Ford UK – Bad customer service

I don’t own a Ford, but decided to write this article after speaking with someone I know who owns a Ford being let down with bad customer service.

With regards to vehicle repairs under warranty. I decided to make this post to see what everyone else thinks, or if someone else has a story to tell

Background:
Basically, someone I know purchased a car from a Ford dealership (2nd hand). The vehicle was sitting in the yard before they purchased it for an unknown amount of time. The person I know has taken it back to Ford a total of 4 times and is being mugged off each time that there is nothing wrong with it.

Symptoms:
The person kept reporting that when they were driving the ABS was kicking in at low speeds and making a noise (ie braking normally on a motorway or roundabouts). Also there was a horrible burnt smell when stopping. Ford techs were adamant nothing was wrong but changed the Front Brake pads and discs. I believe his car is a Ford Fiesta

Diagnosis:
Now, to me after about 5 minutes of conversation. I diagnosed it was a seized brake caliper on the car, and to me this needs to be fixed under the warranty but the Ford UK dealership it was purchased from are adamant nothing is wrong with the car and that the “noise” he was hearing was because of the sensor being on the front left of the car so it will trigger whenever it hits a pothole. Generally the symptoms of a seized brake caliper on the car are ….

  1. Vehicle pulls to one side when braking
  2. Horrible smell (similar to burnt clutch)
  3. Excessive heat being produced from wheel. Generally when you pull over after a normal drive, most consumer brake discs are cool to touch. A brake caliper that is seizing however will be generating more heat. So if you walk around the car and move your hands over the alloys, you should be able to feel heat being emanated from the brake disc that has the seized caliper

I did all this diagnosis in the space of a 10-15 minute conversation. To me the above reason sounds absolute rubbish. End of the day, the fact that he said there was a smell when he was getting out AND the car has had NEW brake pads and discs would immediately tell me something is wrong with the piston on the caliper. It doesn’t take much to work out.

I’m a computer geek (and amateur DIY car mechanic) and can still diagnose a faulty issue with the brakes. The fact is, the car was sitting in the compound where he bought the car from. They should have done a FULL brake fluid flush when servicing the car before he purchased it. Brake fluid is in the region of £5. The problem with brake fluid is that overtime it breaks down and water inside it starts to cause rust build up. This is why the brake pistons stuck and don’t retract because of this build up. So it’s normally either a full brake fluid flush + rebuilt caliper, or if the caliper is REALLY bad a replacement caliper.

All the mechanics are fobbing him off, he did go back after speaking to me but they keep sending him away saying nothing is wrong. I’ve suggested he goes to trading standards. This is safety issue. Firstly a seized brake caliper will affect braking performance on the car and cause excessive brake wear. Most importantly, if the caliper is seized, there is potential that the brake caliper can cause excessive build up and actually bind onto the disc itself. Imagine driving along the road at 70mph, then the brake caliper sticks and locks your wheel……?

Overall, in my experience this is a poor experience from a Ford dealership, and the whole reason why I don’t let any dealerships work on my car. At least when I’m working on it, I only have myself to blame. I also know what parts are being replaced on my car, and they are quality items. The other reason is servicing cost, but considering this vehicle was under warranty it shouldn’t have mattered in the long run.

Pretty shameful customer service from Ford UK, especially when I was considering going to Ford for my next car aswell.

 

Have a story to tell? Let me know in the comments

Views – 789

Car Service

Decided it was time to treat my car to an annual car service. My oil gets changed every year or every 6000 miles depending on how hard I’ve been driving it. Whilst my car is on a fixed interval service, it still works like flexible servicing. So my car actually monitors the way I drive and gives me a dash warning when a service is due.

My car now has 84,000 on the clock so is about 2000 over due than normal, so decided to give it a fresh overhaul.

Items ordered :

  • Pagid Front Brakes (288mm x 25mm – discs) & Pads
  • Pagid Rear Brakes (255 x 15mm – discs) & Pads
  • 4 x Bosch Glow Plugs
  • Crossland Air Filter
  • Crossland Pollen Filter
  • VW OEM Oil Filter, Sump Plug & Washer
  • 5 Litres Mobil1 5W/30 ESP Oil
  • Bosch Aerotwin Front Wipers
  • Bosch Aerotwin Rear Wiper

I didn’t bother with the Fuel Filter since I use Shell diesel around 80-90% of the time I fill up my car. I don’t believe in supermarket fuel and my filter was only changed around 15K ago.

