Companies Using "Because of COVID" As An Excuse For Poor Service

Jamiescott1

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My local sorting office has reduced hours as experienced by people above.

The hygienist at my dentist is only working half days because of covid. Is covid more contagious in the afternoons ?
 
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island

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I visited a shop the other day and the woman worker suddenly rushed to the door in absolute terror, waving her arms and whimpering "you can't come in...you can't enter the shop". As I turned and walked out, she winced "but you can order online". I continued walking
If it was a shop in England not on the “essential” list, then she was acting as the law requires; she would be personally liable for a fine had she served you. Demeaning her in the terms you used is poor form. Blame the law, not people who follow it.

My local sorting office has reduced hours as experienced by people above.

The hygienist at my dentist is only working half days because of covid. Is covid more contagious in the afternoons ?
I understood dental surgeries had to leave 40-60 minutes between consecutive “aerosol-generating” appointments whilst any particles in the air settled. This would explain lower capacity, though not someone heading off at lunchtime.
 

trainophile

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A few weeks ago I went into town on a Saturday specifically to ask my Halifax branch to cease sending me monthly postal mail advising that I have been paid 12p interest! Only to find it only opening weekdays currently. I know there is online banking but I can't for the life of me find any information about how to register. Not that I have looked very hard I must admit, as it's not my everyday bank just one I keep a bit of instant access savings in. It's ironic that it must be costing them more to send a letter each month than my account is worth, to either them or me.
 

johntea

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Coincidentally my workplace has actually not decided to fob people off 'due to Covid' and has hired in several contractors to assist users working from home (IT support)

Obviously the standard helpdesk would probably struggle to balance on premise tickets as well as working from home tickets but rather than telling people 'tough luck you're working from home!' the contractors work really well, when they're not busy helping out with WFH issues they're even chipping in to help out with the on premise issues!
 

island

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It's a national thing decreed by Royal Mail HQ; the public desk hours anywhere in the country at the moment are 08.00 to 10.00 and not at all on Wednesdays, Saturdays or Sundays.
Well, that can’t be the case; my local sorting office is 07:00-09:00 daily except 07:00-12:00 Wednesdays and Saturdays. And it’s about to return to 7 day service.
 

Peter Mugridge

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Well, that can’t be the case; my local sorting office is 07:00-09:00 daily except 07:00-12:00 Wednesdays and Saturdays. And it’s about to return to 7 day service.

That probably just means I've been lied to by a member of Royal Mail's desk staff at Epsom, which to be honest wouldn't surprise me one bit - although it's more than likely that they have in turn been lied to by their manager...
 

DelayRepay

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The thing that frustrates me is delays to deliveries. I have just filed another complaint about a 'guaranteed delivery' item that hasn't turned up three days after it should.

I was sympathetic in March given the way the world suddenly changed, and everyone started ordering online (and ordered extra things due to the lockdown). Eight months later there is no excuse. I know there might still be capacity issues in the delivery networks, especially during the latest lockdown, but the simple solution is not to offer 'guaranteed delivery' when it cannot be guaranteed, and give realistic estimated dates. But I guess people are less likely to order something if it says 'Delivery when we can get round to it).
 

Andrew S

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The local sorting office here is open 6 days a week, most of them 7am to 10am, although I think one day they open later or close earlier. I suspect Royal Mail have forced significant cuts to hours, but some individual sites have slight variations based on local demand or operational needs. It would be good if they'd been able to update the times printed on their calling cards though.

Re online orders and deliveries, I've recently had to claim refunds for three items ordered from Amazon which have simply never arrived. All were low value items, and refunds were processed with no issue, but I've never had anything simply not arrive from them before.
 

RT4038

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The thing that frustrates me is delays to deliveries. I have just filed another complaint about a 'guaranteed delivery' item that hasn't turned up three days after it should.

I was sympathetic in March given the way the world suddenly changed, and everyone started ordering online (and ordered extra things due to the lockdown). Eight months later there is no excuse. I know there might still be capacity issues in the delivery networks, especially during the latest lockdown, but the simple solution is not to offer 'guaranteed delivery' when it cannot be guaranteed, and give realistic estimated dates. But I guess people are less likely to order something if it says 'Delivery when we can get round to it).

