purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Last year I helped judge one of the rounds of Google's Science Fair. Yay! For which they paid me. Frankly, not so Yay! Because HMRC. So in January I attempted to sign-up for Tax Self-Assessment. The website said it needed to send me registration code by mail, so I sighed, clicked the button and hoped it would reach me before the online self-assessment deadline. It didn't, though in the interim I was told that since I was paid in July 2015 I wouldn't actually need to fill in the online self-assessment until January 2017 - have no idea if this information was accurate or not.

About two weeks after the self-assessment deadline I get an email from HMRC saying they can't send me a code since they already sent me one in 2008 (when I also foolishly allowed someone to pay me a few hundred extra quid for something). Possibly fortunately I had kept records. About half-an-hour of going around in circles on the self-assessment website later I manage to create a new account (or possibly reactivate my old account or who knows?) only to be redirected to a self-assessment calculator thing which informed me that since I had earned under £2,500 and was otherwise in full-time employment paying tax via PAYE I shouldn't fill in a self-assessment but should instead phone the HMRC Tax Helpline and get them to reclaim the extra money by PAYE.

I did this, this morning. First I had to get through the voice recognition software that wanted me to explain my problem to it in simple terms. It would then tell me what it thought my problem was and I would disagree with it. In the end I told it I wanted to pay more tax, which seemed to get its attention. It read me a little information about what to do if I had been sent notification of an under-payment by HMRC, extracted my name, postcode and national insurance number, before eventually passing me on to someone who had as much difficulty understanding my accent as I did theirs. I explained I had earned extra money last year. They told me to fill in a self-assessment form. I told them that the self-assessment website had told me that the sum wasn't enough for self-assessment and should be included in my PAYE code. They asked me to repeat how much I had earned and then muttered for a bit, presumably inputting stuff into computers. Then they asked me what my annual salary was. Since Liverpool has just moved pay-slips online I then had to log into the Liverpool HR website and multiply my payslip by 12. They then checked the amount I had earned extra - which they had wrong, so I corrected them. Then they informed me that I owed an extra £90 in tax and that a new tax code would be sent to my employer.

I've agreed to judge for Google again this summer. I'm half tempted to waive the fee because paying tax on this sort of money is just as tortuous as I recall from last time around and I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort involved.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (rant)
*sigh* I needed a parcel of books for tomorrow at 2pm and bought them on Wednesday and, after a little dithering opted for next-day delivery since that seemed (foolishly) to me to the the option which allowed the most margin of error.

Got a nice little email saying they would deliver on Thursday but I could re-arrange delivery for a better day. Since I couldn't guarantee someone would be in on Thursday I filled in the web-form asking for delivery on Friday and got a confirmation back.

Yesterday I got an email saying they had attempted delivery on Thursday. This does happen, obviously, but I knew I had the Friday delivery scheduled. However to be safe I followed their instructions to arrange redelivery, was informed it was already rearranged and looked at the tracking info which said there would be a delivery on Friday.

I double-checked the tracking info this morning to discover it is still in the depot and the Friday delivery has been removed from the system.

*bangs head on desk in frustration*

I've arranged to collect in person early tomorrow morning (the earliest the system will allow and it looks like the depot is only open between 8am-9am on any given day), but given I now have very little faith that their web interface bears any relation to the reality of their back-end set up I can't quite decide whether I need to stay in all day on the off chance they are going to attempt delivery anyway.

Clearly I would have been better off with Royal Mail First Class. It would probably have arrived yesterday and I would be able to collect at my leisure any time today.

EDIT: LOL! Now they've emailed me to say they are delivering today between 10:41 and 11:41 - their system is truly awesomely rubbish. Though I will be happy if the goods arrive as advertised.

EDIT 2: The automated response I've got to the complaint I sent in says they won the UK Customer Experience Awards in 2011. Unless their web system has got dramatically worse since then I have to assume that that is one of those awards that isn't actually decided by customers. They're also in the Top 50 Call Centers for Customer Service which, given its impossible to reach a real person on their phone lines, is quite impressive and also, therefore, an achievement I am dubious about.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
What with one thing an another I've been working from home a lot the past month. I reckon I'm phoned at least once, if not twice, per day by either T-mobile (from whom we used to get Internet), talk-talk (from whom we currently get Internet) or 3 (who supply Internet to my mobile phone dongle) to offer us a free deal of some kind. I've given up asking them to take us off their database. Does anyone know if it's worth contacting the TPS (with whom we are registered) about this? Since we either have a current contract with each company (or used to and anyway T-mobile is now owned by Talk-talk) I'm not sure if this falls under the TPS remit but it's reached the point where it's intensely annoying.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/30178.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
What with one thing an another I've been working from home a lot the past month. I reckon I'm phoned at least once, if not twice, per day by either T-mobile (from whom we used to get Internet), talk-talk (from whom we currently get Internet) or 3 (who supply Internet to my mobile phone dongle) to offer us a free deal of some kind. I've given up asking them to take us off their database. Does anyone know if it's worth contacting the TPS (with whom we are registered) about this? Since we either have a current contract with each company (or used to and anyway T-mobile is now owned by Talk-talk) I'm not sure if this falls under the TPS remit but it's reached the point where it's intensely annoying.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (rant)
Normally I try not to complain about computer support because I know every idiot on the planet is continually asking them to do daft stuff and then being ungrateful about it. However I just spent an hour being convinced support were not answering my actual question, but the one they thought I was asking.

I'm almost tempted to think I was dealing with some kind of automated process that simply reacted to keywords, right up until the last message.



(paraphrased somewhat)

My first email to support:

MatLab is telling me the licence is about to expire, do I need to do anything about this?

Support's Reply:

Here are the MatLab installation instructions (Cut and Paste from support web page).

If you need further assistance please supply version number.

My Reply:

I'm using this version installed following your instructions.

Support's Reply:

We no longer sell MatLab, you'll have to download from MathWorks. Please see our web page with instructions (linked).

My Reply:

Does this mean you are not renewing the licence that is about to expire?

Support's Reply:

We maintain a site licence, but individual users must download the software from MathWorks. Please follow these instructions (cut and paste from some other web page).

I uninstall and reinstall MatLab, with some trepidation since I'm suspicious of such activities. I'm still dubious about how this relates to the licence expiry, since all the instructions say to use the same licence key as the one I had originally. However, DRM is not always particularly sensible and it's always possible this is a necessary step. All works smoothly, luckily, otherwise I would probably be weeping and cursing at my machine right now.

My Reply to Support:

I have just uninstalled and reinstalled MatLab following your instructions. It still says the license is about to expire. I repeat, do I need to do anything about this?

Support's Reply:

Please use licence code supplied in installation instructions. (AAARRRgh! What licence code do they think I've been using???).

If you get an expiry warning message, then check back nearer the time.




Grrarh!!! Couldn't they have said "check back nearer the time" before I had to mess about uninstalling and reinstalling software? I mean, how ambiguous was my first message exactly?

By the third email I was getting the local support guy in our building to check out the situation and read over the emails, so that I knew I hadn't missed out some vital piece of information, or failed to understand the responses I was getting. So I don't think I was being that obscure in how I framed my request.

Upside: I do now have a more recent version of MatLab installed, which is probably a good thing on some level.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/12514.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (rant)
Normally I try not to complain about computer support because I know every idiot on the planet is continually asking them to do daft stuff and then being ungrateful about it. However I just spent an hour being convinced support were not answering my actual question, but the one they thought I was asking.

I'm almost tempted to think I was dealing with some kind of automated process that simply reacted to keywords, right up until the last message.



(paraphrased somewhat)

My first email to support:

MatLab is telling me the licence is about to expire, do I need to do anything about this?

Support's Reply:

Here are the MatLab installation instructions (Cut and Paste from support web page).

If you need further assistance please supply version number.

My Reply:

I'm using this version installed following your instructions. (I'd kept a copy of the instructions from when I installed MatLab, so I was able to cross-check I was using exactly the same numbers and everything they had just supplied).

Support's Reply:

We no longer sell MatLab, you'll have to download from MathWorks. Please see our web page with instructions (linked).

My Reply:

Does this mean you are not renewing the licence that is about to expire?

Support's Reply:

We maintain a site licence, but individual users must download the software from MathWorks. Please follow these instructions (cut and paste from some other web page).

I uninstall and reinstall MatLab, with some trepidation since I'm suspicious of such activities. I'm still dubious about how this relates to the licence expiry, since all the instructions say to use the same licence key as the one I had originally. However, DRM is not always particularly sensible and it's always possible this is a necessary step. All works smoothly, luckily, otherwise I would probably be weeping and cursing at my machine right now.

My Reply to Support:

I have just uninstalled and reinstalled MatLab following your instructions. It still says the license is about to expire. I repeat, do I need to do anything about this?

Support's Reply:

Please use licence code supplied in installation instructions. (AAARRRgh! What licence code do they think I've been using???).

If you get an expiry warning message, then check back nearer the time.




Grrarh!!! Couldn't they have said "check back nearer the time" before I had to mess about uninstalling and reinstalling software? I mean, how ambiguous was my first message exactly?

By the third email I was getting the local support guy in our building to check out the situation and read over the emails, so that I knew I hadn't missed out some vital piece of information, or failed to understand the responses I was getting. So I don't think I was being that obscure in how I framed my request.

Upside: I do now have a more recent version of MatLab installed, which is probably a good thing on some level.

Profile

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
purplecat

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     1 2
3 4 5678 9
10 11 12 131415 16
171819 20212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags