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review

The Coach House, St Neots

Posted on 1st November 2012 in review

Feeling in need of a Sunday dinner but without the inclination to make one, we headed off to The Coach House in St Neots.

It’s a lovely building and unbeknownst to us had recently changed hands. It is now in the safe hands of friendly and enthusiastic manager Ceri.

Here’s what we had:

I had the roast beef – it was really good! Only criticism would be that the horse raddish was too mild for my taste, otherwise fabulous.

Thing 2 had the ‘burger board’, eyes bigger than belly though as he couldn’t finish it! The relish that went with the chips was amazing, as were the chips themselves. Overall he said it was really tasty and he’d have it again.

Thing 1 had, as he ALWAYS does, ham, egg and chips. He said it was ‘epic’.

And his handsomeness had the roast pork, he said it was really good. The roast potatoes especially and the size of the yorkshire went down well too!

We had all this (and felt completely stuffed!) and four drinks and it came to just over £40! What a bargain. All of the staff were highly attentive, polite and friendly and Ceri herself was just delightful.

Can’t recommend it enough, if you haven’t been before or haven’t been for a while – now’s a good time to go back.

You can tweet them @CoachHouseGK – although Ceri can’t find the password at the moment…

Or find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CoachHouseGK

 

 

An Afternoon’s Fun With Epic Straws! #epicstraws

Posted on 15th October 2012 in children/ craft/ review

I don’t often take up offer to review products in return for a guaranteed post, however the Cravendale Epic Straws combined two things that my boys love so it seemed rude not to! Both my boys love milk, they always have done and they are always building and constructing things so were keen to take up the Epic Straws challenge.

Here is how they got on:

And the last one, combining both their efforts:

As you can see, they had great fun with the straws – if you’d like the chance to build and epic straw take a look at the website or see promotional information on the labels of Cravendale milk cartons in stores right now! If your children don’t currently enjoy milk, this could be the perfect way to get them into it!

A Blogging Dilemma. Integrity vs Morality.

Posted on 19th June 2012 in Blog/ review

I have a dilemma.

We went on holiday recently and prior to going I discussed with the owner that I would be reviewing it afterwards if she didn’t mind. I told her that I only ever do honest reviews.

In a nut shell, the holiday had 4 ‘features’ listed on the site we booked through. They were: an outdoor heated pool; free wi-fi; a launderette and a tennis court. My children had wanted to go on a centre parcs type holiday but we had to go to a particular part of the country as a friend was getting married there. So the compromise we made with the children was that we would make sure that wherever we booked had a pool…

However, although there was a pool it was empty! We queried this as soon as we arrived and were told it would be ready 2 days later. We were offered vouchers for a nearby pool in lieu. The vouchers never materialised. There was no sign of a launderette. 2 days later we asked again about the pool and got fobbed off again, this time with “it’s only a pool!” muttered in exasperated tones. We also asked about the wi-fi as with no pool the boys were wanting to access their online games – this resulted in the owner saying “you obviously aren’t happy, why don’t you just leave and I’ll give you a full refund”.

We were stunned, it had been an 8 hour drive down and we had a full week worth of shopping in the fridge. Going home 5 nights early had really not been on the agenda!

After discussing it for a few minutes with OH, the owner appeared again and said again that we obviously weren’t going to be happy during the holiday so if we  wanted to leave she would refund 4 nights of the holiday…. huh what happened to the full refund?

We decided at that point that there wasn’t much point in staying if the children couldn’t go swimming or access their games and we both agreed we would feel really quite unwelcome now that the owner had suggested we leave!

We asked her to put in writing that the pool was not finished and that she had offered to refund us, she seemed suddenly reluctant at this point and said she was too busy and would have to do it in the morning. She said she would issue the refund first thing and email us to confirm. We stood our ground and insisted upon a hand written note confirming what she’d said.

Then, we packed the car with two very unhappy boys and drove through the night arriving home at about 2am.

I have not heard a single thing from the owner since we left. Fortunately I booked the holiday through a holiday company so I was able to complain through them. They have written to me today and said that they cannot get any response from the owner and are therefore having to ‘take matters into their own hands’ and they have promised me a full refund within 14 days. They’ve also said that they will have to contact everyone else booked to go to this site and raise the possibility of the facilities not being available.

