The BBC and Master Computer Public Domain Library
Chamber of Horrors
Royal Mail 04/07/2005
For years I had very few problems with the Royal Mail. I was
sending out hundreds of items a month and don't recall more than a handful
of problems over several years. The last couple of years 2003 onwards I have
sent out virtually nothing at all as I have stopped selling things. However,
I seem to have had some terrible problems with items either getting smashed
in transit or just lost altogether. Over a year ago now, I sent a repaired
PC to someone, well packed and labelled 'do not drop' and 'fragile' all over
it. It arrived at the other end having obviously been mistreated, the case
was bent and the two hard drives had fallen out. I put in a claim but the
Post Office refused to pay because the recipient had not kept the packaging
(I had told him to hang on to it but he threw it away).
The latest incident took the biscuit though. The Post Office
managed to actually lose a Fiffes large banana box somewhere. It contained
a BBC, a keyboard and a lead. It did not arrive at its destination at all.
How on earth can they lose something the size of that? I reckon it was stolen
myself. Anyhow, I put in a claim (I insure all parcels). A couple of weeks
later, I received a letter from the Post Office telling me that they had written
a letter to the recipient and they had not received a response so they were
assuming the parcel had arrived and that the claim was not going to proceed.
I telephoned them up and asked them to check they had sent the letter to the
correct address. In fact they had missed one line out of it so I asked them
to send the letter again. Meanwhile, I had emailed the recipient to ask if
he had received a letter from the Post Office. He said he had replied to them
a week or so previously. What on earth was going on? The next day, a cheque
arrived. It was for the amount I had claimed but minus the cost of the postage
for the item. They told me that they were not refunding the postage as I would
have paid that any way.
This really was the last straw. I forked out pennies so that
they could lose a beeb for me. On the few previous occasions when I have made
a claim that they have honoured, they have always paid out the full claim.
I am quite annoyed that they are pedantic and petty enough to do this and
treat a customer this way. Postwatch tell me that they are of course within
their rights to not refund the postage as, apparently, there is no guarantee
that they are not going to abuse, steal or lose what you entrust to them.
The sooner they lose their monopoly on post the better. Set
of useless petty, incompetent pedants
eBay Buying Nightmare 25/06/2005
Click here to see a page about the horror of buying on
Grim Shopping Experience 19/01/2005
My oldest son bought a flat screen monitor from an electronics shop in
Scarborough about a week ago. On getting it back to his flat, he immediately
noticed that there was a problem with the display. He described it to me
and I suggested he tried it on another computer and updated drivers and
so on. He did all this and the problem remained. He asked me what I would
do. I told him that I would take it back to the shop and either get a replacement
or ask for my money back.
My son went back to the shop. The person in the shop set the screen up,
it showed the same distortion to the picture that my son had experienced.
The person in the shop offered to exchange the screen, they did not have
one in stock. My son did not want to wait so he asked for his money back.
The person in the shop refused to let him have his money back, but offered
to give him 80% back. My son then left the shop to ring me for advice. Unfortunately,
he left without either the monitor or his money! This proved to be a big
problem as when my son went back into the shop, the person in the shop refused
to let him have it back without signing a reciept to say the monitor was
At this point my son was confused and shocked by the person's awful bullying
manner. He rang me again for advice. I got the shop's telephone number to
speak to the person to see what was going on. I rang and the person who
had been speaking with my son answered, I asked who I was speaking to, he
would not give his name but asked if I was the father of the person stood
in front of him ... monitor.... I answered yes. He said he was not prepared
to speak with me unless I was a lawyer or from Trading Standards. His manner
and attitude were a little startling. However, I have a little more experience
when it comes to dealing with ignorant, churlish bullies. Mind you, there
is not a lot you can do when someone slams the telephone down on you which
is what he did.
This was bad enough for my son, but what hapenned then was very worrying.
My son was stood in the shop, arms folded and for no particular reason the
person in the shop said 'Did you just kick that?' And then threatened to
call the police if he did not get out of the shop immediately, he also threatened
that he would call the police if he returned to the shop.
