Author Archive

Northern Fail day 2

December 3rd, 2010 tj 1 comment
For the second day in a row your ‘service’ has been so awful that I am moved to complain.  A copy of my original complaint is appended to the end of this email.
This morning I became aware that the 8.07 from Mossley to Manchester Victoria had been cancelled.  Luckily I hadn’t left my house yet.  So I set off later with the intent of catching the 8.27 instead.  When that train finally arrived at around 8.35 it was only two coaches long and was already full, meaning no one could get on at Mossley.  The advice from the guard was that he had been told that as there is apparently a bus service from Mossley to Manchester the service was not a priority.  I then had to wait in sub zero temperatures until the 8.55 train arrived (on time, a miracle in itself).
Quite frankly I am appalled at the contempt with which you treat your paying customers.  I do not pay £80 a month to be to be inconvenienced by you and then told to spend my money elsewhere on an inadequate replacement.  For what it’s worth, a few commuters seemingly did try and get a bus but the bus was too small and the driver said the route is so long and slow that it would make more sense to wait for the next train.
Do you really think that this is an acceptable service?  Do you honestly believe that I am getting value for money?  Because I don’t.  Yet no doubt I will be forced to pay increased costs as of January.  I am surprised that you have the bare faced cheek to have still been checking tickets at Victoria both yesterday and this morning.
I have not been using this route long but speaking to other commuters who have, these problems are not uncommon.  However, in the relatively short time I have been using the route I have regularly had to contend with overcrowded and late running trains.
Ask yourselves this question.. would you put up with this kind of ‘service’ if it was affecting you?  Unfortunately I have no other option.  Do you think that this ‘service’ is acceptable and worth £80 a month?  Would you pay £80 a month for overcrowded trains that you mighit not even be able to get on?
Even your turn around on complaints leaves a lot to be desired.  Four weeks?  How can you say that this is reasonable?  Or are you so swamped with complaints about your non-existent service that this is as quick a turnaround as you can manage?
John Hyde
Categories: Northern Rail, Rant Tags:

Northern Rail, or should that be Northern Fail?

December 2nd, 2010 tj 5 comments

Yep, you guessed it! One of my famous complaint letters coming up!

Dear Sirs,

Now that my fingers have thawed out sufficiently I find myself having to write to you to complain about the ‘service’ you offered commuters at Mossley Station this morning (2nd December 2010). I’m probably not the first person you’ve heard from this morning, and I’m certain I won’t be the last.

I arrived at the station at around 8am, planning to catch the 0807 to Manchester Victoria. As 8.07 approached the screen updated to say the train was expected to arrive at Mossley at 8.08; I wasn’t too perturbed by this as late arrivals are quite common.

However, when the train did arrive it was standing room only in the front 2 carriages (of a 4 carriage train). The rear two carriages were completely empty. As many people as possible crammed themselves onto the front two carriages but there were at least 30 people, myself included, who could not fit on the train. When we asked the guard (whose head appeared out of a window in the rear 2 carriages) to open the carriages to let us on he said he could not do it. Apparently it was down to that bane of modern life… health and safety reasons, The platform at Mossley is apparently too short, even though the train seemed to fit just fine. I assume a full risk assessment has been carried out?

The next few minutes descended into farce, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. People, understandably frustrated by proceedings, were blocking doors and pleading with the guard to show some common sense. Unfortunately common sense seems to be a rare commodity on today’s railways. The guard threatened to involve the police, but this didn’t deter the commuters. Why would it? They had nothing to lose. Eventually the protesters had to concede defeat and let the train depart.

Thankfully the next train, the 8.27, was relatively empty and I was able to stand uncomfortably all the way into Victoria.

I wonder if you could explain why this happened? Why was common sense not allowed to prevail? There are at least three possible ways to combat this happening.

1. Why could the guard not stand in the supposedly ‘unsafe’ door to stop people using it?  The train wasn’t so long that the entire rear coach was beyond the platform. In fact, it looked safe enough to board to me. Had the guard just stopped people from using the ‘unsafe’ door then passengers would have easily been able to board using the other doors.

2. Why could the front coaches be closed to enable the train to move forward by a few feet and enable the rear doors to be opened safely? Again, this is pure common sense. It would be safer than the first suggestion and all it would take would be a few minutes. I guess you wouldn’t want to do this as it might make your trains (even) late(r).

3. Why not extend the platform at Mossley to accommodate 4 coach trains?  Wishful thinking, I know. And I already know the answer if I’m honest. As a monopoly you would rather bleed your customers dry with yearly price increases (without any noticeable improvement to the service or facilities) than invest in the infrastructure to provide your customers with a better service.

