Axa car insurance - unable to explain own policies...

Axa car insurance (using the Swift cover insurance company) are unable to explain their own policies.

Had our first ever bump at the weekend.
Car was recovered to a holding centre, claim submitted.

Paying for No Claims Discount (NCD) cover also (£60 per year) which was then dropped to 4 years from 19 years in the policy renewal for the next 12 months.
This has resulted in premiums that have now gone over £160 per month as opposed to the £65 per month previously offered.

Contacting Axa insurance today, some simple questions put to them that they were unable to explain.

* Why has our NCD dropped to just 4 years when we paid for it to be protected?
- This is because two claims are currently open on the policy, a no fault claim from 8 months ago remains open and is going to court (previous discussions resulted in a £10 per month increase while this is ongoing, from £55 to £65 per month) and the bump you had at the weekend.
With two claims open on the policy, this is classed as the second claim, which has resulted in your no claims dropping from 19 years (40% policy discount) to 4 years (28% policy discount).

* If this is really the reason, then the policy should have increased by 12% (which is the difference between 19 years NCD at 40% discount and 4 years NCD at 28% discount an increase of 12%) instead Axa have DOUBLED the price of next years' premium, an increase of 100%, why?
- The advisor then proceeded to go through the rigmarole of how NCD works. I repeated the question, still got no answer.

* Why have axa only supplied a courtesy car for 14 days, when the insurance document states that "while repairs are being carried out we will provide a courtesy car"?
- This is because it is with our salvage team (Copart UK) after suffering substantial damage, with a view to declaring your car a "total loss"
They will check your car to see if it can be repaired and if it is repairable then we will provide a courtesy car while those repairs are carried out.
* I'm not happy with a salvage company that works "with" axa (and auctions off insurance write-offs) being the "experts" that judge whether a car can be repaired or not, as they have a clear financial interest in writing off vehicles.
- no answer

The rest of the conversation was a complete fob-off from axa.

Totally devoid of any answers and passing the buck to their claims team, which is conveniently "closed until tomorrow" and only open limited hours.

What's becoming apparent, is that insurance companies are writing off cars when they can be repaired, as pay out is better than dealing with a repair and providing a courtesy car.
Problem is, it took us ages to find this car and we had to jump through proverbial hoops to get it, this combined with exceptionally genuine low-mileage, makes it well worth keeping.

Park holidays (Seaview, kent) - Watch out when booking a caravan!

When booking a caravan with Park holidays, watch out, their sales agents and website are misleading.
They will attempt to "upgrade" you to a "higher standard plus" caravan, don't fall for it!

We upgraded to a "gold plus" and got a caravan that not only was not up to their advertised "bronze standard" but cost us an extra £130 for the privilege!

On sending a complaint with various questions, it took two weeks for a very limited response to arrive via email from their customer service dept. The reply for this remains unanswered (4 days later).
Their reply did reveal some truth though...

Park holidays - Seaview, Kent booking.

Caravan space:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises Gold and gold plus caravans, gold plus said to be "12 foot wide"
Customer service says, "When a caravan is listed as plus then it means 12ft wide rather than 10ft wide. We do not have gold standard caravans throughout park holidays only gold plus"

So all Park holiday's gold standard caravans are classed as 'Gold plus'?
Why do park holidays sales staff and website advertise both then?
Why is a gold plus "12 foot wide" when the gold standard is also 12 foot wide and not mentioned?
'Gold standard' caravans do not exist on Park holiday's sites, so why list 'gold standard' on your website and through your sales office?

Lack of storage space:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises 'bronze' caravans with more storage space than the "gold plus" caravan we were given.
Customer service says, "Our newer caravans are more minimalistic so we do tend to find they have less storage but this gives them a cleaner finish"

No draws in the bedrooms, no storage around bed area in the twin room and a tiny wardrobe, but a much "cleaner finish"?
Not much point in a cleaner finish, when you have 4 adults and a child staying in a six berth caravan and nowhere to put your clothes.
When the 'bronze' advertised caravan has better storage than the 'gold plus' caravans being sold as a higher standard, for a higher price, not mentioned at the point of sale, it doesn't look very good Park holidays does it?

Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises a relatively spacious square bathroom, even in their 'bronze' standard caravans.
Customer service says, "The bathrooms are small in most of our caravans regardless of layout"

Unable to sit the right way on the toilet as your knees touch the wall (adults had to sit sideways on the pan) and a bathroom less than 3 foot across is acceptable for a 'gold plus' caravan is it?
What happened to the "more space in 'gold plus' caravans"?
Why does the website show 'bronze' caravans with more space than the bathroom we got?

Bed linen:
Sales agent - "Bed linen is included for 'gold plus' customers"
Website - Advertises bed linen for gold and gold plus customers
Customer services say, "Bed linen is included in Gold plus caravans and it is also included in silver plus caravans"

So it's also included for customers whom book a silver and silver plus caravan?
I wonder why Park holiday's sales staff sell bed linen as a benefit for gold customers upgrading to a gold plus?

Bed making services:
Sales agent - Sold as an extra for 'gold plus' customer upgrades
Website - Advertises bed making services for gold and gold plus customers
Customer service says, "Bed making is not a daily service it is just for arrival"

Not once did your sales agent state that this upgrade bed making service was just for arrival. They also failed to mention that it was available to gold and gold plus customers as standard.
It was sold as a benefit for customers that upgraded to 'gold plus' - clearly misleading at the point of sale.

Seating area:
Was identical to the seating area advertised for the 'bronze' standard
Customer services say nothing about this, they didn't answer the question.

Entertainment passes:
Sales agent - Sold the gold plus upgrade as "includes all your entertainment passes"
Website - Advertises them in all bronze, silver and gold caravans.
Customer service says, "All booking made through park holidays regardless of grade have passes included. They are mainly used for the swimming pool and games"

Not true, the games area of the camp was open to all touring and caravan bookers regardless of an entertainment pass.
Sprog2 made friends with a young lady that was staying on the touring part of the holiday park, who used the pool everyday without the need for an entertainment pass.
Games in the clubhouse were entered by all guests staying on site, none were asked for entertainment passes.
All grades of customer receive entertainment passes, so to sell them as an upgrade for 'gold plus' customers is misleading at the point of sale.

Outside seating:
Sales agent - "Most of our gold plus caravans come with a bit of decking and outdoor seating now, while we cannot promise to provide it, we can certainly add a request to the camp for it with your booking. The camp is not fully booked so there's a good chance you will get it"
Customer service says, "We do not provide garden furniture with our caravans, if requested we try to get you in a sublet that may have these but we can not always manage this"

Not only did we get just three rickety steps from the caravan entrance, but the request was not put in to the camp itself.
No outdoor seating nor bit of decking was asked for by the sales agent or provided. So why state that it will be requested?

Free wifi:
Sales agent - "Free wifi is available at the camp"
Website - Advertises, "...and surfing the web are some of the many things you can enjoy on the park"
"Free wifi on site"
Customer services say nothing about this, they didn't answer the question.

The free wifi is useless as it does not work. It never worked the entire week long stay.
The free wifi trial offer, said to be provided by a private outside company and was complimentary didn't work either.
Connection to it was very much hit and miss. In the unlikely event you connected, the server dropped the connection and then you have to try reconnecting again. Totally pointless.
So to use this as a selling point for the park is a joke.
Customer services didn't even acknowledge the question let alone answer it.

Kitchen area:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises a square, self contained kitchen for gold and gold plus caravans
Customer service says nothing about it. Not interested.

There are two types of kitchen area advertised by sales agents and on their website.
Bronze and silver show a walk through type kitchen between the outside door and the seating area.
Gold and gold plus show a full caravan width self contained kitchen area, seperate from seating area and walk through from the outside door.
The kitchen area in our gold plus caravan was identical to the 'bronze' kitchen described by the sales agent and shown clearly on their website.

