Archive for September, 2012

Comments Off on Sunday at the beach

Sunday at the beach


2012
09.30

The wind was up, so off to the beach for kite flying, new kites so test run and get those boys outside in the fresh air.

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Nichola even spotted a seal watching the fun on the beach. He popped up several times and we all spotted him.

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Then down the coast for dinner.

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Comments Off on Little man is funny

Little man is funny


2012
09.29

Little man put himself to bed and did this by himself, we checked on him later and found this.

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Comments Off on Big man makes the front cover

Big man makes the front cover


2012
09.29

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Comments Off on Fight npower our utility company – Round 1

Fight npower our utility company – Round 1


2012
09.28

We were informed during September that we were behind on our electricity bills, big surprise as were on direct debit, and our bill had been estimated at twice that of 2 month previous. Unsurprisingly we weren’t too impressed. So being the good little customer I rang to ask why, after waiting for 30 mins I got through. Following a long and painful conversation, I’d read the meter reading make to the operator and we’d concluded that the meter had stopped working around the January time. Ouch.

Until it was fixed we agreed to maintain the original payments and got a date agreed to fit the new meter. All was good. Unfortunately then it went wrong, the meter installer failed to turn up, worse than that the call centre operative wouldn’t talk to Nicola because she wasn’t authorised.

Read the email trail below, it’s quiet enlightening.

First, try to find the Customer Service Directory email, search google for their title and company (they love publicity), then find the company naming structure (another person from the same company). They usually use the same structure, so change one name for the other and if it’s not bounced as undelivered you’re there. Easy.

I got really lucky, they had an out of office to identify I’d got them.

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Opening email – 3 Sept 2012 21:41:01

Dear ?????????

I want to give you the opportunity to respond in person before I take my complaint and comment about your service to Watchdog and social media.

Your customer service teams have been useless, I have been informed that you are doubling our direct debits because your teams hadn’t noticed that your meter was broken and never once did anyone have the intellect to contact use.

I waited on hold for ages on your hold system the first time to speak to your staff, I eventually got agreement that until the issues were resolved the increase would be put on hold. Also an engineer would come out today and replace the meter, and to really impress me that person never turned up. It’s the last days of the summer holiday, one of the only sunny days and my wife and kids are stuck indoors wait for your engineer, not to arrive. Worse than that, when she rang to confirm if this engineer was going to arrive late, your call centre operative refused to discuss this because she was not the account holder. So, after a wait and having to get a call back, the engineer still didn’t arrive and no apology. As you probably are, I’m busy at work and do not have the time to wait for your agents and systems to wake up to the fact that customers need looking after.

On my return tonight from a 13hrs day (which I’m not a after your sympathy over) I return home to a pissed off wife and bored kids to spend 30mins trying to get to speak one of your staff, unfortunately for me and you, they didn’t answer my call.

Now, we have a problem, you have disgusting service, a faulty meter in my property and one very unhappy digital marketing manager, social media savvy.

I request that you either ring me and be very sincere in your apology, or I make XXsupplierXX the focus of my attention on social media for the next few months, or until I get bored.

OH, and I must inform you, I have a recording of all the conversation with your agents, especially the one were your staff member confirmed that it was an error for XXsuppierXX not to have informed us that the meter wasn’t working and your systems should have highlighted it.

You’ll be unsurprised, that your customers have sophisticated telecommunication systems now, like yourselves. These will become the centerpiece of my social media campaign should it get that far.

I would like to resolve this before I waste a huge amount of time trying to ruin your reputation and you waste an equally (if not bigger) resource trying to counteract it. I worked for Anglian Home Improvements for many years trying to reduce social media hate campaigns so know you’ll not really want this, either do I.

Let’s get this sorted asap and continue to work together as supplier/customer.

Yours

Neil Coomber-Webb

07980 531606

This was a late night rant, but it seemed to hit the spot. I got an out of office message but at least I knew I’d hit home. Thankfully the out of office gave the directors PA, same email test and this worked too.

