The latest on Picture dot com

Well since I last mentioned Picture dot com I have been inundated with amazing offers to show off my fabulous photo. I’m just so good, I must be the best photographer in the World.

On Monday 28th January I received an email from someone telling me that if I go to the ‘2008 International Open Invitational Photography Contest!’ in Las Vegas they will present me with “A brand new digital camera”.

I have no idea how much it would cost me to get to Vegas, not including the amount of cash I would have to spend when I get there, but if they’re going to give me a free digital camera I might just go.

Click images for larger view.

Then on the 29th I had an email inviting me to join ‘The Photographers’ Workshop’.

Hang on a minute. A workshop? What does that mean then? Somewhere for me to improve my photography skills is my best guess. So one minute they’re throwing all these exclusive offers, that only the greatest photographers who get through the special selection rounds at Picture dot com are eligible for, at me and then the next day telling me I might want to go to a workshop to improve my photography? Surely I don’t need a workshop. I wonder, just out of curiosity, how much that workshop would cost me.

Now today, the latest thing they are offering me (considering I’m one of the ‘only 12%’ who receive such a something), at a very reasonable price I might add, a plaque. Not just any old plaque though, oh no, this is their “most exquisite and distinguished wall plaque ever.”

I think I should get a lot of these things, such as the plaque for example, free. I am supposed to be a great photographer (according to them) and my work is amazing and it has got through the first round of this & that and it’s going to be in a book, on a plaque, on cups & plates all around the world, mouse mats, T-shirts, in art galleries, on the side of the space shuttle, on the Queen’s mantel, hey maybe even on paper currency.


New forum

I often look through Youtube and some time ago I was looking through Richard Dawkins video clips I came across one called “What if you’re wrong?”.
I read all the text comments from the very first one and sent a few replies myself.
One thing I noticed, as did many other people, was that apart from the fact that the threading left a lot to be desired, there was also a 500 character limit on replies.
On several occasions I found that I wanted to have my say and this limit was not enough. The only option that left was to start another comment and that just wasn’t good enough.

After a while I noticed other people starting to post that the limit was too low to have a proper debate/discussion and someone even suggested that we could do with a forum for it all.
So I decided to create one. I set it up today and while it is very minimal at the moment I hope to add categories/subjects as I think of them.

So far there is just the religion topic that I mentioned, created so that anyone who wanted to carry the discussions on without the 500 character limit could do so.

I have created a suggestions topic too which I hope will provoke people to suggest ideas for the themed subjects.

It’s all very new, but given time I hope it will become quite busy.

If you are interested click here to have a look and register if you wish to post. It’s free, of course and I welcome anyone with any sensible ideas or opinions.

If religion isn’t ‘your thing’, don’t worry, it won’t always just be about religion. As I say, I hope to expand the subjects soon. The religion topic is what started it all off, but don’t think it is going to be a heavily religious site full of only serious discussion on that subject.

Shelf snatching – The new terror

This actually happened about a week and a half ago, but I forgot to mention it. It’s not really important when it happened anyway.

Driving around a small town close to where I live, looking for a parking space so that I could park and pay some money into the bank, I spotted some shelf units outside Coopers hardware store. It turns out they were the units that Coopers used to display some of their stock and they no longer needed them.

They were just simple, plain shelf units, nothing fancy, just good enough to do their intended job. They would be ideal in my own stock room.

I decided I would go round the block after I had been to the bank and park outside Coopers so it would be easy to load the shelf units into my car.
I found a parking space, went to the bank & paid in the money and set off round the block.

When I got back to Coopers there were no parking spaces available directly outside so i parked just across the road on double yellows. Naughty I know, but I didn’t intend to be there long, besides, I was loading.

As I was getting out of the car I saw a woman standing by the units, quite close to the units in fact, almost like she was guarding them. My first thought was that she had probably already bought them and was stopping anyone else from grabbing them or whatever.
I decided to go into Coopers anyway and see if they had any more.
As I walked across the road I decided I would just check with the woman first, so I asked her “Excuse me, I noticed you guarding these units, have you bought them”?
She replied “Yes, I am about to”.

I didn’t think much of that at first, more or less assuming that her husband or someone would be inside paying for them while she stood as sentinel.

