Introduction About Site Map

XML
RSS 2 Feed RSS 2 Feed
Navigation

Main Page | Blog Index

Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

NatWest Wants to Create Another Financial Crisis, Make More Staff Redundant, Sell Customers’ Data to NSA and Others

NatWest – where the bad things happen all at once

Prism NatWest

Back in 2000 I finally quit Barclays. It was horrible, I had suffered enough. Someone at HSBC advised me to look into the offer from NatWest, so I went there and have stayed their client since then. Everything was more or less okay, but in recent years NatWest became greedy, incompetent, outright insulting, and even corrupt. I would recommend NatWest to nobody. There are some local/small banks which may not have the same level of facilitation and accessibility, but at least they don’t treat people like merchandise (to be sold, exploited, herded like cattle).

Earlier this year I confronted NatWest over PRISM, having discussed the issue with them even before the NSA leaks (which merely helped confirm what some of us had known for years). After the leaks I took it a step further by demanding that they disclose their privacy violations. I eventually (after some nagging) got a call from a manager/PR spinner from NatWest; he prepared for his discussion with me, keeping careful not to openly admit what I already knew. He danced around the issue of privacy and could not deny that NatWest relays financial details (data) of its customers to spies in the United States. To NatWest, we are like a product. They sell dossiers about customers. Recently, through a cashback programme, NatWest also created an incentive for customers to give up anonymous purchasing, making it more expensive for people to pay with cash. It seems likely that NatWest will therefore sell data about customers to some unnamed marketing entities and somehow allow itself to do this by adding some shrewdly-worded phrase to the terms of conditions customers will sign. As NatWest is helping the NSA harvest financial information about customers, why not do this with the commercial world too? More money for NatWest, the Facebook model foisted on your bank without your knowledge.

What really broke the camel’s back was an experience I had yesterday. It was the last straw in a sense, proving that NatWest does not care about people; neither customers not employees. I stood at the line for a teller to service me, but a guard diverted me from a teller to a machine. I told him, you’d make tellers redundant. He said it was “good for customers”. That’s just spin. There’s a hidden cost there. I was tempted to tell him that his job too could be made obsolete if he did nothing to defend the tasks which are better done by human beings (faster, less error-prone, and also with a personal touch like personalised advice).

I am generally no fan of banks, to say the very least. Like my father in law, I only ever go there when there is no other choice. I would take all my cash elsewhere if I knew of a safer alternative, but we live in a banks-dominated world and the bank (or central bank) uses inflation to push people into reliance on banks.

Here is one last item of interest. Yesterday NatWest advertised and even GLOATED about accepting 9 out of 10 requests for a mortgage! Imagine a university advertising itself like this. It’s like a new advertising campaign and they use cookies (plus coffee) to lure people into so-called mortgage ‘advisors’. Yes, not to worry! They just accept 90% of requests. And they brag about it. Another crisis coming, eh? Where they lend out 10 times the money they have — my money, your money, every saver’s money. If you or I did this, we’d be in prison for creating a Ponzi scheme, but big banks enjoy protection from the government, which is just too happy to throw our money (or growing national, i.e. collective, debt) at them. They lend out to almost everyone, never mind credit ratings, history, capability/inability to pay back. They seem to rely too much on bailouts and just count on bulk interest payments in order to increase profit as well as risk. See Cyprus to witness what this means to savers. Their money can get literally confiscated, robbed. And NatWest is clearly part of the problem. It’s not selective at all, it just gives savers’ money to any Joe and Jane that walks in.

Avoid NatWest. It’s a scam and it doesn’t give a damn about people. It’s everything that’s wrong about banking. Not to mention downtime of their on-line banking service (which seems to require many reboots because it Windows-based)…

BT’s Culture of Outsourcing

Emergency phone

MY BT Internet connection has been faulty since the beginning of this year. I have spent no less than about 10 hours speaking to support representatives in an offshore call centre, all of whom go through the script and a list of steps that “test” the connection, never mind if a dozen people before them ran the same tests. I have been polite but assertive, especially after these issues persisted for months. But never ever did they send out an engineer (meaning, a UK-based person paid at UK rates) to address the issue. At one stage they sent out a replacement router, but unsurprisingly this did not resolve the problem.

