Category Archives: big brands

Insurance – it’s a rip-off, FACT!

Yep it’s true, your insurance company is a rip-off merchant – they all are – and if you speak to nice man at the AA he agrees with you!

Evidence?  Oh you want evidence do you?  Right then…

Just recently I received renewal letters (well actually I didn’t, I got a letter and some emails that said I would be sent them) for 2 car insurance policies I hold. Actuallyl I had to log in to my “account” and then download the pdfs of the renewal “invitations”, as they are called these days.  On that description – invitation is hardly the correct word, especially if you’re promised one via email or letter and they never arrive!!  I prefer the term “warning letter” as in if you do nothing we’ll just take your money!

I noticed that one of these policies showed an increase of 20% in the premium and further to that it showed the details of a “no fault” claim (there was no “claim” they were informed for information purposes only (a 3rd party company dealt with things) and it also stated in a box called “Recovery made” the word YES!  Now this was plainly wrong so I decided to call the insurer to try and understand things better…that was a mistake!

The very nice man on the other end of the phone simply couldn’t or wouldn’t give me a reason as to why my premium had increased by 20% – I have to say at this point that in a previous year I had been given reasons why the premium had changed so I wasn’t buying this lack of information.  Whilst this call was ongoing I also read the other policy renewal invitation and to my “surprise” it showed that the premium had actually fallen by 2.5%!  WTF!!! Naturally I enquired as to why this might be – all the while the nagging thought that the bastards had upped my premium because of this “no-fault claim”!   So I pressured for an answer, I want to have the details.

He said he would need to place me on hold, briefly, while he discussed the matter with his boss. Well it was a bit longer than “briefly” but eventually he came back and gave a list of factors that the underwriters had told him – inflation, the fact that my car was no longer made which made the parts more expensive, the rate of crime etc etc.  Given that the other policy had shown a decline it was a simple matter to rebutt the majority of these and the only obvious factor that might have had an impact would be the price of car parts – but since the car had stopped being made in 2008 this also seemed unlikely.

As it was clear, to me, that the increase was purely down to the incident in March of last year (interestingly this was before last year’s renewal which didn’t show a 20% increase – rather a significant decrease!) which presumably had finally filtered through their system and perhaps some form of “recovery” was indeed made – albeit not to my knowledge!!

I have asked them to supply me the details of why the think my premium should be increased by 20% and will in all likelihood pass the information to the insurance ombudsman for action.

So why am I taking this hard line and calling all insurance companies rip-off merchants?  Well that’s simple.

Well my next move was to tell eSure – yes it was them – to *** off and cancel both policies and then hit the search engines looking for a new deal.

Having entered all my details into multiple comparison sites ( I did try Direct Line but their premium was just a joke – how they can justify their advertising claims to Trading and Advertising Standards departments I do not know!) it seemed that the AA was the best deal.  I clicked to complete the deal on the AA site but I got a message saying that their system had thrown a wobbly so I’d need to call – so I called.

The very nice man from the AA took the quote number and got the details pdq.  He was able to tell me that the date I’d entered for the end of my existing policy was out by one day so he amended that and then said OK he had to things check against an industry database…..guess what…he informed me that the no-fault claim was there and then quoted me a price which was 20% more than the price I’d been quoted online!

I expressed my concern that the information on the database was causing the extra cost to em – and he agreed, said the same thing had happened to him last year and said he agreed with me that this was rather sharp practice.  So there we have it the reason my premium was increased.  I’m still going to see what bullshit eSure come out with to support their version of events and yes I’ll still send the information off to the ombudsman.

Why?  Well in a no-fault situation when you’re either happily driving along the road or as in my case stationary in a line of traffic you are not causing anyone any problems – it just happens that you are on the road.  Now when you request your policy you have to input how many miles you will be doing in a year and unsurprisingly the more you do the higher your premium – well that’s perfectly logical – there’s more chance of you being in an accident the more time/miles you spend/drive on the road.  So why isn’t this where the risk of a no-fault accident is covered off?

Well basically because they can get away with it – they are able to rip you off by effectively charging twice for the same risk – being on the highway and obeying all the laws!

Personally I think that stinks, I think it’s profiteering and it’s a total rip-off and I don’t believe that the insurance industry should be able to get away with it any longer – that’s why I shall be bringing this matter to the attention of the Financial Ombudsman – if you want to do the same here’s how!

 

 

Amazon Fire issues – is there an Echo in here?

OK here’s the advice from Amazon on closing your account….