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Email to PA – 3 Sept 2012 21:50:55

XXXXXXXXXXX

I hope you will be able to forward this as appropriate.

I will not be waiting until 10th September for a reply before I act.

Thank you

Neil Coomber-Webb

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Response from Customer Services, after they asked me for my details over the phone (not the greatest start)

Dear Mr Coomber-Webb

Thank you for your recent Email could you please forward your XXXXXXXX account number or the first line of your address and postcode so we can look into this for you.

Thank You

Dear Mr Coomber-Webb

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The response from the utility company executive complaints team – On 4 Sept 2012, at 16:13

Account ref: ???????????
Complaint ref: ???????????

Thank you for your recent e-mail to XXXXXXXXXXX, as a member of the Executive Complaints Team it has been passed to me for review and I would like to outline my findings to you.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for returning my telephone call today and supplying your property details to allow me to investigate your query for you. Please accept my apologies for the problems you have encountered while dealing with XXXXXX, this is not indicative of the service to which we aspire and for that you have my sincerest apologies.

I have checked your account and I can confirm that your Direct Debit has not been increased as promised by our Contact Centre advisor on the 14 August 2012. I understand that the job booked for the 3 September did not go ahead. I have spoken to our Meter Operator to see why this happened and they have confirmed that it was due to their system failing and the job not being passed to the engineer. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience caused regarding this matter. You will received a Guaranteed Standard payment of £22.00 in lieu of this, within the next 14-21 days.

After carefully scrutiny it appears that your meter has stopped advancing in January or possibility earlier, we need to arrange a suitable date and time to have the meter removed and replaced in order for your payments to be re-assessed correctly and your account updated accordingly. I have booked a 2 hour appointment for Monday 24 September between 08.00am and 10.00am. If this appointment is unsuitable, please do not hesitate to contact me to re-arrange a more appropriate date and time for you.

I note that your wife called to confirm if the engineer was running late, however we were unable to give her any information in regards to the account due to the Data Protections Laws surrounding your utility account. To enable us to discuss the account with your wife, she needs to be named on the account or you can write to us to advise that we are able to discuss the account with her, alternatively, during the course of your complaint you can set up a password to enable me to discuss the account with her.

In light of the problems you have encountered and the frustration caused by this matter, I would like to offer a goodwill payment of £50.00 to hopefully go some way to demonstrate our commitment as your Utility provider, this cheque will be with you within the next 7-14 working days.

If you are not satisfied with this, please contact me at the earliest opportunity. I am confident that we can reach an amicable resolution in regards to your complaint by discussing this matter further.

Thank you for your continued patience on this matter. If you wish to speak to me to discuss this e-mail, please contact me directly on telephone 0800 ??? ???? extension ??????????, email (executive.complaints@XXXXXXXXXXXX) or letter and I will be happy to help.

Yours sincerely

XXXXXXXXXX

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My frank response and clarification – 04 Sept 2012 20:48

Ms XXXXXX

Thank you for your reply, unfortunately your company’s ability to make errors is stupendous. I appreciate that you’re trying desperately to appear to help but your attempts are purely making the issues greater. I will elaborate.

At the present time your aspirations of good service are worthless and unimpressive to me, as I have to deal with your errors and incompetence, these comments are becoming tiresome.

Maybe next time you should check your accounts department a little more thoroughly as my bank statement shows that although promised on 14th Aug that the DD would not increase you’re promise was as unreliable as the rest of your commitments. This is proved as on 24th Aug 2012 – XXXXXXX ????????? took £213.00, Oh and you wonder why I’m upset. I will be expecting this repayed by BACS payment before the end of this week.

Regarding the job booked for 3rd Sept, you have inconvenienced my entire family, two children that watched one of the last and best days of their summer holiday dwindle by because you’re engineer was promised, and that when my wife rang for a yes/no answer to, “is he going to arrive” got told that she’s not authorised to know that information. This is not highly sensitive data protection information, and your excuses are plain stupid, I worked with the data protection officer of a very large company with a 13 million record database of UK households for 7 years and this is ludicrous. She wasn’t asking for billing data or personal information, just confirmation. Your staff didn’t even have the intellect to identify an issue and ring me (the account holder). This resulted in my wife being frustrated and calling me, disturbing an important meeting to hear of your ineptitude. Great service and really showing initiative. The whole family frustrated at you.

