Sometimes venting does help…..

So, after convincing myself that my email to Sky had disappeared into the ether I was staggered to get a phonecall this morning from customer services.

Somebody somewhere has been reading my email….could it be that Jeremy has broken off from counting his payrise to read an email?

Anyway, now it seems it is a BT problem at the exchange so no, they won’t be sending a new modem out.  But yes, they will be sending a dongle out to get me back on line pro temp.


I was so shocked I didn’t ask whether it would cost me to use said dongle or when I could expect to have a proper connection again but hey, its actually some progress.

I will let you know when the dongle arrives…….

an open letter to the MD of BSkyB

Its late Saturday and I’m sat in McDonalds using their free internet – thanks McDonalds!
This is a copy of the letter I’ve sent to the MD of BSkyB after the total frustration of dealing with the staff at Sky’s call centre’s in Stockport & Nottingham.  We still have no internet now since Tuesday – its Saturday as I write this.  I’m still waiting for the promised call back from the manager of the Stockport call centre and if I hadn’t hung up I’m pretty sure I would still be on hold from the inept operator in Nottingham.
Names have been removed to protect those who might be identified as incompetant……
oh, and just found out what Mr Darroch gets paid – draw your own conclusdions about how that makes me feel after the way Sky has treated me this week……..see the link at the bottom of the page
Sent Friday evening after my first attempt bounced back with the wrong email address given by a Sky employee
2nd attempt to send since your staff are incapable of giving your email address correctly!Firstly sorry that I misspelled your name in the original email (below) however since that is the way your staff member spelled it out to me…….
Dear Mr Darroch

So, since I wrote my email last night I have been speaking to the lovely xxxx in Stockport.  She has apparently arranged a callback for me from a manager since there was no manager available to take my call – it actually staggers me that both your Stockport and Nottingham call centres operate without duty managers!!  No small wonder that your staff don’t seem to know what they are talking about when there is nobody to supervise them.


Anyway, xxxxx confirmed that its only certain websites that aren’t available to customers in the Halifax area – that was lie number 1 of the day.  In fact I went straight to my neighbours house and she too has no internet whatsoever and hasn’t had since Tuesday.   Strange that when its my modem thats broken…….


I asked for the sending out of the modem to be accelerated but was told only a manager could sanction that and yes, the affore mentioned manager is awol or not available or simply can’t be bothered speaking to a disgruntled customer.

It seems that my account has been flagged in some way since the recorded greeting I received went something like this…..’we see that you have been having problems with your account recently.  Please give us some information so that we can deal with your query quickly – just transferring you to one of our experts now’   Not the exact wording but you get the gist.  It seems the expert – xxxx is just another member of the same old Stockport Broadband team – I feel I know enough of them now to be invited to their Christmas party. And it transpires the only thing she is expert in is giving misinformation

So, after going through all the security checks for the nth time, and knowing that I am having continued problems with my broadband the sensitive and considerate xxx asks me what is my preferred email for contact – how crass and insulting.

I asked xxxx for the customer complaints telephone number.  She told me there is no complaints number, only a fax – thats lie number 2 of the day (see below).  Why oh why do your advisers treat customers with such contempt?

So, yet again I have had to drive into Bradford to attempt again to send this email – I wonder whether I have been given the correct address or name for you this time?

And just to prove xxxx’s 2nd lie here are the details from your current customer complaints page including the non existant phone number

 How to complain to Sky
  • We appreciate that sometimes things go wrong and you may have problems with your Sky products and services. We want to ensure you receive the best possible customer service and if we’ve got it wrong, we’d like to get it fixed as quickly as possible.You can contact us by email, choose one of the options below. You’ll need to sign in using your Sky iD. Don’t worry if you have forgotten your Sky iD or password, follow the ‘Forgotten your username or password’ links on the page. By using your My Sky account we will be able to see what products you have and your account details.

Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address:
Customer Complaint, Sky Subscriber Services Ltd, PO Box 43, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 7DD

You can also contact us by telephone on 08442 411 653 in the UK or 0818 719 819 in the Republic of Ireland. Our advisors are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For the avaoidance of doubt I am sick and tired of being given the runaround by inept and rude staff who’s sole mission in life seems to be to raise my blood pressure

I have been lied to and neglected, left on hold, given duff information and been spoken to like I was some kind of imbecile.

