85 entries categorized "Complaints Dept."

The dis-united states of America

One topic that divides the nation of the USA more than any other is guns. More specifically - gun control.

Nobody (except John Oliver) would dare to suggest that a compulsory gun buy back program such as we had here in Australia would work in the USA.

 

In fact many pro-gun lobbyists in the USA still distort (or simply make up) facts to "prove" that gun reform in Australia simply hasn't worked. The NRA even ran an informercial with the totally fabricated statistic that since the gun buyback Australian gun murders increased by 19%.

http://theconversation.com/faking-waves-how-the-nra-and-pro-gun-americans-abuse-australian-crime-stats-11678

This sort of "spin", especially when it involves the lives of real, actual people who were KILLED by bullets fired by guns that were triggered by other real, actual people is utterly disgusting.

They love catchy slogans like "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" but, as they say in this excellent article from 'Armed with Reason' 

Guns may not kill people, but people with guns do, and they do so more often and more efficiently than people without guns.  People do not behave in a vacuum. They are influenced by their environment, and when that environment is occupied by guns, people behave aggressively and impulsively. 

The article also discusses the other flawed mantra "Gun control doesn't work because criminals don't follow laws."

Why is it that a certain minority (and it is a very vocal, very powerful group but it IS a minority) like the gun lobby is so adamant that not only every American has the right to bear arms but they should not be dictated to as to how to store, maintain or even properly train themselves as to how to handle their firearms?

 

In 2013 with 90% of Americans in favour of universal background checks for gun buyers... that's not gun control, that's just a quick background check before someone is permitted to purchase a weapon... but still that simple bill was unable to pass through the US senate: (from this website)

"A small, passionate group of people, no matter how radical or extreme, can be more successful than a reasonable but less passionate majority," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The National Rifle Association's grip on Congress is more myth than reality, he said, but even modest gun control advances remain difficult.

Forget background checks then, how about just photo ID?

A 2012 Minnesota effort to require voters to produce photo identifications appeared overwhelmingly popular at first. But state voters ultimately rejected it.

"A year and a half ago, when this polled at 80 percent, you know it was organizations with networks in communities who jumped in and who started talking to people about the facts," activist Dan McGrath told local reporters.

The U.S. gun lobby takes a different approach, spending enormous resources to keep lawmakers in its corner even when public sentiment is elsewhere.

"The gun lobby is the most powerful special interest in America," said Mike Barnes, a former Democratic congressman from Maryland and former head of the Brady Center. Many Republican lawmakers, he said, "live in total fear that the gun lobby might consider them less than perfect."

Since the Sandy Hook massacre (which many pro-gunners claim was "staged" in order that President Obama could frighten citizens into passing stricter gun control laws) the gun lobbyists started spreading the word that stricter laws WOULD be passed with the intention that gun owners would stockpile more guns just in case future laws prevented them from being able to buy them as easily.

This led to the gun lobby claiming that since the massacre 

Sales of the assault rifle used by the shooter went UP by 52% the gun manufacturer proudly reported. This could also be due to, in part, the fact that while 39 gun laws were tightened after the massacre, 52 others were actually loosened making it even EASIER than ever to buy a gun in the USA.

Yet the NRA claims that gun ownership is higher than ever (yes, more guns are being sold every year in the USA) but look closer at the figures and you'll see that the number of households with guns is steadily declining.

From this site:

While there are more guns in the US than there were thirty years ago, less households actually have guns. According to UPI, over half of US households in 1977 had guns; now less than a third have guns. The reason for the steep decline, says UPI, is “aging of the current-gun owning population, a lack of interest in guns by youth, the end of military conscription, the decreasing popularity of hunting; land-use issues that limit hunting and shooting and the increase in single-parent homes headed by women.”

 

Pew Research found in 2013

The survey also found that 58% of people who didnot have a gun in their household said that having a gun would make them feel uncomfortable.

 

The NRA argues that gun ownership is essential for personal protection with its executive director Wayne LaPierre issuing statements like: "The one thing a violent rapist deserves is to face is a good woman with a gun!"  and "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun"

The argument that private gun ownership actually reduces crime is a testable claim and has been tested here by the University of Pennsylvania, the Harvard School of Public Health, the New England Journal of Medicine ands several others.

As you can read here:

Viewed in this light, the NRA's insistence that rapes can be prevented with firearms or that teachers should be armed appear even more stupid than they already seemed. It is worth remembering that just as America leads the world in gun ownership, so too does it lead the world in gun homicide, with 11,000 to 12,000 murders committed by firearms each year. The tired old rationalisation that guns protect people is frankly contradicted by the evidence. The inescapable conclusion is that gun ownership makes everyone less safe. The logic the NRA espouses is perverse and transparently self-serving.

