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That was weird

January 11, 2017 Comments off

Having worked for the requisite period (30 years) in the UK, I (Simon) have paid enough money into the UK state pension system to have earned a full pension (which is not very much, by the way). Because I started taking this pension 2 years after I was entitled to it, I was offered an increase in the stipend or a lump sum.I chose the lump sum.

Cutting a long story short, these pension payments arrive at the Bank of America and get transferred to the San Diego County Credit Union (because SDCCU somehow can’t receive payments from overseas). This is fine, usually, as I can use the SDCCU online tools to transfer the money when it arrives, but today, the lump sum arrived and was too much in value for the online tools to work.

So, I sez to B ‘let’s just go to BofA, have them cut us a check (cheque) and drive over to SDCCU and deposit it.’

You would have thought it was just that easy, but no!

BofA wanted to charge us $10 for the check! You read that right, they wanted to charge us for accessing our own money. The teller sez, ‘you can always just have cash’. ‘OK’ sez I. So they counted out all these $100 bills using the fancy machine, and then B and I counted them by hand and put them in a couple of now fat envelopes. So then I thought ‘this is so bizarre’. In a connected world, we should just be able to click a thingy on a web site and transfer the money, but now here we are, like some old time western outlaws, counting money and driving across town with it.

Even more bizarre was arriving at SDCCU, they double-teamed when they manually counted the cash twice. It just felt like a scene from a very bad movie.

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Categories: corporate fail

Virgin Mobile refuses to give my money back

March 18, 2013 Comments off

Long story short: We have $55 credit in our VM BroadBand2Go mifi account. This is the rump of a bunch of payments into that account via Best Buy gift cards turned into VM top-up cards. Ordinarily, we would say, ‘fine, we’ll use it when we need it’, but VM, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to drop the monthly plan that we are on (500mb per month at $20), in favour of its vastly overpriced alternatives. Apparently, we can be ‘grandfathered’ into the old plan by calling the VM support line, but as it takes 20-30 minutes to get to talk to a human (never mind the time it took to try, and fail, to deal with this issue), we decided that we wanted our money back rather than have to suffer that.

It turns out that VM has decided that the ‘color of money’ in our account is that of a credit from a Customer Service Rep (totally untrue), and that they won’t refund it.

To summarize: We deposit cash from our own funds into VM top-up cards, pay them into our VM account. VM changes the plans so that they are totally useless to us and then refuses to return our account balance.

Sir Richard Branson, I know you sold this POS company to Sprint, but it’s your name that’s still on it. Do you want your name to be associated with a band of corporate thugs?

Update: For anyone in the same situation. I managed to transfer my balance to a pal of mine with a VM mifi. It still sucks, but at least someone other than VM will benefit.

Categories: corporate fail

AT&T woes, extended

May 10, 2010 Comments off

Well, it seemed it was not enough to describe to AT&T the issues surrounding my sister-in-law’s lack of access to her AT&T DSL account since December written last Saturday.

See This as a primer.

So then, I try to call again this night (Monday), and it takes 2 hours to get to a real person. I could supply the transcripts of the ‘chat’ sessions with AT&T, but basically, all it would say is that the left hand doesn’t, isn’t institutionally capable of, talking to the right hand. It’s mind-blowing, it’s like ‘how can we make it the hardest possible to solve our customers problems?”

But then ‘Errie’ comes on the phone, eventually. Nice guy, really wants to solve the problem. Methinks, does this person actually work for AT&T? Eventually, after we discover that the case notes from Saturday have been lost, but the old ‘Trouble Ticket’ is still in place from December 2009 and a new one gets created (why has our problem report from Saturday been lost?), it turns out that ‘Jerrie’ (maintenance at AT&T) knows exactly why my s-i-l’s internet connection has been lost for this last 6 months. Er hem, a telephone tech changed the ‘switch’ and forgot to inform/update the DSL records. Last November. Despite 6 calls from the s-i-l to report the problem, nothing happened.

It took a huge effort on my part to get anything done about this. But no apology, no recompense, no recognition of fault.

DO NOT BUY AT&T

They are complete Jerks.

Categories: corporate fail

The Sting

November 16, 2009 1 comment

Here’s a news item that leaves me nonplussed, it’s exactly the same plot as the movie ‘The Sting’:

It comes from NPR and it’s about those investment banking bastards being able to hold up ‘regular guy’ (i.e. yours and mine) transactions for enough milliseconds for those bastards to get a better bid in. How is that different from betting on a certainty? These fucking guys seem to be sucking billions of dollars out of the economy, without adding a single whit of value to it,  all the while draining all our 401k’s value. Why is this even legal?

Especially as much of it has been done with our taxpayers ‘bailout’ money.

Torches and pitchforks, anyone? Either that, or how can I get some of this action? Like ‘The Sting’, it doesn’t take too much effort to predict the outcome of the horse race if you already know who the winner is.

Categories: corporate fail

Network Solutions uses latest technology – snail mail, phone and fax

October 27, 2009 4 comments

So, we’ve owned our domain (yes, it needs freshening up) for 10 years, and Network Solutions wrote a snail mail to us telling us that the domain registration was due for renewal towards the end of December.

I did a double-take over getting some mail from them – this is the mighty Network Solutions, doncha know, true arrogant herders of the internet, a benefit bestowed upon them by ICAAN, with no discussion with actual users of the internet. Back in 1999, they were the only game in town for internet name registration, and behaved like they owned the place. Now, things are different, and almost anyone can be a domain registrar (and almost everyone is), so I wanted to get revenge by moving our registration to DynDNS.com, a dynamic DNS host who has been really good to us over the years.

Yesterday, I went to DynDNS’ web site to shift the registration, and their web widget informed me that I couldn’t because the domain was ‘locked’ by NS. Then, I went to the NS web site to see how to unlock it. The only way to get a message to them was a web form to their sales staff, no way to get to tech support at all – not even a way to describe what issue I had.

So today, I get a call back from a charming (seriously, despite his employer) guy called Darrick, who is apparently in charge of the Registrar department. Long story short, there are only two ways to unlock the domain, i) B. has to phone them between 9:30 am and 5:30pm Eastern, and they will somehow determine her authenticity, or, I discovered later, if we send them a fax, attesting to her authenticity, then all will be well.

So, a fax proves authenticity? These people are idiots. All it requires is that she declares herself to be herself, and provides her current email address. Any villain could high-jack the site by declaring herself to be the rightful owner.

The idea for this rant  started out as pouring scorn on Network Solutions for using non-network solutions like mail, phone and fax to do their communication, and ended up pouring scorn on them for a huge authentication fail.