Thursday, 6 August 2020

When is a car service not a service?

Answer : When it is a 'convenience check'

I bought a new Ford car from Vospers Ford, Torquay, in August 2019 and because service costs for cars are so high I also bought a Ford service plan to cover the cost of services one and two, specifically including service 2 because it's the more expensive one on most cars. This plan was valid for two years and a month, which sounds fine, as I was told car would need a service each year and thats what it says in the service booklet supplied with the car.

So in August 2020 I ring the dealer to book the first service only to be told that it did not need a service this year, it now only needs a service every two years. (I suppose this is good news?) However I could bring it it for a 'convenience check', but this is optional.

Well my service book says it needs an annual service. (oh, we gave you the wrong book)

Also sold with the car is FORD assistance, a roadside and at home rescue service for if the car breaks down. This is valid for twelve months but is renewed at every service (if serviced by a Ford Dealer). So if I don't have the 'optional' convenience check I have no roadside assistance for the next 12 months, until the 'first' service, but if I have the 'convenience check' Ford will renew the roadside support for 12 months. Very kind of them!

So the option is to pay for a 'Convenience' check or pay for a year of an alternative rescue service ! Decisions Decisions.

So what about my Ford Service plan? Oh I'm afraid that isn't valid sir, as the second service included in the plan is now after the expiry date of the plan. Well can you not extend the plan? No sir, not allowed. (well it wouldn't be, would it, it will cost them more money?).

Well I note that the service plan is not paid for by Vospers, it's an insurance plan, I think it's mis-sold. Vospers should refund the money and compensate me as per the mis-sold insurance rules (return amount I paid +8%). No, we will only refund the original amount. In that case please send my money back (still waiting three weeks later).

So can you tell me the costs of the first four visits to your garage? (Vospers Torquay)

1. First Convenience check. £74.10
2. Service No 1 £377.39
3. Convenience Check 2 £74.10
4. Service No 2 £463.24
Total £968.83 (see why I bought a plan !)

Service Costs at next nearest Ford Dealer (this is where it will be going)

1. First Convenience check. £65
2. Service No 1 £217.50
3. Convenience Check 2 £65
4. Service No 2 £295.50.
Total £643.00 (a saving of £325.83)

Postscript: 11th September 2020.

I did get my £370 back eventually but I have complained it is not enough as it doesn't cover the cost of the first two 'Services' I am awaiting their reply. Vospers send me this document today, do you think they are trying to wind me up or are they just being silly.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

'Signed for' Parcel delivery

Normally a signed for parcel is handed to me but I wasn't in.

I would normally get a bit cross about the courier's solution, but I had forgotten I would be away for next few days and they only try three times before sending parcel back to sender, so the courier actually solved the problem for me.

Both of us were out when the parcel arrived so the courier left it in the porch and got round the 'signed for' bit by getting my porch to sign.... as you can see.

Not sure what would have happened had it not been there when I got home.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Dream Doors (Torquay)

We decided the kitchen looked tired and was a bit dark, so we went to Dream Doors (Torquay) in Preston Down Road, Paignton, to see if they could replace them.

We went to see them in February 2019 and Jason, the estimator, came out that week to see the job and give us a quote.

He arrived when he said he would and his quote was acceptable, so we agreed to have the work done.

We agreed an estimated date for the job being done (we had to put it back a week from when he suggested due to our holiday) and he confirmed a final date in a follow up letter in March which told us who would be doing the job and what time they would arrive on Day one.

Well they both arrived on time with all the materials and tools to do the job, and started within minutes. Jason left and a fitter, called Richard, stayed to do the work. Apart from a couple of cups of tea, he never stopped and by the end of day one most of the doors and drawer fronts had been replaced and the old doors were outside in a neat pile on the drive.

As Richard worked he was continually tidying up so there was very little mess. On day two he arrived early again and virtually finished the job, working non stop from the time he arrived until he left.

The only thing left for day three was one side panel and the sink, and he completed the removal of the old sink and the fitting of the new sink in just about two hours. A minor problem with the location of the drainage pipe was resolved by him in minutes and all the pipework was checked for leaks.

