Saturday, February 25, 2017

Moving from StarHub to M1, meeting the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I spent Saturday morning trying to complete my broadband moveover from Starhub to M1, and to set up the half-completed fibre network.  Believe it or not, in that short period, I was able to encounter the Good, the Bad -- and the Ugly.

The first thing I did was to call Alex, a technician working for an M1 contractor, but as expected, there was no reply.   Minutes later, surprise surprise,  he returned my call.

First thing he said was, do I want to an extra router to enhance the wifi signal in my TV room.
He had the day before quoted a charge of $160 for the router plus installation.  I declined the offer.

He then told me to call M1 to fix another appointment for him to come back to complete his job.  He did not finish it yesterday (Friday) as he could not receive a signal from the OpenNet fibre network.

The OpenNet people, two very pleasant workers, came a few hours later to get the connection fixed.  A job well done. One was from Myanmar.

Soon after, I left a e-message for Alex to tell me when he could come to complete his job, but there was no reply.

This morning, in my eagerness to get everything sorted out, I called  M1 and told a woman called Crystal about the uncompleted setup, hoping for someone to come down to my place later in the day. 

She said she would not be able to do so as Saturday is a non-working day.   She also said there would be a charge for someone to come to my place to fix the network.  I lost my  cool and told her: "Are you mad?" 

How could M1 charge for what is a free installation job which was not completed?

In a subsequent call, Crystal said she would get a technician to help me.   The technician, Norman, rang a short while later.  He explained,  pleasantly and patiently, how to go about fixing the router and the modem.

And it worked -- for the internet! However,  the Asus router supplied by M1 could not be used to boost the wifi signal in my TV room.  Reason:  two routers --  Asus and my Apple routers -- were located at different places.  These, he said, have to be connected with another line before it can fully function.

Although I wasn’t  sure he understood exactly what I was trying to put across to him, I was happy that the internet fibre connection was successful.  The weak wifi signal in our TV room remains an issue.

The fibre connection fixed, the next step was to set the ball rolling for the move -- from Starhub to M1.

After consulting M1 about the rollover, I went ahead to cancel my broadband link with Starhub.  The woman from Starhub who took my call, asked why I was terminating my broadband account.  I told her briefly that I was not happy with the service  I received recently at its Plaza Singapura outlet. 

She said I could not cancel my broadband without cancelling the phone fixed line at the same time as they came as a bundle.   She said I had to go down to one of its outlets if I wanted to do so. Strange!!!

I forgot to remind her that  my contract with StarHub had expired and therefore I  should be able to give up only what I wanted.

While talking to her, suddenly my fixed line went dead.  More strange!!!.

Minutes later I called Starhub again, this time on my iphone.  I was served by a lady called Arlene.  I told her what had happened and she went to check.   She returned to tell me that the broadband account had been cancelled --  at 11.44 am precisely -- but the fixed telephone line account was still active.  Even more strange!!!

Was the first StarHub woman who attended to me, trying to pull a fast one because I was switching telcos? Pity I did not ask for her name.

I leave it to you to identify who's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly . 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Overwhelmed, UberEATS fails to deliver

Celine wanted to make sure that her guests could be fed before they started their regular Friday meeting. So she pre-ordered 30 packets of various rice sets a day earlier from Mini Wok, using her UberEATS app.

She was also afraid that her order might be too big to fulfil, especially during the Lunar New Year season. But UberEATS went ahead and accepted her order.

Confident there would not be any hitch as she had used  the same company before, she waited patiently for the delivery, scheduled between 6.45 and 7.15 pm.

When 7.15 pm came and went, she thought the delay could have been caused by a traffic jam as a result of rain.  At 7.25 pm when there was still no sign of the food courier, she called UberEATS to

"The guy who answered my call said it would arrive in 10 minutes.  But in the app the estimated time of arrival displayed increased to 7.50 pm as I continued to wait," Celine recounted.

At 7.41 pm she called the Call Centre again to ask what had happened.

"This time, a different guy told me that their couriers could cancel any delivery without giving any reason," she said.

"So I had 25 hungry guests at 8.10 pm with no food. I wonder what happened to the 30 packets of food that were already prepared, supposedly."

What upset Celine was that UberEATS failed to inform her that it might not be able to fulfil such a large order. There was also no warning about sudden cancellation.

She said: "If they did so, then there is nothing to complain about as I took the risk knowingly."

