BES Utilities / Energy – Follow up – SCAM

Spoke to a like-minded individual regarding BES and their tactics yesterday, and during the conversation I noticed that the original blog post I wrote didn't contain anything relating to the saga that came after the initial mis-selling.

I managed to find the email complaint I sent to the Energy Ombudsman, so this should fill you in regarding the level of BS I've had to deal with thanks to BES Utilities AKA BES Commercial Electricity, BES Commercial Gas and BES Telecom;

"I have just been called by a guy called Craig in "Pre-disconnections" at BES Energy.

He has rung to inform me that our energy supply will be disconnected due to non payment of an overdue amount.

To summarise – I'm not paying an amount to BES that they seem to have fabricated from thin air. I have asked for proof in the form of a statement more than 3 times now but the people i have spoken to from BES have been unwilling to progress my call to customer services and simply want to steal my money from me. Let me go into more detail…..

I have spoken to;

Chelsea on 2/12/13 @ 10:00am and informed her a bill for £299.98 for ONE MONTHS usage was ridiculous, and that I had got my bank to return the money and cancel the direct debit until a bill with ACTUAL readings came through. I gave her actual readings at this point.

Then I spoke to Mia on 3/12/13 @ 11:30am as she was chasing non payment of this initial invoice despite my hour long conversation with Chelsea the day before – i ended up paying £70 off over the phone, and informed her i wouldn't pay more until our invoices were based on ACTUAL readings, not hugely over-ESTIMATED readings.

On 12/12/13 i received another invoice, this time the charge for "this period" was -£5.99 which to my understanding was due to the fact I'd already paid £70, and my usage since day dot until the 15/12/13 was overpaid by £5.99 hence the negative balance.

We received another invoice on 15/01/2014 with an amount owing of £44.92 which was based on an ACTUAL reading, and was one i was happy to (and did) pay.

Similarly with the invoice 21/01/2014 – the amount was (a big high, but) based on ACTUAL usage, so we cleared this one up (as far as I'm aware anyway)

I then spoke to Laura on the 24/01/2014 @ 13:47 as she was chasing non payment of an amount owing in the region of £200 – i explained to her, and subsequently THREE other people that called, that i wasn't prepared to send £200+ to BES energy, unless i could clearly see how this amount had been accrued on a statement based on actual usage (not estimated usage)

Both Laura and the other people that rang me were stubborn, unfriendly and would not transfer me to customer services so i could get them to issue me with a statement of actual usage and one showing where this amount had come from.

I have tried over 10 times to call BES but i can only come to the conclusion that their lack of customer service skills and disgusting sales tactics result in their phone lines being jammed all day every day.

I have raised this situation with the energy ombudsman because i feel that BES are bullying me into paying them an amount of money – of which they are not prepared to prove to me how and when this apparent debt was accrued.

I think i have been very accommodating and reasonable with this situation, and simply want to see a statement from the start of this farce until the present day showing actual usage of energy. If i receive this information, and based on the meter readings it states (and that i will cross reference with photographs i took of the meter every single Monday morning before any appliances were turned on) if this indicates to me that an amount is actually owed to BES i would be happy to get this resolved.

I am – in no way – prepared to send my hard earned money to BES without the aforementioned document."

Email 2;

"Just to let you know, i got the termination letter this morning and the amount it said we owed was £71.41, not the £229.98 they had previously suggested.

I rang early and actually got through to customer services to question why this amount had changed, she said it was still £229.98 owed and wasn't sure where the £71.41 had come from, so looked into it and when she came back to me i was informed that she had noticed an issue on the account and it appears that their "system" had not recalculated my bill properly when they got actual readings about 5 months ago.

I am now awaiting another letter or phone call from them to let me know what they find. I have also asked Sarah in customer services that if it does turn out to be an error on their end and i don't owe them the £229.98 (as i have been saying all along) then i want a full written letter of apology from their management. 

I would still very much like to move away from them though, and move to a company that have better systems in place for dealing with issues like this if they are to arise in future."

After my complaint was lodged, they then fumbled about trying to silence me with pointless spreadsheets that claimed to be the information i seek. They also took £100's out of my bank account which i managed to get returned from my bank but that got more threats from BES Energy/Utilities including phone calls from pushy "Disconnection agents" and letters left right and center.

All I wanted was Energy bills with ACTUAL readings on – I wasn't asking for blood!