Imagine having a flaky connection when you work from home (in the employment sense). Calls are dropping, SSH sessions are dropping, IRC logging and conversations are choppy, and even Web browsing is very erratic. Imagine this going on for about 4 months. Imagine having your ISP refusing to just fix the issue by sending an actual person to the site for investigation.

My issue have been escalated internally numerous times and I have just spoke to their manager about it. No compensation can ever recover or make up for the time and work lost due to BT’s systemic incompetence. But wait, it gets worse. Not only is BT too ‘cheap’ (must increase shareholders value!) to send out an engineer; it is unable to even follow up with calls that it promises to make. The automated phone reminder which says they would call works correctly, even phoning me to wake me up at 7 AM on a Sunday. But the actual representative ‘forgets’ to call. Oops. I guess the customer does not matter enough to inform. If the customer stays home for a 2-hour time slot allocated for a call, they can just be left out in the cold, right? Well, that’s BT.

My issues with BT were serious back in 2011 when they were unable to simply set up my connection, incurring weeks in delay. I should have taken the hint and taken my money elsewhere, but BT has a monopoly on the lines. So I stayed with BT, only after their cancellations department was very insistent and successfully persuaded me to give them another chance. They also compensated me which was an admission of guilt more than it was a compensation for all the time lost and the agonising experience lasing weeks.

BT’s issues are not technical. BT’s issues are systemic. The company assumes its customers are dumb. It insists on running simple tests rather than addressing low-level issues that have been ongoing for months. It would rather have you suffer for days and talking to poorly-paid employees than send out a person who — through direct physical contact with the infrastructure — can probably remediate the issue immediately.

BT is not a company that cares about people. It cares only about money to the extent where it forgets what customers actually mean and why bad service will give them bad reputation and discourage new customers from joining,

Today, after months of bad service, BT said they would send an engineer (at long last!) to my house, but only in two days from now (I stood firm on quick action), meaning that I would suffer from faulty connection for a couple more days until I go on vacation (Monday). I also need to wait at home for a five-hour time slot on Saturday. Great, eh? See how much bad service from BT impacts one’s life on a daily basis.

If you never relied on BT for anything, do yourself a favour and never do. BT doesn’t care about people, it will take your money and run up a tree, then tell you that you must be dumb and the fault must not be theirs. You are just a fool with his/her money

British Workers Call for End of Tax Breaks to the Wealthy

eBay Sucks: Deletes Customer Accounts With Perfect Feedback/Reputation, Offers No Solution

TODAY, for the first time in about 8 years, I wanted to place a bid in eBay UK. I had already bought about 17 items there. To my surprise, my account there no longer exists. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going on and then struggled to find my way to a real human rep.

Finally, once I found a chat app of eBay, I was passed around between 3 different reps, none of whom could solve a simple problem caused by eBay. I know for a fact that I had a user account and I know its full credentials (I even have old cache pages to prove it). All I could get from eBay is an “account does not exist” response. Oh, really? I know that. This is why I contacted eBay’s reps. Rather than rectify their error they suggested that I create a new account, which defeats the purpose of me contacting them in the first place.

