Fake jewellery
Fake jewellery (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

My other half just picked up some stuff from as gifts. Their web site states that they’re genuine, and they’re not. All knock-offs and not at knock-off prices. The stuff we received was a) partially incorrect and b) crap. Damaged, badly made and obviously sub-standard.

There is no indication of where they are located – it turns out when the stuff arrived that it’s China. They also took more off Gillian’s debt card that they were authorised to do so.

Correspondence with them (via a Yahoo email address…) has resulted in them claiming that it’s “not worth” refunding as the postage charges would be so high to return it. They offered £10 (of a £70+ transaction). Then £13. Now £18. It’s like haggling.

Unsure if trading standards will touch it, but the web site takes GBP payments and is a domain so I think I’ll be making a complaint to their registrar. A quick search on popped up a story about “Operation Papworth” a couple of years ago where 1,219 similar Asia-based sites were taken offline.

We’re looking at talking to the bank and using something called Chargeback – further details on the Which? web site.

Please PLEASE share and repost elsewhere. If they won’t refund our relatively small amount after defrauding us, then perhaps some negative advertising will cost them more. – you are thieves, fraudsters, liars and scum. I hope you die a severely unpleasant death, that lingers for many hours until you are begging to be put out of your misery.


I contacted the four jewellery manufacturers for whom the frauds list themselves as authorised resellers. Tiffany & Co have already replied and were very grateful for the heads up, and the additional details I gave them about the domain registration. Apparently the domain is owned by a lady in Belfast, according to the whois data. I reckon this is a crock as well, frankly.

The domain registrar did have a look, but said there was nothing wrong with the site that they could see which is fair enough. On the front it looks genuine, it’s after the purchase has gone through that you find out they’re scammers. I’ve forwarded them the correspondence we exchanged with the thieving ******** afterwards.

Also, our bank have said they’ll issue a Chargeback against the transaction which means we get a full refund from the thieves’ bank account.

So as a result of trying to screw us over, they’ve lost not only a sale minus a small overhead but the entire sale, plus postage, plus the shoddy goods they sent out. In addition, there’s every chance their domain will be taken off them as well.

Do not mess with my other half. I will hunt you down…


From their domain registrar:


Thank you for your response. We have asked the owner of the domain to remove all the infringing content from their website within the next 24hrs, failure in doing so will result in suspension of his domain. We would also request you to file a complaint against this domain with your local cyber crime department.

PDR Abuse Team.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Reply from Cineworld

Cineworld (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After sending my original missive (Dear @ cineworld…) on June 20th, I waited the three working days I was told by the automated email for a response. I then chased them and was told they’d not received it and could I mail them it again? I did. Five days later I chased it again. Apparently they didn’t get it. I sent it again. Over 2 weeks later and finally I have a response.

Do note that Gillian has already cancelled her card and I am trying to cancel mine. Perhaps I should have rung them like she did, but the terms and conditions clearly state that they only accept cancellations in writing by post or email… and then don’t furnish you with the details to contact them via either! The main reason for cancellation is impending babyhood, in fairness.

Their response follows. My comments inserted and will be in my reply back:

Thank you for contacting Cineworld.

I would like to apologise if you feel that there is a lack of 2D films at Cineworld Glasgow Parkhead and Renfrew Street. I can advise that we do aim to screen as many 2D versions of our 3D films as possible. We do also rely on the film distributors in providing us with enough 2D prints of their 3d films in order for us to distribute them to as many of our cinemas as possible.

This doesn’t explain the single, solitary 2D performance of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter at Parkhead, being shown at 13:30 each day. The cinema obviously had a print of the film which could have been shown more than once per day. They chose to show it only once, and at a time completely inconvenient to anyone with a job!

Our Film Buying department do also analyse the popularity of the performances that are screened on a weekly basis. Depending on the box office success of the performances, adjustments do have to be made. We are however always happy to receive customer feedback with regards to any aspect of the service we are providing to our customers.

I would expect nothing less. However, let’s take the situation above which prompted me to contact you in the first place. I would guess that there were very few bums on seats for this 13:30 performance, which in turn is going to make the 2D performances seem somewhat unpopular. After all, far more people paid to see the 3D ones. Is there any chance this was because they were on at a far more convenient time?

