Noo meejuh

Note to marketers, web junkies and the world in general. Media is a plural. Therefore, when you talk about “new media”, please do not say things like “New media is really useful” or “Is new media worthwhile for your business?”.

Thank you.

Three years

“What would you like to do for your birthday?”
“Go to Buwwa Market and buy pie!”
Some requests I’m very happy to meet. Happy birthday, Tom.

Printer news

I’ll keep this brief, as I’m sure it isn’t that interesting.

I finally received a reply from Canon on Friday, eight days after submitting my complaint/support request. The reply was clearly a template, telling me that they were sorry that I had a problem and asking me to define the details of the problem "including any error codes" and to ensure that I was using the correct drivers.

No mention of a response to my comments demanding a refund.

So, I hit reply and cut-and-pasted the section from my original email that described the problem whilst adding more complaints about the shoddy level of service, repeating my request for a refund and make a not-so-subtle threat to take the matter to Trading Standards. And guess what? I got an email back telling me that my email could not be dealt with and thanks for trying to contact them.

Rummaging through the fine print at the bottom of the email, I found a link to a webpage where I could submit my reply using a form. Which I duly did on Friday afternoon. Monday night, still no reply.

So, Canon, why can’t I reply to your email request for more information by the simple step of hitting "reply" on my mail client? And why can’t you reply quickly?

I’d seethe, but I can barely bother.

From the ****ing Hell department

I drive a car that is six years old. It has an about-average mileage on the clock. We bought it eleven months ago and, since then, it has done 19,000 miles. Two weeks ago, an emissions warning light began to glow on the dashboard. A quick flick through the handbook indicated that this was an item that needed referring to a garage – a quick couple of calls to local garages (not Renault dealers) indicated that this was a problem for a Renault dealer as they have the diagnostic kit needed.

A general prod around the car also showed that a drive shaft boot needed to be replaced. So, this morning, I dropped the car at our nearest Renault dealer and asked them to service the car and give a quote for the work needed to remedy these faults.

They called me back a little while ago. They’ve identified the emissions fault (oxygen sensor) and also found two problems with the power-assisted steering (leaking pump and switch). The total bill for this work is a substantial four-figure sum and equates to 50% of the price that we paid for the car. After I’d fallen off my chair, I said I’d call them back. As you can imagine, Hels wasn’t too impressed either.

My brother is a bit of a dab-hand with cars. I asked his opinion. Apparently, the entire drive shaft shouldn’t be more than about £80 to £100. The sensor should be about the same and take only 20 minutes to fit. All-in-all, he reckons that the Renault bods think they are on to a good thing and his advice was “get it out of there and take it somewhere else”.

I’ve got to pay for the service and the work done, but otherwise I’m going to take it to the garage that my father normally uses, a garage that comes recommended with the phrase “he won’t rip you off – he tells it like it is, but he won’t rip you off”. I don’t think the same can be said of the Renault dealer.

UPDATE: I’ve just done some research. I can find a drive shaft for £105 (quoted price: £494); the oxygen sensor goes for around £50 (quoted price: £241). I haven’t found prices for the power-assisted steering components, but on this form I would expect them to be closer to £125 than the quoted price of £513. If I can’t get this work done considerably cheaper elsewhere, I’ll eat the car.

links for 2007-05-03

links for 2007-04-17

Car update

We got my new car. It had a fault. It went back. They fixed it. Now I’ve found another fault (switch on the rear window washer and water squirts over the front windscreen – not right). It’s not going back for that – we’ll attempt to fix it (new washer motor, say the Renault forums).

Meanwhile, my old car is for sale on Ebay. The auction closes tomorrow night and looks very much like it will sell. Possibly for more than £21.

Dead car. Dead boring.

My car is officially dead. Not going anywhere. The entire rear brake system and handbrake assembly needs serious work. So, if anyone wants to buy a 1992 Peugeot 106 1.4 that can’t be driven anywhere, really cheap*, let me know.

As a result, Hels and I spent the whole of today looking for a replacement. We visited sixteen dealers. Count them. Sixteen. 16. One, followed by a six. I think my brain is about to melt.

It seems that there is a great shortage of cars that are in our price bracket. There are many that are very cheap (and, therefore, crap or knackered) and there are many that are more expensive than we can afford (and, therefore, very desirable). We only found six cars that were suitable candidates today, of which four were Renault Méganes. We’ve booked a test drive for our favourite of these for tomorrow morning, so I hope to have transport available again soon. This, undoubtedly, will be a Good Thing, although I would have been happier to have found some options that weren’t Méganes, just to broaden the choice.

But, honestly, there has to be an easier way. Anything we found on the internet was already sold, miles away or entirely unsuitable. Stuff in Autotrader also had the same problems. Ultimately, it comes down to getting out and pounding the streets to physically look at cars on the ground, which is tiring and time-consuming. What’s more, with so many types of cars (I’m not an expert by any means), it is virtually impossible to make meaningful comparisons even between two cars that appear superficially similar. Maybe we should just be like the Soviets and all have identical Ladas (well, perhaps something a little nicer than that).


* Really cheap = about £80 to £100, plus you have to organise a trailer to take it away.

EDIT: the test drive was a success. Surprisingly, it turns out that it is cheaper for me to insure the “new” car, so it will become mine, not Hels’s. I’m not in the least bit gleeful about this; not at all. Honest. I should take delivery (or, rather, drive 120 miles to get it) on Saturday.