My Poor VW Passat

I’ve had a pretty expensive few days thanks to the largest pothole known to man behind Chillingham Road in Byker.

Saturday night driving down there to turn around, my front N/S wheel goes into the pothole (I didn’t see it) and the weight of the Passat appears to have sheered the lower suspension arm off at the hub. It was probably ready to go, but looks like someone put an angle grinder clean through it. The wheel went up into the arch and it was stuck flat on the ground.

Cue an hour for the recovery truck to get a skate to move it, and us two in -8 at 10pm trying to figure out how to jack the car up when it’s sitting on the ground. We figured it out in the end. So I get it recovered to a garage in Byker , ERB Services / Newcastle Auto Centre. I’ve used them for 6 years, and removed my valuables from the car.

Fast forward to Monday morning and I’m up sharpish to get to the garage. They’re told straight away the car is immobile without a skate or some other way of moving it. “Not a problem” – I book it in for Tuesday morning and leave it in their care.

Early Tuesday afternoon I call for an update, by this time my bank have supplied a free Golf 1.4 TSi courtesy car as part of the package. Boy is it a beauty. Supercharger and Turbo on a 1.4 – thumbs up.

Anyway, back to the garage and I get through to the manager there. She advises they can’t move the car so she will not let her guys work on it. I tell her they said it wasn’t a problem and she bluntly gives me the “tough luck if you can move it we’ll fix it”. It ‘might’ get fixed in January she advises, an excuse regarding snow is also given. Instantly getting my back up I tell her to kindly take a walk and arrange a different garage – and with that another flat-bed recovery booked (£40) to get it shifted.
Wednesday morning, withheld number calls. It’s the Police. Some scumbag has screw-drivered the door and then smashed the window and had a good rummage around. Nothing missing (including radio) as I emptied it out. Turns out 7 cars were done over. Great. The manager at the garage reasserts nothing to do with them. I slowly boil over at her complete lack of any sort of humanity.

So anyhow it’s been sorted by Bonello Auto Services. Newcastle Auto Centre seemed to not care in the slightest they were loosing a 6 year customer. Their loss. Expensive Christmas for me though. Hopefully I’ll be able to put a good set of pictures/damage/costs and pass to Newcastle City Council – might even probe some parasite no-win-no-fee solicitor-company if they reject as it’s costing a bomb so close to Christmas.

Screwdriver around door.

Nice shiny inside

The damaged arm

Sat waiting for Autoglass

Art TubeMP

I do a lot of vocal recording at home, so I bought an Art TubeMP. About 6 months back, I started doing a lot of recording at the radio station so put all my kit away here back in its boxes and in the cupboard.

Today, I got it back out to play with. Everything is working spot on apart from the Tube MP. It has the worst of crackling coming from it through the audio line. Everything else works fine so by elimination (swapping wires/mics) the MP is at fault. It was stored away safely in its box and hasn’t been touched, dropped, damaged, hurt, punched or anything.

Typically, it’s now out of warranty so a waste of nearly £50. So I sent them an email saying I won’t be buying their stuff again. You never know, they might replace it anyway to keep my happy. Here’s hoping.

Complain Complain Complain

Apparently British people don’t complain enough, it’s written down somewhere, probably on the internet.

I like to complain though, and Virgin Media have been the company who have bore the front of my complaints the most in the past 12/14 months.

November/December 2009
Back then, we had the difficult task of moving NE1fm 102.5 to new studios. This was a massive undertaking, and took 4 weeks to move. We were advised 7 days for Virgin Media to move the services. However 4-6 weeks was the actual amount of time Virgin Media required to transfer services and install. Their staff suprisingly did everything required to gain their bonuses, but nothing to actually make anything happen.

Fast forward a bit, 15+ telephone calls resulted in a threat of me going to their London office. It was ‘laughed’ off. That evening their Chief Exec got an email, I got a phonecall back within 5 minutes and within 3 days we were magically sorted and compensated generously.

December 2010
Our cable connection went down. That’s fine, things break. But the first realisation I was going to struggle to get any sort of anything out of them occured when the ‘technical support adviser’ told me Virgin Media Cable Modems will not turn off if you turn off electricity. They magically will not turn off, somehow.

So, annoyed I was told an engineer would call on Thursday. That didn’t happen. I called them, he’ll call on Friday. You guessed it, no call Friday. I reminded them their Service Level Agreement was closing in and they wern’t interested – so I decided to threaten them with the Newspaper. They didn’t seem too bothered. So I called the paper and a story appeared Saturday morning.

Pleased with the first level of action, I called Virgin Media on the Monday. An engineer will be out this afternoon. 4pm Monday, I call – no engineer. I gently remind the guy on the phone that a newspaper has already ran a story on it, that they’ve failed their agreement, and the paper will run another story if it isn’t fixed on Monday. The drone advises he will ‘inform management’.

Fast forward. 16:55 Monday, newspaper has been notified. The story runs on Tuesday. Just before 5pm another phone call. Oh, Virgin Media and their first callback that week. An engineer will attend 9am Tuesday morning.

They attended 9am Tuesday (2x engineers/ 2x vans) and fixed the problem. But they were too late. The story ran anyway. If it hadn’t of been fixed today their Chief Exec would have got this instead of my blog. But hey-ho.

Apart from this being a small insight into something not very exciting. The moral of the story is to complain, and complain. They laugh it off until the big guns get involved – then they give you the service you should get anyway.

I’ve launched KA Distribution Services!

Last time I wrote here I was talking about distribution services and how had created a distribution server network for hosting most things audio!

Well, fast forward a little while and you can now view and sign up to services at a dedicated website. manages all things hosting/podcasting and comes with a pretty snazzy Customer Relationship Manager and integrated billing system – nice!

So, if you need something, I can probably help!