Saturday, November 29, 2014

Carphone Warehouse - Shady Practices

I pre-ordered the Google Nexus from Carphone Warehouse a couple of weeks back on the 19th November.

What Im surprised with, is that they've taken funds from my credit card before having the stock available.

I do actually have some sympathy for them. Phones are high cost items, they don't want people placing lots of orders and cancelling when another provider eventually delivers. Makes sense.

But. both the 32 Gig and 64 Gig variant were down for 1st December shipping. Great! You'll have it before anyone else! I'll order the 64 Gig from you. That has now been pushed back 2 weeks to 15th December.

The 32 Gig has also similarly been pushed back to 8th December. And we all know how phone releases work - 15th December is an estimated date, and I quite expect actually to see no stock arrive then and it will be pushed back to maybe start of January.

So Carphone Warehouse will be sitting on my money for at least four weeks if not longer.

Usually in the world of Mail Order, your card is charged when the goods are ready to ship.

So be careful of buying pre-orders from Carphone Warehouse guys.

Friday, October 31, 2014

TSC Cars in Balsall Common

Not often I find myself with a vendetta against someone, but right now, I've got one against TSC Cars.

Oh, I don't mean Im going to send round some flaming horse muck in a bag or anything.

I mean, Im going to do whatever I can to make sure people realise what they're like - restorative reputation.

As you know, my problem, is that my car is so reliable, it's difficult to get rid of, but it has got a few sore points like blowing oil past some valve stem seals.

I visited TSC Cars near Balsall Common, though I think they also say near Kenilworth, Honiley and Coventry, probably a couple of years ago to look at a VW Passat. I was very unsure about it and wanted to do my research before buying. Im not your average consumer, I look at MPG, real world and quoted, reliability, timing drive vs belt, problems with the vehicle in general. Not being able to make up my mind, I never took it for a test drive.

Second car, was actually a more reasonably priced Peugeot 407, but sitting in it, was like sitting in a barge. I couldn't get comfortable. But it was within budget and would have the same engine as a Mondeo, but "Bob" wouldn't let me take it for a test drive. Said I had to agree to a deal before taking for a test drive and then hid behind the RAC Warranty and the false notion that all cars drive the same.

They don't all drive the same, cars handle very differently, cars have different power, different torque. They even feel different inside. They should also not hide behind a warranty, as all problems should be fixed before buying the car. Warranty is there to cover anything that goes wrong afterwards.

I pointed this out in a 1 star review, saying that the staff were friendly enough and the cars were very nice. But the rubbish pumped out from their mouths and not allowing a test drive before agreeing a deal is disgraceful. "Bob" said too many people wasted his fuel and he had to get cars revaleted. Well Bob, I'd have been happy to pay for fuel.

Their reply is

There are always two sides to every storey, we have no issue with any customer wanting to test drive one of our cars. However Mr Dean had been in several times to test drive various cars with little or no commitment to buying one. At TSC Cars we are an Approved RAC Partner and pride ourselves on our professionalism, we do not sell cars with poor economy, clogged cats etc, that is not the way we have stayed in business for over 20 years.

First guys, it's STORY, not Storey. You obviously do have an issue with people taking test drives as you said before and you say here, you want people to COMMIT.

"Honest Woman" reports a similar story in her Yell review, about driving a long distance, and being refused a test drive.

Finally, and here is where they're lying through their hind teeth. I have not test driven anything from TSC Cars and I have not been in several times. I've been in twice, to look at two cars, the first one I didn't want a test drive, and the second, I was refused.

Now, I'd be happy at this point if I was offered an unreserved apology and an acknowledgement that actually, they could do things a bit better.

Interestingly, after posting my review 9 months ago, there seems to be several reviews from people all around the same time frame with next to nothing on their Google+ page all giving five star reviews. Im not offering an opinion here, only fact. Something TSC Cars seem unable to do.

Now lets address their professionalism. Firstly they don't seem to understand cars if they claim that all cars pretty much drive the same, as Bob kindly informed me. Secondly they claim they don't sell cars with poor economy. That's very subjective. Cars quite often never meet the quoted MPG figures and real world data is often very different. Of course, much of that is only seen on a test drive so you can get an understanding of how a car operates.

