Hoddy’s rip me off

Since having my clutch done at Hoddy’s I’ve had nothing but problems. The van has been in for several repairs but the main thing was the clutch was failing. I took it back to Hoddy’s who said I needed to pay all over again, then they would send the clutch off to be investigated to see if it had failed. 

I explained that that wasn’t how things worked. Consumer law says they must repair or replace the defective item and I should not incur any cost. Things actually got quite heated but they were adamant unless I paid they would do nothing. 

Over the course of a few weeks I visited several times but each time they flatly refused and in the end we had a massive row about it in their office. I was so very angry because I’m a bit fed up of companies who feel they can rip their customers off as and when they choose and nothing gets done about it. As I know from the satellite internet debacle  and the subsequent Alden mess trading standards are worse than useless, so after much anger and frustration I simply had to walk away and leave it. What else could I do? Taking private civil action would have cost me much more than a new clutch would.

I finally found a new garage in Birmingham called Roopyal who fitted a new clutch, but once everything was in bits they said unless I replaced the flywheel they could not warranty the clutch. Why? Because it was their practice to skim the flywheel or better still to replace it. I asked if there was any evidence that there was something wrong with the flywheel and they said no but after 11 years and the problems I’d had with the clutch it ‘probably would’ need replacing. 

Never heard so much bollocks in my life lol but here again stuck in the same position: ask them to do it and pay way more than I should? Say no and drive away without a warranty? The decision was made in the end regarding time because there simply was no time to wait for parts and get the job done before I was due at work. So I had to say no. 

Another new hope?

I travelled down to Taunton in Somerset last night to Vanbitz, to get the Alden Netmaster fitted. For £3,500 this is billed as the best commercially available mobile internet you can get without being  a lottery winner. I went off on my bike while they fitted it, it took most of the day for some reason. But they said I could hang around for the night to test it out if I wanted to. Given the history of disappointment I’ve had from Datastorm I said I’d do that.

When I went to pay them the bank would not let me spend the £3, 250 owing, so I phoned Alliance and Leicester, knowing it was an unusual amount.  They said over the phone that they could not fix it cos it was some kind of error lol. It took me four attempts and about 20 minutes to finally pay them. Anyway, I tested it as best I could and it seemed to be quick and work fine. I really like the simplicity but I’d rather get off somewhere and test it properly so I prepared for an early start in the morning.

Adios Datastorm

The satellite is clearly not ever going to work properly, and despite all the promises from Barry Lieberman at Ethnet, he has failed to get it to work and the only thing he’s good at is collecting his £70 per month connection fee.

I’ve decided to call it a day and cancel anything to do with Datastorm.  £8,000 totally wasted. I’m gutted but what can you do? Trading Standards don’t want to know as “the case is too complex”, Isatlan are out of the picture and Ethnet simply don’t take my calls anymore. Speaking to Datastorm in the US it’s apparent that Isatlan sold me a second hand mount which was at least 18 months old when I got it, however there’s nothing they can do.

My dongle has always proved reliable anyway so I will stick with that for the time being. Amazing how a £30 piece of kit smaller than a packet of cigarettes can outperform an £8,000 satellite system…

Yawn … satellite not working

Picture of colourfully painted shops in Llanberis
Llanberis

Well I’m having a fantastic time here in Llanberis, it’s a shame that the rig isn’t. It failed to connect yet again and Nick is now not answering his phone most times I call. Barry Lieberman still calls, to ask for his £70 a month connectivity fee.

Thank God for the Vodafone USB modem! It was supposed to be a backup but it’s my main form of communication with the internet and work now!
So much for Ethnet ‘guaranteeing’ to make things work. The fact that they won’t answer the phone anymore kind of says they’ve given up on it.

Anyway, this is a view of Llanberis high street, including the fabulous Pete’s Eats. If you’re hungry this is the place to go: real tasty food at reasonable prices. It get’s crowded in the season but well worth the wait. I can also recommend the Chinese takeaway across the road 🙂

All change!

So, I sold the LNB, the dish, the modem and the controller back to Isatlan for £1,200 and Ethnet replaced them all for just under £1,000.

I now have the F1 mount and new dish, new LNB, DW7000 controller and the HN7000s Modem.

Nick, the engineer for Ethnet got it working straight away.

Fingers crossed.

The truth is out there…

I’ve been doing a bit of digging. No not in the garden…

It turns out after speaking to Tim Gibbs in the US office of Datastorm, that my rig is indeed second hand and was well over a year old when Isatlan sold it to me as brand new.

Isatlan in that case conned me, ripped me off, duped me with false promises and statements. I’ve contacted trading standards to see what can be done.

In the meanwhile I’ve been in discussion with Barry Lieberman from Ethnet. He’s near Royston and is the main UK importer for equipment from Datastorm. He reckons that if I ‘sell’ back parts of the kit to Isatlan and buy new from him, he guarantees to get it working. So I emailed Isatlan and they’re up for it so that’s what’s happening.