So, the dilemma. Do I still do the review when it will clearly be quite damaging to her business?

From an integrity point of view: I said I’d be doing an honest review and she knew that so I should go ahead and do it.

From a morality point of view: I think they had just opened too early. It was a new site with only about 10 cottages on it and I just don’t think they’d got it finished in time. Maybe money was an issue, maybe just timing I don’t know. The cottages were beautifully refurbished, the site just didn’t have the facilities that were listed on the holiday website. I don’t think I’m comfortable with making all this public if it could damage her business. I know that sounds bonkers considering how we were treated but I can’t help thinking that she must be having a pretty miserable time already.

What do you think?

 

Epilation. Or. Do not underestimate the pain!

Posted on 13th June 2012 in review

In preparation for a recent holiday (during which not only did it rain continually, but also the pool was empty….) I foolishly and unnecessarily decided that I would need satin-smooth legs for the array of bathing suits, skirts and three-quarter lengths that I would be casually wearing (they never even made it out of the suitcase).

My plan was to get waxed, sadly however I underestimated how far in advance I would need to have booked in order to secure a waxing appointment so I decided instead to dig a tube of hair removal cream out of ‘the drawer’. The tube of cream was found to be out of date and unsuitable for underarms so in desperation I looked online for epilator reviews.

I fully blame @2starsandaswirl for encouraging me to buy an epilator because she reviewed one on her blog and as I am easily led I skipped off to the shops to buy one for myself.

My only previous experience of epilation was many many years ago when my cousin got one for Christmas. I vaguely remember touching it to my leg for a nano second and then hurling it back at her and saying she was insane. However, I figured that technology had advanced somewhat since that time and bought my nice shiny box and took it home.

This is the epilator and all its bits and pieces:

 

As you can see it comes with a pouch, various heads, cleaning brush and a lead. The only essential thing that it doesn’t come with is an adapter plug, most people have one somewhere in the house if they look hard enough, but I don’t think they are very expensive to buy either.

So, in a fit of stupid naivety, I proceeded to epilate my right leg. I was psyched up and fully ‘in the zone’ ready to ignore the pain. I knew there would be pain because every single review that I’d read mentioned that it hurt – even the actual product descriptions tend to say fluffy things like ‘pain is normal’.

The cons (ie welcome to a whole new world of pain)

As I touched the epilator to my leg it became apparent that pain wasn’t quite a big enough word. Do not, I repeat, do not underestimate the pain! I had tried plucking out a few hairs with tweezers in order to prepare myself for the main event and felt reassured as it barely even stung. Using an epilator however, does sting. A lot. OMFG does it hurt!

With my OH hovering nervously in the background I stoically carried on, the pain just grew and grew. It took quite a while to do that first leg because I kept stopping and starting, taking deep breaths, swearing like a docker and then carrying on.

I didn’t feel ready yet to tackle leg number two so for some bizarre reason I instead decided to do an underarm. Now I’m not a religious lady but sweet Mary Mother of Jesus did that hurt! I kid you not after literally two touches my underarm was bleeding in one place and bruised immediately in another! My OH tried to offer encouraging words at this point but after I suggested that I epilate his f****** **** he withdrew to a safer distance and muttered that I was doing ‘really well’.

Small confession at this point. Being too lazy to read instruction booklets does one no favours – before switching to underarms you are meant to change the head on the epilator to one that is softer and kinder to more delicate skin. It’s my own stupid fault that I didn’t do this!

Believe it or not, I did, with gritted teeth much swearing and tears in my eyes, complete the task. I then took some painkillers.

The pros

Immediately afterwards there was some redness, but not as much as I’ve previously had from waxing and the pain wears off gradually.

The next day the redness and pain had both gone.

My legs stayed hair free for around a week.

Once hair started growing back I noticed two things: 1) there was less of it and 2) it was finer.

My underarms (once recovered…) have never, ever been so smooth!

I’ve just epilated legs and underarms again (using correct attachments!) it was much quicker as there was less hair and, apart from a few hairs that are thick and strong enough to build furniture with, it was much finer and easy to remove.

The pain on the second time was reduced by around 70% and I understand that it gets less and less painful every time.

