In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: customer service Page 1 of 12

RBC is there

I was surprised to receive an e‑mail message from the Royal Bank of Canada today. I’ve received a number of messages from my bank and financial services company that are similar. With COVID-19 here, things are really screwed up, and they’re pleased to offer help if I need it. They’ll allow me to defer payments, skip payments, help me maintain my credit score, or even waive certain fees!

That’s nice of them. Above and beyond really, because I haven’t been a customer of theirs in eleven years! I have no accounts or investments of any sort with RBC. The last e‑mail message I received from them was in 2009, so given the current spam regulations, they’re way out of compliance.

I could report their asses, but you know what? They’re not worth my time.

In my experience, the Royal Bank always had such difficulty in just treating their customers as people. Kind of a deal-breaker to me.

Class act, Sync!

I like Dropbox and all that it does. Even without sharing folders with others, it’s a ridiculously handy application. My only issues with it is the ongoing cost up upgrading to a paid plan, and the fact that the company holds the decryption keys so they can easily look at your data. I’m sure they do as I’ve heard of file sharing groups being busted. I have used encrypted containers for some information, but that increases the complexity of sharing files immensely.

I signed up with Sync because they promise significant security that Dropbox does not. In a nutshell:

Sync’s unique, zero-knowledge storage platform guarantees your privacy by providing end-to-end encryption, and only you have access to the keys.

They offer 5 GB for free, which is the most common free amount among these services. I made almost no use of the service however as inertia kept me using Dropbox and I have more space available on Dropbox earned through referrals. I happened to read the Sync blog and noted that they started allowing upgrade payments using bitcoin. It just so happens that I had 0.71084043 BTC and I had no idea what to do with it. Sync fixed that problem nicely. So for 0.096292 BTC, I have 500 GB for the next year. In regular money, that’s $49.

So far it’s as trouble-free and solid as Dropbox ever way, and it suffers from the same curse that all utilities do: you hardly notice it until something goes wrong! Suffice to say that it’s been entirely trouble-free so far and I haven’t given it a thought until today when I received an envelope in the mail from Sync. I was curious what they might want as I thought our transaction was complete. I opened the envelope and found this surprise:

How’s that for nice? A thank you card signed by the staff! This is about as personal a thank you as one can get from a company, and it’s by far the nicest one I’ve received. Given how customer service works at most companies, this gesture is tremendously noteworthy and makes me very well disposed toward the company.

If you’d like to give Sync a try, click here to go to their page and choose “Free signup” in the upper right corner. Using this link, you and I both will get an extra gigabyte added to our free space allotment. We both win!

While this is not a real review, consider it my recommendation of Sync because of my trouble-free experience and their obvious pro-customer attitude.

Bell: Their people can’t stay away

Bell is all about the hard sell lately. Remember a few weeks back a nice young woman from Bell came to my door? Well, another just did the same thing. I’m not nearly so taken with the experience despite the caller having a Mila Kunis thing going on. The reason is that I posted a note on the door a few weeks ago, clearly stating that the occupants are not interested in any solicitors, religious or otherwise.

Yet, the young woman still rang the bell, and the first words out of her mouth were, “I’m really not that bad, I promise.” She needs a lesson in professional behaviour, clearly. That’s hardly a good opener when seeking to establish a business relationship. The next thing she said, was that she was from Bell, while brandishing a laminated card on a lanyard. I immediately said that I wasn’t interested and closed the door. Leave me alone, I’m trying to watch The Lost Boys!

I realize that I was a little to hasty. I should have asked why she would ring when I clearly made my feelings about it known. Does she really think that ignoring my stated wishes would convince me to be a customer? I’d love to hear her answer.

If Bell thinks they can outsource rude door-to-door sales and claim that it’s not their staff who are going this, they clearly have no regard for their customers.

Oh yea, what am I thinking? It’s Bell we’re talking about. We already know this. They repeatedly demonstrate their utter lack of regard for everyone, customer or not.

Hyperion Records

I wrote to Hyperion Records today. I’ve meant to do this for a very long time:

From: Rick Pali <>
Subject: Customer feedback
Date: May 29, 2015 at 2:18:40 PM EDT

I just wanted to write to tell you that I enjoy not only the music you offer to the public, but your customer service. Good service is so incredibly rare that I have to comment on it.

For example, with record companies locking down everything in sight, you still offer PDF downloads of CD booklets for all of your releases from your site. One doesn’t even have to register! I really appreciate being able to look at the booklet before buying, and if I choose to buy the CD, I can rip it and download the booklet to appear alongside the files.

I also appreciate your archive service. That you offer downloads of out-of-print titles, or you will burn me a CD‑R copy for a reasonable price, is something that speaks very highly of your being willing to treat your customers as you’d wish to be treated in their place.

I’ve never used the archive service, but I appreciate your taking an extra step to make it available. I take advantage of the booklet downloads all the time.

The music is the main reason, but these extra services put you a step above. Thank you!


See? I don’t write to companies only when things go wrong. It’s just unfortunate that things so seldom go right. When they do however, I believe it’s important to say so.

Hyperion logo courtesy of Hyperion Records Limited

Alarmforce closure

You’ll recall that I wrote about my letter to Alarmforce to tell the CEO of my six-month adventure in pursuit of a $25 referral credit, and again after the CEO called me to discuss the problem.

Just before Christmas my mother received an envelope in the mail from Alarmforce. It was a Christmas card with Christmas wishes, an apology for the problem we experienced, and a $10 Tim Hortons gift card. I thought it a nice gesture because whether he did it himself or had someone else do it, it took thought and effort.

Yesterday, I checked my credit card statement and found the monthly Alarmforce charge, and it did indeed include the $25 credit. Thank goodness.

I’m very pleased to put this issue behind me.

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