Well, well, well. What a bit of a pickle this fellow has got himself into
eh? Needless to say, various avenues are now being followed. My son was
perfectly within his rights to ask for his money back in these circumstances.
The law is well and truly on his side and there are agencies that will ensure
traders don't get away with this sort of thing.
They would have given him 80% of his money back. This apparently is not
legal so I understand, they must make a full refund. I discovered that this
seems to be a policy of the company, it would seem that they are breaking
the law by offering this. I reckon that the situation is this: They refund
you your 80% for your faulty item. You go to another shop and buy something
else. They then send the faulty item off to the manufacturer and get a replacement
which they then sell at full price to another customer. Hey presto, 20%
profit for selling bust kit, wish I had thought of that when I was selling
Beeb stuff (not!). Oh, I sold you something bust? OK, I will refund you
80% of the money you paid me and then sell it to someone else instead. Yeah,
Anyhow, more on this later no doubt
The shop sent the screen away for checking at their Hull branch. On 24th
my son rang to see what was going on. He was told that they had checked
the monitor to find nothing wrong with it. They offered him 80% of his money
back or a replacement monitor, the same as the first. He decided to go for
the replacement. They told my son that they could not give him 100% of his
money back as they could not then sell the monitor as new. Now happens a
very interesting twist! In the mean time, today, I received a telephone
call from someone who has bought the very monitor that my son had taken
back. This person had paid FULL price for the monitor and thought it was
new and unused. When he found the guarantee card in the monitor with the
details my son had filled in on it, he asked the shop was his monitor new?
The shop told him that his monitor was new and that the guarantee cards
must have somehow got mixed up. However, the serial number on the card matches
the monitor serial number which also happens to be the same serial number
of the monitor my son had returned. Anyhow, I have put this fellow in touch
with my son.
My son received his replacement monitor. The replacement does
have a similar effect on the display but this is hardly noticable and is a
great improvement on the original. The manager of the Hull shop had viewed
the CCTV footage of his emloyee's behaviour in the Scarborough shop when dealing
with my son and said there were 'issues' there. What thet means I do not know.
Complete bollocks if you ask me
Lesson for my son and myself learned. Not to go in that particular
shop either in Scarborough or in Hull. OK, so Maplin and Currys etc charge
a bit more but at least you can take stuff back to them for refund or exchange
with no questions asked and no hassle whatsoever. That seems like good business
practice to me. A lot better than alledgedly talking down to, bullying, thieving
from and lying to your customers like Q****** do
PLEASE DO NOT BOUNCE YOUR SPAM!
I know that is very tempting to bounce your spam back to the sender to
fill their email box and teach them a lesson. However, I ask you to consider
this before you enable the bounce feature of your anti spam software:
Spammers hardly ever put a genuine return address in the spam. Quite often
they will use someone elses' email address. I know! 8bs.com has this problem.
I receive THOUSANDS of bounced emails each day from other people's anti
spam software. Telling me that an email I sent to them was rejected or some
similar statement. I of course did not send any such message, the spammer
used 8bs as the reply to address.
I receive relatively very little spam. However, I receive 2000 to 3000
emails a day from anti spam software bouncing messages to me. Ironic really,
that anti-spam is a far greater problem to me than spam
>This from my mate Bri on 13/02/2003:
Watch Out For WUMO's
What is a WUMO?
Simply: WESTERN UNION MONEY ORDER.
I recently sold an old collectable calculator to a customer in Japan through
one of the popular internet auction houses.
One of the payment options I used was Bidpay, who I had an account with.
I opened the account on the strength that
they offered to send UK account holders a British cheque made out in £'s
sterling, great I though, no conversion charges.
What I didn't know was that Bidpay charges $5 for the British cheque to
be issued and the smallest cheque amount they
can send is £5. There is no charge for a Wumo made out in US Dollars.
The original cost of the calculator was £4.00. The cost of sending
it to Japan was £2.81 (£6.81 in all) convert this amount
to US Dollars at the rate of $1.524 to the UK £1 (aprox), gives you
the total of the WUMO below.
