Empire Direct plc goes bang, flaw in company terms stops consumers getting refunds or goods

January 25th, 2009

Empire Direct plc recently went bust. OK, it’s the credit crunch, it’s happening everywhere. But what annoys me is the fact that their customers won’t be getting the goods they PAID for, or refunds. The reason they won’t get the goods is because their company sales terms state that the “ownership of goods stays with the company until delivery or collection”

What a load of con. The customer becomes the owner of the goods once payment has been made in full.

As for refunds, customers won’t be getting any, because as the administrator KPMG put it, “Customers money was paid into the company’s OVERDRAWN bank account”

These companies make me sick, trapping the consumers so they have no way out, yet the company keeps the goods AND money. People paying by credit card may be able to get money back from the credit card company, but that’s not fair in my opinion, why should the CC company pay for a stupid con company?

Here at Kitamura, our policy states that customers become the owner of goods purchased once payment to us is made in full, and if they don’t, any member of staff not adhering to this policy is breaking our company Oath. And if we KNOW we’re getting into financial trouble, we won’t continue trading.

THAT is how it’s supposed to be done. Our Sales Policy can be found in our Policies section on the new website once it is up, it’s a long read, but we clearly tell you your rights and position. We’re good like that.

New Equipment Check Policy unveiled

January 21st, 2009

Kitamura Computers has unveiled a new Pre Job Checklist for incoming work. This means we will check equipment upon acceptance of a quote, or during a diagnostic, for damage. This is to bring down the number of customers claiming we have damaged equipment when we bring it to their attention after the job is complete. Too many customers are trying to claim damages from us for damage they inflicted, and we will not tolerate it. Picture evidence will be obtained as well. This applies for on-site quotes, and workshop jobs.

We are an honest genuine company, we look after our customers and their equipment, and do not appreciate these fraudsters.

Fujitsu to acquire Siemens’ Stake in Fujitsu Siemens Computers

November 12th, 2008

On Nov 3 2008, shareholders announced that Fujitsu is to acquire Siemens’ 50% share in the joint venture Fujitsu Siemens Computers, effective April 1, 2009.

This means that the future of Fujitsu Siemens Computers is now secured and the company will offer its products and services within the global network of the Fujitsu Group. With the new sole shareholder, they will continue with their strategic development and transform more quickly and efficiently into the leading IT infrastructure provider.

In the course of the negotiations about the change in ownership structure there have also been some changes in the management of Fujitsu Siemens Computers. At a Board of Directors meeting on November 3, Kai Flore was appointed CEO and President of Fujitsu Siemens Computers, taking over the position from Bernd Bischoff.

Warranty support, sales, etc, are not believed to be affected.

Kitamura replaces OptiServ branding

November 11th, 2008

We’ve been forced to replace our OptiServ branding from our range of maintenance packages, due to an unforseen trademark problem. The name has already been trademarked. Legally, we can still use it, but if the owner requests we stop using it, and we don’t, we are liable for court action.

From January 2009, following the launch of our new website, we shall be rebranding to CompServ, and seeking trademark funding.

All customers who have contracts with us are unaffected, but will be alerted by post before Christmas. This will coincide with the packages expansion.

Tiscali looks to be taken over by BSkyB – Disaster Meets Tragedy!

November 11th, 2008

Tiscali has confirmed it has entered discussions with BSkyB to sell its UK business to the British satellite broadcaster. As if Sky wasn’t bad enough, they now want to buy one of the UK’s worst ISP’s! It goes from bad to worse!

The group, which is Italy’s number-three broadband operator by market share, has been trying to sell its British assets for months and BSkyB is understood to be the only bidder left since the withdrawal of Carphone Warehouse. Why is that no surprise?

Tiscali, which has about 1.84m broadband customers in the UK, is believed to be considering selling the business for about £450m. If BSkyB buys the business, it could become the third biggest player in the market behind BT and Virgin Media.

“Tiscali clarifies that it is currently holding talks with the BSkyB in relation to certain UK assets,” said the Italian firm, which has been up for sale since it launched a strategic review in February.

Other competitors understood to have walked away from the auction include Vodafone and BT.

If BSkyB, which is headed by Jeremy Darroch, goes ahead with the acquisition, it is set to become Britain’s third-largest broadband supplier with 3.6m customers, overtaking Carphone Warehouse and coming close to Virgin Media’s 3.8m customers. BSkyB has 1.79m broadband customers, with a large proportion of these on the Sky Broadband Basic 2mbps package.

Sky, don’t do it! They’re a bunch of schoolkids, and haven’t got the slightest idea what they’re doing. Why do you think Kitamura dropped out of our Reseller deal with them, earlier this year?