Mark Clarke
Welcome to eBay Live Help, my name is Mark Clarke. Please give me a
moment while I check your account details.
Mark Clarke
I have verified your account. How may I assist you?
Mark Clarke
May i have user id of your account?
roy@schestowitz.com
royss2000 is my account
roy@schestowitz.com
I have not logged in since around 2004
roy@schestowitz.com
And ebay US and UK both say it does not exist
roy@schestowitz.com
which is strange
roy@schestowitz.com
I have 100% positive feedback on it
roy@schestowitz.com
so I don’t want to start from scratch
Mark Clarke
What I can do is connect you with our concern department. Keep in mind
there may be a wait time once you get connected with this department. If
this chat disconnects please feel free to come back into eBay Live Chat
by clicking on our link on the eBay homepage.
May I go ahead and connect you now?
Mark Clarke
I’m just checking to see if you’re still with me.
roy@schestowitz.com
yes
Mark Clarke
Has transferred you to:Diana B.
roy@schestowitz.com
please connect me with whoever is suitable to restore this account, it
took me time to earn account reputation, I wish to keep that account; I
guess ebay purged accounts not logged into for a long time
roy@schestowitz.com
hi DIana
Diana B.
Thank you for contacting eBay live help my name is Diana. Please give me
a moment to review what you’ve discussed with the previous representative.
roy@schestowitz.com
My name is Dr. Roy Schestowitz
roy@schestowitz.com
I am rather upset that my account is treated as though it never existed
Isabelle Valentez
Welcome to Live Help, my name is Isabelle. How may I be of assistance?
roy@schestowitz.com
Hi
roy@schestowitz.com
“Chat Session Ended, Goodbye. (5009)”
roy@schestowitz.com
Not sure what happened there
roy@schestowitz.com
I suppose Diana didn’t hang up
Isabelle Valentez
Can you please tell me the matter so tha tI can help you?
Isabelle Valentez
the chat might be disconnected due to technical issues.
roy@schestowitz.com
ok, hang on
Isabelle Valentez
this User Id does not exist.
Isabelle Valentez
I ahev just checked.
Isabelle Valentez
*have
roy@schestowitz.com
I have web pages saved from many years ago where I can show it that it did exist at the time
Isabelle Valentez
You may register a new account with email address roy@schestowitz.com and User ID royss2000
roy@schestowitz.com
I don’t
roy@schestowitz.com
wish to
Isabelle Valentez
Any ways the feedback on eBay are now reset every 12 months, so they will be again 0 now.
roy@schestowitz.com
that’s why I contacted you
roy@schestowitz.com
I already had an account, but ebay seems to have just deleted accounts with good reputation
roy@schestowitz.com
ah, okay
roy@schestowitz.com
That’s a new rule
roy@schestowitz.com
So I shall registerfor a new account
roy@schestowitz.com
Thanks very much
roy@schestowitz.com
This still does not explain why ebay flushes old accounts
roy@schestowitz.com
without warning to the customer
roy@schestowitz.com
I will write an article about this
Isabelle Valentez
You are welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
roy@schestowitz.com
No, but thanks for being patient. I am disappointed that ebay as a whole generally does not value customer accounts

That last point is not even true. As pages like this one show, the reviews go back 12 months, but not the overall ranking, which is aggregated for a lifetime of an account. The reputation in eBay does matter because it assures trust. It makes business easier.

Half an hour later eBay seemed to have realised that it hds a bit of a blunder in its hands and the advice given, again, is that I should start from scratch (beating the purpose). To quote the E-mail sent to me:

Hello,

This is in response to your Live Help Chat about the status of your account “royss2000″. I understand you’re concerned as you’ve been informed that this account is no longer registered.

I’ve looked through our database but haven’t been able to find an eBay account “royss2000″ linked to this email address “roy@schestowitz.com”.

What I suggest you to do now is to register a new eBay account. Here’s how:

1. Go to www.ebay.co.uk and click the “Register” link at the very top of the page.

2. Enter your contact & personal information. Click “Register.”

3. Enter your email address.

4. Read and accept the eBay User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

5. Choose a user ID, password, and a secret question and answer.

6. To verify your account, an email will automatically be sent to the address you registered.

7. Check your email. Click the “Activate Your eBay Membership” link in the email.

I trust this information is helpful and wish you all the best on eBay at the future.

Kind regards,

Diana Bell

eBay Trust & Safety

eBay let me down. It’s likely that I won’t use it again and I will never recommend it to anyone. This is unprofessional.

One of My Favourite Documentaries: BBC Dissecting the True Evils of PR

The programme is broken down into several episodes, each delivered in parts due to time limits in YouTube. Here is the first part of the four episodes.

Part 1 of 24:

Goldman Sachs Accused of Creating Bubbles

Back in April I wrote about Cramer playing with the market. Is Goldman Sachs essentially doing the same thing? Some people sure think so

Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression

See the following video as well.

Tent Cities: Serious New Issue the Media Rarely Covers

Direct link

Retrieval statistics: 21 queries taking a total of 0.241 seconds • Please report low bandwidth using the feedback form
Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
|— Proudly powered by W o r d P r e s s — based on a heavily-hacked version 1.2.1 (Mingus) installation —|