Another thing that has bothered me about the case, is the fact that every time I canceled the Direct Debit (to stop them taking chunks out my account) they would contact me and tell me that I was now on a higher rate due to my decision to pay manually. I'm pretty sure its up to me how I pay my bills and shouldn't be penalised for my choice?

I started taking my own readings each week and calculating how much I should be charged based on the rate I was given and the standing charge etc – after a few months of the Smart meter taking accurate readings and my bills coming through as expected, I backed off and allowed the process to be automated via D/D again and carried on with my life.

Last week I happened to open a energy bill that was £100+ which is much higher than normal – and so I shall once again attempt to get out of contract with BES to go with a more well-known transparent commercial energy company

If anyone would like help or assistance getting out of contract with BES Utilities or requires help on the matter, please read my other blog post about the subject too – and get in touch via the comments and I can put you in touch with people who feel as annoyed as you do about being ripped off and scammed by BES.

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Facebook IS spying on you, but not with messenger

Facebook has recently rolled out its “in house” browser to “open links faster” on Android and possibly iOS devices (anyone confirm the iOS bit?) and I’ve been cool with it so far as it does seem to make things a bit faster – but then the real reason for this new feature suddenly dawned on me!

Data mining!

Now, not only do they know what you ‘like’ and what links you click on from within your Facebook app, but now they also know what you do once you are on that page. “Did you click on anything else? What else might interest you? Was the content relevant or did you bounce straight back?”

*It’s worth noting at this point that they’re not doing this so they can make a clone of you and steal your identities. They are more likely to be doing it so they can learn more about you, which in turn allows them to target their advertising better and improve their service to you… Which in turn makes you a more profitable customer for them.*

So, despite it actually being a benefit in the form of faster link opening times, it’s just a sneaky way of harvesting more of your data – and as we all know, data is the new gold.

They’ve already built a multi billion corporation with our content, now they are squeezing more out of our Facebook experience to harvest more data to use and probably sell for a huge (probably tax free) profit.

Clever move, Facebook. You sneaky little prawn.

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Finally settled on a new layout

My rekindled love for blogging has also meant i’ve been spending time tinkering with my blog layout and the colour scheme trying to get it just how I want it.

For the last few weeks I was rocking an awesome theme, to be fair it was the best one i’ve ever had, proper ticked all the boxes…. apart from the fact once I started delving in and altering a few things I realised the guy who made it was a moron and had obviously coded most of the template files with his knees.

The structure of everything was a mess. I was very sad :'(

So, I started the hunt for a new WordPress Theme (you’d have thought i’d have one of the ninjas at work make me one haha) and it reminded me about how hard it was to find simple blogging themes nowadays that focus on the written content rather than huge header images and image slideshows and junk.

…Is that because no one writes old fashioned blogs any more?

I get that a picture is worth a thousand words but I often visit blogs and they’re using premium themes that are built to focus on large imagery that accompany the published articles, and the authors simply use some crappy stock image because if they don’t they break the layout of the page.

So is there really any point in having that as a main feature of the theme?

We did some work for a lady recently who was a travel blogger, and because of what she blogged about she needed large images to be part of her articles else the images of the places she visited wouldn’t get across to her readers – however not everyone blogs about “visual” things so there really should be more choice of themes out there for the rest of us! :)

Anyway, after 20 minutes or so I saw this theme, liked that it was fairly bare-bones and installed it. All credit to Per Sandström for making a great theme that is easily customisable and is made for bloggers!

Hurray for simplicity!

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SCAM – Data File Google Winning Batch: UK/111/GWIN/GUK

Dave spotted this in our spam box from [email protected] with a reply to address as [email protected] – as if “the CEO of Google” would have an email address like that!

“You have Been Selected as a Winner for Using Google Services. Find attached E-mail with more details.
Congratulations,

Sincerely.
Mr. Owen Hookson.
CEO GOOGLE UK.”

And its another attachment jobbo – look at this beaut;

1

2

Here is the original file

Its of course – a Scam – stay away folks and if you see anything like this in your inbox forward it me so I can have a giggle :)

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Website owners beware – terrorist attacks on your websites too

Its hard to ignore the current disputes between ISIS and the rest of the world. Every news program and social feed contains links to videos and articles about this horrible ordeal, and it looks like its now also spread to the digital world.

