Santander/Abbey - 5 bags of change a day only!

It is reassuring to know, that Santander bank have their customer's best interests at heart and that security at their branches is of paramount importance...

Unless of course, you actually need to use one of their branches!

It has taken four (that's FOUR) phone calls, to establish that they are refusing legal tender.
With 21 bags of change to be deposited in the wife's account, we were advised previously (when the bank was Abbey) to notify them in advance, should we have a large amount of change bags to be deposited.
We finally got through to a call centre, that deals with branches, despite trying to phone the branch direct, who have refused to take more than "Five bags of change per customer, per day only!"

It is deemed to be a security risk to have more than this on the premises - when was the last time you heard of a bank robber demanding the bank teller to load up bags with just change?
As a result of Santander's wonderful lack of customer service, we now have to trek across town for five days just to deposit legal tender in the wife's current account.

Have you ever heard of anything so stupid?
Like customers have nothing better to do with their time and money - this is on a par with Natwest's mobile banking service.
After closing many local branches, in the name of security and losing many jobs, they have devised and advertised their wonderful mobile banking services, as if it is the best thing in banking history.
Sadly, it is less secure than small local branches were originally, proving that their excuses for closing said branches, were false and misleading.

As you can surmise, I loathe banks with a passion, they are money making machines that care not one jot for their customers, if all banks were closed down tomorrow I would not care one bit.

Work surface cleaners

Why people continue to buy ever more expensive work top cleaning products, is beyond me.

Take a one litre ordinary spray bottle - available from pound shops - write on the label in big black letters "BLEACH" - then add about an inch of bleach and fill with good old tap water.
Spray on your work surfaces, leave for a minute then wipe off with warm soapy water.

It gets rid of stains and kills germs for a fraction of the price, pennies, when compared to all those chemicals and fancy sprays that you pay £2 to £3 a time for.
Job done.

Companies advertising something they do not do

Simple problem:

AA repairman has broken the immobiliser on my van, whilst attempting to fix a brake problem. Van is towed to my local garage for brakes repair, garage are unable to start the van to drive it into the garage to fix it.

The garage have brought in a mobile auto electrician, who failed to fix the fault.
The garage mechanics cannot fix the fault.
The auto electrician has contacted another auto electrician, who is mobile and can recode keys - on hearing the problem, he has offered to "come and have a look at it" but for a price of £70!
He has said that for this £70, he cannot guarantee to fix the fault - so I could have to pay £70 and the fault will still be there - yes, I have lots of money to shell out another £70 to not fix a fault (you couldn't make this stuff up!)

I contacted the AA claims department, told them of the problem and that I was unable to fix it.
After an hour of pure waffle, they finally conceded that they would have my van towed, free of charge, to a dealership to repair the immobiliser so the vahicle can be driven again.
For the repair, I would have to write in to the AA for them to investigate, which can take upto four weeks, plus I would have to pay for the repair up front - how unhelpful is that!

As a last resort, I contacted yet one more auto electrician, this one from Bolton, who advertises a mobile service for recoding LDV's - as soon as I mentioned it was an LDV and that the immobiliser wouldn't work so we couldn't start it, he got sheepish, "oh err I haven't had any dealings with LDV, sorry can't help you!"

I didn't get a chance to ask why he was advertising "25 years in the business, local and reliable auto electrician and mobile key coder for LDV" - the call was terminated.

Not to worry I thought, if I find a dealership for LDV, then I can have the AA tow the van over to them and then take it from there.

My first contact was number one on google, Thomas Hardie - LDV Preston - their website is
I asked them to check with their service department if they could fix my immobiliser fault - the answer was "No" as they do not deal in LDV vans!
Once again I never got to ask why they are number one in google for LDV dealerships and even have LDV in their web address.

As things stand, I have a van that will not start, a garage that cannot fix it, two auto electricians that do not know what they are doing and another auto electrician that wants £70 payment for just coming out to have a look at it!
I have contacted numerous companies who claim in advertising to be able to fix faults with LDV immobilisers, but as yet, they have all mysteriously "never dealt with an LDV before"
I have now contacted an LDV dealership, who tell me they do not deal with LDVs.

I sometimes wonder if I live on a different planet?

LDV immobiliser repair - things go from bad to worse! (Specialise in LDV sales and servicing) have recommended a company called F&G used truck and van centre - 25 miles away but I have a free towing service from the AA to take it there - have instructed me, I kid you not, this is what their service department say,

"you won't be able to repair or bypass the immobiliser as they don't make them anymore. In effect, you may as well scrap the van!"

