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On it's way Soon!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Nationwide Pain

Nationwide. Like this bank? Have you used the Romford branch. I have and well what a show of service. I was working on an article about some of the bad service that banks give out and I must thank Nationwide for providing me with some more material to add. The article will mention how hard it was made for me to open up a basic bank account.
 Yes, so it's the Romford branch I have to thank. Romford's not doing so well for the companies featured in this blog currently, what with the Romford branch of Job Centre Plus, Tesco and Nationwide appearing in the space of a few weeks for bad service. Don't worry, their are some very good organisations and companies that operate in Romford, I can vouch for that, and hopefully we can get on to them soon. But unfortuntly we have another bad service from a Romford store.
So this is how it went. I run a company called Stuff! (the company that works on the blog you are currently reading) and because of the way this company operates and earns it's money, I found I was best suited to payments been made on to a cash card online account with Mastercard, and the use of Paypal, it best suited the buisness at the time. Also, I did not have a passport (needed a new one) or a drivers license (hadn't yet applied for one) and I knew that would make it hard to have even the most basic current account-and believe me it does, I know as I have been trying to get an account for almost 3 Years.  However as the buisness evolved and some new oppurtunities came I needed a bank account, not only that our friends at PayPal suddenly decided that I needed a bank account and put a block on my account untill I got one. This meant I had fees that I was unable to pay (and were due in a matter of days after PayPal did this). It also meant, with a buisness that's payment system uses heavily PayPal, it stopted a lot of earnings through. So thanks PayPal for that. So off I go to try and apply for a bank account. Nationwide was the only one of the high street banks I hadn't tried, so off I went to see about opening a basic current account. By the way, before I had entered the branch, I had rang a number of staff members of the Nationwide phoneline, as well as the particuler Romford branch that I planned on trying for the account. I did this to check if the ID I had was appropiot to get myself account. Now some staff members said it would be, some said it wasn't and some said it could be, depending on what staff say. Well that's consistant, Nationwide. OK so back to visiting the branch. I waited at the help desk, for a staff member to stop being busy and see me. It wasn't to long before she was able to see me (in a not very busy bank for late afternoon) and I explained about the acount I wanted. The account was the most basic and least fees (but still remember that does not mean they will not try and charge you fees, I'm sorry heigh street banks but you want the trust, you'll have to earn it)-this account is called the Flexi current account. I explained that this was the ID I had. After she took all the ID she went at the back somewhere, I'm guessing to confirm with a member of staff if my ID was acceptable. Well she came back and informed me, that with a statement from my cashplus card and the letter from the DWP I had already given, I would be allowed to open my account. She mentioned a statement through the post, but I explained that Mastercard do not send them through post, fair enough some companies do not, all my statements are through my online account. After thinking it through she told me a print of statement would be fine, and if I came back with it the next day with my DWP letter she would open up the account. So I did. I thought that I should hopefully finaley get a basic current account. Well I turned up, and waited to be seen by a member of staff. The lady one the helpdesk who informed me to come back the next day with the ID to get the account open was not working that day, so another member of staff saw me instead. I explained that I had come back in to get my account opened and about the ID I had and that I did need the account as fast as possiable, by the next day as it goes. The lady took my details, but then started to suggest my ID was not enough. Your are joking right? No she wasn't joking, she said the statement could not be accepted in the way I had given it to her (a printed copy as the lady I had seen the previous day had asked me to bring in). She insisted that she new for a fact my ID would not be accepted, one of the reasons been that it did not have my address on it (the address which is on the DWP letter.......), I tried to reason with her and explain that this ws the ID I was asked to bring in, no one told me it had to have an address on, and as it was an online statement they would not usually. So the staff member went to discuss this with another co worker. The lady who had seen me returned with another staff member who I explained the issue too. She said that she knew for a fact that my ID was not acceptable, and went through the list on the computer saying these are the ID's that can be accepted, checked if I had anything else from the list I could offer (I hadn't) and then said she could not accept this ID. I explained about the member of staff from the previous day to which she replied that she knows for a fact that her co worker knows what ID is required and would not have asked told me that the ID was acceptable. Except she did, and I have witness' who could prove that, thank you very much. After a while she said OK, she would talk to the member off staff about it. But why could we not have just gone with the member of staff who said I could use the ID I had brung in, she was the one who was right, I should be able to open up a basic account with this. This gave proof of name and address perferctly. What else do they want? They might as well ask me to wee in a cup and be done with it. Honestly Nationwide. The least complained about bank? Sorry but I'll be adding to the complaints against that.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Thanks For The Bad Service

Nothing good can ever come out of bad service, can it? Theirs nothing good to thank it for. Well actually that's maybe not quite true. Two words for you: Fawlty Towers. One of the greatest comedies was made thanks to the bad service in a hotel in Torquay experianced by the pythons John Clesse, Eric Idel, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. The hotel was the Gleneagles Hotel, with the hotel's owner been described by John Clesse as "the most marvellously rude man I've ever met."
Now I'm not saying we should encourage all companies to offer bad service, on the off chance that we may get a great TV show out of them, but you know I guess it was good that something great could come out of something that was bad servicewise.
Welcome To Fawlty Towers.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Tesco's-Try And Make Every Little Bit Of Customer Service Help

tesco logo Pictures, Images and Photos:Your Always Saying Your The Cheapest (Which Your Not Always), But What About Some Much Needed Customer Service Improvements