In my opinion – it’s well worth it as the results are amazing :)

 

 

 

The Eden Project – June 2012

Posted on 8th June 2012 in days out/ photography/ review/ The Eden Project

The only thing on our ‘must do’ list when we visited Cornwall was The Eden Project.

I have to make a teensy confession, before we went I did wonder just how interesting plants could be…

But, I am so glad we went as it was a fabulous day out for all of us and we are all really pleased to be able to say that we’ve been.

I definitely preferred the Rain Forest dome to the Mediterranean dome but both of them were amazing and filled with huge plants, trees and wildlife. I loved this flower which looked like a giant white spider!

In addition to the obvious attraction of the domes, there were several interactive areas suitable for all different age ranges, my boys (aged 10 and 12) had a great time on the velcro walls!

We stopped for sandwiches at one of the many cafes and found them to be incredibly fresh and tasty. They also offer a lunch deal for younger children which was excellent value. There were lots of areas where you could stop off for coffee or ice-creams or full on dinner and it really felt as though every need had been catered for.

Above is a photo of a giant egg like sculpture that was concealed behind a wall!

In the Rainforest Biodome we were lucky enough to see a huge Titan Arum which was just about to flower – pretty special as not only is it the biggest flower in the world, but it only flowers once every six years! You can see more about it here. I am secretly glad it didn’t flower on the day we were there as it apparently smells of rotting meat with a hint of vomit…

One of the indoor areas had lots of interactive exhibits in it where the children (and indeed the adults) could get hands on with levers, pulleys and fridge magnets!

 

Including one whole giant wall of fridges!

There was a trail that young children could follow to find salad and edible items and then get their card stamped at each point to win some seeds at the end. There was a trail for older children with clues to be followed which helped lead you around parts of the project which you may otherwise have missed. There was an ‘easy’ route for wheel chairs and push chairs and there was a more challenging route with more steps and steep climbs.

A family ticket to The Eden Project set us back around £65 which I was hesitant about spending but we all agreed that it was worth every penny. As you can probably tell from the photographs, it was raining on and off on the day we went but that didn’t spoil our enjoyment as a great deal of it is undercover.

Woburn Safari Park – excellent!

Posted on 7th June 2012 in days out/ family/ review

 

We took a ‘spur of the moment’ trip to Woburn Safari Park this week and it was excellent, we saw lions and tigers and bears!

We booked a family ticket online before we went which made it slightly cheaper and went along not really knowing what to expect as although we’ve been to Colchester Zoo several times, we’d never been to Woburn.

Driving through the animals was just amazing, it was so exhilarating to see them up close and looking as relaxed and ‘at home’ as possible. They calmly wandered around between the cars and the boys were very excited by how near they came.

We were a bit worried at one point as a wolf seemed to have walked out of his ‘area’ and found himself among the bears! But even though they were only a cars length apart they gave each other nothing more than a bit of a look! Thankfully.

We had a giggle near the bears as there is a big sign saying ‘Keep driving, bears break wing mirrors’ and as we passed it the boys suddenly fell into fits of giggles – turns out they’d misread the sign and thought it was warning us to keep driving in case the bears break wind!

The monkey enclosure was lovely, apart from all the silly people dropping sandwiches out of their windows to entice the monkeys over! Not a great plan as it usually resulted in 5 or 6 monkeys fighting on top of your car as the people in this nice shiny car soon found out!

The monkey by the back wheel had literally just slid all the way down from the roof – no doubt scratching the paintwork as it went!

We stopped for lunch in the restaurant and were pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the food and the price.

We then took a walk through the lemur enclosure followed by a swift walk around the ‘on foot’ areas as it was raining slightly and then hopped back in the car for another trip around the car safari through the zebras, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, tigers, lions, bears, wolves, monkeys, bison etc etc etc!

It was a brilliant day out that wasn’t spoiled by the rain. We did have a bit of a giggle at the guy who wanted his money back as they wouldn’t let him drive through the lions and the monkey – in his convertible! (They would have thought he was meals on wheels!)

Lightstrike #Review

Posted on 11th November 2011 in laser tag/ Lightstrike/ review

My children (both boys, aged 10 & 11) were seriously over the moon when they saw that we’d been sent Light Strike to review. My 11 year old said he’d seen the adverts on TV and thought it looked good.