Once inside the store I walked to the counter and stood behind the only other person at the counter, an elderly gentleman, and waited my turn to be served.
I guessed this elderly bloke was either the husband or something to do with the woman outside guarding the units.
The bloke paid for whatever he had bought, received his invoice and walked out of the store, right past the sentinel woman.

My turn to be served..

I said to the woman behind the counter “Did that bloke just pay for the shelf units outside? It’s just that there is a woman out there guarding them who says she is about to buy them and I assumed he was paying for them”.

The store woman replied “No, he just had some paint brushes and a few bits & pieces. Nobody has paid for the units and nobody has been in to reserve them. If you want them and wish to pay for them now then they’re yours. First come first served.”

Great, so I said I would have two of the three they had left. Perfect for my requirements.

I paid the woman and got my receipt. She wrote out some sold tickets to put on the units and called a bloke over to get two of them and put the sold tickets on them and take them out the back for me to collect later. I was told to go round to the loading area at the back of the store when I collect them so I didn’t have to worry about parking.

As I got into my car I glanced across at the bloke putting the sold tickets on the units and the woman was speaking to him, but I thought nothing of it.

I went away and did whatever else I had to do that day and when I returned later I drove straight to the back as instructed.

I rang the bell for attention and the same bloke who had put the tickets on and brought the units in for me answered the door.
A huge grin spread across his face and he said “I was expecting you to have black eyes when you got here”.

I asked why and he replied “You remember that woman who was guarding the units? Well when I went out and put the sold tickets on she went ballistic, ranting & raving about how she’d told me she was about to buy them and she wouldn’t expect that sort of thing of this area, maybe London, but not here.. etc etc”

Apparently she had gone off at some considerable pace down the road to look for me. She obviously didn’t realise that I was in a car for one thing, but more interestingly (to me at least) is the wonder at what she might have done had she actually found me. Did she intend to tell me off like some naughty little boy? Maybe she would try and reason with me and get me to apologise and maybe let her have the units after all. Who knows, but it’s a crazy thing to come running after someone (particularly someone who looks like I do) to start ranting and raving about something when they clearly have no grounds for it.
Had she found me I would most likely (depending on her attitude, but from what I can make out by what the bloke said, she was none too happy) have calmly and politely told her to piss off.

The bloke in the store mentioned that she had even asked him where I work, to which he replied “How the hell should I know”?

Quite right too!

So anyway, I loaded the units into my car and thanked the bloke for his help. He said that he should thank me on behalf of the staff and other customers for making their day.

I said to him that I wish now I’d bought all three units. He said he wished I had too.

Well, that was just a little bit of excitement in a relatively standard small town.

The whole thing about it to me is (and I still don’t know for sure what she was doing) that I assume she had spotted these units and decided she wanted them, but didn’t have enough cash on her so had stood guard over them while her husband or somebody went either home or to an ATM.
Whatever the situation though, she was in the wrong. Maybe not in the wrong exactly, but had no right to be ranting & raving about how bad I was and running down the road after me.

What she should have done was go into the shop, explain that she wanted them but didn’t have enough money on her, maybe put a small deposit on them, but I doubt they would have even been bothered about that and get them to reserve them for her. The sold tickets would have had her name on them instead of mine and she would now have the units instead of me.

I mean it’s like me being in Tesco with someone and realising I need bread, but there is only one loaf left. I know, I’ll stand and guard that loaf and tell people I’m about to buy it while my friend goes off to draw some cash for me.

Anyway, the units are great, perfect for my needs and I’m glad I got them. I do not feel guilty, nor sorry for the woman. It was her own fault for not following a correct and recognised procedure.

I just have to keep an eye out now whenever I’m in the town. I imagine she will be keeping her out for me now. She’ll no doubt want to give me a thorough ticking off. 🙂

Picture dot com – A warning

This entry is just a warning to anyone who is a keen photographer and might be thinking of places to post their photo’s to show off their skills and maybe get a little recognition.

We all know that there are some great sites around that are genuine and mean well. The majority are well organised, above board and generally very good.
However, even though many of us realise that there are also a lot of dodgy sites that are less than genuine and really out to rip you off or whatever, not every one of those sites are easy to spot. It’s an unfortunate thing when we have to rely on on other people’s misfortune and the fact that a few of those people actually let others know about such places.

