Stuff ups

Early yesterday morning, I got an email alert from my bank stating that there was a charge of almost 1.5k made to my credit card account. The email alert does not detail where the charge came from so I made a mental note to check it out later. It was nearly quitting time at work when I remembered the email alert and promptly logged on to the bank’s system to check my credit card transactions statement. Hmm… it looks like Dell Singapore has charged me 1.4k and since the amount was in a foreign currency, the bank also automatically tacked on a foreign currency conversion charge. Now, this amount debited to my account does not make sense at all since Dell Australia has already charged me for the laptop I ordered. Where did this mystery charge come from?

Although unlikely, I asked Gj if he ordered anything from Dell Singapore to attract the charge. He didn’t, which means Dell somehow stuffed up the billing for my yet-to-be-received notebook. I promptly called the sales representative I’ve ordered the thing from but she was busy with another customer. I left a message and waited for a call-back. A few minutes later, my mobile rang and it’s S- on the line.

S-: Hello Raquel, how are you today?

Me: Fine, how bout you?

S-: I’m fine.

Me: Good, I’ve called you because there seems to be a problem with the billing of the laptop I ordered from you last Monday. It looks like there was double-charging.

S-: How did you know that Dell was the one who made the mistake?

Me: Uhm, well, I’m looking at my credit card summary and there are two charges from Dell. One from Dell Australia, which is correct and another from Dell Singapore, which I don’t know what for plus a currency conversion charge because the charge seems to be in Singaporean dollars.

S-: Well, you shouldn’t be charged twice. Dell does not charge their customers twice for an order.

Me: I can see it in my credit card statement and I’m telling you that there’re two charges. I don’t know what happened there.

S-: Alright, it looks like our billing department may have made a mistake. Just send me a copy of that statement and I’ll forward it to them. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I asked for her fax number, hurriedly went on to print the credit card statement, composed a short fax cover letter describing the issue and sent everything to her.

On the way home, Gj and I are still fuming over the incorrect charge. Now we have to wait for Dell to resolve the issue, refund the money and then we have to talk to our bank to cancel the foreign conversion. Gahhh, maybe I should have just completed that laptop order over the internet and eliminated the human factor. Maybe then, I won’t have this problem. On the other hand, I rationalised that maybe the problem could have occurred either way anyway. There’re no guarantees that automating the order would have eliminated the need for someone in Dell’s billing section to doubly enter my credit card information to another system which may have caused the incorrect charge showing up in my credit card statement. Wonder if they have a fully integrated system in place or not?

When we got home, I immediately fired up the old desktop computer to see if Dell’s sales rep. has sent me an email confirming she got the fax. Problem is, there’s no internet connection. I’ve rebooted both the system and the modem, re-checked the settings of the modem before enlisting Gj’s help. He did more of the same with the same result – zilch internet connection. It wasn’t until he decided to connect to our ISP through dial-up that we found out the source of the problem, the phone line’s dead as a door nail. With no other way to call iiNet‘s call center to ask what’s going on, we waited well after midnight hoping that the problem would go away by itself and we’d have our connection back. Well, that’s not exactly true as we could have used our mobiles to call their call center but with the usual 30-minute wait we’ll have to endure before we actually talk to someone, we figured it won’t be worth our dime. Curses, no way to check my email, surf and download Gj’s daily dose of podcasts. We very nearly had actual withdrawal symptoms.

Our phone connection didn’t magically resurrect itself this morning either so Gj reported the problem to iiNet. From what I gathered from him, the company promised to send out someone to check the line and report the fault to Telstra. Failing that, they would have to check our physical connection at home, meaning someone had to go home early to let them in. Bummer. Meanwhile, my inbox was filled with everything but a confirmation email from the rep. from Dell. I fired a quick email to her to confirm whether she got my fax and if there are any updates on the issue yet. Around noon, I got a short answer. She said they’ll refund me the unnecessary charges but did not elaborate if I still have to call my bank to have the foreign currency conversion fee cancelled or if they’ll take care of it as well. I suspect I’d still have to sort it out with the bank but that would have to wait until after the refund has been done (dunno when that will be).