Excuse the red eyes – I don’t call them the evil twins for nothing 😉

They very quickly got through the packaging and assembled their weapons. The fun actually stopped there that night as I’d stupidly forgotten to get any batteries! So they were left tantalisingly on the coffee table until after school the next day!

So, next day, batteries a gogo and we were off! I have to say I’m not really a fan of boys toys per se but the noises these make are brilliant and I can completely see the appeal. The packing is brilliant and the weapons themselves have a range of phrases and noises all of which are loud, clear and help to get the boys into the mindset of the game.

As well as the noises, all of the components light up (hence the batteries!) which adds a whole new dimension to gameplay as you can switch the lights off and play in the dark – or in the garden.

Another feature we all liked is the finger print recognition. Obviously it doesn’t actually recognise your fingerprint but there is an area where you have to press your finger in order to get the gun started – cool huh.

The whole game is very similar to Laser Tag and I can see that the boys will get hours of fun from it in different ways. They are already ‘customising’ the game play as the basic concept as far as we can see is that you have 3 ‘lives’ and each time your gun or your target is hit you lose a life, but the scores are not tallied anywhere unless you do it yourself so it is easy to just re-set and keep playing. I think this feature will be really useful for younger players who might get upset if they were to keep ‘losing’.


I’ve asked the boys to tell me some things about it, they said:

– it’s like having Laser Tag at home

– it’s like a computer game except that you are having exercise too

– the noises are good

– you need quite a big area to play it in

– you could buy more assault strikers and use it for a birthday party

As a mum, I get quite fed up with the constant barrage of online warfare games and the apparent peer pressure for the boys to take part in online games which are aimed at an 18+ audience (even though half their classmates seem to play them…). For me, Light Strike seems to satisfy that boyish need to play a strategy tag game without the children being subjected to all the imagery of the more violent, more adult, online games.

The only cons that I can see are that it takes quite a lot of batteries and that the small ‘targets’ do not clip on very well so my boys ended up not using them, although @liveotherwise pointed out to me that you can buy wearable target vests which would do the job a lot better!

I need a tumble drier! #appliancesonline

Posted on 6th October 2010 in 10 day returns guarantee/ appliances online/ buy tumble drier/ free delivery/ price match/ review

I actually already have a tumble drier, it’s a condenser one that I’ve had for a few years and I’ve been thinking about swopping it for a vented one as it’s now out in the garage so I no longer specifically need a condenser one.

As such, I was more than happy to review a website for Appliances Online. Especially as I personally don’t enjoy the whole trip to the electrical superstore experience. I always end up not having a clue what I’ve looked at, what features it needed and whether or not the salesman was promoting one model because it was good or because they couldn’t shift it for love nor money.

On first impressions I found the site easy to read, with a lot of obvious links and images on the front page. It also flashed up that free delivery is currently available and that they can recycle your old appliance for £9.99 – and they price match.

I’m told that Appliances Online was started in 2000 when someone bet the founders that they wouldn’t be able to sell washing machines on the internet. Today Appliances Online and the DRL group is still owned by the same people and is the UK’s largest online white goods retailer.

It took me literally 2 clicks to find exactly what I wanted. Then out of idle curiosity I opened a new browser to compare the price of the tumble drier on the website of one of the electrical superstores. Although the tumble drier was the same price, I did find that because the superstore sells many other items (laptops, pcs, software, ipods, tvs etc) that it was harder to navigate.

The Appliances Online also offer a ‘no fuss, 10 day returns guarantee’ which I think is pretty great and completely takes the risk out of the purchase. All items are rated and reviewed and customer testimonials are available.

Nice website, I like it and I’m glad I know about it.

Kafka On The Shore – book review

Posted on 17th June 2010 in #bookclub/ Haruki Murakum/ Kafka On The Shore/ review

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakam

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, having never read this author before, but something drew me to it and I have long since learnt that when a book ‘talks’ to you, you need to pick it up!

The story gently pulls you in and before you know it your world is torn between the two main characters and their separate, but softly interwoven tales. The prose is at times breathtakingly beautiful and utterly spellbinding, if ever a page-turner could be also be gentle then this is it.

