Customer Service

Too Many Marketing Emails

I made the mistake of providing my email address to a store and I won’t be doing that again. Some respect a consumers privacy and the law but some don’t, and once a bad actor has your details it’s difficult to get rid of them.

The Shoe Company aka DSW

I just went in to buy a pair of shoes, I did get what I want and the product was good. However, I mistakenly provided them my email address. Before I even got to the car across the street I had received a cheesy marketing email from them so I unsubscribed.

I had thought that was the end of it but they kept emailing me, I unsubscribed every time. So, one day I just had enough and sent them an stern email. I also blacklisted their domain and IP address, so even if they responded I would never receive it.

Even that wasn’t the end of the story, they used an outsourcing contractor to contact me with a “how are we doing” survey. So I blacklisted the domain and IP address of that company too, I never completed the survey of course. Hopefully, I will now never hear from the again.

What To Do At The Store

A store may ask you for your email address and/or phone number before they have even started the transaction, just say “no”. If they press for it then I would just say “its none of your business”. You don’t have to provide the information to buy anything unless of course you are registering a product for future support or a warranty. They may even ask for an email to send the receipt to, just ask for a hard copy. Of course, its always best to remain polite and smile, the check out staff are just doing the job they’ve been told to do and they might even do the same when shopping themselves. If it becomes too difficult then I would personally walk out the store without making a purchase.

Loyalty Cards

If you have a loyalty card with a store then there is some kind of private information they have obtained from you at some point. I noticed one store has actually done away with them and buying a sale item, or other items come to that, no longer requires that card. That store was Haggens in the US, I was pleasantly surprised by that move.

Your Email Account

If you do want to give out an email to stores, and go on their e-newsletter list, I would recommend not using your main account, create one specifically for mailing lists and subscriptions.  That way, it keeps the junk separate from your day to day personal or business communication.

Assuming you only want to deal with one email account, and depending on what type of email supplier you have, it is possible to filter your messages in some kind of way, such as redirect them to a folder. You might be able to do this at the server level at your web host or by creating a rule or filter within your email program. I found this on YouTube for Gmail accounts.

I made a mistake and I’m now going through the steps to take back control as many others can do.

2024-01-11T00:18:41+00:0011 January 2024|Customer Service, Technology|

Customer Service 2023

Every year I summarize my customer service experiences for the year just past. As usual, I had some good and bad situations to deal with.  I will talk about the good elsewhere in the website to give them a promo, however, these are the bad.

Costco

In the past I’ve had some bad experiences with Costco regarding their poor remarks towards LGBTQ people. When I phoned them earlier in 2023 I asked if I could book an appointment for “my partner and I” they then went onto assume I was married to a female. I would have though, especially in a health environment, that I would get this anymore but I guess it continues.

DHL

A museum in London I ordered something from was sent by DHL. I had never had issues with this company before but multiple problems for this order. Not only did they charge me an extortionate fee for “brokerage” through customs, which means they don’t do anything really, they actually got three different addresses for me. the items are not supposed to be customs chargeable either, so seems like a mess.

Etsy

I ordered something from a seller on Etsy and it was incomplete. It wasn’t the suppliers fault but the Etsy system. The Etsy customer service function is just awful. They have conflicting policies; one area says you aren’t allowed to contact them until 48 hours after speaking to the seller, another area says 120 hours, their contact area is blocked off until that time has passed. Even after that I found the only way for them to pay attention is go through the “account deletion” process, you can’t even make a complaint. After about a month they finally contacted me saying “dear friend” for which I replied “I am a customer, not your friend” then asked them to proceed with account deletion.

HSBC Canada

I haven’t had any issues with them as such but this year they’ve been sending out survey after survey to me. I went in one branch to get some cash out and got a survey about my experience. I’m not sure why they are doing this so close to their merger with RBC (see Government of Canada announcement), maybe it’s to keep their marketing staff in a job.

Purolator

Another courier company bad experience. I had ordered something, I got note to say while I was out they “left the parcel on my doorstop OR with a person in the building”. Well, that turned out to be untrue but the worst of it came later when their customer service continued with other lies about the parcel and where it was. They were in a right mess. A few days later the parcel turned up from one of their vans. So, if they had made a mistake I wish they would just admit it and then something could be done to resolve it, or the sending company replace it. I called the supplier and told them not to send my orders via Purolator again but via Canada Post.

Royal Mint

Normally, Royal Mint are awesome and have set excellent standards for themselves. However, this year has been a struggle when I ordered a subscription type coin set. For some reason they had my address wrong on the subscription although it was correct everywhere else. So, my credit card was rejected the first time, they said they changed the address, but it also happened for the second and third coin too. The pricing was supposed to be consistent per coin but that’s been different too. The fourth coin is yet to be produced so we’ll see if that goes pear shaped.