I hope that your scrutiny of the meter readings is better than your scrutiny of payments, but I want to see evidence before I agree to anything, as agreed with your agent on 14th Aug. A full documented breakdown of the meter readings and payments made. As a household we have made improvements to our energy efficiency to reduce our electricity usage, I would like to know how this will be incorporated in the estimates of our usage in the last 9 months. It appears all our saving will be to little effect, even down to our installing of energy efficient bulbs, turning off pond pumps, so much for your environmental reduction policy?

I’m assuming that your booking for 24th September is a convenient time for your engineers as it sure isn’t for us. As you will have picked up from my previous communication we have children, and as you may be aware they go to school Monday-Friday (fairly usual in UK) and I work Monday-Friday also. Thus, my wife will be on the school run part of this time, I’m sure your engineer will not wait around for someone to return, and there is no access as the meter box is secured at the rear of the property with no direct (unlocked) access from the front. I wish you’d called and discussed, we could have saved another assumption (error).

I would like this meter changed sooner than that stated above. We have already awaited in excess of 2 weeks for the first appointment and a further 3 weeks is unacceptable. I’m sure you will find a sooner appointment on greater investigation.

Regarding the Data Protection Laws and the account, I think I have made my point very clear, as the request was “when is he arriving” (caller ID would show she’s ringing from the landline associated with this property) and nothing else was requested. Surely this one question should be able to be answered without compromising the security of the account. Especially as she was sitting waiting for this engineer to arrive.

*************I hereby authorise you to discuss this account with Mrs Coomber-Webb, but I remain the point of contact on this issue solely*****************. The ability of your staff to recognise a potential customer service issue is seriously dubious and if I organised your training I would be considering a revision of their training program.

Regarding your offer of £50.00 I would like to consider this further, as you have not proposed a solution to this issue and I’d currently consider this an insult, as at this stage we don’t know the ultimate pain involved in dealing with your company. We may subsequently be taking this legal so your offer may be premature. We will discuss compensation at a later date.

I hope you’re not offended, but the offers to date are not satisfactory, to be honest they offend me. I want to get this issue resolved and the funds outstanding agreed before we discuss compensation.

I await your response, I’m guessing fairly quickly. My Social media/forum fingers are getting frustrated.

Yours

Neil Coomber-Webb

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Now getting to know the staff member dealing with the account and she seems like she’s trying to help and understand – On 5 Sept 2012, at 11:28

Dear Mr Coomber-Webb

Thank you for your quick response.

I certainly agree that the Data Protection laws were taken to the extreme, and I agree that your wife could have been advised that the agent was not coming and they advisor should have rang you to confirm your wife’s status with regards to this matter. For this I have issued a cheque for £50.00 due to the level of service received at this time, I have also passed this information to the advisors team manager as this needs to be addressed as a training issue. I have added your wife as a contact on your account to enable us to discuss the account details with her.

After speaking with the Meter Operator, ??????????, I have re-scheduled the job for 24 September to Tuesday 11 September between 12.00pm and 6.00pm, I have advised the agent to avoid the school run, as we are unable to booked 2 hour appointment in such short notice. I hope this is satisfactory, however if not please contact me to re-schedule this appointment for you.

With regards to the meter exchange, I can confirm that when the meter is exchanged we will not be billing you for anymore units than what you have already been billed, your removal reading will be 29907 which is what you have been billed to and as a further goodwill gesture we will not bill you for the period of time that the meter has been stopped.

I have issued a refund of £108.00 via BACS from your account as this is the overpayment which was taken on the 24 August 2012. This will be presented to you Bank account within the next 5 working days. Please accept my apologies that this payment was taken, the advisor should have informed you that they could not have stopped the first payment as it was already at BACS, when you contacted us on the 14 August.

