NPME

BigCorporationsRipingUsOff

posted by Natalie Paddick

All of you reading this blog will have been subject to the poor service, corruption if you prefer from one of the big corporations and their like… They don’t supply goods or can’t supply the services they so readily advertise. In the full knowledge that their products do not fulfil their advertising remit …. To say I find it frustrating would be an understatement …. Me… I fight back …

My most recent example of the lack of care and duty to customers is with what was once First Utility now renamed Shell Energy….A utilities company.. You will all have seen the advert on TV sponsored by the government, an animated production with pretty butterflies flying around and a little girl skipping around a flat, reminding us all that it is our job to protect the environment from damage now and in the future and our way to help is by installing a so called Smart Meter…. For the good of the environment ….

It turns out it is load of old tosh … The government states these new meters and their Smart Meter reading monitors save the environment from ‘our’ overusing precious utilities …. For the record I am all for that …

The new Smart Meter roll out  is slightly different than that we have been lead to believe! After a sales call from Shell Energy to advise/recommend to me an update to smart meters, I agreed, I had no reason to believe there were any issues… I mean you can’t research into everything, sometimes you have to take things at face value and believe what you are being told… An appointment was made back in April 3rd 2019 and the meter man went to work installing the two new meters, all I did was make him a cup of tea…

One of the sales points of the meters is that we can all enjoy ourselves watching the smart meter reading monitors on an hourly basis to see just what we are spending on gas and electricity … Brilliant … As if we aren’t already stressed out enough over house hold bills!… I question if I want to clock watch it on an hourly basis… Yes… I know I can put the reading unit in a room where I can’t see it … But that is not my nature … I am a natural born worrier, I could win prizes if there was a worrying/anxiety competition… I am really good at it!! I can find worry where no one else can see an angle! So for me on reflection this was a disadvantage…

At the end of the installation the engineer told me that he had put the fully working reading unit in the room nearest to the newly installed meters and that I must leave it there for the next four hours, then I could move the unit anywhere I wanted in the house.. So the  reading unit was placed on the floor in a dimly lit room which was undergoing renovations at the time… Ten minutes after the engineer left I decided to take a peek at my new monitor, to my horror I had managed to run up a bill of £166.00 …. I was instantly catatonic, with terror, I mean how did I do that?? What had I got switched on? …. I spent the rest of the afternoon periodically snatching the door open to surprise the unit, in the hope of catching the monitor off guard and praying that it would showing a more reasonable meter reading …. It never happened it was still showing £166.00 … By the time my husband got home I was on my second glass of wine … And was lamenting my future obsession … Meter Watching …

My husband left me with my glass of wine and went off to observe our new nemeses… Unlike me.. He takes a much more pragmatic approach… He switched the light on in the room and observed the new monster, put his glasses on he bent down and picked the unit up.. He called me into the room standing up he turned to me; “Did you turn the light on Natalie & did you put on your glasses?” … Well obviously I had not, I was too involved in worrying about it! I had already taken the view that the meter was out to get me …. My husband turned the meter toward me and I could see without my glasses that the meter reading was actually £1.66 !! … The only problem is … The unit still says £1.66, some seven weeks later … It does not work! And nor do the new meters, they read still read ‘0000’ and ‘00000’ respectively! You see I knew that there was good reason to worry…


In the many conversations with Shell Energy they tell me many things one being that the unit might not work for 28 days, as it takes time for the unit to warm up ….! They have also told me that they will never estimate my bills because the unit and meters don’t work.. They are currently estimating my bills!! So we have no control over the amounts we are using or paying … They have told me to press the button ‘A’ on the gas meter … I have told them there is no button ‘A’ .. They say ‘Oh’ … Apparently there are two types of these new smart meters the former does not have a button ‘A’ the latter meters do … But the energy company have run out of the new meters so they are installing the old Smart meters in the full knowledge that they don’t work, properly!

I have told Shell Energy that their engineer had taken, without my permission or consent a piece of wood cut and shaped for another job and used it to ‘prop’ up the gas meter, a complete bodge job and I want compensation for this… They say that they don’t give compensation but only ‘good will gestures’! … But they can’t give me a ‘good will gesture’ until the units work!!

They have made an appointment to replace the meters … Then I get another call from Shell Energy stating that I have not made any arrangement for the engineers to come into the property to replace the meters..…. Today I got a call to say they are going to replace the smart meters with the old meters at my request … And so it goes on… It is a complete debacle … And I am not the only one suffering the incompetence!

The facts behind the Smart Meter roll out…

The British Government decided to roll out these meters country wide because they wanted the UK to be in line with the EU … Brilliant!! Considering the current state of affairs… Not to mention Brexit!

Here are just a few facts …

1) Smart meters could make it harder to switch gas and electricity providers

You can’t change providers with the old Smart meters because the government has not put the meter readings into a secure third party domain that would then allow you to change supplier!

2) Smart meters don't bring an end to estimated bills (or billing errors)

3) Smart meters won't work if you have a poor signal in your area

I told them that before they installed it!

4) The display units linked to smart meters are crude and difficult to understand

The display units will become obsolete in a few years! Also they provide no information on how the units are supposed to work … You have to guess!

