint and having the checkout staff tell you to put it back and to choose a vegetarian option instead as “its what you want”.


Virgin Media complaints section says on their website that they prefer to deal with complaints on the telephone rather than in writing, but they apparently do not have a telephone number for customers to use, nor can the customer retention team put your call through to the complaints team. I want a job on that team. It must be great dealing with complaints over the telephone when you do not have a telephone. Sounds as busy as the life of a public sector worker.


Still, all’s well that ends well with Virgin as I eventually called back & spoke to a nice gentleman who has doubled my broadband speed immediately and it will increase again in October to be 6 times faster than it was last week. No more buffering when downloading those ahem special films


NEWCASTLE UNITED FC – claiming to be a football team

This time Brighton did not need Trelford Mills to win a cup tie…….enough said.