Anthony Bianchi

HARRINGWORTH, Tony Bianchi, columnist winner. 'Friday, 10 December 2010
HARRINGWORTH, Tony Bianchi, columnist winner. 'Friday, 10 December 2010

There must be many companies who sit back fat dumb and happy about their state of the art interactive web sites. No humans needed, just watch the orders and money pour in.

Sadly they are deluding themselves as a considerable number of their potential clients are like me, over seventy and not up to speed on the computer age.

In the last two days several companies have lost my spending because I could not understand how to place an order. In the first case I wanted to buy a petrol hedge trimmer. Went on line, read all the offers and decided the one I wanted. Filled all the boxes in and pressed the button to buy. Up came a notice in red saying I had omitted to put in a vital detail. So I went back to correct it. The box was now surrounded by a red dotted line. I could find no way to put in any revised details. After ten minutes I found a telephone number on the site and rang it. Recorded message ‘none of our sales people have telephones – they only deal with e mails – please send your query by email’ At that point I gave up and went to a site which although challenging was manageable.

I then wanted to book a hotel room with one of our best known budget hotels. All fine (except when checking the date of the booking I found it had substituted August for May) However when I pressed the button to book a red warning came up saying I had entered an invalid e mail address. Worse it had wiped out all the previous details I had put in. I went through this three times getting no where until I got so cross I just cancelled the whole thing. In any case I had put in my correct email so there was nothing else I could do. I wonder how many sales these companies lose because their sites are designed for young technocrats. It is worth these companies realising the purchasing power of the older citizen – it is substantial and if they can only sell in this way they are going to lose a lot of business.

Finally I have had a running battle with Vodafone. What I want is a monthly bill which I then pay by cheque. Yes folks I really do. It is the way I have always done it. Vodafone have tried many ruses to get me to look my account up on line and pay by card. One of the reasons I do not is because every time I go to pay on line it says I am already registered with them – enter my password. Naturally I have no idea what it is so we get to an impasse. I now manage to down load a copy of the account, photo copy it and send it with a cheque stapled to it! They have not sent the cheque back yet but I guess this will happen in time.