I suspect that the ability to provide the service depends on the staff sickness/isolating position and volumes of items, which will vary area by area and day by day. How can a company predict 'realistic estimated dates' in such a situation? There is a pandemic on, you know?
 

221129

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I suspect that the ability to provide the service depends on the staff sickness/isolating position and volumes of items, which will vary area by area and day by day. How can a company predict 'realistic estimated dates' in such a situation? There is a pandemic on, you know?
Then don't offer a timescale. Especially don't guarantee delivery by a certain time if you don't know if you will make it.
 

185

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Modern times... rang up to arrange a washing machine repair. Call handler asked me to hang on whilst she moved.

It was too noisy due to her washing machine being on spin :lol:
 

Iskra

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The cash thing is loopy. Imagine a customer going round a supermarket. They touch every item they put in their trolley. They touch every item a second time when they get to the checkout. The cashier then handles every item before the customer touches them for the third time whilst putting them into bags. Yet somehow handing over a load of coins and notes is the dangerous part.
It is not entirely uncommon for people to temporarily place cash (cards too) in their mouths, while faffing trying to do other things. I declined to accept a £20 note from someone who walked up to me with it in her mouth (also not wearing a mask) recently. Cash is dirty. When I count a till float at the end of the day, my hands are often visibly dirty afterwards. People tend not to lick their shopping before passing it to a cashier, although I do agree with the general point that a lot of supermarket Covid precautions are merely lip service rather than anything meaningful.

Also, another recent one is people walking around shops wearing rubber/plastic gloves, but then touching their faces/hair etc then handling things. All they are doing is spreading bacteria. It's better to have no gloves but clean/sanitise your hands frequently.

*Of course, I still accept cash, I just sanitise my hands after handling it.
 

adc82140

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During April I attempted to call out the council pest control to deal with a rodent problem (that's what happens when you close restaurants). The council had furloughed all the rat catchers. I'd say preventing the spread of rodent-borne diseases was quite important, but hey ho. They genuinely advised me to go at them with a cricket bat.
 

island

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That probably just means I've been lied to by a member of Royal Mail's desk staff at Epsom, which to be honest wouldn't surprise me one bit - although it's more than likely that they have in turn been lied to by their manager...
I suspect it’s most likely to have been a message getting corrupted by Chinese whispers; the underlying national decision was probably to cut hours back drastically whilst leaving the precise hours to be decided locally.
 

greyman42

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I declined to accept a £20 note from someone who walked up to me with it in her mouth (also not wearing a mask) recently.
I would not blame you for refusing it before Covid, and why anyone would want to put a used note in their mouths is beyond me.

I'd say preventing the spread of rodent-borne diseases was quite important, but hey ho.
It is not important at all, it's all about tackling the "deadly virus".
 
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T-Karmel

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Years ago waiting in the queue to board low cost airline flight, lady went through to check people's names matching on passports/IDs and their boarding passes to speed up boarding, me juggling with two bags, Duty Free bag and trying to take out my plastic ID from my wallet I put it in my mouth directly before handing it to her. She said "ewww it's disgusting!" - never ever did I put anything else like ID, card, keys nor cash in my mouth. Well, some people needs someone to make them realise that I guess.

My Royal Mail local delivery office changed opening hours during pandemic so many times, it is currently very generous with 8-13 every day, with until 1400 on Fri and Sat and additional second opening 16-20 on Thursdays. However, it is not a month ago when it was still 0600-0800 in the morning except Weds when it was closed. And for last few weeks calling cards I receive do not even mention opening hours, instead they strongly encourage to arrange redelivery.

Post Office had reduced hours but luckily they came back to full hours.

But for example Lidl was open until 2300 and they reduced it until 2000 in the beginning of the first lockdown, then put it up back to 2200 and that's how it stays till now.