I do not deserve to be treated like this by SKy and I am not prepared to put up with it.

I absolutely will be referring this to the ombudsman and passing it on to anyone else who will read it or listen to me be that on Facebook, Twitter or my blog.

I have simply had enough and though I suspect you will never get to read this I might be able to save some other poor sap from actually signing up for the same treatment

Catherine Riley
angry, upset out of pocket and disgusted with Sky

From: catherineriley
Subject: How to give the Customer the Runaround………sorry, that should be ex customer
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 00:17:29 +0000

Dear Mr DarrockAs I have had no internet connection at home for the last 48 hours with no prospect of a resolution of the problem I have had to drive to Bradford, blag my way into work with night security and write this from my work PC.Shortly after midnight Tuesday ( technically Wednesday am) we lost our internet connection.  As this is such a frequent problem I made the poor decision not to ring Sky but to hope things would be ok in the morning.Sadly they weren’t and my phone call was fairly unsatisfactory with no more advise than ‘try again in a couple of hours’Later yesterday I rang again for an update around 23.45hrs and was told that the outage was a major software fault affecting Halifax, Calder Valley and Hebden Bridge exchanges and the only update was that it would be resolved by 22.20hrs which it patently hadn’t been.

So I waited patiently though somewhat frustratedly for a further 12 hours before calling again.  By now the internet service which I pay Sky for had been unavailable for 36 hours.    I had taken a few days off from work this week specifically to complete several online  tasks and have been thwarted in my intent by the outage.

Now I know that some things are beyond the control of Sky.  However, thats not my real complaint.

When I rang this morning I was informed by recorded message that Sky were busy and the wait time would be 9 minutes.  I was on hold with abbysmal music and insulting announcements about going on line to check for further information for a total of 14 minutes before my call was even answered.

When I did finally get to speak to a person it was xxxx (Stockport call centre) who told me that the outage had been resolved which seemed strange since I still had no service.  I’ve lost count of the number of  timse I’ve reset the modem and rebooted my laptop so when the operator suggested I ‘run some tests’ on the BT line I flatly refused to since our phone socket is in an 18 inch high crawl space and I could see no point in testing the filter when it was patently a line or modem  fault.  Incidentally I was placed on hold for a protracted  period while the operative went away to check the line (the result of which he never told me) and  again while he also attempted and failed to find out when the outage had allegedly been fixed.

After such an unsatisfactory conversation with no prospect of a resolution requested to be transferred to the cancellation department.

I was then transferred to your ‘retentions’ department where I had an entirely unsatisfactory exchange with  a person who’s name I didn’t record.  Knowing how unhappy I was with the service I’d received he made the really clever suggestion that I add the phone line to the package……unbelievable crass under the circumstances.   Why, knowing that I am totally disillusioned with Sky would he imagine that I want to give you any more of my money?

Over the last 17 years I have paid Sky in excess of £xxxxx – over £xxxx pa currently. Yet when I have a real problem the value you place on my custom is abundantly evident and I felt I had no option but to cancel my sky subscription and request the MAC code which I believe will be issued in 3 -4 days.

At approx 12 noon I rang again and this time spoke to xxxx in Stockport.

By now I had my husband with me who had reluctantly agreed to go into the crawl space to run the tests required.

After an hour and a half of swapping and changing lines rebooting the modem and running up and down 2 flights of stairs between the 2 we were no further on.  Although xxxx was friendly and helpful the issue was not resolved.  I requested a new modem be sent out but was told the filter would have to be checked first and it would take 2 -3 days for us to receive one from Sky.

So, against my better judgement I allowed myself to be persuaded to go and purchase another filter and swap it in.  Yes, you’ve guessed, I wasted a further 1.5 hours going out to purchase one and another 30 minutes in a wasted call when the exercise proved fruitless.

At this stage I requested to be put through to a manager as xxxx told me he was still unable to supply a new modem and the call had to be passed to someone else for further tests.  I again asked when the original outage had been cleared and he was unable to answer – just to say it was cleared from their list.

