Avoid Bristol Cameras

Avoid Bristol Cameras

Update 27/11/11

I note that the returns page has now removed the non-existent / functional email address I refer to below, so *something* has fed back and been achieved – not that anyone has been in touch to get any more detail, ask for a right of reply, or work out what they could have done to be better. I also note that googling for ‘Bristol Cameras’ brings this page in at number two, so hopefully at least I’m helping you guys make an informed purchasing decision

I have deliberately left this a month from complaining (ranting?) at Bristol Cameras to give them every opportunity to fix, resolve, and generally be better, but they haven’t. As of now if you’re thinking of buying a new digital camera or accessories online then Bristol Cameras may not be for you, avoid Bristol Cameras.
Background, I was in the market for a decent wrist strap and a spare battery for my Canon G12, not surprisingly I wanted the best deal, so a Googling I went. The end result was with me at Bristol Cameras website where they had listed (not specifically claiming in stock) what I wanted, adding in carriage was a fair price, and my background checks showed no horror stories (till now?) and they seemed legit. This was the 10th May 2011.

I received my order confirmation email from a ‘no-reply@’ address (not unusual) and got on with life.

On the 16th May I had heard and recieved nothing and wanted to query the ETA, spotting the email address I went hunting over at the Bristol Cameras website, nothing obvious, the contact us page was empty other than an 0844 number and snail mail, but thankfully the Bristol Cameras returns page (http://www.bristolcameras…) offered me shop@bristolcameras.co.uk so an email was sent asking for an update. Edit: Image removed as host where image lived no longer exists, thank you Skitch / Evernote!The next day I got an email back stating that the wrist strap was out of stock. Knowing that I would have to purchase elsewhere (and incur another shipping charge) I replied asking them to cancel the entire order as I didn’t want to split with another vendor and loose money.

They ignored this email, shipped the battery, and charged me for it anyway. Now, I have no idea if they have *ever* read or replied to any of my emails, certainly none ever bounced back, and seems a co-incidence that I got the out of stock email a day after I contacted them.

I didn’t complain, assumed they had mis-interpreted my email and just cancelled the out of stock element.

On the 21st June I got another email with an order up date, wrist strap still out of stock 🙁 Annoyed, I pinged another email back to shop@bristolcameras.co.uk making it quite clear I did not want the wrist strap and to cancel the remaining order.

All quiet until the 7th July, Good News! The wrist strap is in stock and will be shipped shortly, **not amused**. Especially as it’s gone 5pm when I read this and they could have shipped already, no choice but premium rate 0844 with an impressive ire on me.

Which gets worse, they don’t answer, well their phone system does, but a human doesn’t, so I’m on hold and paying for it. Looking at the Bristol Cameras contact page doesn’t help, ‘the shop’ is open till 5, ‘mail order’ till 5.30′ there’s only one mind, the 0844 one. At this point I’m still paying, so I google some more for alternative numbers and dial them all on my mobile (still on hold on land line), but at this point it’s gone 5.30 so assuming all gone home, not that their phone system seems to know, it’s still suggesting someone will answer, at 5pm. I’m pretty sure the won’t, and after half an hour hang up, spin off a vitriolic email, and wait till morning.

In fact I wait till late morning to give them a chance to respond, they don’t, so I call (at 5pm again). To sum up, they don’t care, no apology, only a grumble that an email address is actually published on their own site, that apparently is a mistake! They are an E-commerce trader and actually admit to not wanting to communicate electronically? Daft thing is I’ve given them a month and it’s still there 🙁 But then the key revenue stream for Bristol Cameras seems to be from 0844 call share, and you guessed it, no apology for a phone system that keeps you on hold even when there’s no one to pick up, probably disappointed that I didn’t hang on longer.
This isn’t the worst case of Customer Service ever, but it’s bad and it’s a sad fact that these days people only seem to learn the hard way once we the disgruntled consumer start shouting, hence am typing. Bristol Cameras clearly have no respect for their customers, 0844 only and no published (working) email address just doesn’t cut the mustard for an online trader, it’s against all best practice. So if you where thinking of placing an order with Bristol Cameras then don’t, in my opinion Avoid Bristol Cameras
Rant Over