Summary

Compared with what is happening in the world these are not big problems but they do affect their business as people will complain if these issues are consistent for other customers, from viewing the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot websites they are with exception to Royal Mint

2024-01-01T23:07:25+00:001 January 2024|Customer Service|

Courier Hell

Courier’s are a constant pain in my life and I wish shippers would not use them, here are my thoughts which is following my current experience with DHL.

Shipping from Overseas

When ordering online and the company uses a courier this can be a very expensive method of getting the goods to you.

The cost of the actual shipping will be very expensive in itself but the courier will also charge you their “custom broker service” fee, anticipated duty and tax. Even if your goods don’t have any duty or tax at the border the courier company will still charge you “in anticipation”. Even if there is not duty and tax you might not get that money back, as I have experienced.

Some couriers will not delivery until they receive this money from you. They are often extremely aggressive in their approach with nasty email reminders. Some will contact prior to delivery about the fee, which is slightly better, but some will expect you to pay “cash on deliver”. There are also no standards to how much they can charge, so they can really ask you for anything they want.

Choose Regular Postal Services Over Couriers

Unless you want to get into this gong show of expense for a not so significant item then don’t order the product unless the shipper uses the regular non-courier mail system. Going through a system like Royal Mail, USPS or Canada Post, for example, is much cheaper, and unlike couriers your local mail person knows your community well and there is less chance of mis-delivery. If you are not in when the delivery takes place your local Post Office is often more convenient to get to then the couriers pick up point. I’ve also noticed there are some areas couriers don’t even cover and outsource to the regular postal service, this defeats the purpose of using a courier anyway.

Bad Experiences

There are the bad experiences I have found with various courier services:

DHL

  • Got the address wrong on the customs form and an inaccurate explanation of the contents
  • Jumbled address on their tracking with incorrect information
  • Aggressive attitude about paying their custom broker fee

UPS

  • On delivery throws the parcel in a bush making it impossible to find
  • Delivers to incorrect address, just chucks it on someones doorstep and doesn’t obtain the required signature
  • Constantly loosing parcels
  • Inaccurate delivery windows, they say its “out for delivery” then 3 days later it actually arrives out of the blue.
  • Customer service redirects you to someone in the US and local UPS office never returns calls or investigates lost parcels

FedEx

  • Speeding
  • Drives over a neighbours flower beds instead of keeping to the road
  • Constantly delivering to the wrong address
  • No Canada customer service and have to talk to someone in the US with little knowledge of the local setup

LOOMIS

  • Refuses to deliver with no explanation
  • Having to pick up then waiting for hours in a huge line up of people
  • Pick up points in the middle of nowhere

Summary

So, in my experience, they provide very poor service levels, near impossible to contact them, aggressive attitude, and one never knows if the item will actually be delivered.  My recommendation is to always use the local Post Office for better service levels and delivery, even if the good might take longer to reach you.

Resource

This is a great overview about using courier services for delivery between US and Canada.

I love the Canada Tariff Finder tool mentioned in the article.

UPDATE 24 November 2023

Despite DHL having three slightly different addresses for me the package eventually turned up, which is a minor miracle. Even though not liable for custom duty they still charged me for it, and didn’t provide a refund. I explained the situation to the company I ordered from and they provided a complete refund.

Purolator is the current courier company I am having to fight. They “supposedly” delivered something to me but handed it to an unauthorized person who has obviously stolen it. So, I told Purolator I consider this undelivered and they must get it to me quickly. They responded to the “investigation” which they were supposed to have carried out but it was just to fob me off with some lame excuse that didn’t correlate with notes the courier placed on the tracking ticket. The response was “copy and paste”, they didn’t even hide that fact given that my name is in a different font than the rest of the message.

Purolator Copy and Paste Response

This is not the first incident with this company, they are just as bad as the others. I also advised the company I bought the product from. Who knows if this will ever be sorted out.

Courier companies are becoming a complete pain and a barrier for doing business online. I don’t want a fight every time I order something.

2023-11-25T04:47:24+00:0022 October 2023|Customer Service|

Transport for London 2FA

Transport for London (TfL) has set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA) on their Oyster Card website which means no more access for me. I will explain.

What is the Oyster Card

Like other transport systems, TfL has the Oyster Card, a credit card size payment system to ride on the London Underground network. More here.