After an extremely unsatisfactory exchange with a teamleader called xxx (also Stockport) I agree to speak to another person about making further tests with the exchange. At this stage I turned down what I consider to be a wholly desultary and insulting offer of a £10 goodwill payment.  I reluctantly agreed to be passed over yet again. I was promised a call back at 4.45, some 15 minutes later.  However, the operator failed to tell me that he was going to leave my line open and I was left unable to make urgent phone calls which had to be done prior to 5pm.  When he did finally ring back it was to sheepishly agree to send out a new modem – in 4 – 5 business days though he never did say whether the line was clear.  He couldn’t resist making a sarcastic little dig about modems not normally being free and ‘he couldn’t really call it a gesture of goodwill’

I am appalled by his behaviour.  How dare he talk to me in that manner?

There is no way I can wait until the end of next week for internet access so I decided to purchase a new cable and a modem myself to speed things up.  Imagine my horror then when neither of the measures made any difference.  By now its 8.30 pm and I’ve spent (wasted) a whole working day and got absolutely nowhere for my pains.

So, and this is beginning to feel like groundhog day, I dialled the by now familiar number – before I even got to speak to a person I was greeted with a message that customers in Halifax were experiencing problems………what a joke, except its not remotely funny. This time got xxxx in Nottingham.  A very nice chap but completely out of his depth.   To my horror he chatted away about the protracted outage in Halifax -‘since yesterday’

So why was I told by not 1 but 3 people that the outage was fixed and it must be my line box/filter/cable/modem????

I asked xxxx to arrange a call back tomorrow from a senior manager and was told it wasn’t possible.  So I asked to speak to the Call Centre duty manager and strangely that didn’t seem to be possible either.  So I asked for your email and was put on hold while he went to try and find that.

Well, I’m pleased to say that while I was on hold I was able to enjoy eating my evening meal -albeit a late one due to my running around after Sky emplyees who were leading me up the garden path…….after 38 minutes I simply hung up as I defy anyone to come back to a customer after leaving them on hold for that length of time.

So now its well gone midnight and I am sending this to voice my frustration and anger at the contempt with which I, a long standing customer, have been treated by Sky.

I am not an idiot and my husband is a computer technician and we are both horrified to have been lied to so consitently by your innept operators and team leaders.

In some respects I feel as if I am wasting yet more time since I will neither be able to see whether you receive this nor respond if you deign to contact me.

I am outraged that Sky should throw away a high paying customer of such long standing but after the last 48 hours nothing surprises me with Sky.

I have resigned myself to having no further access to the internet via yourselves.  As soon as I get the port code I will be off to an alternative provider.  The phone service will be going the same way.  I have to say its been hard to explain to my 10 year old why he will no longer be able to watch his programmes, hubby is not too pleased at loosing his sports channels either but the world won’t stop turning if we don’t have sky TV and I will be £xxx per month better off as a result.

In the meantime I am not out of pocket to the tune of £6.99 for a filter, £11.88 for a cable and £44.99 for a modem.

When I have internet access again which will most probably be next week when I return to work I will be finding the relevant emails at Which, Watchdog and the telecoms Ombudsman to copy this in to.  I think the whole thing will sit nicely on my blog too which will allow me to tweet it and distribute it on Facebook with a degree of ease.

Now I know this won’t bother Sky in the slightest but boy will it make me feel better

Yours in outrage and disappointment

Catherine Riley

Wicked Wednesday Freebie Givaway Part 3

Well, its Wednesday and that means another freebie – yes, even though I gave one away yesterday too!

This time its courtesy of My Memories and its the next 2 pages for your freebie album.

You can download it here

I’d intended doing you some sample pages but its been pretty hectic around here so I actually never got around to them.

We celebrated Mum’s 80th birthday with a meal out on Sunday.  We went to the John Millington in Cheadle and they looked after us really well – we had a seperate area all to ourselves.  The food was great and we had a lovely chatty afternoon and evening.


Today Nathan and Vince had dental checkups – mine is tomorrow along with some running repairs from my accident a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve got some major form filling in to finish this week including my tax return and 2 benefits claim forms for Vince – he’s just too unwell to even contemplate filling them in himself.  Before I know it it will be Monday and time to go back to work!

