Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Kitten Has Arrived!

After deciding on the kitten that we saw at the rescue centre, we had to go through some formalities to ensure that we were the right kind of people to provide a new home to this Kitten.

We had to provide some character references from friends and employers and then send them back, in the meantime the Kitten was to undergo a check-IMG_0579 up from the vet to make sure she was fit enough to leave the centre.

After a phone call from the centre confirming all was in order, we arranged to collect the Kitten, she didn't seem phased by the journey home and seemed quite relaxed when she reached her new home.

We let her out of the travel box and she soon started to wander, we kept her in just two rooms to start with while she found her bearings.

It wasn't long before she started to play just like a proper kitten!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Dog! we meant a Cat!

Did i say in an earlier post that we were getting a dog?

Well it seems that we have had a change of mind.

Like most families we have always had some sort of pet in the house, the most recent one being a guinea pig called Henry.
Unfortunately Henry had a growth and had to be put down.

This of course gave us a reason to re-evaluate our pet position and how much work and effort we felt we could cope with, after remymany hours of thinking we all agreed that the best option was a cat.

So off we went surfing the web for a rescue cat, the first and most obvious place was the local Blue Cross rescue home that just happens to have the perfect companion, a young 4 month old Kitten called Remy.

Remy has not had a good start in life, with the fact that she was abandoned almost immediately and put into a rescue home, then suffered an umbilical hernia which needed an operation, an of course then neutered early.
as a result Remy has a nasty abdominal scar as well as a mental scar!

Anyway we hope to bring Remy home next weekend and start allowing her to live life as a loved kitten in a good family environment.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Cheque at last

cometletter After a few days waiting patiently to see if Comet were as good as their word, I finally got a letter and a cheque from them.

Not sure what is usual in these circumstances, as I don’t often need to go through this process, but I did find it unusual for a letter accompanying a refund to start with a paragraph indicating “pleasure” but “without prejudice”.

still they seems to have forgotten about the other elements of the complaint and I have not heard any more since.

Would I shop at Comet again? not if i could help it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I got a response from Comet

Eventually this afternoon a got a phone call, I knew it was from Comet because the phone number was blocked, this is a tactic they employ to keep they're real numbers secret, so they can charge their disgruntled customers a call charge of at least 5ppm by calling 08 numbers.

It was further confirmed by a voice telling me he was from Comet investigations, apparently they had received my letter, and after investigation, were now going to refund the 10% re-stocking fee (£7).

They gave me a choice of either going to the store and having my credit card credited, or having a cheque in the post, as I was at work at the time I opted for the cheque, although this will take 7 – 10 days.

The whole purpose of this exercise was not about the money, but the principle of why Comet though it was right to treat their customers in this way.

As well as a refund, the head office will investigate the complaint I made about their staff and report back to their regional sales manager.

A few days ago, when I spoke to the store manager (Emma king), I offered the option of providing me with a full refund and going away a satisfied customer, if she had taken that option, the matter would have ended, but she chose not to.

Here is the email response from Comet confirming my refund, please feel free to bear all of this in mind should you find yourself in a similar situation with Comet


Subject:My Complaint

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

Response (Gary Mulligan) 17/02/2010

Dear Mr Murray

Thank you for your e-mail dated 15th February

I apologise that we did not reply to this sooner, however as we had spoken to you about this issue over the phone in the first instance this is why your e-mail was not initially responded to within our advertised timeframe of 24 hours.

We have completed our investigations into this matter,and the case are going to refund the £7 charge which we will send you in the way of a cheque which will be with you with in 7 to 10 days.

One of my colleagues hopefully will have phoned you before you receive his response

In the meantime, please accept my apologies for the delay.


Interesting Fact about Comets Returns Policy!

While awaiting a response from Comet's customer services department I couldn't help reflecting over the events of the last couple of days, in particular the Comet store returns policy.

When I returned the product, the first thing the customer service representative did was to un-box it and plugs it in, almost as an immediate test to rebuff any claim the customer might make.

I have to note, I have never seen this in other stores.

021710_2121_Interesting1 Anyway, it was clear in my case that the product worked, but I thought, what would happen if I had stated that after 3 hours the item got so hot it began to smoke, but it only happened after 3 hours.
Would I have to wait in the shop for 3 hours watching to prove my point, or would I have just got a full refund immediately as the product was faulty?