Being a keen photographer myself I have registered on a couple of photography sites which have been fine. I have learned much from them and had fun sharing my photo’s with other like minded people.

The most recent place I registered is a place called picture dot com (I decided to spell this out so there is no chance of a link being displayed. Apart from what I am about to tell you concerning this site, McAfee site advisor has it’s own warning that the site has links to known ‘dangerous’ sites too). If you choose to look at the site, then that is your choice, but I would advise caution.

So anyway, this is the story.

I can’t remember how I found the site originally, but I saw it somewhere and decided to register.
What they claim is that you can post your photographs there and they are judged, by someone who has something to do with the site and there is a chance you can win prizes of various types ranging from your photo being printed in a book (called ‘Endless Journeys’) to gift vouchers & pin badges, medals etc.

I submitted just one picture to see how it went etc. It was a close-up of a caterpillar that I decided to call ‘Caterpillar, up close and personal’ – original eh?
It was a picture that had done rather well on another (reputable) site, so I thought I would start off with that one and see if there was any response.

About a week later I get an email. Click the following link to view the email.

Click here to view my first email from the site.

Woohoo, semi-finalist. Imagine my joy, my smug grin, my wonderful feeling of brilliance.
Well OK, I was quite pleased anyway.

Automatically entered into a competition where I can win one of many prizes including the $1,000 Grand prize or even the $10,000 Annual grand Prize. Ooh..

..But that’s not all.. Oh no… They also wish to publish my fantastically impressive photograph in their forthcoming (forthcoming.. that seems even funnier after reading some other people’s comments. Although I’m not entirely sure that funny is the word they would have chosen.) anthology series.. ‘Endless Journeys’.
I wont go on with the reasons for all this wonderful news, you can read for yourselves.

So, excited beyond rational thought I decided to go to the website and have a look a little more deeply at all this. As i entered the site, McAfee site advisor warns me again that I’m being foolish for entering this site. Having had this message every time I had been to the site I decided to check it out.
I click the site advisor button and choose to ‘view details’.
Well, one of the first things I am presented with is a huge list of complaints and warnings from other people who are also fantastic photographers that have been chosen and entered in the draw and the chance to have their photo’s entered into the Endless Journeys anthology series.. Well, there must be lots of great photographers around the world, so that’s not really surprising..

I know, why don’t you read some of the messages for yourself?

First a message from McAfee – “When we tested this site we found links to, which our analysis found to be suspicious.”
“I am apparently a master photographer and never knew it hehe. I say this because I was nominated to join the International Society of Photographers Hall of Fame. Now I can get my picture back as a 16″ x 20″ in a gold frame for the low low price of 239.00. And they tell me that I’m awesome about twice a week so it must be true.”

“Avoid this site at all costs. Everything about this site is a complete scam. In addition, once they have your personal info, you will receive spam like crazy. To add insult to injury, this site also has excessive popups.”

“This site is a totale scam……………They send you all these letters saying they love your picture and stuff…………………but please dont send them the money for the so called book ok!!! you will never get it.!”

“all your photos get selected… and the say how good of a photographer you are and want you to pay for books that never arrive and tons of $ on shipping of prizes that you already won by being a great photographer like a 300 throphy or medal… SCAM, you never receive the books or anything is worth the money”

“I also fell for it and send the $60 something dollars for the ENDLESS JOURNEYS book… I should have read all the scam posted online but I recieved a letter and not an email so I did not bother to look it up til months went by and I haven’t received the book yet but the did cash the check of course… and I still receive tons of emails from them!!! SCAM… DONT SEND ANY MONEY”

“I too was told my photo would be published in “Endless Journeys” and when I ordered in late 2006, it said it would be published in March of 07. I still have no book even though I paid for it and cannot find any contact info on the website to inquire about it. Obviously a fraudulant site. Now I am receiving emails to send in another photo to enter a contest based on my other great photo. Needless to say I will not be sending them anything ever again and would like my money back for the book that I doubt ever will be published. If anyone finds a way to contact them about getting a refund for this non-existent book, please let me know!”
That’s a selection, I’m sure you get the idea.

The next email I received looked like this:

So without any contact from me at all, I have progressed from just being a fantastic photographer to a distinguished member. How did that happen?

