Customer Services
@ Adrian Tritschler · Friday, Feb 26, 2010 · 8 minute read · Update at Feb 26, 2010 ·

Its a Friday, crap customer service from not one, but two different companies.

Ascension Records 1, Australia Post nil

Three weeks ago I bought a CD boxed set from Ascension Records, two days later the purchase appeared on my credit card and I thought no more about it. Yesterday my VISA bill arrived and I thought the CD was taking a bit long so I called them up, yep, ordered on the , shipped on the . Chase it up with the local Australia Post Post Office.

Oh no, here we go….

I called the Oakleigh South Post Office on North road since that’s where parcels always went in the past, apparently they no longer take parcels for the suburb of Oakleigh, these go to Oakleigh Post Office but I need to call a central number — 131318 — to track the parcel.

Called 131318 and played voice-mail menus then get to speak to a brusque operator who asks for my “tracking number”. Since it was an ordinary parcel I don’t have one. She’s sorry, but they can’t do anything “try contacting your local Post Office but they can only do a limited search”. Then tried to up-sell me their courier services for “future parcels” and basically told me I shouldn’t send parcels by parcel post if I want them delivered.

Hung up and tried to locate the phone number for Oakleigh Post Office, but apparently I have to call 131318 and talk to the central customer circus operators. So I did.

Described the problem again, gave my name and address, again, and after a wait they tell me they’ll transfer directly to Oakleigh Post Office so I can discuss it with them. Once I’m transferred “Carmel” expresses surprise that Customer Service has sent me directly to the Oakleigh Post Office since calls like mine are meant to be handled by Customer Service.

Described the problem again, gave my name and address, again, there’s some hunting around and “there’s nothing here for you” and since I didn’t have it sent registered mail there’s nothing they can do for me. I explained that several times over the past five years we’ve had parcels left on the doorstep or dumped on top of the letter box and I suspect this may have happened, got the “that shouldn’t happen” statement again and explained that while I’m fully aware that “that shouldn’t happen” it does happen and it appears that nothing is ever done about it. Once again got fobbed off with that excuse beloved of any public or semi-public service “they’re contractors not employees, blah blah blah.” A wave of the magic contractor stick and apparently the people employing the contractor either don’t bother to put any conditions in the contract, or the contractor isn’t required to obey the conditions of the contract, or nobody bothers to enforce the conditions of the contract.

My only option now is apparently to fill out a generic customer complaint form, available from any Post Office, where it will be sent off to Australia Post headquarters and “they will look into it.” Even if they do condescend to refund the cost of the goods, any and all refunds go to the sender and I then have to chase up with the sender to get a replacement item!

So I did fill out the form, and so I wait….


  • : Australia Post have finished their investigation and have confirmed that yes indeed, my parcel has vanished. “Any further searches for this article would require the sender call the Customer Contact Centre or lodge a customer service complaint form providing all relevant details.” The part the really irritates is that “In the event that the article has been lost, the sender would be entitled to claim compensation.”. So I pay for the original item and I spend a month chasing it up when it doesn’t arrive, but the sender is the one who can get compensated and effectively gets paid twice for the one item! It gets left up to the sender’s better nature to provide recompense to the receiver.
    • never did receive the CDs, never received a refund, Ascension records wouldn’t reply to my enquiries.

Ikea and Kings Couriers

We need a wardrobe. Simple isn’t it? Since we only have a small car we’d like it delivered too please. How hard could that be? Perhaps you think we could peruse a catalogue, order online, pay by credit card and have it delivered. Nice idea, what fantasy land do you live in?

The only place we could find what we wanted was Ikea, they’re quite happy to let you browse online, fill in a “shopping cart” and prepare a list of what you want, and they’ll give you all the details about the home delivery — but then the kicker. The bastards won’t let you order online, in order to maximise impulse purchasing you have to visit the store, walk around selecting it all yourself, pay for it, then lug it to the home delivery counter to fill out the forms and let them deliver it the next day. At least they let you print out the “shopping cart” contents so you have a list of what you need to get.