This year I had a bit of a problem with Driving Licence, as the one I had was foreign, until I lost it and couldn't renew it in my country due to not living there anymore. Luckily I could make a new one in the UK regardless the fact that I lost my foreign licence. You can hardly find any information on how to do it online. I was trying to call them dozens of times on 3 different numbers I found and it was always rejecting the call. I then discovered online chat which was responding very quickly. When I finally managed to fill out papers correctly and sent them to DVLA and after waiting long weeks for them to send me back my new licence, I have received a Provisional one. I tried calling them again with no luck at all, so I used the chat again. They were unable to help me over the chat, they said I need to call them. So I explained it's impossible to get through as calls are immediately rejected every time I try, and I asked if they can call me back instead. That wasn't an option, I had to keep trying. Then out of nowhere, call went through. Once I was on the line, I didn't have to wait long, answered promptly and took my case into investigation. Two weeks later I had my licence exchanged into a Full one.

I think a good - quite opposite - example from the Railway is TfL Rail serving Hanwell station. Until first lockdown it had only half an hour service throughout entire day Monday - Saturday. No trains on Sundays.
In April they added half an hour service on Sundays between 9 am and 9 pm. Not long after that they added services in Peak time and it became 15 mins service in Peak.
Yesterday, for one day only, a Saturday, they made it every 15 mins for entire day.
 

Jamiescott1

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Theres been an abandoned car in my street since march. The council website says they may take longer to respond due to covid.
 

northernchris

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Banks will be loving this - for years they've been trying to cajole people into using online services so they can close physical branches, and this has given them a golden opportunity to up the pressure: by reducing the opening hours to times which are useless for many people, and having queueing systems which mean a visit to the bank will take ages, they are clearly hoping to push more people into online banking.

There's logically no reason why a bank should be any more problematic than any type of shop. Less, in fact, as they don't tend to have so many people in at once, and in many cases there are already screens between staff and customers. They are just using it as an excuse.

Like all other organisations banks will be impacted by staff either becoming ill, having to isolate or are facing childcare issues. My employer is a financial organisation, and a number of the branches have had reduced hours since March as a result of absence being much higher than usual. It's not permissible to have a solo member of staff in branch, so by having reduced opening hours means lunches don't need to be covered (so can be run with 2 staff rather than 3) and closing on Saturdays means rotas can be rejigged to prevent unscheduled closures.
 

DavidB

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Like all other organisations banks will be impacted by staff either becoming ill, having to isolate or are facing childcare issues. My employer is a financial organisation, and a number of the branches have had reduced hours since March as a result of absence being much higher than usual. It's not permissible to have a solo member of staff in branch, so by having reduced opening hours means lunches don't need to be covered (so can be run with 2 staff rather than 3) and closing on Saturdays means rotas can be rejigged to prevent unscheduled closures.

Yes, but there's no reason why banks should be worse affected than shops, and yet shops mostly returned to fairly normal opening hours months ago, whereas banks haven't.
 

northernchris

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Yes, but there's no reason why banks should be worse affected than shops, and yet shops mostly returned to fairly normal opening hours months ago, whereas banks haven't.

I can't speak for how other businesses are coping but there's a lot of smaller branches where there may only be 3 or 4 colleagues on per shift so there isn't much leeway for unscheduled absence. There's also a ban on moving staff between locations to cover for sickness and holidays so my employer reduced branch opening hours to prevent unscheduled closures rather than to push customers online
 

Freightmaster

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During April I attempted to call out the council pest control to deal with a rodent problem (that's what happens when you close restaurants). The council had furloughed all the rat catchers. I'd say preventing the spread of rodent-borne diseases was quite important, but hey ho. They genuinely advised me to go at them with a cricket bat.
You should have taken them up on their offer...

...and then come back for the rats when you had finished. <D





MARK
 

Tom B

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The banks are definitely the worst at the present time. Already, prior to covid, they were trying everything within their power to force people to do things online, this is now the perfect excuse. Yes, there are staffing shortages if people are shielding or sick or isolating, but other firms have managed to deal with this or adopt work-arounds by now. For instance, there are 3 teller positions in my local branch - for a long time only 2 have been open, with the equipment on the third at the end gradually disappearing and it appearing to be a dumping ground or desk for staff to do paperwork at. Now, with covid, only one teller position is open "due to social distancing" - there has been plenty of time to re-arrange their equipment etc so that the teller positions on either end are useable and the one in the middle is the dumping ground.