My background is science. You cannot get good, sensible, comparable results without comparing closely-related data. When designing an experiment you change as few variables as possible between runs. In this case, for instance, your variable should only be whether the performance is 2D or 3D. You should otherwise be comparing screenings at the same time of day, on the same day of the week, and at the same distance away from pay-day. Any data collected about the “popularity” of AL:VH in 2D at Parkhead that week  is therefore useless or, worse, wildly inaccurate.

All customer comments are taken on board and if there are any changes that can be made as a result of this, every effort will be made to do so. In light of your comments, I have passed on your feedback to the Film Buying department in our continuing efforts to collate customer feedback.

Thanks for that. It is appreciated.

I would also like to apologise if you feel that the lack of advance booking with your Unlimited card is not suitable. I can advise that your unlimited card is like your credit card, personalised for each individual. It is vitally important staff issue tickets to the correct customer, and the photo on the card helps us identify customers. As with any service, there are terms and conditions members need to adhere to.

The condition, which you refer to, has always been part of your Unlimited contract. Please see condition 7.4 under ‘Unlimited terms of use’ at the back of your contract.

This condition has been set in place to reduce card misuse/fraud. Too often customers have given their tickets/cards to other customers to use. So to reduce this from happening, we can only issue tickets over the counter to the cardholder. This process has been put in place to safe guard our customers and make sure only they benefit from the subscription paid to us.

[The solution I mentioned was for Unlimited cardholders to be able to book online, but perhaps have their account linked to a debit card. If they didn’t pick up their tickets, then they’d be charged for them. This would help prevent people just booking seats which paying customers may want, and then not turning up for screenings. I specified that they could collect them at automated ticket machines as existing pre-bookers can do using their credit/debit cards]

You’ve made a very fair point as regards the fraudulent use of the cards. May I suggest, therefore, that I adjust my initial proposal slightly? The Unlimited card is still linked to a bank, debit or credit card so that the tickets must be paid for if they are not collected. However, the card holder must collect them directly from the box office rather than using an automated machine. This is, in fact, what I do with tickets I’ve pre-booked for the kids at Parkhead anyway.

This way, you’re covering yourselves from people bulk-booking tickets online and not using them. You’re enabling cardholders to pre-book so they can actually go as a family/friend group with non-cardholders. You’re preventing the risk of fraud or card misuse. As a bonus, at cinemas like Parkhead where tickets and concessions are sold at the same counter, you’re not missing out on the chance to up-sell food and drink.

OK, so we have to queue to get the tickets – but at least we know we’re going to be able to get them.

I can also advise that our toilets are checked and cleaned at regular intervals by our staff members. However, we do not have the resources to assign a member of staff to each toilet for an entire shift, so we do rely on the public being courteous to fellow customers by cleaning up after themselves and flushing toilets etc.

Of this, I have no doubt. The facilities in the cinemas are generally of a very high standard. The issue with Parkhead’s toilet isn’t down to someone not flushing, it’s been there for months and I fear it’s something that’s leaked and soaked in somewhere. I’m no plumber, though!

As a gesture of good will, I would like to offer you two complimentary Unlimited retail vouchers which are valid for either 1x Regular Popcorn, 1x Regular Dispensed Soft Drink, 1x Regular Hotdog, 1x Regular Nachos or 1x Regular Coffee for you to use during a future visit to Cineworld. This is with a view to having a much more pleasurable experience. If you would like to accept this offer, please reply to this email with your full postal address and we will have your vouchers sent out to you as soon as possible.

We appreciate the gesture and our address follows. However, do please note that my partner has already cancelled her card (although it still has a couple of weeks’ use left) and I am trying to cancel mine although – again – I’ve had no email response back in the stated time. I mailed on the 9th of July using the contact form on the website as no direct email address can be found on your website. The reference I received back was SA44322X.

I will likely give them a call today, but I do note that the Terms & Conditions clearly state that cancellation can only be done in writing, either by email or post. I only hope I haven’t missed a direct debit date as a result of this delay and will have the card for an extra month. Please be aware that we are primarily cancelling as my other half is due to give birth very imminently and it will be difficult for both of us to go out together for a couple of months.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to contact us with your feedback regarding your recent visits to Cineworld Glasgow Parkhead and Renfrew Street. We do appreciate all customer comments we do receive as this gives us the opportunity to improve the level of service we provide to our customers.