I look forward to hearing you try and explain your way out of this one. I won’t be letting it drop easily. Nor, I suspect, will any of the other people affected this morning. I would like you to address all points raised in this email, but especially those in bold. If I do not receive a satisfactory response soon I will take this matter further.

Yours faithfully,

John Hyde

Categories: Northern Rail, Rant Tags:

UK Fail: Part 3

June 25th, 2010 tj No comments

Today I received a reply to my complaint from UK Mail.  Insulting does not begin to describe the short letter I received.  It was so short I’ll type it up in full here:

Thank you for your letter dated 17th June addressed to The Chief Executive.  This has been passed to me for investigation and response.

I am sorry for the delay encountered with the delivery of this parcel.  Unfortunately our delivery driver had very high volumes on the original delivery day 17th June and returned the parcel to the delivery depot.  This was then incorrectly declared by them as an attempted delivery.  The driver took your parcel out for delivery but then unable to locate your address on Friday 18th June.  We asked the senders for more details, which were passed on to the delivery depot, and your parcel was delivered to you on Saturday 19th June at 10:30.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused as a result of this delay.

Suffice to say I’ve already drafted another reply which raises the following questions:

  • Why they’ve given YET ANOTHER excuse as to why the first delivery was missed
  • Why the driver carried on his lie that he had attempted delivery when he clearly hadn’t actually done so
  • Why the driver was unable to find my house when everyone else can
  • Why they are so poor at managing their resources that they give drivers high loads and not enough time to make the deliveries
  • Why they offer next day if they can’t manage their resources well enough to ensure next day is a viable option
  • Why they keep lying to me
  • Why they had to ask the senders for my details on Friday (they had my address, obviously, and I gave them my phone number on Thursday evening)
  • Why they don’t actually apologise for missing 3 timeslots, only for the inconvenience caused by doing so

I’ve also asked them to issue a deadlock letter so that I can take the matter to an independent review panel as I really don’t think they’re taking my complaints seriously at all.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

UK Fail: An Update

June 19th, 2010 tj No comments

After 3 days, my package just arrived!

No beef with today’s driver either.  The reason for his delay was a puncture and a screw in his back tyre.  That and the fact he covers a massive area, including Bacup!  He was none the wiser as to why the other driver couldn’t find my place either.  Like he said, the post code takes you straight here on a Sat Nav or on Google Maps!

Ah well.  I’ll still be sending the second letter!

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UK Fail

June 19th, 2010 tj No comments

Well, this is turning into quite a bitter blog isn’t it?!

The competition for the title of “UK’s worst delivery company” is hotting up though so I thought I should let you all know about the recent developments!

Following my complaint to the Royal Mail I got a grovelling letter back, admitting that they dropped the ball and that standards were not being met, and also enclosed a cheque for a few quid by way of an apology.  (Companies please take note, cheques are always welcome!)

There’s a newcomer to the title race though, and by God they’re doing everything within their power to make sure they take the title home with them (in completely the opposite manner that the English football team are currently operating).

That newcomer is… UK MAIL!

Their postal service is, judging from my past experiences those of my friends, pretty poor; letters seem to take an age to arrive, quite often dated a week or two before they actually land on your mat, but as they’re mainly bills and business letters I don’t mind so much!

However, it would also seem that their parcel delivery service is almost identical.  Please get comfortable because the following tale is en epic to rival even Beowulf.  And so the story begins…

On Wednesday afternoon I placed an order with an online company and chose next day deliver, knowing I would be in the house on Thursday to sign for the parcel.  The confirmation emails came and UK Mail, via their tracker, confirmed they had picked the parcel up and were on schedule to deliver on Thursday.

Thursday came, the parcel had been loaded on to the van and was out for delivery.  Then nothing.  Regular tracking checks throughout the day yielded no updates.  At around 6pm I checked again, only to find that the parcel was back in their depot!  After ringing around several UK Mail offices I managed to get through to the Manchester depot, who informed me that the driver had tried to deliver at 10am but there was nobody in and so he had left a card.  Only there wasn’t a card on my mat.  I told them this and they couldn’t explain it.  I left my details and was assured that someone would phone me back with an explanation.  I was also told that they would reschedule the delivery for Friday, but couldn’t tell me what time.  I’d have to ring back in the morning for that.