Why I Prefer To Use Oyster Online

London is a completely crazy city with rude and impatient people trying to get from one place to another with the least possible barriers. Loading up an Oyster Card via the TfL website or app, or setting up auto-reloads means one doesn’t have to wait to use a machine and can do that from anywhere with an internet connection. The modern world is interconnected and about reducing workflows in getting things done. I have enjoyed setting these things up from here in Canada prior to making a trip home.

Having a record of transactions from the Oyster Card account is great for submitting backup information for tax returns and per deim.

How The TfL Update Affects Me and Others

This was the announcement from TfL regarding their new 2FA setup. So this means, if your IP address is outside of Europe you will no longer be able to login to your Oyster account. Their setup in Cloudflare has also blocked VPNs from accessing the site as well.

So for me, this means:

  • I can no longer access my Oyster Card account
  • I cannot review my balance
  • I cannot view or change any of my details; address, credit card, notifications etc

Even If I’m back in the UK I can’t use their site/app because I have a Canadian mobile.

So, I am sent back in time before the Oyster Card website was created and will have to resort to doing everything manually; lining up in a busy tube ticket hall in a more complex workflow.

Comments

London is the only city that has created this restriction, as far as I’m aware. Even though I’m a UK citizen and voter I’m now, in TfL’s eyes, a “visitor”, a bit of a condescending blow really. If they had set up the 2FA using an authentication app that would have been better than text SMS only service. It’s a matter of accessibility vs security vs ensuring London is open for business from all corners of the world. The more barriers that are created the less likely I’m open to doing business with people.

There really is no point in having a login account with Oyster anymore so I will reach out to them to delete/deactivate it.

In addition to the above, contacting customer service at TfL presented some barriers. I can’t reach an 0343 number from Canada and their online form wouldn’t accept Canadian telephone numbers, and their social media team “didn’t have access” to answer my question. So, it’s pretty frustrating.

I shall update this blog entry should I receive a response from TfL.

UPDATE as of 11th January 2023

The Good – they respond quickly despite their target being 10 days. A 10-day turnaround for customer service requests is dire in 2023 but pleased this is not the case with them.

The Bad – everything else.
Trying to get them to delete my online Oyster account is impossible. So much back and forth with zero results. They never read what has been written to them. They are not thinking that London is an international city. The customer service process for international customers is too difficult. They close a ticket without taking any action. The social media team don’t have access to account information and is useless at those issues.

I had a customer service request about 4 years ago and experienced the same back and forth then, so there really hasn’t been much progress within the organisation.

The story continues…

UPDATE as of 12th January 2023

The TfL social media team advised me to write to a particular email address, this generated another ticket. Now 2 tickets on the go, one of which TfL closed without taking any action.

I was getting so fed up with TfL so I decided to bite the bullet and make an international call to them. I was less than happy. Despite going through their long tedious call centre workflow the rep answered fairly quickly. He then couldn’t find my Oyster Card on the system, despite a previous rep finding it ok, and took some back & forth to get to it. Gave him details to refund the Oyster Cards on the system. I asked him to delete my Oyster account which he said would happen within 28 days. Due to the gong show of poor customer service, I asked for written confirmation of the deletion which he refused to do, only verbally.

Hopefully, this resolves everything but the whole issue of denying access to those travelling or based overseas is contrary to London being an “international” city and “open for business”. It’s not good in my opinion.

UPDATE as of 13th January 2023

I thought yesterday was the end of the story and I wouldn’t hear from them again. However, for some reason their system keep generating new issue tickets, I’ve now got 5 of them that are open. There is no correspondence attached to them, just acknowledgments of different ticket reference numbers. I have no idea what is going on with these people but will wait to see how things turn out. It’s quite laughable really.

UPDATE as of 16th January 2023

I received the refund they promised to my bank account, I consider that a minor miracle.  However, they still have a number of tickets open against my name so who knows what is going to happen to them.

UPDATE as of 23rd January 2023

I received a lengthy form email from them to notify me that they had deleted my account. However, it looks as though it won’t be a complete GDPR “right to be forgotten” action as they said they would keep certain things on file about me and continue to send me emails. I specifically ask them not to send me certain messages so not sure if that will happen, we shall see.

2023-01-24T00:28:13+00:0010 January 2023|Customer Service, United Kingdom|

Bad Customer Service Awards 2022

Every year I do a review of my customer service experiences for the past 12 months. 2022 has been a particularly bad year.

This year’s winners in my Bad Customer Service Awards are:

  1. First OnSite
  2. Redbubble
  3. Skip The Dishes

These are my experiences with the companies I’ve had to deal with:

Beezer

This company in Scotland never responded to a GDPR request I sent them. What is GDPR?

