jamesh2651

James H.

5
Level 5 Contributor
United Kingdom

Contributor Level

Total Points
5,810

About Me

Just an Irish lad, trying to give people some insight as to my experiences. I just write about experiences I've had my life. If it's good, I'll tell you. If it's bad, I'll give you all the specifics I have along with the where's, why's and how's. I'm big on customer service. If your business makes it impossible or difficult to contact customer service, then you don't deserve my money and won't get it.

How I Can Help

Ask me. If you read one of my reviews and you have a question, just ask. Ex military photographer, computer repairs (no, not a component swapper. I do logic board repairs, etc.), certified network engineer, and a German car mechanic for ten years.

Interests

Computers... mostly what I do. I repair mostly Macs. Logic board repairs Apple says can't be fixed

54 Reviews by James

118 Views
6/16/22

B&M had a good idea. A store that has all the little items in one place, at fair prices... for the most part.
The ones in SW England are AWFUL! Let's start with the queues. More often than not, I walk in the store, see the massive queue at the single open till, then simply turn around and leave. These queues are literally the length of a store aisle. 20-25 people waiting at any given time of day. My time is much more valuable than saving 15p on an item. Where is all the staff? Walk around the store and you'll usually see them chatting with each other or playing on their mobile phones.
Brands... they have many brands, such as Blaupunkt and Eveready, but I seriously doubt they are genuine. For example, Blaupunkt is a German company and the products are made in Germany. B&M has many appliances with the Blaupunkt name on them... but they are made in CHINA. Fake.
If you don't mind standing in queue for 30 minutes to save 15p on a bottle of body wash, then by all means, have at it. As for me, I'll drive down to Tesco, be in and out before you even get half way to the till.

Products used:
I didn't purchase any products, as I wasn't about to wait in a queue for 30 minutes to purchase one item.

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4/19/22
Verified purchase

I've been using Cryptorefills for a couple of months and i am pleased with the service. I have loads of crypto and I use this site to send gifts to friends all over. For example, I use it to send load (mobile phone refills) to friends in the Philippines. I like to hear from them and if they have airtime, they will call me! It's not just for the Philippines... it works all over the world with different offers for different countries... You can send a cup of coffee to a friend in Germany or some Xbox credits to someone in Poland. It's a really cool way to send gifts from your crypto... and the exchange rate is excellent. You also earn cryptorefill points towards gifts. I use it quite often.

Tip for consumers:
Just sign up...use the service and start building your rewards.

4/19/22

I used Bitrefill for a few months. The exchange rate was good and I could send gift cards to friends in other countries. I was building a load of reward points by using the service. Then one day I couldn't log on. I contacted the staff and they wanted me to provide a few details so they could prove I was the account holder. I answered all of their questions... then NOTHING. They stopped replying. I had a large amount of redeemable points for my purchases and I didn't want to lose them. Apparently they WANTED me to lose them. They stopped replyimng to my emails and the thousands of points I had collected from buying their products were gone. My advice is don't bother with this company. They are based in California and it seems they are a scam. Since I don't live in California or the USA for that matter, they simply deleted my account and I lost all my points

Tip for consumers:
Simply avoid this site. They don't honour their offers and they will remove access to your account once you achieve enough points for their "rewards." It's a SCAM! I will, however, concede their offers are very competitive. The service they provide exchanging crypto for services is very good.

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Value
4/19/22

I recently signed up for this site just to see if they offered any real deals... a few hours later I get an email saying I am banned for Spamming? I have NEVER posted a single thing on this site, yet I have been banned and my account closed for "spamming". Don't waste your time. There are much better deal sites out there. Avoid this one!

Tip for consumers:
Avoid.... it seems they take your email address so THEY can spam YOU!

Products used:
I didn't use any products... I was banned 2 hours after joining for "spamming" having NEVER made a single post... with absolutely no further explanation.

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Quality
4/17/22

I have tried iD mobile now for a few months. Here's my conclusions...

ID operates on the Three network. The service has been okay and I haven't had any data or speed problems. Everything seems to work as it should. The coverage is not bad and I've only found a couple of places where there is no service. Pricing is good and you get better offers the longer you stay with them.

The annoyances... I make loads of international calls. Every time I make an international call, I get a text message saying international calls aren't included in my plan. After making hundreds of international calls, I think it's safe to say I don't need to be reminded every time like a five year old child. Needless to say, there is no way to turn this "feature" off.
Customer service is basically non existent. There is no one to call if you have a problem. They only have an online chat, which is useless. Sometimes you'll wait for hours before someone bothers to answer you. There is NOTHING that can replace a live person with whom to speak if there is a problem... like the insulting text messages every time I make an international call.
My thoughts? If you don't need any customer service, then this is the mobile service for you. As for me, if you can't provide even basic customer service, then you don't want my money and you won't get it.