Later that evening, UberEATS messaged her to apologise, adding that "the massive influx of orders, & the lack of couriers available"  were the cause of the non-delivery.

It was not unexpected that UberEATS would be overwhelmed during this festive season,  but  inadequate management and poor communications were something else -- and inexcusable. 

For that, UberEATS deserves a big BOO-QUET.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Strange nominee in my Krisflyer account

I stumbled upon a strange nominee in my Singapore
 Airlines' Krisflyer account early last month. Apparently
the name had been in my account since 2001 and I had
spotted it only by accident.
      Curious to know how it could have happened, I wrote
to SIA to ask for an investigation. I also wanted to know
 whether my Krisflyer  miles had been used without
       More than a week later, the airline replied through
one of its customer service executives (CSE).  I found the
response hilarious if one was able to ignore the
seriousness of the matter.
       Without a word of apology, she said that it was not
able to "determine on the info as it was created in another
earlier database."
        However, strangely, she was able to state categorically
 that as the nominee was in my account for 14 years,
no redemption of tickets or Krisflyer miles were redeemed
for that passenger.
        To me, it sounded like speaking through two sides of
the mouth.
         But that's not all.  The CSE went on to advise me to
update my nominations "to avoid any unwanted nominee
or misuse of the Krisflyer miles".
        Amazing! Why would I want to update my nominations
when there is no need to!!! And how is it possible
 to misuse the Krisflyer miles when no one is authorised
to do so, except by those SIA staff who are authorised.
        The CSE also explained to me how to go about
deleting unwanted nominees online. But there is a price
to pay.
        The applicable fee for successfully removing a
nominee is US$30 or 3,000 Krisflyer points.
         Wow! Why are they penalising me for
something that is not my fault? Unusual customer service,
indeed! Maybe it's their way of deterring customers
 from giving feedback.
         What takes the cake was how the CSE ended her
email: "In view to (sic) this, we are offering you 1000
 Krisflyer miles for the inconvenience caused."
         The story, of course, didn't end there.  I wrote back to
say how amazing -- and amusing -- I found its reply.
          More than a week later, the matter was escalated to a
customer service manager who called to explain
 and to acknowledge that its response was wrong.
         She promised to investigate further. When she called
 me again, she did not have any good news, except to stress
that they had checked thoroughly and still could not
 determine how the intrusion into my account had taken
         I accepted her explanation but also told her that it was
a serious matter of security, especially for an airline.
        Another week later, she wrote to say that the strange
name in my account had been deleted.  But there was still
not a word of apology or anything to show that the airline
 had taken matter seriously.
         I decided that I should respond to drive home my
concern and to put it on record.
        The following are parts of my email:

       " not sense that there is a
recognition of the seriousness of this
whole thing by your senior management.
 I am not sure whether you have surfaced
this to them. If not, may I ask that you do
 so urgently.

       "Please tell them that they are running
an airline and safety should be their top priority.
For something like this to happen, it must
mean that the safety of your system has been compromised. It does not matter that this
 happened many years ago. The fact is,
someone or some people were able to get into
 the system and fiddle with it.

       "If I were in your management, I would
 want to find out who this "strange nominee"
 is and perhaps this person could help to give
you some clues in your investigation.

       "I dread to think of worse things
happening if other areas of your
airline operation were to be compromised."



Friday, June 5, 2015

Samsung promotion that asked for too much

In trying to create goodwill by offering food vouchers, some companies often fail to realise that they are achieving just the opposite.
      I came across a recent example of what a promotion should not be when my four-year-old Samsung fridge broke down last Friday and I had to purchase a new one, even though the compressor of the old one was still under warranty.
      I decided on a new fridge as it would have taken too long to replace the compressor plus the fact that the Samsung man who came to examine it, had warned my wife that there could be other things wrong as well. It meant that there was the possibility that I might have to pay for other repairs.
      But what sealed our fate was that Friday -- the day the fridge decided to take a break -- was marketing day and my wife was left with no place to store her perishables.
       The long Vesak Day holiday weekend did not help. Even though we had purchased the new fridge that same evening, delivery could only take place the following Tuesday.
       However, everything went smoothly with the delivery, and the subsequent removal of the broken-down fridge.
       Then something else got me a little flustered -- I had to do a lot of nitty-gritty stuff to redeem a $100 food voucher which Samsung was offering to  customers under what it claims is a "super deal" promotion.
        Apart from having to give my personal details, I had to submit the delivery address, purchased product details -- model number, serial number, store of purchase, date of purchase, purchase amount and invoice number -- plus attachments to show proof of purchase including the original tax invoice and cut-out serial number.
        It is obvious that many of such details are known to the dealer from whom I had purchased the fridge or Samsung company itself. Question is, why are they not collating all of these themselves?
        Why put their customers through such a hassle for a food voucher worth only $100?  Surely they must realise that there are some who may not know how to provide what they are asking for.  Are they going to deprive these people of the $100 voucher.
         I must say this is definitely a promotion gone wrong.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cheers breaks the Haagen-Dazs cold chain