This brings me to the reason for me sitting down and blogging all of this.

My Facebook feed shows me all sorts of fascinating things and, because two of my 5000 FB friends are pro gun (and post about it a lot) I see things like this:

 

Gun

The City of Orlando trained and equipped women throughout the area with handguns.  The Orlando Gun Training Program lasted one year and focused on training women on how to use a gun for self-defense but also allowed other citizens to take the class.

The meme (the photo with text above) does seem to play up this Orlando history anecdote.

Researchers point out that while rapes did drop the following year (there were three less rapes in 1967 than in 1966) by 1969 the rates had gone back up. Also the number of rapes that were looked at in the 1960s study was only 14, a very small number for any type ofstatistical significance to be drawn from. 

 

There is a constant flood of SPIN being generated by the pro gun lobby trying to discredit gun control and either frighten or reassure people into buying guns. BUYING guns. The bottom line is all about money. They are in the business of selling guns and all the associated paraphenalia, training courses etc. They are in the gun businesses and, just like "big tobacco", they will say anything in order to sell more product and make more money.

 

THIS piece was one of the more offensive of recent times.

Gunssl

 

An armed assailant fired more than 100 rounds of ammunition and a Police Officer shot him. This special interest group 'Guns Save Lives' is using THIS INCIDENT as an argument FOR GUNS! "Guns save lives". Yes, a gun stopped the rampage... but what was the assailant using? A GUN!

There are simply too many guns, too easily accessible in the USA and waaaay too many in the wrong hands.

The NRA argues that the fact that ANY CITIZEN could be carrying a gun PREVENTS crimes, but the fact that ANY CITIZEN could be carrying a gun results in accidental shootings like this by Police:

 

 

And, of course, we read of accidental shootings in the USA on more than a daily basis where people "didn't think the gun was loaded", or were cleaning their weapons, or just had guns laying around the house instead of locking them away safely. 

If fact, gun advocate John Lott can take full responsiblity for those deaths as he irresponsibly argues AGAINST locking your guns up at home here:

My research on juvenile accidental gun deaths for all U.S. states shows that mandates that guns be locked up had no impact. What did happen in states with such mandates, however, was that criminals attacked more people in their homes and crimes were more successful: 300 more total murders and 4,000 more rapes occurred each year in these states. Burglaries also rose dramatically. 

 

Statistics are being manipulated, figures are being made up, fear is being mongered and all in the name of profit.

For a more realistic look at gun volence figures in the USA today take a look at this from the Gun Violence Archive

Gva

 

Pro gun lobbyists argue that the figure of 11,269 deaths is inflated because it (probably) includes suicides, drug and gang related crimes etc... but a human life is a human life and these lives were taken by guns.

Yes, they may have been taken by knives or other means had guns not been as easily accessible, but does anyone really believe that there would be as many deaths if guns were not as easily accessible?

Does the presence of privately owned guns save lives? Again, the statistics are so manipulated you can find surveys backing whatever opinion you hold, but the reality is that the USA has the highest rate of guns per person in the world (90 guns per 100 residents), as well as the highest rate of gun homicide at 4.7 per 100,000 of population as compared to Australia at 0.11. 

Switzerland has 45 guns per 100 residents and is often touted by the NRA as an example of how gun control is unneccesary as they only had 40 homicides by gun in 2010 (that's 0.52 per 100,000 of population).

The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations, however they are not allowed to keep the ammunition. They are TRAINED and they are NOT ALLOWED TO KEEP AMMUNITION AT HOME.

In the USA they are untrained gun owners and can buy ammo from WalMart!

Australia banned guns, and we have very few intentional of accidental deaths or injuries caused by gun... surprise, surprise.

When will the USA wake up to the fact that they are being manipulated by those who seek to profit from them at whatever cost of human life? Whether it be big tobacco, the corn syrup industry, or weapons manufacturers. 

And more importantly, how do those gun manufacturers, knowing that they are lying to the public and selling ordinary, untrained citizens, products that have no purpose other than to harm living beings, live with themselves?

 

Guns

 

 

 

 


Qantas Customer Care just doesn't

Qantas

 

Back in September I had to fly to Thailand for a magic event, so I booked my flights on Qantas for Sep 18 returning on September 23.

I have been a Frequent Flyer with Qantas for 20 years and I have always had seating preference request for a window seat. 

My first flight (to Singapore) was not a Qantas flight but Emirates... and I was seated at the very back of the plane in a middle seat in the middle aisle. As I was pretty much the first to check in, I asked if they could change my seat to a window but they assured me the flight was full and all seats were allocated.