About Closing Your Account

After your account is closed, it’s no longer accessible by you or anyone else. You won’t be able to access your order history or print a proof of purchase or an invoice.

Consequently you will no longer have access to:

  • Your customer profile including your reviews, discussion posts and customer images
  • Your Amazon.co.uk Marketplace account
  • Digital content related to Amazon Music, or your Amazon Appstore purchases
  • Content and subscriptions for Kindle
  • Accounts at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Amazon.com.br, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it or Amazon.es
  • Your account at Amazon Local UK and Amazon Payments
  • Your Amazon.co.uk Partner Program account, if applicable, or your Amazon.co.uk Associates account
  • Your Audible.co.uk account and audio books from Audible.co.uk
  • Your account at LOVEFiLM, or your Amazon Video account
  • Your Lists, if applicable, or About You page
  • Your Account at Amazon.co.uk
  • Your access to Author Central and related author’s pages

Note: If you own a Kindle and have your account closed, you’ll no longer have access to any Kindle content and subscriptions via this account. Consequently, we’d suggest that you download and save any content that you haven’t already downloaded or permanently saved on your Kindle before you have your account closed.

To close your account, please contact us to request that your account be closed.

Note: If you contact us to close your account, please let us know that you’ve read and understood the above information and that you agree to the terms of closing your account. This will mean that your request can be dealt with more quickly.

If you want to change your e-mail address or remove a payment method from your account, you don’t need to close your account. For more information on updating your account, go to Change Your Account Settings.


And here’s the problem….I have several Amazon devices which I’ve bought over the years.  You have to connect them to your account…ok so far?  Well not exactly…..

The Echo and the Echo Dots all connect fine, as do the Fire TV sticks unfortunately a pair of Echo Spots had to be returned and now a recent Fire 7 tablet is likely to go the same way.

I thought the problem lay with the Spots but clearly it’s a bigger issue.

Once you’ve allegedly “connected” to your Amazon account you should be able to enjoy all the smart home stuff that’s around the house already….er nope!  Well not with the Spots and now not with the Fire 7.   The Fire 7 is supposed to have Alexa built in – indeed it does!!  It quite happily tells you the temperature and the weather forecast but woe betide you should ask it to turn on or off some lights – no chance there – no smart devices connected!

The Alexa website and mobile apps show that the Fire 7 is there – but that it is offline…er, it can’t be if it can tell me the weather….

I’ve tried before to get assistance from Amazon (a total waste of time and effort!) but since I’d got another device type to exhibit the same problem I figured their might be a .com/.co.uk account issue here.  Hence why I’d like to get rid of the .com one – obviously being in the UK I don’t use it – and see if this solved the issue.  I’d already tried to change the email address on my .com account but this also changed it on my .co.uk account…

So WTF to do?  Surely I can’t be the only person experiencing this – I’m not!!  So why is Amazon being so unhelpful and reading the help above so intransigent?

Well clearly because they can – assholes!

 

Remixes – good thing or bad thing?

I was on my way to work this morning, driving down a particularly quiet M4 and listening to the Chris Evans Breakfast show on Radio 2 – which is quite often my wont! The “long song gong” went just after 8 and Chris informed us listeners that we were going to here the whole 6 minutes and 7 seconds of Unfinished Sympathy…hooray I thought…unfortunately the euphoria lasted about 6.07 seconds!!

What started playing wasn’t the 1991 classic but something else – apparently according to a quick search on Spotify the Paul Oakenfold remix – no no NO, Chris, wrong wrong WRONG!!!

I don’t want to hear his remix, nor the Nellee Hooper one (not even the 12″ one) – I want the one that has got over 30m plays on Spotify – that was originally released back in 1991! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MassiveAttack-UnfinishedSympathy.ogg It’s the one I remember from the first time around.

Now I’m not against a good remix – after all a remix can turn an average/good song into an absolute classic (I believe the youf call them “bangers”) – take the case of Republica’s Ready to Go… The original is a very keyboard heavy song that is interesting but not stunning – a remix by renowned American producer Ben Grosse, switching its keyboard focus for driving guitars, is just about the best song ever for driving along an open road. I defy you to keep still and stop your toes tapping – it just can’t be done.

A quick bit of googling and hey presto there are loads of people who are clearly making a damn fine living from remixing… “list of famous remixers” not that I’ve heard of any of them!! Although I have heard of Nelle Hooper – what that man did with 6 Underground by the Sneaker Pimps is stunning

On the other side though to add balance Fatboy Slim and Simon Thornton’s remix of the Mock Turtles “Can you dig it” is an abomination – sound weird sucking noises that have been added to spoil the original clean cut!!

