For those who are interested in the outcome of the problems I had with Nochex…
(contunued from https://nancyfarmer.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/nochex-no-thanx/ )
I feel it only fair to say that following the exchange below, I shall be re-instating Nochex on my website since they did indeed see my point of view in the end (it is so nice to win 🙂 ) and since I flatter myself that they may actually think twice about doing the same thing again… maybe. They took a little persuasion first, though, and there is something very satisfying about writing a finely-crafted letter of complaint. The first letter was written in a state of general annoyance, but by the second letter I was starting to enjoy myself.
Yesterday I sent the following email to Nochex’s customer service department:
So you hope this email finds me well? Really? Considering your concern for my business is so utterly lacking I am surprised to read that you have the slightest concern for my general well being!
Upon reading your email and checking it to be genuine I am quite appalled at the behaviour of your company. Your actions are so inappropriate that it is hard to know where to begin. Here are some of the things that you have got wrong:
1. You find that the account has not been used for a while – a period of perhaps some months, not years – and so you assume that you can simply suspend it.
2. You don’t bother tell me that the account is suspended, rather, you wait for a payment to fail, therefore potentially losing me business.
3. On checking my shopping cart I find that a payment attempt of £55 was made into my Nochex account as short a time ago as 14th March of this year. It failed, quite possibly because you had already suspended the account, and yet you didn’t even bother to tell me, but rather waited for another payment to fail.
4. Having suspended the account, you ask me to tell you again who I am and why I need to use your service and ask me to reply with various details of personal information via an un-secure email which has my account number as the subject heading of the email, breaking all sorts of protocols for a company of your nature as if you have never even heard of identity theft and phishing, and which in fact makes me doubt the security of the rest of your operation.
5. And yet, with no hint of irony when I log into my account I find that the account has been suspended ‘to protect the integrity’ of my account. Have you any idea how laughable that statement is given your actual behaviour?
6. I would also like to add that you last year locked me out of my account simply because my password contained non-alphanumeric characters, which were permitted when I created the password, and then suddenly no-longer permitted, but again, you didn’t bother to inform me of this but waited until it caused me problems. I actually had to phone you because your ‘forgotten password’ screens do not work either, as confirmed by the person I spoke to on the phone.
7. On the subject of phone calls, I phoned yesterday and left a message asking to call me back, and you didn’t bother to do that either.
8. And lastly, since there is in excess of £500 in my Nochex account, what made you think I no-longer wanted to use it? Do you not think I would have emptied the account first?
I have no intention of furnishing you in this email with my personal information, which in any case have not changed, and I do not want you to re-instate the account. Services this shoddy I can do without, thank you. I have disconnected your service from my shopping cart so nobody will attempt to use it again. The reason my Nochex account is so seldom used is because I also offer Paypal in the shopping cart and most people chose to pay by paypal, and, following this demonstration of your services, who can blame them?
I would like you to pay the entire content of my Nochex account into my bank account and close the account. In addition, I would also like to be refunded for the initial set-up fee to the tune of £40, since this was payment for a service which is so poor as not to constitute an acceptable service at all.
You may be interested to read my blog entry, where I have posted an account of my dealings with your company in further detail: https://nancyfarmer.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/nochex-no-thanx/ – I hope reading this will prompt a response from you, since phoning you up yesterday for an explanation resulted in no response whatsoever.
Your prompt action in this matter may result in my not actually charging you for my time in dealing with these issues. So please note that time is of the essence.
Now to be fair I was rapidly telephoned by N***, to whom I gave a fairly hard time, and she did her best to be helpful and apologetic and explain that she had not got my message yesterday because I had been in the queue for their general enquires and I could call her on her own number in future.
She then let me know that they suspended every account that appeared to be inactive at the start of the year. Except that a payment came through to my Nochex account on 14th December, so it was hardly inactive for very long… a mere fortnight or so! My complaint that they didn’t even inform me they had suspended the account was countered by the argument that they had said so on their website, had I logged in to my account to look. And why, exactly, should I log into my account unless I knew something to be wrong? People make purchases from my site, and receive an email with all the details I need, and I post things out. End of story. I do not expect to have to keep checking the account in case they have cocked everything up!
Apparently they needed to ‘make some changes for security reasons’ …hmm… might one translate that as ‘we had a major security breach and we suspended everyone’s accounts to save our arses’ one wonders?
N*** escalated the complaint to a higher level on my request, saying she was unable herself to refund my set-up fee (though she was able to close the account if that’s what I wanted), but she would pass on the request and complaint. The higher level said no. I had been using the account for some years, and it is stated in the T&C that this is a non-refundable set-up charge.