 

Problems encountered

  • Seized caliper piston on brake (NSF)
    • I actually didn’t know it was seized at first, it was tough to get in but I changed it. When going for a drive there was a horrible burnt clutch smell. The piston was stuck so it was burning the pad on my disc. In the end I got a replacement (which didn’t fit, my fault!) with no where open on a Sunday my brother had to recon the piston best he could. Piston was removed, sanded down and reinstalled. Brakes were bled. I know this method doesn’t work for long, but it will give me enough time to order a new brake caliper as a backup for when it goes wrong
  • “Seized” rear pistons on calipers – I was pissed off at this because they were new. Turns out I needed to clamp the flexi hose and open the bleed nipple completely, they wound back… few!
  • Snapped brake pad wear sensor (this needs doing) don’t want to turn it off, I know it can be fixed but I’m going to get a new sensor and wire a new one in

Views – 995

Windows 10 Upgrade

OK, OK, my computer has finally been bugging me long enough about carrying out the Windows 10 Upgrade. My past experience with Windows is painful, I always lose files, or had to back up things and reinstall applications. So I decided to bite the proverbial bullet, I was sick of hearing Windows 7 moan on at me about the upgrade being available. I decided the hell with it, and carried out the upgrade after backup of all my files

The result…. pleasantly surprised, the upgrade went smooth. I checked the compatibility report first and backed up everything I could lose before hand. Luckily, nothing went amiss and everything was reinstalled. All my internet shortcuts, desktop shortcuts, installed applications. Nothing failed.

Props to Microsoft, my Windows 10 Upgrade was flawless and you have redeemed yourself. For I did not lose any files, nor did I have to reinstall any applications or find anything new.

OK, there is a down point, I have a new interface, which I sort of don’t like. I was used to Windows 7, but that’s just a change. I really don’t like the sounds, and the Cortana search. Hey, I consider myself a power user though, I’m no amateur when it comes to PCs. So overall my experience with the upgrade was a positive one.

Just learning the new features now, I’ll be updating this blog if I find anything amiss.

Views – 715

Cracked Windows Install

One thing which is becoming apparent to me since owning a business, when reading all the posts people are making who run their own businesses, is how many people seem to offer legitimate Windows installations for cheap prices or blatantly offering cracked Windows installations.

If you are running a business, not only is it unethical, but you are running the risk of serious issues if uncovered. That’s why I will only use genuine copies of Windows when reinstalling software, or making sure I have a valid COA key. IF there is no genuine key then I won’t carry out a cracked Windows Install. I’ll simply advise the customer to purchase a genuine COA key / Install of the software.

If they refuse, they’re business is turned down

Views – 736

PS-77CS Shredder

After around 7 or 8 years of some tough abuse and shredding my Fellowes PS-77CS Shredder has finally given up the ghost and failed on me.

The machine is getting power, but it doesn’t run the shredder motor. There are signs of power going to the device, because it detects win the bin is open and lights up the red light to say it’s open. The light goes off when you push in the Micro switch so this tells me the sensor circuit was working fine and the problem was more electrical as opposed to mechanical.

I did some dismantling of the actual equipment. Fairly simple, lift it up and remove about 10 screws. Open the lid then disconnect the wire attaching the motor to the PCB. I did a quick look around the circuit and couldn’t find any specific issues.

I finally identified the problem, I went to remove the PCB so I could look up the schematics and when removing it the transformer was literally hanging on a couple of threads of copper wire. So it came off easy enough (picture below)

DB-0812D Transformer

The busted transformer which failed. Also seems to be a common problem – not supposed to come off the circuit legs like that. It’s meant to be attached.

I decided to remove it, as it was evident to me the transformer is what caused the problem. For those who don’t know, a transformer receives an incoming voltage in a circuit and then alters it for the output side (either by increasing or decreasing it). In this case, it’s receiving an input voltage of ~220v and outputting it into ~15.6v from what I can find online (these are the specs). I’ve wrote them below if anyone finds them useful.