The first character is Kafka, a 15 year old boy who’s enigmatic yet apparently uncaring father seems to have filled his head with all manner of dark omens and seemingly bizarre facts and prophecies. A troubled childhood and a missing mother and sister leave Kafka being raised by a man who seems unfamiliar with children and their needs. Unsurprisingly Kafka runs away from home and his tale varies from being that of a 15 year old runaway to a deeper, prophetic tale of a much older soul on a mysterious quest.

Just when you are immersed in this tale and eager to read each new page, you encounter that most frustrating of all things, a chapter introducing a new character! Although the temptation is to rush through the pages until you can return to the original story, you quickly find yourself enchanted by the old man Nakata and his simple life.

Nakata lives life at a gentle pace. He lived through a world changing event and emerged from it alive yet mentally impaired and with the unprecedented ability to communicate with cats. Now this fact alone will make some love the book and some discount it, however it is surprising superfluous to the story itself and is one of the many obscure yet fascinating side arms to the main story. Nakata seems to be utterly defenseless and bewildered by the world and yet strange things happen when he doesn’t get his way and through a combination of vulnerability and the odd premonition of raining fishes he somehow always achieves his aims.

Haruki Murakam creates two very strong, very different yet believable characters for the reader to care about which is no mean feat in itself but in addition to this, you will find that you also care about the librarian (whether they are male or female matters not), about the truck driver, about the girl and even the rock!

Kafka On The Shore takes you from a simple love story, through to a journey of self-discovery, past a deep and thought provoking look at human nature and sandwiched in between each layer you will find a fantastical otherworldly experience, which for some reason doesn’t seem out of place. By the end of this book I cared deeply for Nakata and wasn’t sure whether I was half in love with Kafka or wanted to mother him – either way strong emotions had been evoked.

This book has it all, love, sex, relationships, danger, omens, prophecies, imaginary shelters in the woods, murder, intrigue and talking cats – really could you ask for any more?

T is for… Taste London – customer service deficit

Posted on 21st May 2010 in auto renewal/ bad service/ complaint/ customer service/ debt/ review/ taste london/ theft

For anyone who has a taste london card, please be aware of their auto renewal clause. I signed up for a taste london card after receiving a 50% off special offer email. I did not know that I had signed up for auto renewal.

I tried to use my card in the restaurants stated, but each time I tried the restaurants said that because they had other incentives running the card could not be used. I wrote it off as a bad purchase and forgot about it until recently when I spotted that taste london had debited my account. I then immediately emailed them – via their website as they don’t show any actual email addresses – and below you will find a copy of the emails in which they repeatedly refuse to issue a refund.

Web site enquiry

number2: Hi – you seem to have deducted £29.95 from my bank account but I didn’t actually want to renew my card. Please can you cancel this and refund my account.
Many thanks.

Tue 4th May 2010

Good morning Lisa and thank you for taking the time to contact us.

When you first join tastelondon you cannot proceed with your order until you have clicked that you accept the terms and conditions of the membership (copy below). I am unable to offer you a refund however if you do not feel you will use the card over the next 12 months but a friend or family member may benefit instead please return the card to me with details of their full name and I can transfer this for you.
You must read, agree and accept all of the terms and conditions expressly set out below and those incorporated by reference before you may become a member.

We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time by giving you Notice (“Notice”) by posting the amended terms and conditions on the Site.

Any amended terms and conditions will govern new memberships after the expiry of 30 days following the date of the Notice

“We”, “Ourselves”, “Our”- means Taste London and Taste Marketing Ltd

“Site”- means www.tasteuk.co.uk

1. The tastelondon Club is an ongoing subscription service so your membership is continuous, your membership is renewed automatically at the end of each membership year. We will send you a reminder by email (or by post if you have not supplied us with your email address) approximately 3 weeks before your renewal is due, to advise you of details of the new subscription. If you do not want to renew your membership you should contact us by telephone at any point within your 12 months membership period and at least 7 days prior to your renewal date. You are required to inform us if you change your correspondence address (both email and postal) – and we will not be liable for any non receipt of communication from us, this includes the renewal reminder.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards

TasteLondonEmployee

Tuesday 4th May 2010

Hi TasteLondonEmployee,

Thank you for your email.