Somewhere along the way I clicked a link they provided me with so i could have another look at my amazing photograph actually on their site. What I found was that despite their claims that my photo had reached whatever stage of semi-finals and was so good they wanted to use it here, there & everywhere, this was the actual truth, maybe…

Then, still with no response from me whatsoever, about four or five days later I get this:

This was looking good. I could give the link to my friends so that they could rate my photograph and help me to win. Great!

I sent the link to a single friend first. They sent me a message asking where my picture was.
How strange, when I clicked the link they gave me that was supposed to take me to my photograph, what actually happened was that I was taken to someone else’s picture, of a Flamingo.
I asked my friend if they had seen the Flamingo, but they had apparently seen a sleeping cat photo. Weird!
I tried the link again and this time I got a photo of some clouds. My friend tried it again and got a photo of a child with a bucket on their head.
Quite clearly the link directs you to a different picture each time, none of which were mine. Curious!

This time I decided to reply to their email. My reply is as follows:

“Hi, Thanks for the email.
I read several pages of people’s comments about that book you sell that you told me my pic (Caterpillar up close & personal) would be in and they all seem to agree that they never received the book. They all say that every picture they entered had the same result, that it was selected as exceptional etc etc. Also this link you provided me with for my friends to vote for my picture, doesn’t even lead them to my picture. Not only that but it reveals a different picture every time I click it.
What’s that all about.
Any advice is appreciated.
S. Jones”

Within an hour I had received an email with the title “Thank you for your reply”.
This naturally led me to assume that they had received my reply. Well you would think that wouldn’t you?

This is what the email said:

“Your inquiries and questions are very important to us. Please call us at 410-363-4800 and a dedicated customer service representative will be able to assist you.


Right, so my inquiries and questions are very important to them.
So important that about fifteen minutes later I get another email, this time with the title “Undeliverable: Re: Caterpillar up close & personal Could Be Featu red On’s Homepage!”

How weird is that. They reply to me and several minutes later..

“Your message

Subject: Re: Caterpillar up close & personal Could Be Featured On’s Homepage!
Sent: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 17:16:33 -0500

did not reach the following recipient(s): on Thu, 10 Jan 2008 17:15:43 -0500
The recipient name is not recognized”

So what would you think?
I know what I think. I think they read the email, didn’t like what I had said or didn’t know how to respond, so tried to pull the wool over my eyes with the lame attempt to make me believe that the email never reached them.
Surely if the first email I received thanking me for my reply and them telling me how important I am etc got there, how do they explain the undeliverable message arriving after that?
It just seems to reinforce the comments made by other people that have been conned, that the site is a huge scam.

By this time I had of course decided that it was not worth bothering about and I certainly would not be sending any money. I was actually quite annoyed that they still have my picture, but what can you do?

The very next day I received yet another email from them. So far they told me my photo is great, so great that they want to award me everything, put it in a book, maybe on the front page of the site too. When I click links they provide, first I am presented with a screen that says they haven’t even reviewed my photo yet (They must have just assumed it would be a great photo I suppose), another link for my friends to vote for my photo did not lead to my photo. I get two replies from their email department, one telling me I am important and they value my questions etc and another telling me that the email they have already replied to didn’t actually get delivered. Some weird space & time problem going on here I think, some kind of warp or whatever.
Then, after realising that I surely must be suspicious of them already, they send this..

Truly unbelievable.

Anyway, that’s all so far. I have not bothered emailing them again. I imagine I will get plenty of this type of spam, as one previous disgruntled member has already mentioned. I shall most likely end up blocking them and hopefully forgetting about them.

After reading this entry I would recommend you forget them too, as soon as you read this last line.

Grumpy old man

There is a programme (or at least there was, I don’t know if it is still running) on BBC2 called ‘Grumpy old men’ which is (somewhat obviously) where the inspiration for this blog came from.

I very often find my sitting here at my keyboard, reading the news online and catch myself being a grumpy old man. Like the narrator of the TV show, Geoffrey Palmer, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief and ‘tutting’ at the screen. I must add that I’m not quite as jowly as the aforementioned presenter, so get that image out of your head for a start.

Before I start adding any stories or gripes in any detail I would just like to mention a few things, in brief, that have also contributed to my decision to start this blog.