With regards to compensation for the errors which have occurred on your account. I can confirm that I will be looking at a gratuity once the meter has been exchanged and the account billed. It would not be appropriate to discuss this until all actions on your account have been completed. However, if you wish to contact me to discuss this e-mail please do not hesitate to do so, I will be happy to help.

Best regards

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Reached a stalemate at this stage, installation team now need to do their bit – 5 Sept 2012 20:01:00

XXXXXXXX

Thank you for your timely response, I believe we are at a point where we must now await your Meter Operators.

I will be in contact to confirm the meter has been replaced as agreed below, I’m sure that you’ll be advising them of the sensitive natural of this particular installation.

Subject to it being completed correctly and on time, I’d like to finally put this behind us, come to fitting agreement and progress with our supplier/customer relationship.

If you wish to discuss or keep us informed of any changes please feel free to contact me here.

Thank you for your efforts so far.

Your

Neil Coomber-Webb

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A change of contact, this better not be a bad sign – Thu Sept 06 12:55:35

Good afternoon Mr Coomber-Webb

My colleague XXXXXXXX is currently on annual leave and will return in a fortnight, in the interim I have been asked to respond to your email.

I understand that we will be able to move forward with your query once the meter appointment has been carried out successfully. Thank you for letting us know that you will contact us to confirm when this has been done. We look forward to hearing from you.

If in the mean time, you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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New meter fitted, still got this wrong – On 11 Sept 2012, at 14:01

XXXXXXXXX

As promised I would contact you when the new meter was fitted, this has now been done.

I have mixed thoughts on this, one being pleasure that it is finally fitted, but secondly that the fitter arrived at 11.30am.
As you’ll know the arrangement was 12.00 – 18.00, lucky my wife was in, but only just.

I will check everything is correct tonight and then confirm completed satisfactory. We can then finalise the issue completely.

I will email confirmation tonight.

Regards

Mr Coomber-webb

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More excuses, why can’t they just accept they are useless – On 17 Sept 2012, at 09:34

Good morning Mr Coomber-Webb

Thank you for letting me know that the appointment has been completed. Sometimes the engineers will try to call early if they are in the area, I’m sure that they would have called again later, had noone been home.

Please let me know if you have had a chance to check everything is correct and if you are happy to close the complaint.

Many thanks

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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No really, happy is something I would struggle to be during this, even now – On 21 September 2012, at 09:06

Good morning Mr Coomber-Webb

Please could you let me know if you are happy with the actions that have taken place to resolve the issues on your account and you would like to close your complaint.

If there is anything else you would like assistance with before your complaint is closed, please let us know and we will endevour to reach an acceptable resolution with you.

If I do not receive any contact from you within the next 10 working days, I will pass your complaint to our Head of Customer Relations for final review, in line with our complaints process.

Many thanks

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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The fitter managed to fit the meter and it’s now working. At least someone can do their job – On 21 September 2012, at 16:15

I am satisfied that you have fitted a new meter and it now works. I would like to now discuss the agreement for payment going forward, compensation for phone calls, frustation, lose of sleep and overall pain having to deal with your staff.
It has been confirmed that you are at fault and that on several occasions you should have highlighted this earlier.
I do not want to close this until I have in writing the position of n-power.
Once this has been done I will allow you to close the file.
I believe the original person I spoke to was XXXXXXXX and I think we should discuss again before closure.
Please ask her to advise the compensation as her email, on my agreement, then we will close the file.
Thank you
Neil coomber-webb
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Maybe the original member of staff can make a decent offer to close this – On 24 September 2012, at 11:48

Dear Mr Coomber-Webb

Thank you for your email.

We are happy to look at a gesture of goodwill for the problems you have encountered and I am aware you have discussed this at length with XXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXX is on annual leave at present however is due back this Wednesday so providing you are ok to wait until then, I will ask XXXXXX to contact you to agree a resolution to your complaint.

I trust this is to you satisfaction however if you have any queries in the meantime, please feel free to contact me.

