Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Hotpoint Fridge Freezer, Curry's, and call centre hell.

Even as I write this there is an engineer in the kitchen attempting (for the third time) to fix our 18 month old Hotpoint Fridge Freezer. Bought because we thought the name some kind of guarantee of quality. Hmmm. Yesterday, when I opened the freezer door to take out the ice cream to eat with the strawberries for lunch (we had a visitor!) I had that sinking feeling you get when you realise that everything has gone slightly soggy. On the previous two occasions it was the opposite problem - everything in the fridge was freezing - frostbitten lettuce and tomatoes included. Overnight things just got worse until by this morning it was clear that although the motor seemed to be running, and the light was on, there was nobody home in terms of chilling power.
Overnight too, it quickly became obvious that after the last engineer's visit, I had mislaid the service policy documents. Aaaaargh. They probably, said my husband, went the same way as the car tax disc. That was eventually found, still in its envelope, at the bottom of the dustbin. Not the nice clean blue recycling bin, you understand but the slightly smelly green household waste bin.
A frenzied search of all folders, drawers, cupboards, and even the insides of cookery books, lasting several hours eventually resulted in the discovery of the original receipt, service numbers and handbook, filed away under a completely non intuitive heading. But still no policy documents. Nevertheless, knowing that I had paid to renew the service agreement earlier this year (about three weeks before the damn thing started to go wrong - phew!) I got up, made coffee, phoned the recommended number clipped onto the fridge receipt and immediately entered the Kafka-esque universe of the call centre.
It was one of those voice recognition processes which never can quite recognise my voice. It understood Hotpoint, and Fridge Freezer but baulked at the date of purchase. Eventually, on option one, I got through to a polite human being who told me that I was definitely insured, but since I was calling a service centre, I would need an authorisation number, and that could only come from Curry's. He gave me a number to call which would allow me to confirm said number, as well as agreement number and possibly replacement documentation. I dialled the number he had given me and realised, half way through the same voice recognition process that I was back where I had started, calling the service centre. I spoke to a different polite human being (one with either a summer cold, or such ferocious hay fever that she was practically incoherent). She confirmed that I would have to get an authorisation number from Curry's and gave me a number which I realised was the same number. Option six, she said, helpfully.
I dialled again. More voice recognition. It was beginning to understand me, familiarity I suppose.
But - dear God - I was back where I started, with the service centre. Moreover, there was no option six. There were only four options. I listened again and decided to try a different option. Can't remember now whether I pressed three or four, but I got through to another nice polite human being who said 'the whole system has changed.' He quickly summoned all my policy details, gave me my agreement number (I am insured until 2012!) and an authorisation number to boot.
He has promised to send me new policy documents within the next few days.
I called back to give the service centre my precious authorisation number and book an engineer's visit and pointed out (politely - the whole transaction was extremely polite!) that the information they might be giving customers in similar circumstances was somewhat out of date. The number worked but there was no option six. I honestly don't think she believed me.
The moral, I suppose, is - whatever you do, don't lose the documentation! When the new agreement arrives, I'll be filing it under home insurance. And not in the bin.
The fridge freezer is working again.
For how long? That's the question.


Scottish Nanna said...

WOW Catherine What a long way to go just to get a fridge fixed It makes you mad .Things are so complicated these days.I looked in on your last post I can see your Gorgeous son dressed in a Kilt he would look good.
Hugs Mary.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Yes, Mary, he does look good in a kilt! He graduated from Glasgow University a few weeks ago and wore a kilt and looked lovely!