So in summary the message here is – think very carefully Mr/Mrs Mixer before you decide to do your own “thang” with a tune – sometimes less is actually more!!

Amazon doesn’t like criticism

tenor

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Amazon is definitely getting a bit touchy.  They really don’t like criticism – even when it’s totally justified.

Your review could not be posted.

Thanks for submitting a customer review on Amazon. Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/review-guidelines

As you will have seen from my previous post I’ve been having a bit of an issue with my new Echo spot – as in it doesn’t work properly – neither the original one nor the replacement they sent me are working properly.  I’ve been waiting now since 24th January to get a working unit and I’ve been pretty patient – given that they’ve got £120 of my money!!  I did warn them that I might give it a 1 start review and I have just done so..but as you can see they won’t publish it…so I will 🙂

  from paul west on 05 February 2018

Don’t buy it until they’ve sorted out the bugs

I was really looking forward to receiving my Spot, I pre-ordered it and it arrived on Jan 24th. But things have gone downhill from that point. It was a real pain to get it to connect to my wifi network and then when I’d done that, and could see it was listed in my phone’s Alexa app (and in the web app too) I couldn’t get it go change from “offline” – even though it would do the basic things like tell me the weather. A replacement unit which arrived on the 26th has suffered the same issues. Issues which I’m still waiting to hear back from Amazon about. It’s been several days since they last told me they hadn’t sorted it. Over to you Amazon…when are you going to sort it?

In the meantime DON’T BUY IT!

Now that strikes me a pretty factual, it covers my experience with the device and it isn’t profane…so pretty much in line with their guidelines, and here those are.

We encourage you to revise your review and submit it again. A few common issues to keep in mind:

  • Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at www.amazon.co.uk/feedback.
  • We do not allow profane or obscene content. This applies to adult products too.
  • Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.
  • Please do not include URLs external to Amazon or personally identifiable content in your review.

So Amazon – back to you.  I’ll be posting this on social media – that seems fair – well if you’re going to ignore my review I feel a bit disappointed, a bit cheated, and £120 out of pocket right now.

Tagged , ,

Amazon fails to deliver

Has the mighty behemoth finally reached tipping the point?  Have their systems finally fallen apart at the seams?  Has their desire to deliver profits and cash flow begun to impact on customer experience?

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Well in my recent experience there is evidence to support the propositions set out in the 2nd and 3rd questions – and frankly given their dominance in the marketplace – that’s very worrying!

Up till now I’ve been an avid supporter for Amazon for over 10 years – I love their product – I’ve loved their delivery service but in the past 48 hours I’m beginning to think that all is not well on the Bezos front.

First off, I pre-ordered an Echo Spot (I’ve already got an Echo and a couple of Dots) and, as expected, it arrived on the expected day. Connecting it to my wifi network wasn’t the simplest of things but eventually I managed it.  It then asked me to download the latest version of the Alexa app and install it….well my app is already up to date… hmmmm!

Image result for Echo SpotI could see it listed in the list of devices but it said that it was offline…well it wasn’t ‘coz I could get it to do some stuff like play TuneIn music or set an alarm.  But when I asked it to play something from my Spotify account the problem emerged.  It asked me to connect my Spotify Premium account to my Amazon Prime account…er, they are already…. so it transpires that the device, although connected to my Amazon account is operating as a standalone device which I’m unable to configure or make appear online so I can control the other elements of my “smart” home.  I even went through the [process of factory resetting it and reconnecting it all over again!!  Cue phone call to Amazon customer services.

Now they are really polite, and apologetic and, through the dark arts they perform, were able to “see” my Spot and even extract connection logs to investigate but you know what?  This smacks of a company rushing a product to market without fully testing it.  I wonder if other UK users are suffering similar issues, although a quick Google doesn’t offer anything but hey it only hit customers yesterday!!

So I’m waiting for them to investigate the problem and get back to me – but hey if I don’t hear by tomorrow they have it back!!

So that’s the first problem…. The second revolves around a present for my daughter.

I ordered an Amazon product which was shown as being out of stock but available at the end of the month.  As I’m seeing my daughter this weekend for an early birthday celebration (she’s working on the actual day) I arranged for it to be delivered to her home address as the predicted availability date was after this weekend but still in time for her birthday.

Cool tech savvy dad – huh?

