Category Archives: Christmas

Camelot Greed

I’ve become increasingly disenfranchised with Camelot, the operator currently given the license to run the National Lottery in the UK.

Just over a year ago they doubled the price of the basic “Lotto” offering, and by increasing the number of balls in the draw have reduced the odds of wining the Jackpot from something like 14 million to one to 45 million to one.   At the same time parallel changes have been made to increase the chances of winning a prize.  Many of my friends and family agreed that we’d be doing LESS lines on the National Lottery as a result, or at the very least spending the same sum on lottery tickets, but doing 50% of the lines.  The evidence of this failure is clear to see.  Gone are the £6-8m jackpots at a weekend with no rollover.  Instead we’re lucky if the jackpot reaches £4m without a rollover, and the number of sequential rollovers is clearly increasing.

The latest Camelot ploy has annoyed me further still, and to me points at a company that is loosing public support.  The paying public are voting with their feet, and not backing the National Lottery as they once did.  Not only are Camelot loosing out, but the extent of the Lottery funds channelled to good causes and charities is similarly shrinking.

At this time of year, there are normally multiple different seasonal scratch cards on sale.  These are usually a mix of £1, £2, £5, and £10 scratch cards with a Christmas theme.  The £1 scratch cards are often in the form of tags, so they can be used to label a present “from” and “to” an individual.

However it would seem that there are no £1 Christmas scratch cards on sale anywhere this year!  The list of Scratch cards in circulation most definitely doesn’t include a Christmas specific one for only £1 this year.

Many people (myself included) use these as part of our Christmas gift giving, using them as Stocking fillers or to boost presents, and it seems likely that Camelot expect everyone to just buy £2 cards instead.

I wonder if Camelot will retain it’s license at the next review?  Based on current performance, I sincerely hope not!

Christmas Crisis!

I’m pleased to report that I have the vast majority of my Christmas Shopping completed, and even most of what I’ve bought is already wrapped up!

I say the “vast majority” guardedly, as I’ve just arrived home to discover the latest batch of parcels have arrived from www.play.com with some stocking filler type presents in.   Unfortunately in what has to be one of the worst examples of customer service I’ve seen for some time, I’ve received two items that bear absolutely no resemblance to what I ordered.

Of a total of 8 different items, two were identical, and should have been in the “Gadgets” category.  I won’t describe exactly what they should have been here, just in case the intended recipient should drop by, instead I’ll refer to them as “Item X”; but instead I received two “5m Belkin Cat6 Snagless Patch Cables” which I notice aren’t even listed on their Website as a stock item!

So I phoned the Play.com Helpdesk, and eventually spoke to someone about the issue.  I have to say the quality of the phone line was very poor indeed, but I got the distinct impression that the chap on the other end of the phone just wasn’t listening to me.   I gave him the details including the order number and product codes of the erroneous items, and eventually he said “Ok I need to verify your identity, can I please have your postal code?”   … so I tell him quite clearly…. “so that’s {completely wrong postal code}, correct?” … uh no,  tell him this time spelling it out phonetically …. “In order to verify your identity, can I please have your full name?”  … so I tell him… and he (perhaps unsurpisingly) can’t pronounce my surname;  then…. “in order to verify your identity can I please have your full address…?”   at which point I’m starting to get annoyed, and ask just how much more he needs to verify my identity given that I’ve already given him the order numbers, and sufficient information to prove that I’m who I claim to be;   “I appreciate you’re frustrated sir, but please let me verify your details so I can help you, now can I please have the item numbers?”  which I give him again, and of course suggest that if the packing and quality control departments took half as much care as he was apparently taking, I’d never have received such a ludicrous substitution!

Anyway, to cut a fairly painful conversation short, it seems that I need to pay for the postage and packing to return the items to them, and when they receive them they will process a refund of my postage costs and dispatch replacements…. or at least they would if they had them in stock.   And of course there’s no estimated delivery date for any additional stock.   I think it’s bloody awful that I as a customer have to pay out and inconvenience myself just to fix their stupid mistake. 

And to add insult to injury, given there’s no stock left, I now need to find a couple of alternative gifts!  I knew there was a reason I stopped buying products from Play.com;   Maybe they should look at my pages of previous orders, and note that I stopped being a regular customer a few years ago!

Very poor customer service Play.com!