Regards

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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On 24 September 2012, at 11:58

This will be fine, I will await an email from sam on her return.

Thank you

Neil coomber-webb
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On 26 September 2012, at 17:21

Dear Mr Coomber-Webb

Thank you for your e-mail and your patience regarding this matter.

After checking our records I can see that your meter has now been exchanged and I have arranged to have your account updated to reflect this. However, as previously agreed we will not be billing you for the period between 23 January 2012 to the date of the meter exchange on the 11 September 2012. We would normally calculate usage in your property based on approximately 10-15 units per day, however this is not going to be actioned in this instance as a gesture of goodwill due to the problems you have encountered while dealing with npower.

As a further gesture of goodwill I would like to offer you a further cheque for £75.00 as full and final resolution of this matter. Please could you contact me before 10 September 2012 to advise if you are in agreement with this resolution and are happy to close your complaint. If I have not received contact from you before this date I will pass your complaint to be reviewed by the Head of Customer Relations.

Best regards
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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On 28 September 2012, at 21:57

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your offer, but I have a couple of issues which I need to clear up before agreeing.

We were paying a DD payment of £105.00, which we paid for several month and this covered both electric and gas (dual fuel). Up until the meter issue was discovered this was adequate to cover both fuel types.

Strangely, even with your kind offers you have increased our bill by 40% in 2 months. I know your company can increase it’s bills dramatically overnight without consideration of it’s customers, but now is this possible. The wholesale market has been decreasing (at worse stagnant) over the summer. I’m guessing that as the amount you have lost is an issue, you will be recouping this £45.00 per month?

Below are the figures taken from my bank statement, and clearly shows that although you state you will not be taking for the period Jan to Sept, over the next 10 months you will take an extra £450.00 above what we normally would have paid. Covering your cost quiet generously?

24th Sept 2012 XXXXXXXXXXXX taken payment £149.00
12th Sept 2012 XXXXXXXXXXXX returned £108.00
24th Aug 2012 XXXXXXXXXXXX taken payment £213.00
24th July 2012 XXXXXXXXXXXX taken payment £105.00
25th Jun 2012 XXXXXXXXXXXX taken payment £105.00
24th May 2012 XXXXXXXXXXXX taken payment £105.00

As you are aware, we have agreed to not be charged additionally for the period Jan – Sept, if we can have a review of the DD payments, then I will be happy to close the case.

Please can you advise?

Thanks

Neil

Comments Off on Big man tries fencing

Big man tries fencing


2012
09.19

Nanny took big man fencing tonight and he really loved it. The Cubs (and Beavers) are excellent ways to introduce new things to the kids. He was a little apprehensive to start with but after it was described he remembered the Olympic adverts with the guys in wheelchairs.



Comments Off on Leaf rubbings with Nanny

Leaf rubbings with Nanny


2012
09.15

The boys learning how to do leaf rubbing with nanny.

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Simple but so much fun.
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Lovely to watch.
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Comments Off on Little man goes for his first forest ride

Little man goes for his first forest ride


2012
09.12

After the success of little man riding his bike, he tried a full tour of the forest.
Broken up by a few stops and refreshments, he covered 3.5 miles, not bad considering he only learnt to ride without stabilisers 2 weeks ago.

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Little man didn’t feel like having a picture taken. But big brother was, as always.

Comments Off on Thetford Forest, looking its best

Thetford Forest, looking its best


2012
09.12

A few pictures to show why we love the forest so much.

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Even when its wet.
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All taken at Santon Downham, 2nd Sept 2012.
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And this sun set on 11th Sept 2012.

Not a bad place to live?

Comments Off on Little man riding his bike

Little man riding his bike


2012
09.02

Little man has been on stablisers for a few months, but after taking them off last Sunday, he’s getting really good. So of to High Lodge for a saturday afternoon cycle ride.

Amazing first day riding in a large field, he only learnt to ride last Sunday and not practiced since

Not bad for the first day with loads of room

Big man get in on the action