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This is a question Complaining

I like writing letters of complaint to companies containing the words "premier league muppetry", if only to give the poor office workers a good laugh on an otherwise dull day. Have you ever complained? Did it work?

(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 13:16)
Pages: Latest, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, ... 1

This question is now closed.

The tale of the cornflake
Many years ago, my Aunt had a friend who was a serial complainer\consumer terrorist.
She used to fire letters of complaint off to all manner of unsuspecting companies regarding their shoddy wares or in this case, food. The usual response was a fistful of money off vouchers or a cheque from the unsuspecting compant to calm the rabid bitch's fevered brow.
Anyway, one day, Kelloggs appeared on her radar because they'd committed the heinous crime of palming a large box of cornflakes off on the unsuspecting masses (in this case her) with a burnt cornflake in it.
The sternly worded letter of complaint was duly wriiten and despatched post haste to those fine people at Kelloggs. She really went to town on them over how outrageous it was that such a fine upstanding company should be peddling this sub standard filth on the general public and what were they going to do about it regarding compensating her for this impurity in her breakfast cereal.

Their response?

A "With Complements" slip with a single replacement cornflake taped to the top right hand corner...
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 13:46, 9 replies)
not exactly a complaint
But seeing as most of the stories this week seem to be about people in authority being pricks, have this.

My sister in law's cousin's father in friend was driving home through Sydney after work one day, tired, looking forward to a cold beer etc. when he sees blue lights in his mirror and a cop pulling him over.

Surprised, but not alarmed, he pulls over and the cop gets out of his car, strides in a manly fashion up to his car and grins through the window.

"there a problem officer?" he asks.

"Yep... you didn't indicate when changing lanes at the stop light there mate*. I'm afraid it's a $60 ticket for you" chuckles the traffic cop.

"OH, come on, mate, don't give me that, you aren't seriously gonna give me a ticket for that, are you?" he asks, with some incredulity.

"yes mate, I'm afraid it's the law. And I fucking love it, I've been pulling people all day on that one" chunters the cop, writing out the ticket and presenting it with a flourish.

Queue MUCH grinding of teeth from inside the car, a counting to ten, and a sigh, followed by an unbuckling (keep it clean, there).

"Do you mind if I get out and show you something in the back of the car?" says our hero, our man of the hour, as he unfolds himself from his car on that hot, dusty Australian afternoon.

"Sure" says the cop, completely untaken aback "what you got in there?"

"This" says the driver, pulling on his work coat and silly hat, with the logo of the health and safety inspectorate on it.

"I noticed as you stepped from your vehicle onto the highway, in the course of your work, that you failed to don your high visibility jacket, as clearly stipulated in the H&S rules covering your profession. I hereby officially caution you and serve you with a $1000 on the spot fine. Sorry mate, but I'm afraid it's the law".

He says it was the happiest moment of his life, and still dines out on it some ten years later, and I think we all can take a quiet personal revery from a beautiful moment.

*or some esoteric pissy local traffic law
(, Mon 6 Sep 2010, 0:48, 9 replies)
old as the hills and possibly glasscock
nevertheless this a genuine reply to what must must have been a real belter of a complaint letter...

(from The Guardian, Saturday 27 September 2003)

Dear Mr Addison, I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more-than-prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise.

I will address them, as ever, in order.

Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a "begging letter". It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a "tax demand". This is how we, at the Inland Revenue, have always, for reasons of accuracy, traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted. However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer, I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies" is at best a little ill-advised.

In common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin" or, come to that, a "sodding charity". More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain, with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services", a moment's rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to "stump up for the whole damned party" yourself. The estimates you provide for the Chancellor's disbursement of the funds levied by taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark. Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish lickspittles" and "dancing whores", whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to, for example, "that box-ticking facade of a university system".

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:
1. The reason we don't simply write "Muggins" on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;
2. You can rest assured that "sucking the very marrows of those with nothing else to give" has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn't render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped. In the meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you did choose to "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India" you would still owe us the money. Please forward it by Friday. Yours sincerely, H J Lee, Customer Relations.
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 15:54, 4 replies)
Let it go man...
Couple of years ago I was have a cup of tea around my mate's parents house, this guy in fact www.b3ta.com/questions/unfinishedbusiness/post767798 , I commented on how swanky their new telly looked. The old man started telling a story of how his sister bought a TV, and when it was delivered there was no plug on the power lead.

As he recounted the tale he was getting angrier and angrier, it ended with him out of the arm chair tensed in a fighting posture, red faced and shouting “SO I FUCKING TOLD HIM TO PUT A FUCKING PLUG ON THAT FUCKING LEAD OR THIS TELLY AND EVERY OTHER FUCKING TELLY IN THE SHOP WAS GOING THROUGH THE FUCKING WINDOW!”.

He collapsed back into the chair, spent from the exertions of the re-lived rage.

“When was this” asked his son

“1952” he replied.
(, Tue 7 Sep 2010, 9:56, 6 replies)
A long time ago, my Grandparents drove the Monte Carlo rally
this would have been just after the second War, before kids bogged them down.
My grandmother came flying around a mountain bend, Gramps navigating, to be confronted by a Bentley across the road. And by across the road it meant bumper up against the cliff face, boot hanging precariously over the edge of the mountain.
"I say old bean," says an appropriately plummy character as my grandparents pull up, "don't suppose you could help us out a bit, could you?"