Oh, nearly forgot, I did get 2 new kits finished and uploaded so they will be in store soon at My memories – I’ll post the details as soon as they go live

Happy scrapping

A just because Freebie….

just because I made 100 fans on my new CatDesignz Face Book page that is – in fact I sailed past it with over 50 new friends in an hour so just had to give out a freebie to celebrate

download here 

don’t delay though, its only free for 24 hours

heres a sweet layout that Nicole made with the kit

thanks for allowing me to share this lovely peek into your family Nicole x

Happy scrapping

Happy 80th Birthday Mum

My lovely Mum Therese is 80 today

I’ve been busy scrapping a book for her which she’ll see late Thursday but heres a sneaky preview for you courtesy of  – just don’t give the game away if you speak to her!

Happy 80th Birthday Mum

I made an album for my Dad when he was 80 and thats essentially how I got started with scrapbooking.

Sort of lost my mojo with hubby’s illness so didn’t really know where to start with Mum’s pages – all I can say is thank goodness for templates – a used many gorgeous ones from  and  and produced this book in less than 2 weeks

Thats the beauty of templates – you simply can’t beat them for speed.

You can have a look at some of my templates designs here at My Memories – oh, and there is currently 25% off all of my templates

Feedback on Mums album and my templates always welcome!  Oh, and don’t forget to scroll down for yesterdays freebie!

Wicked Wednesday Freebie Givaway Part 2

Hope you enjoyed using last weeks freebie

Here is this weeks, isn’t it lovely?

You can download it here

The kit contains 2 complete pages and  9 seperate elements for you to swap and change to your hearts content and mix and match with the rest of your digital scrapbooking stash.  The pages co-ordinate perfectly with last weeks freebie and there are another 2 pages to come every week for you.

Please tell your friends and send them here to get their digital freebies!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so that you can have the fresh download links every week!

Minus one Pre Molar

Thanks to all of you who have been asking about my health – I really appreciate all your concern, good wishes and prayers.

I had the offending tooth removed on Monday which was a relief.  The pain is much much better but I think I will probably need another course of antibiotics as my jaw is really sore and swollen still.

My sleep pattern is totally shot so I’m walking round like something from Zombies Dawn of the Dead right now!

Been back in work since Tuesady but not really firing on all cylinders yet.

It was my weigh in day today and happy to say I’ve lost another 2.5lb this week taking me to 20lb overall so far.  I reckon 5g of that was the tooth that was removed – ha!

I’ve been asked by a couple of people whether I took any pictures of me at my fattest and the answer is no, I was always either behind the camera or postively dodging everyone else’s!

However I do have an avatar of me at my heaviest

These things never give the full picture as they don’t show all the real lumps and bumps and cellulite but hey, you get the idea!

The next is me at my weight today, still a long way to go but 20% of the way to my long term goal.  I’ve taken 3.9 points off my BMI and reduced my body fat as a % of my total weight by 12.5% since the end of July.  I am hovering around the border between morbidly obese and obese so that will be the next mini hurdle to jump.  By the time I am over it I will be the same weight I was last November when I broke my ankle – a whole year out of my life thanks to a dodgy pavement that the council even  now can’t be bothered to mend.

And finally here’s my goal weight

It will probably take me to the end of next year to get here but I am absolutely determined.  

I was hunting through some old pictures yesterday and found one of me taken in 1983 and I was as slim as that so no real reason why I can’t be again.

Everyone who sees me now is commenting on how well I’m looking which is great.  And everyone is also asking how I am doing it, I suppose in the hopes that I might have found some painless, easy way to shed the pounds.  The sad truth is that its not easy, its a hard slog and every tiny bit of progress is hard fought.

I am counting calories with the help of the Weight Loss Resources website which lists absolutely everything.  Its a simple input and output equation with me aiming to reduce my calorie intake by 1000 per day below what my body needs. In my case its 1100 calories per day that I am allowed and its up to me to make wise choices.  I try and get a good mix of whole grains, fruit veg and lean protein.  That should have me loose 2lb per week.

My larger loss this week is due to my body being messed up with Codeine painkillers which basically stop the digestive tract from functioning properly.  Now the offending tooth has gone I don’t need such strong analgesics and my body has readjusted to include some of what I actually lost last week but which was masked by my being somewhat bloated.