Input Voltage : 220V
Output Voltage : 15.6V / 15.6V
Dimensions???? : 8*11
No Idea???? : 3+4

Now, when researching online, it seems these transformers are commonly fitted to the Fellowes shredder models and seem to be the weak point of them. The point of failure is usually when the shredder falls over or gets banged about a bit. The transformer / PCB are mounted upside down in the shredder motor. So if the unit falls over it can damage it. Essentially it’s dangling on it’s own internals.

A common fix suggested by one user seems to be fitting an M2730 transformer, which is slightly bigger then hot glue it in place so it doesn’t damage it if it falls. I looked up this product and unfortunately it’s a discontinued product. So I may try places like eBay or Farnells/CPC in the UK to try and source one.

In the meantime I have emailed Customer Support at Fellowes to see if they stock spares. I’m more than happy to fit the equipment myself to get it up and working again. Failing that I’ll source one online if they cannot supply. The equipment by Fellowes is amazing. It’s stood up to some tough abuse from myself, but I’d rather not pay £100 for a new shredder if I can fix it myself for around £20

I’ll update this post as I go, hope some of you find it useful and helps you on your quest with your Fellows PS-77CS Shredder or others.

PS : If your from Fellowes, I’ll happily receive a new shredder from you if you offer me one. I wouldn’t complain 🙂

 

Views – 1402

Paypal Scam Emails

Every now and then, you get the occasional idiot who tries to scam some poor user out of their account information by showing information affiliated to the company in question

I received an email from “Paypal” support

I already knew it was dubious from experience, but decided to carefully investigate it. The user in question owned a website (hosted by godaddy) and had a blog with a purposely hidden upload link with a redirect onto a fake paypal login

They’re getting smarter and smarter, but when displaying links to unknown pages, always hover your mouse over them and check out the address first. It should always match the domain where it’s coming from

Needless to say I hate scammers. So I reported the domain abuse to godaddy and rackspace, and I’ll also be reporting them to paypay, eBay and the local authorities

Views – 824

Electronic Payslips

Recently I’ve been having problems where I work regarding my pay. As such I’m constantly digging around for my old payslips. After long and hard looking for them I finally got sick and decided to make good use of the scanner I had lying around home and convert all my paper ones to electronic payslips.

Not only can I scan them into an electronic format, it means that with electronic payslips, I can also create my own archiving system for storing my information at a glance. This makes them easier to find, and I know should I need important information it is there straight away.

It’s a slow process, but something I’ll only need to do the once. The benefit is when it’s converted, I’ll be able to input all my salary details into a sheet straight away. Open them up or send on information as requested.

I’m also making good use of my printer which rarely gets used anyway. Now I can scan them and put them somewhere where I’ll forget them. The only important thing I’ll need now will be a secure USB pen to store them on like the datAshur which I will be buying next.

 

Consider doing it yourself, work smarter, not harder..

Views – 808

iStorage datAshur SSD now FIPS Certified

I received an automated email as I’m subscribed to newsletters from datAshur to inform me that their current USB pen is now certified to FIPS Level 3

FIPS is a military grade encryption system which is certified by the US Government. For a manufacturer to achieve this level of security with their USB pens is great, as it means their tech is highly secure and minimises the risk of confidential information falling into the wrong hands

Here is the essential information on the PEN:

The datAshur SSD has been certified as FIPS 140-2 Level 3 having undergone the process of validation to meet the U.S. government standards for information technology and computer security. NIST FIPS 140 is the cryptography standard program required by the US federal government for protection of sensitive data.

The datAshur SSD’s FIPS 140-2 validation covers 11 areas of its cryptographic security system, including physical security, cryptographic key management and design integrity. Available in four levels, the datAshur SSD’s FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification encompasses both the datAshur SSD’s physical tamper-resistant features as well as its identity-based authentication. View the FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certificate here.

Military Grade XTS AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption
PIN Activated 7-16 Digits – Alphanumeric keypad use a memorable number or word for your PIN
OS & Platform independent – compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients
and Embedded Systems
Super-fast USB 3.0 – up to 195MB/sec read and 162MB/sec write
FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified
IP58 Certified – dust and water resistant
Capacities – 30GB, 60GB, 120GB & 240GB

I myself will be getting one of the datAshur pens because I love them, you can also buy one from their website

Views – 718

Limited Company Checklist

OK, this will be an ongoing post which I’m updating as I go along after starting up my new LTD company (TYNEWEARTECH LTD) giving advice for anyone else wanting to go the same route as I did without going self employed. Personally speaking I should really have gone self-employed and then did a self-assessment each year until I was fully established. I however wanted the company number so I could come across as more professional in image. I also wanted the company to be separate to keep my accounting simpler.