5) There's little evidence so far that smart meters will save energy - or money

6) Smart meters 'pose security and other risks'

Terrorism …. They are apparently very ‘hack-able’ …. Brilliant… Also the meters if they work will provide the supplier/government information on how you use your energy … Big brother is watching us again! As far as I am aware at the moment they can’t monitor how many units of wine I drink!!

British Telecom sold me a product that ultimately wiped out all our emails; which as you can imagine was more than a little inconvenient and expensive, the package they recommended did not support the email configurations we had… Despite me asking if I could keep my emails before I signed up to the package …. Unlike Shell Energy they did offer compensation and they did not call it ‘a good will gesture’ which I think was to their credit…

On another occasion British Telecom updated our router except it never turned up! .. I called them, once I had answered all the pressed button automated questions which are a total waste of time… And are unhelpful and irritating.. Finally I got through to someone in Dubai… Who told me in no uncertain terms that I had the router and it had been delivered to my address in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire…. I did once live in Henley about 14 years ago! … Now I live in Somerset!! The ‘helpful’ woman in Dubai consulted her map of good old Britain… She advised me that I could just pop up the road to collect the router!… She informed me that it was a simple stroll up the M4! Eventually we came to agreement for another router to be sent! More compensation was sent….!

Working on a project for a client I had purchased an entire communications package from British Telecom on their behalf. It was a wet day and I was outside under an umbrella redesigning the garden, when I heard a van screech on the roadside, a van door slide open and then a number of boxes were slung over the fence into the puddles and mud in the garden! … The door slide shut and the van drove off at speed… Yes you have guessed it! My delivery had arrived from BT! I complained…. More compensation! I don’t want the compensation … I want some Customer Service!

Vodafone – Once you are tied into a mobile phone contract they are almost impossible to break… I had five contracts with Vodafone who had told me at the time of signing that they had 3G in the area. Problem was that they didn’t, they were hoping to get, and that is quite a different thing! So the service was very poor, you were lucky to even get 2G… I repeatedly complained and was given various different excuses. My main problem was not just the bad service for myself, but for my teenage children, who at the time like most teens, living their dreams partying around the countryside and beyond, so I needed to be in contact with them to make sure they were safe.. And of course they wanted to call me in the middle of the night to ask for a lift home for them and ten of their friends from some field or other in Somerset!… Vodafone network did not work and subsequently were putting my children at risk… I went to battle with Vodafone on more than one occasion I was told by customer service, that whilst I was on the phone that they had sent a man up the mast and he was working on the problem …. I might not know a great deal about the technical workings of a telecommunications company… But one thing I do know is that one man cannot find my lost signal for my phone on the Mendip transmission station that is 293 meters/961 foot high… Yet another total lie! I went the press! … Front page in the local paper… Within a week Vodafone cancelled all the contracts… And shut down their high street Vodafone outlet…. Due to bad publicity …. No due to poor service and telling ‘fibs’!

John Lewis, I have a trade account and deal with this high street brand a great deal, they have a really good product, mostly. The problem is the delivery service, I would say on one job 40% of deliveries arrive either wrong or half complete and mostly damaged, which is a concern and costly if you are working on a project for a client, re-ordering and then there is the time wasted waiting for a further delivery. John Lewis have great customer service and they are more than helpful in dealing with any issues you may have… If needs be they send you a product free and or send you a gift or in trade accounts send me all sorts of expensive gratuities… But to be honest I would rather they sent the goods out correctly in the first place… I was once told by their customer service representative that they spend at least as much on compensation as they do on staff bonus … How can that be right?? It is madness and it is impactful on the environment in all sorts of ways…

In conclusion this was my experience with Currys, again good products with a good price point…There was an issue with our new Fridge/Freezer and Currys agreed to replace it, it was a debacle from start to finish… But to be fair they did offer compensation … This is what happened…

A cheery Currys Delivery Man [CDM]arrives at our home, [finally] with our replacement Fridge/Freezer….

CDM: Good morning Madam, I am here to deliver your new Fridge/Freezer. Would you like to see it? .. It is on the lorry…

Me: Great… No that is fine just bring it in …

CDM: I am afraid I am unable to deliver this item as I am not qualified to deliver Fridge/Freezers..

Me: What???!!!

CDM: Do you have a back entrance to this property?

Me: [Confused] … No would you be able to deliver if we had?

CDM: No … I am not qualified to deliver fridge/freezers … I told them this at the depot, before they loaded it on the lorry… Can I see your old fridge/freezer… Please?

Me: [More confused].. Yes please come in ……This is the one you are supposed to be taking away…

The delivery man and I stare at my old dead fridge/freezer ….

CDM: It is big isn’t it?

Me: Yes… [I think… Course it is big - It’s f***ing fridge/freezer….! What did he expect?]… Can you take it away? [Desperation now setting in…]

CDM: No …. I am not qualified ….

[Through gritted teeth] I show the delivery man back to the front door…

Me: Why don’t Currys send someone who is QUALIFIED?!!

CDM: No-one else was available so I volunteered …..

More compensation was forthcoming from Currys ….

These few examples are just a snap shot of the bad service we all receive… It is just not acceptable …. I fight my corner, but it is time consuming.. Not to mention frustrating … FIGHT YOUR CORNER, if you can … DON’T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT! Failing that I find wine helps!

 




Page