Tag Archives : Customer Service


MMU Students Grades Jeopardised Due To Communication Amongst Examiners Going Down In Flames During Power Cut & Fire Alarm In Final Year Exam

Things go wrong, its the nature of life, so when they do one of two things can happen. For those events which we know will happen we take steps to prevent them form occurring in the first place, and everyones a winner. For those events which are so general in nature and so rare, preventing them from occurring would be neither practical or cost effective, therefore we must embrace the fact that things in life just happen, and instead have a contingency plan in place should they occur. Arguably there is no more important event in the student calendar than that of exams. Like many reading this blog, I have sat more than I care to remember, starting from the ones in primary school, GCSE’s, A-levels and finally the exams taken for my undergraduate degree at The University of Salford. Whilst the contents of the papers themselves may have caused problems, the problems were confined to my lack of preparation, and therefore any issue with the outcome would result in the blame landing squarely at my feet. This year was not the case. Following on from my undergraduate days, I took the Graduate Diploma in Law degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Their wisdom to have seven, three hour papers spanned over 2 weeks is neither ideal and will most likely form the subject of a different post, however this year unlike any other I felt prepared for the exams. I walked into the exam with confidence knowing that shortly the several months of hard graft would be over, and that for once in my life, I would truly get the grade I deserved. Criminal Law, the fourth exam, that marked the halfway point took place on the 25th May 2012, and not unlike the others started promptly at 10:00am. Upon turning over the paper I held my breath as I scoured the questions for the topic I had revised. I was in luck not only were the questions what I had prepared for, but were similar to several past ones I had attempted to the run up to entering the exam room. Just over 2 hours into the paper we were plunged into darkness, no it wasn’t divine intervention, it was a power cut. A few moments later the fire alarm sounded and we were told to evacuate the building. The notice on every answer booklet we had received stated ‘in the event of a fire alarm, wait until instructions are given by the examiners’, this lead us to believe that things were in control, oh how they weren’t. Exiting the building we were surrounded by students, staff and examiners alike bemused as to why such an event happened during this time of year. Our group of five didn’t worry too much, the examiners stated that it would most likely be a fault, and if the need be, simply relocate to another room to finish the paper. 45 minutes later, and a tan shade darker from standing in the sun, we had received several messages, all contradictory. Firstly the exam would continue in the original building, then it would continue but in a different venue, and finally to complete the set of mixed signals, that we would be allowed to enter the building for 15 minutes only to collect our belongings and the exam would not continue. Lets pause for a moment there, was the power cut and fire alarm totally unforeseeable? Well judging by the statement on the front of the exam booklets it wasn’t, and whilst it was undesirable, MMU gave the impression that should this once in a lifetime event occur, plans would be in place to relocate. After all there were only five of us sitting that paper, we could have easily relocated. From then on it was a communication meltdown by staff at MMU, people didn’t know what was happening as, unsurprisingly, this event had never occurred before. The one message which was however communicated was that whatever happens, we would not be at a disadvantage to the others who sat the exam. We therefore deduced a number of possible outcomes. The first, and the most preferable one was that they would mark what we did, taking into account the time we had spent, and the time we had remaining. This had the benefit of no new exam having to be sat, and that the questions attempted would have been uniformed in difficulty across the whole year. The second was one which the whole year (not just those who received extra time and whom were subject to the power cut / alarm) would have to retake the paper. This would have the benefit of everyone seeing the same questions and such same level of difficulty, not to mention the same level of inconvenience of having to re-sit the paper. However this option was soon discounted as it would most likely be too costly. The final option would be that we would be asked to re-sit a new exam at a later date. The downside of course is that there was no guarantee that the difficulty of the paper was uniformed across the whole year, as well as inconveniencing us for an issue that was not our fault, instead MMU’s. Today, a full 4 days after the event, we have received confirmation that the choice the examiners have gone with was the latter, with rescheduling taking place on Thursday 31st. The day after our 3 hour EU Law paper, and the day before our last exam Equity & Trusts; the day which we had all set aside for preparation of this exam. This decision was reached without consultation, and it is apparent that by placing this exam at this time will disadvantage us considerably, in two respects. Firstly that the Criminal Law exam will take place after revision on this topic has ceased. Secondly as the time taken to prepare and take this exam will prevent us from revising for the two remaining exams, EU and Equity & Trusts. It further transpires that other exams in that same building continued in […]


I Thought Sky Was Bad – Play.com Are Almost Worst!