In the past few months I have shaken my head at the following:

Two foreign vandals (somewhere in Norwich I believe) smashed up a car in the street and despite being caught on CCTV red-handed they got away with it with something like a caution. The reason for this was explained to be something to do with the delicate situation concerning the crime and the fact that they were foreigners. So basically the way that looks to me is that they were let off because if there had been any charges brought to them it might have been seen as a racist thing. If this was not the case then I would like someone to explain to me how it is that two men can smash up a car, be clearly seen and identified on CCTV and get away with it. If it was theft or shoplifting then maybe I could see that even though they knew it was wrong (which they clearly must have known about smashing up someone’s car. I don’t think there is any country in the world where it is legal to vandalise another person’s property) they had to do it because they had no money and were hungry, or didn’t understand the currency (but even that would require a serious stretch of the imagination to forgive the crime), or whatever. However, this was not the case. It was willful destruction of property that clearly didn’t belong to them, an inexcusable act of vandalism.

(The above short story could lead me nicely on to the subject of immigrants and the unjust system concerning us & them, but I will save that for later.)

A few days after reading the article regarding the above I saw that a fifteen year old boy, somewhere in this country, had been fined fifty pounds on the spot penalty by a Community Support officer for throwing a chip (for the benefit of my American friends who may not realise we call chips what you call fries) on the floor to feed a seagull.
I wonder if he had been a foreigner would he have been let off?

Much more recently in the news is another story concerning these Community Support Officers where two of them refused to jump into a pond to save a drowning ten year old boy. The reason they gave for their lack of action was that they “were not trained to deal with the incident”.
So what training does anyone need to jump in a pond and save a child’s life? It was a pond, probably not even very deep, so the chances are they wouldn’t have even needed to be able to swim that well themselves.

Click here for BBC article.

What is the point of having these officers that stand by and watch a child drown? Oh yes, that’s right, to fine those that feed seagulls.

That’s what this country calls justice!

Moving away from the news for a minute, my next subject here is general moaning and I’ll start with inconsiderate people.

What is it with car drivers and the full beam headlight thing?
While I do drive a car too I mostly ride a motorcycle and maybe it’s because of that reason I am considerate towards bikers, but many are not. Perhaps it is those that only a drive a car and have never ridden a bike, but while most of them seem to understand the reason for dipping their lights when they are behind another car as it can dazzle the driver in front in his mirror, they don’t seem to realise that the same thing applies to bikers for the same reason.
Most of my journeys are through country roads and I understand that drivers need a full beam on these roads, as do I, but I am often blinded by drivers behind as they fail to dip the lights even when they clearly must have seen me.
The problem is that on a motorcycle I have no hazard warning lights or any way of signalling the driver behind that he needs to dip his lights. I have tried ‘dabbing’ the brakes to flash the brake light, but that doesn’t seem to work, I suppose they just think I’m a nervous rider and have my foot on the brake.
The problem is it’s so tempting to let them pass and then ride behind them on high beam, but of course I don’t, I’m far too sensible for that.

So a note to any car drivers out there that might be reading this and may be guilty of this annoying ignorance. Those two shiny things sticking out each side of my handle bars are in fact mirrors and you can dazzle me as easily as you can dazzle another car driver.

While I’m on this subject I would also like to suggest that maybe your reactions could be a tad faster when you are coming toward another driver/rider. If I am riding and my lights are on full beam and I see another car’s lights in the distance (it is possible to read the road sufficiently to see this before you actually see the car) I dip mine, why can’t you do the same? Why do you have to leave it until you can actually see me before you dip the lights? By the time you can actually read the label on the crash helmet I’m wearing it’s too late, I’m already blinded.
When you’re travelling at some 60mph and I’m doing the same in the opposite direction it doesn’t take much brain power to work out the possible consequences of the bike rider being unable to see the road.

Before anyone starts with some lame excuses about maybe they don’t see me or whatever, my light, although a single light, is as bright as any car light. I can see other motorcycle lights so there is no excuse.

Ahh, that’s another thing I just thought of. On the subject of seeing me, why do car drivers, even though they don’t have right of way assume that because I am on a bike that they can break the rule of right of way?
If I am on my side of the road and there are no obstructions such as parked cars or whatever on my side of the road, but there are on your side, I have right of way. What that means quite simply is that you should wait for me to pass before you come through. What most of you seem to do is think “Ah it’s just a bike, he can fit through” or something.
Bikes are generally moving a bit quicker than most people realise and we certainly out-accelerate you most of the time, so observe the same rules of the road with us as you would if we were in a car, they still apply regardless of the amount of wheels our vehicles have.
Stop being so impatient and inconsiderate and risking lives!