During the flight, as I was at the very back, I was the last one to be served a meal and the options were exhausted. I was offered the fish (which I don't eat). They said they would check and see if there were any other meals - but they never came back... so I didn't eat. Luckily I had brought my own water on board because I didn't get a drink either.

I arrived at midnight and my flight to Bangkok was 9am, so I had booked the transit hotel in the airport. But I was told because my next flight was JetStar (I had booked on Qantas) I had to clear customs and check in again. 

I did this but, when I tried to check in JetStar told me to come back at 7am as check in was not open. This meant I could not get back into the airport and my hotel. I kicked up a fuss, enough it seems, as they got a manager and reluctantly checked me in anyway. I was given an aisle seat up the back...

During this flight I was offered a food voucher, as I had booked on Qantas. Sadly my choices (sandwiches etc) were all "unavailable". I settled for honey roasted nuts and a coke. On eating the nuts I got quite a shock... they were wasabi nuts. I called them over and they were genuinely surprised I was unhappy. They were all out of the advertised honey roasted nuts, so they gave me the only other thing they actually had in stock... pretzel mix.

Yummy breakfast... not.

On my return flight, I was on a Qantas flight... operated by Emirates... again I was in a middle seat in the aisle.. again they couldn't do anything about the seating... but this time I was not at the back of the plane.

Meal service came and they started serving from behind me this time. I admit I got excited and started to choose my meal but, after serving the row directly behind me they went straight to the front of the plane and started serving from their back. Yep, by the time they got to me it was the fish or nothing. I chose nothing. 

I was offered a drink this time. I asked for tomato juice and the attendant poured me an apple juice. When I explained that I had requested tomato she gave me the dirtiest look and slowly, silently took the drink back and poured me the most evil tomato juice I've ever had.

She didn't return for the duration of the flight... and I was quite pleased actually.

Arriving in Sydney I rechecked my luggage and had a very helpful Qantas staff member look after my transit.

Flying to Melbourne, in an aisle seat, was again marred by inattentive and disinterested in flight attendants.

 

Qantas

 

I wasn't exactly thrilled with the lack of service I received, the seating, the meals, or the fact that I booked with Qantas and was shuffled around on other airlines causing various problems as a result, so I did the right thing and went to the Qantas website and filled out their feedback form on September 25 and almost immediately received this email:

 

Dear Tim,

Thank you for contacting Qantas Customer Care.

We are always happy to hear from our customers and to assist where possible.

Your reference number is 2014/187568.

We aim to respond to you within the next 15 business days.

If you have further feedback relating to 2014/187568 or wish to add attachments, please click here.

Kind regards

Qantas Customer Care

 

But by October 21 I still hadn't heard from them so I emailed them again.

Then I realised it would most likely get no result so I went back to the Feedback Form, filled it all out again, adding the fact that they had failed to contact me within their time frame and I immediately got a response:

 

Dear Tim,

Thank you for contacting Qantas Customer Care.

We are always happy to hear from our customers and to assist where possible.

Your reference number is 2014/187568.

We aim to respond to you within the next 15 business days.

If you have further feedback relating to 2014/187568 or wish to add attachments, please click here.

Kind regards

Qantas Customer Care

 

 

On Wednesday November 5 I finally received a reply from Qantas Customer Care

Dear Tim

Thank you very much for contacting us with your concerns.

I would like to apologise that you had such a negative service experience when travelling with us recently please accept my sincere apologies.

When travelling in the future you are able to pre select your seating on our website at Qantas.com.au.

Please be assured that your feedback is not falling on deaf ears. Feedback such as this is invaluable to us as it flags up areas in which we need to improve, and only when passengers like you inform us of this much needed improvement are we able to take steps and make the changes needed. We are truly committed to creating the world's best flying experience, in every regard from check-in to destination and beyond, and the only way to get there is to listen to our passengers.

Thank you again for contacting us with your feedback, and I hope we can welcome you aboard a Qantas flight again in the near future. 

Kind regards

Louise

Customer Care Executive

 

To me, it appeared that they hadn't really addressed my point that my Frequent Flyer seat preferences were supposed to determine where I sat (ie: window as opposed to the centre of the centre aisle) and were telling me it's now up to me to go online and book my own seat. Plus, they totally ignored my other issues with meals and dismissive staff.

So I replied to them - and this time my email bounced back with a reply saying "This mailbox is not monitored."

Maybe my feedback WAS falling on deaf ears after all!