The next thing is that I get an email saying the delivery date is now before this weekend!  so what does one do?  Well obviously you see if you can change the delivery address – natch!  Just one slight problem…you can’t do it on the Amazon website… Luckily, after a bit of digging on the site I managed to establish a chat session and was reassured that this wasn’t a problem and that the nice lady from Amazon would be tracking the issue personally and sort it.

Move forward 24 hours.

I get an email from Amazon saying that the item has been despatched and guess what?  Yup, the delivery address has NOT been changed.  Cue second chat session.  Again very polite but basically asking me to wait 24-48 hours for an update by email….what?  If nothing changes it might have been delivered in 24 hours!!  And I would miss out on the pleasure of being able to hand it to my daughter and see her open the present.

The new polite person is unable to do anything as the old polite person is following this issue personally and he isn’t able to connect me to her…so basically I’m stuffed, though I’m still bemused as to why I can’t change the delivery address before the item has been despatched yet I can cancel the whole order – doh!

Maybe amazon is like a rubber balloon.  It’s growth as it has been inflated has been phenomenal (isn’t Bezos now the world’s richest person?) but maybe it’s sprung a small leak – now that could go one of two ways…..

Either the balloon slowly shrivels up and dies or it explodes into a million pieces….well all I can say is that now you have been warned.

26th January update – and guess what?  They delivered it to my daughter’s address – despite being asked specifically not to and promising to sort it…

 

esure rip off merchants

I have 2 car insurance policies with e-sure – in the near future I may have none!

I have just received a renewal invitation for one of them and this is what is says:

Thank you for choosing esure to take care of your car insurance needs for the past year. It’s now time to renew your policy and I am delighted to provide your new Schedule and Certificate of Motor Insurance
Your premium for the next 12 months is £295.52 including any optional extras and excluding interest.

Blah, blah, blah small print stuff….

Your premium last year was £216.33, including optional extras and excluding interest. This takes into account any
changes you may have made since you took out your policy and shows what the full year’s premium would have
been had these changes been in place from your cover start date.


Wow that’s some increase!! So I called them.

Now I do have to point out that during this past year I was involved in a shunt in that the person behind me was pushed into me by the person behind her!! I contacted esure but was then contacted by the person at fault’s insurers who handled the whole thing and told me to tell esure this and that the previous call was just “for information only” – which I did.

So when the nice man with the Scottish accent takes my call and I tell him my premium has gone up by 40% he has a look at my policy and then says oh that’s partially to do with the increase in insurance tax from 6% to 12% (OK that’s 6% – so what about the other 34%) then he says I can see there was a claim on the account – er, NO THERE WASN’T I correct him – oh yes he says so then he says the reason si that there was a massive increase in the number of personal injury lawyers making personal injury claims last year – he says you probably read about in the press!!

At this point I ask if that rise was in excess of 30% and he says well no, and I go on to point out that these sort of claims are not a new thing and have been going on for ages and the industry has been saying that premiums have had to rise because of them for years….

So either esure ARE penalising me for informing that I was involved in a NO FAULT accident or they are using the opportunity to blame premium increases by huge amounts because of a situation they were already aware of.

Personally I think they’re profiteering. However in a couple of weeks I should be receiving the renewal invitation for my other car – let’s see if that premium has shot up – I wonder!!

TomTom – NO!

Crunchwear.com describes the TomTom Touch Cardio as a “sleek new design and optical heart-rate monitoring”.  Sadly it’s not a TomTom Go – it’s a TomTom – NO!!

Normally you, as a company with a new product imminent, will tease the media, maybe even handing out review units, to encourage people to review it – hopefully favourably, well they didn’t send me one 😦

That slight aside, I have had the chance to read the Crunchwear review and the TomTom website product information – and there are a couple of issues I’d like to bring your attention to.

First off the review on Feb 8th ends up with a message saying that it will available in March at £89.99 – the company’s website says £129.99! Wow that’s a big difference for a product which, “body composition” apart, is inferior to the Xiaomi Mi Band2 which only costs around £35. 

And, secondly, not only is it a fraction of the price it’s also waterproof.  Why oh why did TomTom not make this premium priced device waterproof?   As their website says “Do not immerse in water (swimming, surfing, bathing)” – while, at the same time, exhorting me to wear it all day!  Doh!

These lapses worry me.  I’d expect a company such as TomTom to have got  their collective s**t together – this isn’t the first wearable device they’ve launched.