Company changes for 2009

November 3rd, 2008

This year has been a mixed bag for us. I personally have enjoyed it, with the recession, and everything, it has been a real test of my management skills as the Director, and i think we’ve done well. Over the past few months, i’ve seen small companies like us disappearing, and i’m glad we’re still here, and i think the main reason is that we’re so customer focused, and we have so many services under our belt. Diversification is the way forward, and the more you can provide your customers with, the more they’ll come back. We’ve had a massive period of downtime earlier this year, following Christmas 2008, we were idle for almost 4 months. Things have improved, and we’re doing well.

This is going to continue into 2009, we’re going to get stronger. I have a number of proposed changes that will be rolled out gradually over the year. They include:

1. Corporate Advertising

This is going to be the biggest area we’re focusing on. This will include new designed leaflets, a wider distribution area, and the aid of a 3rd party company and volunteers. Over the first 4 months of 2009, i’m hoping to spend around £2,000 on local advertising. This is a 50% increase over 2008.

2. Web 2.0 Website

We’re in beta stages of developing a new website. It will be smoother, more professional, and will put information at your fingertips, to make bringing our services to you even easier. We had a lot of downtime this year, and have taken stringent steps to ensure this never happens again, and if it does, to spot early signs.

3. Kitamura OptiServ package changes

We’ll be improving on our main USP, our OptiServ packages, and have the following changes planned:

  • To introduce a special package for our elderly computer users. Pricing will be announced, we still have management discussions yet to complete.
  • To introduce a pilot OptiServ Business package, for small businesses, of up to 10 computers.
  • Introduce an OptiServ Education package, for local schools. Elms Bank Specialist College is right at Kitamura’s doorstep in Whitefield, we plan to surprise them with our proposals. All staff at KC will then be required to undertake a CRB check, and be vetted. Pricing still to be announced.
  • Our Residential OptiServ packages will have their prices reviewed. We may have to increase prices during 2009, but we will eat as much cost as we can to still keep them affordable.

4. Introduce an online shop

We plan to open an online shop in 2009, to re-sell laptops, and any stock we can sell online. We regularly buy damaged repairable goods, and i think this will be a good opportunity to expand our salvage part of the business, selling the goods we’ve repaired. We mainly use eBay, and a company shop will be useful to reach people who don’t use eBay.

There will be more changes, following management meetings. All our plans have to be seriously considered!

More soon!

Weblog updated, strange characters appearing in posts

November 1st, 2008

We’ve updated WordPress, and have noticed since the database update that strange characters are appearing in existing posts. We’re workng to fix it, feel free to alert us to any posts that need attention.

Kitamura to introduce consumer electronics repair

October 31st, 2008

To further enhance our service to customers, i am proud to announce that we will be introducing a consumer electronics repair sector into Kitamura. This is something i’ve really enjoyed since being a kid, and will involve the following:

  • Camcorder Repairs (VHS, VHS-C, Super VHS, 8mm, Hi8, DV (Digital Video) & DVD Camcorders
  • VCR Repairs (All makes and models, slot and top loaders)
  • DVD Player/Recorder Repairs (All makes)
  • HiFi Repairs
  • DJ Equipment Repair (Disco equipment, amps, smoke machines etc)

With the current trend of all mechanical equipment being phased out, i’ve noticed many repairers are refusing to even look at the equipment. Not me! I love a bit of mechanical tinkering. I can often get parts cheaper than many repairers, due to me having a big stock of parts from many years of tinkering.

The quotation system will be the same as our computer sector, £10 for a 48hr diagnostic, and then a quote over the telephone or in person. If you accept my quote, i drop the diagnostic charge and only charge for the parts and labour.

Comments are welcome!

Newsletter system downtime

October 29th, 2008

We apologize for the recent issues with the newsletter system. It was sending up to 50 newsletters to each customer, due to a coding error. Our in house programmer KasSoft fixed it early yesterday afternoon, shortly after the error was discovered. Things should now be back to normal.

Kitamura drops Tiscali Reseller deal

October 25th, 2008

Kitamura recently pulled out of its Reseller deal with Tiscali, due to poor customer takeup and poor customer satisfaction on Tiscali’s part. They have scored 3rd Worst ISP in recent months. Take this comment from one of our customers, Lucy, who we set up a Tiscali connection. This poor girl was waiting weeks, and we were with her all the way, phoning, waiting, and being fobbed off:

“It took them 4 weeks to set-up my internet broadband connection. I have been using broadband for 3 years and never came across such a poor ISP provider so far. There speed is nil for me, even if I have 2mb connection. Connection drops every ten min and in peak hours, I can hardly browse. My advice is.. just stay away from them. Service and speed is getting worse. Kitamura have been great, it’s a shame they don’t do broadband, it’d be perfect!”

Even myself as the Director of Kitamura am cheesed off. While we set up connections they took forever to sort out simple problems as many of the staff had little or no common sense. What seemed simple to me was turned into a merry-go-round of phonecalls to different numbers that are all re-directed to the same department! All I can say is AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!

I’m glad we’ve dropped them, that’s for sure. We’re looking into a replacement. All Tiscali branding is going to be removed from our site shortly.