Thursday 11 August 2022

Amazon marketplace - a bad experience (Update)

UPDATE 3  Money recieved into bank account.   This is the best I can reasonably expect.   TTC   (all taxes included) price quoted, TTC price paid.   Case closed.

UPDATE 2 V-KING got in touch and proposed a refund of the extra tax if I sent them a reciept.  I got one from the postman after a couple of days, and sent it to them along with a copy of the packet's label to prove it came from England.  This is done, and they have promised a refund.  This is probably as good a result as could be hoped.   But in future I might think about ordering off Amazon UK and getting the book sent to my sister.  £6.17 vs €15 is not an insignifcant price difference.

UPDATE: I got an unexpected phone call from Amazon customer service this lunchtime.  I explained what had happened and I was promised an email from the vendor, to arrive by Wednesday next week.  If I'm not satisfied I'm invited to claim a full refund under the Amazon A-Z guarantee.   This sounds like a company trying to do the best it can in response to a customer complaint.   I will keep you posted.

I have just had to pay 11 euro customs duty/tax on a book that cost slightly less that €15, that I bought on Amazon Marketplace.   I'm a bit sore about that.

The thing is, I have been surprised before by duty payable on things I have bought on Amazon, so this time I checked things out, and I thought I had made the right decision.  There was, at the time I ordered, and still is, I believe, no way that I could tell from where exactly the item was shipping from, so I checked the details of the supplier, and V-KING, who were noted as the supplier and shipper, had an address in France.  I made the mistake of imagining that this would mean that the item would ship from France.  Wrong.   And that the TTC (toutes taxes comprises) price quoted included everything I would have to pay.

I got Amazon to phone me.  That aspect of their customer service is good, and I got a call within a few seconds of having requested one.   After a careful explanation, I was promised an email, that, when I got it, explained, in essence, that their website is continually evolving in order to try new things to improve the customer experience, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Out of curiosity I went on, to see if it has the same problem.   No.   This item is available from different suppliers, and it is clearly stated, for each supplier, where the item will ship from.   I was interested to note that the book as sold by V-KING is claimed to ship from France.   Not when I ordered it, it didn't.

Also, the book on .uk was priced from £6.17   So I'm even more sore.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Making weights

This is about keeping a stack of wood dry in Winter.   You stack the wood up in a row, about 4 feet deep and 5 feet high, and as long as you like.   You cover it with a long tarpaulin, and the challenge is to make sure that the tarp stays on the wood and keeps it dry, during whatever storms and rains the weather might throw at it, and however much wood you take away to burn.

The tarp is wider than the stack of wood, so it has skirts that hang down on both sides.   We started by putting rocks on top of the tarp, but unless they are very heavy, the wind has no trouble lifting the skirts and flicking the rocks off.  There is another difficulty, in that when wood is removed from the heap, the tarp no longer fits snugly, so rain gets in unless you continually adjust things to take into account the wood you have removed.

I am trying a new solution, that is tying weights to the edges of the tarp to keep the skirts from lifting up, and to this end, I am making concrete weights.   After trying various techniques I have settled on what I think is an effective method.  For gîte customers, we sometimes buy fruit salad that comes in a plastic pot that is just the right size.   I make two opposite cuts in the sides from top to bottom.   This makes it possible to separate the pot from the concrete once it has set.  I use sticky tape to hold the two sides of the pot together while I fill it with concrete that I mix with water in the pot.  For the handle I bend iron rebar using a plumbing pipe bender, and I push the U-shaped bar into the concrete and let it set.

I use elastic cord and hooks to attach the weight to the tarp.  This gives flexibility in the arrangement of the wood, and the cord can be easily detatched to give access to the wood at any point.   We'll see if this cunning plan survives the Winter.   The Winter that is, apparently, coming.

Friday 5 August 2022

Red sky at night, shepherds take fright

 Red sunset and red light in the garden, just before last night's thunder storms.

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