The other view you could take, is that when returning a product to Comet for whatever reason, you could make sure that it is faulty, or would fail the "lets plug it in and take a look" test.

I would not recommend the latter, but it does make you think.

My Letter to Comet

Dear Sir / Madam:

This letter is to complain about service I recently received from Comet customer service representatives at the Oxford Botley store, named Ben, Richard and Emma King (Store Manager).

I purchased a product on the 13th February 2010 at the store, the product in my opinion was not fit for purpose, as it was an alarm clock radio, but had a backlit screen that prevented me from sleeping as it was too bright.

I returned the product to the store on Sunday the 14th February 2010, and requested a full refund as the product was not as described or expected, i.e. the product did not specify the number of lumens it would use to illuminate the room.

The first representative (Richard) explained that I was not entitled to a full refund under Comet's returns policy, so I asked to see the senior manager on site, this was someone called Ben.

Ben re-iterated what Richard had said, but came over in a threatening manner, in the following conversation, Ben was extremely rude to me, I also felt threatened by him in the way he spoke to me.

I eventually left the store with no choice but to accept a refund less 10% restocking charge, at this point I felt that I had been robbed.

After I insisted, Ben finally gave me the details of the Store Manager, Emma King, so I could call her on Monday morning.

Before I left the store I asked Ben if he thought he had given me good customer service, he replied "I have given what is required", clearly he did not believe this to be good.

On Monday after 3 attempts of calling Emma King and leaving messages and awaiting a call back I finally received a call at 1:30PM, Emma was adamant that she was not going to refund the 10% re-stocking charge, and basically said, that's the company policy so tough luck.

Although the sum of money is £7 I feel that I have been robbed as the policy was not made clear to me before purchase, I explained this to Emma, but she refused to acknowledge my point.

On the issue of my complaint about Ben, Emma said she would deal with it, but it was a staff issue and she would not report back to me, I explained I had no confidence in her comment, she didn't seem to care why I had made the statement, so I asked her if she wanted any more information, or wanted to ask me anything else, she replied "No", I then explained the reason I had no confidence that she had taken any of my complaints seriously, was because I had alluded to a problem with Ben, I had not given any precise details yet, and as Emma had not asked, and did not want to ask for any, she could not possibly deal with the issue.

I also explained that as a gesture of good will, if I had received a refund, it would be the difference of me either being a satisfied customer or a dissatisfied customer, but still Emma stood her ground, and decided it was better to adhere to policy than have a satisfied customer, obviously not thinking of future client relations and potential purchases, I also explained some basic business principles to Emma that Comet Stores in oxford are sited next to Argos and Curry's Digital and these sell the same or similar product lines, therefore Comet will need to rely on good customer satisfaction and reputation as a unique selling point, but Emma still refused to acknowledge my point, my compliant or issue a refund.

At this point I asked for details so I could escalate the complaint.

After calling head office customer services and speaking to Charlotte, who took notes and placed me on hold while she called Emma to try and resolve the issue, also explaining that the store manager, Emma had final say on whether to issue a refund or not.

After a few minutes on hold, Charlotte Advised me that Emma would contact me regarding the complaint against Ben, but would still not issue a refund.

So far I have not heard back from Emma.

Charlotte advised me that the next course of action is to write a letter of complaint, so this is it, I am complaining about the way Comet staff have treated me from the point of purchase through to writing this letter.

In summary my issues are:

  • Not being made aware of Comet's returns policy prior to purchase
  • Staff not being sympathetic to a customer's opinion and views
  • Staff hiding behind company policy to avoid giving customer service and refusing to apply discretion.
  • Staff not actually listening the customer
  • Staff rudeness, causing embarrassment to myself and accompanying family members
  • The actual robbery of money under the guise of policy (I Feel I have been robbed)

I would like the opportunity to discuss this with a senior member of the Comet management team, I would also like to have an acknowledgement of this letter in writing to the above address.

In addition I would also like the remainder of my purchase (£7 restocking charge) refunded to my credit card.

Am I Expecting too much?

While on the last call to Comet regarding my complaint and the fact that they have robbed me of £7, I followed the advice of their customer service adviser.

