The Castle? Kafka had it easy!

I’ve been meaning to post several things here for the last couple of weeks but things have got in the way.

Obviously life goes on as usual and that all takes time, but one expects that to happen. I normally manage to run a small business, keep my son’s education on some sort of track, cook family meals, do the washing up, shopping etc and occasionally do some writing!

Sixteen days ago the screen on the television was broken in an accident. No problem, it has happened before and Curry’s Newport had been happy to sell me a Repair and Support contract which covered accidental damage. In fact I had used the same contract before to replace a TV.

Currently we only have one car and my wife uses it to work in Cardiff. She was working shifts but with Covid recently moved to what basically works out as a 9-5 post. Which is great for her but does mean that I currently have no options to use the car during business hours. Trust me this is relevant.

So, on the day the damage occurred I checked when the store was open so I could return it and commence the repair/replacement process. I found that since reopening after the Covid Lockdown, they were now closing at 1800hrs, roughly the time my wife gets back from work. But surely the gods were smiling on me that day as my wife unexpectedly returned early! Yay!

I should have remembered: ‘Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.’

I drove to the Newport store and arrived with half an hour to go. And waited, and waited. Eventually I got my chance to explain my problem and showed them my contract and they said, ‘No problem’.

And then there was a problem.

They needed to input lots of information to their system. I realised why I had waited. The system was slow. The system was down they declared.

No problem they said, bring it back in the morning.

No car in the morning.

They looked at me as if I were well below poor white trash. No car? What kind of loser was I?

Could I not just leave the TV as requested in the contract and they could fill in the details, which I had already provided, in the morning?

No.

What then?

Ring the number on the contract and book it in and they will pick it up.

Oh they will, will they?

I went home, rang the number. Waited nearly an hour on hold, at 5 per minute I later discovered, and then a really nice man on the tech line booked it in for collection for assessment for repair the next day 6th August. No he could not give me a time. Not a problem, I could stay in. Great. We parted having had a nice conversation about whether or not I was connected to Graham Farish model railways. Regrettably, not as far as I know. He gave me the repair reference number and we said goodnight.

I waited all next day.

There was no appearance of anyone seeking to collect a television.

Late afternoon I rang to see if they were coming.

I hung on for some time, several times, and did not get through before the batteries on my cordless phone gave up.

Eventually I got through in the evening.

A much younger chap was really sorry but my booking had been too late and not been processed.

Wait a minute, the guy last night had said, ‘There we are, that’s all booked for you, 6 August. It’s in the system, done.’

The new guy didn’t know what had happened but the good news was my pickup had been automatically rebooked for the next available slot.

Great!

The 11th of August

There is a clause in the contract that says if it takes more than seven days to repair the appliance they will replace it for free. Now returning it to the store would normally trigger this period, but as they refused and as I foolishly went away, I had to wait for the rearranged pick up, six days later, as the event to trigger the period.

My son was distraught, and I was…miffed, but, despite registering the fact I found this cavalier rebooking unacceptable, I could see no obvious alternative to waiting

On the Curry’s website I found a ‘track my repair’ page. On the 11th I checked and I was booked as number 20 out of 22. Sure enough, late in the afternoon they arrived and took it with a promise to return it on the 18th – seven days, see?

So by now I was up to a thirteen day stretch without the television. My son was not happy. I suspect no-one else was either, but he was less concerned with the social niceties that prevented them from venting their feelings.

On the seventeenth, filled with a suspicion that it was just ‘too quiet’, I checked the tracking page again. Sure enough ‘We need a quick catch up’ was the message, ‘we have a query about your repair…’ ring this number. I loved the ‘quick’ bit.

Couldn’t get through on the phone. Tried webchat while my batteries recharged – when I eventually managed to find a way to trick the AI into letting me ‘chat’ (exchange written notes) with  real person, they were clueless but gave me an email address. I emailed them asking what was happening.

I tried again on the phone and got through and they said there may be a delay while they found the right screen. That didn’t strike me as being a query. I made sure they had my landline, my wife’s mobile and my email. They assured me they would be in touch, using different methods depending what happened next – they would text a new delivery date, they would phone the landline if they wanted to give me  a replacement or email me a voucher for use in store or online.

I got a reply to my email in the morning of the 18th which said – ‘I see you’ve spoke to someone’ –  and no more save I had a new reference number.

By the 20th there was no news and they were over the seven day period even by the start date of 11 August rather than 5 August.

I tried to phone. Repeatedly. No joy. So I emailed them and said I wanted to activate the Seven Day Repair Promise.

On 21 August I had an email saying they had already handed this over to the ‘Write Off Team’ on the 20th.

Okay.

I rang and eventually got through to someone to see what was happening. My son was more than halfway up the wall by now.

Eventually – I calculate I had spent at least £15 on mostly fruitless phone calls at that stage – I got through on the phone and the call handler said he couldn’t say why this hadn’t been actioned but there was some sort of note saying ‘investigate’ on the file. I asked what that meant. He had no idea except it was marked for write off. On being pressed he said they would email me with the result.

Today, 23 August, I remain clueless.

I did receive an email from ‘postmaster@DSGROOT.INT’ using part of the header of an earlier email with an attachment they wanted me to click on – but as there was no name attached I have presumed it was a phishing scam or malware trap – a search reveals no known connection between Curry’s and that email address. I can think of several web and programming connections, none of which make me feel warm and fuzzy about clicking on anything contained unidentified in the email.

I tried ringing again this morning – cue the usual time expanding menu and then – ooh! New music with no message and then ‘due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to process your call’.

So here I am, seventeen days after the beginning of my quest, no television, no repair and no word as to what happens next or what the word ‘investigate means.’

I tried emailing a complaint some days ago –’no longer active’. Curry’s appear to have done everything possible to prevent getting any resolution to anything. I could have gone, and may yet go in person to the Newport shop,  but as they appear to be as dependent on ‘the system’ as anyone else I don’t know how to get some sort of resolution from anyone.

Watch this space.

I may be channelling the spirit of Fran Kafka after this experience.

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