Please, don’t always be an Arsehole (and when to consider being one…)

As mentioned in some of the posts on this questionable site, there are certain rules that one should follow when being an Arsehole, one of the most important of which is to have basis for being an Arsehole. One must remember that the person who will be hearing your words, reading your missives or questioning the right of Twitter and Facebook to exist is a human being who is performing various tasks as part of their employment and is deserving of respect and to be treated as you yourself wish to be treated.

A recent event occurred that reminded this particular Arsehole to post on this subject. My family and I decided we were going to head to New York and had booked flights and accommodation to facilitate this, even though the trip would see us have to get up at 05:00 (a time that I personally think doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged). At 17:47 the day before, we were informed that our flight had been cancelled due to an absolutely shocking storm impacting the US North East.

The airline did the right thing here, and also indicated they’d be rebooking us as soon as possible.

Which they did.
Via Phoenix.
On a red-eye flight.
In Economy.

I really wasn’t enamoured with the idea of at least 2 of the “features” of this new itinerary and my family was even less enthused. We decided to do something else and the airline happily refunded the flights in full, however the hotel was under no obligation to do so and a $500 cancellation fee seemed to be unavoidable.

One catches more flies with honey than with vinegar

Upon calling the hotel and explaining the situation, they very happily asked for our original flight numbers and cancelled the reservations at no charge. I’ve since written to the hotel to express my thanks and bring attention to the staff member who made the process so incredibly easy and efficient.

The particular hotel superchain involved has gained a larger share of my accommodation spend as a direct result of how they responded to a friendly request. In this particular instance, there was no need to be an Arsehole.



The AA incident – the aftermath

After flying back from the US thanks to claiming victory over American Airlines, this particular Arsehole decided that they’d gotten off way too easily:

  • I had to get myself back to Melbourne after the SYD-LAX leg was terminated
  • The Melbourne to Sydney leg of the journey was not reissued
  • The Sydney to Melbourne leg was also not reissued
  • I’d spent about 3 hours sorting the situation out

I thought I’d give AA the chance to make things right, so I wrote to them.

Dear AA,

Due to an operational decision made by AA, my journey to Los Angeles needed to be rescheduled and the original MEL-SYD and SYD-MEL segments that were purchased were not included in the reissued fare. Please detail how AA will be addressing this issue through either an appropriate refund or awarding of AAdvantage miles.

Sincerely, an Arsehole

Amazingly, AA responded with a well-intentioned but ultimately inadequate offer of 10,000 AAdvantage miles. Although that’s better than nothing, it’s not quite what I had in mind.

Dear AA,

Although I appreciate the gesture, 10,000 AAdvantage miles is not comparable to the value that was not delivered by the reduced itinerary provided. Considering the miles, EQMs and EQDs that I did not earn due to this change and the costs I incurred as a result, I would require that the amount be increased to 75,000 AAdvantage miles to consider the matter settled.

If this does not occur, I will instruct my card issuer to raise a chargeback against the transaction.

Sincerely, an Arsehole

AA responded with “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do” to that particular missive. Of course, that isn’t true and served as excellent evidence for the chargeback process.

The particular issuer of the card used to purchase the airfare unfortunately relies on systems that were designed in 1974 and seemingly have decided to outsource their chargeback handling to an adult daycare centre that provides vodka intravenously. The process went as follows:

  1. Arsehole sends description of issue to card issuer
  2. Card issuer sends a generic e-mail requesting more information.
  3. Arsehole provides extensive information, and includes the statement “Please provide specific questions if any additional information is required”.
  4. Card issuer states that they do not have enough information and close the dispute
  5. The entire process is repeated 3 more times (!!!)

After the third attempt, I decided that the only way I could ensure that I would get any satisfaction at all is by being an Arsehole to the bank involved. So that’s exactly what I did:

Dear Dodgy Bank Corporation,

I have now attempted to comply with your chargeback handling process 4 times and have been given no information as to why the process has been stopped on each occasion. This conduct is in violation of the Scheme rules and is an egregious drain on my time.