Kind regards

On the whole, a fair response but one which misses the point on a couple of issues. We’ll take the vouchers, but I’m not sure if we’ll get to use them around the baby arriving. We will miss our cinema trips, but it’s a) going to be hard round the new arrival and b) was getting frustrating seeing performances advertised that we couldn’t attend. It’s especially annoying when such things have been ongoing for years, people have complained and yet nothing has been done.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dear @cineworld …

Ah, we used to love you so much…

After a disappointing evening and some wasted time trying to see a film, I want to make some feelings clear with Cineworld that are hard to fit into a tweet. They’re good at replying to them – whoever monitors their Twitter feed does a good job – but too many things are bothering myself and Gillian these days.

First up, we’re heartily sick of 3D films. We don’t want to see them, they’re a rubbish novelty that exists only to rake in money for cinemas showing them. I have it from various sources that the prints for films cost the same for a cinema to obtain regardless of whether it’s a 2D or 3D print. The same projector is used. So why is there a surcharge to watch the film in 3D? As far as I can tell, the only expense lies with the film-maker who’s decided to shell out thousands to turn a perfectly good film into a blurry, dull, migraine-inducing mess.

3D film technology should have been kicked in the head until it started to go cross-eyed and drool, dragged into the forest and left to die slowly of exposure.

It’s not the fact that you have to pay extra, per se. Assuming a film gets a 2D showing you can at least opt to go and watch that instead of being ripped off £1.50 plus extra for the eyewear if you’ve not already got some. Well, you can… sort of.

The 2D versions very much come second fiddle as far as both number of performances and actual performance times are concerned. To whit, the issue we had this evening.

Our preferred cinema is the Cineworld at Parkhead. It’s got free parking right by the door, is easy to get to while avoiding most traffic and the staff are lovely. OK, so it’s a little poky compared to the Renfrew Street behemoth but it’s far more convenient. The parking, right now, is quite important as Gillian’s 8 months pregnant and we have two other kids. Plus, parking in Glasgow before 6pm is bloody expensive.

Thing is, Parkhead only have one showing a day of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. And it’s at 13:30. Therefore, we can’t see it. Conversely, there are four screenings (three on Thursday) of the 3D version. This is incredibly annoying. We’re essentially being told that, despite paying a monthly fee for an Unlimited Card each, we don’t have the freedom to choose which films we want to see.

I mentioned this on Twitter and they recommended going to Renfrew Street who had a showing at 6pm. Initially we thought “nah”, but relented and drove through. After battling through traffic and forking out for parking, we made it to the cinema to find that the 2D showing had sold out.

What a waste of time and money.

And it brings me to my second major point: not being able to pre-book using an Unlimited Card. More than once I’ve been in the queue, listening to someone who’s arrived with their friends or children and can’t get in to see a film. The others had pre-booked online, the Unlimited holder couldn’t and the showing has sold out.

I have “discussed” this over Twitter, as have others, with Cineworld and I can understand their one over-riding concern: people booking tickets online and then not showing up, thus depriving other paying customers of seats. I absolutely agree, this is something that shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

So I suggest the following. Allow Unlimited holders to book online. Give them the same restrictions as are already in place (although this actually varies from cinema to cinema) in that they can’t book another ticket until the showing for the one they’ve reserved is finished. In addition, if they do not collect their ticket, they get a “strike”. Each card-holder gets one free strike per month. The second time they fail to collect a pre-booked ticket in a one-month period, they lose the ability to pre-book for 3 months.

The one strike seems fair. Sometimes things just happen – the bus doesn’t come, the kids start to projectile vomit just as you’re leaving the house, whatever. But it should stop people being frivolous.

Alternatively, if a pre-booked ticket isn’t taken then the card-holder is charged for it at the standard rate, a debit/credit card being required to make the booking but not being charged otherwise.

Surely the technology is pretty much in place to manage this?

I just feel like a second-class customer despite forking out a reasonable sum each month of guaranteed income for Cineworld.

As things stand, Gillian’s likely to cancel her Unlimited card when baby SkullKrusher arrives. I was going to keep mine, but I’m thinking more and more about just cancelling it. I love going to the cinema, especially for big action films. But it’s reaching the point where it’s inconvenient finding a showing that we can guarantee seeing and which isn’t in 3D.