With a gentlemanly smile, my grandfather rolled up his sleeves, leant in, undid the handbrake and with one shoulder shove, sent the Bentley tipping over the cliff edge. Before the gobsmacked driver could give vent to his complaint, he was told "There's a race on, and you're holding me up."
He was bedgrudgingly given a lift to the bottom of the mountain ("despite the weight he added", I'm told). Upon stepping out, he thanked my grandparents curtly and added as a parting comment:

"If you ever come to Austria I will have you shot. Good day."
(, Tue 7 Sep 2010, 20:08, 5 replies)

For the last year, I have worked at the call centre of Northern Rock. We deal with a number of customers, from people who collect their dole money then gamble it immediately, to those who have millions invested with us.

I got a phone call one evening, and gave the usual spiel; Good Evening, name, account number please. It wasn't the usually call. The guy on the phone was quiet, his voice cracking due to the macabre tone in which he was talking. He gave me an account number, but explained he wasn't the account holder. He went into more detail. His cousin had been in Iraq, fighting alongside the British Army. It was his second month there, and an ambush occurred on his cousin's troop. Two of them were gunned down; one of them being his cousin.

The family were now trying to wrap up everything, but the deceased's father or immediately family were too distraught to do anything. But, accounts needed to be closed. So, they asked the cousin to do it. The cousin was who I was talking to. I went through the procedure with him. How we needed a copy of the death certificate, probate, etc. All legal fuddy duddy. The guy started to cry, but took deep breaths and thanked me for my help.

After the phone call, I needed a couple of minutes. I went to the break room, and got a glass of water. Eventually, I felt well enough to go back onto the phones.

The first call I took was quite a rich gentlemen, who sounded so disgusted on the phone.

"EXCUSE ME, I recently had a matured bond, and I think you've duped me out of £5 interest. You silly cretins can't do anything right. Can you PLEASE put me through to a manager immediately, for I wish to make this a formal complaint."

I hung up on him.
(, Mon 6 Sep 2010, 12:31, 23 replies)
My jelly...
One of my best friends complains the best I have ever know... he got annoyed when his local Sainsbury put up the price of jelly, so he wrote a letter of complaint... he's not a simpleton, he just liked to complain

Subject: Jelly

Is someone able to offer an explanation as to why the price of Sainsbury’s Basics Jelly has increased in price by 100%?
Last month I enjoyed a flush of well-timed good fortune, when the cost for a packet of Basics Jelly decreased by £0.01. I mentioned as much in a letter to my mother, saying how it's not all doom and gloom and maybe we can weather the financial storm. I chose not to contact you seeking an explanation as, rather selfishly, this was clearly in my favour and b) the decrease in cost is fairly small. So imagine my incontinent rage on recognising the once £0.07 Sainsbury’s Basics Jelly is now the £0.14 Sainsbury’s Basics Jelly. I could only purchase one packet of Sainsbury’s Basics Jelly. I usually buy three. I haven’t been had jelly for two weeks. When jelly was £0.08 I would purchase three packets a month at a cost of £0.24. The earlier mentioned price decrease provided a financial boon, three packets at a cost of £0.21. Now, even using my original budget of £0.24 (which would once stretch to three packets) will now only buy me one.
If fuel increased in cost by 100% there would be some kind of explanation. So why not with jelly?

I look forward to a swift and accurate response.
Mr Ben

Subject: RE: Our Products - General information

Dear Mr Ben

Thank you for your email. It is important to us that every email we receive is fully investigated before we reply. I hope you will understand and accept my apologies for he time it has taken to respond.

I am sorry you are unhappy with the price of our Basics jelly. I understand how disappointed you must be that the price has risen by 100%.

We know how important it is to offer our customers high quality products at great prices and we work very hard to make sure we achieve this. We continually review our prices and check over 15,000 prices against our competition each week to make certain we are always competitive.

In the current climate, prices are moving up and down quite quickly and many raw material and production costs have also increased. We have held the price of the jelly for a substantial period. While we try to absorb the increases for as long as we can, we have now had to pass some of these costs on to our customers. I am sorry this means you can now buy only one jelly each month.

When raw material costs move down, we change our prices immediately so that customers can enjoy the benefits as quickly as possible. We passed on the VAT reductions early in December for this reason. We are working hard to make sure we always offer a good mix of offers at any time. I hope that you will spot a deal that suits you on your next visit to our store.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I hope I have been able to explain the reasoning behind our price increase. Further to this, I hope the price of the jelly comes down as the global financial position improves and you are able to enjoy three jellies each month.
Kind regards

Customer Manager
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 16:44, 4 replies)
Yellow buses in Bournemouth
I sent the following email (fo' real) to the Yellow Bus company in Bournemouth after a particularly stressful ride to work a couple of years back:

Dear Morons,

which part of 'rush hour' do you not understand? Having had the misery of enduring a number of your services running between 8 and 9am from Southbourne, I would like to place on record my displeasure at having to share my personal space with a-the public in general and b-loads of sweaty grumpy miserable people with their heads in each other's armpits because your ingenious forward planning department somehow neglected to put a big enough fricking bus on the route. You're the people that I see legging it round Asda at 9.30pm on December 24, amazed that Christmas has crept up on you again, aren't you?