I've looked at several cars from much much nicer people. I feel guilty in walking away because they gave me test drives and were hoping for a deal. There was a 1.6 FSI Skoda Octavia that felt really weak and limp. A 2.0 FSI Skoda Octavia that test drove well but failed to start up again after returning to base. A Diesel Ford Mondeo that was immaculate and drove really well, but was priced so cheap it was too good to be true! A Toyota Avensis with a high idle problem (from a Toyota Dealer), another Toyota Avensis with a spongy clutch.

All these had guarantees, all these cars drive differently. You can't hide behind a guarantee TSC. I don't really care what you offer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Open Letter to Driver of YR09 OEN

Dear Sir,

I was in the left hand lane of Church Road to turn right onto the A4040 in Yardley Birmingham when a white vehicle in the right hand lane also turning right, cut across into my lane. You were also in the right hand lane and wound down your window to start explaining that the left hand lane is for the store and I should go back and take a look. I explained both lanes for the A4040 and you should take a look.

I hereby offer the following picture for your future reference:

While the left hand lane is indeed for the store, I hope that you can see both lanes clearly show A4040. Not only that, the lanes on the round about are clearly defined. Im hoping you don't tell people off for driving in bus lanes outside their hours of operation?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Cheap Trick

Am I over Rush. Nah.

Rush are brilliant.

Many years ago I bought a great rock album from 1997 called Cheap Trick. Not the first Cheap Trick, but the second Cheap Trick.

I wasn't too keen on their earlier stuff.

I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I find myself seeing Cheap Trick videos on YouTube and being blown away about how good a band in their early 60s are. This surely gives Rush some hope. Forget Rolling Stones. Cheap Trick and Rush are at the forefront of progressive OAPs. Gives me some comfort that life isn't over at 40.

I've found that the strained voice of Robin Zander I found on the 1997 album is a bit of an act and the guy has a brilliant vocal range and still in his 40 years of touring with Cheap Trick, still delivers flawless performances in the same Chicago range.

Tom Peterssons 12 string bass has a really great sound to it, I can only hope Teddy Lee picks one up for the next album. Rick Nielsen is a funny and charismatic guitar player who seems to get better with age. Bun E Carlos would stop running if he can't play with the band line any more. But a great drummer in his hey day.

The music and words of Cheap Trick are fun, lively, inspirational and send a lot of joy my way. I have to admire the musicianship and think it a crying shame they don't seem to be recognised enough. How amazing though they can go from playing major venues to small intimate shows. Seemingly absolutely no pretence.
I've bought the box set and have the rest of the albums on order. I'm even considering going to Canada just to see them live because they rarely come to the UK.

So come on guys,  come to the UK very soon and I'll be at every gig and buy every t shirt.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

New Car Time

I have been boring people to death with thoughts about buying a new car.

I am unfortunately not one of those people who can simple say "I want that one".

Ten years ago, maybe, when Nissan were reliable.

However newer cars have so much more fangled gubbins to go wrong - and that's mainly with the diesel engines, from diesel particulate filters that require a certain way of driving (eg 60km/h for 20 minutes) to re-generate, dual mass flywheels, injectors, timing belts vs virtually indestructable timing chains, egr valves, even service intervals.

My Primera, do an oil and filter change at 6000 miles and the car continues.

However my car is now smoking at start up, so it's nearly dead.

On top of the diesel problems, and each manufacturer has their own unique design and way of doing things, some belts last longer than others, some injectors are better, some engine designs are more robust, others disintegrate, Ford Mondeo legendarily reliable in 2007+, but economical.

Which brings us to economics. The MPG you see isn't necessarily the MPG you get. Do you accelerate hard or soft? What kind of mileage will you be doing? How many miles? The recommended level for jumping to diesel was 10k miles per year, but people now keep revising to 12k, 15k, 20k miles! They can't all be right?

Some cars cost more to service, some cars eat through tyres. Some timing chains are poorly designed.

Which brings us to the design. Does the cabin layout fit you, or are the pedals too squashed, do you have big feet and there's heavy plastic in the drivers footwell causing an obstruction? Can you see out of the rear OK? Does the car fit you?

Unfortunately my decision isn't "Yes" or "No", but I have to base this on how much I could estimate to spend on maintenance, reliability, MPG, CO2, power and performance, torque, fun, and design.

Hard to tick all of those boxes at the moment.