With the advent of the likes of NetFlix etc., we could be paying a lot less just to watch them on the telly at home when it actually suits us – and for less each month. Sure, it’s not the same, but it’s cheaper and less stressful.

Don’t get me wrong. On the whole we like Cineworld, the staff, the experience. We just feel we’re getting a raw deal right now and we’re, frankly, pissed off at the time wasted this evening compounded by the two issues highlighted above.

So there you have my points:

1) Give some respect to those of us who don’t want to watch 3D films.

2) Let Unlimited holders pre-book

3) Find out what’s making that awful stale piss smell in the gents’ loo at Parkhead (and has been for months) and sort it out. Please. It’s minging.

Just thought I’d throw that last one in there while I’m on a roll.

Enhanced by Zemanta – yet another dodgy retailer

Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...
Cheap prices, no concept of consumer rights

I buy quite a lot from Amazon. I like them. Cheap, convenient, easy to find anything you want… but like any company, their true colours only come to the fore when you try to get money back off them. As I am now discovering.

In January 2011 I bought an Acer Aspire 5742Z laptop. I’m using it right now – just. I like it, still do. Except for one problem. It’s taken to overheating somewhat rapidly and shutting down if I do too much on it. By “too much”, I can mean watching 6 YouTube videos in a row. Or recoding an mp4 video as avi. Or re-encoding a pile of mp3s. Or playing a game. Or opening Chrome with 12 tabs to restore.

Up until around February, this simply wasn’t an issue. I started to notice the machine resetting a bit for no adequate reason. Then I noticed the fan was going mental more than it used to. I did the obvious and checked it for obstructions, gave it a blast out with air, ensured it wasn’t blocked externally, elevated the machine a little more from the flat, hard surface it was being used on and so forth.

None of this helped. In fact, it gradually got worse. I bought an external fan which the machine is currently sat on top of, and installed some core temperature monitoring software (Core Temp v0.99.7, if  you’re interested). This revealed that, while idling (ie around 25-35% CPU tending to background tasks), my CPU was averaging around 70 degrees C. This was with the external fan. It used to idle nearer 40 – 50 degrees without the fan.

Try and run anything processor-intensive and it rises into the 80’s. If it hits 90 the machine shuts down as it is meant to.

This makes it impossible to perform tasks such as video conversion as it powers off before it’s managed to make it through one file.

Basically, it’s broken. There is a fault within the machine that was present when it was purchased which has taken until now to manifest itself, and it is getting progressively worse.

I contacted Acer who told me “Sorry, but it’s out of the 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. We may be able to fix it, but it’ll likely cost you.” Fair enough.

I then contacted Amazon who said “Sorry, but we only give a year’s warranty on electrical goods. Take it to the manufacturer.” This is bullshit.

There’s a little thing called the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (amended 1994) which states that goods should be:

  • Of a Satisfactory Quality, i.e. of a standard that a reasonable person would consider to be satisfactory – generally free from fault or defect, as well as being fit for their usual purpose, of a reasonable appearance and finish, safe and durable
  • Fit for the purpose – as well as being fit for the purpose for which they are generally sold, goods should also be fit for any specific or particular purpose made known at the time of the agreement
  • As described – goods should correspond with any description applied to them. This could be verbally, words or pictures on a sign, packaging or an advert.

These rights are valid for 5 years (Scotland) or 6 years (England / Wales) from the date of purchase, and the responsible party is the retailer not the manufacturer. If an item has become faulty within 6 months of purchase, it’s a no-brainer. After that, it’s the duty of the customer to prove the fault was there at the time of purchase and isn’t the result of accidental damage, negligence, etc.

Of note is the fact that good should be expected to last for a reasonable length of time based on their value, branding and so forth. There is no hard and fast rule under law for that but (and I got this example from another website) a £600 TV should be expected to last more than 18 months, whereas a £12 kettle maybe not so much. I’ve got a £380 laptop that’s started to fail after 13 months and is now unusable for one of the purposes for which I purchased it after 15.
Also of interest is that if an item was bought using a credit card – even if part-purchased e.g. part cash/part credit – the credit card company is also liable. I paid with £60-ish worth of vouchers, but the balance on, ironically enough, an branded credit card. I’ll be talking to them tomorrow as well.