Deducting $5, for the UK cheque issue, from the total gives you the amount
of $5.38, converted back to £,s sterling leaves you with
£3.54 which is of cause is below the minimum UK cheque amount of £5,
so, instead of charging the $5, they sent me a WUMO
to the full amount of $10.38
OK you may think Bidpay did me a favour, not really, the cost of cashing this
WUMO in my Lloyds TSB account is £8. ($12.19)
Needless to say I have since closed my Bidpay account.
16/12/2002 Well, what more can you say, but
THANK YOU POST OFFICE. Not
My Daughter sent me this one 30/11/2002:
Hello, thought you might all find this quite amusing!!! Love
Actual dialogue of a former Word Perfect Customer Support employee:
Ridge hall computer assistance; may I help you?
Yes, well, I'm having trouble with Word Perfect.
What sort of trouble?
Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.
Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?
It's blank; it wont accept anything when I type
Are you still in Word Perfect, or did you get out?
How do I tell?
Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?
What's a see-prompt?
Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?
There isnt any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type.
Does your monitor have a power indicator
What's a monitor? Its the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.
Does it have a little light that tells you that its on?
I don't know.
Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes
into it. Can you see that?
Yes, I think so.
Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if its plugged into the wall.
Yes, it is.
When you where behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables
plugged into the back of it, not just one?
Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.
Okay here it is.
Follow it for me, and tell me if its plugged securely into the back of your
I cant reach.
Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?
Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?
Oh, its not because I don't have the right angle, it's because it's dark.
Yes, the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from
Well, turn on the office light then.
No? Why not?
Because there's a power failure.
A power... a power failure? Aha, okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still
have the boxes and manuals and packaging stuff your computer came in?
Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.
Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was
when you got it. Then take it back to the store where you bought it from.
Really? Is it that bad?
Yes Im afraid it is
Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?
Tell them that your too ****ing stupid to own a computer.
How Not to Advertise a BBC For Sale
Well, that's my opinion any way. See what you think. This is
the text and photo for an EBay item:
Never seen one on ebay, it did work not long ago, but i got
rid of my biscuit tin monitors so i cant test it as of today, not been dropped
etc so i cant see whats changed, comes with single 40 sector drive, room for
3.5, i have some lying around and cables so i will chuck them in and its up
to you if you wanna set that bit up. I cant remember if theres any extras
inside, but this is a damn rare peice of hardware, wish i didnt have to sell.
It will come WELL PAKCED, i dont charge for handling, that p*sses me off,
i only charge the postage cost, maybe about 8-10 squids..... Payment in 7-10
days please. NO people with no feedback, if your genuine please email me first,
sorry about that. Ask me any questions, but like i said i cant test it now
and what you see is what you get. Can collect if in Sheffield.
This is another Ebay glamour photo. Photographed under a pile
of rubbish of all things! £38 starting price. No bids surprisingly enough
How About This Then?
Time wasters. I am at a loss to understand why people do it.
This fellow sent me the following e-mail enquiry on 20/01/2002:
Quote: "INTERESTED IN TAPE ONLY BBC B £30 GET BACK 2 ME ASAP 2
ARRANGE DETAILS CHEERS MATT ESSEX."
I replied with all the details. He replied the same day with:
Quote: "OK CHRIS THANX I'LL SEND PAYMENT WEDNESDAY
BY CHEQUE DETAILS WILL BE ON BACK 4 £40 MY ADDRESS:- MATT *******, **************,
*****,********. 01708-******* ANY PROBS!!"
A week later, nothing had arrived so I sent an e-mail prompting.
This was the reply on 29/01/2002:
Quote: "SORRY CHRIS HAD COMPLEATLY FORGOTTON ABOUT
THE bbC WILL SEND U CHEQUE ON FRIDAY."
On 17/02/2002, after I had still received nothing in the
post I received this reply to an e- mail I sent:
Quote: "Strange, Cheque has not cleared have canceled
it and sent a new 1 2 u 2day. This has gone a little wrong sorry about this
Finally on 19/03/2002 I received this e-mail after a further
prompt from myself:
Quote: "Gotcha I don't want old stuff mate cheers
c u around!!!"
