diamond geezer

 Friday, July 17, 2015

Based on your advice, and because it's about time, I thought I'd buy a new laptop.

I didn't buy it off the shelf, I thought I'd invest in a decent personalised machine. I use my laptop rather a lot, and the current one's lasted over five years, so I don't mind forking out over the odds. I went back to Laptop Company, based abroad, who allowed me to pick and choose the appropriate components for my machine. I hope I got it right, it's always difficult not to accidentally tick the wrong box somewhere, especially late on a Sunday evening. But I double-checked the list, and added my product to the shopping basket, and then proceeded to the checkout. Name, address, debit card details, everything, and then I pressed the button.

Transaction declined. Dammit. Normally when this happens, High Street Bank sends me an email and/or rings my phone, to confirm that I really am trying to buy something expensive. With Laptop Company being thousands of miles away in another land, this caution was understandable, even sensible... but no communication came. I checked my online account, and no payment appeared to have been made, so I thought I'd press the button again. Transaction declined. This happened five times, by which time I'd either bought five laptops and was deep in overdraft, or my bank was refusing to let me spend my own money and not telling me that.

It turned out to be the latter. I couldn't ring High Street Bank's customer service team because it was Sunday evening, and they didn't try ringing me until ten o'clock on Monday morning by which time I was at work. You're useless, I told them, what is the point of Verified by Visa if you're not going to believe it, and then not be around when I need to talk to you? They lifted the block, but I still had to go back to the Laptop Company website and attempt the purchase again, and to try to remember all the correct boxes to tick, so I waited until I got home before risking it. And this time everything worked, but by now it was almost a day later than my first attempt, which meant a slightly later delivery.

Delivery will be within X to Y working days, said the Laptop Company website, which was good because I was actually intending to be at home during most of that time. I know you're supposed to send your packages to work, or to that collection point round the corner, but naively I'd assumed that directing this particular delivery to my home address was the best idea. Yeah right.

Day X passed, as did day X+1, and eventually day Y arrived. It was only at this point that Laptop Company sent me an email introducing me to Delivery Company, into whose care my completed machine had finally been delivered. I learned that my package was currently only in Shanghai, and wasn't due to arrive with me in London until two days time. And this was somewhat awkward because I wouldn't be at home on Thursday, I'd be at work, which threatened entrance into The Great Non-Delivery Charade - a fate to be avoided at all costs.

Perhaps I can get the package rescheduled, I thought. There was a big yellow Amend Delivery button on the Delivery Company tracking page, so I clicked on that and hoped it would solve my problem. Instead it created a new one. Delivery Company would only allow me to amend a delivery if I created a personal profile on their website, which meant filling in a shedload of necessary (and seemingly unnecessary) personal information. We've all struggled with these forms, but Delivery Company's requirements were some of the worst I've ever had to endure; repeatedly refusing seemingly rational data, demanding an unnecessarily complicated password, preventing me from ticking a crucial box until I scrolled down through its legal disclaimer, and sorry, no, back to the top again. I only want to change a delivery date from Thursday to Friday, I screamed, how difficult can it be?

Impossible, as it turned out. Once equipped with my new username I attempted to Amend Delivery again, but was directed instead to attend to a problem on some submenu of some hidden tab before I could proceed. I eventually worked out where it was, only to discover that I couldn't amend my delivery day until I'd authenticated my delivery address. And I couldn't authenticate my delivery address until I'd entered my activation code. And I couldn't enter my activation code until they'd sent it to me. Apparently they were sending my activation code by post, to arrive in 2-5 days. And their letter would be arriving after my package was due, so there was no way to Amend this particular Delivery, so I gave up and arranged to take Thursday off.

Over Tuesday and Wednesday I watched transfixed as my package progressed from China to Korea to Kazakhstan to Poland to Germany to a depot in East London. Wow this is impressive tracking I thought, so I went to bed happy. By breakfast it had inexplicably been taken to Stansted and thence to somewhere else in London, but I wasn't unduly concerned. Not, that is, until a new message flashed up at half past eight.

Incomplete address information may delay delivery. We are attempting to update this information.

It appears that Laptop Company failed to write the whole of my address on the label, and so Delivery Company didn't know where to take it. They could have worked it out, indeed they could have checked the customer profile I'd so diligently entered two days previously, but instead my package was added to the daily pile of Too Hard, Didn't Deliver. I learned this when I rang up customer service, but only after I'd jumped through all the necessary hoops. First an automated voice required me to enter my 18 character tracking number, after which I got to talk to a human being, who immediately asked me for my 18 character tracking number again. He was then sort of helpful, at least in explaining what had happened, but indicated that once a package was On The Van there was bugger all could be done about it. They'd deliver it tomorrow, if that was OK... except it wasn't, because I didn't have Friday off.

I agreed instead to go and collect my package from their depot, except this couldn't be until after 6pm because The Van Cannot Be Halted. And of course their depot was nowhere near where I lived, because that would be too easy. The operator read out the street name using a pronunciation which suggested he hadn't been speaking English very long, and promised to warn them I was coming. I then completely reorganised my day, in the absence of the unpacking activity I'd been expecting, and made tracks to an estate in north London late in the afternoon.

"Oh no, we don't have your package here," said the man behind the desk, "who told you that?" Somebody had finally worked out my full address and relabelled my package, and now it was back on the van ready for Friday delivery. "It was loaded early so it's right at the back," said the man with an air of practised mendacity. "But hang on and I'll see what I can do." I waited for ten minutes on a tumbledown sofa, discovering a small-ish spider crawling over my trousers halfway through. "Ah sorry, the van just left for the East London depot," was the eventual response, again prompting a raised eyebrow from the weary customer.

Having wasted a large part of my evening I arrived home to find a small spider scuttling down my shirt, so at least I'd brought something back with me even if it wasn't my intended laptop. That's continuing its world tour for another day, maybe even turning up at my front door when Delivery Company know I'm not in. And when I arrive at the designated godforsaken trading estate this evening I'm hoping to be served up with the product I ordered days ago, and not yet another litany of excuses. It's a wonder our online economy works at all, to be honest, if this is the level of competence and disregard that our courier companies display.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Saturday 10 December (1-3pm)
Bow Church Christmas Fair
Festive fair with mulled wine & music at St Mary's in Bow.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv