Our rules only apply when we say!

This particular Arsehole had reason to fly from the US to a few places in Europe (and back) and identified quite an excellent deal being offered by Turkish Airlines for all the major cities that needed to be visited. After maximising the value of the purchase in terms of credit card rewards, the Arsehole was happy in their securing of the set of tickets on offer.

Alas, it all started to go somewhat wrong.

The first leg of the trip departed from the sixth worst airport in the entire world, LAX. The excellent Star Alliance lounge at the Tom Bradley terminal served as a wonderful refuge from the terminal prior to boarding, however this particular Arsehole soon learned that announcements for boarding were not a matter of procedure in this lounge and passengers needed to ensure that they were at the gate for boarding without prompting for Turkish Airlines flights.

With this information, the Arsehole headed to the gate to observe a complete omnishambles in progress. The gate in question featured shiny new biometric scanners that weren’t used, staff who decided to complain in the general direction of anyone asking why boarding was delayed and changing the configuration of the boarding lines every few minutes out of either catharsis or confusion.

Eventually, boarding happened and I was very impressed by the crew and the way they took care of their passengers – uniforms were immaculate, attentiveness was present and unobtrusive and the handling of requests was very exceptional.

And then the flight landed

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is a very interesting place. Many aircraft land at remote gates, there’s quite a lot of congestion and jet bridges have a rare configuration for deplaning passengers involving well-dressed airline employees standing at the threshold, directing passengers up a ramp to the departures level for connecting international flights or down a different ramp to customs and connecting domestic flights. This is where things started to go quite wrong.

Somehow, the flight from LAX to Istanbul had managed to lose about an hour in the air, so the connecting flight that Turkish Airlines had sold me had since buggered off to Bucharest with precisely zero fucks given. In cases such as these, it is the responsibility of the airline to rebook passengers such that they get to their destination without having to resort to hitchhiking or hiding in someone’s luggage and I was directed to the Turkish Airlines rebooking desk. Which is in the domestic section of the airport for some incomprehensible reason.

A brow-beaten bloke looked at my boarding pass, muttered something unkind about Bucharest and then gave me a new boarding pass that would see me arrive more than 6 hours later than my original itinerary promised. This made me a very sad panda, but things only got worse. 

Upon finally boarding the flight to Bucharest, it became apparent that an equipment change had occurred and no Business Class seats were present. In an example of gross egregiousness, I was subjected to flying in Economy! 

Thankfully the subsequent legs around Europe were without incident, with an expectation of dealing with the late arrival and downgrade of my Istanbul-Bucharest leg once I was home. Alas, I was about to be grossly disappointed.

As originally booked, my flight to the US would see me have over 3 hours to meet a connecting flight at San Francisco airport (which is the 5th worst airport I have ever been to). Yet, for some unknown reason, Turkish Airlines decided to alter my itinerary such that I would have less than 90 minutes to clear immigration and customs, recheck my bags, change terminals and be molested by the TSA. To add insult to injury, the incoming flight was ordered to come to a halt and wait for a bloke named Keith to tow the 777 to quite a distant gate.

Upon getting through immigration, Turkish Airlines staff had tried to be “helpful” and moved my bag off to a storage area which they proceeded to forget the location of. After administering hypnosis and deploying my personality in the general direction of the staff, my bag was suddenly found and I was told that I would be delayed by another few hours and I would have to endure the unrelenting pestilence that is Economy for my connecting flight.

Up with this I shall not put

So in summary:

  • My arrival in Bucharest was delayed by over 6 hours
  • The Istanbul-Bucharest leg was downgraded to Economy
  • The San Francisco-Seattle leg was changed without notification or justification
  • The rebooked flight arrived hours later than scheduled and was downgraded to Economy

I wrote to Turkish Airlines, expressing my concerns and was told to fuck off in the second most polite way I’ve experienced to date. After laying out all the facts, the airline refused to do anything about the issues encountered even though their customer rights document laid out exactly what they should be doing.

