BT given one final chance

BT responded to my complaint in record time, usually it takes them at least 4 weeks. However their response was less that thrilling

Dear Mr Jamieson

Thank you for your email dated 28/2/08 regarding Bills and Payments.

I am very sorry to hear of the difficulties you have experienced.

In response to your query, the rental charges are £96.98 Excl Vat every quarter and that is including line rental charges for BT Together Option and Broadband Service Charges. You have been charged £24.50 as Payment Charges in which £4.50 is for Payment Processing Fee and there has been a charge for £20.00 which is charged for Reconnection Charges. The last quarter payment was made after the due date and you had your outgoing calls restricted for which BT has charged you a reconnection. For the whole outstanding amount, there is a VAT charged for £18.37.

Hence you have an outstanding balance of £127.81.

With all the difficulties you have faced with respect to your Direct Debit and paying a fee for reconnection, I would strongly suggest you to set in up a Direct Debit Monthly wherein we send our customers the monthly telephone bills and directly debit their bank account for whole of the bill amount. The required bill payments are claimed 7 calendar days after bill production. Monthly Billing is now only available to customers with Direct Debit Monthly.

Should you have any further queries do not hesitate to contact us again.

Obviously that’s not acceptable and has represented the final straw. I replied with this:

Let me get this straight, you’ve charged me £24.50 in payment charges, £4.50 payment processing fee and £20 for reconnection?

None of this was actually explained to me and I wasn’t notified of any of it. I wasn’t disconnected as my Internet worked uninterrupted throughout the last few months. My last bill was paid late because of your error with the bill in the first place and your taking several weeks to respond to every query… all of which is documented by me.

You have hit me with hidden charges and not even notified me of such. That is not on my friend. You expect me to set up a direct debit? So you can take money from account without even telling me what it’s for, without any notice? Do you think I’m stupid???

I will not be paying any payment charges, processing fees or reconnection fees.

You either rescind those charges so that I can pay for the service I am getting or you can consider this my written notice of cancellation.

I will not be held to ransom by you like this.

If you think you can take me to court for the money I remind you that I record all of my phone calls and keep all of my correspondence, which means I have the original phone calls with your salesman and the customer service reps who both lied to me about the direct debit charges. This is all displayed on my website for download. I will gladly produce this as evidence and for the Trading Standards Authority.

So you have two choice, rescind the hidden charges you have unlawfully added to my account or cancel my service and we can call this a day. I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with BT since the day I joined you and would gladly be shot of your lying, deceitful company.

Again I look forward to your reply.

If I don’t get a satisfactory reply I’ll just sack BT off and go to Vodafone. I could use one of their packs then on my laptop wherever I am. I never use the landline for BT anyway so I’m wasting money having the line rental.

I think this could be it for me and BT.

Usability should come before SEO and PPC

A few weeks ago I did an interview for Precision Marketing where I talked about the importance of usability in your Online marketing. This is something I feel quite strongly about as all too often I feel people miss the point with their websites. They think that by getting large volumes of traffic the job is done, but their conversion rates will be low due to an unprofessional or in some cases unusable website.

‘If you build they will come’ may be possible with SEO and PPC, but you need to build it right in the first place, otherwise they’ll come, see it’s not very good and leave. So while as an SEO myself I can get traffic to your site, I’ll always advise your site is up to scratch first and if necessary recommend a full usability report.

Precision Marketing

You can download the full article here for Precision Marketing

Spam your site to thousands of blogs?

I just received this awful spam from asking if I’d like my ad on 2 million websites. Obviously this is a garbage email selling a spam product, and having your ad on 2 million websites isn’t quite the way to go about Internet Marketing.

Subject: RE: [SPAM?]: “How would you like to have your ad on 2 Million Websites ?”
How would you like 2 Million Sites linking to your ad ?

Weblog or blog population is exploding around the world, resembling the growth of e-mail users in the 1990s.

Post your ads where people read them!

– What if you could place your ad on all these sites ?
Right, that would mean you would have millions of sites linking to your ad.
For Full Details Please read the attached .html file

Opening the html attachment takes you this website which is another of those shite sales letter sites.

Blog Blaster

The part I really like is the testimonial, which is obviously fake, but it reads:

Within 2 days I had more that 1,000 pages linking to my website – my website’s traffic literally exploded. Your software is great! You have redefined the word “advertising”.

More than 1,000 links within 2 days? Sounds great eh? Sadly, if your site were to get more than 1,000 links in within 2 days you’d trip Google’s ever so clever and alert spam filter which could very likely end up with your site banned.

But by all means, use this blog blaster software and knock yourself out.