If there are errors found in this document, please feel free to highlight them to me. I am not an accountant I am a first time business owner. This is something I’m using to advice for questions and confusing things I encountered when I was first registering the business starting up

There are companies which do this all for you for around £125, and to be fair, the headache I had it’s probably an option if you have the money. I wanted to do it with as little as possible however so did everything myself.

Things you should consider as part of a Limited Company Checklist when you are starting up and the reasons why I consider them: – I have also listed the order I’d personally do them. So everything is setup (before hand)

  • Branding
  • Accounts & Finances
  • Business Insurance
  • Financial Software
  • Business Incorporation
    • Companies House Registration
    • Corporation Tax Registration
    • PAYE for Employers Registation

1a) Branding

With social media popular these days and all the rage, have you thought about consistent branding. It makes it easier for your customers to find you if all your pages had the same name. It took me a while to find the business name I wanted. I originally had another name planned, but the domain name was taken, so had to adapt and improvise until I finally settled on one.

You need to consider your business model, I didn’t personally want to have a lot of social media pages as I have a business to run, but I wanted enough social networks so that I could get adequate coverage. In the end I settled for social network branding pages covering what I deemed the important sites and ones which I would be using the most.

(Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Google+, eBay, Amazon)

I didn’t bother registering my domain name against a .com address, since I am UK based I have no interest for commercial branding. Although I may secure the domain for a later date. I made sure these were all available at first, by using sites which can check for branding across multiple networks. You can find these at sites such as knowem.com username checkers

 

1b) Business Incorporation

The first thing you will need to do when you register a limited company before you can start trading is register you business name with companies house this is so you are officially recognised as a company and will be treat as such. It also does a couple of additional things which are required for the business. When your business is being registered, you need to provide a one time payment fee of £15 to companies house to start-up your business. After you have successfully met all the requirements for starting up a business. When you have filled in your company date it will be submitted to HMRC. After a few days, you will receive a confirmation the business has been registered with them giving you details of your date of incorporation and also your all important company number

1c/1d) Corporation TAX and PAYE for Employers Registration

The problem you have when you are a limited company; is that you can’t just withdraw money from a business bank account and pay yourself when you feel like it as you could when self employed. When self employed it’s easy, all you do is a basic self-assessment every year showing your income / outgoings and as long as it’s listed properly it’s OK.

When you start up a LTD company, the business is a seperate entity. Which means even if you are a single person company, you have to register for TAX/PAYE because you need to pay yourself as an employee of your own company.

There are multiple methods to do this, I won’t go into detail in the exact steps but make good use of the GOV.UK website because it gives you all the information you need when doing so. Basically you log in and tick the check boxes for services you want.

Once your information is submitted, you will then be sent two letters within 10 days

CT41G -This contains your company UTR code (needed for Corporation Tax)

HMRC PAYE Form – This contains your payroll code to pay employees

You can’t do one without the other, once you have both, you can supply information to your payroll software and then generate payslips / make payments to your employees via RTI submissions.

Additional Services

  • Activation Code (PAYE for Employers) – you will need to logon to Government Gateway to activate your PAYE service, other wise you will need to re register again. It uses the same details as the HMRC information

Views – 1017

Business Bank Account – Bad Credit

One of the major problems for myself, after registering my business. Is that my own “personal” credit score is rubbish. I know what caused this.

Now after registering my business, technically they’re separate entities. Unfortunately the major banks don’t see it that way. They only see it as debt you can’t look after. I applied for a business bank account with my existing provider and they rejected me.

Now, I know my business won’t be fully established for possibly 1-2 years, but I wanted everything separate so that it would make my finances easier to manage when it comes to the yearly tax calculations. So any basic account I could load up with money for outgoing payments (such as buying business supplies, stock) and receive incoming payments would do

 

In the end I went with Cashplus for my business bank account because they don’t do credit checks. When I eventually get a good enough credit rating I’ll swap to a major bank which offers better options for me and is more established. For now I can’t argue though. There will be a lot of work required. It is however really exciting at the same time. I haven’t felt this excited since I did contracting work

Views – 850

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