Admittedly, I have made some new friends thanks to your service - to be honest, I have been more intimate with people on that bus than I have been with most of my ex-girlfriends - but it is becoming slightly tiresome. It is only a matter of time before one of us becomes pregnant, dead, or worse.

To aid you, I have come up with an invention all of my own, and have attached a basic prototype sketch of it to this email. I am calling it the 'double decker bus'. It is like a normal bus, but with an extra layer (or 'deck', if you will) added to the top. You may notice in my picture I have drawn people with SMILEY FACES and also added in some EMPTY SPACE. Please forgive me if this is an over-use of artistic license, but hey - it's my drawing and I want to live a little.

Anyway, I have to go now - I've just discovered that the small mexican man who gets on in Boscombe is still in the pocket of my suit and I need to make sure that he gets to work okay, which is more than you twunts can be bothered to do.

Hugs and kisses,


Picture which was attached:


They emailed me back to say 'We do not respond to puerile and childish emails'

I responded one last time to say: 'you just did'.

End of correspondence. I never got a refund :-(
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 14:46, 9 replies)
Dear Avery
Your sheets of printer labels are all marked "Guaranteed Jam Free", but you provide absolutely no details whatsoever on how to redeem this offer.
(, Wed 8 Sep 2010, 10:59, 4 replies)
Letter to TV licensing
Roughly every 12 months, I get yet another letter from TV licensing asking me to confirm that I still haven't succumbed to temptation [sic] and bought a telly. "FUCK OFF!" I usually scream at the inanimate letter.

So I decided to write to them. I can barely contain my excitement for the next 12 months to see if they write again.

Customer Relations
TV Licensing
BS98 1TL

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am in receipt of your letter, of a rather threatening tone, dated 26/7/10. This comes less than 12 months after I last informed you that I do not possess a television set, do not watch any television programmes as they are broadcast, and have no intention of changing either of these things.

You seem to work on the misguided assumption that everyone must watch broadcast television, and persist in using a threatening tone when requiring me, yet again, to explain that I do not. I am writing to you now though to explain a — perhaps misguided — assumption of my own.

I work on the assumption that people who send me unsolicited threatening letters are actually asking to suck my fucking cock. I'm quite happy to go along with this, but I do — of course — charge, in advance, for this privilege. I hereby request that you cease harrassing me with respect to my television viewing, and having explained my position to you, I hereby inform you that any further communication from you regarding this matter will be taken as a request to suck my fucking cock, and you will be invoiced £142.50 for this, payable within 21 days. It would be highly inconvenient for both of us if I were obliged to resort to the Small Claims Procedure of the County Court in order to secure payment of said invoice.

I trust this brings an end to the matter. I look forward to never hearing from you again, unless of course it concerns a request, with payment in advance, to come round a suck my fucking cock.

Best regards,

Sir Reginald Slapknackers
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 23:30, 27 replies)
This obnoxious family had a horrible loudmouthed little brat
When I was on vacation. I kept complaining to the staff who assured me they'd take care of it. I thought I was gonna get my room switched, but received a knock at the door and an assurance I'd "never hear from her again."

Portugal's ace!
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 18:23, 4 replies)
A girl
I went out with in university went with a friend to the local shop to buy a kitkat. When she ate it she found out it didn't have any biscuit in it. After a/some bottle(s) of wine, she decided to write a letter of complaint to nestle (being drunk she also decorated the letter with a crayon drawing of a sad looking pony covered in glitter).

A week later she got an apologetic letter back with a comment on how nice her drawing was, and with a £35 voucher for chocolate - that they suggested her mother disburse to her - her drunken scrawl and pony drawing evidently making them think she was about 7, not 19.

When I went to see her that night she was sitting on her bed, a greenish tinge to her face, surrounded by chocolate wrappers, rocking back and forth slightly, murmuring over and over again "I can't eat any more".
(, Tue 7 Sep 2010, 13:36, 14 replies)
Parking tickets
I have to say that I'm not very good at writing letters/emails of complaint as I tend to lose my patience and rant. However, my unorthodox style has paid off - so I guess they work as intended. Here's a recent one after I received a parking ticket:



Our company has had parking permits for a number of years now. Unfortunately I did not receive my renewed permit in time and so received a parking ticket on Thursday, 29/04. I was not in the office on Friday, but checked with the Office Manager who confirmed that we have not received the new permit.

I have just got off the phone to "Chanel" who suggested that I pay for parking today to avoid receiving another ticket. The only chance that I will have to return to the car is at lunchtime, and while I am happy to leave a note informing any attendant of the situation, frankly I do expect to have to pay for today or indeed Thursday’s ticket given that we have not received the annual permit through no fault of our own.

The PCN No for the existing ticket is: XXXXXXXXX served by Officer C04 My car is a black Renault Megane (not Honda Accord) registration number XXXX XXX


@X|= w0nu!)



Dear Mr w0nu!)