When he had finished, he tidied up, said goodbye and left. Later that day the boss arrived with the paperwork, and he collected all the left over stores and the rubbish and was gone in no time.

All we have to do now is put all the stuff back in the cupboards, as it was all removed before they started to make the job easier.

I have to admit I have never seen a trader do a complete job from start to finish almost none stop and without having to get additional bits to what was delivered at the start of the job.

Overall, I have to recommend Dream Doors (Torquay) on a thoroughly well done job, on time, first time and without any fuss.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

B & Q, bathroom fitting.

We wanted a new bathroom , so after a few quotes we decided that as a big company, B&Q, although not the cheapest, should be reliable.

This proved not to be the case. although the finished bathroom looks good, the performance of the appliances leaves a lot to be desired. I would have expected a professional company to note that I had low pressure water supply and take steps to ensure it did not cause any issues.

Wrong. It was only after they put the bathroom back together that it became apparent that the taps were all very slow running and the toilet takes an age to refill after a flush. I did not have this problem with the old sink and toilet. Had they tested this during the install they could have moved the incoming mains feed to supply the cold taps and toilet, but by the time they discovered this needed to be done the room was all finished and plastered, so moving the mains feed would have involved knocking their newly plastered wall back down.

The taps are all 'Cook and Lewis' and have very small feed pipes which are unsuitable for a low pressure supply

B&Q did agree to replace the first set of taps that they fitted for ones that worked with a lower pressure supply but the new ones were only marginally better. Because B&Q do the planning in the showroom and not on site they also supplied a wall mirror that would not fit the space allocated to it, so I had to buy and fit my own mirror as B&Q could not source one from their stock.

An on site survey before the job was started was a very cursory affair, the only thing it really did was push up the estimated price by a substantial amount.

I asked on my first visit to the showroom if they used their own staff to install the bathroom and was told they did, but it appears this wasn't true as they gave the contract to an independent plumber who only spent part of his time of B&Q Work. He did act as project manager of all the other independent contractors required to do the work, although his only tiler was having domestic problems with a new baby and as a result was 4 days late and arrived at 5pm on a Saturday to do the work. The bill was reduced at the end to account for items not used by way of a number of cheques for random amounts but it was still unclear what each refund was for.

We have to hope toilet flushes everything away at first attempt otherwise the waste has to stay there for some time while tank refills before a second attempt.

Overall I would not recommend B&Q for a bathroom installation.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Wickes on line delivery service

I used to live near the Wickes Store in Northampton and bought goods there quite often, but there is not a store in Torbay, the nearest is in Exeter. I discovered they have an on line ordering service so I decided to try it out.

All started well, Wickes sent a link to tracking info that said goods have been transferred from Northampton Depot to Exeter Depot and were out on lorry for Delivery on 7th March, between 8am and 6pm.

So I waited and waited but goods did not arrive at all.

On 7 March 2017 at 19:07, Bob @ email wrote:

Goods were due to arrive today but have not arrived, I have waited in all day, can you advise when goods will arrive?


As I had no reply to email by 9am on 8th March I phoned Customer services, but later that morning got this reply to my email :-

>On 8 Mar 2017, at 11:19, Home Delivery (homedelivery@wickes) wrote:

Good morning, 

I can see that your Radiator was delivered yesterday. 

Kind Regards, Fiona

Wickes Building Supplies LTD National Customer Service Centre.

On 8 March 2017 at 11:21, Bob Tame wrote: Not to me I'm afraid, and your customer service colleague says it wasn't delivered but is on the delivery round today.

This was Wickes next reply:

Good morning, 

Thank you for your email. As this was an online order if you need to chase this up further please contact 0330 123 4123. 

Kind Regards


Wickes Building Supplies LTD National Customer Service Centre.

Fiona is obviously totally confused as to why goods weren't delivered, but her colleague that I spoke to by phone says Driver ran out of time and couldn't deliver. I'm pleased to report goods did arrive on the 8th at about 3:45pm, but a bit miffed that I waited in all day on 7th March for the delivery that never was.

