Trouble with Nando’s

There is a restaurant chain called Nando’s here in Australia. They basically specialise in roasted chicken which closely resembles the taste of home’s Lechong Manok. You can even order plain steamed rice in some of their franchises, too. No wonder it seems very popular with Filipinos living here. It was one of our favourite places to eat, too.

However, several days ago, we ate lunch at Nando’s at Melbourne Central. We ordered a quarter chicken meal (with rice and 390ml Diet Coke), a BBQ chicken thigh meal (with rice and 390ml Diet Coke again), and one extra side dish (2 pieces of corn on the cob) for a total of $26.85. As you can see, it is a bit expensive to eat out. And this was a non-fancy restaurant. Anyway, I paid for the meal with my credit card and thought nothing more of it afterwards.

That was, until we got our credit card statement. Supposedly, we were charged $86.85 by Nando’s on the day we ate there. We couldn’t believe it. That’s a $60 difference! (Converted, that’s about 2,300 Pesos!) At the time, I didn’t have the receipt on hand so I couldn’t be one-hundred percent sure how much our meal was but I was very sure it wasn’t over 80 bucks!

I rang up our credit card’s bank to dispute the erroneous charge. I explained the situation to the customer support person over the phone. He told me that he could easily mark the charge as being disputed. It would cost me an additional $10 to do this, he said. Then, the bank will bring the matter up with Nando’s. If Nando’s could prove that the charge was all in order, then I wouldn’t get my $60 back and I would’ve lost $10 more for the attempted dispute. I would end up losing $70 instead of just $60! Of course, if Nando’s agreed that they were in the wrong, then I’d get my $60 back but I would’ve still lost the $10 for the dispute fee.

I wasn’t sure if I had thrown away the original receipt so I was afraid to proceed with the dispute. What if Nando’s said that I signed the credit card docket that had $86.85 on it? There was no way for me to contest that claim. So, I told the bank guy that I’d first look for the receipt and call back when we have it.

Raquel and I looked all over the house desperately hoping that the receipt was just stashed somewhere and not in a rubbish bin somewhere in the city. Luckily, Raquel found the receipt just on top of our coffee table. In fact, there were two receipts. There usually is when you pay by credit card. One is the official receipt that comes out of the cash register and another receipt that comes out of the credit card device (that also prints out a docket for the owner of the credit card to sign on).

The Nando’s receipt said we paid $26.85 for the meal. However, the credit card receipt said that I paid for $86.85! It’s basically a carbon copy of the receipt that I signed. I couldn’t believe that the amount on the cash register wasn’t the same as the amount on the credit card device. I thought those two devices were linked electronically!

Now we know better. Apparently, the cashier had to type in the amount twice and unluckily for us, she typed the amount in the credit card device incorrectly by pressing 8 instead of 2, 86.85 instead of 26.85. With this in mind, Raquel and I decided that disputing this with the bank wouldn’t be such a good idea. Nando’s could always claim that I did sign for the $86.85 charge, and they would be right.

In the end, we might have a better chance of getting our money back if we disputed this with the actual branch of Nando’s at Melbourne Central. Luckily, we work in the city so we could just easily go there during our lunch break.

One day during our lunch break, I went to the Nando’s where we ate. Nearing the place, I tried to muster up some anger so that I could visibly show my great displeasure to the manager while I explained to him our problem. In the end, I’m not that type of guy. I ended up explaining the matter with the manager very calmly.

I fully expected him to immediately refund the difference to my credit card right then and there. Instead, he photocopied my receipts and told me that he would consult their video footage to prove my claim. I couldn’t believe it (for the nth time!). But since I was in a rush to get back to my office, I just asked how long should I wait for a resolution. He told me that he would call me.

I went back to work not at all hopefull for a quick resolution. In fact, I was pretty sure I would have to call back the manager after one week just to follow up on my complaint. My officemates at work couldn’t believe the situation, too. Consult their video? How would that help? Did they take a photo of me so they could make a match? Why didn’t they just refund the money directly back to my credit card? It was the same credit card as on the receipt? One of them even suggested I raise the issue to Nando’s ombudsman (apparently, each company has one).

However, near the end of business hours of the same day, the Nando’s manager called. He told me how very sorry he was for all the inconvenience and told me that I could pick up the $60 at the store that afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast they looked into our problem. And not only would I get a refund, but I would get it in cash (as opposed to debitting the difference to my credit card).

When we got to Nando’s, the supervisor (the Manager went home for the day) profusely apologised to us for the inconvenience and handed us an envelope. Inside the envelope was the $60 in cash along with a few vouchers to upsize our side dishes and/or drinks plus a fridge magnet. That was nice of them.