So, onward and downward and lets see if I can get into the obese category in the next couple of weeks.

Keep smiling

Wicked Wednesday Freebie Givaway Part 1

Fancy making a complete digital scrapbook album for free?

All perfectly matching double page spreads?

All themed and co-ordinating?

Yes, I did say free!!!

All you have to do is tune in here each Wednesday to catch the link to the week’s set of 2 freebie pages courtesy of My Memories

Here are the first 2 pages

Download Here 

The kit contains the 9 individual elements as well as the 2 complete  pages so you can use them in other projects too

You can add your own favourite elements, journalling and wordart to the complete pages to really personalise them

The pages are created with My Memories Suite v2 which is the world’s favourite digital scrapbooking software

Its perfect for beginners or more experienced scrappers, without doubt the easiest software I’ve ever used for scrapping – no steep learning curve and plenty of video tutorials available free online too

If you want to get your hands on a copy at a bargain price use coupon code


at the My Memories checkout – it will get you $10 off the list price and a further coupon value $10 for your first downloads!

Of course you don’t have to use the My Memories software to take advantage of the freebies but its a peach of a programme and so easy to use that you’re bound to love it!

don’t forget subscribe to my blog and drop by each Wednesday to pick up your set of matching free pages

and why not post your completed layouts on the MyMemories Facebook page or the CatDesignz FB page– let them know you got them from CatDesignz blog and I’ll leave you some love!

happy scrapping

Cupcake Heaven

Why is it that when you’re trying to watch your weight every waking thought is about food!

Seems an appropriate time for my Cupcake Heaven  kit to hit the My Memories  store!

The design pack contains 2 full lowercase alphabets – one milk chocolate toned and 1 sticker suitable for dark backgrounds; 12 scrummy papers and a total of 56 other elements including a selection of delicious wordarts

The co-ordinating upper case alphabets are available seperately

Its a really versatile kit, perfect for everything from baby pages to friendship layouts

Theres even a matching If Friends were Cupcakes wordart with UK and US versions provided

And before I forget, this whole kit and the add ons were designed with my dear friend Alana Glaves in mind – this ones for you gorgeous!!

Oh, and I also should say, with my upcoming dental surgery I won’t be eating any cupcakes in the near future!


Accidental Damage

You’ll remember I had a rear end shunt in the car a little while back.

I’d thought I had got away with a few aches and pains and would soon be back to myself.  Needed a couple of days off work but otherwise felt ok.

Then I got hit with rather bad toothache over last weekend.  A trip to the dentist on Monday ended up in me having a root canal treatment.  But I was in so much pain I hardly cared at that point – at least Andrew (dental surgeon) was able to save the tooth.

However… soon as the nerve was removed I realised that my lower jaw was even more painful.  Andrew thought it was referred pain which would settle now that the problem tooth was sorted.

If only……..

By Tuesday I was in so much pain even with strong painkillers that I had to leave work.  I daren’t tell you how many painkillers I was taking but between Ibuprofen, Paracetamol and codeine it was barely even taking the edge off the pain.

On Wednesday I went back to see Andrew who confirmed that this was not referred pain but a whole new problem with the tooth directly opposite the original problem – this time an abscess and not redeemable.   More antibiotics, more painkillers and the prospect of an extraction when the infection has cleared enough.  So that’s one cracked crown and one cracked root all as a result of my little rear end shunt.

Thursday, yet another visit to the dentist (I have my own chair there) this time for the most excruciating experience ever to have the abscess drained.  It was frozen and numbed somewhat with Novocaine (which gives me the shakes) but still   awful.  I’m afraid I was a complete baby  and must have scared off the woman in the waiting room.  I drove home and resorted to yet more codeine to knock me out as soon as I got home.

Friday passed in a bit of a blur but Saturday was pretty memorable.  I had to go into work to finish a really important report and couldn’t take any codeine as I wouldn’t have been able to either drive or produce any coherent work.  Lets just say the pain really set in and leave it at that.  I managed to finish by 3, home by 4 and hitting the painkillers again.

I actually slept until they wore off and the pain woke me up.  Now its 4 in the morning and I’m just catching up with you all before the codeine knocks me out again.

Please keep me in your prayers, I am so not looking forward to Monday and having this tooth out……..