Customer services neglected to even acknowledge the question, let alone answer it.
So much for the sales agent claim of "more space for gold plus upgrades"

I have also asked about Park holidays' website claims about local attractions and discounts/deals.
Park holidays' claim, "many local attractions offering exclusive deals for Park Holidays UK guests, you’ll find plenty of purse-friendly days out to keep everyone happy"

Really Park holidays?
During our stay we visited the following attractions;

Hornby visitors centre
Charles Dickens house
Canterbury cathedral
Turner gallery
Micro museum
Spitfire museum Manston
The plough public house – for a meal (directly across from the entrance to seaview)
Shell grotto
Dogs trust open day (Canterbury)

Not single one of these offered any "exclusive deals for park holiday guests"
So perhaps Park Holidays would like to clarify which local attractions DO offer exclusive deals for park holiday guests?
I won't hold my breathe.

IF you are booking a stay with Park Holidays, I would not bother "upgrading" and paying an extra £130.
Most of the so called upgrades are already available with silver, silver plus and gold caravans as standard.
As their customer service have said in writing, they do not have any 'gold' standard caravans, even though their website continues to claim they do!

Entertainment passes are available to all guests and apart from the link up bingo games, are not needed to do anything on the camp.
There are no "local attractions" that offer "exclusive deals to park holiday guests" Well none in Broadstairs, Margate or Ramsgate that we found.

Park holidays' gold plus caravans are "minimalistic and do not have as much storage space" according to their own customer service manager. Less storage space than bronze and silver caravans.

Regardless of your £130 extra fee for upgrading, your caravan will have a walk through kitchen area and not the one advertised on their website, you will not get a caravan with any decking outside or any outdoor furniture and your bathroom will be miniscule, more so than the pictures advertising gold caravans on their website. You can expect to be provided with a toilet, but as we found, you may very well be unable to sit on it facing the right way as your knees will be pressed up against the wall, such is the limited size of the bathroom.
As Park holidays' customer service manager states, "The bathrooms are small in most of our caravans regardless of layout"

Park holidays' free wifi does not work (as well as the free trial wifi being offered that doesn't work either), so pay no heed to their website claims and set it up with your own mobile provider before you travel.

Bed linen is not a bonus for upgrading to gold plus, it's available with silver, gold caravans as standard.
Bedmaking is simply for your arrival, put your own douvet cover on and the jobs done, again not worth the upgrade.

Save yourself some money, DON'T PAY FOR AN UPGRADE, if you have a complaint, ask the hardworking, overworked staff at your camp, as their customer service after-sales is slow (2 weeks to respond) and only answer the  questions they want, not what you actually asked.

This post is a follow up to the post:

Is microsoft operating a cartel with their corporate partners?

I am used to different windows operating systems taking away user options, the newer they get, but are microsoft in cahoots with other corporate businesses where there is a mutual benefit?

Options disappearing from windows operating system:

When I upgraded from windows xp to windows 7, one feature I used a lot, was the option to drag mp3 files into a folder on my desktop and burn to disc from there, nothing else was needed.
There were even options to format the disc (cd and dvd) and delete files from disc if it was a rewriteable.

After upgrading to windows 7, this option vanished.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but nero also would not work on windows 7 operating platform.
(Handy for upcoming pay to use systems and their co-corporate friends that were lobbying to bring in DRM (digital rights management) in various industries.)

So not to be out done, on our old PC I installed windows xp and on the newer PC I upgraded to windows 7... best of both worlds I thought.

All was well, until I attempted to burn a disc for my own use, in our in car dvd player, a JVC head unit.

I used windows options to burn a dvd of my own mp3 and mp4 files, which play without issue on my JVC head unit in the car. Happy days I thought. I was wrong.