The Lims love desserts and ice-cream is one of their favourites.
Two Saturdays ago (Feb 14), they decided to have their cherry jubilee ala mode (that is, topped with ice-cream).
      So off they went to a Cheers Store and bought a tub of Haagen-Dazs macademia nut ice-cream.
      Imagine their disappointment when they arrived home, all eager to enjoy their dessert, but ended up discovering that the product was unfit for human consumption. 

Haagen-Dazs...icicles not ice-cream
      It was apparent that its cold chain had been broken. To keep ice-cream fresh and fit for consumption, it has to be stored at a temperature range which must not be broken.
      "It was quite obvious that the tub of ice-cream that we bought had melted and was put back in the freezer. It should have been discarded," a member of the Lims said.
       The irony of it all was that it was sold in a shop in the Tan Tock Seng Hospital.  I guess the health-conscious environment didn't help.
Cheers? Nothing to cheer about

Saturday, January 31, 2015

DBS' letter of unfulfilled promise

The turnover of DBS' relationship managers (RM) must be giving the bank a bit of a headache. Each time someone leaves a job like this, it has to introduce the replacement to its customers. 
      I get a letter every few months to inform me that I will be having a new RM and a promise that he "will be in touch with you soon".   I know this will not happen as I have received many such letters in my years as a customer. To date I have not been contacted by any of the new kids on the block.
       I do not know the reason for the lapse but I would like to assume that it is because I no longer use the bank for my financial and investment matters.
So, if there is no business to be done, why bother?
       I guess it is really a practical approach.  Just cut off those who are happy keeping their money with the bank and only need service occasionally.
       If that's the case, it should refrain from routinely sending out these letters on the assumption that the RMs would fulfil its promise of getting in touch!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

For the Love of Laundry? Celine finds no evidence of that

For the Love of Laundry is a catchy business name no doubt. Unfortunately, it is not providing any tender loving care for one of its loyal customers.
     Looking at Celine's laundry list of complaints, she must have been pretty tolerant about the dry-cleaners' negligence and poor service...until now.
     The latest issue in the long saga over its awful service is the loss of her dress -- for more than a week.  "It's a big blue stiff dress, impossible to misplace," she whats-apped me. 
      I could imagine her exasperation when I read the list of her encounters with service neglect and indifferent attitude.
      But what really blew her top this time was the silent treatment she received when she emailed the company to find out what was happening.
      And when she finally found time to call the cleaners' office today,  she said "no one could tell me anything."
      Here are past issues she has had with them...
* spoilt a Zegna polo shirt; they said they "could not make it better" but it was rescued by another dry cleaner
* failed to return a belt from a dress after dry cleaning; they had it with them all the while but never bothered to let her know until she discovered it herself when she went to search for it.
* black streaky stains on her white shorts; again said they could not be removed without bothering to try, but the other cleaner did it for her.
* said they would repair her clothes; even wrote on the receipt but it was not done, and they did not even bother to tell her it was not possible.
* buttons on her suit cracked because they failed to wrap them up when cleaning.
* folded a man's work shirt when they were specifically told to hang it.
* put her clothes on the floor when she sent them in. When asked why, the woman there said "This is what we always do".
      Despite all these bad experiences, Celine continued to patronise them because the United Square location was  a convenient drop-off point and she was also hoping against hope they would change.
     Now, after this latest episode, she is having second thoughts.
     "They are supposed to be upmarket dry-cleaners but they never seem to learn from their mistakes," she said.
     For the Love of Laundry is said to be the first company here to use a toxin-free technology that is environmentally-friendly. It was started by banker Wee Cho Yaw's grandsons -- Teng Wen and Teng Chuen.