The advice was to write in, but I could do this via their website to speed up the process, and should get a response within 24 hours, here is the quote from their website.


Click here to use our rather clever "Ask a question" service.
We'll do everything we can to get back to you within 24 hours.

Well, its been over 24 hours, and still i have not heard from anyone, not Even from Emma King who had told her head office that she would call me to follow up my complaint regarding her staff.

Am I expecting too much?

I don't think so!

Come on Comet, at least be honest and admit you don't care about your customers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The next stage, send a letter of complaint

Well so far, it seems that Comet are able to do as they please and stamp all over the general public, their customers.

comet Now it seems that I can no longer talk to anyone, and all communication must be in writing, I'm sure the telephone has been around long enough for this mode of communication to be acceptable.

Anyway I have written my letter of complaint, and emailed it in, I will also post it the old fashioned way, just to make sure.

I wonder how long it will be before I get acknowledgement, their web site states with 24 hours for electronic communications.

I am now running a facebook campaign about this, so please feel free to publish your experiences with Comet on my facebook page, see the link in the right-hand sidebar.

Comet Head Office

Oh Dear, They’re not Listening.

Well after getting no satisfaction from Emma King, the Store Manager at Comet Oxford, I decided to go to the next stage, head office Customer Services.

I spoke to an adviser called Charlotte, she seemed very nice and understanding, I explained my issues with the returned product, that fact that I felt i had been robbed of £7 by the store under their returns policy and the way that I had been treated by the staff, I have even referred to CCTV footage of the incident, but no-one seems interested.

Anyway, I also explained to Charlotte, my conversations with Emma King, who apparently has the final say if I get my £7 back or not.

Charlotte put my call on hold and then called the store to speak with Emma, I was hoping that she would have better luck than I had, as it had taken me all morning to get to speak to Emma, she is clearly a busy woman, I wonder if it is dealing with customer complaints?.

Anyway, a few minutes later Charlotte returned having successfully spoken to Emma, it seems now Emma is taking my complaint seriously regarding the way her staff treated my (and my family), but still wont give me back the £7 that Comet have stolen from me.

Apparently when Emma has dealt with her staff issue, she will call me to explain the situation.

I’ll Keep you all informed, meantime feel free to become a fan of my new facebook page (in the right hand sidebar) to try and get Comet to realise that Customers are important.

My complaint regarding the £7 is now at the stage where I have to write in to complain referring to the verbal complaints I have logged already, so even now it seems that as long as Comet are happy with my money that they have stolen (that's £7), then i don't matter.

Still maybe I could spread the work of my experience on some social media sites, I'm not saying it will make a big difference, but unlike me, others will be informed before parting with their money to Comet.

The Next Day in The world of Comet

Well after getting no satisfactory answers from the store on Sunday, I though i would call the Store Manager and try to reason with her.

The Store Managers Names at Oxford is Emma King, what’s interesting here is when I asked the Sales Manager in store for his surname, he sited the Data Protection act prevented him from giving it to me, however he was happy to give me Emma’s.

Anyway, Here is the update

Monday (15/2/10) 11:37 - I Called the Store, Emma was busy so I left a message with someone called Mo, who will pass on my message to Emma.

Monday (15/2/10) 12:29 - Having still not had a call back from Emma, I called again, this time I spoke to Sean, who again advised me that Emma was busy, but he would pass on the message.

Monday (15/2/10) 12:54 – Still no call back, so once again I called and spoke to Mo, who advised that Emma Was still busy, however when Mo gave Emma my previous message, Emma was already aware of my complaint.

Monday (15/2/10) 13:18 – I received a call from Emma King at Comet Oxford. 
I explained my case again and expressed my dissatisfaction at how I had been treated, Emma Didn’t seem to concerned by this, but was rigid that she was going to stand by the company policy and not refund me the 10% re-stocking fee (this is £7, but it is the principle now).
Emma was also very keen to tell me that legally Comet don't even have to refund anything, so I should be grateful  (that I have been robbed in broad daylight) that I was only charged the 10%.

I also tried to complain about the way her staff had treated me, but she was so interested that she forgot to ask me any questions on that part of the complaint, so I challenged her and whether she was actually taking my complaint seriously, she said she was, but i doubted that based on the evidence.