I burned the dvd, nipped out to the car, "disc error"
I loaded it up on my PC, there all the tracks were?
I could play them on PC but not on the JVC?
Three further discs were burned and finalised, I tried rewriteable discs, permanent discs, fast and slow burning speed discs, nothing. Each time all I got was "disc error"?
Out of sheer frustration, I fired up the old PC with windows xp on it, burned the disc, put it in the JVC and hey presto... it worked like a charm!
Now imagine if this was orchestrated by microsoft, so that windows 7 discs were prevented from running on older in car audio equipment?
That would be a nice little earner, especially if it involved many other corporates that made in car head units, like JVC, Sony, Blaupunkt, alpine and the like.
We [microsoft] stop millions of users burning discs that can be used with their older head units and in return they get to shift a whole pile of newer head units that work with windows 7 burning disc feature/software, good for both parties!

So back to today's events.
Thanks to sprog2 wanting to play roblox, within an hour she got a virus on the old PC running windows XP, so much so, that it was on a continuous shutdown and restart loop.
A full reformat and reinstallation of windows xp followed.
Installed the wireless key no problem, off online I go to grab google chrome or a higher version of IE, so I can find all the drivers I need...

...Not happening.
Google website wouldn't open, checked all the settings, still nothing.
I'll update windows then to service pack 3... Not happening!
Microsoft websites were all failing to load up.
Hmmm time to check other websites then.
Youtube (google owned)... not happening!
Microsoft... not happening!

I tried non microsoft and google websites... BBC, bookface and my own website, all opened without issue. They looked a bit out of sync as I was using IE6 but they still worked fine.

So now I'm left to update the old PC to windows 7, which leaves me without access to any disc burning software that works with older head units in the car, which means I'll now have to change this as well, yet more expense.

Anyone would think microsoft were operating a cartel with their corporate friends... I wouldn't mind but it's costing me MONEY!

IE not playing youtube videos, flash player problem?

Got the dreaded black screen, telling you to "install flash player" when you try to watch youtube videos, when you already have flash player installed? It's becoming a common occurance lately.

As official channels are lacking in their solutions, here's a little work around - fix it, I use, for the problem.

When your browser is open, click tools - manage add-ons then disable flash player. Go to the youtube page and your videos will play.
When other websites such as BBC, tell you to install flash player to see the content, then go back to your tools - manage add ons and turn it back on again.

I have no idea what is causing the problem, all I know is that I want to watch videos and youtube will not play them.
Hope this helps...

Seaview holiday park Kent - review

Seaview caravan park, Kent - Park holidays review:

The caravan;
We booked a "Gold" standard caravan and paid for a "plus" upgrade for more space.
A total of £833 for a week in August.

Park holiday's website claims:

"Upgrade to a plus for more space"
Not at all sure what Park holidays mean by "extra space"?
Our gold plus caravan was barely the 12 foot wide claimed by the website.
More cupboard/wardrobe space?
Our gold plus had barely any cupboard space.
According to their website, their bronze standard caravans have more cupboard and storage space than their gold plus, if you look at their advertising photographs. Rating 4/10

Our kitchen was a "corridor kitchen" and nothing like as spacious as the website pictures claim their gold and gold plus caravan has.
Our kitchen area was identical to the bronze caravan pictured on the website. Rating 1/10

The bathroom that came with our "gold plus" caravan was tiny.
Sit on the toilet, knees touched the wall.
Sink, shower and toilet could all be touched at the same time, the bathroom area was so small.
Our toilet seat was broken on arrival, had to sit sideways on the toilet to have any room.
Bronze standard website pictures showed a bathroom over twice the size of the bathroom we had with our "gold plus" booking. Rating - if a six year old can touch all bathroom appliances at the same time, how are five adults supposed to manage?
Website pictures are clearly misleading. Rating 1/10

"Bed making service"
Both gold and gold plus have bed making service included, didn't see anything of the sort during our stay.
Why do park holidays sell it as an extra for gold plus customers?
Rating - Simply didn't happen, 0/10

"Early 2pm check in"
Both gold and gold plus have early check in included, so why sell it as an extra for gold plus customers?
Rating - Sold as a better option with a gold plus - pointless, as it's included with gold caravans as standard.

