Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Why can't people just call or email what you say?

OK, so I ordered something from a web site.
Simple enough, and they want email and phone number...

So, email is the supplier name at e.gg.. Simple enough. Like many people I make an email address for each web site I use so I know where the email address leaked from later if I get spam. It also helps some time as you can get emails that seem totally unrelated to the original web site some times and knowing who the hell they are can be useful :-)

And,a phone number, 03333400XXX, number that gets me and my mobile...

But what do they do???

Instead of just calling the number, or emailing the email address they trawl their records, find a previous order from years ago, call the contact number on that and get my wife at home so that they can ask her if the email address is valid!!

Why not just email it and see????
Why not call my number and see????

I can vaguely understand some people may not have seen 03 numbers, or may not have seen short domain names, but there is a really simple test - try the damn thing and see.

I bet if they had not found an old number to call us on they would have cancelled the order and not told me.

Why are people so dumb some times!


  1. my "Junk mail domain" ends in .info - it is amazing how many online stores / services still don't allow you to use .info domains as email addresses.

  2. Indeed, that is another pet hate when they try and validate the number or email on the web site and cannot actually be bothered to look up the syntax rules for either. Its not complicated!

  3. It's also very annoying how many sites appear to reject email addresses with a hyphen in the domain name(as mine has!)

  4. I have problems with "unfamiliar looking number" as a deaf Text Relay (http://www.textrelay.org) user cos to get Text Relay into the call the caller needs to dial 18002 before my full number to get through. [I have to dial 18001 or 180015 to dial out if I want to get my Text Relay discount for calls taking longer].

    So assuming there's enough space to add 18002 to the number which often on webforms or other forms there isn't. I often end up with 0000 000 0000 in forms, or putting a sipgate voicemailed number down even though I can't hear it just to order things.

    I get tired of emailing individual companies reminding them they're breaching the DDA by not providing a textphone or 18002 infobox or allowing an order to go through with some other contact details instead of phones.

    And if I can get 18002 + my number into a form, average person sees 18002 etc etc for my number and for some unknown reason decides to ignore 18002 and just ring my number and gets the 300 baud tones of a textphone (minicom). "Oh I didn't know what that was so I ignored it" is a very common excuse I used to get (when I took incoming calls).

    This is also not helped by many PBXen not allowing numbers beginning with 1 to dial out. This is large organisations like hospitals, universities, the DWP etc etc. No one will change their PBX and Our Favourite Telco who runs Text Relay says that it is $organisations fault for PBX setup.

    I say it's our Favourite Telco's fault and problem and indeed responsibility to provide a "normal looking number" for Text Relay users which can be configured to auto reroute through Text Relay. This was indeed promised by 2008 but hasn't shown up, or shown any signs of showing up yet. At some point when bored I need to DDA them.

    The above is the reason I refuse to take incoming phonecalls *ever* as in "I do not answer our phone ever unless it is my mum on a known number" and refuse wherever possible to provide a telephone number. This makes life very inconvenient, difficult, annoying, frustrating and dare I get political and say disabling on a day to day basis.

    Try refusing to give a telephone number to the bank - they REALLY don't like it. Same for the DWP or a hospital. Asking them to use email instead is often met with "can't" or "errr dunno if that would work". And I'm left not knowing if I'll get lost in the ether cos email at their end didn't work.

    The kind people/organisations will come out with "Can't your mum/friend/partner take phonecalls for you?". Which is incredibly insulting even if it is meant without any malice. My family and friends clearly have nothing better to do except phone people for me, or take messages for me. As a deaf person I am clearly not entitled to manage my own affairs independently and with confidentiality from my friends and family.

    The unkind ones will refuse to deal with me (as in refuse to provide me with access to state services or healthcare) unless I provide A Telephone Number which must be answerable.

    And people wonder why I rant a lot.

  5. I agree with almost everything you say.

    Companies should not expect you to be able to use a telephone (for voice). That is not on, and is clearly disability discrimination.

    BT should provide a way that your normal number, or even an alternative number for the line, goes to the text relay automatically. FFS how had can it be? They could simply set a number that diverts to the text relay prefix.

    If you had ISDN you may even be able to do a redirect when the call comes in and free up a channel for the diverted call to come in, but at a call cost, so messy. BT could do this I am sure if they tried.

    The one bit I find slightly at odds is expecting companies to cope with your quoting a telephone number starting 18002. That is not actually a telephone number. It is a prefix applicable to one telco to allow a specific type of call. It's BTs fault you have to try and quote like that, but it does not make it a "telephone number". It' not part of the UK national, or international dialling plans. We would not cope with your quoting a number like that becase we validate the number is a telephone number accoridng to the standards for a telephone number. In our case, of course, we would be happy for you not to have a phone number as a contact. You know you can ask things on irc, text or email if the ordering page gets fussy. System designers, PBX configurers and so on would not allow dialling 1 prefixes as that can affect security and costs by allowing bypassing of calling controls, call logging and all sorts. On top of which even if the PBX allowed it you have to have BT lines for it to work. At the end of the day, as you say, BT should make a normal number work!

    Goverment department should damn well know better and I wish you every luck with DDA threats against them for not using email.

  6. I've had a real problem with job agencies and telephones.

    I've never given any of them my mobile phone number, I've only every given them a landline number (although it's a voice over IP number they don't know that...) so I can answer it on my PC, my SIP phone or redirect it to my mobile phone if I'm out and expecting an important call.