The Supermarket Shuffle – Moving it from ‘A’ to god knows where

I’m not stupid (subjective I know!), I understand why supermarkets re-arrange the entire store, it’s so that we’re forced to walk up/down, left/right to find what we’re looking for, it forces us to be subjected to all sorts of new marketing, promotions, products that we wouldn’t normally in robot shopping mode, but it pisses me off! How can any marketing method that involves annoying the clients be a good thing!
Suspect this comes into the ‘Everyone else does it’ so it’s ok category, well stop being a sheep and be different, different is good, make a point of being different. Today’s vitriol is aimed at Morrisons, but don’t think the rest of you get off scot free, all I wanted was to dash in, grab some paracetamol, and be gone. They managed to introduce the self scan tills to improve and accelerate my shopping experience, and then took it all away by making me wander lost, resorting to navigating by signs above the aisles that have no reference to what’s in them.

Initially this was worthy of a mention under ‘Change is Bad’, but i was tired and had 20 minutes in the car to self rant so you get a page all to yourself 🙂

Rant over

Out of My Way! (Swimming)

Excuses first, am not ageist, and I have no more right to be anywhere or do anything than anyone else, but…

… I swim, most who see me would argue I should swim more, and I was trying.  Time is precious in this overly hectic world we live in and I choose to go to a Gym because it has a decent 25metre pool, for swimming, I can jump in, do my time lengths in the hope of little interruption and get on.  Sometimes it’s busy, sometimes am in the lanes and you have to share with others (There are direction boards and in the main reasonable lane discipline), sometimes you get stuck with someone at a completely different pace to you, but ok that’s the exception, but I’ve always got my swim done.

Today I didn’t, it was busy, 7.30 in the morning and at that time the average age of the patrons is pensionable, as it happened the one half of the pool that’s laned was full (2+ in each of the lanes) so I went to squeeze in the other half, there were 5 people in there.  I went for the biggest gap, not a lot, but my expectations were that people would scooch up a little either way and let me in.  I don’t want to interfere with their swimming session, but I do want mine too.  Nope, in particular on one side he was plodding up and down , I swear being deliberately stubbon, but most definately not showing any consideration to me or others, didn’t budge an inch.  I managed about 10 lengths, moving up behind people, moving diagonally across as people passed in the opposite direction, accelerating past, and then repeating in reverse (Am not a fast swimmer but on average much faster at my stready pace than the regulars at that time of day).  The lady to my right was to her credit trying to give me some space, but was met with someone equally as stubborn as the gent to my left, outside of her who was barely moving and using as much width as she was tall, I think she was scared to get too close to the rope 🙁

So I got out, I was doing as much distance width ways as in lengths, and it was just not working, so instead of working out any stress I ended up with more, good start.  Consideration for others is all I ask, I’ve paid my membership as much as them (actually I’ve paid twice as much as that particular set of patrons – but that’s probably ageism), and have as much right to a swim (but no more).  Yes, they were in there first, and yes modern lifestyle is too busy that I didn’t have the luxury of time to wait, but there was plenty of room if I’d been met with the rare quality of consideration for others around us, instead I swear I got blank arrogant stubborness – Rant Over.

Change is Bad …

… or it’s a good excuse to have something to be miserable and moan about (not that I’m getting old, or British, what about the weather eh?)
We’ll start with;

  • Snickers – Never forgiven them, it’s a Marathon ok! (Bugging me Since 1990)
  • Google’s bigger search box, don’t like, it looks odd (September 2009)
  • The Supermarket Shuffle – Moving stuff about so I can’t find it anymore (Always)