Should I not receive confirmation that my case has been escalated and is being handled by someone qualified to and capable of ensuring that the dispute is raised with American Airlines in the next 48 hours, I will be referring the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Should I receive additional generic, non-specific requests for more information, I shall take this as an indicator that my request has not been actioned.

Love, an Arsehole

Of course, the only response was a phone call asking me to state the specifics of my dispute. Upon telling the person to stop wasting my time and look at the voluminous correspondence that I’d already provided, they committed to getting back to me the following day. They didn’t.

At this point, I had more than enough material to make a solid case with the FOS. There’s a very convenient online form for this process, and more-often-than-not does not require speaking to any humans. After 5 days, the bank in question made an offer of $1,000.00 to settle the complaint.

10,000 AAdvantage points and $1,000.00 in cash – victory!


UA vs AA (Spoiler: UA wins)

As previously mentioned, this particular Arsehole has taken on both United Airlines and Delta and declared victory in both instances. In March 2017, American Airlines were offering an extremely reasonable fare from Melbourne to Los Angeles in Business Class, which suited this Arsehole perfectly as he needed to get to the US for some business thing. The fare even included flights between Melbourne and Sydney on Qantas, but did require that it be booked through a travel agent (something that this Arsehole normally refuses to do).

3 hours into the flight from Sydney to LA, things started to go more wrong than a Barnaby Joyce-themed porn shoot:

  • The flight diverted to Brisbane due to a medical issue onboard
  • The flight then diverted to Sydney as Brisbane wasn’t in a position to handle AA’s ground needs
  • Announcements were made telling all passengers to stop asking about what would occur after the aircraft landed in Sydney
  • Upon landing, all AA staff decided to fuck off and had Qantas staff tell the passengers to come back the next day at 7am for updates “if available”

This Arsehole was not in a position to wait until the next day, as the business thing in question needed to be rescheduled as a result of the delay. At this point:

  • AA/Qantas staff refused to discuss the issue or rescheduling after determining that no other flights to the US were available that day on AA (no other OneWorld partners were considered)
  • The travel agency stated that they had no idea what they could or could not do to accommodate the changes to my schedule (in direct response to this issue occurring)
  • Neither party was willing to offer any assistance on returning to Melbourne other than “just go buy a cheap flight from Expedia or something”

Obviously, up with this I would not put! Upon the event in the US being rescheduled, the fun started.

Dear Travel Agency,

The engagement I was travelling for has been rescheduled to X/Mar/2017. As previously discussed, please ensure that tickets are issued for MEL-LAX on (X-1)/Mar/2017 and LAX-MEL on (X+1)/Mar/2017.



Of course,  expecting a remotely helpful response to this message would be akin to expecting an admission of error from The Orange One.  Instead of replying in writing, a bloke named Keith called me.

Keith attempted to insist that I would need to pay a change fee of ~$5,000 as I had chosen to not take the flight heading out the following day. The fact that this would have seen me spending barely 36 hours in the US was quite lost on poor Keith, and he refused to investigate options beyond asking me for my credit card number.

At this point, I told Keith that he needed to get my requested changes made at no additional charge by the end of the day or I would come to his office and subject him to my best Elephant Impression . Keith put me onto his manager, Jaydee-Taylah (yes, I did check the spelling) who explained that she would personally call the airline and call me back. Which she didn’t.

Because I was feeling charitable the next day and had picked out the ideal set of pants to pull the pockets out of, I called Keith and was told that he had been given the waiver code required to alter the reservation but could still not get American Airlines to budge, likening the experience to attempting intercourse with a bull. As much as I would normally like to explore a man’s admission of attempting to pleasure a bovine, I decided to focus on the facts:

  • Give me the waiver code. No sayeth Keith, as apparently there’s some sort of super-secret set of rules between Travel Agent proles and Airline proles.
  • Give me the details of the department you’ve been speaking to at the airline. No sayeth Keith, as they’d apparently refuse to talk to me.
  • Which would you prefer – to give me a refund now or to experience a chargeback? At this point the pleading started, and Keith responded to My Favourite C Word with details of who to call at American Airlines.