"Bed linen" - included with both gold and gold plus, was fresh and clean. Rating 10/10

"Entertainment passes included"
It's hard to know what these were for, other than to authorise you when playing Park holiday's link up bingo.
The clubhouse could be accessed by all with or without a pass, as was their arcade.
Rating, almost useless 1/10

Drinks - a bit crafty, five drinks bought on Monday and Tuesday night cost £12.50 - on the Saturday night though, three of the same drinks cost £11.50, bit of sharp practice there. Rating 5/10

There were three people on site providing children and adult entertainment, the kids loved them, they were very good.
Other staff whom were not working but having a drink, joined in with them in the adult games, a good team.
Got the impression though that they were under-staffed, very frantic at times.
One negative point though - went to the clubhouse to enjoy a drink, it's our holiday.
I found it a bit off-putting when what should have been camp fun, was constantly being used to raise donations for a staff help-for-heroes personal campaign, as they were due to visit in the following week or so.
Constantly theming games to get donations for a personal attempt to raise money is not what I go on holiday for. Rating 7/10

Link up bingo
When selling their link up bingo tickets, I heard off other people there on holiday that it was "quite expensive" and "not many winners come from seaview"
I tried it for a couple of nights.
Around £10 for books of tickets, for both link up bingo and their own seaview camp bingo weren't too bad.
For the link up bingo, four games, a line is all that's needed to win the first three games, a full house for the last game.
It soon became apparent, that seaview players do not win very often. Not a single winner came from the camp for the two nights I played.
I did not hear of a single winner all the time I was there.
One night only seven numbers were called before a winner got their line (5 numbers needed) at another of Park's camps. Rating 4/10

Free wifi was available on site, along with a private company working with Park holidays, that offered us free complimentary trial wifi - giving us two options.
Both options were worse than useless!
As we had travelled down to visit the area, we needed to check for traffic hotspots and to see what was going on, events, etc. but with both the wifi services not working - 2 hours and 20% of battery life without being able to get on to google - it was useless.
When it did load up a website, BBC for example, click on their sport link for the football results often resulted with the "server dropping the connection"

We also missed all the local festivals that were going on, didn't see any advertising of local events on site.
Shame that as Park holidays claim to be a central point for the area.
Big firework display, oyster festivals, nearby attractions like the shell museum, micro museum, hornby museum, weekend markets with live music, the nearby carnival as well as all the attractions in Canterbury.
Rating 0/10

It maybe coincidence but when Timmy Mallet turned up to offer some entertainment, the wifi wouldn't work, the pool developed "a hole" and the start time was delayed, all coincided with his appearance.

Really clean site, bins emptied regularly, recycling bins for garden waste provided and kept empty, couldn't fault it.
There were often dog walkers letting dogs go between caravans early doors and we came across the odd dog mess, but that's down to owners and not the camp.
Rating 9/10

The locals
As I will post later, what made our holiday was the politeness of the local people, very friendly, very helpful, always had time for a chat and a laugh.
Everywhere we went, from KFC to the club bar, couldn't fault the people, a real credit to the camp and the area.
Rating 10/10

Seaview caravan park (Kent) - Park Holidays - overall;
Booking a "gold plus" caravan is a waste of time, book a "gold" instead.
"Gold plus" caravan had same features/space/kitchen area as their "bronze" caravan (£130 cheaper than the "gold plus" we booked)

We asked at booking for a small varander, somewhere to sit outside the caravan and were told "most caravans have them now it shouldn't be a problem, we'll put it in with the booking"
We got nothing, just three rickety steps leading to caravan door.

Facilities are standard fare, ticket wins in the arcade for token prizes, club bar with higher prices at weekends when busiest, club food was expensive, link up bingo (mostly won at other camps), parking was good even when park was busy, staff always friendly and helpful, despite being over run at times, wifi was a complete waste of time (I suggest you set it up with your mobile provider prior to visiting, if you need it), pool was busy apart from when entertainment was on when pool was cleared due "to a hole being found" an hour before club entertainment started.
Camp was always clean and tidy.

Would have been disappointed if we had just gone to stay on the camp for the week, we don't, we like to go around the surrounding areas and use the camp as a base, so for this, it was good.