Contravention: 83 No Ticket
Penalty Charge Notice: XXXXXXXXX
Served on: 29/04/2010
Vehicle Registration: XXXXXX

Thank you for your recent email regarding the above Penalty Charge Notice, which I received on 3rd May 2010.

I have reviewed this case and I am satisfied that it was issued correctly. I can see from our records that we issued and posted out your permit by first class post on 21st April 2010. We cannot be held responsible for Royal Mail not delivering your post.

If you still have not received your permit by the time you receive this email please let me know and I will send a duplicate permit out in the post. I have also informed all my enforcement Officers not to issue a PCN to your vehicle until Friday 7th May 2010, when you should have your new permit on display.

After careful consideration, on this occasion this Penalty Charge Notice has been cancelled.

Yours sincerely,

Miss F Wooden
Parking Services



Dear Miss Wooden,

Thank you. Please note that as yet the permit has not arrived. I fully appreciate that this is not your fault, but if you could send a duplicate then hopefully this one will be delivered.




Dear Miss Wooden,

Please be aware that as yet we have not received a duplicate permit. Obviously this is of concern given that as of tomorrow my car will have open season declared on it by your Enforcement Officers.

Even more worrying is that they have not heeded your original cease fire period and I received another ticket yesterday. My vehicle has not gone any modifications or changes since your email and was written out by exactly the same officer as last time, C04. Are we to presume that he or she is acting as a rogue agent?

I trust that this latest ticket, XXXXXXXXXX, will be cancelled and that you instruct C04 to quell their overzealous ticketing ways before they do something reckless like ticket a cat or something.

In all seriousness though, if the permit has not arrived by tomorrow morning what should I do - invest in cammo netting?

Kind regards,

@x|= w0nu!)



Dear w0nu!)

Contravention: 83 No Ticket
Penalty Charge Notice: XXXXXXXXXX
Served on: 04/05/2010
Vehicle Registration: XXXXXXX

Thank you for your recent email regarding the above Penalty Charge Notice, which I received on 6th May 2010.

I can confirm that I have cancelled the above PCN and apologise that it was issued. I have made sure all the CEO's are aware that your vehicle has a valid permit.

I can also confirm that I sent your permit out yesterday by first glass post. If you have not received it in the post tomorrow please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Miss F Wooden



Dear Miss Woodhouse,

Success! The permit has arrived - First Glass post is obviously the way forward.

Thank you,

(, Mon 6 Sep 2010, 15:45, 7 replies)
Complaints about th'ambulance
Some complaints that in my career I have been in contact with or had related to me:

* Woman who was wondering if the ambulances cannot use their sirens when passing her house at the end of her street when she was on night shifts.

* Man who complained that the noise the ambulance heaters made was too loud.

* Woman who complained that her boyfriend's clothes had been "ruined" by the ambulance crew who "allowed him" to vomit over them when pissed.

* Bloke who complained that we did not come out when he phoned up to order some antibiotics.

* Bloke who complained about the fact that an ambulance crew were drinking tea outside a hospital when "I pay my taxes for them to be working. They're public servants." Knobber.

* A complaint about an ambulance car being parked on an estate on standby (waiting for a call.) Complaint is mainly due to the fact that the engine is running and "increasing pollution and the estate's carbon footprint."

* Woman complained because an ambulance was blocking a road when she needed to go to work (turns out it was because of a fatal RTC involving a 15 year old lad.) When she told the crew to move, they told her no, and to go away.

* Woman complained after demanding full names and home addresses of ambulance crew, who refused to give them!

* Complainant states that call taker took too long to identify where they were, despite the fact the caller did not know the address, postcode or area they were in, and were calling from a mobile. States that the call taker should "know every road that they cover, like cabbies do."

*Complainant states that "JS and S" at (an ambulance station)y have been humiliating her and her son and the local shop keepers. She also states that they have ordered goods for £500 on her account for Littlewoods catalogue. (It should be noted that staff records reveal that no staff of those names work at that station or for the service.)

Fuckwits, the lot of them!
(, Mon 6 Sep 2010, 15:32, 12 replies)
I was in a fish & chip shop last week
"excuse me", I asked the bloke behind the counter "is this fish cooked?"

"of course" said he. "why?"

"it's eaten all the fucking chips"
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 9:33, 5 replies)
I see your complaints, and think I have just the cure.
Now, look at this picture.


What were you going to complain about again?
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 18:49, 28 replies)
Parent and Child Space
A couple of years ago I became a daddy. Go me and my fertile loins! Anyway, one day, probably a Saturday, family Nitrous drive in to the car park of our local Supermarket looking for a parking space. In the near distance we spot a parent and child space, but before we can grab it, some bloke in a Jaguar, who clearly has no right to be there, nabs it before us.

"Excuse me old chap" I say "you do realise that you have mistakenly parked in space meant for the use of families with children? Perhaps you could move your Penis-Mobile and let someone who has actually had sex with girl park there instead?"(or words to that effect)

The guy just grins and says in his best pidgin "Sorry, no speaky da English"

Fine, I thought, I'm not in any rush, I've got time to kill. So I take down his licence plate, march up to the information desk and report the cocky little fucker.