I am very unhappy with your response. If you make it compulsory for people to tick the autorenew option then I do not believe that to be fair and I certainly did not realise that I had done that when I bought the card.

I do not want my card to be renewed. I do not live in London and I have not been able to use the card as the restaurants that I have tried to use it in have always had other promotions on at the time meaning that the card cannot be used – thus making the card pointless.

If you are unable to issue a refund I would be grateful if you could pass this matter onto your supervisor.

I look forward to receiving confirmation of my refund.

Lisa

Wednesday 5th May 2010

Good morning Lisa and thank you for your reply. The reason why we do not allow customers to proceed with their order until they have clicked that they have read and understood the terms and conditions is to avoid circumstances such as this. I have cancelled your renewal for 2011 and as I said before we can transfer the membership to a friend or family member for the next 12 months if this is something you would be interested in.

Kind Regards

TasteLondonEmployee 
Operations Director

Wednesday 5th May 2010

TasteLondonEmployee,

I have written to my bank today to complain about this under the terms of the Direct Debit guarantee.

I do not agree that I gave you permission to auto-renew. I did not receive an email ‘reminding me of the renewal’ (as stated in your email of the 4th of May) if I had of done I would then have cancelled the subscription – within the permitted timescale.

I would again request that you do the decent thing and cancel my renewal and refund the debit.

If you refuse to do so, I hope that the bank will be able to enforce the Direct Debit guarantee. Either way, I think this is an appalling lack of customer service on your behalf.

Lisa

Wednesday 5th May 2010

Good afternoon Lisa,

Thank you for your subsequent email. Our subscription is not a direct debit, it is a continuous authority transaction and therefore not covered by the guarantee to which you refer.

I hope this helps clarify, I am now away from the office until Monday 10th May. If you would like to transfer the membership into another name please contact a member of the customer service team on the free phone number below.

Kind Regards

TasteLondonEmployee 
Operations Director

Thursday 6th May 2010

No TasteLondonEmployee, it does not clarify.

I makes it sound even more like a sneaky loop hole built in to ensnare the unsuspecting.

However, as you did not honour your own terms and conditions, it is quite clear that you have violated them and I would like a full and immediate refund.

Lisa

Thursday 20th May 2010 – sent high priority

TasteLondonEmployee,

I still have not had confirmation of the refund.

Please can you action this and confirm urgently. As we have established, I did not want the card renewed. I did not receive any notification of the renewal and I would like a full and immediate refund. If you are not authorised to action this please can you kindly pass it on to someone who is.

Many thanks,

Lisa

Thursday 20th May 2010

Good afternoon Lisa,

As I said before I am the Operations Director for Taste Marketing Limited and I cannot process a refund for you. I can transfer the card into the name of a friend or family member instead if you would like to do so.

Kind Regards

TasteLondonEmployee

Thursday 20th May 2010

TasteLondonEmployee,

I have absolutely no intention of letting this drop.

You have renewed the card without my permission and I want a refund.

As you have refused several times to give me a refund I will now look into how I can escalate this complaint. I am absolutely disgusted with the attitude of taste london over this matter and think you need to take a long hard look at your customer service. If you believe that tricking people into renewal is good practice then you are very wrong.

Lisa

Thursday 20th May 2010

Lisa,

At no point have you been tricked into a refund and it’s disappointing that you have suggested this in your email, you yourself accepted the terms and conditions of the membership when you joined and this would also have been flagged as a reoccurring transaction on your bank statement at the time.

With almost 200,000 members we cannot waive these terms or get into a situation where we are making any special exceptions. That said when a member does forgot to cancel their membership we do everything we can to assist them in transferring this and cancelling the renewal for the following year.

Kind regards,

TasteLondonEmployee

Thursday 20th May 2010

TasteLondonEmployee,

I was not aware that I had signed up for anything other than a 1 year membership.

In your email of 4th May you said “1. The tastelondon Club is an ongoing subscription service so your membership is continuous, your membership is renewed automatically at the end of each membership year. We will send you a reminder by email (or by post if you have not supplied us with your email address) approximately 3 weeks before your renewal is due, to advise you of details of the new subscription. If you do not want to renew your membership you should contact us by telephone at any point within your 12 months membership period and at least 7 days prior to your renewal date. You are required to inform us if you change your correspondence address (both email and postal) – and we will not be liable for any non receipt of communication from us, this includes the renewal reminder.

