Archive for July, 2010

Complaint to Tesco CEO – Tesco Internet Phone and Gift Cards

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Dear Mr. Leahy,

I hope this email finds you well, and that you have been having a delightful weekend.

In regards to our previous conversations, I happily received two Tesco “Giftcards”, each labelled being worth five Great British Pounds to your company, in refund for the money that went missing from my Tesco Internet Phone account.

If you recall, I was promised three times I’d receive a cheque. Many weeks later, I hadn’t and contacted you again. I emailed quite a few times to your complaints department, in fact. After emailing you, you promised you’d send the gift cards, which I can confirm I have received.

I happily jogged down to the local Tesco store, a mere two-and-a-half miles from my home, an easy amount of exercise when travelling in a car. I wandered around your delightful shop, and purchased the provisions I required for the week, happy in the knowledge that I could pay for these with a gift card, to refund the existing credit I had on my recently closed Tesco Internet Phone.

Which is a shame, because I enjoyed having my Tesco Internet Phone. It was very useful for making and receiving calls (something which my recently purchased Apple Smartphone has been unable to do). However, the annoying loss of a phone number and contacting dozens of people to update them with my new number, and replacing all my business cards – was easily outweighed by the refund of my credit.

I guess you must be in a similar situation, You agreed to sign up with Freshtel to provide this telephone service under contract, and they’ve been so rude as to go bankrupt. I’m amazed they managed to go bankrupt when still had the few quid left on my account.  Did they refund you as well?

Anyway, I digress. I took my provisions around a trip around your Clacton store, making sure my purchases could enjoy the sights of the numerous metal cages that adorn your wonderful shop. I happily slalomed around the staff, who were unaware that there might be shoppers around during opening hours. I like to think they enjoyed the noise of the crunching of discarded Wotsits as they squished under the soft, wobbly tyres of the uniquely-designed Tesco shopping cart.

Again, I digress. I’m sure you can understand how I am quite distracted from the evenings’ entertainment that is navigating my local supermarket! I apologise profusely! I know you are a busy man. On carrying my goods to your electronic tills – unfortunately all your staff were busy, somehow six computer terminals seem to move quicker than nearly 40 old-fashioned manual lines. They also have been uniquely developed to entertain us with their quips; such as “Please place the item in the bagging area”! You guys have such an amusing sense of humour! Why haven’t you replaced all the tills with these entertaining and very functional machines yet?

Anyhow, digressing again, I scanned all my produce and used the Gift Cards you delightfully sent me to replace the funds that were missing in my account. Some people might complain that it’s unfair to refund my credit in anything other in cash. Perhaps some might think I would choose not to use Tesco since they signed up to a company that couldn’t provide a profitable telephone service, but thankfully I am not that vindictive.

I was shocked to find that the Gift Cards you send did not work. There was a message on-screen about the gift cards not having any credit. I presumed this was one of your subtle jokes, so I called over one of your many helpful checkout staff, who can be found chatting to other members of staff, usually around the pharmaceutical aisles. They delighted in pretending to ignore me! How humourous! I laughed like a drain!

I explained where I received the cards from, and on the third attempt; she seemed to understand that these were not bought and were sent to me. I hope you don’t mind, but I gave your name – Terry Leahy – to them. Something seemed to click – I think they might remember you!

I must admit, I did lie to them, slightly. I explained these were sent to me after a complaint. I wasn’t sure if your staff would know what Tesco Internet Phone was; (when I tried to top up last time, they joked that they’d never heard of it!). It didn’t seem necessary to explain where they came from, nor who you were in the circumstances.

On calling another member of your delightful checkout staff (who also played the same prank of ignoring the help request! I’m so glad your staff are so quick-witted! It seems to be only the women that do this; isn’t that a bit sexist? Are your male staff not allowed a sense of humour?). It was finally explained that gift cards are actually worthless, unless there is some money on them.

This makes perfect sense! Though I was a bit surprised. I probably should’ve asked you about this first.

I paid for my items with alternative methods, then stood in the spacious area as I waited for a slew of receipts came flying from the machine; all explaining that “The following gift card cannot be used”. I loved how there was a separate receipt for each and every time the voucher was tried! Apart from this keeping me busy for a few minutes while I tried to find a non-violent way to exit your store, I’m afraid it might have also used the entire world reserves of receipt paper.

Forgive me for not asking before – but these gift cards you’ve sent; would you perhaps mind putting some money on them, in refund for the money on my now-disabled Tesco Internet Phone account?

I’m a businessman myself, and I understand the need to make as much profit as possible, but I’d prefer to have the money I paid back. Whether that’s with Tesco or not. Thankfully I’m not particularly litigious, and I do enjoy circumnavigating a small store. As a side note, perhaps you could provide GPS?

If you wish, I’ll happy visit the store and explain the real reason of what happened; and of course explain to your staff who you are!

Please, please, if you do speak to your staff; offer my compliments to the small number of staff over their fantastic sense of humour of pretending to ignore customers and other staff, and to the store as well – the orange crisp tinge strewn across the tiles is a lovely effect! Of course, there’s a number of your staff that you should really talk to. They’re working far too hard for the amount of money they’re paid! How have you managed to convince them of this? I’d love to know how you’re motivating them? Is it torture? It’s torture isn’t it?

Please keep it up, and I look forward to receiving some working Gift Cards.

Thanks,

Letter to Apple – Location Tracking

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Dear Sir,

I run a software company based in the East of England, and we’re very interested to see that you’ve introduced new terms into your iPhone contracts regarding tracking and location information.

We’d like to approach to work with you with this data. We’ve been interested for a long time in tracking technologies, but the cost of tracking hardware has made this prohibitively expensive.

Naturally, we want to avoid the legal difficulties of the Data Protection Act, so the fact that you anonymise this data is very interesting to us. It solves a lot of legal and privacy problems! I’m sure you want to avoid any legal difficulties, not least of all after the ‘Aerialgate’ scandal! As an aside, I’m very impressed with the way you’ve managed to ensure your users believe there is no fault; yet you’re offering a case to ‘fix’ the non-existent problem. This must be costing a lot of money, but is a wonderful piece of PR!

We’d be interested in collating this data, but we have some questions first;

  • Is tracking only done with the location system on the iPhone, or do you also collect data from AGPS, GPS and cell-tower triangulation too?
  • Is the anonymous data entirely anonymous? I presume there’s no need for Data Protection involvement since it contains no personal information
  • Is location data grouped by customer?

If this is the case, we’d be very interested in working with you. We’d like to develop a system where users visiting and paying for our service would be able to ‘pick’ a customer by selecting a number of locations that their ‘target’ has been seen in. Then from this, we could ensure this is a unique user, and display their currently location.

This could be perhaps a husband or wife; selecting their home and work addresses, ensuring there it is the person they want to locate. Or perhaps it could be a person who has seen someone they like a number of times, can pinpoint the location and times they’ve seen them, and find the user, anonymously, that way. Their current location could then be gathered from your collected data, and shown using mapping software.

We’d be really interested in progressing with this as early as possible. Please feel free to contact me by email, via our website, or by telephone. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks,

Dug Stokes
frag.co.uk Director