Costco

I had ongoing difficulties with their pharmacy with lost prescriptions, not being able to get through to them on the phone and general confusion in their back office. Their excuse was “we are the busiest pharmacy in Canada” which just doesn’t work with me, I don’t like being bullshitted to.

However, since they’ve finally put their service online, it makes life much easier as there is less face-to-face connection.

First OnSite

This is a restoration company here in British Columbia, I wrote about them here.

This company clearly was the worst of 2022 but I did come to the conclusion that restoration companies are rip off’s, they don’t actually do much, charge a lot of money, and just organize other companies to do the work. Clearly, it would be cheaper just to approach those companies ourselves and do our own project management.

HSBC

A branch manager in the UK is supposed to reach out to me and I still haven’t heard anything. I think I can forget that one, suspect they don’t really care about me.

The sale of HSBC Canada to the Royal Bank of Canada is quite concerning, I wrote about this here.

Redbubble

If only…! If only I had read the reviews of this company prior to ordering from it. The most telling one is on the Better Business Bureau website which states:

Pattern of Complaint: Redbubble came to BBB’s attention in July 2010. A review of complaints was done in November 2022. Based on BBB files the company has a pattern of complaints. The pattern found is complainants state they receive no response when contacting customer service to resolve issues. BBB is in the process of reaching out to Redbubble to address BBB’s concerns and will update the profile accordingly.

I ordered a couple of products from this company, but they never arrived within the promised time. The company’s customer service is non-existent taking a week to respond which is totally ridiculous for the amount of money this company makes. Their CEO just tweets from Australia taking his dog for a walk along the beach while the company is in a state of collapse.

People I had connected with mostly ordered via PayPal and they just reversed their charge rather than wait any longer for the company to respond. Others, who paid by credit card, opened fraud cases with their bank.

I found out, regarding my order, that Redbubble just sat on the parcel not passing it to the courier for weeks even though they said it had been shipped. This company thinks little of its customers and is lying to them too. It’s a shame for the artists concerned so hopefully, they can find a different way to connect with those who want to buy their products.

Skip The Dishes

I ordered food via their app and got a message to say it had arrived. The driver never ensured it got delivered to the right address and of course, they left it somewhere else.

I got on their app’s customer service which was just an awful experience. The rep must have been answering several at the same time and just wasn’t responding. When they did respond they could only answer in copy/paste messages, obviously from their call centre database, which was painfully annoying. In the meantime, we were looking at every house down the street to see if we could find where the driver had left the food. After almost 45 minutes of trying to get a response from their customer service, they eventually said they would provide a refund for what I asked for, however, given the erratic nature of the person I was texting I went on Twitter the next day. Eventually, they did return the money but what a complete nightmare dealing with them. At the end of the day, I wish I just had beans on toast for my dinner, I felt sick to my stomach to eat what I actually ordered.

I deleted my account and will never use them again. Most likely these companies are ripping off restaurants too and I feel better going there myself to pick something up.

SkyNews

They discontinued their worldwide service to many countries. Obtaining information from their customer service was worse than pulling teeth. However, looking back, I don’t really miss them.

Telus

I have updated my blog entry with happenings from 2022. A minor mish-mash of good and bad.

2023-01-03T18:45:44+00:003 January 2023|Customer Service|

HSBC Sale

HSBC was sold to the Royal Bank of Canada this week for an obscene amount. I’m not an expert in banking but thought I would discuss what this means to me.

About

The Royal Bank of Canada has signed a deal to buy HSBC Canada for CAD $13.5 billion. The deal will close by the end of 2023 and at that stage, it will take several months to migrate current HSBC customers to its bank.  RBC thinks it’s a way to expand internationally and add to its client base. They are supposedly going to integrate technology to meet the commercial capability and globally connected client base.

The deal will need regulatory approval so there will be some obstacles that they will have to get through.

The Good and the Bad

HSBC Canada is a little backward compared to other Canadian banks and its UK equivalent. The benefits that other people enjoy with other banks I don’t have with HSBC. I can’t add Debit to my iPhone since HSBC hasn’t signed up for Visa Debit or a similar service. I can’t use online verification services as HSBC hasn’t signed up for them, these include a login to Canadian government services. It would be a major benefit to me should RBC provide these services to migrated customers.

One of the major must-have facilities for me is to transfer money from HSBC UK to HSBC Canada. If money comes into my UK account I can then transfer it to my pound-sterling account in Canada, at no cost. Then, when the transfer rate is to my benefit, I convert it into my CAD$ account. Transferring at a time that is convenient to me vs getting it paid directly into my Canadian account from future pension payments and other reasons allows me to earn more from my money. HSBC Canada has many Asian clients for exactly that reason, transferring cash from HSBC Hong Kong is one such example. RBC need to think globally and provide equivalent or better services, otherwise, I would not be happy.

