Archive for the 'Discounts' Category

Premium chat line

Posted by on June 16th 2011 in Car stuff, Discounts, Rambling on...

When my car-insurance renewal docket arrived last June I was so bemused by the hiked premium that I rang the insurers to check the reasons for the increase. After I'd listened to the explanation I was put on hold [cue the music] while the assistant went in search of a supervisor, and when the conversation resumed I was offered a 10% discount which I gratefully accepted.

Anyway, one year on and this year's premium was due. I did the usual exercise of finding the best like-for-like deals via the various price-comparison sites out there on the interwebnet thingy. The results weren't good - prices are much higher this year due to interest-rate hikes, the global financial meltdown and all of the natural disasters that have led to huge insurance claims.

Eventually this year's renewal docket arrived and to be honest when I was opening the envelope I was expecting to be faced with the 10% back on AND a huge premium increase. Imagine my surprise when I found that the premium had gone up by much less than I'd been expecting! In fact, it was such a shock that I decided to break out the plastic and pay for the whole year in one hit as opposed to by DD as I usually do. I phoned the insurers to sort the details and just as I'd calculated I saved having to pay about 43 quid in credit interest. During the conversation, and with no provocation whatsoever from me, the nice lass I was dealing with said that she was going to put me on hold for a while [cue the music again]... after a few minutes she came back and offered me a discount of just over 11%.


I do realise that I'm probably not getting any preferential treatment, and that other folk who make the call will be offered discounts too, but it does make me wonder how much other folk miss out by letting their renewals go through on auto and not bothering to make that call.

My thanks go to Rhona for sorting this for me.

Not so smart now, eh?

Posted by on March 11th 2011 in A bit of a rant, Bargains, Discounts, Shiny new kit

Virgin Mobile are doing free smartphones on discounted tariffs for Virgin Media customers so I decided to get me a HTC Wildfire. Ordered yesterday, delivered today, everything was looking good...

I got the old and the new phones into Bluetooth mode so as to get the contacts and calendar entries shuffled across, they do connect but the data wouldn't transfer due to some incompatibility thing. First fail. No worries, I thought, I can set it up for connection to the laptop and for transfer of contacts and calendar entries...

Second fail was on page 4 of the quick-start guide - "Please make sure to copy HTCDriver.exe from your phone's microSD card and install it to your computer". Easy enough, you'd think, but said file wasn't there. After some effing and blinding I found out that things have moved on since the guide was printed, and the file needed from the card is now HTC Sync_3.0 5422.exe so I started to install that only to be told to temporarily disable all anti-virus software. WTF? That's got to be a bad thing these days. I class it as the third fail. Needless to say it was necessary, so I risked it and managed to get away without letting any nasties.

Then the lappy was suddenly running the HTC Sync software in readyness for the USB connection to the Wildfire. Looking good again.

So I connected the phone and it installed but wouldn't connect to HTC Sync. More effing and blinding until I Googled and found out that "USB Debugging" had to be enabled in the phone. Amazingly, there's nothing in the guide or the handbook about the need to do that. Fourth fail.

Eventually it connected, and I told it to transfer contacts and calendar details from my Outlook 2000 installation, which I'd recently synced with the old phone.

No dice. "Unable to copy contacts from PIM" was the message. Oh, FFS! Fifth fail.

Next option was to export from Outlook to a .csv file, import that into gmail and then use the Wildfire to read-in the info. I fired up Outlook and went through the export routine only to be informed that the import/export facility hadn't been installed and that I'd need the Office 2000 installation disk. Fail six. Took me over an hour to find that, I was beginning to lose the will to live.

Eventually I did the export, I even set up a gmail account, I even got as far as doing the read-in using the phone but it's all gone tits-up - the data looks like it's been chucked in from a distance by a blind troll, hardly any of the names have the correct numbers or email addresses. Fail seven.

The phone may well be smart, but the software's shite and the ensuing jumping-through-of-hoops has led me to the conclusion that most of my free time tomorrow will be spent doing manual entry of data for the 237 contacts in my address book.


Oh, and it occurs to me that I won't be out of the woods even then - Chris and Anna both got new smartphones too, and it's Muggins here who'll have to do all the setting up for them.

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