So the LDV dealers word is that for the price of a new ECU and someone to fit it, I may as well scrap my used LDV convoy van, worth around £4000 - that is the opinion of their professional service department!
I asked why they continue to sell LDV vans and promote servicing for them, he didn't have an answer.
It is so demoralising having so much bull spouted by people in the trade, who just want easy jobs for big money. Surely someone, somewhere must have a clue what they are doing?

It would appear not!

Customer pay outs when companies fail to turn up!

A typical scenario, I believe, is happening everyday in the UK:

  • Customer has a fault with equipment and/or a service
  • Customer rings company to report it and have it repaired
  • Company promise an engineer will be sent out to correct the fault
  • Customer sits in the house all day, which involves loss of earnings or inconvenienced as regards time
  • Company engineer does not turn up
  • Customer rings up company the next day and gets, "I can only apologise" then company rebooks the appointment
  • Customer has another day of lost earnings, time, etc.
  • MAYBE, the company turn up to fix the fault, but not always

It is a disgrace that when a customer reports a fault, should the engineer not be able to find a fault or blames (incorrectly or not) other factors, the customer must then pay a "call out fee"

At present, British Telecom charge their customers £99, should an engineer not be able to determine a fault, per visit to a customer's property!
Sky TV fitters charge a call out fee as well.


Eon (Yes them again) had a fault with our electricity meter reported.
Despite claims by the company that they do not recover debt from pre payment customers, who have no debt, our meter clearly displays that £1.05 per week is being taken from our pre paid credit, to pay for a debt that doesn't exist.

Yesterday, their "advisor" (I use that term loosely) informed me that this should be cleared off the meter when an engineer visits to correct the emergency credit fault.
"Don't worry sir, once the engineer has fixed the problem, the debt recovery on the meter will be reduced to nil and then we will be in touch as regards a refund for you."

All day we sat in and waited, as time ticked away and passed the 8pm cut off time for repairs. No engineer came.

Today when I rang them, the advisor states, "There was no appointment booked for an engineer to visit your home!"
After checking the account notes, there is nothing on the notes for yesterday's call regarding the £1.05 per week being taken off the meter, or even looked at with a view to a refund being issued.
"An appointment was booked, but this was cancelled by our office and this was relayed back to the advisor who you spoke with and they should have notified you that an engineer would not be calling."

"I can only apologise for this," said the advisor,
"No, I do not want your apology, I want reimbursing for a days earnings that we have lost due to your incompetance!" I replied.

"Sorry sir, we do not offer that!" I hung up in disgust.

How many more people are going to lose money because of companies who fail to turn up when booked to do so?
How many more times must the customer take any losses on the chin, money lost from the family pot?
How many more times are rules/laws only going to benefit companies?
How much longer before customers are at last, be entitled to some financial reimbursement for a company's failings?

Good customer service and equal rights for both parties go hand in hand.
If a customer has to be paid when a company do not turn up at a customer's home to fix a fault, just watch the customer service improve and the number of times a company fail to turn up will drop dramatically, overnight!

I cannot be the only customer that has been left out of pocket because of this?

O2 MMS problems

Have you ever tried to send a picture message (or MMS) to the USA?

I sent one the other day, to a friend in New York, all they received was a text message, telling them to visit the o2 website to collect the picture.

So, as I was sorting out my contract with o2, I asked them why a picture could not be received.

  • My o2 phone settings are working correctly
  • Their cell phone/mobile phone settings are fine, as they can receive pictures and MMS from vodafone and orange networks
  • There are no other reported problems.

Here is o2's explaination:

"The problem must be with the servers in America, not being set up to receive o2 picture messages!
The problem is nothing to do with o2 as our servers are sending the pictures out, as they are receiving a text message."

When I questioned this account of the problem, the o2 advisor denied that o2 were to blame.
O2, like every other mobile phone operator, have agreements with mobile phone companies in other countries. In effect, they hire foreign mobile phone operator's network.
It is obvious because other UK mobile networks operators can send pictures on my friend's network in America, the fact that o2 cannot, suggests they are not willing to pay this same network in America, to enable UK customers to send MMS or picture messaging.

MMS or picture messaging sends more data than a standard text message, so will cost more. The cell phone receiving the picture message from the UK, receives a simple text message, pointing to where o2 has stored the image, on their own systems.
The regular text message shows that USA networks are set up to receive messages no problem, but for the picture to be blocked from being sent and stored on o2's own internet servers, shows that no agreement is in place.

The only reason no agreement is in place, is because o2 will not pay the fees the American network are demanding.

So no, I do not believe the o2 advisor, who blamed American networks for the problem.

I also think that o2 should be forced to state exactly how many other networks around the world, that they refuse to pay for their users to send pictures or MMS to.
This way, people are made aware of the limits of o2's service, BEFORE they sign up to a contract that can last upto 2 years!