25.07.2003 Can you believe this guy? I received the following e-mail
from the website from the same Matt. Has he forgotten he did this before or
is he taking the Mick?
I Want: I am interested in the following:- Electron boxed with
psu and manual for forty pounds and also Electron joystick with box the 9
pin 'D' type for 15 pounds also was wondering if you had the orginal Acorn
Electron tape player at all? Look forward to hearing from you.
Out of heroic courtesy, I replied with my usual thanks and details
to acquire the item
Then on 28.07.2003
THANX FOR YOUR REPLY I WILL HAVE THE ELECTRON BOXED WITH PSU
AND MANUAL FOR FORTY POUNDS I WILL FORWARD A CHEQUE TO YOU BY THE END OF THE
WEEK IF YOU COULD REPLY LETTING ME KNOW WHO TO MAKE THE CHEQUE PAYABLE TO
AND THE ADDRESS TO SEND TO TO I WILL INCLUDE A LETTER INCLUDING MY ADDRES
AND TELEPHONE NUMBER INCASE OF ANY PROBLEMS.
IF YOU COULD LET ME KNOW OF ANY ORGINAL ACORN ACCESSORIES AND
SOFTWARE FOR THE ELECTRON YOU COME ACCROSS IN THE FUTURE IT WOULD APPRECIATED.
HERE FROM YOU SOON
Out of the same heroic (ok now bordering on stupid) courtesy
I replied with the details. Then on 30.07.2003:
Matt here just to let you know I will be posting a cheque to
you tomorrow morning.
Hope that is OK
Needless to say, nothing has arrived here. What a
Matt sends an e-mail:
Like the idea I asked 4 it just joking no hard feelings mate
have a great christmas and a happy new year. Matt
Ho Ho Ho Matt. Really funny. I think I might go into a
shop and buy something for a joke too, say a whole shopping trolley full of
stuff at ASDA. When I get to the checkout, I will pack it all into bags and
let the assistant give me the bill. Then I will say, ah no, just a joke. After
we have all finished rolling about with laughter, I will walk out of the shop,
leaving everyone wondering what planet I am from. Zog maybe....
If I see Matt's mail in my mailbox in future I will delete it
unread. No hard feelings matey, I find your attitude amusing but I have better
things to do. Have you?
How not to post a ROM
This Rom was posted from Cyprus in a jiffy bag. Not surprisingly
it arrived flat.
How not to wire your BBC up
>How about this then? A neato extension to a Master 128 lead consisting
of parts of old cars and plenty of insulation tape. Safe as houses.
How not to print stuff out
Hewlett Packard 690c Deskjet. The Bane of my life. I HATED this bit of equipment.
It has cost me HUNDREDS of pounds and wasted HOURS of my time. AAAARRRGGHHHH
This is an example of how not to write an E-Mail to me:
I answered this fellow with a very short message, pointing him towards the
ideal help, who happened to be a person who I like a lot but I know for a fact
takes about 17 years to answer mails. Text copied faithfully from the original
Hi, i came accross yor website and wonder if i could as you a few questions.
I have got some hardware recently, to be honest i know nothing about them,
used Spectrums in the 80s, and infact still do today, so avoided the beeb
stuff on purpose!
Anyway recently i have got the following hardware, and i was wondering if
you knew anyone near to me, in Sheffield who knows who to test the stuff
So far i have 4 beebs, 2 work for sure, some have DFS roms and others, 2
make funny sounds, but hey thats all a beeb could do anyway! a Master, been
told it works but not even powered it up yet, 4 5.25 drives, 3 are twins, 4x
black 3.5's, again dont know if these work but if they do i wil use them for
my speccys, about a 1000 5.25 disks, books tapes and loads of other junk,
and a pile of monitors, oh and some A3000 ariches too.
Theres roms etc and some manuals.
If i know what works and what doesnt, i could put a half decent, well halfs
a too strong word a beeb, a set up that works and i can play about with it.
If you could help i would be grateful.