I was messaged by a customer who said that their website had been hacked. When I visited the website I was greeted by the message;

Hacked BY MuhmadEmad ./we are peshmarga

MuhmadEmad seems to just be the persons name, but peshmarga (peshmerga) is a term used by Kurds to refer to “Armed Kurdish Fighters” which – as far as I can work out – should be people on our side, so im really confused as to why they would hack a little wordpress website that has nothing to do with this conflict.

I’m still looking into exactly what happened but it seems to have been a Gravity Forms exploit of some description – some files within uploads/gravity_forms/tmp were VERY dodgy so they’ve been downloaded for closer inspection and removed from the site.

Ive also updated all the plugins, themes and the wordpress core. Passwords for all wordpress user accounts, FTP and MySQL users changed too.

If you’re having trouble with a hacked website then contact me through twitter or something and ill help as best I can.

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Disturbing thoughts about 9/11

Im sure by now we’ve all heard at least one conspiracy theory surrounding 9/11 and what actually happened on that day – even theories about why it actually happened – but until recently i’ve never really thought much into any of them as they are after all, just theories. However thanks to some research a couple of friends and I have been looking into I actually took a step back for once, and embraced one of those theories as truth – and I instantly felt sick to my stomach…

Almost immediately after the event happened on September 11th 2001 people starting claiming it was a setup, or it was a controlled explosion etc and the general background story associated with all these theories was that it was linked to some kind of insurance claim or something – but it all sounded so ridiculous and personally I lost interest in them. I accepted that it was “terrorists” and they did it because they were crazy religion-orientated bastards.

Zooming to the present day and as I mentioned earlier me and some friends have been obsessed by a number of theories that basically turn most of what we all know and believe on its head. Watch the Zeitgeist movie as that does a better job of explaining it all than I ever could.

One of these theories suggests that 9/11 was simply an exercise to get the US people (and the rest of the world) to back a war in Afghanistan so that (in short) someone at the top of the ladder could get to the oil and other resources in Afghanistan and make a sh!t load of money.

Again – watch the Zeitgeist movie first before you start calling me a complete nutjob.

The reason this theory made me feel physically sick is the fact that this would mean the people that died in those planes, the buildings and then in the rescue attempts afterwards did not die as a result of a terrorist attack, they weren’t killed so someone could directly claim off their insurance (this would also be gross tbf) it meant that all those people were murdered by someone – probably arranged over email – who used their deaths as leverage in a business deal.

The idea that it might not have been terrorists is actually more sickening than what we’ve been lead to believe is the truth.

Whether it is true or not I guess we’ll never really know, and I don’t know if I believe it was all controlled explosions rather than planes being flown into the towers, but the actual reasons behind why it actually happened are something that has left me feeling intrigued and disturbed in equal measures.

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Hacking the Verismo from Starbucks

I’ve been wanting a home pod coffee machine for a while now, but everyone you speak to has a different opinion on which is better, and to be honest its all based on whichever one they’ve owned so ive taken most reviews with a pinch of salt.

I had been eyeing up the Tassimo machines as they had Costa coffees and lots of hot chocolate flavours but they were very bulky and for anything that looked half decent you bloody paid for it! Then i kind of lost a bit of steam for the whole thing as I looked into it all more and more and there were lots more machines coming on to the market – it got swamped and I got bored!

A few months later we were visiting a customer of ours who specialise in domestic appliances and noticed they had started selling the Verismo from Starbucks, a Pod coffee machine licensed by K-FEE and that boasted lots of different types of coffees which all looked great! We walked out with 3 machines – each with 90 delicious pods to use!

$_12One of the Verismo machines took a spot in my kitchen at home and we very quickly used the initial 90 drinks we got with it so i started shopping around for more pods for it and found myself on eBay and was presented with some very interesting finds.

I found some “Espresto” pods for sale, they are made by the same company behind the Verismo machine – K-FEE and from the encouraging description on the eBay listing it seemed like these pods may fit my machine and I may have just found a way of stocking it without breaking the bank!

The pods arrived, I held one next to a Starbucks one – and guess what? They are identical! This means that things like milk pods can be sourced cheaper, and also you can get hot chocolate pods which are something Starbucks dont offer for the Verismo system – they taste great too!

I instantly ordered loads of milk and chocolate and even one of their coffees to try and its all good quality stuff – the range of pods available to me had opened up!

On one of the listings for the Espresto pods it also mentioned “PodPronto” which turns out to be a machine sold by Tesco and – again – licenced by K-FEE – so low and behold, the pods from that fit too!