There have been enough generations of wearables for companies to realise what the customer actually wants (don’t even get me started on the “notifications” that it delivers – yawn!!  So friends, despite the device being made to TomTom’s usual high technical  standards and build quality (like I said I’m inferring this as they didn’t send me a review copy – harrumph) I can’t recommend you buy this – #WTRSAYSNO!

 

 

Sorry, vodafone, I just don’t have the time

I’ve just organised a new phone deal for my son. Yea gods it was worth than pulling teeth. Clearly Vodafone staff have been told to drag their heels, refuse to listen to their customers and blatantly waste their time in an attempt to get them to give up trying to leave!

For your delectation I give you – in it’s full glory – the 30 minutes of my life I won’t get back – and this after having spent an earlier section of the chat trying to gain access to my online account!!

Info at 12:51, Mar 6:
Please wait while you’re being transferred to the appropriate team.
Info at 12:51, Mar 6:
You’re now chatting with Lydia Georgia. Please note this conversation may be recorded for training and quality purposes. For more information on how we handle your personal data please visit our privacy policy at vodafone.co.uk/privacy.

Lydia Georgia at 12:51, Mar 6:
Hi, you’re speaking with Lydia today one of Vodafone’s retention specialists, I can see that this chat has been transferred from another department, please allow me a few moments to read back your previous chat.

Lydia Georgia at 12:53, Mar 6:
Good Afternoon Adrian, I hope you are well
I understand the number in question is xxxxxxx, bear with me a moment whilst I load your account on my system

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 12:56, Mar 6:
??

Lydia Georgia at 12:57, Mar 6:
I can see you have already been through security with the previous agent
Lydia Georgia at 12:57, Mar 6:
I understand you are looking for a PAC code with your number, May I ask why you have decided to not upgrade this pay monthly service with Vodafone?

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 12:57, Mar 6:
Because I can get a better deal elsewhere

Lydia Georgia at 12:57, Mar 6:
Would you be kind enough as to share the deal you have seen else where with me please?

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 12:58, Mar 6:
no

Lydia Georgia at 12:59, Mar 6:
The reason I ask is that I work in a very flexible team here and as such are able to offer you some great discounts to reward you for your loyalty that you may not be aware of.

I can offer you fantastic discounts on both handsets or SIM only plans – Would you be looking to upgrade to a new phone?

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:00, Mar 6:
I’ve done my research already. If you really cared you would have offered better deals on your website – as we know better deals are always ogfered to new customers than existing customers- that’s just the way you guys work – you don’t reward loyalty enough!
CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:03, Mar 6:
??

Lydia Georgia at 13:03, Mar 6:
I can see you have been with us for a very long time now Adrian, I completely understand you’re looking to reduce the costs when it comes to an upgrade – I’m like that myself with my pay monthly agreements and want to get the best possible for my money.

It would be a shame to waste such good deals and offers and lose a valued and loyal customer like yourself.
I do respect your decision to leave but I can often tailor make a plan to suit your needs and usage, if you tell me what is important to you for your plan and budget then I will see exactly what we can get you today, it’s always worth a look

Lydia Georgia at 13:05, Mar 6:
I can look into your usage for you as well to find the best possible plan for your upgrade whether it is a handset or a SIM only plan

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:06, Mar 6:
Right now I’m thinking to myslef that you are wasting my time. You are already going to charge me an early termination charge – perhaps I should counter charge you for wasting my time….

Lydia Georgia at 13:07, Mar 6:
I can see you are within the last 30 days of your agreement Adrian so if you were to cancel or request a PAC code you will only receive a final bill and there would be no early termination charge.

If you were to upgrade as well there would be no charges included either

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:09, Mar 6:
So issue me with the PAC code I requested – I can see from my bill I’ve already paid you up to 3rd April…

Lydia Georgia at 13:10, Mar 6:
Yes but from when you use your PAC code a final bill will be generated – this will be for the usage up until your number has transferred to your new network provider

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:10, Mar 6:
So I’ll be issued a credit if I can get things sorted quicker then….

Lydia Georgia at 13:11, Mar 6:
Once you have been disconnected, the final bill for the number will be created on the next billing date after the disconnection has occurred, this bill will include confirmation of the disconnection and any refunds for extra line rentals paid the previous month.

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:12, Mar 6:
still waiting….

Lydia Georgia at 13:12, Mar 6:
Looking at your usage as an example of what we can offer – for a SIM only with your discount in mind I can offer you 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of 4G data on a 12 month SIM only plan for £9.00 per month including VAT

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:13, Mar 6:
FFS enough – I have given you the required notice that I am not going to renew or extend my contract with you. Please issue me with a PAC which I can take to my new provider!