I was frankly thinking of never eating there again. But since they handled this issue so quickly, I forgave them. The free vouchers certainly helped in soothing ruffled feathers. Bribes do work. 😉

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Published in: on March 28, 2008 at 9:38 pm  Comments (4)  

Unfinished Lenten Project

Now that Easter’s over, I’ve decided to currently suspend my personal project for the past Lent where I attempted to draw all the Stations of the Cross as a form of penance. That’s eight out of the fourteen Stations I’ve finished pencilling so far. I had intended to add in a bit of colouring and/or shading in Painter or Photoshop after I scanned the drawings on to my PC. Instead, I’ll just leave things where they are now and add the finishing touches to the eight drawings and complete the remaining Stations next Lent.

Meantime, you can look at what I’ve finished pencilling so far. Note that these are basically the basic drawings for the stations, lacking any additional effects (such as additional blood) which I intend to add later. Click on the thumbnails to zoom in.

Station 1 – Jesus Is Condemned to Death
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Station 2 – Jesus Carries His Cross
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Station 3 – Jesus Falls the First Time
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Station 4 – Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother
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Station 5 – Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
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Station 6 – Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
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Station 7 – Jesus Falls the Second Time
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Station 13 – Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross
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Meanwhile, I can go back to drawing other things. Raquel suggested I draw more fairy tale images and/or Filipino myth images. I’ll probably be doing those in the coming weeks. That is, if I don’t get distracted by my other hobbies.

Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Photoshop newbie

I used to think that Photoshop is a dirty word mainly because I believed that photographs should be representative of reality as much as possible with little alternation. I’m also wary of photographers who seem to be cavalier about their shooting technique only because they could fudge it in Photoshop later. Besides, what photographer would rather sit in front of a computer editing a photo when that time could be used shooting more photographs.

I’ve changed my stance however when I realised that a good photo could be improved greatly by a little editing in Photoshop. Besides, sometimes weather conditions just does not cooperate or there are times when a good photo could be ruined by wrong settings.

So after much to and fro-ing, I finally picked up some books on Photoshop and tried my hand on some photo editing. The first photo is the original picture while the one in the middle is the edited one. My favourite though is the last one, which reminds me of the A-ha’s Take on Me video way back when.

Published in: on March 26, 2008 at 10:03 pm  Comments (2)  

Fairytales and Fables

We’ve been planning to see the latest sand sculpture exhibit for some time now and the long weekend provided us with the opportunity to finally haul ourselves to Frankston. Frankston is a suburb about 1 hour and 45 minutes away from us so we had to plan the trip. The drive was uneventful and although the day was hot, it wasn’t exactly the sunny, clear day I had hoped it to be. Thus, some of the skies in our photos came out flat, with its lifeless white background. We were a bit disappointed that the castle shown in the brochures and other promotional material about the exhibit could not be found in the exhibit itself. However, we still enjoyed ourselves and had fun trying to identify fairy tale characters depicted in the sculptures.

Published in: on March 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm  Comments (3)  

Metropolis Magazine

Sometime last December, hubby received an email from someone who saw my Melbourne Alley photos in my old photo blog asking how she could contact me. I got in touch with the sender and she said that she is the photo editor of an architecture and urban design magazine in the US called Metropolis Magazine. She requested I submit bigger sizes of the photos she saw on my blog and said that they would be interested in using some of my images.

I was a bit skeptical at first but everything seems to check out so I sent her the images plus some new ones that I’ve reshot because I couldn’t find the originals of the other photos in the blog (D’oh, I should really think about archiving my photos!) I didn’t hear from her again until mid-January when I received an agreement document she wanted me to sign, giving them permission to use the images. I filled out the form and sent it back. A month and a half after and hadn’t heard a peep from her. Hmm… I guess they were just pulling my leg when they said I would get paid for the images. Regular visits to their website also didn’t yield much since they were still featuring the January issue up until early March. My images were supposed to be used in an article in the February issue.

During a lull at work, I checked their website last week and the featured magazine has changed to the February one. I quickly scanned the articles shown in the website and found the one I’ve been looking for. It was an article about alleyways around the world coming to life and becoming part of the urban landscape. The photo was attributed to me but had my internet handle as my surname. I quickly fired off an email to the photo editor asking for a correction and also enquiring on the whereabouts of the commission.

Surprisingly, I got an email back. The photo editor said that as the printed version has already ran, they could no longer correct it. She did change my surname on the website though. She also said that she never got the release form back and that they’d need it to forward my details to accounting. I thought that odd but resent the document anyway. She acknowledged receipt of the document this time but as of today, there’s no further word on the matter. I expect it’ll be a long time before I hear anything, if ever.

Oh well, at least I got to see my photos used somewhere and I’ve at least been credited. It’s not a spectacular result but it’s a start.

Published in: on March 6, 2008 at 1:15 pm  Comments (1)