In the end, I ended up invoking my favourite C word in their general direction and let American Express deal with them. Oh, the fun that was had:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

Thank you for bringing the issues you encountered during your journey with Turkish Airlines to our attention. We have reviewed the documentation and evidence you have provided and agree that the airline is refusing to act as is detailed in their customer rights document.

To that end, please be informed that a credit of 1,200 Euros will be applied to your account whilst we recover the funds from the airline.


American Express

But this is not the end of the story

About 6 months later, I received an e-mail from Turkish Airlines with regard to this incident. I was expecting the message to allude to attempting to claw back the funds in some fashion, but surprisingly this was not the case:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

We have reviewed the manner in which your case was dealt with and agree that it was unacceptable. As an apology, please find attached a voucher valued at 168 Euros for use on our airline when we next welcome you aboard.


Turkish Airlines

Victory! Twice!

We can’t be arsed, go away

Every now and then, some idiot organisation decides that they can completely ignore customer questions in relation to them failing to deliver a product as advertised.  Of course, when this occurs certain Arseholes such as myself object.

Subsequently, a subset of said organisations attempt to further frustrate the addressing of these objections by assigning the handling of whatever issue they’ve created to their in-house equivalent of Ralph Wiggum.

In September 2017, I rented a car from Hertz. The booking was made online, confirmation was provided and all appeared to be sweetness and light. Alas, this was not to be. Instead, things went something like this:

  • The pickup point I’d selected was actually closed at the specified pickup time.
  • Calling the Area Manager resulted in being directly lied to, stating that there were no scheduled pickups for the day.
  • An alternative pickup point was arranged, approximately 2.5 km from the original pickup point with a promise that staff would be waiting for us upon our arrival.
  • Upon arriving at the alternative pickup point, no staff were waiting for us upon our arrival.
  • The car provided was very different from the car requested (in every way).
  • There was very little fuel in the car upon pickup.
  • Upon drop off of the car at the conclusion of the rental, the Area Manager simply responded with “These things happen” when presented with the issues encountered and a request for consideration.
  • The final invoice (sent via e-mail several hours after the car was returned) was 25% higher than what was quoted initially.

Clearly, up with this I could not put! A delightfully balanced message was sent to the good people at Hertz:

Dear Hertz,

A number of issues were encountered with regard to my recent rental (agreement #123456). As you can see, the requested vehicle was not provided, the pickup location was unstaffed, significant time was spent on my part to compensate for Hertz process and/or system deficiencies and I have now been charged 25% more than what was originally quoted.

Please confirm that the 25% overcharge will be refunded immediately and the manner of compensation Hertz will be affording me for the issues outlined.



Unfortunately, Ralph had seemingly glued his head to his shoulder and was thus unable to address my request in full:

Dear UA,

The location was unstaffed at your time of attendance as scheduling was done after you made your booking. For this reason, you were required to go to our other depot. I trust this addresses your concerns.

Sod off,


I was less impressed with this response than I was with my cat’s last selection of places to vomit, thus I took to Twitter to ask that a proper reply be constructed by someone not high on tar fumes.

Low and behold, I received The same response via e-mail 6 hours later, featuring the impressively unhelpful line of “Your invoice is correct” tacked on the end with no further explanation. When I again queried this response along with invoking my favourite C word I was again told that a more complete response would be “forthcoming”. I suspect that the lack of timeframe and lack of signs of this response had me experience something in common with some of the doomsday nutterists who ask for donations occasionally.

As no parsnips had been buttered by this futile exchange of pleasantries, I was left with no option but to chargeback the transaction. Expecting this to result in some additional communication from Hertz was misguided, as the only subsequent, related events that occurred were:

  1. The entire rental amount being credited to my account as a result of the chargeback being settled in my favour
  2. A bunch of bonus frequent flyer miles being deposited due to a promotional code I’d used

All in all, victory!