And this is where the real fun started.

Arsehole: Here are the days I need to fly – change my reservation.
AA Prole: Because you didn’t take our offered option, that will cost $5,123.13.
Arsehole: AA’s offered option was of zero use to me. I needed to be in the US on the days I originally booked and have had to change my plans as a result of the operational decisions AA made. I will not be paying a cent to make these changes.
AA Prole: Well, you need to take that up with your travel agent. They hold the booking.
Arsehole: I don’t think so. Here is what is going to happen – you will reissue the ticket for the required dates now or I will instruct my card issuer to raise a chargeback for the transaction and commence proceedings against AA to cover the cost of the trip on another carrier and I’ll definitely win. Your call.
AA Prole: Would you like to keep your original seat selections?
10 minutes later, this particular Arsehole had the required tickets. In the course of these changes finally being made, American Airlines decided to cut the travel agent out of the loop, thus denying them any of the commission associated with the fare. Keith called me in response to this and started asking many questions (mostly along the lines of trying to figure out what I did), all of which I told him I’d answer once I see the bonus points his agency was offering land in my account. Keith then hung up on me.
TL;DR – airline wanted $5,000 to change a trip that they failed to execute on. Arsehole made them do it for free and managed to remove the travel agent’s commission in the process.
But this is not the end of the story

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!



Elder Price was wrong about Orlando

Orlando is an amazing place. It’s warm, welcoming and hopelessly inefficient to the extent that a corporation run by a giant mouse has been given preferential treatment in an attempt to paper over all that is wrong with the port of entry.

Last year (2016 for those reading this in the future), this Arsehole decided to visit Orlando and visit many local attractions. Of course, much went wrong and this needed to be righted.

After flying in on Delta Airlines via the hub that connects the various cities, afterlives and inconveniences of most people, I was greeted with the worst possible arrival experience that someone could possibly anticipate. The signage upon arrival is limited, undifferentiated and directs all towards unending carpet corridors that afford wear to the wheels of one’s carry on, offense to one’s nostrils and unrelenting contamination and damage to the soles of one’s shoes.

I had afforded myself the luxury of having transportation from this airport to my accommodations organised well in advance of my arrival, however the poor organisation constructs and resultant choke points enabled by the designers of this particular point of entry resulted in the sequence of me getting to baggage collection at the same time as many other passengers on all of the other “traditional” US airline arrivals, seeing my bag take over 35 minutes past my arrival to get to collection and my very patient driver Matt still offering to happily take my bags and give me a bottle of Pepsi Max as requested.

The airport is a terrible, terrible place. By the time my bags had returned to my possession, aging had seen my sperm count drop more than Tony Abbott’s relevance.

Of course, this particular Arsehole cannot afford consideration to the transport providers that demand payment for carriage to this particular gaping maw. Thus, a letter was written:

Dear Delta,

Upon arrival at MCO, I was subjected to an onslaught of inefficiency, disorganisation and confusion of staff. After overcoming the presented obstacles I encountered a baggage collection area that promised delivery of my possessions whilst the previously-organised transportation agent patiently waited for my response to the SMS they had sent, generously expecting that the delay was attributable to the crowding present in the arrival area due to the poor operations of the airport in question.

I understand that Delta has no control over the specific operations of the airport, however the fees paid to the airport for my carriage were paid to Delta and I expect that consideration of the inconvenience I experienced and the additional cost imposed upon me due to the delays caused by the confusion that was enabled by overcrowding and poor scheduling will be appropriate.



Delta are a wonderful airline!

Dear Arsehole,

Please take 25,000 SkyMiles by way of apology.

Love Delta


Telemarketers 1

Telemarketers are amazing creatures. They somehow come to work, talk to people for hours at a time and manage to engage in either politeness or ignorance in response to rejection.