So we’re quoting T&C now are we? I fish out a copy of said document. I do not like shouting at N*** who is only doing her job but I am determined to make someone in charge sweat a little, just on a point of principle.
The following letter I sent today:
Dear Sir or madam,
I trust that N*** will forward this email to the appropriate person. She has been very helpful within her means but is unable to deal with my complaint at the level at which it needs to be dealt with.
As you will see from my previous email below, I have experienced a little trouble and a great deal of disappointment with your company. As I do not want to waste time repeating myself I shall say no further on this and simply invite you to read the email if you have not already seen it. To the explanations in the initial email I would like merely to add that the last payment that was stressfully paid into my Nochex account, before you deemed the account appeared ‘inactive’ at the start of this year, was made on the 14th December 2011. And that a payment that a potential customer tried to make on 14th March 2012 failed, and that I was not informed.
I have withdrawn my request that my account be closed for the present. I am informed, however, that the other part of my request cannot be fulfilled. This request was namely that, because I find the service your company provides to be woefully inadequate, you refund me the £40 initial set-up fee. A fee for setting up a service I find I do not want. I accept that as I have agreed to your Terms and Conditions, and have been using your service for some two and a half years, the payment which covers the initial setting up of the account is not to be refunded, as is stated I am informed, in the Terms and Conditions.
I understand that this is the case, however, I had suggested that this payment be refunded to me as a gesture of goodwill in acknowledgement of the trouble I have been caused. In return, as a gesture of goodwill, I would not have proceeded further with this complaint. Sadly, good will seems lacking on your part, so I have to fall back on the actual issue at hand, which is your breach of the contract that you have with me, and your failure to provide the level of service as stated in your Terms and Conditions.
In case you are only aware of the content of the Terms and Conditions when they work in your favour, let me briefly quote you a few snippets. I have left out the boring bits, I am sure you can look up a full copy yourself.
11. TERM AND TERMINATION.
11.3 The Company will be entitled to suspend the Merchant Service and/or terminate the Contract with
immediate effect by notice to the Merchant if:
11.3.1 the Merchant fails to …..
11.3.2 the Merchant breaches …..
11.3.3 the Merchant fails to …..
11.3.4 anything happens to the Merchant …..
11.3.5 anything happens in relation to the Merchant …..
11.3.6 the Merchant becomes insolvent …..
Close scrutiny of these passages will reveal that you are entitled to suspend the service, by notice if I fail in various ways, the details of which you can read in full if you wish. As these are the only conditions under which you are entitled, as stated in the Terms and Conditions, to make this suspension, and since I have complied to the letter with these Terms and Conditions and the action has been entirely on your part, you are not entitled to suspend service. Further, were you to be entitled to suspend service, you are still required by your terms and conditions to provide notice, which you did not. N*** informs me that you posted on your website that my account was suspended, and that, had I logged on, I would have seen it. This does not, however, in any way constitute informing me ‘by notice’. Nor do I need to log into my account unless there is a problem with it, and since you didn’t inform me that there was a problem with it, I did not log on. I am sure you will find this particular conundrum as amusing as I do.
So, in summing up, I withdraw my request for a refund of the £40 set-up fee. However, I am requesting a payment of £100 in compensation for your breach of contract, my inconvenience and possibly lost business, and my time and effort in dealing with this issue.
You may also wish to take note of the following very interesting facts:
1. My partner is a senior figure in the payments industry, who consults with Swift and the FSA.
2. My next email, should you inexplicably fail to sympathise with my point of view, will also be copied to the FSA and whatever other regulating agencies I can find, and, given point 1. I can easily make myself fairly well informed as regards this question.
3. If, in the end, I am forced to enlist the help of my partner, he shall charge a great deal more for his time and effort than I am charging for mine.
4. My blog, where I posted the first chapter of this exchange, broke its own personal records in viewing figures, despite the fact that it is usually a platform for my artwork, and the second chapter will, I am sure, make equally entertaining reading.
Last but not least, that sneaky statement: Time is of the essence. Yes, it really is, and I expect a reply by the end of tomorrow (Thursday).
Assuming a day which starts at 9am, I receive a reply within two hours. A level higher than the original higher level has considered the points I have raised, and in view of this, is prepared to offer me £100 in compensation as requested.
Result! Considering the speed with which they folded once I got serious, I strongly suspect somebody knows they have been very naughty. Which is why I shall be re-instating Nochex on my website and giving them another chance. It is always useful to offer an alternative since, quite frankly, there are a few people out there who really hate Paypal, a view with which I can also sympathise… and at the end of the day, you can at least phone up Nochex and shout at them, which I never have managed to do with Paypal.
That was actually fun in the end :-). Right, the next post is coming up rapidly and actually will be about artwork!