CSAhell.com on local radio

Last week I appeared on local radio here in the North West talking about the website CSAhell.com, and how it has helped people dealing with the Child Support Agency. I was approached for the radio talk show because the researchers found the website in Google when they searched for phrases such as ‘CSA Advice’, ‘CSA Mistakes’ and even ‘Child Support Agency’ – proving how SEO can not only benefit your website’s rankings and traffic, but how it can also lead to offsite promotion such as local radio.

I recorded the segment and have uploaded it as a podcast, but must apologise in advance for the poor sound quality and additional commentary because the program I used to record it also recorded ambient sound from within the room.

Very useful!

Anyhow, have a listen and do let me know what you think.

Recording calls with the iPhone

I must confess I’ve never been something of an Apple lover. I’ve shied away from Macs my whole life and never really wanted to get an iPhone, but having seen one recently I have to admit, it does look pretty cool.

However, I currently use a HTC Touch HD and have an application called Vito Audio Notes that I use to record my phone calls (in my line of work, recording calls is important). Whenever I make, or receive, a call the Audio Notes program kicks in and automatically switches the phone to speakerphone, then it begins recording.

It’s also useful for makeshift conference calls, as I had to do last week, or for recording telephone interviews as I also did last week when I appeared on local radio on a talk show.

While I do like the HTC, it’s not the best for the Internet – and having seen the iPhone 4 and the way it accesses the Internet, I’m feeling sorely tempted to finally make the switch when my contract expires in under 3 months. But… if I can’t record calls with the iPhone, it’s of no use to me, and I’ve had a look for available apps and can’t seem to find anything that does it without first jailbreaking the phone.

It appears that the Americans are very coy on recording phone calls (something to do with different laws in different states) so there’s no call recording app in the App Store.

Does anyone know of any way to record phone calls with the iPhone 4?

My top 20 referring keywords for June

I was just checking my website’s stats for June and it occurred to me how little of my traffic is actually to do with Internet marketing or SEO. I guess it should come as no surprise, considering the nature of much of my blog posts, but my stats do seem to be filled with people searching for companies such Home Delivery Network, Carphone Warehouse and Computeach.

Even Kitchens Direct gets a few mentions, and I’ve never even used them!

I wonder how long it will be before Halfords starts to show in this top twenty list… I’ve also included the visitor numbers for June for each search term too, so you can see the level of traffic for these particular searches.

  1. hdnl (523)
  2. home delivery network (319)
  3. hdnl complaints (222)
  4. yousendit.com free trial (211)
  5. home delivery network complaints (187)
  6. you send it free trial (103)
  7. csa complaints (65)
  8. computeach reviews (55)
  9. carphone warehouse complaints (52)
  10. mr daz (43)
  11. yodel hdnl (39)
  12. flakelet (28)
  13. hdnl yodel (25)
  14. hdnl tracking (25)
  15. homedeliverynetwork (23)
  16. kitchens direct reviews (22)
  17. kitchens direct watchdog (22)
  18. tesco is shit (20)
  19. the parcel data has been received (18)
  20. yodel delivery (17)

Halfords complaints continue

My dispute with Halfords looks set to run and run, as my previous complaint against Halfords, dated July 7th, has only just been responded to. Last week I took the day off to wait for delivery of a CD player for the car, only for it to fail to turn up. I complained to Halfords with this email, and in the meantime the item did arrive (on July 8th, when I was in London for the A-Team screening) so I missed delivery.

Anyhow, the item has now been collected and installed in the car, despite my having to pay another £4.99 for a connector that I wasn’t informed about when I ordered the item from Halfords website.

I awaited their response from my last complaint before replying again, and it has just arrived. Here is what they said, count the excuses:

From: David Willis [mailto:David.Willis@halfords.co.uk] On Behalf Of Customer Services
Sent: 13 July 2010 16:05
To: Darren Jamieson
Subject: Re: FW: halfords.com – Order Received (ref ********)

Dear Darren Jamieson,

Thank you for your email. Please accept my apologies for the delay in our response, this has been due to an unusually high volume of written correspondence in recent weeks.

I am sorry to read that you have experienced issues with your online order. We regret to inform you that Halfords are undergoing a major warehouse relocation, consolidating 3 warehouses into 1. At this present time stock is being transferred from its original location to the new Distribution Centre and is being booked into to the correct location of picking and despatch. I apologise that due to this relocation your items were delayed within our system and we were unable to meet the advised delivery schedule.

This issue has been rectified and from your order information and DHL tracking information all items have now been delivered to your address.
As previously advised, Halfords have removed all delivery charges in relation to your order due to the inconvenience caused during your online transaction with Halfords. I can also confirm that the 5% discount was also honoured and actioned as per your correspondence with Customer Services. I will however escalate the order details to the correct team member to investigate why a call back was not given by the advisor in the time scale provided to advise you that this had indeed been actioned. The outcome of this action will be dealt with internally.

I would like to assure you that it is never our intention to cause distress or inconvenience to any of our customers and although mistakes do happen, we recognise that it is how they are dealt with which is important. I thank you for your patience in relation to this matter.