Yes, you will pay for my time

It’s quite simple really. If a company selling me something demands that I call them to make something happen, I expect to be taken care of quite quickly.

When an organisation instead offers multiple means of contact, makes statements via said means indicating that my request will be actioned and then engages in manufacture of alternative facts, I expect that they should know that they’re going to have a bad time.

After Australia’s grossly inept government managed to somehow appoint a bloke named Chad to install a VDSL2-capable DSLAM in the basement of the building I live in, I went looking for an option to get connected to the NBN that is currently being pushed toward all Australians (bogans and higher beings alike).

Because of the multitude of connection options offered by NBN Co to we lowly serfs, a multitude of qualification criteria also exist. As a result, my options were Telstra, Optus and a company called Belong.

Belong is special, in that they’re likely to eat your shoes if you look at them without disdain. They’re also a subsidiary of Telstra that uses none of Telstra’s network capabilities as it was easier to engage Telco In A Box to actually build a provider ready to provide service in less than 2 decades.

After signing up, downloading a bunch of stuff and then confirming that the 25/5 service that I was being provided was well below what my gear and access method was capable of, I requested that Belong give me 100/40 access.

Belong gave me the following responses:

  • NBN Co does not offer better than 25/5 in your area
  • NBN Co does not offer better than 25/5 for your connection method
  • We have decided that we cannot offer better than 25/5 due to backhaul concerns
  • Your service is not eligible for better than 25/5 because of transition rules

After some research, I confirmed that these were all untrue and churned to a provider that can actually tell me the truth and present a mild facade of competence.  An online churn request resulted in my service being moved over inside of 2 days with no downtime and things were good. Download speeds were high and my porn was free of buffering.

After many previous attempts to get an answer on the speed issue from Belong, I decided to confirm my cancellation with them via all of online chat, e-mail, website contact form, Twitter and Facebook. I was repeatedly assured that I would be called by a Belong representative to confirm said severance. Said call did not occur. I had attempted to make multiple phone calls to Belong to confirm cancellation, including on the day of churn. However after being on hold for over an hour on multiple occasions, I decided that I would rather contemplate how my urine stream circles the drain in my shower whilst I was using a toothbrush to clean the spaces between my bathroom tiles.

After hearing nothing for 3 days, my coworkers decided that they’d like some entertainment during lunch and would like to hear how terrible the Belong hold music was. After 30 minutes (!?!) of waiting, I was greeted by someone named Bertha.

After I explained to Bertha that I had moved my connectivity elsewhere, had wasted a significant amount of my time attempting to confirm cancellation and simply wanted actual confirmation, I was told the following:

  • NBN does not give us churn details (this is provably a lie)
  • You have not attempted to contact us (this is also provably a lie)
  • After insisting that I had made multiple attempts and had been promised call backs, I was told that outbound calls were impossible (this is in direct contradiction to what I was told)
  • After detailing the interactions with the social media team, I was told that the social media team had no record of speaking with me. After stating that the inability of the social media team to keep decent records is not my problem, I was instead told that my contact attempts had been recorded but that the requests I made of the social media team were beyond their remit (no statement of this nature was made during my conversations with them)
  • I had made many phone calls and stayed in a queue for significant periods of time and doing so has no appreciation associated with attempting to do the right thing.
  • Cancellations involve no refunds being provided for the days of service that were paid for in advance but not provided

Oh dear….

Of course, I would not put up with this. There is only one way to deal with such idiocy:

“I’ve done the right thing here. I’ve made multiple attempts to get the service I need from your company, given fair warning of churning away, made multiple attempts to confirm cancellation and am now being told that my attempts are not being recognised. Refund the days I did not use please.”

Of course, Bertha had precisely zero regard for logic and refused to consider my request. When I asked to speak to her manager, she responded with a statement indicating that her manager would say exactly the same thing and that it was a waste of everyone’s time.

