Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Plaudits and Brickbats

Sometimes you get pleasantly surprised by customer service and support but, alas, too often you find yourself dealing with big organisations who fail to impress.

So, first a couple of positive stories:

You'll have read before in this blog of our constant battle against the destructive effects of UV on board. Recently one of our Spinlock line jamming cleats succumbed to the effects and cracked under load:

To be fair, this is one of the original cleats on Maunie so has withstood 18 years of sun and salt.
We assumed that this would mean a complete replacement (at about £80) but, no, even though this model is no longer sold, Spinlock still supply replacement parts! 
£23 for new side plate - with carriage from the UK courtesy of Steve & Barbara

Almost as good as new 
The next UV victim was our danbouy. The danbuoy is a vital bit of emergency kit, consisting of a float with a weight below it and a long telescopic pole above which carries a red flag and a light. It's tied to a horseshoe lifebelt so that if someone goes overboard it gives them something to swim towards whilst the other crew-member turns the boat around; the tall flag gives a much better target to aim for.

The end-caps of the float had cracked open, exposing the foam core, after about 9 years service on two boats
We emailed the suppliers, Jimmy Green Marine in Beer, Devon, to ask if it was possible to get replacement bits and they replied, "of course!"

New top and bottom caps fitted - about £12 + vat
Clearly recognising the UV issue, they also offered an additional UV protection sleeve for the princely sum of £3.25 + vat:

The refurbished danbuoy being tested. The yellow floating line is tied to the horseshoe buoy and the white line has a small sea anchor drogue attached to stop it drifting downwind
  So, we are very pleased with Spinlock and Jimmy Green Marine.

Not pleased, however, with Microsoft and Skype. Graham made the fatal error of clicking "ok" when Skype said "We'd like to improve your Skype experience with this upgrade". After that it wouldn't let him log in and now he's locked in combat with the Skype 'customer service' people who apparently just cut and paste standard (and usually irrelevant) responses to his emails (once he'd cracked the hidden code to find out how to get an email to them). Their latest response is to say that they can't proceed because some of the security questions have been answered incorrectly. One of which is "What was the month & year when you set up the account?". His latest reply was:

Does anyone remember this? I mean, it's not as though we have an annual Skype Anniversary Party in our household. If I'd known it was such an important date at the time of setting up the account, we'd have course set this institution up.

I'll have another go at the form but would like to patiently (running very thin here) remind you that, if you actually read through the vast detail that I sent in the email, it's Skype that has stuffed up here and made it apparently impossible to get out of the loop of only being able to change my Microsoft Account password.

So, in the meantime, please cut me a little slack, and pass this up to your supervisor who can actually send me a reply which isn't just cut and pasted from the standard Skype customer services manual.

Oh, yes, of course I could set up a new account but I don't see why I should donate the £20 or so credit on my account to your organisation.

Please keep this case open, I suspect we'll be conversing on this subject  for a while. It's just a shame we can't converse with our friends and family back home at Christmas.

The moral of this story? Just deal with the little companies and don't click 'yes' to any Skype updates!

1 comment:

  1. We feel your immense pride, somewhat tainted by disappointment. Keep on at them, they will buckle eventually. Happy Christmas to all of you. Geoff S