Thursday, 11 June 2015

Direct debit anyone?

I know this "direct debit" bit is supposed to be an "easy" way to pay your bills.
The Senior Cat does not like it. He's old fashioned. He still uses a cheque book. The closest he comes to paying bills in the modern fashion is to do so over the counter at the bank or the post office - places where he can get a "paper" receipt and keep those filed away. 
Although he gets me to check ("so that you know what's going in and out") he likes to do the bill paying for household utilities, his medical insurance - and the newspaper.
We recently had a paper letter from the service which supplies the paper. It said that the credit card details needed to be updated. As there was no direct debit in place we ignored it. A second one came. I sent an e-mail explaining there was no direct debit. Oh. Right then we will update your details came the reply. 
Yesterday there was no paper delivery. Growls from the Senior Cat. I called the number for "missed" deliveries and left our name and address. They are supposed to deliver if you phone before nine in the morning.
They phoned while I was out. When I got home the Senior Cat gave me a number to call. I spoke to someone at the other end. She said "there's a problem with the credit card". I said we don't do it by credit card. She explained that they were just the delivery people and this is what they had been told. She was perfectly pleasant, said she thought it sounded odd too, and gave me another number.
I rang. I pressed buttons. I was determined to speak to a human, not a machine. Eventually someone did answer. I explained the problem. 
No, she told me, I had to be wrong. Our subscription was on direct debit. I told her no, it had never been on direct debit. Oh. She would have to speak to someone else to see what could be done.
Unfortunately for her and the person she spoke to she left the line open instead of putting me on "advertising hold". I heard the conversation. 
I won't bother to repeat it here but it amounted to "that's right. They aren't paying that way but tell them they were and try and get them to go onto direct debit". She came back to me and repeated all this. I didn't tell her I had heard the conversation. I just said politely, "No. We were not paying on direct debit. We don't pay bills that way. Can you please arrange for a bill to be sent in the normal way."
"I don't know if we can do that," she told me.
"I know you like people to pay by direct debit," I told her, "But it isn't going to happen. My 92 year old father will not use direct debit."
Silence and then, "I'll have to ask."
She put me on "advertising hold" this time. I heard the pseudo earnest and cheerful voice telling me about "world class journalism" (it isn't) and how easy it was to subscribe and how much sport and gossip we could keep up with. 
Eventually she came back and said, "We'll send you a bill. Delivery will start again on Friday."
It had better.  The Senior Cat likes to know the state news. 
Thankfully I subscribe to a press site on line - and not by direct debit.


Philip C James said...

There's something wrong with your Direct Debit - you don't have one...

Too many customer-focused (so they say) companies are in reality focused on their own convenience. All bus companies outside London, for a starter for ten.

catdownunder said...

Oh yes, all for their own convenience!