There has been a lot in the news about the reputation of HSBC being linked with unglamorous customers who may have a slightly dodgy background. I believe that will be a risk to reputation exercise for RBC so it had better review the security aspect of this deal.

HSBC vs RBC Customer Service

HSBC has not been great over the years.

I am supposed to have a named contact at HSBC Belgravia, London, but despite reaching out that person has never had the courtesy of replying.

It took over 1 year for HSBC to respond to a question here in Canada, then I just gave up on a service I was going to buy.

At this stage I don’t know too much about the customer service of RBC, however, looking through Yelp reviews it’s not great. Our local branch receives a 3/5, and other nearby branches don’t receive any greater than 2/5.

Online Feedback

I was checking out online what people are saying about this story. According to The Financial Post, it could affect mortgages. Some are saying that HSBC is beholden to China. Some have put an anti-Trudeau slant on it saying companies have no appetite to invest in Canada anymore. Some say it gives more power to the minority of banks. So, I’m not an expert on this subject, I really can’t comment on what they say.

Summary

It’s an excellent opportunity to review who I want to do business with. For example, I don’t have to move to RBC if another bank, with a better reputation, can provide equal or better services. It’s always good to bank with more than one institution too, if one goes belly up I would have another for continuity.

2022-12-01T00:03:06+00:001 December 2022|Customer Service|

Customer Service Restoration

Back in February two apartments above us had a leaky pipe, the water mainly affected the apartment above us but also did some minor damage to our kitchen as well. This is our journey to get the issue fixed.

In The Beginning

The day that it happened we called the local handyman and he drilled a hole in our kitchen ceiling so that the water would spread further into our walls. That did the trick and only affected a small part of the ceiling.  I felt sorry for those people above us as the water did affect them more.

Then we started on our journey to get this fixed which was more stressful than the actual leak.

BCAA

This is the company we have our insurance with. Initially, we had hoped that the apartment where the issue came from would get their insurance company to deal with all claims, we didn’t cause the incident, why should we pay for it out of our insurance. In fact, those are in the strata rules of where we live. However, when we initially contacted BCAA they said this was a building infrastructure problem rather than an accident caused by that apartment, so we would have to pay for it. I still don’t agree with this path but there wasn’t a lot I could do about it.

After that initial disappointment dealing with BCAA was ok. They were quite communicative, responding to our questions quickly, providing us with good explanations, and explaining things well. They paid us for certain expenses and the cheque came through very quickly.

First OnSite

This is a restoration company that was recommended to us and they were an approved supplier with BCAA. Our experience with First OnSite was very poor.

  • They said “we get bad reviews”, well, now we know why.
  • They said they would start the work in 2-3 weeks, 2 months later…sigh.
  • Their so-called “project management” was non-existent and through most of it, we did it. Project Management was about 10% of the bill, that was 10% more than they actually did. What they know about project management couldn’t fill up the backside of a postage stamp.
  • Their communication was really bad. The project manager never writes back to us. The scope of the project was poorly communicated. Really didn’t have a handle on scheduling their sub-contractor. Two people arrived unannounced by their project manager.
  • We provided feedback but there was still no improvement in their service levels.
  • 3-4 times they tried to sell us their moving services, however, no move was required. I think they just tried to sell us something that wasn’t really necessary, we only learned the scope and move requirement (ie minimal move that we could handle) when their sub-contractor arrived. Really, a restoration company should know the scope of work of such a simple project.
  • They mixed up the final sign off documentation, the project manager thought it had been sent to us, but wasn’t.
  • We project managed with the sub-contractor, First OnSite said they couldn’t start for another two weeks but when we dealt with them directly they started on Monday after we called them.
  • Their cleaners didn’t do the deep clean that we asked for, I had to clean after they cleaned.
  • Their estimate wasn’t very detailed and their invoice basically said: “see estimate”. We had taken note of all the hours worked on this project so from the First OnSite perspective it was difficult to tally things up.

Numerous restoration companies had worked in our community and they are basically all the same. When speaking to sub-contractors who know what they are doing our confidence is restored but it appears restoration companies are full of administrators who should probably just act as referral agents rather than pretend to be subject matter experts.

Bender

This is the company that did the main labour on the damage. They used their sub-contractor to do the job. I would say they did a pretty decent job, there were things that could have been better but generally, I was quite pleased.

