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Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Enshittification of Everything, Even Your Internet and Energy Provider

I want to combine two issues in this post, based on two very recent anecdotes.

I’ve just checked bank accounts (it’s taking a long time because the login processes have become super-cumbersome), having already phoned BT several times, and the issue remained unsolved for several months. It was starting to seem like it’s intentional, a pattern, not some accident. It’s hard to imagine how you get it wrong three times in a row, but then again all services getting worse seems like the “new normal” and “enshittification” was coined to describe this phenomenon.

The other day I told the energy supplier to quit spamming me about spymeters (they nagged me about it over 100 times over the years) and after they said they’d stop they merely started doing it every single day, i.e. it got even worse. The spam comes through the box (physical), inbox, and sometimes even phonecalls.

We need to demand change, not learn to accept this degradation of services.

E.ON Next is Spamming All Clients With Spy Meter Nags Even Years After Promising to Stop This

How many years will those lies and SPAM carry on for? There’s no “opt out”.

SEVERAL years ago I wrote about the spamming I had been receiving about spy meters. I must have been nagged about it about 100 times already. It’s very time consuming at this rate and frequency. They even phone us sometimes to nag us about it.

By their own admission, more than a third of their clients do not want spy meters. So we’re not some tiny minority or a ‘fringe’.

Anyway, in recent days they kept spamming me some more and even a day after they told me it would stop they carried on as usual. See below.

E.ON Next wrote on 19/02/2024 15:20:
> Hi Roy Schestowitz,????
>
> Thank you for your email.
>
> I am Shameemah Your Energy Specialist that will be assisting you today.
>
> We have reviewed your account and due to what you have mentioned we have updated your email address on the account to the one you have provided us with [...].
>
> We have done a few health checks on the account and we can see that we do require up to date meter readings this is to avoid your readings being estimated and we need regular readings to bill your account accurately to that you won’t be under or over charged as this could lead to future debt onto your account and we do not want that.
>
> To avoid this I know the days can get busy and can forget we do see that you are eligible to have a free smart meter installed its not complicated basically like the normal meter, however with a smart meter we will be getting readings automatically without you have to send manual readings regularly, your account will be billed regularly and accurately, you will also receive a free in home display a monitor which you will be able to monitor your usage.
>
> Before I can book your appointment there are just a few questions I need you to answer so I can ensure the appointment is correct and the engineer has all the information they’re going to need on the day.

I already told you, REPEATEDLY, to stop spamming me about this.

You agreed but didn’t keep the promise.

You’re still doing this.

Please STOP.


Ross from E.ON Next wrote on 19/02/2024 18:42:
> Hello Roy.
>
> I will remove correspondence about this from your account.

Nonsense. The SPAM continues just less than 24 hours later.
I will relay to you the SPAM.

At this stage I might just terminate the contract with you and report the SPAM, or unsolicited mail.


Notice the date on this email

——– Forwarded Message ——–
Subject: smart meters
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2024 11:30:47 +0000
From: Shameemah from E.ON Next <shameemah.bowers@eon-next-cabac46b5ea2.intercom-mail.com>

Hi Roy Schestowitz,????

Thank you for your email.

I am Shameemah Your Energy Specialist that will be assisting you today.

We have reviewed your account and due to what you have mentioned we have updated your email address on the account to the one you have provided us with ….

[then pushing for spy meters again]

BT: Third Time Lucky?

Telecommunication tower with some buildings in London

TWO months ago a BT advisor said I would not be charged 10 pounds (spurious fee). He assured me it would not happen and if it did happen, I should phone to rectify it.

Weeks passed and they did charge me, contrary to what their staff had said. So I phone up, waited on the line for a very long time, and they then said they would remove that charge. They even sent a formal E-mail to confirm the charge would be canceled.

Today the bill came and the correction has still not been made. This means that I already needed to get on the phone with BT thrice to rectify the issue. Maybe the strategy is to tire me down, hoping that a very busy lifestyle would lead to defeatism and make BT a little richer (just due to these tiring barriers and several false promises).

That’s a lot of trouble to go through, basically to argue over money that is barely worth the time anymore.

I am still on the phone at this very moment. Maybe all those calls have thus far totalled at one hour and it’s still not resolved.

Quick update: Moments ago the person on the line (third person already) said he would escalate this to his manager because something went wrong. It’s not my fault but theirs; the person I spoke to does not even know how to sort this out.

No, I Will NOT Download Your ‘App’ (I Won’t Buy a ‘Smart’ Phone, Either)

I wrote about the misuse of technology to worsen customer service just less than a day ago and thought I’d expand in my personal blog, based on a personal story.

Just over a day ago I went to the local bank and then visited 2 more banks. I could not help but notice that the people facing public at the bank are young and inexperienced, maybe by intention. This makes them not only cheap to employ but also rather useless as advisors or whatever else you might need. It’s like talking to an intern, not even a clerk, or a person herding people into “apps”/self-checkout (the latter is a good analogy for what bank “apps” actually are).

I spoke to a friend about it and he told me it is the same at the one remaining bank office where he lives. He said “they probably get minimum wage, if that…”

Maybe part-time temporary hanging by a thread, obeying every request from just about anyone else in the branch.

