Sunday, 27 July 2014

If You're Thinking of Using BT (part two)

Last September I posted a rant about BT. This was regarding my mother's change of address when she went without her BT landline and broadband services for a few weeks.

Recently, BT contacted my mother to advise her current modem - or Hub - needed to be replaced if she was to acquire the BT Infinity service which, she was told, would mean a faster and more reliable broadband service. My mother agreed and arrangements were made for a Hub to be sent and a date for an engineer to call round and set everything up. The Hub duly arrived - but, you'll not be surprised to learn, nothing else has gone right.

Despite the Hub arriving safely, BT have informed my mother they don't have the correct address details for her. Now you might think a quick phone call to BT would rectify this problem. Oh, no, no, no, no, no. A wee email, perhaps? Hah!

It doesn't help that BT's Customer Service 'help desk' - and I use the term loosely - isn't based in the UK. Going by the countless people I have spoken to in trying to resolve this matter, it appears BT's Customer Service call centre is in India. Now, the people I have spoken to have, for the most part, been friendly. But they simply don't understand the problem. My mother is in her late 70s and trying to get her message across to someone who, it has to be said, struggles with basic English is extremely frustrating and has left her angry and in despair.

I have experienced this at first hand. One person I spoke to didn't seem to know there was a city called Edinburgh and asked me to spell it for her. Others struggle to understand basic English and are clearly following a script from which they must not deviate.

BT have now advised - shockingly - that their Infinity service won't actually be available in my mother's area for some time yet. My mother was told it might be December and the person I spoke to suggested it would be no longer than eight weeks.

All told, this has - yet again - been an absolutely shocking customer experience from BT. I understand they move their call centres to India to save on costs (and by that I mean they probably pay their call centre staff less wages than they would if they were based in the UK) and they're not alone in doing so. However, customers such as my dear old mother are left angry and confused by such  incompetence. Worse still, BT have told both my mother and I that engineers have tried to visit but have found no one was in. This is blatant lies from BT and not for the first time.

As I post this, BT have still not resolved this issue. BT's current advertising campaign for BT Sport has the tagline 'you have to see it to believe it'. The irony isn't lost on my mother. Neither of us believe anything BT tell us now.

If you're thinking of switching to BT then I hope you don't have to deal with their customer service team...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Eight Months Today...

...I get married to The Guvn'r. Here's the cake I'm suggesting we have for the wedding.

I'm sure Marion will see the funny side. But, if she doesn't, does anyone know of a good lawyer...?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Auld Yin With a Camera

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, I've created another blog to add to this one and the football blog.

It's called Auld Yin With a Camera and, as the title suggests, it's mainly a photographic blog where I can post various images of family and places in Scotland and afar. The link is below:

Hope you can pay a wee visit now and then.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Why Scotland Should be Independent

The real question is not can Scotland be independent, but rather, should Scotland be an independent country? And, more and more people in Scotland are saying Yes. There are many reasons why Scotland should be independent.  Here are three.
With Yes we’ll have Scotland’s future in our own hands. 
And that means we will make better choices for people living here. We’ll be able to make sure Scotland’s wealth and resources deliver more for you and for communities across Scotland, because economic and social policy will be based on the priorities and needs of the people of Scotland. That’s much better than having bad decisions taken for us by politicians at Westminster.
With just 59 MPs out of 650 at Westminster, we can easily be outvoted – and regularly are.  We voted against nuclear weapons, post office privatisation and the bedroom tax, but we got stuck with them anyway. And, we’re regularly left with governments that we did not vote for and that means policies most of us rejected get imposed on us.
With Yes we can build a fairer country. 
The UK is an increasingly unfair country.  In fact, we live in one of the most unequal countries in the industrialised world. Since 1975 the gap between the very rich and the rest of us has been growing faster in the UK than in any other comparable industrialised country. Scotland is wealthy enough to be a fairer country – like similarly sized small independent countries.   That means we can choose to:
  • Deliver a transformational increase in childcare and early years education, to make life easier for young families and give our youngsters the best possible start in life
  • Completely abolish the Bedroom Tax and halt some of the worst and most damaging changes to our welfare system introduced by the current Tory government
  • Make savings of £600 million each year from no longer paying for things like nuclear weapons or politicians at Westminster.
With Yes we can build a more prosperous country.
More often than not, Westminster choices aren’t the right ones for Scotland.  With the full powers of Yes, Scotland can put in place policies that match our economic priorities to create jobs and grow our economy. Here’s just a few that would make a big difference to all our lives:
  • Save some of the revenues from our £1.5 trillion (in wholesale value) remaining oil and gas reserves to create a rainy day fund so that we are more financially secure in the future
  • Choose a fairer tax system so that hard-pressed households are guaranteed cost of living increases in things like their tax credits and tax free allowances
  • Introduce targeted tax policies to encourage job creation, for example, reducing the costs of small businesses employing people through lower Employers'  National Insurance Contributions
What’s clear is that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.  We can all agree that the best people to make decisions about Scotland’s future are those that live and work here. Scotland’s people should be at the very heart of decisions about Scotland – not an afterthought.  With Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands we can make sure that happens.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

10 Step Guide to Buying Your Home.

The news that interest rates may rise at the beginning of next year may be welcome for savers but not so welcome for those with mortgages who have enjoyed a low interest rate for several years now.

Back in days of yore when I was a newly wed young lad, I recall taking out my first mortgage for the princely sum of £10,000. That was a huge sum in 1982 and I remember planning my finances to ensure I could pay the £85 per month mortgage payment. I managed okay but also recall a sinking feeling when I received my first mortgage statement a year later and discovering my unfailing monthly payments had been 'rewarded' with the exact same amount being charged for interest - meaning my balance had not changed a penny in 12 months. My irritation when I phoned the bank turned to embarrassment when they explained all I was paying in the early years of the mortgage was interest. I maintain to this day this hadn't been explained properly at the time I took out the mortgage but it was all part of the learning process of life.

Nowadays, of course, things are different. Banks, building societies and other financial institutions are only too keen to provide as much information as they can.  For example, a handy and easy to understand 10 step guide to buying your home can cover the salient points an ensure the customer is left in no doubt about the process and legalities concerned.

Thinking back to my first mortgage in the early 1980s, it's still something  of an eye-opener to think that had I remained in that two-roomed flat in the centre of Aberdeen, my mortgage would have been paid off in 2007 - and my £10,000 loan would have cost me £25,500. Of course, interest rates were sky-high during the days of the Thatcher government and the difference between then and now is startling. Equally startling is the difference in the information and guidance provided. At least that's one thing that has improved. Back in 1982 I wasn't given any steps, far less 10!

For anyone looking to get on the property market, I wish you the very best of luck. Just don't be as naive as I was after a year!