If we could have bypassed First OnSite and gone directly to Bender this project would have been far less stressful.

Summary

These are my lessons learned:

  • Just because you didn’t cause an accident doesn’t mean an insurance company will go after someone else to pay for it.
  • Bypass restoration companies if you can but if you have no choice but to use them then watch them like a hawk, they might diddle you or forget you exist for months.
  • Ask the insurance company, if you do any of the work yourself, like moving items, having to stay in a hotel, eating dinners out, and what you can claim back on. We did some stuff ourselves, got compensated for it, and saved the insurance company hundreds of dollars.
  • If you live in an apartment block see what there are in the rules about damage by other apartments.
  • If others are affected compare notes and worth collectively to resolve issues as they come up.
2022-06-20T17:36:50+00:0020 May 2022|Customer Service|

Customer Service Update April 2022

As you can see from the length of this blog entry I’m not having a good time with companies right now. Some are minor issues and some are more serious. I keep forgiving them due to the pandemic and the lack of finding staff to do work these days, but to a certain extent, it really isn’t my problem.  If they make promises, they should keep them.

Restoration Work

I won’t name the companies yet for this work. An upstairs neighbour had a water leak which came down two floors into our apartment. It caused some minor damage. Going through our insurance company it took a little while for them to agree to pay for the damages, however, they said they wouldn’t chase after the insurance company of the household that caused the damage, they should have done.

The restoration company they are using to do our work is next to useless.

The first thing their project manager said to use “we always get bad reviews”, well, I can see why:

  • Their project management is non-existent.
  • Poor communication with us ignoring emails and requests for answers.
  • There is poor communication between their company and sub-contractors.
  • Suggesting we should pay for something which their sub-contractor said is not needed.
  • Promised work would start within 2-3 weeks yet it’s been 2 months now.

We were told this is not an unusual practice and performance levels from restorations companies in this area. Sigh.

Amazon

I had previously complained that their drivers are speeding in our neighbourhood. Well, they keep on speeding. Just like other complaints Amazon just pushes out a copy and paste message.

The company are now raising their Prime subscription by $20 which is quite a jump. Is it worth continuing with that subscription based on the poor performance of the company, I have experienced:

  • One-day delivery is rarely that, usually three days minimum.
  • Their TV offering is poor compared to other services.
  • The continuing poor behaviour when driving in our neighbourhood.
  • Poor treatment of staff; anti-union and more.

Beezer

This is the company that my data might have been uploaded to as a result of a hack at our property management company. Since this was a GDPR request they should have responded within a month, but they failed to do so. I will have to investigate my next steps.

Costco

I had quite a lot of issues with them this past month, in particular getting repeat medication. They were constantly faxing back and forth to obtain authorization from the doctor. In one conversation they mentioned my “wife” making the assumption I was straight, yes, it seems some people still do that which is extremely tiring.

On my last visit, they said they still hadn’t got anything back from the doctor despite him faxing them 2 days prior. A whole bunch of their staff got involved and they eventually found it in their system, they had received it. What a mess.

Netflix

They finally notified me of a change in fees. They should have informed customers when they announced it to the media, Amazon did this.

SkyNews

This UK TV channel had been broadcasting over YouTube until a message appeared saying it wasn’t available for my region, meaning Canada. I noticed on Twitter that people in other parts of the world experienced the same issue, including South Africa and Cyprus. The service is still available in the US, India and other countries, I VPN’d to check.

Contacting SkyNews was problematic. It took a stream of tweets for them to respond. When they did they provided me with an email address. Someone responded with a non-answer as though they performed zero research, sounded as though they just wanted to get rid of me.

Staples

Since Amazon had issues obtaining ink cartridges for my printer I thought I would try elsewhere. Despite being $20 more expensive Staples was the cheapest of the bunch. I checked on their website and they had 8 in stock at the local store so we drove there.

When we got there they said they had none in stock. I asked why it stated 8 on the website and they gave no comment. I tweeted about it, the usual copy/paste comments back from Staples, I didn’t want to get into another back and forth with another company. Eventually, Amazon delivered the cartridges which is good news.

Telus

As our community of 400 homes are all with Telus Home service we eventually got our 25% discount. Not only good for us but also the majority of people living here are seniors on a limited pension.

Telus hadn’t responded to my multiple reports of poor mobile signal in our area. I called them again and after being transferred from one person to the next I finally got to speak to someone who could help. Well, they couldn’t help much but they did try and at least they were friendly.

Eventually, I decided to buy their home telephone service. I had no choice given their poor mobile signal. The setup wasn’t without issues but eventually got it in. Of course, the phone is connected to fibre, so if that goes down our internet, TV and phone will experience downtime.