If some person is calling you and attempting to sell a service or product to you, they owe you plenty of courtesy. Of course, telemarketers are not typically assessed based on their manners and it falls to an Arsehole like me to remind them that they’re talking to the people who justify their employment.

With that all stated, I hereby present a series on an approach to handling telemarketers. If I ever publish this as a stand-alone text, I suspect the title may simply be “Fuck ’em”.

Hold them accountable immediately

Should you receive a call from some company you have no current relationship with, the immediate response to their overly manicured greeting should be simply, “Is this a sales call?

This inevitably results in one of three outcomes:

  • Yes, this is a sales call. Would you like to spend $2,500 on something that no one would ever want to buy so I can be paid a bonus of about Tree Fiddy and fend off the succubus that inhabits my cupboard?
  • No, I just want to give you a competitive quote on your electricity/gas/life insurance/mortgage/car insurance/internet. Note: If anyone ever uses the term “your internet” or “my internet”, they need to be taken outside and forced to watch Tony Abbott wearing speedos until they decide to get smarter.
  • There is no sale here. I am just conducting a free survey!

Taking these in turn:

Telemarketers who are honest in stating that they’re trying to sell you something deserve a polite “not interested” response. Should they continue to insist, they deserve to be taken outside behind the nearest barn and forced to trim a diseased Warthog’s labial growths with their teeth and you should tell them such.

Telemarketers that lie to you deserve to be completely and totally eviscerated mentally. If a specific percentage discount is mentioned, demand that they tell you exactly what you’re paying now and when they inevitably fail to do so call them out on their lies and demand to speak to their manager due to their reprehensible conduct. Should they make statements about rate reductions or excellent deals, demand that the details of said reductions or deals be stated up front and question their integrity and intelligence when they inevitably ask you for details of your current arrangements.

Free survey? From which observation point?

The last point is most interesting – the so called “free” survey. What sort of mental midget looks at a survey advertised as “free” and wants in? Urinating into one’s own mouth and/or nostril is free, however the price does not serve as a promotional point for anyone who has control of their bladder and/or higher brain functions.

Should any knobber offer you a survey over the phone, there is only one response that is appropriate: How will I be compensated for my participation?

The reply to this will inevitably involve statements that show either a complete inability to understand basic conversational English or a total disregard of the question stated. Words such as “but it is free”,  “there is no charge to you” or (my personal favourite) “it will only take a few minutes” are all statements showing a complete disregard for your time.

The person calling you is most likely compensated for their time. The systems enabling their communication with you are definitely being paid for. This means that someone has decided that the information being collected has value – why should you give some rabbit smuggler something of value for free?

In summary if someone calls you in their professional capacity when you have no relationship with them or their employer, the person deciding the terms of the interaction is you. Hold them accountable and disregard their script and fuckery.





I know UA personally…..

In this particular Arsehole’s day-to-day job, my beloved colleagues regularly get calls of the following formats:

  • Please put me through to the Arsehole. They are expecting my call! (I’m not)
  • I need to speak to the Arsehole as I am following up on an e-mail I sent them (They haven’t sent me a thing).
  • I am calling the Arsehole back, I did not get their number. (Not remotely true).
  • I know the Arsehole personally. You must put me through! (Then they should call me directly – I’m not hard to find).
  • I need to speak to the Arsehole now! No, I don’t want their e-mail address! Give me their mobile number!

As my most excellent colleagues were part of the inspiration behind this site, I thought their inappropriate abuse deserved appropriate chronicling.

One particular company sent their own staff and multiple call centres staffed by complete dog molesters a task of somehow getting a hold of me. The company in question claims to be an e-mail management specialist provider. How exactly all aggressors thought that e-mail or any other electronic means of communication was below them affords me confusion and amusement, similar to seeing someone attempt to use a bunch of constantly-rejected coins to get a Mars Bar out of a card reader-equiped vending machine whilst holding their MasterCard so they can order flowers for their girlfriend they’ve consistently disappointed and lied to whilst focusing on entirely the completely wrong fucking thing.