A message goes out over the Tanoy and small-penis is politely summoned. This is his opportunity to admit that he is in the wrong, or, even better, move his car. Instead he becames increasingly indignant trying to insist that it is his god-given right to park where he likes because he spends more money in the store than people with babies. Weirdly his command of English gets much, much, better, and his command of Anglo-Saxon is quite extrordinary. In fact his Anglo-Saxon is so good that the Manager of the store is called to deal with the situation. Anyway after spending a good few minutes racially abusing the staff the manager decides to ban him from the store for good.

Moral of the story: If you get caught out, don't be a cock about it, admit that you are in the wrong and try and salvage some personal dignity from the situation.
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 23:22, 12 replies)
The swines at Vodafone,
I'll get straight to it, Vodafone were sending me about 4-5 text messages a day trying to sell me various plans... after a few weeks I e-mailed them this:

Dear Vodafone people.

I am emailing you to thank you for your repeated inquiries regarding my mobile phone. However I am going to have to refuse your offers, as I already have a mobile phone contract that covers my needs perfectly. That’s why I chose that particular package. Whilst I am sure sending unsolicited texts selling mobiles is an honorable pastime, I am confused as to why you chose me to inundate with these adverts. You do not need to sell me anything, I already have a mobile phone, you sold it to me. You CHARGE me £25 every month for the service. However, seeing at harassing people with unsolicited offers is acceptable to you, I have compiled a list of items I think your may be interested in:

1987 Ford Fiesta: Black, 1.2L 120,000 miles, minor case of rust around wheel arches and door sills. Tartan seats, non runner, sold as seen £200 – there is a slight stain on the boot carpet, I’m not saying its blood exactly but you may want to give it a bit of a scrub.

A pair of work trousers I bought in a sale, black. Never worn, took them home to find that I am no longer a size 34, I was too embarrassed to take them back, which as I am sure you agree, is the same as tattooing “I’ve really let myself go” on ones forehead. £10

A “Fatboy Slim” album I bought solely on the basis of the song “weapon of choice” (Christopher Walken dances in the video, great video, you may not have seen it as you spend all your free time texting me adverts), however the rest of the album’s pretty rubbish. £2

Half a Batman DVD box set. £2.00 Bought for a tenner in Tesco’s. You can have Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. Because I will never watch them on account of three things, 1) Val Kilmer’s head is the same shape as a horses 2) Batman and Robin is garbage, the line “you’re not sending me to the cooler” makes me want to gouge out my eyes and stick ice picks in my ears 3) With these two classic DVD’s to watch, hopefully you won’t have the time to text me a never ending stream of adverts.

Let me know if any of these items appeals, if not, can you please stop texting me, unless you want me to come around to Vodafone towers and slap you around the head with an octopus. My mobile number is 010101010101

Thank you


P.s. “Fone” is actually spelt Phone, I just thought I’d let you know before you put the typo on any letterheads, websites, handsets, adverts or as the name of a large publicly traded company. Because the other kids would laugh at you.

They never replied.
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 17:13, 3 replies)
Ah! Spleen's post below reminded me of a story of complaints and flats.
My old close had two doors on each landing, opposite each other. For a long time we didn't know who lived opposite us, due to keeping wildly different hours to the guy.

The one thing we did know was that he didn't like when we left our rubbish on the landing before taking it down. Not because he ever told us, or even left a note - that was apparently beyond his talents. He was apparently quite inventive in areas other than verbal communication though, because on various occasions we found that bin bags outside our door had been:

-moved around and rearranged to no apparent effect except being *slightly* closer to the wall.
-soaked in bleach (that melted the bag and made it near impossible to clean up. Also, the place stank of melty rubbish and chlorine gases for a week).
-pissed on? Or maybe another, less effective, probably extremely cheap cleaning product? We were never sure.
-taped to the door handle, even though I'd just stuck it outside while getting my stuff before taking it out and heading into town.

This last one prompted me to nip back inside and write the foulest piece of sarcasm I have ever committed to paper. I can remember it pretty much exactly, or at least the main points. I drew a diagram that looked a bit like this:


and on the other side of the paper I wrote:

"Hi! :)

Your neighbours from 2/1 here. We're really sorry about the inconvenience we're clearly causing you by leaving our rubbish outside for whole minutes at a time. It must be a terrible drain on you to think up new ways of pointing this out without actually confronting us, and I'd like to offer to repay you for the financial costs incurred in your use of tape and bleach.

It did occur to me that maybe the reason you've never said anything is that you have trouble working out where we live, so I've included a map showing the relative locations of our flat and your flat.

Armed with this information, perhaps next time you have a problem you could actually try talking to us like a fucking adult and mentioning there's a problem, rather than sneaking around and engaging in such pathetic passive aggressive* behaviour.

You fucking twat :)"

I posted it through his letterbox and departed about my business, which included going home to Embra for the weekend. On the bus along the M8, I got a phonecall from my flatmate.

He'd found our door alright.