OK, so we went to Ikea in Richmond and spent a thrilling hour or so grabbing boxed wardrobe bits off shelves and putting them on recalcitrant shopping trolleys.

By the way Ikea, here’s a suggestion: take a look at your customers and get some signs put up in Vietnamese and Mandarin! A huge proportion of your customers there do not speak much english and would really be helped if they could find what they want.

Several hundred kilograms of flat-pack boxes later we find that we need two trolleys, not to mention that if I were to touch any one of the boxes at work I’d get told off for OHS reasons, apparently a 30-40kg box is fine if the customer has to lift it, but not staff! I have no idea how they get around the law-suits for back injuries.

We selected, we lugged, we paid, we queued, we got it lined up for delivery today, Friday, somewhere between and . Left two phone numbers and was assured we’d be called a couple of hours prior to delivery to narrow the time down.

Sometime around on Thursday night there was an SMS on Jo’s phone telling us that the stuff would be delivered between 14:00 and 16:00 — I guess that means they’ve loaded the truck and know where its all going then.

So Jo spent the entire afternoon hanging around at home, waiting… waiting… Of course there was no call from Kings, there never is, all the delivery firms seem to promise to call but then never do. By 16:30 she called up the office and eventually got through to someone who promised to call the driver and then call her back. By 17:30 she decided that the call back wasn’t going to happen and tried again. By now all the phones went unanswered because the staff go home at on a Friday.

Eventually around 18:00 we got through and were told that “the Melbourne truck is running late” — wow, I think Sherlock Holmes could figure that one out — “it will be late but should be there by ”. We asked if it was going to be delivered even if it was later than and were assured that yes it was definitely going to be delivered this evening.

Well it’s now , we’ve still not heard from the driver and there’s still no sign of the 2-4 pm delivery. :: “We deliver what we promise”

Um, sorry guys. NO YOU BLOODY WELL DON’T. Not only that, but you don’t call up and you don’t let us know what you are doing.


  • : Fifteen minutes on hold and we finally get through on the phone. Kings Courier reception staff has no idea what is happening (her words), there is no information on when, or even if, our delivery will take place. She is unable to contact the driver, only the supervisor can do this — but the supervisor isn’t there. The supervisor should be in the office around about noon. They have promised to call us back immediately after noon — when the supervisor arrives — in order to let us know when they will deliver yesterday’s furniture.
  • : The phone rings, a gruff voice states “This is Ikea, your furniture will be delivered in forty-five minutes, goodbye.” I guess that was the supervisor, no idea, doesn’t quite seem just after noon to me. On the plus side, this is the first time that they have actually called us when they said they would.
  • : Almost exactly twenty four hours after it was booked, our delivery turns up. Three guys with almost Marx-brothers comic effect as they stumble about getting in each others' way, each one slowly and cumbersomely carrying inside a box that could have been carried safely and quickly by two. Banging into the walls, the door, the furniture and each other. At least we finally got the furniture and we’re finally rid of Kings and their delivery so-called “service.”
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…The Owner

There’s not much more I can add to who I am.

…The Site

Vanity site? Technology experiment? Learning tool? Blog? Journal? Diary? Photo album? I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…

I experiment. I play. I write and I take pictures. Some of the site is organised around topics, other parts are organized by date, then there’s always the cross-references between them.

Its all been here a fairly long time. Like the papers on my desk, or the books on the bedside table, the pile just grew… and it all grew without much plan or structure. I try not to break URLs, so historical oddities abound.

Long ago it started as a learning experiment with a few static HTML pages, then I added a bit of server-side includes and some very ugly PHP. A hand-built journal/blog on top of that PHP, then a few experiments in moving to various static publishing systems. I’ve never wanted a database-based blogging engine, so over the years I’ve tried PHP, nanoblogger, emacs-muse, silkpage and docbook before settling on Emacs Org mode for writing and jekyll for publishing. But the itch remained… I never really liked jekyll and the ruby underneath always seemed so much black magic. So now the latest incarnation is Org mode and hugo.

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