After over 40 (an honestly conservative estimate) attempts to make contact and a refusal of the callers to make appointments, provide callback numbers, send e-mails, give full details or give my colleagues the courtesy of even ending calls with something remotely resembling courtesy, I decided that this completely rapacious conduct must be fixed.

I wrote to Mute Performer Concert via their completely inept online contact form, with the following words (slightly paraphrased to protect those with sensibilities):

Dear sods,

Your organisation has made constant, unwelcome phone calls to my employer and has wasted hours of time whilst engaging in rude, unprofessional conduct and providing an impression of your company that would surely see anyone deciding to engage your services needing to be committed to a psychiatric ward.

I expect a written apology to be provided to my colleagues and a written confirmation provided that we will no longer be contacted by your poorly educated staff and agents.


Ultimate Arsehole

This is a wonderful example of a zero sum game. Should I receive no response, I would have basis for pushing the issue further (and I do have the contact details for the Australian GM). Should I receive any response, I suspected that it would be inadequate and provide basis for further escalation.

One day I would really like to see a case of a company taking ownership for such conduct and just stating facts. In this case, I was completely disgusted. I received a phone call from some bloke named after a scientific term, who engaged in the following attempts at conversation:

  • An attempt at promoting the current work of his organisation, completely ignoring what had been written.
  • Stating that there must have been some sort of e-mail error when the details I sent through were provided to him, and then completely disregarding the concerns I expressed about the inability of the company to do what they were claiming to be able to do given this example.
  • Massive minimisation of the conduct of the staff and agents retained by the company, disregarding their rudeness and extremely poor conduct as “slightly aggressive”
  • Attempts to “rescue” the conversation to get a sale, attempting to redirect concerns toward “synergies”.
  • Hanging up on me

At this point, I followed up via e-mail to this particular trained idiot and, much to my amazement, received the following:

Dear Arsehole,

I sincerely apologise for the conduct of our organisation. Please be assured that we will cease contacting you and apologise deeply for the extremely poor conduct we have displayed in our interaction with your colleagues.

The fact that our staff and agents did not show the Reception and Administrative staff in your organisation is unacceptable and we will be sure to record this as the basis for you excluding us from future interactions with your organisation.


Trained Idiot named after part of a Scientific Model

And with that, The Old Man Triumphs! Victory!

UA vs UA!

In May 2016, the Ultimate Arsehole had basis to take on the other UA – United Airlines.

This particular Arsehole flew from Orlando (which is the worst airport I have ever been to) to Newark (which is the second-worst airport I have ever been to). The flight was quite decent, however the arrival experience was as bad as bringing your crush home only to find out they are infested with genital warts.

The landing at Newark was almost as delayed as universal Marriage Equality, the airport was dirtier than an asexual bachelor’s toilet and the baggage claim area was about as organised as a fundamentalist religionist’s speech on why creationism isn’t a complete and total fucking joke.

Having flown Delta within the US, this particular Arsehole grabs their phone and starts a stopwatch as the plane lands to ensure that they get their bag within 20 minutes or get a bunch of Delta SkyMiles for their waiting time.

After 21 minutes, I decided to start tweeting at United Airlines. After 35 minutes, I was surrounded by a bunch of other Business Class customers asking where the fuck their bags were. We decided to band together and call United Airlines customer service and report all of our bags as lost. The person on the other end of the phone decided to escalate our concerns to their manager and told us to, and I quote, fuck off.

Eventually (after over an hour) bags did appear, as did various e-mails to the proles at United Airlines. After many statements regarding the lack of control United has over bags being delivered and the idea that bags being delivered after an hour being reasonable being completely disregarded by this particular Arsehole, a message was received:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

We sincerely apologise for the experience you were subjected to on flight UA69. Please accept this $500 travel voucher and United Gold status by way of apology. We sincerely hope that we and our Star Alliance partners will be considered in future for your travel arrangements.


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!