Lydia Georgia at 13:15, Mar 6:
Certainly, I understand. The only reason I am asking as above is because as you will appreciate I have a job to do and as part of the retention’s department I also have to look into retaining a customer as well.

I appreciate that you are busy, we can certainly help you with your request today as quickly as possible. We would however, not like to you to make any hasty decisions to leave though as we are here to make sure you are offered the best plan.

Lydia Georgia at 13:15, Mar 6:
I can finish that request for a PAC code now, bear with me a moment please

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:16, Mar 6:
No you are wasting my time…22 minutes of it to be precise so far

CANT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT at 13:17, Mar 6:
Finally!!

Lydia Georgia at 13:17, Mar 6:
Won’t be a moment 🙂

Lydia Georgia at 13:19, Mar 6:
You will receive the PAC via an SMS, which will be sent in the next 2 hours.
It will be sent directly to the mobile phone number to which it is assigned, and will be valid for 30 days only.
Once you have been disconnected, the final bill for the number will be created on the next billing date after the disconnection has occurred, this bill will include confirmation of the disconnection and any refunds for extra line rentals paid the previous month.

Please note you must use your PAC to disconnect the number, you do this by supplying your new provider with the PAC, if you do not use the PAC within the validity period of 30 days your service will remain connected and you will continue to be billed monthly for the number.
Lydia Georgia at 13:21, Mar 6:
Is there anything else I can help you out with at all today ?

…and now you see the reason for the title of this post!!

Amazon using bullying techniques – Jeff Bezos must be a friend of Trumps!

OK let’s set this in context – I love the Amazon Echo. It’s fab. OK it’s expensive to automate your home still but the future of devices such as the Echo are massive. I bought mine from the states and had it shipped over here months ago I was so keen to get my hands on one. Well as of today my views on it have changed dramatically!

Simon, the chap who has been running http://www.amazonechouk.com has received a letter from Amazon’s lawyers telling to take the site down.

Now I can understand Amazon wanting control of the url – that is one thing. Surely the decent thing – as the site is so positive about the device – would have been to make an offer to buy it – wouldn’t it? Or to tell him that he really should change the url becuase it could be thought of as an official Amazon site – that’s fair enough.

But bullying tactics are the worst possible way to try and achieve this. Not only will the community find alternative ways of discussing the Echo – and what a bunch of monkeys amazon clearly are in other ways btu the reputation of Amazon and the echo has been severely damaged – potentially fatally. Two words…. Google Home!

Google Home

If you want to find out how to get one here in the uk – click this link. The AI already sounds as though it might be better than Amazon’s

Personally I’m both disappointed and outraged that Amazon should act in this way. And I’m not the only one. This is the conversation on the site form this morning….

I am posting this without having any connection to Simon other than as a user of his site. I have not asked his permission to do this. It is a freedom of speech issue.

Amazon have demanded this site is taken down
Date: December 1, 2016
Author: Simon
24 Comments
Today I received a letter from Amazon lawyers saying that this site, which has set out to help Amazon echo owners, be removed.

For that reason there will be some changes around here. As I was doing this just for fun and to help people with the echo, and made no money from the site it’s not worth me helping them any more. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

I hope I helped people and want to say thank you everyone who has commented or just read the posts, there was a really positive community growing here and people were always polite and kind to each other, something that is rare on-line these days.

Take care and good luck.

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24 THOUGHTS ON “AMAZON HAVE DEMANDED THIS SITE IS TAKEN DOWN” Add Comment
marcoscu222
December 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm
How mean spirited of them and makes me all the more inclined to believe the horror stories I have read about how Amazon is run.

Roll on the Google Home in the UK.

Liked by 1 person

Reply
Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm
I’m so disappointed. If they’d just politely contacted me and asked me if I could work with them or perhaps offer to run the site for me, I’d have been fine with it, but to be. Threatened by a legal team is low.

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musingsonmatters
December 2, 2016 at 9:21 am
Exactly – talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I’ve used my Echo account to send some feedback to customer services – expressing the very same view!!

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Mark Reed
December 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm
As owner of highly respected Hardware review site hardwareHeaven.com I am very disappointed in Amazon for this move. My 12 year old Son and I have happily been playing with that Amazon echo, Alexa and apps for nine months now. I wanted to use the device to help him understand how voice and AI will shape the next 10 years. Sites like this help Early adopters get a head start and can help nurture excitement of new technology. Very, very, very disappointed in Amazon

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm
Thank you for your comment! Love your site!

