marsden_online: (dragon)
Logging out of my internet banking, see
"Welcome to losing your voice"
splashed at the top of a promotion on the logged-out page.
... maybe I'll give them some sort of irony point. It's not like I feel I -have- much of a voice with the corps to begin with.
Doubly so since it was a RWC promotion and look at what's been happening in Auckland.
marsden_online: (Rage)
I am attempting to top up my T-Stick using your online service. It says quite clearly at "Top up your XT Prepaid Mobile or T-Stick online" (with fuel-gauge graphic adjacent) and "Top Up Now" on the button below

Clicking the button takes me to a page where i can enter my credit card details - so far so good. However completing this page does not allow me to top up my T-Stick online. Instead the instructions tell me to call my mobile phone and follow the top-up procedure using the displayed voucher number.

Of course this will add the credit to my mobile phone, not to the T-Stick! The specific wording of the instructions implies that there is an option for selecting a different phone number somewhere in the menus but I have been unable to find it. Instead I had to press "3" for PROBLEMS (which is almost funny) and your help-desk was able to apply the voucher number - and tell me this was the -usual- process for "topping up online".

However 3 escalations later they were still -unable- to tell me
a) why the website - and their scripts - insist that it is possible to "Top Up Online" when it is not.
b) who was responsible for this situation
c) who is going to be responsible for fixing this situation

And by fixing this situation I do not mean changing the website to make it explicit that you can not in fact top up online. I mean actually adding the functionality that will let me and all your other T-Stick and similar users add credit to our devices directly from your website. We should not have to have access to a -phone- to top up our -mobile internet-. We should not have to -spend time waiting on the phone- until we reach the front of the queue for your call center!

(For all I know the functionality is already there, and just the links are wrong. How easy would that be to fix?)

Yes there are other mobile internet providers in NZ. I reluctantly chose Telecom because on the rare occasions I need mobile broadband you have the best coverage. I'm sorry the rest of your support structure does not match up.

Quite appropriately, the stereo is playing the following from the CrüxShadows right now
once we have a promise
twice we have a curse
three times is impossible
and four times even worse
once we have an accident
twice we have a fault
three times is delinquent
and four times is the fall
marsden_online: (bomb)
Via TVNZ News,
Nelson, New Zealand's sunshine capital, is planning to turn its sunlight into power.
Neslon wants to become the country's first 'solar city' with a scheme to help 1,700 homes switch to solar powered water heating over the next four years.
So popular that the council's had to run a ballot to choose the first homes to capitalise on solar energy.

And much more information is available on NCC's solar hot water heating webpage. Not only are they effectively giving their residents a long-term (10 years for a few $k) low interest loan, which interestingly is targeted to the property not the owner, but they've used their size to negotiate lower prices, are making sure people get their government subsidy and waiving the fee on the building consent.

It certainly puts Christchurch City Council's paltry $200 subsidy and token installation on a few of it's own 2650 housing units to shame.

For those in other cities, pointers to your local council's equivalent schemes welcome in the comments :)

While I'm on the subject, here's an update on my own solar hot water system. I've had the programmed nightly top-up turned off recently because even with the few hours of summer sun we've been having there's been plenty of hot water at the top of the tank. I flicked it back on Monday night for a boost and the resulting spike (just 3 hours) nearly doubled our power use for Tuesday.

Can I mention that I also love PowerShop's daily reporting, viewable down to day/night meter resolution :D More on that in a few days time.
marsden_online: (Default)
Just got a call from TelstraClear to organise the cable TV disconnection (which will happen Monday morning) and upping the internet plan (which will happen at midnight tonight). Wonder if going from 4Mb/s to 20Mb/s is going to make a noticeable difference to my day-to-day online activities.

+1 TC
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
Eventually I was put through to someone who knew that that TelstraClear's disconnection team is on holiday until Monday, so there's no chance of the cable TV being turned off before that.

Which makes no sense. The decoder has that subscriber card in it, it communicates via a modem with a fixed IP address, surely there's a button on the account dashboard somewhere that will disable/invalidate one or both of these. Then collection of the decoder can be handled at a more convenient time. What do they have to do - manually shift jumpers in the exchange or something?

Likewise surely upgrading the internet package should just be a matter of making a selection in my account. What disconnections has to do with that I'm not sure but apparently nothing can happen until they're back on Monday.