As with all my blogs any comments and responses are welcome, as is hate mail, but you will get a reply.

Broadband speeds

After being told about a news broadcast on BBC Radio 2 regarding how slow Britain is in the broadband department compared to other countries, including some European countries, I decided to blog this.

Apparently some countries, such as Japan, Korea, Finland and Sweden offer 100Mbps connection by means of fibre optic networks.
Subscribers to these networks can upload at the same speed as they download which is not possible with regular cable connections such as ADSL (over a phone line).
Their blinding speeds (compared to ours) are said to be the best speeds at the lowest prices, and yet the excuse given for us not having it here is that “It’s not a viable option”

Click here for ‘Global Broadband prices revealed’

It was mentioned that in the UK “There is a huge gap between advertised broadband speeds and the actual speeds users can achieve”.
I am personally paying for a package that offers up to 8Mb, but what I actually get is half Meg Broadband. I am told this is due to the fact that the actual speed I can receive is down to the what the nearest exchange to me can deliver. Living in a field as I do, it is no surprise that my local exchange (situated in a relatively small village) can not deliver the full 8Mb that I am I offered by my ISP until BT get around to upgrading the exchange to be able to do so.
Even those people I know personally (friends & family) who are on the 8Mb deal still very rarely actually get the full 8Mb, most often they get around 5Mb if they’re lucky.

According to an article I read, BT is currently upgrading its exchanges to allow for broadband speeds of up to 24Mbps which will be made available from early 2008. Click here to read that article.
They claim this upgrading is part of their 21st Century Network Programme. I find that almost an insult, that they are upgrading to offer us (some who are lucky enough to live in an area capable of delivering) 24Mbps speeds like it is some great new groundbreaking technological breakthrough that we should be in awe of, when other countries are already receiving 100Mbps speeds through fibre networks.

I wonder what this new amazing 24Mb speed is likely to cost us. I already feel cheated because I’m paying the same as someone who actually gets close to 8Mb broadband (maybe 5Mb or 6Mb) when all I get is 512k. That’s the price I pay for living in the country. BT obviously don’t see us (country folk) as important enough to spend the money on upgrading the smaller exchanges to bring us up to the speed we should be getting anyway, but don’t mind spending however much it will cost to upgrade those already getting 8Mb to 24Mb.
What’s the betting I’ll still be on 512k when the larger towns & cities are on 24Mb?

Why don’t they spend the money on fibre networks and have done with it? They wont have to replace that no matter how fast we eventually get.

Click here for ‘Broadband speeds under scrutiny’.

It’s likely that I will expand on this subject in time, but for now I would be interested to hear your views. Are you getting the full speed you were offered? Please feel free to comment on any aspect of this subject.

Nightmare on ISP Street

I wasn’t sure what to call this entry. I toyed with ‘What a bunch of idiots who half of which don’t know what the other half is doing and in this day and age of technology have to make customers wait about a month to get reconnected because of crazy MAC codes and ridiculous wait times when it should be a simple case of pressing a button’.. but that is just way too long for a blog title.

So here’s the deal..

I had a phone call from another ISP (competitor) offering me the deal of the century. They claimed they could offer me the same service as I was already getting for nearly half the price.. WOW. How could I say no? I wish I had.

So I decided to take them up on their incredible offer.

I was informed that I would need to get a MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) code from my current service provider and once I had this to ring them (the new service providers) and give them the code.
I rang my provider and asked for the code, and after several minutes of having to explain why I wanted to leave them, they finally confirmed that they would get the code sent to me in the mail (snail mail). They said this could take between 7 and 10 days to arrive. *Gasp* 7 – 10 days without internet access, how would I survive?

After about 5 days I received the code and quickly (very quickly) rang the new providers to give them the code.
When I eventually got through to the right department I gave them the code and asked them to confirm that I had done all that was necessary to swap to their service. I also asked them to confirm what I would be getting for the money. I was originally told that I would get the same service as I was already getting from my current ISP.

