The death of Customer Service?

Apparently Facebook’s new search feature will allow people to search for certain key words from a number of sources. Hopefully it will search WordPress blogs as well. This post is about my disaster of an experience with BelairDirect, my insurance company. They only underwrite insurance in Ontario, so this won’t be of any interest if you are in BC, where ICBC handles all the insurance. I didn’t know how good I had it while I lived in BC.

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Think ICBC is a bad deal?

A few years ago I saw a small classified ad for a Ford Ranger. I was getting into renovating and needed a truck. After I went to the shop and decided to buy the truck I wanted to leave my car for some bodywork to sell it, so I needed plates and insurance to be able to drive the truck. I called an ICBC broker, answered a few simple questions and about twenty minutes later they showed up with my plates and insurance papers. I had maintained their Goldstar rating, so I got about a forty percent discount off, paying about $90 a month for extended coverage, with increased liability and lower deductibles for collision and comprehensive. Continue reading

Warning! If you are considering Rogers think twice. Do you want to go through this?

It’s still not over, but this is my last couple of days of pure hell dealing with Rogers. Beware!

Michael A. Adams
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Rogers Cable, Inc.
333 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4W 1G9

Dear Mr. Adams:

Although, based on my experience with your company so far it is painfully clear that you don’t care what customers think, or things would change, I wanted to detail just what hell Rogers has put me through. Maybe someone in management will wake up and actually do something about your nightmare of a company. Continue reading

The Saga of my boat (published)

This is an article that was published way back in May, 1996 in The Daily Courier. The newspaper I have carried around with me all these years is starting to crumble, so I thought it best to get it saved on my site before it completely disintegrates. 

The Heading was Society must review Young Offenders Act with a sub heading of Parents, police, teachers and other young people must act together to change corrupt attitudes.

By Gary Jones

Special To The Daily Courier

For 25 years I had been visiting my parents in the Okanagan and I longed to move here. 

When I finally did in 1993 the first thing I did was fulfill a life-long dream and bought a boat. Within days of getting it, and before I could get it insured, it was stolen, set on fire and sunk.

The police had a good idea who was responsible, but they were “young offenders” and it “wasn’t worth the effort to investigate them”. They would only get a “slap on the wrist”.

My Dad and I enjoy dirt biking in the country around Kelowna. We had our bikes on a trailer parked in our driveway. Luckily, after the boat experience, we had the bikes padlocked on to the trailer and the trailer locked to the car port. In the middle of the night another “young offender” tried to steal them off the trailer. My Dad woke up just in time and we still have the bikes. He saw the kid running away, but he was another “young offender” – well known to the police but not worth pursuing.

In March I went outside and found my Jimmy had been broken into and my stereo was gone. When I phoned the insurance agent, she said she knew who it probably was. The “young offender” had moved to my area from Glenrosa, where there was a string of thefts. Now there was a string of thefts in my area. The police know who he is, but there is little they are interested in doing because he’s a young offender. This rotten little scum knows full well that nothing will happen to him and he brazenly violates other people because of it.

Where does it end? We are all victims of this Young Offender’s Act. Continue reading

Rants n Raves – Do you know what UBB is? You soon will.

UBB stands for Usage Based Billing and is often incorrectly referred to as bandwidth caps. Most people agree that a bandwidth cap refers to the speed, or the concept of throttling back your internet access speed.  It is a creeping cancer being implemented by huge telcos like Bell and Rogers, and threatens to send the use of the internet back to the dark ages. Parents now have to worry what their kids are downloading, like music, and the family can’t enjoy affordable services like Netflix without being paranoid about going over their usage limit. Continue reading

Rants n Raves – What ever happened to the Smart Box?

Years ago I read an article about the Smart Box that would soon be in every home and would revolutionize how we receive our television, telephone, music, games and movies.  It would be a single conduit into the home and would deliver all the services throughout the home, with no wires. The discussion at the time was who would bring this to your home – telcos, cable companies, satellite companies, maybe even municipalities or local power companies. The technology was already there and companies like Shaw were promoting “fiber to every home” to provide the highest possible speeds. What happened to this vision? Continue reading

A Brave New World?

