Good Customer Service

I have a Braun shaver. I still think of it as my new shaver, but it’s probably over 10 years old now. I was cleaning it before going on holiday (don’t want all those whiskery bits in the toilet bag) and the little springly plastic bit on the side of the head snapped off.

Why does that always happen just before going away? My last shaver broke before I went up to Glasgow for a wedding. I had to buy a razor. Ouch.

When I got back after a week with a bit of Sellotape and tricky ninja shaver grip, I rang the Braun service centre. The very nice man apologetically told me that they no longer make spare parts for that model. However, he would have a look around for a second hand part (where?) and if he could find one would send it to me “free, gratis”. I thanked him, but didn’t hold out much hope.

Just two days later a mysterious parcel arrived containing a replacement part (slighty scratched but otherwise fine). Superb! They didn’t even charge me for postage.

Restores one’s faith in humanity. Such Good Customer Service deserves to be named:

The Norwich Shaver Centre, 32 Magdalen Street, Norwich, NR3 1HU. 01603-622083

Less Intuit

So, Microsoft Money it is. Intuit did refund my money, a day after I sent the email. They just didn’t tell me, and what with the Egg website playing up as well, I couldn’t check.

MS Money is much better than Quicken 2000. Whether it is better than Quicken 2004 I’ll never know, because of the short-sightedness of their upgrade policy.

More Intuit

It got worse.

I uninstalled Quicken 2004, re-installed Quicken 2000 and tried to open the data file. Quicken validated the data, and then refused to open it. Apparently Q2000 cannot read Q2004 data files. Ha!

Off to Microsoft, where there is a free trial of Microsoft Money. (I originally picked Quicken because, back in 1999, Money had no concept of Standing Orders or Direct Debits. How Americans put up with their banks is a mystery.) A surprisingly similar 30Mb later, and “Guess What?” Money can open Q2004 data files. Not perfect, but close enough. And Standing Orders/Direct Debits are now handled. Only £22 including postage from eBuyer.

Intuit, to their credit (-:, offer a 90 day refund. They had come across my problem, and the solution is to upgrade to Quicken Investor (for another £11). I don’t want investment help, I only have some old Bradford & Bingley shares in the Quicken data. I suggested that a better upgrade path might have been to allow me to open my file but just discard the shares.

Shouty Day

I had to shout at lots of people today.

First, intuit. They told me that for continued support and internet access I should upgrade from Quicken 2000 to Quicken 2004 Money Manager, but I could download it and it would only be £12-odd. Seemed fair.

30Mb later, the new copy thoughtfully offers to uninstall the old copy. I let it. It then offers to open and convert the old data, but gives up because my data uses features not supported in this version. Would I like to upgrade?

Next day, after a maze of “press 1” messages and a second phone number, I’m told to re-install the old version and save it without “investor features”. I bet Microsoft Money would have opened the file.

Second, NTL. Or “ntl home” as they are now tagged. Lower case, of course.

The new, easier to understand phone bill arrives. Coincidentally, it’s £10 bigger than usual but I cannot find out why because it is no longer itemised for calls less than 50p. I have to pay them another pound a month to find out what I am paying them for.

The useless telephone droid doesn’t even have a scripted response, but suggests I “complain to Oftel”. I point out that it is now Ofcom, and begin the process.

Finally, Cineworld. Four of the calls over 50p which were itemised were to an 0872 number. Obviously and erroneously I suspected the children, but it was me trying to book cinema tickets and getting kicked off after 8 minutes – tantalisingly close to the front of the queue.

I thought that the limit for 08xx numbers was national rate (ie 1p/minute at that time of day) but I was wrong. 0871 and 0872 can be up to 10p/minute. Does it tell you this on the Cineworld website? Is there online booking? Grr.