On the positive side this may actually save me a few $ as I've been told that internet upgrades are charged pro-rata for the remainder of the billing period from the date they're implemented, and the chap who might actually have been in NZ I eventually talked to today was prety sure disconnections are dated from the date of the request (ie Tuesday, but I'm happy with today).

The reason this matters is that my billing period ends -today- and having made the decision to cut the TV I don't really want to be hit with another month's subscription.

I'm unplugging the decoder tonight anyway. I've rediscovered how much heat that thing puts out, even when it's on standby. There's some power to be saved there.

Another thing - all that flash collecting my account details by automatic voice response and then they're not transferred between operators with the call? What sort of Mickey Mouse back end do you have?
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Some recent research* indicates that people typically consider changing banks to be a much more difficult process than it really is.

*The title of this article is "Survey shows why customers change banks" - the article then focuses only on why they don't change banks. #fail NZ Herald.

"Interestingly, people's perceptions were that the financial cost of switching banks was high when in fact it is not, because the new bank often waives fees or contributes to legal costs to get new customers," she said.

People also had an "ingrained" perception that there was considerable hassle involved in changing banks.

Despite my ever-growing contempt for ANZ Bank's institutional incompetence I remain with them for two reasons

- I don't want to have to deal with the legal required to transfer the mortgage. Once more, when I close it off will be sufficient thank you. The end is on the horizon. Also being self-employed I probably won't be able to replicate the current nifty arrangement, made when I was on a reliable salary.

- I have an irrational and perverse attachment to my savings account number, which is an old Post Office Savings Bank number I've had most of my life (my parents opened the original account). There can't be that many of them left and I'm sure it grates on the ANZ systems to have to cope with it. For this reason I'm probably actually going to hold on this account for my EFTPOS/cash needs as long as I possibly can even after moving my heavy-duty banking elsewhere :->

The researcher actually suggests
Among her recommendations for banks to consider was the possibility of account number portability, as was now required for cellphone service providers.

I don't think this is a bad idea, just a bloody impractical one unless you're rebuilding the banking sector from the ground up. Ask anyone for Telecom/Vodaphone/et. al. who has had to deal with the integration of number-portability into those systems, and the chaos ensuing from not being able to tell if someone is your customer just by looking at their number.
marsden_online: (Default)
Admittedly I didn't expect it to be at 7:10pm.

They opened with the assumption that I was making the switch to PowerShop because of the 20% discounted weekend electricity, a notion of which I quickly disabused them. Their counter offer was interesting though - a 20% prompt payment discount (through to April) instead of the usual 10% (effectively a 20% discount on -all- my electricity use + their daily + the levy).

It was enough to make me pause, but not enough to make me change my mind. Better data > extra $5-$15 a month.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
My TelstraClear bill this month came with a glossy flyer bearing this little header. The first paragraph advised that the fee for late payment is being increased. The rest of the flyer attempted to use this as leverage in extorting the recipient to sign up for bill payment by credit-card or direct debit.

If there was a viable alternative I'd be thinking about changing something, but it wouldn't be my method of payment. I have a very strong aversion to letting someone else take arbitrary amounts of money from my bank account, and if I'm going to have a question about my bill it's going to be before the corporate gets it's hands on any of my money, not after.

I don't mind that they're changing their T&C, but they could have just sent a letter (or an email). I'm not sure what ticks me off about this leaflet more:

The casual and impersonal insinuation that I might not pay my bills on time / be able to manage my money
- by extension (as I am a fairy unremarkable customer with a good payment history) that they don't trust any of their customers to pay on time - and what does that say about TCs company culture / relationship with it's customers?

The fact that they are trying to change my behaviour through the use of threat and intimidation
- subtext of the flyer is "ooo, if you don't pay your bill on time we might have to send the collectors after you, we wouldn't want that would we, better change to this other way of paying".

Compare this to Meridian Energy's way of encouraging people to pay on time - where TC is using the stick they use the carrot. That 10% discount (disregarding for the moment the fact that their prices are doubtless lifted to compensate) makes you feel good about getting in early, rather than making you feel threatened by not getting in on time.

Apropos of energy companies, Powershop is offering discounted power at the weekends, if you happen to live in Christchurch/Central Canterbury and have a Smart Meter installed.

It's claimed to be the "the first smart-meter product in New Zealand".

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