Update: Goods were unpacked by my plumber who noted two dents and two scratches on radiator and broken plastic parts in fitting kit. Not wanting to waste plumber's time I agreed to fix radiator anyway, but I won't be buying from Wickes online again.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Snapfish Order,  date: Monday 28/11/16 ---- (Snapfish are photo printers)
Order total: £22.49
Order acknowledged, Snapfish advise estimated delivery date: Tuesday, Dec. 6,2016

Wednesday 7th December, no sign of item ordered, after waiting in all day yesterday as it is too large for letterbox

Transcript of online chat with Snapfish Customer Service, (complete with spelling errors)

 Bob: Order ID 988800321320 was supposed to be delivered yesterday but has not yet arrived, has it been dispatched?

Chat started
Please wait for an agent.
There are 2 visitor(s) waiting to be served. Customer Service

Thank you for waiting, our agents are currently busy.

Please stay in the queue and you will be connected to an agent soon.

Von Perido joined the chat
Edgar de Gracia joined the chat
Von Perido left the chat

Edgar de Gracia: . No worries I will check on this for you. I do apologize but there was still no update on our end. No worries I will make sure that this will be updated.

Bob:  why was I told it was to be delivered yesterday?

Edgar de Gracia: I do understand what you mean about the but is shows that there was a issue with the carrier and they are doing there best to sort this out. No worries you order as been dispatch there is some issue with the shipping.

Bob: If it is despatched when can I expect it to arrive, I stayed in yesterday for it. Who is the courier?

Edgar de Gracia:  Carrier will be Harrier.  (Harrier the Carrier, is that a joke?)

Edgar de Gracia are we still connected?

Bob: (repeating above question) If it is despatched when can I expect it to arrive, I stayed in yesterday for it?

Edgar de Gracia: I see, as of the moment we still dont have a respond from the carrier no worries once this is sorted out we will send you a email of the date the order will arrive.

Bob: I'll await the email then, but am not impressed with this service.

Edgar de Gracia:  Thanks for choosing Snapfihs and have a great day.

Example of Good Customer Service:

On Friday 2nd December I ordered goods from a company in London. Order acknowledged on same day

On Monday 5th they emailed to say the goods would be delivered on Tuesday 6th December. 
On Tuesday 6th December they emailed to say that the Courier (UKMAIL) would deliver between 12:30 and 1:30pm. At 12:45 Goods arrived, perfectly packaged and fit for purpose.

Moral, use UKMAIL not Harrier for your parcels! (Unless it's Snapfish's fault of course)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Dodgy goings on at The Drum Inn, Cockington

Sunday June 19th 2016, Father's Day.

My daughter has brought me here for Lunch as we have had nice lunches here in the past. Today however was not to be so successful. There was a special fathers day menu offering two courses for a fixed price of £15.50, which we decided to have. We all ordered different main courses but mine, Roast Beef, when it came had a number of shortcomings. The menu promised endless gravy, but this did not materialise. The Beef was extremely fatty, and I cannot eat fat at all. I managed to separate a small amount of beef from the fat but that was all. A few vegetables were included, I could see about a dozen peas, hiding under the cabbage (which I don't like, a couple of roast potatoes and parsnips. I could neither cut through or bite through the parsnip. There was a Yorkshire Pudding but it was dry (no gravy!) and slightly burnt. All in all, a very poor dinner.

Glynis and Emily had different dinners that were acceptable. On complaining to the manager he offered to not charge for my dinner. We decided to order puddings as I was still hungry, and the puddings came and were acceptable.

When we had finished I asked for a bill and we calculated what we should be paying as £44.50 including drinks or £50.50 if they charged for my pudding, whch I thought I should get for nothing as compensation for the poor dinner.

However, when bill one arrived it was for £54.58. So we asked for the itemised version and discovered that they had not charged the fixed price for 2 courses but had charged seperately for all the items we had except my dinner which was free. They had also included the charge for my pudding.

On pointing out this error we waited for a second bill, and this time it came to £47.85. Again I said this was incorrect and asked for the itemised version.

This time, when it came I noted we had now been correctly charged for the two meals, but two extra drinks had now mysteriously been added? I pointed this out and the manager agreed to remove the two drinks we did not have so I paid the £44.85 I was expected to pay.

I still wonder if they added the two drinks in the hope of recouping some of the lost revenue from the free meal they had given me, but then I'm getting suspicious in my old age.