That is unlimited free phone calls (24/7), unlimited/unrestricted broadband (up to 8Mb speed) and line rental. The voice on the other end of the line said “No, that’s not what I have here”. They informed me that I would get a restricted broadband service (something like 40Gb, but even so, still not unrestricted). They said I would need to get onto BT (British Telecom – which incidentally is based in India, very British eh?) and become their customer and remain so for a minimum of 7 days before they could request control of my line. They also informed me that there is a broadband setup fee of £40 (which I was also not told about).
When I finally caught my breath I asked them what the cost would be for unrestricted broadband and it turned out to be the same as I was already paying my current provider. It did mean that I would also have to pay BT separately for the line rental.
So it turns out I was lied to about the deal initially, not told of the broadband setup fee, would ultimately be paying the same as I already was and would have to be paying two separate companies for the same service I currently received from one.

I decided to change my mind. You’d think that would be easy enough right? Surely it’s my right to do so? I changed my mind there & then on the phone. I did not wait & have to ring them back or anything, so what was the problem?
The problem was that despite saying I had changed my mind the new company decided to initiate my MAC code anyway. Maybe they thought I wouldn’t notice or something, so desperate were they to have my custom.

I rang my original provider back and told them the whole tale. They told me that as long as the other company had cancelled the MAC code and everything then my service should remain as normal. Great. 🙂

No, not great at all.

Next day my internet service stops and nothing I do will make it work. I even reset the router and entered all my details again. I rang tech support at 0.50 per minute (or whatever the ripoff charge is these days) and clocked up a good £10 call I’m sure, all to no avail. They had no idea why I had no service. they said that as far as they could see all was well their end and I should have service.
But I didn’t, and no amount of screaming down the phone or sobbing silently into my cold coffee could change that.

I rang the new company back and asked them to confirm that they had cancelled the service, to which they assured me they had.

Hmm.. something strange going on I thought.

Anyway, to cut a long and frustrating story short[er], it turns out that the new company had in fact cancelled my service, but not the MAC code that they shouldn’t have initiated in the first place.

I was a little annoyed to say the least.

I rang the new company again so I could rant & rave down the phone at them and eventually they told me I would need a new MAC code from them to give back to my original provider. OMG.
They said they would create the code (which would take up to 48 hours) and get it in the mail (snail mail again) to me, which could, of course, take up to 7 – 10 days. *Gasp* That’s like over 2 weeks now. Withdrawal symptoms setting firmly in I muttered something like “Hmm, OK, but hurry up”.

Around a week later the code arives and I get back onto my original supplier (once again, very quickly) and ask them how long before I would be connected.
They said that it could be anything up to 14 days. WHAT? ANOTHER 2 WEEKS? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
What could I do but wait? So I waited.

Finally I get a letter telling me my ‘Go live’ date, which happened to be almost another week from the day I received the letter.

The day finally arrived.

One thing I forgot to mention was that when I rang BT to swear.. I mean talk to them about it all they offered me their own package deal. They said they could re-acquire my line that day. I was so excited, I thought why not? They can get me online today.

But guess what? yep, it was another lie. They could re-acquire the line for sure, but they still couldn’t connect me for 2 weeks because of this stupid MAC code business. Also their deal was less for more. Less service for more money. I didn’t want to complicate things further so I politely declined. Yeah right.

Well I’m back. It’s so nice to be back. I felt like I’d had a limb or two removed.
I should have known better, I went against all my instincts (something I very rarely do) in the hope of a cheaper deal. All that to save a few pounds.

It has taught me, or more accurately reinforced something that I already knew but chose to ignore. Two things in fact..

Better the Devil you know, and, If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Just for the record, and because they lied to me, I have decided to name the new company I almost changed to so others can be aware of some of the tactics these companies employ to gain customers.
I don’t feel bad about naming them and neither am I scared of legal proceedings against me, for I believe that if they wish to take me to court for this naming here then they will have to produce recordings of the phone conversations between me and them and that alone will prove that I am telling the truth and not just out to discredit their good name *Choke* for no reason.
I have been without a connection for around a month thanks to them and their deceit and dragging their heels as far as releasing my line again (which they should not have taken over in the first place) goes.

The company that I would not personally recommend is Sky.

Thanks for reading.