2022-04-10T05:23:35+00:0010 April 2022|Customer Service|

Customer Service Update

Companies appear to be struggling still when it comes to providing good customer service, but some continue to be their own worst enemy.

New Issues

Angi

A US service where home maintenance people can list their business and members of the public can look them up to engage them. I cancelled my account with them on the same day I joined, many years ago.  This was due to receiving hundreds of emails just in the first hour of creating my account.  They bombarded my email account which took me ages to clean out and I was not amused.  I asked them never to contact me again.

Fast forward many years to January 2022. Out of the blue, I started to receive very spammy type emails from them.  I reached out to their customer service but they failed to respond. I posted something on their Twitter account asking for assistance but they blocked me. They clearly are an extremely dodgy company so I went ahead and reported their email accounts for phishing and blocked all their website IP addresses.

Looking through reviews online I notice my experience is similar to others.  Not good.

Netflix

I heard on the grapevine, through social media, that Netflix was increasing its charges but hadn’t notified me of that.  I spoke to Netflix and they agreed that notifications to customers should go out at the same time as the media. They did promise I would receive an email 2-3 days before the increase is charged on my account.

They said I would see the increase on 6th February 2022. The increased charge was supposed to have been made on that day, it wasn’t, just the old price. When I called them they said the increased charge would be on 6th April 2022. So I get the feeling there is some miscommunication at the company.  It’s not a big issue but they shouldn’t confuse customers and should improve their communication.

Royal Mint

I got all my delivery and billing addresses into a bit of a pick on their system so I wrote to ask them how I can fix it.  I got a prompt polite response, they fixed the issues for me. I love it when dealing with a company or organization is this easy.

Updates

Amazon

Last year I reported one of their representatives driving dangerously in our neighbourhood.  This hasn’t occurred again. However, when I reported the issue the telephone number they provide was no charge but when calling that number it redirected me to a regular number in the US so I ended up paying $13 for it, I didn’t find this out until I received my mobile bill.  I was shocked. That means they have no customer service in Canada and there is a hub in the US, also they lie about their free calling. I was so upset.

We ordered masks from Amazon, it wasn’t Amazon themselves but a 3rd party seller. I assumed Amazon would vet all their sellers, but they obviously don’t. The masks were falsely advertised and weren’t what we wanted. The company tried to fob us off with a 60% refund. 60% of the masks weren’t at fault, all of them were, totally dodgy and unimpressive. Eventually, we did 100% of the money returned.  We obviously won’t buy masks off Amazon again.

FedEx

Last year there was a series of misdeliveries by FedEx, I’ve not heard any recent complaints from anybody that this has continued but usually the high season is during the Christmas period, so we shall wait until the end of the year.

Siteground

SpamExperts continues to be a problem although it has slightly improved, but not by much. Now I have a new problem whereby the majority of my emails appear to be in a queue even though they have been delivered.  Not sure if I can be bothered to report it to them again. At least it appears I am getting my emails one way or the other.

Telus

Some back and forth with Telus regarding the poor signal on my mobile phone and that of our follow 400 neighbours. I am getting nowhere fast with them really.

I did manage to improve the signal a bit. On my iPhone I turned my Airplane mode on and off, then I re-registered WiFi calling.

I’m trying to avoid having to pay for a landline since I don’t really want to pay for another subscription.

Post

Receiving letters and parcels from overseas continues to be an issue. It took one month for a regular letter to arrive from California via USPS and Canada Post. One small parcel took just over a week from the UK. We still haven’t received some Christmas Cards from California yet, and it’s already the 2nd week of February.

I would personally recommend not sending cheques through the mail but trying to get clients to pay via electronic services. For physical items there is no choice but to use the postal system but I would recommend buy local where possible.

First .ca Spam

I wrote about this here, I won’t mention the company yet but it has been like extracting blood from a stone to get information from them. Not very satisfactory.

2022-02-10T18:31:50+00:0010 February 2022|Customer Service|

Customer Service Review 2021

This is my annual review of customer services experiences over the past year, 2021. Again, companies are facing many difficulties with staffing and supply chain issues relating to the continuation of the pandemic. So, I am being patient as I can be with companies, however, many can be their own worst enemy. The key for these companies, I believe, is not to over-promise and conduct themselves on a “best endeavours” basis.

Amazon

I pre-ordered items only to find out that there wasn’t enough to go around, so I received nothing. I wasn’t too bothered but I did have to scramble round to buy them elsewhere. One book I pre-ordered was cancelled, according to the publisher, however, Amazon still has it on their site and I’m still on the pre-order list.