Now the supermarket Tesco is a place where some good deals can be found in store, a bit less then a few years ago, I would say, but still some good deals to be found. They have their Clubcard, a good idea, though again, a little less generous then it was a few years back. They do some very good food and non-food products. A lot of their prices have risen, like all the supermarkets have in some way (the ads would of course like you to think otherwise), but that's not all that's risen in Tesco. No, I'm not just talking about the bread. I'm talking about the bad customer service. Is it me, or has the service of Tesco's from staff to customer, got worse then it used to be? I'm sure it didn't use to be quite so frequent. In the many different branches of Tesco's I have visited-their are a lot of branches around, as Tesco's now owns half of the UK's land*-I have found some of the staff to be helpfull and friendly, though nothing standout when compared to other supermarkets. I have also found a lot of customer service to be not so good. As I say, their has been some staff that have been helpfull and try and do their job in a friendly manner, but also, too often some bad customer service in Tesco's around the country has appeared. In fact Tesco's must be one of the most complained about supermarkets in the UK. So a lot of people are not pleased with their service, then. It seems many of you have found problems with the way staff have been conducting themselves, including staff acting rude, not been helpfull to shoppers and beenunfair. Tesco's please improve this. Out So many new branches if your stores keep popping up-in the town of Romford yet another Tesco's store (another Metro, they aready have one not far from it, not to mention all the other Tesco stores nearby). Some branches seem to have consistantly bad service more then others. For me,the worse has been a Tesco Extra store in Romeo.Corner, near Romford. Often in visits, staff were unhelpful to customers when they asked for instore help. Another thing that I found was they had a thing about been a bit, well you could say stingey, refusing to reduce items that should really of been heavly reduced. For example, refusing to reduce a backpack that had a broken zip when customers were rightly pointing out how can they not reduce it. Or theirs sone diaries, very nice patterned ones Tesco's sell, that were on a sale, yet one left was in much worse condition. Staff refused to allow it to be further reduced. A bit tight, isn't it? Especially when you consider how much money Tesco has made. Though they are still in the profits, they have been falling compared to previous years, perhaps some of you have began to tire of parts of Tesco's customer service. What it seems to me ia,before opening up more and more stores, how about you work to improve customer service in the branches you already have open.
I think many people would prefer this then the current trend of the 'big four' supermarkets, yes thar includes you Tesco, of using tricks to make you products seem cheaper and a better deal then they actually are. It is other supermarkets as well as Tesco, where I think goos customer service needs to be much more if a focus point, but so far Tesco's has been sticking out as one of them that needs it the most.
*Some esageration may of been used. Yes A little.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Single Support From the Job Centre Plus

Now we have had quite a few stories heighlighting the Job Centre Plus' bad service, so it's refreshing to hear something more positive from the JCP people. Well, it's an idea that if put into play in the correct way by JCP, could be positive anyway. Under a new change in benefit rules, single parents will get a helping hand to find jobs that they can manage around their roles as parents. Now if they keep to that idea, this is the kind of reasonable behaviour that will freshen up JCP.
From May the 21st 2012, all single parents will be moved from Income Support to Jobseekers Allowance when their child turns 5 (instead of the current 7). Those who have kids aged 12 or under will be able to refuse to take jobs outside of school hours, without it affecting their benefits. It is said that advisors at JCP (these ones known as Lone Parents Advisors) will offer one-to-one advice on training, childcare and CV's, plus help to find local family-friendly jobs. Now, as I think you may of gathered, I'm not the biggest fan of the way DWP and JCP have ran the JSA to customers,in terms of the very bad way they have often dealt it. But if they do manage it right this time, maybe this could help some people out. When The Sun published this news, intreastingly it came with a story about a lady who mentioned that finding a salon job that could fit around her family was tough, so her advisor suggested she start her own buisness-and the advisor gave her a grant to buy equipment. An example of a helpful advisor like that at JCP is good-well done to that person, and JCP use this as an example of having helpful advisors offering advice and to give a grant, also suggesting the idea and encouraging someone to start their own buisness-it's a great move to encourage as an option, but I always found previously JCP ignored it far too much.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Job Centre Plus Complaints-The First Sequal