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joes4u
December 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm
I’m going to return my echo and never shop on Amazon again.

My wife and I spent £15k on there so far this year. We buy everything on there. I should I say bought…

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Thank you but you know what, we like their cheap prices and stuff… It’s our own making and I’m as guilty as anyone for supporting it. I will try to shop elsewhere now but I’ll probably find myself back on there from time to time. I feel a bit sad though, enjoyed writing on this site!

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Andrew
December 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm
Is there an email address we can all write to, to tell them the great service you have done them? It is down, at least in part, to your posts that I ran out and bought one; they should be grateful to you.
Many thanks

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm
I don’t think it would help, the letter came from a legal firm, on behalf of Amazon, so they aren’t even talking to me. They never even tried to contact me.

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm
It is a good point though, on launch day alone my stats showed that over 150 people linked from my post onto the Amazon echo page. I guess thousands will have gone there over the life of the site.

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musingsonmatters
December 2, 2016 at 9:22 am
If you’ve got an Echo account you can contact customer services that way.

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Phillip
December 1, 2016 at 9:48 pm
What a self-defeating piece of stupidity from Amazon. Shame you cant post the letter and leave that up for everyone to see…. or can you …. I’d love to understand their grounds for the demand.

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm
I’m not going to push it, slightly worried that they’ll attack me just for this post!

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Phillip
December 1, 2016 at 10:08 pm
I fully understand. I assume the heavy tactics are because they think you are usurping a domain name that makes it look like an official amazon domain and confusing customer? No need to answer of course. Still think its rotten.

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 10:15 pm
I think that’s what they’re saying but it’s hard to understand to be honest. They’re not clear or specific. Luckily I was just writing my new novel “echoes of the Amazon” so I can reuse the URL! What a treat

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Simon
December 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm
The thing is, this site was running way before Amazon announced plans to come to the UK, so it was a reasonable URL to take surely. Urgh, I don’t know.

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gardmal
December 2, 2016 at 5:28 am
They wont.

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Phillip
December 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm
Additionally : I have just submitted my review of the dot and echo and explicitly mentioned their heavy handed demand to remove the only useful resource I’ve found (other than their gibberish marketing guff promising features that … drum roll … dont exist in the UK….) Perhaps a few more comments might get their attention (if they post them that is….)

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gardmal
December 2, 2016 at 5:27 am
It is disappointing that Amazon did recognise the value of the site and instead of closing it supported instead. I share Philips view that it is the domain name that they have issue with rather than the contents of the site. My instincts would be to make a counter offer, which the lawyers are obliged to take to their client. As it is, there is nothing to stop you from moving the site to a new less contentious domain name, Lose any branding that may make it look like amazon and retain the existing domain name or sell to Amazon.

The objective here for the Amazon Lawyer is get the domain back onto the market so that Amazon can buy it. I would hang on to it and if Amazon want it let them buy it from you. You could also redirect the domain to something like “http://ok-google.io/”. That would irritate them but not much they could do about it. Also I doubt the lawyers can do much about the your service if it is on a different domain. You are in the UK and you are protected by freedom of speech laws.

Their only real beef if they can show that you are intentionally (or even unintentionally) passing yourself off as Amazon. Caveats on your site and postings stating clearly that you are not Amazon and do not speak for them would put paid to that complaint.

My advice is don’t panic, stand your ground, ask them what they want, not what are they demanding. It would be a pity to see this site and your service to close because of heavy handedness.

Just remember the Amazon brand is important to them, and protecting it and obtaining that domain name is what this is all about. The brand is trademarked but they would have to show that you intended to pass yourself off as Amazon or that their business was harmed by your posing as Amazon. The Courts are littered with these kind of cases but the bully tacits create fear at the start often gets companies like Amazon what they want early doors. Plus you do come up on page one when you type “Amazon Echo UK” but you are not at the tip.

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Stuart
December 2, 2016 at 8:24 am
Hi Simon,

What a shame! I really enjoyed this site, I came across it after pre-ordering the Echo, which I love by the way!

I am a Paralegal in a firm of Solicitors, and for what it’s worth, I agree with gardmal’s post timed at 2nd December 2016 5:27am (who is obviously an early bird!). It is scary to be contacted by lawyers, but a lot of those type of letters are designed to frighten the “lay person” into backing down, when actually that person is perfectly entitled to do what they are doing. Unfortunately most people cannot afford to instruct lawyers of their own to call their bluff.

