Rip-off Britain (and my own stupidity)

19 Sep

So I’m safely ensconced in my new flat. I don’t have any carpets, or a fridge-freezer, or a washing machine, or a cooker. But I’m here, I’ve got a bed and an internet connection and it’s all good!

Or is it.

I’d only been in the flat for a couple of nights. I’d hired a van to move my stuff from storage and roped a couple of lovely friends in to help me. Saturday’s move all went well, we were tired but got pretty much everything moved in. Just a few bits left in storage and I had to go to my mum’s to pick up a table and chairs. I got up the next day, only to find that some b*stard had thrown a breezeblock through the window of the hired van, and also smashed the windscreen. Glass everywhere.

Not pleased.

I went back upstairs and moped around for a bit. Of course I was annoyed, but also a bit worried. I was hoping that it wasn’t a personal attack, but there were four other cars in the car park, including mine, and none of them were touched.

A couple of hours later I caught the dog weeing in the flat. At that point everything was still new to her and she hadn’t worked out where she was allowed to go. Needless to say, I picked her up and chucked her out of the front door. Which shut firmly behind me. I’m sure you get the picture, the dog and me one side of the door and my keys the other side of the door. (This is obviously no-ones fault but my own, although I did try and blame it on the dog.) Despite being a skinny so-and-so, even my stick-like hand couldn’t reach far enough through the letter box to be able to unlock the door from the inside so I was obliged to call out a locksmith. He promptly got a bit of plastic from his bag of tricks, slid it down the doorframe and popped the lock open. £140 please. Kerching. I expect any one of my neighbours could have done the same thing (not that I’m casting aspersions about the area in which I live of course).

By this point I’ve well and truly had enough of the day. I took the dog for a walk, hoping that would calm me down a bit. She ran in a big circle round me, the lead tightened around my bare legs, and now I have about seven inches of rope burn on my calves. Good job it’s not hot enough to want to wear a skirt this year.

Anyway, I’m hoping that that was my three bits of bad luck that day (or, even better, for the whole year!)

Insurance to pay for smashed windows of van = £260
Cost to pay a guy to break and enter into my flat = £140
Cost of hurt pride and angry feelings = priceless

For those of you still reading, it doesn’t get much better….

Before I left my previous flat, I asked BT to reconnect at my new place. At least I’d have dial-up… But when I moved in, no dial-tone. Eventually I discovered that not only did the previous owners disconnect from BT, they also removed all the BT wiring! I was informed by a nice lady at BT that they could reconnect it all free of charge, since it wasn’t me who removed it. I just had to perform one test to make sure the line was definitely dead, which it was. I called back in the afternoon to ask them to come in to reconnect and was told that it would be £116 call-out fee plus an hourly rate for the work. I pretty much cancelled my account with BT straight away, but not before having a heated discussion with one of their staff in the ‘Customer Services’ department, who ‘didn’t want to enter into a debate about this’ because there definitely WAS a call-out fee and not only that but it wasn’t £116 it was £128 (yup you’re really selling it to me, love). Right-hand doesn’t know what left-hand is doing, anyone??? I was told to expect a final bill, which I could dispute once I got it. I said I would be doing so.

The bill arrived today. £79.36. Laugh? I nearly died. £70 for stoppage of services before the minimum term has expired. 1) I wasn’t ever informed there was a minimum term 2) I wasn’t ever informed that there would be a £70 cancellation fee (and for a service that wasn’t even usable in the first place it’s laughable quite frankly).

I called BT and told them I wasn’t paying the bill. A nice lady said ‘I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this time’, and let me off paying it. Dunno what she means by ‘this time’, it’s not like I’ll be going back to BT anytime soon so there is unlikly to be a ‘next time’…

Ahhh, I feel better now. If you’ve read this far, congratulations, you’re a good person.

Whoever would have thought that writing a blog would be so cathartic, and that moving house would be such a hassle.


2 Responses to “Rip-off Britain (and my own stupidity)”

  1. Kristin November 11, 2008 at 4:16 am #

    Good words.

  2. Happy Snapper November 11, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    Thanks, it’s one of those things I can (almost) laugh about now…!

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