Thursday, 24 July 2014

.. and now for something completely different, an anti-rant! Thank you Richer Sounds and Apple...

Why don’t I write more often, because all I do is whinge and moan, and it’s not healthy to write negatively all the time. My grievances are though not without substance, they are very genuine and often not addressed. ‘Often’ is quite important here, because the service I have received from Richer Sounds and Apple (Apple are now in my bad books for reasons that will appear in a later blog) left me, well, gobsmacked. In effect the ‘service’ I have been ‘provided’ by Orange, Google, Acer and ‘friends’ has been so appallingly bad that I just didn’t expect any better. I wrote this some time back, December last year, but better late than never.

The amazing Richer Sounds experience!

So first up Richer Sounds, I simply told them that I wasn’t happy with Humax’s service, and even suggested that selling Humax products doesn’t enhance their brand. They took the trouble to read my comments, and most surprisingly, offered a refund on something I had purchase almost two years ago. Initially I decided to decline the offer of a refund. I was intent with just registering my unhappiness

However the Humax box died and was subsequently replaced; I’d managed to overlook something critical. The 500GB of almost exclusively HD recordings that I had kept a backup of, and managed for over a year, using no less than an Excel worksheet to keep track of, simply didn’t work on the new box! I knew they were encrypted, and wouldn’t play on anything other than a Foxsat HDR box, but it turns out they won’t play on ANY other box other than the one they were recorded on. I’m quite sure it was just the power board that had died, had they taken it away, replaced that and returned it, that would have been fine. But they did what looked like a useful service, collect the dead one and leave you with a new one, but this knocked the stuffing out of the ‘Sky+ HD’ is closed and Humax is open and therefore better justification, and my recording efforts.

The neglected Sky+ HD box was pressed back into service, and first major surprise, new UI, it looks quite cool now, second surprise, no overnight crashes, in fact none at all. So it was never the hardware, it was the blinking software all along. Most striking is that the image quality for non-hi-def transmissions (now there’s an olde word!) are of a noticeable better quality. 

Now I e-mailed Richer Sounds back and asked for refund. They agreed. I tried to bring it near Christmas, but I was told they will be closing until Boxing Day, and as it would be busy, later would be better. So I thought, OK, maybe I shouldn’t be in such a rush to get rid of the Humax box. However on Boxing Day, I received an e-mail instead asking when I wish to bring it in! Amazing I thought, they remembered, even though I was still in two minds about a refund. As I was about to reply saying that I’ll be bringing it the next day, I thought, looking back at my messages, it is not explicitly obvious that I bought it almost two years ago, the only references was my blog post URL, and I’ll turn up at the store and be told, a refund, on a purchase that old? You must be joking. Now you might think otherwise, but I don’t like confrontations, I’d rather avoid them, and I do take a good deal of poor service before I snap and make my displeasure known. I thought I’d e-mail them and make sure that they know how old it is, the reply came, yes, the refund is on. Next step went down to the store, a chap starts taking details, another appears,’ ah the chaps who’s been e-mailing’, ‘yes it’s me’, and that was it, they started to do the paperwork for a refund. They asked for the card used to pay, and I thought, oh no, this reminds of a shoe shop argument some ten years back where they insisted I bring the card back I used to pay for it, as my brother had bought it me as a gift that didn’t fit, they were concerned that I’d be ‘ripping off’ my brother. We gave up and left back then. This time however it was a case of give any card. So I did, and it was done! Double wow! So retailers have THAT much latitude with regards to refunds, they just choose not to offer it?

Well done Apple too! (No longer! Details to follow).

Next up Apple, yes ours is an Android phones, but Apple tablets, household. Imagine my surprise when my son goes to sleep 23rd of December, wakes up on the 24th with a dead iPad mini. Dead, totally dead, we switched chargers, leads, hard resets (long press home and off etc.) nowt happened. So we went to the Apple store (Trafford Centre) the same day, it was detour in a planned journey, and arrived as it was closing, so I was able to ask a few questions. Is it OK that I didn’t buy it from Apple? The answer was ‘yes’. Next question, when can I bring it in? ‘The 26th, though we prefer you book a Genius bar appointment’. So I went home and looked at making an appointment. The nearest was almost a week away, so I booked one. Then I thought, why not just post it back myself, and decided to try to book an on-line return, so I cancelled the appointment. The website went through the motions of wanting to run diagnostics with it connected, but it was dead Jim, totally dead. So with the on-line status stuck on awaiting diagnostics, two days later, we knew we’d be going by the Apple Store yet again, so we walked in and I was expecting fireworks. I am not going to describe what I was expecting, read my older entries for that sort of thing. So first up, no appointment, no problem, a chap assigned me slot that was due in 10 minutes. OK, that’s not bad. So 10 minutes passed by quickly, and a young chap had a look at the iPad, confirmed that we had nothing important on it and if wipe would be OK to get it going. He tried charging it briefly, tried to turn it on, no response. So he turns around, opens a cabinet and pulls out a box. Whoa! He’s not just about to replace this on the spot within five minutes of seeing us is he? Yes he was!  Here’s your replacement iPad, you still have 200 odd days of warranty left. Well I was stunned, I had only a few weeks back upgraded to a Sony Xperia Z1 from a Z, because I had no smartphone to use whilst Sony (or rather their repair agent SBE) took almost two weeks to repair and return it.

So with the Humax box gone, and the Sky+ HD box in use, we concluded that we really to miss being able to series link, though the desire to keep a series has now been diminished by the manner in which we lost years’ worth of recordings. So the Sky+ box is there, but no longer being used either, the ancient Sony RDR-HXD910 is pressed back into action, it was used as a DVD player, long ago. It has series link and dual tuner Freeview, but no Hi-Def. However the speed at which it operates really surprised us, the Humax box’s slowness is now all the more apparent. The series link, well it appears to start bang on time, and hasn’t missed recording a complete programme no end clipping, for the few weeks it’s been running . However the image quality is grotty to say the least. Now my telly, the Samsung 59” 3D-TV does have a Freeview HD tuner, but no way of recoding anything. It does, it appears to have the feature on the remote control, but it doesn’t work for me. There is now a new ‘fight’ on with Samsung, the start has not been good, and it doesn’t bode well for how this will proceed.

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