Tesco_Podpronto_Latte_Coffee_Pods_157.6G_8_Serving__76528_stdSo now, not only can i buy cheaper milk and coffee pods on eBay i can also walk down to my local Tesco and buy their pods – even cheaper!

I’m investigating if any other machines have pods we can use, and i’ll keep this post updated – im sure they make other machines for other people so shouldn’t be hard to track down.

[UPDATE] I have been informed that Tesco are discontinuing their PodPronto machine  – so get all the pods from your local store before its too late!

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Chill the hell out about “Your Data”

Every single day I hear a news report about how some new app is stealin your interwebz or how some new “thing” poses a danger to information stored about you on the web, and within offline systems like the NHS.

This morning on the radio they were talking about a new scheme that the NHS are starting to roll out that allows the data from GP’s (your data! :P) to be used to improve healthcare and help improve medical research.

Its worth noting at this point that your personal identity information IS NOT part of this data – only anonymous info about your medical history that is presented to them without being tied to you or any person.

The radio presenter interviewed a few people who said that due to their “unusual” medical history, anyone looking at their data would be able to identify them without the need for it to have their name or anything next to it.

I’m genuinely amazed people put up a fight with stuff like this. Why wouldn’t you want the info from your doctors being shared with the hospital? And shared with researchers that might be able to tell you you are going to get cancer at a certain age as they’ve been able to build amazing algorithms that analyze your family medical history, spot trends and report things before they happen?

Its being able to harvest, analyse and utilise “data” that has brought us into the amazing technological age that we live in today. Google can assist you in your day-to-day life just because of the data you give them when you use their services. They’re not spying on you for sh!ts and grins, they are trying to make your experience of using their services mind blowing so you tell your friends and keep using them!

It may just be me, but when I search Google on my laptop for a company that i’m going to visit – then get my phone out and Google Now has already loaded a tile up so that with one click, I can load navigation to the place I just searched for – my mind is blown every time. This is an example of Google “spying on you” and as you can see, its not scary at all :)

Don’t get me wrong, there are bad guys out there that do want to trick you but if you stick to well known apps and websites and ensure you have virus protection and scan for malware on your PC – and only install apps on your phone from the Google Play store you should be OK.

The next time you hear a news story about some big company stealing info, texting adverts to your mates behind your back or recording your private conversations without you even realising (Facebook messenger!) get in touch with someone who is in the know before you start ditching amazing services and products from awesome companies.

PS Facebook Messenger is fine too – stop being dingbats!

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2014 Yahoo! Email Lottery SCAM

Wow. I find the constant “evolving” methods used by scammers to extract money out people a continued source of major LOLs.

The most recent Style of 419/email scam i’ve encountered is this beauty, from [email protected] (nice to see Microsoft are still providing these knobheads with email addresses to use, first Hotmail and now Outlook.com – when will you clamp down, MS?)

Anyway, it appeared like this – all official and sh!t;

Email Lottery Scam

And the attachment was quite clearly a word document (no threat on its own) so i opened it;

wow_yahoo_lottery

It definitely looks  authentic, don’t you think? :P

Its a sad state of affairs when such a badly designed POS like this can actually scam money out of people – but the fact is it WILL!

If you get anything through on your email like this, first remember

“If its too good to be true THEN IT PROBABLY IS”

Secondly, remember branding guidelines – no multi million/billion dollar empire would allow their main logo to be SQUASHED like at the top of this document! Also Yahoo’s logo changed from that about a year ago!

I know all these things because I’m in this industry, i keep up to date with changing branding and stuff as its an interest of mine, and also i have a tiny degree of common sense that looks at something like this and, without question, files it under B.

If you are unsure or would like something looking into then please contact me either through here or through work and the team and I will happily advise and assist you in being able to spot these scam and how to officially report them.

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Struggling to decide on direction

My head is literally bursting with opinions and conversations that I feel I need to unload somewhere and I figured it would help me to write some of them down on my faithful blog, but when I start to write I just go on and on and on and on and before long I realise what I’m writing no longer reflects the initial subject I was writing about – and I just save it as a draft and forget about it.

I just read two of them now and they both end up sounding like the beginnings of some new age scripture written by some crazed anti-society nut.

Maybe that’s what I am. Hah.

Anyway, I’m going to attempt to pull bits of them together pretty soon, I probably won’t include so much of the crazy stuff, maybe I’ll post them in the future when my opinions don’t get me into trouble as much.

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