He'd found it. He'd spent the past hour banging on it and screaming insane threats at the top of his voice. He'd flung the rubbish from the bags at it**, and down the stairs, and around most of the general area. He'd banged and screamed and threatened and screeched some more, and eventually one of the other residents had called the police and he'd been given a caution.
It turned out after the dust had settled, that the guy was well into his fifties and the reason we'd never seen him was that his job as a barrister took up most of him time. That's as in 'respectable lawyer', not 'coffee dispenser'. And it was beyond him to make a sensible complaint to his neighbours.
I suppose given his profession, we're - okay, I'm - lucky we didn't get anything legal thrown at us.
Then again, given his personality, we're lucky we didn't get human faeces thrown at us.

*I am fully aware of the staggering irony of writing this in a sarcastic note. My justifications are that I was on my way out the door in a rush, I was colossally angry at his behaviour, and at least I was actually communicating. Slim moral high ground indeed. Mostly, though, I was in a hurry and determined to make him as angry as possible.

**I was so pissed off I'd neglected to actually remove them in the end.
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 16:30, 3 replies)
At work
There's four full time 'People Team' (HR/Recruitment) employees for a relatively small company. I wouldn't have a problem with this, if they did anything useful (getting them to do anything practical like help you sort a problem out or actually recruit anyone is... well... challenging).

What they actually do is organise subsidised stuff for our 'Social Club', which they then inform us about with about three All-Staff emails per day.

This does make it a good company to work for, in principle, but there's a theme to the events they organise...

- Aromatherapy
- Massage
- Get your nails done
- Get your lashes done
- Tanning
- Homeopathic Consultations
- Waxing
- Acupuncture

Slightly piqued at this, I one day dropped the head of HR an email asking if they could possibly organise some events that might appeal to:

a) The 50% of the workforce who are men
b) People who had a vague comprehension of medical science

I received a reply telling me not to send rude emails to HR, and a pamphlet on alternative therapies.
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 13:37, 4 replies)
Stop and Search
Back when I was in my early teens (some 20 years ago now), I was stopped outside WHSmith by a heavy-set, plain-clothed gentleman who flashed me his police badge and declared he was about to perform a stop and search on me.

This was my first brush with the law and I was at first terrified and then deeply ashamed as he rifled through my pockets in front of a growing crowd looking for jewelry that had recently been reported stolen from a high-street store. Apparently I fit the description of the thief.

Having found nothing of value on me, he took my details and told me they might be in touch later that day and that I would be kept on record for a year.

Now I was an innocent and naive lad in those days whose only vice was spending too many hours on my Atari ST, so to say the experience shit me up was an understatement. I bolted home to tell my Mum and she literally exploded in rage.

The thing you need to know about my Mother is that at times she can be a very stereotypical northern woman, and therefore insulting or embarrassing a member of her family is likely to be dealt with by great fury and anger.

She marched me straight down to the police station and demanded to see the guy who had searched me. Sensing this was not a woman to cross, he was summoned to talk to us, and the conversation went something like this:

Mrs BinDipper: I want to know why my Son was humiliated in front of a crowd of people when he's only 13 years old

Officer: Because he fit the description of a suspect we want to question

Mrs BinDipper: What's the description?

Officer: The suspect was wearing a blue coat

Mrs BinDipper: What else?

Officer: (long pause) white male, 6' tall

I'm black and would have been about 5' at that age.

Took ages to fill out the paperwork to lodge the complaint, but worth it for the begrudging apology that followed.
(, Tue 7 Sep 2010, 13:12, 8 replies)
Opal Fruits
A former housemate of mine used to love Starburst [sic], specifically those rather tangy lime ones in the green wrapper. As he was a first year mechanical engineering student he had nothing better to do with his time than write to companies with complaints, so when he inevitably got a pack with no green ones in he was straight to his writing desk.

I'm not sure exactly what he wrote, but I know he opined the unfairness of the sweet distribution, and suggested that they begin selling packs of each colour individually so people could be sure of getting the distribution they wanted. The reply he received a few weeks later thanked him for his input and apologised for the lack of lime-based sweetmeats but explained that they do not believe there is sufficient market demand for individual packaging of the different flavours to justify the changes that would be necessary to their production process.

As expected, he was disappointed, but his spirits were lifted slightly by the free pack of Starburst included with the letter. It contained nothing but the green ones.
(, Tue 7 Sep 2010, 1:22, 2 replies)
Pea alert
In 1996 she-who-must-be-obeyed decided she wanted a new car and duly chose a spanking new Rio Verde (green) pearlescent Vauxhall Corsa Premier 1.2. As she's a nurse, the car would regularly be parked on the shonky hospital car park, protected only by poor lighting and convicted sex offenders (a post for another time), so she opted to pay an extra £270 for the official Vauxhall alarm system that was Thatcham category 1 rated.

Unfortunately, the alarm was a dealer-fit item, and we subsequently discovered that they didn't know what they were doing.

The alarm was of the type that automatically armed 30 seconds after you got out of the car, and required you to reset it by going back into the car and pressing a dongle against a dashboard-mounted plate.

In practice, this meant that the missus just had time to park outside the house, lock the car, find her house keys and open the front door to the house, before the alarm set itself and immediately went off. At the end of a late shift, or in the early morning following a night shift, that made us very unpopular with the neighbours.