So I rang back on Friday morning.  I was put on hold while the operator spoke to the driver.  The operator then explained that the driver had tried to deliver at 10am but hadn’t actually left a card as he hadn’t got any left.  I was then told that delivery would take place between midday and 3pm that day.  I then received a call to say that the driver HAD left a card on Thursday and would reattempt delivery on Friday and had my phone number in case of any difficulties.

By 4pm I had still not received my package.  I phoned the depot again, who consulted the driver again, and was assured that I was the driver’s next delivery.

At 5:30pm the tracker on the UK Mail site showed that my item had once again been checked into the Manchester depot as undelivered.  Once again I phoned the depot to query this.  Apparently the driver (the same one as the day before, who had assured me he had tried to deliver the package) took the parcel back to the depot as he couldn’t find my house.  The very same house he’d been to the day before.  I queried this, only to be told that the driver hadn’t actually attempted delivery on Thursday and it was a system error causing that info to appear.  When I asked why he couldn’t call me for directions I was told he didn’t have my phone number after all.  I was then assured that delivery would be attempted AGAIN on Saturday morning before 10:30am.

The tracker showed that the package had been loaded on to the van on Saturday morning and all was well.  Until 10:30 came and went with no delivery.  Once again I had to phone the depot, despite them having my number.  I was then told that they can’t guarantee delivery before 10:30, but my package would be with me by 2pm.  Unfortunately they couldn’t prioritise my delivery as some people had paid extra for a Saturday delivery (I don’t see the logic in this, as coming to me first wouldn’t endanger those deliveries, unless they really had no intention of delivering to me), conveniently forgetting that I had paid for next day delivery on Wednesday!  To make matters worse, there were no supervisors available to speak to, and the office would close at midday, not to open until Monday morning.  Leaving me unable to chase up the delivery in case of any more errors!

And so I now wait.  I certainly won’t be holding my breath though as it seems UK Mail cannot actually deliver mail.

Rest assured I have written to their Chief Exec already (and will be writing again to keep them updated), I will phone on Monday and demand an explanation, and I have also emailed the MD of the company I ordered from to let him know how piss poor his suppliers are.

I wonder what’s next.  Can any other company rise to the challenge that UK Mail have laid down?  I seriously doubt anyone else could be as incompetent as they seem to be….

Categories: Rant Tags:

Royal Fail – part 2

March 16th, 2010 tj No comments

You might have thought that things couldn’t get much worse than my original Royal Fail post.  Well, think again.

On Saturday I arranged for the item to be redelivered today, knowing I was going to be off work.  I got up this morning nice and early and sat in the front room all morning just to make sure that I wouldn’t miss it this time.  Time passed with no sign of the package.  “It’s ok” I thought to myself “the post arrives late these days, it’ll be here”.

Then the postman walked past my house without posting anything.  “Maybe he’ll post it on the way back down the street” I thought.  But he didn’t.  “Maybe it’ll be coming in a van or something because it’s being redelivered rather than it being an original delivery”.

Just to put my mind at ease I decided to phone the Royal Mail.  That in itself is something of an ordeal; with a convoluted menu system, full of dead ends and false hopes.  After picking the wrong choice the first time around, I managed to get through to a real person on the second call.  This is where the fun starts.

I gave her my reference number and explained the situation.  This is when she drops the bombshell…

“Ok, I can see that the current status on this delivery is that the package did not make it back to the depot and so it has not made it to the delivery office.  We have your mobile number (she read it out to me) and the delivery office manager will contact you when the package has been found to arrange redelivery”.

To cut a long story short, I now have to wait 15 days to see if this package turns up.  And if it doesn’t then I can submit a claim.  No compensation for two missed delivery dates.  No compensation for having to cancel plans.  Nothing.

So I asked why I had to phone up to to chase the item to be told his, when the delivery office knew it was missing, updated the central system with the fact it was missing and even had my telephone number.  Why didn’t they contact me this morning to say “We’re really sorry, we’ve lost it; don’t bother waiting in today”?

Of course, I’ve submitted a complaint about that as well, but I won’t be holding my breath.

As I said last time, they really do deserve all the shit they get.

Categories: Rant Tags:

Shitty Link

March 13th, 2010 tj No comments

Just to maintain a level of impartiality and balance to the blog, I’ll now also post about the troubles I’ve had with City Link today:

I was expecting another package to arrive today, this one shipped by City Link rather than Royal Mail.  I tracked the package this morning and was told that it was in their system and would be with me today.  Only, it’s not with me.  And the chances of it getting here between now and Monday must now be slim to none.

Attempting to track the parcel on their site now throws up an error.  Apparently they can’t find my reference number and I should phone them up.  Only, they close their lines at midday on Saturday and don’t open them again until Monday morning.