Job Centre Plus Complaints Updates

I'd like to update you on my 'progress' with the Job Centre Plus. Incase you are one of the many having problems with the Job Centre Plus, I hope to try and offer tips that might be of help as I try and sort out my problems with this place. Now I say 'progress' as while I have tried some new avenues for my complaints, and some helpful contacts have being made (more on that coming up) the Job Centre Plus are still denying they have done anything wrong with my JSA. What a cheek. A very big freaking cheek. In fact, they have given so many big cheeks. But before I go on further about their big cheeks, here's the contact update. As I said in the earlier post, I was contacting M.r Andrew Rosindell to outline my complaints to him about the Romford JCP, the JCP in general and the DWP. Well M.r Rosindell had replied to me (actually very quick, only because of post being so slow I have only just recieved it) regarding these complaints.
I was pleased with M.r Rosindell's response, he outlined his understanding of my complaints about the Job Centre Plus and the Department of Work and Pensions, and he stated that he would make contact with Ian Duncan Smith, who is head of the Department of Work and Pensions, to make clear his concerns about what I had contacted him about. M.r Rosindell said that he would contact me once, M.r Smith has replied to his message, to let me know what he has to say on the matter. Now, whatever comes from this contact with Ian Duncan Smith, and hopefully he can offer something helpful, M.r Rosindell has already made more helpful steps on the issue in one letter, then the DWP or the Job Centre Plus have in the years I have being in contact with them. He has also shown far more understanding, quickly. So thank you M.r Rosindell.

Now the next development began when I tried, once again to call JCP Romford, on Tuesday 15th May 2012. All through the day I tried to get through to Romford JCP, without any luck. Then at last, at 4pm I got through to the reception at the Romford branch. Their was, according to the man on the over end, no JCP staff available to take my call, so he would get them to ring me back. Oh-oh, I don't usually get rang back by JCP. And guess what? Yeah, I'm sure you got it, I got no call back that day. So I planned to try again the next day. But before I got the chance, the post arrived which contained not one but two, letters from the DWP. Could it be they had looked into my complaints after the letters I had sent to JCP, and they were answering them? Could of been, but no it wasn't.
Here's what my packages contained.
Envelope one had two documents from H&M Revenue and Customs, stating details about my JSA claim so far. Then over in the second envelope we had a formal set letter (as in not a groveling apology admitting their bad service, and JCP's) which stated that their had been a recent change in my JSA claim. A recent change?? I have been off JSA for months! Then I found attached, was a cheque for just over £15.00. This was confusing. While I was grateful for this sudden outburst of money, and this something was better then nothing, what the DWP owed me was more closer to £500. Time to ring them up (again). It took nearly 5 minutes to be connected to the DWP (actually a new quick record I think) and off I went expressing my confusedment (not a real word) to the man on the phone. Turns out, that what had been sent to me was the money owed from back in February, according to them just before my benefit was stopted. I tried to understand this, and pondered over it for sometime but I just couldn't work out how,they arrived at this time. Then the man on the phone, explained that the Job Centre Plus had, all these months later after I was thrown off my JCP, only just emailed them to say my claim had been stopped earlier on, just before they sent out the letter. Thanks for that JCP, as that would of helped my JCP claim loads (sarcasm) seeing as that meant DWP had not had details of my account been closed yet. This service from JCP is just getting worse by the day. So back to the JCP hotline as I needed to once again see if my complaints letter had been answered and ask them what the (word removed) their doing. I rang them up explaining I wanted to see the status of my complaints (all million of them). The guy on the phone informed me that their was not an avaliable staff member to talk with me about my claim (here we go again), so when one was available could they ring me back. They could yes, if they actually did. I expressed that if perhaps someone could actually ring me back this time, that would be ace. I gave them an hour (tip when ringing JCP-even if they say their going to ring you back, don't take their word for it). I was surprised (as 

in thoughts of miracles floated through my mind) when JCP called back.  

Victor Meldrew Pictures, Images and Photos
I Don't Believe It!

Hold the front page though, will they have a helpful conclusion to my complaints? Er......no. The lady who rang me back, I recognised her voice, I think we had spoken on the phone before, and I think she sounded like the lady mentioned who's head of a department at JCP (and has answered previous complaints letters from me), and was one who at least talked to customers a little better then many JCP staff. The lady said that the person was on some leave who was dealing with my complaint but she said she had rang them at home for me about the issues I had raised, and she would be booking me in to see some one about my complaints (they are taking me seriously now? Better a couple years late then not at all, eh?). I thanked her for this, and tried to keep calm when she was going over with me why I had been taken of JSA and happened to mention that I was taken of not by an error from JCP, they were in the right. Excuse me I'll just be a second.

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I tried to explain that no, in fact it was their mistake. Well she wasn't agreeing on this one, and after a couple of minutes discussion she said, as she had also looked at my case, it was her advice that in order to try and get the money they own me I should just do a rapid reclaim. That thing I had expressed was not the correct solution for a valid reason, which had been mentioned in my complaints notes. The member of staff did agree with me after, about how that may not be the applicable action to take and that I can explain this to the person I was booked to see.
So that is where some progress has been made of sorts. Whether or not, JCP were going to answer my latest letter, if I had not rang them up, I would of heard anything more on the matters, I don't know. I'll give them the benefit (unlike they often do for people) of the doubt and say they had been looking into my account and were going to contact me once they had finished.
I'll keep you posted, including how the meeting at the Job Centre goes on when I attend the appointment they have set for me, and also any updates from this man 

(in real life Andrew Rosindell is a lot less fuzzy, sorry to M.r Rosindell and anyone else who may be offended about the photo that isn't doing M.r Rosindell justice, just at short notice it was the best I could get.)