So I sought out their Facebook page, which is FILLED with customer complaints, and I summarised the entire saga in a post and received a reply right away telling me that they were very concerned that this issue had not been addressed, they pride themselves on customer service and safety is always the number one priority at Qantas... they asked me to PM them my reference number and they would get back to me right away!

Wow! Maybe they have shifted their entire Customer Care team over to social media? That's why the phones never get answered and the feedback forms are replied to by computer... there's nobody at head office anymore.

Sadly, nobody contacted me.

I kept posting messages saying I hadn't heard from anyone yet until my post got so far down the page I couldn't find it anymore.

Then I had to start a fresh post all over again, letting them know I hadn't heard anything from them in their attempt to address the fact that I hadn't heard anything from... them.

This time they asked me to PM them my email address, as they claimed they had emailed a reply and were surprised I hadn't got it.

So was I, as I was receiving Qantas spam (sorry... "promotional material") on almost a daily basis.

Again I waited, again I had to start a fresh post as my second post had disappeared under a mountain of complaints from other, equally frustrated, soon to be ex-Qantas customers.

Finally, on November 25, after almost THREE WEEKS of fruitless posting on their Facebook page, I received this:

"Hi Tim, as previously discussed our Customer Care team has sent a reply via email on the 14th of November and again on the 19th of November. We understand you have not received either email and would request an alternate email to once again resend this response to as it appears you are not receiving any correspondence from Customer Care. Lily"

I explained that my email was working, their is no reason I should not be receiving emails from them

"Hi Tim, we have followed this up with Customer Care and have once again asked that they re-send a copy of the email dated 19th November 2014. Please confirm if and when you receive their email response. Lily"

... and then

 

IT ARRIVED!!!

 

Finally, the email they said they sent on November 14 (or 19th) addressing my issues of seating, meals, staffing and lack of response from Customer Care arrived:

"Ref. No: 2014/187568

Dear Tim,

Thank you for your further correspondence. 

I regret that you are unhappy with our response.

I feel that your concerns with your Emirates and Jetstar travel on your WEB JET
ticket were adequately addressed. I am afraid that there is nothing more I can
add. 

I appreciate you taking the time to pursue this issue and I apologise if we have
not been able to resolve this matter to your satisfaction. 

Kind regards
Louise 
Customer Care Executive"

Wow.

 

 

"

 

 


DomainNames.com.au

I haven't had the need to compose one of these complaining posts for some time, but this situation is beyond ridiculous.

Back in October last year www.DomainNames.com.au sent me an email letting me know that my domain www.EllisAndWebster.com.au was set to expire. If I wanted to renew I needed to update my credit card details or I would lose the domain.

As I no longer need the domain I let it lapse.

However, that didn't actually happen. Despite the fact that the AMEX card I had lodged with them had expired - they altered the cards expiry date on my account and renewed me for another term!

My Amex was bill $49 on Oct 31, 2012.

I emailed them pointing out that I did NOT renew, my AMEX card date had been altered and they needed to refund my $49.

The reply from 'Nick Stokes' (the guy from CSI?)

"Thank you for your email, I have checked your account and it clearly shows that you haven’t cancelled your automated billing; therefore as per our terms and conditions located at www.domainsnames.com.au/terms-conditions/default.aspx a refund will not be issued."

After a few email exchanges, Nick explained that the ONLY way to prevent future "renewals" was for me to go online and delete the credit card from my account.

However, every time I deleted the credit card from my account, the form would not SAVE my details as it pointed out I need to have a valid credit card otherwise my account is incomplete and cannot be saved.

I pointed that out to Nick Stokes who was puzzled that I couldn't do it as he could do it easilty. (Duh, he has access to the back end of the site...)

So, as a favour to me, he deleted my credit card info from the site so that I wouldn't be rebilled in Oct 2013.

As another favour to me, as I had explained I no longer wanted the domain www.EllisAndWebster.com.au HE DELETED MY ENTIRE SITE!!!!

I had to admit defeat at the hands of either and idiot or a vindictive so and so... so I replaced the now blank website with a page redirecting people to my current website.

BUT IT GETS BETTER!

Last month I started getting automated notifications from www.DomainNames.com.au that my domain www.EllisAndWebster.com.au was about to expire!

Well, thought I. must be a "computer error" as I could see the $49 charge on my AMEX.

This morning they emailed me and yes, my domain has now expired and even my redirect page has vanished from the internet despite the fact that they charged me (illegally) $49.

I can't call www.DomainNames.com.au even though they have a St Kilda Rd address, because their phone number advises me to seek help online.

