Aaaah how sweet

Mindy the dog, Kat and Smokey asleep together..

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Ao, Lets go

…. or not as seems to be the case. The advert looks good. A huge range of products and good prices. However this is another company with poor customer service. I expect things to go wrong sometimes but its how the company put’s things right that counts.

Ordered a Sony PS4 console from ao and received an email notification that it would be delivered three days later. This is quite a long time these days as companies like Amazon deliver next day typically.

I was off work on the day they said they would deliver the item and patiently waited for it to arrive. I used their parcel tracking service and saw that my delivery was the third delivery in line. Then 2nd, then expected in a few minutes. This is good, I thought, real-time delivery tracking.

Then I get a phone call… I thought this would be the driver struggling to find our address. No, it was a lady from their logistics office who told me the drivers had forgotten to load my parcel and with barely an apology (she clearly did not care at all) said it would arrive on Saturday, two days later instead.

So, I contacted their customer services team, eager to express my feelings and hoping they would make more of an effort to resolve this matter. Below is their rather stock reply that certainly didn’t make me feel like an important customer:

Good Morning Paul
Thanks for getting in touch. I’m very sorry to read of the issue you had with your order. This is certainly not the experience we want any of our customers to have and I sincerely apologise that this has been the case.
It is very rare that an item isn’t loaded onto a delivery van and our Delivery Team do all they can to avoid this happening. Your comments will be passed onto them so that this failing can be investigated and further improvements made.I have checked your order and can see that the delivery is rebooked for tomorrow. Please extend our apologies to your family member and I hope you will consider shopping with us again so that we can show you the true AO experience. If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

I sent a second message in reply to this and just explaining that as they had done little to resolve this situation, I would not being doing business with them this time let again in the future. I used their rather strange cancel my order link where you have to manually enter your personal and order details and below is the 2nd response:

Good Afternoon 

Thank you for getting in touch. I’m very sorry to read that you wish to cancel your order. It is understandable following the issues you recently had with your order.Since your email, I can see my colleague Callum has already responded and it seemed that the delivery had now been rebooked in place for tomorrow (3rd March).At this present stage we cannot cancel the order until the goods are rejected at your property therefore if you still no longer require the PS4 then we’d recommend that once the drivers arrive that you do not require the goods and they will send these via return. Should you wish to keep the order then we’d recommend still accepting tomorrows delivery. In addition to this, we will also honour a 10% discount off your next order due to the inconvenience. This can be applied simply by quoting your new reference and current reference in the subject field. I hope the above explained is ok for you though if you wish to discuss in more detail, don’t hesitate to ring in or respond direct to this email.

So now apparently I cant even cancel the order. I did a phone call from the delivery driver on Saturday and I told him not to bother coming to my property as we wouldn’t accept the delivery as they had forgotten to load it onto their van a few days before.

It would have been nice if they had at least offered to send a replacement the same or next day but another two days wait when this was meant as a present. I had taken time to spend at home waiting in. They could perhaps have offered a small discount as some form of compensation? Anyway, if you want your item in less than a week and don’t want to waste your time sitting at home, you might want to rethink ordering anything from this company. I’m sure there are lots of customers who have received their orders and are happy with the price and service received but I also expect their to be just as many customers like me.

As a final epilog to this situation, I just read a guide from moneysavingexpert.com suggesting I am entitled to co compensation from them for taking time off work to wait in for the parcel. They supply a template for claiming the compensation. I think I will send this and see what happens?

Gakken WorldEye Globe Display

I bought this on Amazon as a Japanese import with some vouchers I received for my birthday. Its is a spherical HDMI display with built in speaker that I plan to use with a Raspberry Pi based project. It comes with a number of videos supplied on a USB stick for demonstration. These unfortunately are in Japanese.

It cost about £150 in February and is quite large and comes supplied with a 2 pin adapter. I had a 2 pin to 3 pin UK adapter lying around and used this to convert the voltages. It has a built-in speaker and comes with a round remote for navigating its menus. The display is quite readable in normal lighting but looks better in a dim room.

The globe fits into a stand that lets you adjust the display angle.

I will make an update to this blog post when I find time to connect it to one of my Raspberry Pi projects.

Amazon Delivery

Just had a hilarious moment with our Ring doorbell. My phone vibrated to alert me that someone was at my door and had pressed the doorbell. He obviously didn’t realise that it was a smart doorbell.

The video camera showed the delivery man meowing back at my cat in something of a chorus before I managed to start talking to him over the microphone from work. He was however happy to leave the parcels behind our bin and would probably have not left them if I hadn’t spoken with him. Thanks again Ring doorbell.  One of my best investments in technology that just works well.

Had the Amazon guy been able to speak he would have known that my cat was asking to leave the parcel by the door and the cat was offering to sign for it!

Star Wars – The Saga Continues

Back in September 2017, Lego released their UCS Millennium Falcon 75192 for £649.99 with around 7500 pieces. Within hours they were sold out. Since then they have had a few come into stock but they quickly sell out and we have been unable to purchase one. Debbie was keen to buy one so I bought her Lego gift vouchers to purchase the Falcon when it did come into stock.

This week, I started using the stock informer website again and on a couple of occasions the site showed John Lewis online as having some small stock. I quickly went to the John Lewis website and added one to my basket. I got the payment authorization page to be given a message that the there had been an error. This happened again on at least one more occasion. thankfully as I was off work this week I was able to keep an eye on any further stock. It turns out that John Lewis’s website lets everyone put one of these in their basket and lets you proceed with the order until the payment stage where the first person to pay gets the item – perhaps not he best system?

Finally on another occasion I managed to get one and complete payment. I phone Debbie and she was delighted to know her Falcon was on the way. A couple of hours later I was out shopping and used my Capital One credit card to pay for some goods but it was declined. When I got home short while later I contacted them to be told the John Lewis order had triggered an anti-fraud mechanism and the John Lewis order had been declined. They unblocked the card and said if I tried again the order would go through. I then contacted John Lewis who said because the credit card company had declined the payment, they had cancelled the order and we would not be getting the Falcon. Again I pointed out to John Lewis the folly of their system. Other retailers would simply contact you and ask for alternative payment or try again. John Lewis don’t do this so no Falcon.

Luckily, a little later on, another one came into stock and I managed to purchase the item and finally got an email confirming the order could be collected the next day.

Next day I excitedly drove to John Lewis at High Wycombe and picked up the Falcon. One very happy Debbie has started building the model.

In the mean time, Debbie has contacted Lego to ask for a refund for the vouchers to pay for the Falcon from John Lewis. They seem to have agreed and we are just waiting for the refund to happen – update to follow.

A big thank you again to the stock informer website.

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