Over the course of the next couple of months, when we could spare the time from work, the car went back to the dealers five times. On each occasion, they completely failed to find any fault. In the end, I told them I wanted the alarm removed and a full refund.

They removed the alarm promptly enough, but pissed about when it came to giving us back the money. They claimed that they couldn't refund us until Vauxhall had approved the refund. Unfortunately for them, I knew enough of the law to know our contract was with the dealer and it was their responsibility to pay us back. It was irrelevant if they ever got their money off Vauxhall.

After seven weeks of snotty phone calls and snottier letters, we'd had enough. The dealer's premises was adjacent to a small council-owned pay & display car park, so we formed a plan.

As an impecunious, then childless, couple, our weekend days were often spend lazing around doing very little so we decided we'd park the Corsa next to the dealer's entrance and make a small protest.

We covered the car in balloons and mounted two big printed signs on it saying "(name of dealer)'s customer service is rubbish if you have a problem with your car" and "expect to fight to get your money refunded even if you're legally entitled to it" (or something like that). And we stayed there all day Saturday, and returned on the Sunday, passing the time by reading newspapers, writing out our Christmas cards and drinking Thermos coffee - oh, and chatting to numerous potential customers who came to find out what had pissed us off so much.

We were also approached a couple of times by staff asking if they could help, before they phoned someone senior and were obviously warned off. Before we left on the Sunday, we told them that unless we got our money back, we'd be there the following weekend too, and every one thereafter.

By a strange coincidence, the cheque was ready for us on the Monday, along with a letter saying they didn't want our business any more. Surprise, that.

Yes, I know it was a petty and fairly weak protest, but we felt better for it and, hopefully, contributed to them losing the Vauxhall franchise the following year.

Apologies for length, monster drugs, etc.
(, Sun 5 Sep 2010, 17:28, 4 replies)
I bought a couple of bikes for my children from a catalogue several years ago. Very cheap and shoddily made, but at the time I was very skint.

The bikes arrived a week or so later - one was the wrong size and far too small for my son, my daughter's bike had broken brake levers. I rang the catalogue and advised them of this and they promised to send a van to collect the bikes and send me replacements.

The replacements duly arrived - one of had a torn saddle, the other had broken parts.

The van to collect the first bikes arrived a day or so later. The driver advised that since the bikes werent boxed he'd have to come back with a bigger, transit sized, van.

I rang the catalogue again and told them of this, and of the broken bike (pedals this time). They promised to send out more bikes and send a bigger van to collect the broken/small ones. I told them not to bother sending any more bikes, and to come and collect all four of their cheap crap machines. This they promised to do.

The following week a van arrived. Same driver, same van. He looked at the bikes and told me that as they werent boxed he wouldnt be able to take them, and would have to return with a bigger van.

Again I rang the catalogue and told them to send a bigger van. This they promised to do.

The following week a van arrived. Same driver, same van. He looked at the bikes and told me.. etc.

Again I rang the catalogue and told them.. etc

I didnt hear from them again until a month or so later when they started writing nasty letters asking for payment for four bikes. I rang and told them that I was still waiting for the bikes to be collected. They promised to send out a van to collect.

Another couple of months go by. They start threatening further action if I don't pay up. I ignore it, Ive asked enough times for a van and Im not going to waste money on phonecalls to them any longer.

More letters, more threats. Eventually I write a letter to them.

Dear Sirs

I have now been storing four bicycles for you for several months following your failure to collect your property, despite many assurances from you that you would send a van to collect them.

I am not prepared to continue storing these items for you indefinitely, and thus hereby give notice that as from next Monday storage of these items will start to incur charges at the rate of £10 per bicycle per week. This charge will continue until all of the bicycles are collected by you (in a suitably sized van).

Yours etc

I receive a letter where they apologise for not collecting the bikes and assuring me that they would send someone out to collect them that week.

A few days later they sent a van. Same van, same driver. He tells me he can't take the bikes as they arent boxed, and he'll need a bigger van.

I thought I'd heard the last of them, but no. Several months later I receive a very nasty letter from the catalogue asking for payment, or else..

I reply with an invoice for several hundred pounds - more than the actual cost of the bikes - sending them a copy of my previous letter.

I never heard from them again.

Got £100 for all four bikes when I sold them.
(, Sun 5 Sep 2010, 7:48, 4 replies)
Netgear let me down.
In February 2008 I bought an inexpensive Netgear ethernet switch from Amazon. It's worked without fail ever since. I wonder if there's an inverse correlation between how much tinkering with something I can do, and its eventual lifespan.

A couple of weeks ago the power supply started buzzing. It's one of those factory-sealed "wall wart" blocky things, liberally covered in all sorts of foreign hieroglyphics, like some sort of electrical Rosetta Stone. Current UK legislation puts the retailer, not the manufacturer, on the hook for six years from date of purchase, so I prepared to telephone Amazon to get a repair or replacement arranged.

Then I stopped for a few seconds and realised that calling Amazon might be technically correct, but probably an exercise in frustration. Amazon would most likely not have spare power supplies in stock, but would instead either contact Netgear on my behalf, or suggest none too subtly that I might want to contact Netgear directly. So I didn't bother with Amazon after all, but went straight to Netgear.