The email from my “space” on Windows Live came as a complete surprise, as I had no advance notice that Microsoft was killing the whole “spaces” thing. I had mixed feelings about dropping my “Okanagan BC Guy” in favor of my name, but it seemed prudent to register my name before someone else took it. Same reasoning behind grabbing garycjones@gmail.com, garycjones@live.ca and so on. There’s no shortage of we Joneses in the world. I accept that by going public I open myself up to being attacked by people who I have wronged, but I feel that it may also allow my kids to find me if they want to, and this is the most important thing. The good outweighs the bad, at least I hope so.

Here’s “one for the books”.

I called the Centre of Hope because I had nowhere to stay and no idea how they worked. I told the person who answered the phone that I had nowhere to stay, couldn’t find a place and that I was on Ontario Works and would be sleeping my car. He told me to come right down.

When I gave them all the information they asked for, they promptly showed me to my dorm and gave me the cook’s tour. I had no idea if or how I paid for this, but I thought it best not to ask the staff, deciding to ask someone staying there instead.

The very next morning there was a note on my bed telling me to speak to the office “immediately”. I was informed that, because I was on Ontario Works I could not stay there and was to leave. After much hand-ringing and discussions among staff, they agreed to let me pay for two nights and stay until Tuesday morning – today.

Last night I spoke with one of the only truly kind staff, who told me the problem was they should have told me not to come until August 1st. Had I done that I could have stayed for free for 42 days before I had to start paying. She told me to speak to the manager “first thing in the morning” because I had been misinformed and they might be able to back-date things and let me stay. I had a tiny glimmer of hope.

I went down to the front desk before eight to tell them I needed to speak to Stacey, the manager. I waited patiently in the lobby for almost three hours, but they finally told me to go and speak to the guy I could have seen at eight o’clock. He agreed that I had been “misinformed” by the staff and said that he would do what he could for me to see if they could correct their mistake. An hour or so later he called to tell me to get my stuff out. There was nothing he or anyone else could do. I asked him again if he agreed that they had made the error, and that this had cost me staying there for 42 days, something that would have allowed me to get back on my feet, eat, and find a job and a new place to live. He agreed, but said his hands were tied.

If you have never been in a position like mine in your life, well, good for you. You never want to be. But, if you have, you will know all too well what a huge difference the way this has turned out means to me. I have gone from that tiny glimmer of hope to total despair, all because I was “misinformed”.

The Salvation Army would tell you they are a charitable organization. I didn’t see it. .

HSBC, The Heartless Bank

Admittedly I write this very angry and
upset. Just when you think nothing else can come along to beat you
down, along comes HSBC, The Heartless Bank. After months of
searching for any kind of work, without success, I finally managed to
get a job at just above minimum wage, just in time for Christmas.
Great, I thought! At least I might be able to get a couple of small
things to try to celebrate the season.

I deposited my meager pay cheque on Sunday at the branch downtown.
Last night I tried to take out $40 to do some Christmas shopping, but
the system said “insufficient funds”. It also showed my available funds
were more than forty dollars, so I was confused. I figured there was a
problem with the machine and I would call in the morning.

When I called I was advised, for the first time, that all deposits
are held for SIX days. No one told me this when I first opened the
account months ago, or I would not have opened it. I have been with
HSBC for some fifteen years, but this didn’t mean a thing to them. I
called my branch to talk to my Account Manager, who said there was
nothing she could do. When I explained that this was my Christmas money
and I desperately needed it, she said she would speak to the manager.
She came back saying there was nothing they could do, citing “policy”.
So they have stolen what little money I had for Christmas, and don’t
give a rat’s ass that they are destroying my Christmas. So much for the
holiday spirit.

I have already reported this to one media outlet and I have filed
formal complaints with the banks’ regulators. I will not rest until I
make the bank as miserable as they have made me. I will be sure to tell
anyone who comes within a three-foot radius to NEVER deal with HSBC.
You have just been told.