Their website happily claims that you can submit a form to them to complain.  Only, it doesn’t work and throws back a 500 Error, which they claim they are working on rectifying.

So it would seem that if you want anything delivered in this country you’re fucked.

Categories: Rant Tags:

Royal Fail

March 13th, 2010 tj No comments

People who know me will know that there’s no love lost between me and the Royal Mail.  If they’re not losing my packages then they’re taking an inordinate amount of time to deliver them.  Today’s experience really takes the biscuit though.  Let me give you a run down…

  • After waiting the required 72 hours, I went to my local delivery office this morning to pick up a package (I’ll touch on this a bit more later on).
  • I got home and passed up on the chance to go out with family to wait in for another delivery.
  • I sat upstairs, watching TV, with all the doors open so I could hear the bell when the postman got here.
  • I heard the post drop on the mat, but didn’t get up to look as there was no bell.
  • Ten minutes later I went to get a drink and lo and behold, a “Sorry, you were out” card was lying on the floor beneath the letterbox telling me I’d have to wait another 72 hours to get my package.
  • I then phoned the redelivery line to be told “Sorry, we’re really busy. If you’re trying to arrange a redelivery then the quickest way is to go and pick it up yourself or do it online.”
  • I logged on to the Royal Mail website and was told to enter my 13 digit Item Number, starting with 2 letters and ending with 2 letters.  Only the item number written on my card is 14 digits long and starts with numbers.

So now I have to wait 3 fucking days before I have to go down to the delivery office (which is only open between 6:30am and 12 noon) and pick my own package up.  All because someone couldn’t be arsed to press the doorbell (assuming they were even carrying the package in the first place) and couldn’t write down 13 digits correctly.

And I’d love to know why it takes 3 fucking days to take a package to an office a mile down the road.  A crippled tortoise would do it faster.  I’ve had to pick up packages from City Link recently and if you’re out when they call you can go and pick the package up THAT EVENING.  Not 3 evenings later.  THAT EVENING.

If Royal Mail’s idea of good customer service is to make the customer trek down to pick their own package up in 3 days then they deserve all the shit they get.

Categories: Rant Tags:


February 23rd, 2010 tj 1 comment

So England’s best (or more accurately, only) left back got caught sending dirty pictures to a Page 3 dullard and how his marriage to a professional mime artist is over.

Sorry, someone’s going to have to explain to me why:

  1. I should give a shit
  2. Anyone should give a shit
  3. BBC News consider it important enough to rank the story higher on it’s website than a story about someone trying to blow up a courthouse in Northern Ireland
Categories: Rant Tags:

The truth about the bullying ‘scandal’ / Homeopathy challenged

February 22nd, 2010 tj No comments

As I was getting ready for work this morning GMTV was on in the background.  On it was a report about the alleged culture of bullying in Number 10 Downing Street.  The initial storm centred around a book that contained allegations that Gordon Brown had a bad temper and possibly bullied staff.

GMTV then wheeled out Christine Pratt, head of the National Bullying Helpline who went on to say that her ‘charity’ had received calls from a number of staff inside Number 10.  I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.  A director of a charity which deals with sensitive issues coming out in the press and breaching confidentiality in such a way.

It gets better though.  I saw the following link on Twitter:

So this bullying charity is actually run by a woman who also runs a company advising other companies on how to defend bullying claims.  And it also seems that the charity are recommending that complainants appoint the business-side of the operation to investigate the claims!  There is even a case of someone calling the helpline and then inadvertently giving the business’ details to their employer and the business then helping the employer to defend the claim and turn it back around onto the complainant!  Very ethically dubious at best.

And it gets better.  Just a quick glance at the charity website shows the charity has several links to the Conservative Party.  Now they couldn’t possibly have anything to gain from all of this could they?…

Christine Pratt has now apparently gone on record to clarify that none of the complaints she received were about Gordon Brown, but why not say that from the start?  The damage has already been done.

Now I’m not belittling bullying, I have no doubt that it is a very serious concern in the workplace and should be treated as such.  But this whole sorry scenario seems to be nothing more than a smear campaign and does little to help eradicate bullying in the workplace.

One good thing has come from all this though… I can’t see many people going to the National Bullying Helpline in future if they have no qualms about sharing details of your complaints with the media!

In better news, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has said that NHS money should not be used to provide homeopathic ‘treatment’.  Apparently, £4m a year is spent on providing water and sugar to patients.  I can’t help but think that there are a great number of better things to spend that money on.

Categories: Politics, Quackery Tags: