denny: (RX front nearside)
When I notified my car insurance company of my new address, they nicely doubled my insurance premiums. Given that my insurance was around £1200 a year already, this was particularly painful.

A quick phone-around yesterday turned up a number of better quotes, and I've taken the second-cheapest as I'm familiar with the company and know they have a good reputation for insuring modified cars. In fact, they're going to insure me cheaper with some engine modifications I have planned than NU would without them (NU actually refused to insure me at all with the engine mods, which is why they haven't been done already).

So... Norwich Union, £2374.50, with £650 excess. Adrian Flux, £839.00, with £200 excess. Not a bad saving for a few hours of making phone calls - shame I don't work 3-day weeks every week, I could actually catch up on all my hideously overdue personal admin stuff.

On which note, I'm off to the Co-op bank next, to get some documents witnessed so I can move my current account to Smile. Abbey have pissed me off one time too many this year. Well, more like a dozen times too many, come to think of it.

Oh, in other news, flying last night was excellent fun - I swooped around a lot on my front, and continued the slow process of being more in control of my backflying. Helen did even better, having one of those sessions where all the flailing half-control of previous sessions suddenly clicks in your muscle memory and you leap forward in skill and control. We came out full of adrenaline and endorphins and popped into a nearby Wetherspoons to fuel our well-exercised bodies with MEAT (and stuff). Unfortunately the food coma and the adrenaline comedown all happened at the same time, on the train home, so that was less fun. On the bright side, I didn't have to get up this morning. Yay for four-day weekends :)
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
So it turns out my card didn't get cloned again. What actually happened was the card fraud team from Abbey finally got around to sending me that form they mentioned the first time around, three months late, and when I didn't send it back within ten days (because I didn't get it) they promptly put all the fraudulent transactions back through again. Fuckwits.

So now I have to wait for another copy of the form, sign it, send it back, then wait for them to give the money back again. And THEN, I will have a loud shouting match with them about the fees I've incurred with my loan and credit card companies due to payments bouncing due to Abbey being fuckwits.

Still, at least I didn't get ripped off by random strangers again. It was my own bank this time.

In other news, I just got home from [ profile] yiskah's book launch party. She was endearingly "over-excited" (to use her own description (just the quoted bit was hers, the 'endearing' is mine but I assure you that it's entirely accurate :) )).

I also got to meet [ profile] biascut, who I've encountered many times in the comments in [ profile] libellum's journal - at least once or twice on opposite sides of a debate. I like her, it was very good to meet her... probably the highlight of my evening in fact, endearingly over-excited author notwithstanding :)

My ability to cope with large gatherings of people bombed quite spectacularly the minute we turned up, so although I did get into some interesting conversations, I spent most of the evening feeling a bit uncomfortable and eventually left before most other people did. Hopefully nobody was offended.
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
The Good

Last night, [ profile] libellum and I went to Belgo Noord, a Belgian eating/drinking place in Camden (just south of Chalk Farm tube station). ZOMG. You must go. For the odd person like me who isn't too interested in beer, they have fantastic food - we had mussels, steak, lobster, and pheasant, accompanied by chips (with frite sauce, nyom) and garlic mushrooms. There wasn't a single thing on that list that they didn't cook to perfection. For the rest of you, they have a list of beers that borders on terrifying - especially once you start looking at the percentage of alcohol in them. If that's not enough, the prices are fairly reasonable, and the service is incredibly good. Extremely recommended.

The Bad

This morning I tried to pay for £18 of groceries on my debit card, only to find that it was rejected for 'insufficient funds'. This was quite unexpected, so I phoned up Abbey and asked for a run-down of transactions since payday. It turns out my card has been cloned. Again. By the same people, or at least, they've spent money on all the same websites and phone top-ups as last time. Fuckers.

I've been quite careful about where I use the debit card since last time this happened, and particularly in my area as I know it was cloned by someone around here last time. This means that I'm almost positive that it's the shop straight across from my flat, which is really disappointing because they seem like nice guys.

The Ugly

Just got back from the gym. I am very unfit. Oog.
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
I just phoned Abbey phone banking - in some dread, as I've not had a single non-painful experience with their phone banking since they outsourced it all to India a few years ago, and this time I wanted to do something a bit complicated. Much to my surprise, the phone was answered by a Scottish accent.

We proceeded to set up a standing order, and set up an irregular bill payment option, and pay some money through the bill payment option to cover the fact that the standing order wouldn't get there in time. Oh, and get my available balance after this was done. All of this in less time than it took the Indian call centre to find me the opening hours for the Tottenham Court Road branch when I rang them on Saturday*.

I had to ask her howcome I was talking to someone who actually understood what I was saying. She managed not to laugh too much, and explained that there is still one call centre in Scotland, but the Indian centre(s) are larger, so the vast majority of the calls go to them.

All this leaves me wondering how on earth Abbey can justify the shocking drop in their customer service quality caused by the move to Indian call centres. Surely the savings can't in any way correspond to the amount of customers their slow, uncomprehending, badly scripted, initiative-lacking drones piss off on a daily basis? Every time you mention the call centres in a branch, they nod and say that loads of people complain about them, every single day. Gah.


* "9am-3pm today Mr Haye"** - so I walked up there only to find that it's actually closed all day on Saturdays.
** yes, they always get my name wrong, every single time. No, the Scottish woman didn't.

November 2017



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