I did not receive a reminder. As such I feel that I was tricked.

I have explained to you that I have been unable to use the card. I have asked you 6 times for a refund. As stated in my last email I am now looking into ways to take this further. My bank have already assured me that they agree with me that payment should not have been taken and they will be contacting taste london to request a refund. In addition to this I am now investigating whether the financial ombudsman or the office of fair trading will be the most appropriate person to complain to, I have emailed Money Saving Expert for their advice, I have asked on Twitter what people suggest (and warned them not to be tricked in the same way) and I will now continue to seek further ways to complain.

As I said in virtually every email, I am disappointed and quite frankly disgusted that you have refused to refund.

Lisa

Thursday 20th May 2010

Lisa,

I can assure you that our transactions are all perfectly legal, not in any way misleading and have been reviewed and approved by all the relevant authorities. We work closely with Money Saving Expert and they are fully aware of the terms and conditions of our membership. We will have sent you the reminder email however there are a number of firewalls that block certain traffic – for example those with links to social networking sites which is why we also notify members when they first join that we cannot control any correspondence which does not get delivered.

We do have exceptional levels of customer service which is reflected in the high percentage of members who stay with tastelondon year on year and take the time to write in offering their thanks or congratulating the team on the work they do. Members cannot proceed with their initial order without first confirming that they have fully read and accepted the terms and conditions of the scheme which quite clearly state that this will renew unless we are notified otherwise. We allow members to do so at any point within the twelve months, providing this is no later than 7 days before the expiry date on their card.

When you do contact your bank they will inform you of the details of your initial transaction and verify the legality of the “continuous authorised transaction” which you yourself accepted and authorised . I have noted that you are seeking advice from the financial ombudsman and the office of fair trading who will also confirm the same, therefore I shall now leave the matter and assume it closed.

On behalf of everyone at tastelondon I would like to thank you for your custom and wish you the very best for the future.

Kind Regards

TasteLondonEmployee

Thursday 20th May 2010

TasteLondonEmployee,

Whether or not you consider the matter closed – it is not.

I have already contacted my bank who, if you read my earlier email, do not agree with you and have confirmed that they are writing to you to request a refund.

I would be grateful if you could send me a copy of the document which you have stated “which you yourself accepted and authorised” along with a copy of the email that was sent to me “approximately 3 weeks before renewal is due” .

Your arrogance during this matter has been most unpleasant, please can you also provide me with the taste london complaints procedure along with clear details of how I can escalate this complaint within your company.

I look forward to hearing from you and receiving the items requested above.

Lisa

Thursday 20th May 2010 – sent high priority

TasteLondonEmployee,

It has just occurred to me that I have not received a new card anyway!

IF you have sent a new card, you need to cancel it immediately. And please DO NOT issue a further one.

Lisa

Friday 21st May 2010

Good morning Lisa, I will answer both your emails at the same time.

Firstly with reference to the non receipt of the renewed card, I note from our earlier correspondence that you no longer reside in London therefore I assume that you had not updated your address details with us and the pack will be at your old address. Under normal circumstances we ask for the card to be returned to us before we re-issue it in the name of a friend or family member but I had already taken that into consideration and offered to issue one without receipt of the original.

As our terms and conditions have been approved by all the financial regulators the matter is closed. I am disappointed to hear that you feel the company and I myself are arrogant in our approach, this is certainly not the case. We offer a fluid and ease of transition service to all our members, as I said before we prevent you from being able to join the scheme in the first place before you confirm that you have read and accepted our terms and conditions.

Kind Regards

TasteLondonEmployee

Friday 21st May 2010

TasteLondonEmployee,

I have never lived in London.

I have not received the card and would again request that you therefore cancel it with immediate effect and that you do not print a new one.

I look forward to receiving your confirmation of this along with the items requested in my previous email.

Lisa


No reply, as yet, will update if/when there is an outcome.

UPDATE  – I am delighted to say that on the 26 May 2010 the sum of £29.95 was re-credited to my account by my bank who are now going to take the matter up with Taste London themselves.

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