    The problem is that I've phoned many of them on my mobile phone returning calls or answering email, either because it's convenient or because I get included minutes on the mobile phone to use and many of them have clearly picked up my mobile number from caller id and recorded that number to use.

    Despite me never giving them my mobile number and if they ask telling them that my ordinary number will reach me on my mobile if appropriate many of the agencies seem to insist on phoning my mobile. Or if they don't get an answer on my normal number will immediately try the mobile number I never gave them, clearly not understanding that the original call was probably ringing on my mobile anyway...

    I tell them that I prefer email anyway for most of the things they want to tell me anyway but they never take any notice of that.

    It infuriates me that they ignore the number I told them to use and use one which I've never given them.

    I also have an email address specifically for job agencies which consistes of NN@xxx.me where xxx is my three letter domain, (Not actually xxx...) and NN is a unique name/number I give for each agency / cv. Quite a few places have not really seemed to believe that such an address is a perfectly valid email address.

  7. The people that won't believe my 6 chacater email address is valid is crazy. If telling people in the phone I have to tell them over and over again to get it through. Web sites often block it (as I say, I usually make up a longer one for web sites).

    My family all have one 6 character email addresses, also based on their initials and they run in to the problem a lot.

    One trick we want to try, but I am not sure any of us have got to the stage of following through, is when we do have some on-going relationship with someone who would not accept the email... Give them a dummy email to get it set up and then write insisting they change it to correct the personal information they hold as per Data Protection Act, suing if necessary. I (A&A) have offered a chargeable temp email address that costs them money so that there are costs in someone refusing to correct it so they can sue for the breach of DPA even...

    One day :-)

  8. A friend of mine, Dan Lane, has null@invalid.name as his email address. He has some quite amusing stories about companies who send email out with the Reply-To address as that...

  9. LOL, I have whateveryoulike@anythingyoulike.co.uk and seem to be on some random mailing lists!

  10. During my four hour haranguing session at BT in 2005 or so I was connected to a very friendly BT engineer who agreed it should just be a set a number to divert, they even tried it with the regular divert number A to number B service. They also tried with with two separate landline numbers with 18002 in front of one but it did not work - something to do with the 18002 weirdness cos we got it to work diverting regular number A to B. Sodding 18002.

    Text Relay is run I think by a subgroup called BT Text Direct (My brain refuses to remember which is the company and which is the service name) which is some unholy alliance between BT and RNID. I think I counted 6 bounces between them on various "customer support numbers" before I got too angry to type and gave up. As it's not a "fault" no one will listen. To their credit where there have been genuine faults they have responded quickly and been helpful...

    It is as you say possible to reroute all calls into Text Relay with unholy combinations of ISDN or POTS but this does involve something like 3 lines and paying for incoming calls and I bet it's cranky. Hardly 'equality'. I am told of one deaf person whose employer did something like this but I do not believe it till I see it as people talk all sorts of nonsense about technical stuff.

    I've argued with BT for 5 years about the 18002 and how it is not a usual telephone number. I believe the major telecoms providers such as Virgin and $ky allow 18002 (sometimes without the 60% call discount) but there were glitches. Mobile companies vary some won't acknowledge 18002 and some will.

    One reason I liked A&A from the start was that you had so many numbers and ways to contact you. Had the account been in my name and not kimble's it was great to know I could SMS or IRC for assistance.

    I have asked Text Direct to add A&A's details to http://www.textrelay.org/links.php as a Telecoms provider who have multiple methods of contact and are friendly to people whether they're deaf or not. I haven't received a reply yet tho...

    Text Direct's answer to "18002 not working" is to force people to use their "Relay Assist" service which is where caller uses an 0870 number which connects to a Text Relay operator who will then dial the number required. I think this costs 0870 rates on top of the regular call rates and won't work for international or certain premium numbers. This is deemed to be a reasonable alternative. So that's 40% of BT's regular landline charges vs 100% regular charges + providers 0870 rates.

    Oh and when I tried Relay Assist on a textphone (and an analogue line) from work's PBX in case that was a possibility for me I got some message I couldn't hear but I think was a voice message refusing to connect cos the CLI was withheld (as is usual for my work). Dead useful! It took my employer 12 months from disclosure + lots of hassle to provide me with a telephone line which could dial 1800x. I believe if people want to call me, the only option to MAKE them use 18002 is for them to call switchboard and ask for me by name and they'll allegedly route the call for me... I haven't yet tried this out as I usually only make outgoing calls.

    Government departments are the worst, partly cos they think they know it all... It's proving that the 'adjustment' is not useful for $individual and courts are made up of people who are ignorant so think the disabled person is being unnecessarily pedantic, or aggressive or unreasonable... The DDA works, on "reasonableness".

  11. Really interesting that I came across this blog via a Google search for "redirecting to 18002 since I, too, have been looking for ways or companies who can provide either an 0845 or geographical number which will redirect to my home number with 18002 in front of it. So far, I'm banging my head against a brick wall. I did find one company who provide 0845/0844 numbers who promised they could do this and would set up the system to allow it. After a few weeks of waiting, they emailed to say they couldn't do it after all!! Arrrggghhhhh!
    I really don't want to give up with this if I can help it and the search goes on!!
    You can read more about my efforts here - http://www.deaf4life.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=12471