Although one should not be an arsehole, I had decided that I was dealing with a person with no regard for logic. My next statement was as follows:

“If you refuse to escalate my request, I will raise a chargeback request with my card issuer, raise a dispute with PayPal and lodge a complaint with the TIO . This will cost in excess of 10 times more than the refund I am requesting and, beyond that, I will get the refund anyway. Is that really what you want to do to the company that provides you a wage?”

The only response was silence. And then the call ending.

Being a complete arsehole, this Arsehole followed through on all of the statements made.

3 days later, a bloke named Bill from Belong’s parent company (Telstra) called me and gave me a refund of 2 months access fees.


At least his average call time stayed low….

First, allow this Arsehole to provide some context.

In 2015, two things happened in Australia that impacted those amongst us that could be classified as points enthusiasts, each involving a major supermarket chain/corporate conglomerate:

  • Wesfarmers decided to make their Flybuys program relevant and provide a means to transfer points to the Etihad Guest program arbitrarily in reasonably-sized increments. They didn’t extend the program to cover their various other brands (like Officeworks and Bunnings), but they did improve the program.
  • Woolworths decided to tell everyone shopping at their stores that they could fuck right off if they were interested in collecting Qantas Frequent Flyer points. The colocation of BWS stores with many Woolworths outlets, the fact that 1 QFF point was earned per dollar spent over $30 in a single transaction, checkouts being allowed via a BWS register and the excellent earn rates on certain American Express cards resulted in a simple decision of supermarket when it came to shopping for cheese and wine whilst being a wanker. Alas, idiocy disregarded this segment of valuable shopper and instead focused on promising discounts to bogans.

At this point, the maximisation of earning stuff for no reason required that I gaze upon Dawn French’s smile and dig out my Flybuys membership card from my bottom kitchen draw where it had previously been placed with spare lightbulbs and pamphlets from hardcore Jebus promoters offering to wash my car in exchange for sponsoring a tarp for their next orgy.

After spending a few dollars at my local Coles outlet and scanning said card, I received a wonderful phone call from a bloke claiming to be named Josh. It was extremely unlikely his name was actually Josh, but that’s not really relevant.  The call unfolded thusly:

Josh: Hello. As a valued Flybuys customer, we would like to offer you an excellent rate on your car insurance with Coles Insurance!

UA: Thank you for the offer Josh, but I’m not interested in changing my insurance arrangements at this time.

Josh: (Violent disconnection)

Josh hung up with incredible prejudice! How very dare he! Up with this the Arsehole would not put!

Feedback should be targeted and immediate

Google is a wonderful thing. It allows one to very quickly determine who to complain to when their sensibilities are not carried aloft to the clouds in a pillow of honey whilst employing an army of amoeba to cushion their hemorrhoids. Immediately after this call, the following e-mail was composed and sent to Coles Insurance:

To whom it may concern,

One of your representatives called me today as a part of the outbound marketing campaign currently being run by your organisation. Upon politely informing your staff member that I was not able to consider the offer he was promoting, I was treated with complete and total contempt and hung up upon. I have confirmed that the call was terminated explicitly and that no network issues resulted in this schism of conversation.

I am sure that this conduct is not at all representative of the manner in which Wesfarmers seeks to engage with current and/or potential customers. I would like to include Wesfarmers-issued insurance products in future as appropriate, but would require confirmation that the treatment I experienced is an aberration that has been examined such that it not be repeated.



Sending this e-mail was admittedly an example of what is called a zero-sum game. Either I would receive a response that I was able to then do something with (and gain something for free), or I would not receive a response and have basis to escalate my concerns (and thus gain something for free). Although an automated acknowledgement of my e-mail was issued, I received 3 further phone calls of similar intent and script to that employed by “Josh” in the week prior to a deafening lack of response being received.