Following ordering a product from Play.com I received an email asking me to phone in to verify my account for security reasons; not a problem as it is for my benefit. What is not for my benefit is being on hold for 50+ min on an 0845 number (costing me 20.4p) a min to sort this out. The full phone call cost over a third of what the product cost me! This means war! The saga continues…


My Sky Broadband Installation Experience – The Saga Is Over

Well, it would appear that my Sky Saga is coming to an end. You may recall that I arranged for Sky to fit the broadband in my new apartment in Manchester; to cut a long story short; they didn’t show up after I had arranged to take the day off work. This prompted me to send them a letter (click here for the letter), outlining that I found this behaviour and level of customer service unacceptable and asked for compensation. A week later I had still not received a reply, so I rang in to find that contrary to what I had asked for, a £30 credit had been placed on my account. I was asked to send in another letter to chase up a reply, which I did (click here for the second letter I sent to Sky). The time had then come for me to move in, so before I moved I went online to check to see if my broadband was active; it wasn’t. After I rang customer service they said that it could take up to another week. To say I was upset was an understatement; I flooded the Sky forums with my anger, however wanted to take things further; I wanted to email the CEO. A quick browse online found me the fantastic website CEOEmail.com I found the CEO for Sky, Jeremy Darroch and emailed him, and sent him attachments of the letters I had sent. One of his representatives emailed back (we shall call him Harry), and a tug of war soon developed; Harry refused to offer me any more than the £30 credit, and I refused to accept that pitiful amount. We had reached ‘deadlock’. Each of my replies to Harry were CC’ed to Jeremy however he refused to budge. I informed him that I would be taking this matter further, informing BBC Watchdog, the Ombudsman Service, and if need be, take them to small claims court to get the result I wanted. All went quiet for a few days, however last Thursday I decided to carry out my promise and send BBC Watchdog an email; however rather than just send them an email, I sent them a copy of every letter and every email I had sent; and most importantly I CC’ed Harry in so they could see that I didn’t make empty threats. A few hours later I received a call from a Sky representative (we shall call her Amy) out of the blue. She had read all the emails and letters prior to ringing me and was very polite and apologetic. We spoke about the problems that I had experienced, and confirmed that mistakes had been made in both the taking down of my email address, for confirmation purposes, and that no message was sent informing me that my presence wasn’t required for the installation of my broadband. It felt so good to finally be speaking to someone who was not only informed on the problems I had experienced, but recognised that I was entitled to be upset about the way I had been treated. Amy finally breached the issue of compensation; she understood that in this instance a £30 account credit wasn’t appropriate, and knew instantly that I had asked for £260 to cover loss of earnings, the aborted visit, and transportation costs; she offered to send me a £300 cheque, £40 more than I asked for; which I accepted. Where do I sit with Sky now? I do now consider this matter resolved, and I am happy with the outcome which I have got. I asked for compensation and after a long hard fight, I did get it. I am a realist and do understand that the larger a company grows there will always be a small percentage of customers who receive poor service, and no amount of training will solve that. Where a large company can set itself apart from its rivals is the amount of time it takes for them to put the mistake right. I do think (and think Sky would also admit it,) that this dragged on for longer than it needed to, and I am disappointed that Sky couldn’t resolve this prior to me having to involve 3rd parties to mediate – however that said and done I am pleased with the overall outcome, and will not be holding any grudges against Sky; they made a mistake, (eventually) admitted that they were wrong, and put it right – lets move on.   If you have a complaint against a large company what would I recommend that you do to get the result that you are after: Firstly and most importantly, when you speak to someone at a company, make a note of the date/time and length of time you were on the phone for (both waiting and speaking). Also get either the name of the person you are speaking to, or an ID number (something that identifies them from their colleagues) and an overview of what was discussed. If you can, ask them to email a confirmation of what was discussed. If you send a letter in, always send it recorded delivery, that way you are sure your complaint has arrived. If you feel you are getting no-where try and email the CEO by using the email from CEOEmail.com I found it useful to attach a copy of all letters/emails sent so that they (or their representative) can see what has been going on. When you put your complaint to them, also tell them what they can do to put it right. They will usually offer an ‘account credit’ as a ‘good will’ gesture however this amounts to free service which is charged at retail rate, and not the true cost to the company concerned. If you are out of pocket, you want to be reimbursed in cash. Never make threats or promises that you wont carry out or stick to. If you promise that you will take them to small claims court, do so; the chances are they will realise you mean […]


My Sky Broadband Installation Experience – So Far

The time had come to get broadband installed in my new place in Manchester. I decided to go with Sky, and it went downhill from there. Here is an open letter I have sent to them outlining what went wrong and what they can do to put it right. When I hear something from them, this will of course be updated. The saga continues…