There is no harm in going back to them along the lines gardmal suggests – you can down the site temporarily and can always bring it back up again? It may be they just want the domain name, and you can re-open the site under a different name or something?

Anyway – thanks for running the site to date and good luck!

Stuart

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Simon
December 2, 2016 at 8:36 am
Thanks Stuart, I think they want the URL so I’m going to use it as a site about the Amazon rainforest. Perhaps a novel…simply to not give in to what they want. I’ll see if I can keep the rest of the site on a free platform somehow, perhaps change the name…any suggestions?!

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Paul
December 2, 2016 at 8:37 am
I suggest this post is shared with their media targets also – Stuff, T3, CNet, Engadget, TechRadar, Huffington Post UK, Business Insider, BBC Tech, The Register etc – all of which have carried news coverage of the echo and some on getting it configured etc.

Also I would do it soon as the Amazon marketing guys in the US are pushing out stoies about the next wave of updates to Alexa AI.

All those outlets have editorial contact emails – email the outlets individually

stuff@haymarket.com
dan.grabham@futurenet.com, duncan.bell@futurenet.com, rob.carney@futurenet.com, gerald.lynch@futurenet.com, news@techradar.com
https://www.cnet.com/uk/profiles/caspertek/
https://www.engadget.com/about/tips/
HuffPostUK@huffingtonpost.com
sai@businessinsider.com
news@theregister.co.uk

The more people who tell them the more likely it will be picked up – plus do it sooner rather than later…

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Simon
December 2, 2016 at 8:51 am
I really appreciate it Paul but I dont have the time or money to try to fight any kind of campaign. I’m just going to fold unfortunately. As I said, I did this for fun…there are adverts on the site but since conception it has made £20 and the costs are above that so it costs me money to run it. It’s no fun if the company I was kind of helping are out to close me down. It just feels so over the top.

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musingsonmatters
December 2, 2016 at 9:13 am
There’s some good advice in the comments already and I agree they want the domain name for themselves. As others have said get the content onto another url and remove any intentional or unintentional Amazon branding.

If they continue to go down this heavy handed route then they will alienate loyal users of the echo who will start to think hmmm maybe Google’s Home will be a better alternative!

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Weather it’s enough to keep you connected

Yes I did mean to type that that headline title! It’s a play on words people… I’ve just read an article in the Guardian (well online actually) where Alex Hern writes that he has “finally taken off the Apple Watch for the last time”.

It took me nine months to realise it, but the only useful thing about Apple’s £479 smartwatch was the weather notifications

Ouch!! But it’s a sentiment that I share…I stopped wearing my Microsoft Band2 a couple of weeks ago – my Mi Band Puls is still on my right wrist, my proper watch on my left!

The author completely nails the issue in a single (but quite long) sentence:

“….a few fundamental flaws of the watch suffice to explain 95% of the issues: the watch is too slow to act as a speedy alternative to your phone; the user interface is too fiddly to use on the move; the notification model is too limited to do anything other than encourage you to pull out your phone repeatedly; and Siri sucks.

A similar catalogue or errors can be applied to the MS Band2. It’s too clumpy, it requires too much manual intervention to track activity, the battery sucks and it isn’t waterproof.

So, here we have 2 of the largest bands in the world taking £billions of our money and still not getting the point.

The technology is supposed to improve our lives, makers things easier to do, make things better and do things we wouldn’t previously been able to do. So instead of ramming tech into a small space with a tiny screen and a crappy battery why not think what the customer actually wants….

  1. Something comfortable and stylish to wear 24/7.
  2. Excellent battery life
  3. A touchscreen I can read outdoors
  4. Notifications that mean something
  5. health/activity tracking – the standard package
  6. Waterproof

I’d suggest using an e-ink screen with a horizontal display as a starting point…..Fitbit Alpha sort of size for the whole shebang and sure I’d be happy to pay £200 for that because as long as the software/firmware keeps getting updated the device should last me for years, not just a few months which appears to be the current lifetime for some of the devices on the market- alright almost all of them!!!

Perhaps the industry’s desire to keep making us buy the next iteration (to keep their profits rolling in) is why they keep dumping these half-arsed products on the market. Nobody, as I mean NOBODY has got it right yet.

So if there’s someone out there with a couple of £million to spare I reckon I could come up with the goods in a few months – all I need is a few techies to integrate the stuff that’s already out there in the public domain – and yes, I am being serious here!!