As for the obsession with paying on a credit card because it's "safer"... you have a card reader in a shop that gets touched by dozens of people per hour that you go and plonk your card on. How many people paying by card perform a truly 'contactless' transaction without touching the reader? (From observation, practically none to the point that I notice it as an obscurity when somebody does).
Not to mention the faff around people using cards - there's quite often a hold up when transactions don't go through or people are using third party apps which for whatever reason don't work, or there's a PIN check and they can't remember their PIN...
I have worked as a cashier and can take a cash payment in at least the same time, if not quicker, than a card one.
 

DelayRepay

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I suspect that the ability to provide the service depends on the staff sickness/isolating position and volumes of items, which will vary area by area and day by day. How can a company predict 'realistic estimated dates' in such a situation? There is a pandemic on, you know?

I think they can provide realistic estimated dates (or, if they can't then it would be preferable to say that, rather than making false promises). The problem is the realistic estimated dates might be less acceptable to customers than the unrealistic dates they currently provide, and therefore customers might go elsewhere.

On the point about paying by cash - as far as I can see most shops will accept cash again, although they seem to prefer cards. One shop I use won't accept cash at all - I expect they've realised how much they save in cash handling and banking costs vs. the additional fees for taking card payments.
 

VauxhallandI

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Funny how people are going on about banks, specifically about branches - do people (individuals) really still use them often enough that they are a viable service? I moved to first direct several years ago and haven't needed to use a branch since, and their support is second to none - across all sectors, not just banks.

By contrast, 3's service was so terrible that they lost a customer and then lost three month's worth of revenue in compensation after my complaint won at ombudsman level, then again I have no base level to compare it with - although I guess it was much better pre Covid

Seconded, I joined First Direct around 17 years ago and since then I’ve been in a Bank about 20 times. These visits becoming fewer over the years as birthday or Xmas cheques have dwindled.
 

island

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By contrast, 3's service was so terrible that they lost a customer and then lost three month's worth of revenue in compensation after my complaint won at ombudsman level, then again I have no base level to compare it with - although I guess it was much better pre Covid
3’s customer service has always been abysmal.
 

RT4038

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I think they can provide realistic estimated dates (or, if they can't then it would be preferable to say that, rather than making false promises). The problem is the realistic estimated dates might be less acceptable to customers than the unrealistic dates they currently provide, and therefore customers might go elsewhere.

On the point about paying by cash - as far as I can see most shops will accept cash again, although they seem to prefer cards. One shop I use won't accept cash at all - I expect they've realised how much they save in cash handling and banking costs vs. the additional fees for taking card payments.

Who is this 'they' providing unrealistic dates? Is this the on-line retailer you are talking about?
 

RT4038

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The banks are definitely the worst at the present time. Already, prior to covid, they were trying everything within their power to force people to do things online, this is now the perfect excuse. Yes, there are staffing shortages if people are shielding or sick or isolating, but other firms have managed to deal with this or adopt work-arounds by now. For instance, there are 3 teller positions in my local branch - for a long time only 2 have been open, with the equipment on the third at the end gradually disappearing and it appearing to be a dumping ground or desk for staff to do paperwork at. Now, with covid, only one teller position is open "due to social distancing" - there has been plenty of time to re-arrange their equipment etc so that the teller positions on either end are useable and the one in the middle is the dumping ground.

The retail banks have been pushed into a corner - they can no longer afford to operate the system whilst retaining free banking. Charging for bank accounts will cause uproar, and would be difficult to start without collusion. With interest rates at historic lows, the banks simply cannot make enough money from lending out depositors money to pay for branch premises, staff, cash handling, ATMs etc. Plus the public have ganged up on them against excessive charges for what they can charge for. Additionally they are being competed against by 'online only' new banks, that do not have these legacy service costs.

We might not like the banks, and [in some cases correctly] blame them for our financial woes, but there are some stark financial realities out there.
 

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