Most of their drivers are absolutely miserable but I guess they are under pressure from the company to meet targets, I don’t think Amazon is too kind towards them.

I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of seniors many of whom have become injured as a result of people speeding. So, I witnessed an Amazon driver speeding and decided to report it to the company. The whole process of reporting was very painful, I don’t think this is in the staff’s ordinary daily workflow as it appeared they struggled in taking down the details. After the call I was left in doubt on whether they would take the issue seriously, reporting to them though would be better than having to deal with one of their drivers knocking over a senior.

Chapters

I ordered books from Chapters and their level of service was very good using Canada Post to deliver. They can be more expensive than Amazon but being a smaller business I felt better using them.
Website

FedEx

I ordered an iPhone and FedEx delivered it to the wrong address. They left it on the wrong doorstep and did a runner, they were supposed to get the COVID equivalent of a signature for it but failed to do so. I heard from other neighbours who say FedEx is always delivering to incorrect addresses.

So, I tried to reach out to FedEx to find discuss how we can work together to ensure parcels are delivered correctly. Despite reminders, it took 3 months to be able to connect with a human being there, it was extremely frustrating. The manager I spoke to, based in Montreal, was helpful and promised to work with the local FedEx office to improve service levels.

Since I spoke to that manager FedEx has miss-delivered at least 3 times. One of their vans even drove over the green area of our fountains. Nothing changes. Having said that, other delivery companies behave in pretty much the same way.

HSBC

This is the first year I have nothing to say about them, it’s usually stressful but didn’t have to contact them at all.

London Drugs

Two times I tried to order something from their website and on both occasions, their website failed. The first order suggested they had 6 in stock, I ordered it, but a member of staff called me saying they had none – obviously a major issue connecting their website with the real-time inventory at the store. The second-order looked as though it went through but was rejected within 15 minutes.

So, I wrote to London Drugs asking for feedback on why these didn’t go through, they never responded. So, I will not be ordering anything from London Drugs online again.

Having said that, I did like London Drugs but I will have to avoid their website.

Shaw to Telus

We moved our cable supplier from Shaw to Telus about a year ago, we’ve not had any issues with the actual service. We have had a couple of short downtime issues but that is something all companies cannot escape from.

We’ve had very poor or no signal to our Telus mobile phones since we moved here, it’s the same for Rogers, Bell and other companies. Telus recommended we get a tower, this was agreed to by our community, but then Telus changed their mind about it leaving us all in a pickle about our poor service. We connect our mobiles via WiFi but the signal is poor on Telus than it was on Shaw. Rogers might be interested in putting up the tower so we’ll see what happens.

Siteground

This company is the best ever for hosting websites, never any issues, but the price reflects that good level of service.

However, 2021 was an extremely bad year for them in particular with email. They had a whole period of email downtime when, from what I could see, was a SpamExperts upgrade or reconfiguration. This tested their customer service skills and I found:

  • They attempted to keep the issue as quiet as possible saying nothing on their Twitter account.
  • Any updates on downtime were placed within the logged-in area of the site.  Keep having to log in to review updates was a nuisance. Other companies have a transparent status page.
  • The downtime updates weren’t detailed enough and they would vanish quickly so users couldn’t find out what the problem and resolution was.

After the issues were resolved I noticed there was a serious lag on emails appearing in SpamExperts, so I could review messages that have been quarantined in a timely manner. This went on for weeks and weeks, from what I gather SpamExperts wasn’t that responsive to the problems they had, so, Siteground couldn’t effectively communicate with customers without proper updates from them.

I just got so fed up with the ticket I had opened with Siteground with no updates I just told them they should close it and I would have to accept this to be the level of service now. Siteground didn’t want to close it so it remained open for another week or so, they then reached out to suggest it should be closed.  So, I’m not sure if they are actually working with SpamExperts in the background now, certainly, the issue is not resolved and most likely ever won’t be.

Other Issues

The post has been very sporadic. The year started with very poor service via USPS but I believe that was a politically orientated mess. Post between the UK and Canada has been very good or very bad; one parcel arrived in 5 days, another took 2 months.

Supermarkets are doing an amazing job during the pandemic but we are careful which ones we go in.  We noticed the more local the supermarket is the worse the customers are, mainly how irresponsible they are with wearing masks and social distancing. There were small pockets of supply chain issues in supermarkets but nothing that really affected us.

Summary

More customer services issues than previous years, most of it just reflects companies’ issues dealing with the pandemic, some where they could just minor adjustments to prevent complaints in the future.

2021-12-28T22:42:15+00:0028 December 2021|Customer Service|