Just for the record, Nationwide had a young and borderline rude ‘clerk’, who wasn’t even a clerk and was totally not helpful, probably even lying to prevent me talking to the supervisor (lying is bad, no matter what). At NatWest, however, they had like a 50-year old, who not only escorted me for advice at the cushy office but also phoned the number for me and let me have the room for myself (to talk to “Richard” over the telephone). I thanked her at the end. That was good service. In the past I ranted a lot about NatWest, but on that occasion the service was better. Having said that, they too try to send people to “apps” and “Web sites”…

I am neither young or old, so I can probably not be accused of ageism when I say older workers tend to be nicer, at least at banks; or as a friend put it, “probably the youngest are not just rude but full of rage and lash out or more commonly just plain mean…”

I said that when you are 20-25 and have no prospect of long-term career in the discipline, the desire to learn in depth the job – and its context – may diminish because there is something to be said about giving assurances to professionals and consistent specialities.

But this leads me to the main subject/purpose of this post, which is to rant about banks expecting people to carry around a mobile “phone” and then install (and in turn learn) proprietary “apps” instead of doing things over the counter. According to media in Zimbabwe, as per a report from the other day, banks there got rid of about 75% of their workers. Not only is this bad for employment; it also means that many services previously done by skilled people are no longer offered. The banks go through a process of “enshittification” for the purpose of “cost-savings” and we all – collectively – pay the price. Resist and don’t let them get away with it. Demand that they have staff you can speak to, not some “app” you can download if you carry around a spying device (you ought not).

Time is Up: British Law Enforcement and Tax Collection Authorities Tolerate Crime by Government Contractor

Waiting for Godot: Let's report fraud by Sirius; To people overseen by Sirius clients

Summary: Today we conclude this week’s series, which explained how Sirius isn’t just funded by the British government but is also protected by the British government; HMRC is not responding to fraud reports (sent exactly 4 weeks ago) and Action Fraud, overseen by a client of Sirius (since 2013), does not seem to have even opened the Pension Fraud complaint (it sent a template response after exactly 4 weeks*)

WHEN we finally reach Tuesday or Wednesday (next week) it will be 4 weeks since my Member of Parliament contacted Action Fraud regarding the pension fraud complaint that Action Fraud is ignoring. Action Fraud has still not bothered responding to her. I’m not the sole victim of this fraud. Former colleagues were robbed as well (a lot of money was covertly stolen). For the time being we’re closing this series and will post another further update/s anew. This isn’t the end. This is only the beginning of a rather broad political scandal. Can one trust a government to regulate itself or its contractors? Can one complain to a government about abuse against its own workers? This in many ways resembles the EPO scandals. The EPO even invented its own Ombuds office or “EPO’s Ombuds service”, created and controlled by those who spent over a decade committing crimes at the EPO. Such “Ombuds” is farcical; it’s an exercise in optics (giving people out there the mere illusion of accountability).

Gaslighting and/or self-induced defeatism (learned helplessness) is a potent weapon leveraged against the impatient and unmotivated. We’re neither impatient nor unmotivated, so this will carry on and on until a resolution is found and the perpetrators of the crime are arrested.
_____
* Out of business hours on a weekend. It seems safe to assume no actual person sent that.

BT Full Fibre Broadband is Throttling Down Fibre Connections and Then Upselling the ‘Real’ Speeds of Fibre-optics

All about bundling and complicated structuring for tiers (artificially-degraded services)

BT Full Fibre Broadband

I moved to fibre-optics earlier this year. It was already possible in 2021, but following a series of blunders I decided to delay the transition by nearly 2 years.

The thing about it this year is, BT lied about various things. It also lied about speeds (downstream and upstream) of the connection. How do I know? Well, the other day I did large uploads and then BT all of a sudden phoned me. It was a sales rep. He almost immediately started asking me if I wanted to upgrade speeds. I politely declined and explained why.

But now it’s changing some more. It now ‘feels’ different; now they seem to be severely throttling my uploads (probably to upsell again after a ‘free trial’ which lasted a fortnight; after this trial they tried to upsell it several times). How desperate are they for extra money?

Everyone knows that fibre should not be 100kB/sec upstream, no matter what (unless there is something wrong at the other end, the receiving end).

They want more money, so they hobble/throttle by upstream speeds and then phone me to ask me to pay more. They want me pay yet more money to get what I ALREADY paid for. Not nice. Will they be doing so more aggressively once they’ve transitions almost everyone to fibre-optics, under-delivering intentionally?

Your misery and impatience should not be their profit prospect. Because then they have a financial incentive to make you miserable or less productive.

BT “customer services” may fancy saying they don’t intentionally slow down connections, but of course they do. Selling you back the “real” speed is part of the business model. It’s a class system.

What E.ON Next Says About Cadent Gas Limited Replacing Metal With Plastics at Unexpected Times

Video download link | md5sum 3423a47dfdeaf06eccf9210c582f0523
Energy Suppliers and Gas Pipes
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

THE power supplier we have is not the power supplier we chose. It was inherited by us when we moved in a decade ago and it has since then been acquired by another company, which I’ve endlessly ranted about in the past. The original company, nPower, was relatively OK, but E.ON Next sucks. The above recording is my phonecall or reach-out to E.ON Next regarding what happened with Cadent Gas Limited — a company that basically ruined my entire day and might ruin several more days ahead. Cadent Gas Limited management is unapologetic about it, but at least E.ON Next promises to follow up with a call some time later (unspecified time), so maybe there will be updates ahead.

Is it not astounding that E.ON Next charges almost 150 pounds just to turn off the gas? It sounds like a penalty, not a sane bill for such a trivial job. In a free market of true competition, would such penalties exist? Also, why aren’t the pipes managed by the Council anyway? Why has everything been outsourced to opportunistic privatisers?

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