On their webpage https://supportcentre.zendesk.com/home it advises 

"You can also submit a request or send us an email at Help@DomainNames.com.au"

But sending an email to that address results in this:

"The following recipient(s) cannot be reached: 

      'Help@DomainNames.com.au.' on 13/01/2013 8:06 AM

            Invalid recipient"

And I can't reply to my emails to Nick Stokes because that "ticket" has been closed.

 

 So, I have to resort to my blog and simply state my case, one that even Nick Stokes of CSI couldn't solve, and warn people to avoid doing any business with www.DomainNames.com.au 

They are either intentionally making it difficult for people to cancel rebilling and to access help or they are incompetent. Either way, not a company anyone should be doing business with.

 


Foxtel - Most Aggressive & Persistent Telemarketers of All

Got some more calls today from (03) 8325 0909.

If that number sounds familiar, it's because I've written about them here on the blog before.

Though, if you have caller ID, you may have seen it come up on your phone display after answering a call and discovering no-one is there.

Actually, if you EVER get a call and no-one is there, do a 'call back' to get the missed call number and it will most likely be (03) 8325 0909.

There are pages and pages of complaints about this phone number all over the internet.

Many of the people who are repeatedly called by (03) 8325 0909 are on the DO NOT CALL REGISTER and they have complained to the authorities but this same marketing technique on behalf of Foxtel just goes on and on as it has since at least 2009.

What gets me the most is the fact that the DO NOT CALL people have done nothing about it. I guess, just like Consumer Affairs and other government bodies, they're all talk and no action.

No matter what kind of a deal Foxtel offers me, I won't be purchasing simply because of their use of this invasive marketing technique.


Dear Virgin...

Dear Virgin Mobile,

I am writing this here while I'm trying to get through to your "Customer Service" on my phone.

I tried to email this message to you via the cheery 'Help and Support' section on your website but when I click 'Send us an email' or 'Let us know your gripe', it asks me

"Are you already a Virgin Broadband or Virgin Mobile Customer?"

I click yes.

It asks me to click LOG IN

I click on the LOG IN button

It recognises me and displays my email address and asks me to click NEXT

It asks me

"Are you already a Virgin Broadband or Virgin Mobile Customer?"

I click yes.

It asks me to click LOG IN

 

and so it goes...

here's a tip Virgin Mobile - this is neither helping nor supporting me when I have a problem with your service. It's just making me angrier and making you look pretty disorganised.

And what is my problem?

I just want to set my iPhone to forward my calls.

The Call Forward feature on the iPhone in 'settings' doesn't work, apparently it has to be set through my carrier (Virgin).

I can't do that easily because the only references I can find on the web to call forwarding for Virgin are on forums where people are complaining that they can't get the call forward system working.

I called Virgin Customer Service and one of your staff explained how to do it - 

**21*212#

 then

**62*thenumberyouwanttoforwardto#

 

Simple, isn't it...

Only problem is, it doesn't work.

(I asked him where that information is on the website. He said there is supposed to be a link on this page, there isn't. He doesn't know why, but he's putting a request in to Virgin IT to fix it.)

So, he manually forwarded my calls from his end and tested it and it seemed to work, and I asked him how I can turn the forwarding off. He told me I'd have to call Customer Service again and have them do it.

I said that wouldn't work for me and I asked him to turn the Call Forward off and I'll sort something else out.

Here's my latest problem.

He didn't.

All calls to my iPhone are being forwarded to my office.

So far, I'm into my third hour trying to do something that should take less than 30 seconds.

So Virgin Mobile, if you read this message please call me on 03 9486 4445 and, if it's busy, please try again later. I'm probably still on hold to your Customer Service department.

 

 


A good business tip for Foxtel

Yesterday I got a few calls where there seemed to be no-one on the line. I called back a few times and the same thing happened. The number was 03 8235 0909 so I googled it and discovered it's a telemarketing number Foxtel has been using for over a year.

According to my research, they use a computer to call you and, if you call back, they now know the times you'll be home and when best to have a telemarketer call you.

Sure enough, today I got a call from Foxtel.

But here's the most ridiculous thing.

A month ago I called Foxtel to cancel my service. I explained they keep putting the price up to justify adding more channels for premium packages. People on basic packages like me, are paying more and getting nothing extra. When I spoke to the Foxtel cancellation man he was most sympathetic. He said they are getting a lot of customers cancelling and expect quite a few more.

However, he didn't, at any stage in the conversation offer me an incentive to stay with them or even say anything positive about Foxtel.

So they sent me out a mailing kit so I could post all the Foxtel equipment back to them at their expense.

Now, after my Foxtel has been disconnected for a week, they're calling me with special discounted offers if I sign up with them again.

That demonstration of inefficient business practice alone is enough reason to not to.