After wading through interminable IVR menus I eventually got through to the inevitably Indian call centre, and my spirits sank. I could expect to be treated to a barrage of irrelevant and unnecessary questions while the sub-minimum wage staffer on the other end robotically followed his ridiculous script without any consideration for what the caller was saying. I mentally geared myself up for the witheringly scornful letter of complaint I'd be obliged to scribble. Or so I thought.

The chap on the other end listened to my description of the problem ("the power supply is buzzing today. It wasn't buzzing yesterday. I've removed it from the device it powers and it's still buzzing") and, without subjecting me to any unnecessary interrogation, agreed that yes, my power supply was indeed faulty and a replacement would be shipped directly to me, at no cost.

A replacement duly arrived two days later.

How dare Netgear offer decent customer service without a legal obligation to do so? How dare Netgear employ intelligent people in its foreign call centres, depriving me of my right to have my prejudices confirmed with each phone call?

Bah. Bloody Netgear let me down.
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 12:42, 1 reply)
Posh People's Shop Pearoast
Many years ago I worked in the china department in Harrods.

First day of the Sale, we all got in early, manned the barricades, heard the mission control-type countdown over the tannoy that told us the doors were about to be opened, followed by a distant rumble that became increasingly louder until a herd of shoppers stampeded into the department.

A bull wouldn't have stood a chance in this china shop, it was carnage. I even saw one gent pick up a vegetable dish, look around surreptitiously, then stick it in his bag and hotfoot it away towards the table linens department. Perhaps he had a set of napkins on his swag list too?

There was even a story among the staff - perhaps apocraphyl, but I'm inclined to believe it - that in these pre-computer days, with the shop full of friends of staff helping out for the day, some bloke wandered in off the street and set up his own till in the menswear department, ringing up sale after sale after sale, no-one questioning him, before he left a couple of hours later, sans cash register but with pockets bulging.

I digress.

Back in the china department, amid the chaos, a lady of a certain age purposefully made her way towards the till and announced in an accent that could have cut glass - sorry, the crystal department is that way, madame - "I demand to see the manager!"

We explained that the manager was rather busy at the moment, but she wasn't having any of it. "I am a Harrods account card holder," she exclaimed - this was in the days when plastic was harder to come than even in these post-credit crunch, cash-straitened times, "and I demand to see the manager!"

So off I scurried to find the boss, who indeed was rather up to her neck in it, with her boss on one phone wanting to know how it was going, and the warehouse on the other line as she tried to make sure we could get more stock up of one pattern that was selling particularly quickly. She took some persuasion to come out of her office, but reluctantly she did, to be greeted by the account customer and her complaint.

"Tell me," she demanded, "Why does Harrods always insist on having the first day of its Sale on a day when there are so many people in the store?"
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 23:39, 1 reply)
American Express Yourself
My ex worked at American Express, in the customer service department. One day they received a package containing a card which had been carefully rolled into a tube shape, and a tub of Vaseline.

The message was clear...
(, Thu 2 Sep 2010, 17:35, 5 replies)
An open letter to various TV and movie production companies
We have seen Strange, Bottom, Charmed and the movies Up and Down. As a physics student, I am wondering why on Earth you haven't made a TV show/movie named after the remaining flavour of quark, Top. Get a move on.

(, Mon 6 Sep 2010, 11:53, 6 replies)
Dear producers
of the movie Snatch...
(, Sun 5 Sep 2010, 15:02, 1 reply)
Angry Public
As part of my chequered career in public service, I worked for a time in the correspondence unit on Whitehall. Just off Whitehall, actually. First on the left after the FCO if you're coming from the southern end.

Anyway, as these things go, people generally only wrote when they were at the end of their tether. Car clampers, debt collectors, police, drugs, neighbours from hell, illness, europe, war, justice. Some real, heart-rending stuff, and no mistake.

Of course we had the inevitable 'persons with a slightly different world view'. There was the lass who sent us 3 letters a day telling us how she was getting on, her trials and tribulations with a train driver called 'Dave', the woman who wrote to tell us all about the evil machinations of 'Natural England', plus the usual smattering of freemason lizards in high places.

'3 letters a day woman' was the best, though. I was starting to look forward to seeing how she got on, but apparently some uniformed gentlemen were asked to give some gentle advice on how it might be best if she addressed her concerns and thoughts to her mental health practitioner instead.

Thing is, there is very little that can be done from that office. The majority of work was acknowledged and transferred out to departments. But there was some humanity there- when we got letters from the elderly or those clearly unwell, the boss'd ask the local nick to go around and check on them. Kid's letters, as well, got special attention. We had a dedicated officer dealing with them and a whole box of colouring in sheets and other branded doo-dads to send back.

Now my correspondence role is a bit more tangential, but I still deal with that and other public comment. It may surprise you to know that if you send stuff to government (and I include the fail that is 'your freedom'!), it is read. Given the reams of correspondence that comes in, it's unlikely that you'll get an especially substantive reply, but we do try and it is taken on board, and does shape some policy.

Just don't write in green ink. I've yet to see a letter written in green ink that isn't, at the very least, barely skimming the bounds of reality.
(, Fri 3 Sep 2010, 13:50, 5 replies)

This question is now closed.

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