Taken for a ride?
I watched a great film recently. 7 British people of different backgrounds and for various reasons are drawn to book a stay at “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful” in Bombay. Their reactions to the culture shock of the teeming Indian city range from terror to delight. Douglas (Bill Nighy) is telling Evelyn (Judi Dench) of another day of fresh discoveries. At the end of it, the Tuk-Tuk taxi which is supposed to be taking him back to the Marigold Hotel goes on a detour and takes him to a rival hotel. The taxi driver assures him he’ll find it much better (-it turns out to be owned by his brother-in-law). Douglas, far from being affronted, politely declines and is brought back to his intended destination after all.
One of my customers, a lady of 82, contacted me about some problems on her computer. Once connected to it, I was aware of a few changes which I doubted that she would have had the confidence to make herself. She said that a few months ago, she thought that the annual subscription for the anti-virus programme was due for renewal. She didn’t know quite how, but said that an “Indian company” had taken control of her computer and sorted it out for her and she was now covered for 3 years. My heart sank as my first thought was that she’d been a victim of a telephone scam from one of the bogus companies, claiming to be Microsoft support. Apparently not though. This company – GuruAid – has a genuine website and contact number.
To be fair, GuruAid Customer Service did take the trouble to respond to our emails. They also took the time to phone the lady more than once and reassure her that she could contact them at any time. The trouble is, like the Tuk-Tuk taxi driver, they’d taken her somewhere she’d no intention of going when all she wanted was to continue with her current arrangements. She says she feels more confident contacting me than a ‘stranger’ who she has difficulty understanding. I would say that of course, but that’s just what she did do on the most recent occasion of computer trouble. So, she’s not going to benefit much from her £250 service contract. Whilst having the decency to listen, GuruAid aren’t prepared to issue a refund, 6 months into the contract.
A salutary tale for others I hope. When you google ‘Norton help’ or similar, make sure it is Norton that you’re contacting or you may well find yourself where you didn’t intend to be! If you do end up feeling under some pressure to sign up for something that you’re not sure about, decline and check it out with someone you trust.
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Photo courtesy of Wayan Vota and licensed under the creative commons.