As insurance is technically a financial product in nature, the Financial Ombudsman Service is an escalation point available to all customers in Australia. The very name instills fear in the hearts of call centre staff and complaints managers everywhere, so I decided to take the path of least resistance and do just that:

Attention: Coles Financial Services Compliance Department


I recently wrote to CFS with feedback regarding an extremely poor customer service experience I received. Although I would have expected the outcome of this experience to have at least resulted in no further experiences of this same poor nature being inflicted upon my person and accounting for a disproportionately egregious amount of my time, my expectations have not only been left unmet but have been failed terribly.

At this point, I require the following:

  • Formal acknowledgement of the inappropriate conduct of the agents who have made contact without regard for previous interactions.
  • Specific details of how this issue will be addressed such that it does not reoccur.
  • Recognition of my time in having had to repeatedly address this issue .

Should I not receive a written response from CFS by <insert date 5 business days from now>, I will have no option other than to submit the details of this issue to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

In accordance with prophecy,


To my astonishment, CFS was in contact within 12 hours! My details had been expunged from their outbound calling database, the persons involved had been counselled, scripts reviewed and 20,000 Flybuys points deposited into my account as a gesture of apology.

This is an example of a company doing the wrong thing on a few occassions and then actually subscribing to the Acknowledge, Resolve, Right principal. Not once was the term Goodwill mentioned, but actually the term apology.

So impressed was I that I later signed up for 4 different Coles Financial Services products, mainly so I could quadruple my Flybuys points haul so I could fly all the way from Adelaide to Port Adelaide after spending $20,000 each week for 3 eons.

All in all, victory!


It’s totally fine that you’re in India (or anywhere else)!

Sometimes my phone rings. People call me for some reason that I cannot hope to understand, and I eagerly answer it thinking that I’ll be asked how it is that I keep my pubes platted so tightly as evidenced by the photo I uploaded to PortalOfEvil.com in 1998.

Recently I answered the phone and was greeted with these words after a perceptible delay after me answering and vocalising a grunt or passable greeting into my phone:

“Hello, my good name is Dave!”

This statement tells me a few things:

  • “Dave” speaks at least two languages and quite possibly more than 2 given the observed application of grammar to English (because English grammar rules are basically horrible).
  • “Dave” hasn’t been beaten into presenting a facade by his managers and/or supervisors completely as yet as he still speaks in a manner that feels natural to him.
  • “Dave” is definitely working outside of the country where I took his call and in a call centre very likely staffed by people native to the locale of said call centre
  • “Dave” may not actually be named “Dave”.

Regardless of the intent or reason for this particular call, there’s a trend that is very worrying. In the last 24 months, I have received over 100 calls from people who are working from call centres in India, Sri Lanka, The Philippines and other countries and on the vast majority of occasions the name presented by the caller has been chosen to attempt to make representations of being situated in the “West”. Technically it is quite trivial to determine where a call originates from, however the idea that a person is simply a tool to make a bunch of statements on behalf of an organisation who thinks their potential customers stupid is most worrying.

As big an Arsehole as I am, the only criteria that I grade a customer interaction by is the manner in which my concerns are addressed. If the person handling the phone and/or keyboard takes ownership of the situation and shows that they’ve every intent of making things right then that is an excellent outcome.

I’m not sure which is more worrying when reflecting on this development. The idea that companies have decided that deception serves a purpose at the cost of their employees and agents surrendering their own name or that such thinking is justified by some section of the public, no matter how small, judging a person by their location and/or heritage.

In this case (and this is likely to be extremely rare), I’m not the Arsehole here.

Either the companies insisting on this practice have zero basis in insisting on such actions, and they’re a complete pack of arseholes or there is some subset of the public that engages in racism and stereotyping that is used to justify this idiocy. In which case that subset is complete and total pack of arseholes.

Both of these outcomes are manifestations of personal attacks being entertained by accommodation. Seriously, Don’t Be An Arsehole!