Sick of the sight of Stoke now

Nothing personal, just that driving into Sandbach now reminds me of failure and the fact I face a day of listening to motor-whine as the dish goes round and round and round interminably without ever working.

Actually Musa had it working within half an hour of getting here. However he clearly doesn’t know what he’s done to get it working grr!

I wish I’d kept  a record of how much  diesel I’ve used continually coming back here.
Thank God I kept my Vodafone internet card. I’d be buggered without it!

Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

I am heartily sick to my back teeth of Isatlan and Musa. He does not have the faintest idea what he is doing!

I contacted Ned Spencer from Point systems who tried to help and he said Musa is actually well known in the industry for failed installations.

I also spoke to Barry Lieberman from Ethnet. They are the UK reseller for Datastorm bandwidth and equipment so they should know, however a phone call to him proved inconclusive except he also said he knew of Musa and was constantly fixing his mistakes. Bridge internet said the same as did everyone I’ve spoken to!

I almost felt sorry for Musa being so widely known in an industry for being inept, but then I remember my £8,000 and all sympathy goes out of the window!

The day after the day.

Still at Isatlan. Musa spent the entire day working on the equipment, I even fed him lunch and tea.

After starting at 9:30am he finally left at 5pm after somehow getting the unit to work. I was not elated that he’d got it to work, I knew something was wrong and I knew I’d be back.

Nevertheless he went home and I played for a while on the internet thinking what a wonderful thing technology is.

Later that night I drove up the motorway for a few miles and pulled into a service station and set the dish away to connect to the internet. Heh heh I heard that whirring sound that I’d become accustomed to over the last 2 days but no way was it going to connect.

I phoned Musa who told me a few things to try and somehow we got it working. It feels very much like Musa actually doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

I am seriously not happy with this. £8,000 for equipment, it should just work. I have a very bad feeling about this. 🙁

Satellite dayyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!

What a farce.

I met Musa and Chris from Isatlan and drove down to some unit they had in Alsager in Stoke. They spent most of the day fitting the Datastorm to the roof whilst I mooched around a rather small and uninteresting town.

When I returned they had a problem. Although I had specifically asked what power requirements the equipment had and been told 12 volts, what it really needs is 230 volts from a mains inverter!  This is a completely different requirement. Musa after a while went and found an inverter that was laying around and sold it to me for a tenner. Bloody bad show though not being prepared like that.

Not only that, but they had damaged the roof of the van and put a small dent in the side at the top. I never really got to attend to this as the equipment wasn’t working anyway. We finally agreed that I would stay the night outside the unit and Musa would come in tomorrow and resolve whatever problem was there.

Disappointing to say the least.

Delayed.

Damn them! Isatlan who are providing the satellite dish and other equipment, have dropped the date back to 16th December now. I’ll have to change the ferry booking grrr!! I’m still annoyed at them for taking nearly £8,000 out of my account without asking. I got it back within 2 days but even so…

Apparently the delay is due to the late arrival of an expected shipment from America. They have the router and modem and some other stuff, but the base unit hasn’t arrived yet.

Datastorm finally?

After many minor setbacks I have the final date for the Datastorm to be fitted, 9th December. It’s a lot of money but the thing is I have had none stop problems with Vodafone. I upgrade to the latest dongle, I keep my laptop in tiptop shape but, it constantly fails me and their customer service constantly makes mistakes. I was cut off not long ago because for some unknown reason they decided to apply a limit to my account. I rang and some person said it was a mistake and sorry I’ll take it off. Then later they blocked my access to the works website because it has links to gambling! Duh…it’s a bingo company! LOL

The connection is good usually but the constant problems mean it’s just too unreliable. The satellite system is £8,000 but not only do reviews say it’s reliable but the freedom it affords is fantastic as I can connect at broadband speeds anywhere in Europe! I can’t wait!

I don’t have the power!

I’ve got to get some more batteries if I’m to have the power to run the Datastorm satellite system and a laptop, 40 hours a week.

Hadn’t thought about it before but, if the satellite dish takes 4 amps and the laptop 5 that’s 9 amps which is 1 x 100 ahr battery per day.

At the moment I have 1 x 100 ahr battery lol I think I have a lot to learn about this malarkey and I foresee turbulent waters ahead.

Silly me.

Datastorm Freedom!

Well this is exciting. I’ve been using the Vodafone PCMCIA card that allows me to connect to the internet via the mobile phone network. It’s the new style card so I had to buy an adapter which cost £164! Vodafone are full of woes, their customer service is friendly but woefully useless. The service is very patchy, I hope it improves. However I’ve booked the van to get satellite internet fitted in November by a company in Stoke called Isatlan.

Datastorm satellite internet dishThis mobile internet satellite dish can connect to the internet from anywhere in Europe and even North Africa so I will truly be independent and be able to live in and work from the van, but also travel all over Europe too.

£8,000, yeah ridiculous money but you know, you only get one life, you have to make the most of it, so it’s about time I started living.

Exciting times, can’t wait!