In reference to your compensation request, Halfords only compensate for actual losses and cannot consider your request for compensation reference a late delivery. As a company, we feel that it more productive and beneficial to address the issue and deal with the matter internally.

I appreciate this may not be the outcome you were expecting, however, please be assured that this matter has received my full attention and consideration. . It is only through feedback from our customers that we are able to identify areas where we are falling short of our customers’ expectations and can redress them.

Please accept my sincere apologies once again.

Yours sincerely

David Willis
Customer Contact Centre Supervisor
Halfords Ltd

Customer Services: 0845 057 9000
Web: www.halfords.com
Halfords Limited, Washford West, Redditch, Worcestershire. B98 0DE

Naturally, the fact they are moving warehouses doesn’t really concern me. It doesn’t explain why they failed to call me back or even notify me of the delay to delivery so I could cancel my day off, and it doesn’t explain why I had to pay more money again when I had the item installed at Halfords in Cheadle. So, here is my repost again.

Hi David

Thanks for your email, although again it was almost a week before I received a reply.

The items not arriving on the date I had specified was indeed inconvenient as I had taken a day off to wait in for them, and the day that they did arrive (July 8th) I was in London all day – hence why I selected July 7th for a delivery date. I was not advised that the delivery date would change (otherwise I could have cancelled my day off), and it seems a strange coincidence that the items were shipped hours after I emailed to complain. Perhaps the order was forgotten, or lost, until I reminded you?

However, they have arrived now and I have finally had the item installed at Halfords in Cheadle, Manchester. The staff were very helpful, and indeed quick at installing the item.

On the downside, I had to pay another £4.99 for a connector plug which I was not advised about when I placed the order on your website, despite running the ‘will this work with my car’ check. The fitter in the store mentioned that many customers are angry about this when they go in for fitting because the website never tells them about this connector, or even warns them that it may be necessary.

Perhaps your website should be updated to show this as you’re clearly angering a great many people by trapping them into another £5 purchase at the point of install after they have ordered from your website?

I’m sorry to hear that Halfords has suffered problems with moving its warehouse, but fail to see how that should affect customer orders, delivery dates or the inability to return phone calls. This seems to be nothing more than an excuse on your part.

I should also point out that the 5% reduction and the ‘free delivery’ were not added ‘due to the inconvenience caused’ as you put it. I originally had the 5% discount, plus the free delivery, when I placed the order several weeks ago on 22nd June, and have a text message confirmation to prove this (two messages actually). The failure of your website to process the order meant I was forced to try again, and again, and again, receiving a variety of unhelpful error messages before phoning up to place the order – where the original order price was finally honoured.

So, as you can see I haven’t received anything for my ‘inconvenience’, and have indeed had to pay more again due to the non disclosure of the website with regards to parts required. Perhaps you could look at this again… I’ll await your response.

Let’s see what they say next time.

Halfords Complaint

My attempts to place an order on the Halfords website have taken an unfortunate turn for the worse, in what should really have been a straightforward transaction. As I reported previously, the problems with the website and the shoddy response times from their customer service department have meant that I have struggled to order a simple CD player for my car – and things do not appear to have improved.

I phoned Halfords myself on June 30th and explained the issues with their site, and how their customer service department had failed to reply. I spoke to a chap named Amaad, who promised that I could place the order normally and he would make the change so that I could have the previously offered 5% discount, and that I could pay online (as I had previously attempted to do). I placed the order, and then phoned him back to give him the order number – and he said he would amend it and get back to me to confirm it had been done. I of course recorded this phone call, so can prove this if necessary.

No problem, all is well. Except that the order should have arrived today, and it hasn’t. Also, when I attempt to use the order tracking on their website, I see a partially loaded page – as you can see from the screenshot, the code has not loaded properly. Their website STILL does not work.

Halfords website error

So, no CD player has arrived, no way to track the order and some two weeks after originally trying to place an order, I’m still left unsure if it has even worked – despite receiving an order confirmation text, email and speaking to one of their customer service advisors and confirming he has the order. Their website says otherwise however.

In a last ditched attempt at salvaging this order, I have emailed Halfords once again… this is what I said:


I’m still awaiting delivery of my order, order reference #********

However, as delivery is supposed to be today (which is what I selected on your website) and I have stayed home ALL DAY to wait for it, I’m a little worried that firstly, it hasn’t turned up and secondly, when I enter my order number into the tracking section on your website the page only half loads and I get no information back.

I also did not receive a phone call from your customer service chap (Amaad) who said he would call me when he had adjusted the price for the free delivery and the 5% discount due to the myriad of problems I have already received in trying to order this damn product.

I also have not had a text or email to say that the item has been dispatched (as per the instruction on my order confirmation email), which perhaps explains why it is not here with me now when I have taken the day off for it to arrive.

This was the fifth and final attempt I am prepared to make to order this item from you. My blog post here explains my first few attempts  – and my subsequent blog post will detail how this is resolved, so choose your method of response wisely.

Perhaps you could explain a) why my item has not arrived, b) when it is likely to arrive so that I can sit around and wait for it once again and finally, c) whether you intend to compensate me for this shambolic experience I have had to endure in my attempts to place an order on your website?

I, and many others, await your response with interest.

Darren Jamieson