I also tried to explain that £7 was the difference between a satisfied customer and a dissatisfied customer, but Emma was Adamant that I was not going to be treated any differently from the rest of the world and I was not getting my £7 back, so I asked if the rude treatment I received from here staff was normal and what everybody got, she could not answer that!.

It seems that as long as Comet fulfil the legal requirement, Customer satisfaction does not matter.

My next post will be detailing what happens when i call the head office to complain.

Bet you cant wait!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Shopping Experience with Comet

What started out as a shopping trip to buy a pretty standard product, has turned out to be a stressful episode, that I'm sure is not finished yet.

iPhone 3gs The history is that after many phones and upgrades, I have eventually managed to own an Apple iPhone 3GS, which I'm sure most of you will agree is a pretty cool product with  many options available to increase its use.

This is where my episode starts, as it was my birthday in mid February, and I had decided that although the iPhone is a cools device, it is limited with its battery capacity, mainly because I can’t stop using the phone and its many apps.

A solution I found was to buy a radio alarm clock with docking / charging capability, so as to allow me to make full use of the iphone all day long right up till bedtime.

After much research I thought the best place to go was the high street, so I could actually try my phone in the display models in the shop, this proved useful as many of the  products available were still not compatible.

comet I live in an area that has a retail park with a currys Curry’s Digital and a  Comet store almost next door to each other, and both selling similar product lines, however Comet did seem cheaper.

Anyway the product i liked the look of was a Sony Alarm Clock Radio, with charge dock, it was labelled under the Sony tag of “Dream Machine”


Well,  bought this product from Comet as it was cheaper and took it home to set it up.
At first I was very pleased with it, it was typical of a Sony product, it felt good, had a good sound and at first I was very happy with it.
Then i went to bed, i had no problem find my bed as the bedroom was illuminated by the very bright backlit screen, so i though i should check and make sure it was set to the dimmest brightness, and it was!.
I had hoped that the alarm would wake me in the morning to the sound of some music on my iPhone, but this was really unnecessary as I didn’t actually get to sleep, of course I could have unplugged the clock, bet then how would it wake me up?

Back To Comet the Next Day!

So the next morning, blurry eyed and tired I went of to Comet to try and reason with them and ask for a refund on the basis that the product did not do what I expected, i.e. get a nights sleep and then wake me, rather than just keep me awake!

The man I spoke to on customer services was called Richard, he plugged the clock in and there fore it worked, so a refund was out of the question, unless I accepted a 10% restocking charge, or took a credit to use in store.
well I was not happy and asked to see the manager, to see if he would be more flexible and offer a bit more customer service?

Unfortunately I expected a bit too much, after refusing me a refund and then being rude to me, I had to give in and take the refund less 10% restocking charge, there was no way I wanted a credit to spend in their store.

Anyway the best I could get was the option to call the store manager on Monday morning, which I will do and update this post.

For some reason though the staff would not tell me their surnames, due to “Data Protection” although they were more than happy to tell me the surname of the store manager? maybe she doesn't come under the data protection act.

When I asked “Ben” the sales manager if he had given me good customer service his reply was “I have given you what is required”, so obviously, not good then!

tesco The end result was that I was unhappy with Comet and unhappy with Sony, so I went to Tesco's, and bought this little alarm clock radio, for £30 less than the Sony, it does everything the Sony does, and also lets me enjoy a good nights sleep.


This is the Logitech pure-fi anytime, it was £30 cheaper than the Sony, and it does the job nicely, it even allows me to get to sleep.
I will see on Monday if Comet “Richard”, “Ben” and “Emma King” have any useful to say on my refund.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finally a Recording!!

Well its been a long time coming, but finally I have a recording of my sax playing.

When I say a recording, the quality of the recording is not that great, the playing is far from perfect too!.

Anyway, I said I would post progress on this blog, so here it is, this is a short piece called Maryland, it’s a slow Jazz piece so you won’t suffer for long!.

Hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoy playing.

Click here to play Maryland

If anybody can give me some tips on how to produce a better quality recording I would be most grateful.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ashgrove Care Home

A few years ago my mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

this is a difficult illness for the individual to deal with as they are often aware that they are losing their memory.
This can be quite a frightening time for them.

My mother is currently in a nursing home called Ashgrove Care Home.

Map picture