As we say in the Philippines, abangan ang susunod the kabanata… (stay tuned for the next chapter…)

Published in: on February 24, 2006 at 12:37 pm  Comments (3)  

Adopt Australian Values or Leave

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday mentioned in a public speech that if you want to live in Australia, you have to follow the Australian rule of law. I’m fine with that. It’s what to be expected wherever you live, anyway.

But he also basically said that migrants should adopt Australian values or go home. “Before becoming an Australian, you will be asked to subscribe to certain values – if you have strong objections to those values, don’t come to Australia,” he said.

I somewhat agree that if you’re a migrant who wants to live in Australia, don’t expect to change the people here to follow the same way of life you used to have in your country of origin. And if you don’t like that, go back home. Fair enough?

I assume that the Treasurer is only targeting the small minority of extremist Muslims that may have migrated into our country. But the way he put it in his speech sounded like all migrants must adopt all Australian values — no exceptions — or get out.

But what exactly are these Australian values that the Treasurer spoke of? Is there a list so I can check if I have adopted every single one of them?

Let’s see. Australia is a democracy so I assume democratic values are part of this list of Australian values. We have fair laws, freedom of speech, assembly and worship, equality, tolerance and social justice. No problem there. I follow the law like any other Aussie and I certainly exercise my freedom of speech. I’m a Roman Catholic and I should be allowed that in a democracy. I treat others equally and fairly. I try to be tolerant of others’ beliefs and culture.

Looks like I get to stay in Australia.

But I have this suspicious feeling that some redneck Aussies would think that adhering to democratic values still wouldn’t mean I’ve adopted Australian values.

At the risk of being an arrogant prick, I believe I could speak and write English, albeit American English, fluently. In fact, I’m slightly peeved when the people here who grew up with English as their primary language make silly grammatical mistakes like “it’s hotting up” or label the Men’s toilet as “mens”. It should be “it’s heating up” because hot is not a verb — heat is. And it should be “men’s” not “mens” because “men” is already plural.

That probably wouldn’t be enough for some redneck Aussies though because I still wouldn’t be able to speak with an Aussie accent and use the slang. They’d also be offended that I know a second language and use it like when I talk to Raquel in Tagalog in private conversations. It can’t be helped. The best I can do is speak and write in English the way I know how.

How about other Aussie values? Aussies love sports like footy and cricket. I think I’ll be in trouble in this department as I’m not all that fond of sports even when I was still back in the Philippines. And what’s up with cricket? It takes too long and seems too slow for my taste.

A lot of Aussies seem to enjoy beer and wine a lot. Well, I don’t drink. I hate the taste of alcoholic beverages. Even when all my friends back in the Philippines started drinking San Miguel Beer, I stuck to drinking soft drinks. I just don’t get why anyone would prefer a bitter glass of beer over a sweet glass of Pepsi. So, if drinking is another Aussie value, then that’s another value I couldn’t adopt.

How about eating lamb? There was this TV commercial recently that eating lamb is the Aussie thing to do. Right now, I no longer eat meat that came from mammals not because of any religious conviction but because I now find eating such meat gross. Since lamb is a mammal, then I wouldn’t eat it. So, again, there’s another Aussie value I couldn’t live up to.

Sure, Mr Costello probably didn’t mean that people who don’t watch cricket, don’t speak with an Aussie accent and don’t eat lamb should leave the country. But it could be interpreted that way by redneck Aussies who want all migrants to forget the language and the culture of the country they left behind like magic.

I just don’t like where we’re headed right now. Already, people who are against multiculturalism are emboldened by the Treasurer’s speech. I just hope this wouldn’t incite future “Cronulla” riots.

Read here for further discussions about Multiculturalism and Peter Costello’s speech: The Age Blogs: Your Say

Published in: on February 24, 2006 at 7:15 am  Comments (6)