Saturday, February 07, 2009


When e-mails began to replace letters as the communication tool of choice it was felt that the quicker missive would get answered just as fast. Sadly, it seems that the reverse is happening.

People and companies who can’t be bothered to reply to even the most basic of e-mailed correspondence are increasingly frustrating me. In some cases these e-mails are being deleted without being read. One company in the latter category is RyanAir and now I can add the BBC to that ever-growing list.

Last year I had an interview with the BBC in Glasgow. I chased them up for more than a month to get feedback. It was bad enough not getting the job without having salt rubbed into the wounds. Two weeks ago I received four Read Receipts on my PC from the Beeb, except that these e-mails hadn’t even been read. My original e-mails were sent last August and now they were deleted without being read.

I e-mailed a Radio 2 this week for some basic information for a piece I’m putting together for The Scotsman’s Recommends section. There wasn’t even a “we’ll get back to you” type of reply.

A simple enquiry to Ryan Air as to whether a service that was scheduled to begin was going ahead was deleted without being read. A subsequent e-mail asking why was, you won’t be surprised to learn, deleted without being read.

Since December I have had a similar problem with the ILA (Independent Learning Account) Scotland. In the first week of December I sent them an e-mail asking for confirmation that I could put some money from my 2008 Account (£200) towards my 2009 course. I had read somewhere (I can’t find it now) that I could as long as the course was booked within 2008 and the course took place within the first 6 weeks of 2009. The reply to the e-mail was to ask me to phone their Helpline!

This week I tried again and I was told that, “Due to data protection and for security purposes, you will have to contact our freephone helpline again for that information.”

My reply was swift:

“You can't be serious!

"Due to data protection and security purposes"? In what way is answering a very simple query by e-mail breaching data protection and security? Thousands, nay, millions of companies manage to answer questions by e-mail every day. This is a joke. My course starts on Monday and I can't get a simple answer to a simple question by e-mail. My tutor has asked me to get confirmation of my entitlement IN WRITING. If this lack of communication of behalf of the ILA causes any problems with my course I shall be making a complaint.


Health and Safety? Data Protection? Nanny State? The world has gone completely hatstand.

As regular readers will recall I sent a missive to the PR company for the Brits to ask some questions and make a few comments. I was told that it had been forwarded on to someone at the BPI. Again, I’m still waiting.

I e-mailed E.ON twice recently and I’m still awaiting an answer to both questions - one was aksing when they were going to bring the prices down and the other was to request a change of tarriff.

I just think it’s rude, very very rude.

As this point I should give some praise to Orange because they got back to very quickly after I e-mailed them recently. Unfortunately when it came to dealing with the two issues I had called them about they were as useful as a trapdoor on a canoe. I keep receiving messages from Orange themselves about Data Services and then a follow-up about installing these data services. I’m a bit dense about the inner workings of my phone and no matter whether I replied Yes or No or simply ignored them they continue to come. The person who called me from Orange listened to my problems and put me through to someone on the Indian sub-continent whose first job seemed to be to sell me a Raccoon package. If I wanted a Raccoon package, I’d have asked for one. He said the messages would stop and they haven’t.

I also pointed out a problem I had with the phone in that since May 2008 I have no record on my phone of All Calls, Answered Calls, Dialled Calls and, most importantly Missed Calls. Again, I was told this would be sorted and again it hasn’t been. I’m loath to leave Orange because I get £5 for every time I top up with £50 but this is the second time they’ve cocked up. I won’t bore you the details of the previous problem but I did 100 free texts out of them.

I’m still waiting to hear from the Dunfermline Press as to why my recent comment was deleted. Someone printed something similar and it wasn’t removed.

Isn’t it ironic how poor communications companies are at communicating? It’s good to talk (but only if we can sell you something first!)


JC said...

Ryanair ignoring e-mails???? Now there's something new to me !!!!!!!

Having worked in a large bureaucracy for 23 ad a bit years, I know that whether or not you get replies depends on who actually opens your e-mail. In other words, its a lucky dip.

Now I'm with an organisation with 11 employees....and as the bloke in charge of communications....I can guarantee that if you ever have an issue relating to regenearton in the East End Of Glasgow that you'll get some sort of reply (cant promise you'll like it mind you)

office pest said...

Not wishing to defend the indefensible, but as you might know it is possible to set up the Microsoft email reader preview pane so as to be able to read 'unopened messages' without clicking on them to open them. Subsequent deletion will then send a 'deleted,unread' response....but I'm sure this isn't the case in your cases ;) And it certainly doesn't explain or excuse the lack of a response of course.