Now, I don’t expect a full swap out for a brand new item. I’d be happy with a replacement of the exact same machine. I’d also be fine if they repaired it and covered the costs – to which I am most definitely entitled. I will also insist that my rights are reserved in that should I accept the repair I do not waive my rights to future refunds should those repairs fail.

But in the meantime, I’m trying to talk to a brick wall at Amazon who stated that if I wanted to pursue the matter I would have to raise it via a solicitor.

A solicitor. For a failing laptop which is utterly, totally, in black and white their responsibility under publicly-available British law.

Amazon, you are seriously having a joke.

My jobs tomorrow:

1) Contact Amazon again as I don’t expect them to be back in touch though they said they would be
2) Contact Acer again to see if they’ll do an out of warranty repair – you never know. If they refuse to do it for free, then get a quote.
3) Contact the credit card company and inform them of the situation
4) Contact Citizen’s Advice and the Trading Standards offices
5) Get hold of some papers for Small Claims

… in that order.

So just a word of warning, folks. If you buy electrical goods via Amazon, don’t expect them to be aware of your consumer rights. In fact, expect them to lie outright to you down the phone and claim you don’t have any rights and that any attempts to utilise said rights will have to involve you paying for a solicitor.

Updates as they occur.


A lot of what I was going to mention was posted by Chris in the Comments. Amazon Europe is based in Luxembourg and therefore come under European Law. The Sale of Goods Act supercedes those regulations as it’s actually more restrictive and beneficial to the consumer, but should a retailer argue that they’re not within the UK (which is actually no argument at all) then they still fall within European legislation.

Amazon have already been “spoken to” by the Luxembourg government for being… well… **** as far as customer care is concerned. However, this seems to have had no affect, and the authorities don’t seem to have bothered exacting any of the punishments they legally could. As such, Amazon are continuing in their merry way, pissing on customers.

I wrote to Amazon and explained to them what I would do:

1) Check with Acer in case it was a known fault with the unit, in which case there was a chance they would repair it (outside of warranty) for free

2) Otherwise, check with a local repair shop as to the problem and any possible solution. Obtain a quote and expect it to be dealt with by Amazon as per my rights under the Distance Selling regulations

3) If no luck was forthcoming, take my quote to the Small Claims Court and just wait for them to sort it out

Amazon’s response was a strange one. They offered me £57 in Amazon vouchers or a £76 refund. I think, though this wasn’t made clear, that the refund option would involve me sending them my laptop. They claimed this was a good will gesture in recompense for a laptop that had been used for 16 months (the warranty is for 12), and in no way was them agreeing to my terms. They believed (my arse) that they had no responsibility within the laws mentioned to resolve any issues.

As it turned out, I could get the unit opened and fixed for around £65 (it was a fault with the unit, present as a result of manufacturing error), which I did and claimed the £57 in vouchers. I made it clear that I reserved the right to contact them again should further faults appear and that I was not accepting the vouchers in lieu of their responsibilities, but as payment for them as they were legally obliged to recompense me for the repair.

Amazon responded that they were mistaken with the original amounts and increased the vouchers to £76 which were credited to my account shortly thereafter.

I just don’t get this. They refuse to admit liability (although they are, in law, liable) and then give me more than I claimed as recompense.

Surely it would make more sense economically to give me the amount I claimed (cheaper for them) and from a business point of view to make a customer happy by saying “yes, of course” in the first place?

Like Chris, I am now wary about using Amazon for large purchases. A shame – for them – as I’ve never had such an issue before and, in fact, bought a lot such stuff from them in the past. Well done on being dicks and rattling a very loyal customer, Amazon. Seriously stupid.


Enhanced by Zemanta

An open letter to Mike Russell

Curious to see if I get a reply:

Mr Russell,

I would be glad if you would clarify your statement on STV this evening that, I quote, “‘The actions of the Government and Local Government along with the new deal with teachers will ensure there are more jobs next year.”

I ask as your own figures state that there will be a drop of 1057 jobs this year. Far be it from from me, as a Computing teacher, to tread on the toes of the Maths or English departments to argue numbers or semantics, but I usually associate a “drop” with a lessening, i.e. resulting in a lower number. Not an increase, as the word “more” implies.

Or, dare I say it, are you just lying to the public in a bid to gain support while you destroy our education system?

Many thanks, (etc.)

If you want to ask him yourself, he’s available at

Enhanced by Zemanta