BT are up to their old thieving tricks again

I just received an email from BT insisting that I pay my bill or face a £7 charge for late payment. Not one to back down from these kind of threats I responded with kind.

My bill is once again inaccurate. This seems to happen with every bill, so there’s no great surprise there.

I pay £11 per month for line rental and £21.99 per month for broadband. I have no other services. This totals £98.97 per quarter, not £127.81.

You were close, but no cigar.

Please provide me with the correct total for my bill so that I can pay it. I refuse to pay for your mistakes once again.

I cancelled my direct debit with you imbeciles after you took £136 out of my account for one month’s services, when it should have been £33. If I had even the slightest confidence that you could work out the correct total for my bill I would use direct debit again.

I don’t.

I look forward to your reply.

Let’s see if they come back with anything approaching an intelligent response.

The best just got better, new BBC website

The BBC have for some time had one of the best websites on the Internet. It has a great simple design, was packed with regularly updated content and was very SEO friendly. No wonder they rank for so many terms and a have a Google PR of 9.

Well today they launched a new look front page, one that is fully customisable using drag and drop technology.

I’m drooling, and it’s nothing to do with the photo of Eve Myles from Torchwood on the main picture either (though she is helping slightly).

I love this design. Absolutely love it.


Manchester Earthquake Appeal

An Earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale hit Greater Manchester on Wednesday morning.

Casualties were seen wandering aimlessly saying “bang out of order” “mental” and “sorted”. Some are still confused that something interesting actually happened in Beswick! Some residents of Middleton were woken before their ‘giros’ arrived and it caused quite a panic!

The earthquake decimated half of the Salford area causing in excess of £17.55 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementos from Ibiza, Corfu, Rhyl and Blackpool were damaged beyond repair including a cute little donkey that ‘broke wind’ when you clapped your hands.

Preserved areas of historic importance were destroyed and many piles of scientifically significant litter were disturbed.

One resident of Moston, Miss Kylie Davies a 15 year old mother of four said “It was such a shock, little Chardonnay-Destiny came running into my bedroom crying; my hands were shaking that much I could hardly concentrate on Jeremy Kyle”.

The British Red Cross has so far managed to send 4000 crates of Red Bull to the area to help with the crisis. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found numerous “Elizabeth Duke” sovereign rings, benefit books and Poundstretcher ornaments.

How can you help?

This appeal hopes to raise money for food and clothing parcels for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the disaster. Clothing is most sought after. Urgently needed are Lacoste tracksuits, white socks, Burberry caps, Beanie hats and Rockports. Food parcels are also needed. They include McCain oven chips, Aldi Beans, Monster Munch, Hollands pies and Iceland pizza. Alcohol is also in short supply, especially White Lightening Cider and Special Brew.

Cash donations are also needed. 22p buys a ‘signing-on’ biro, £2.50 buys a pie and chips, £20.00 buys a fake MOT and £16.00 buys 200 Regal ciggies from the back of Tomo’s lorry. Your help is appreciated.

Cole Brooker the illegal driving instructor

The One Show just did an expose’ on a driving instructor who is apparently working illegally. They said the guy’s name, Cole Brooker, and then Googled his name to find contact details… thus:

Cole Brooker

A click on the first result gives us this page, with Cole’s phone number and his details still listed as a practicing driving instructor.  Now I’m all for exposing people, but as someone who has received random anonymous phone calls in the past (and podcasted many of them) I’m not too sure that the One Show were entirely professional here. Their little film made it very easy for anyone with a computer to get this guy’s phone number and call him.

I no doubt imagine he has received a few prank calls tonight, which isn’t fun unless you enjoy confrontation… which for the record I do.

Think before you do this next time One Show guys, you may as well have published the man’s number yourselves and touted for people to phone him.

Cyclists complain about poor cycle lanes

It seems that cyclists in the UK are complaining about poor quality cycle lanes, so much so that MPs are to be given a book showing how poor some cycle lanes are in Greater Manchester.

Cyclists complain that lanes end without warning, are full of obstacles and sometimes just send the unwitting cyclist straight out into the oncoming traffic. Well, surely that’s the idea? We want to get rid of the annoying tossers. I’m sick and bloody tired of getting stuck behind some wavering cyclist swaying from side to side in the road, with a string of cars piled up behind him. They’re  a sodding nuisance.

Then, when the traffic stops because of lights the bastard cyclist mounts the curb and cycles merrily off on his way. Why didn’t he do that to begin with? Then I wouldn’t be stuck at the frickin’ lights anyway!

As you can tell I hate cyclists. If cycle lanes in the UK are dangerous for them then good, that’s the way they should be.