Tip for consumers:
Prices are good, service is good, customer service doesn't exist. If you have a problem, then good luck sorting it.

Products used:
I purchased a SIM only deal for £10 a month. it includes unlimited UK calls and texts with 30GB of data. Unused data rolls over to the following month.

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3/12/22
• Updated review

So I had a problem with my keyboard. One of the key caps had broken and I needed a replacement. I looked online and Tongfang, the manufacturer of the laptop, had the replacement key cap for £2 including shipping. The only problem is shipping would take almost a month. I contacted PCSpecialists to see if I could obtain a replacement key cap any sooner. They absolutely refused. They would ONLY sell me a complete keyboard, which was the entire top of the laptop, plus the labour to fit it. Needless to say I declined and ordered the cap from the manufacturer. Next laptop purchase will be from a reputable company such as MSI. No more "custom" rubbish because there is no service after the sale.

Tip for consumers:
Don't bother with PCSpecialists... the deals might sound great, but there is no real service after the sale.

Products used:
I purchased the necessary replacement parts directly from the manufacturer in Taiwan.

Service
Value
Shipping
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Good computers, so-so customer service.
12/6/20
• Previous review

I purchased a gaming laptop from PC Specialist. The laptop is excellent as it is manufactured by a Taiwanese company called TongFang. TongFang have made laptops for well known companies such as MSI. They also sell laptops by Clevo, whom also manufactures laptops for larger companies. I haven't had any problems with my laptop. It has top shelf parts and a mechanical keyboard which is rare in a laptop these days. The only issue I have with the company is support. A BIOS upgrade was recommended to take advantage of new features and stability. BIOS is firmware that is updated through a special software program and the image of the new BIOS you want to install. I asked them if I could get a copy of the latest BIOS for my laptop. They flat out refused. They told me I would need to send them my laptop and they would update the BIOS... for a fee, plus the shipping both ways. I ended up getting the BIOS from the original manufacturer and flashed it myself for free. All they needed to do was send me a copy of the BIOS firmware image. No, they wanted to do it so they could get more money from me. I guess next time I'll buy from CyberPower. Same exact computers, just a different nameplate.

768 Views
3/12/22

I've been a customer of HSBC for a while. Customer service has gone from okay, to bad, to non existent. When will they stop using covid as an excuse for bad service? Covid is gone, but wait times to contact customer service is just getting longer. I asked a simple question on the chat "service" in their phone app... 43 minutes and NO REPLY! I called them and waited on hold for 36 minutes... never spoke to anyone but a useless computer AI. I'm finished. No more HSBC. I'll find a bank that actually places a little more value on their customers. Don't waste your time with this bank. They want your money, but don't provide you with even the most rudimentary customer service. The stupid guides they provide online are absolutely NO substitute for a human being. Those who call customer service usually have a unique problem that requires human intervention. HSBC denies you that human contact.

Tip for consumers:
Don't bother. HSBC is not worth the time or the problems.

Products used:
No, I didn't post a photo, because my banking details will NEVER be posted on the internet. I'm finished with HSBC. Other banks offer superior customer service where HSBC provides NONE!

3/12/22

I've been watching Sky News Australia for years. Don't confuse them with other agencies located in EU and UK. Sky delivers the news. Just the news. They don't broadcast an opinion and call it "news" like the rest of the lame stream media. They actually report facts and let YOU form your own opinion. They don't take pictures and videos from five years ago, broadcast them and say they are currently happening like USA, UK and EU propaganda outlets.

2/20/22

Disqus is fine, if you're left wing and woke. If not, they will censor anything you post if it goes against their left agenda. I believe everyone should have an equal say, left and right. No one should be censored for their feelings or beliefs. If you're going to post on Disqus, then you might as well post on Facebook and Twitter... they all censor any type of conservatism.

Tip for consumers:
If you're conservative or middle of the road, don't waste your time. If you're left or far left, this service is for you... like Google, Fakebook, and Twitter. Go for it.

Products used:
I didn't... I cancelled my account.

Service
12/9/21
Verified purchase

I purchased bitcoin using my Coinomi wallet. They use Simplex for purchases. For £50 I received £38 in bitcoin. Complete Ripoff. For £50 I received £48 on crypto.com. Big difference. In short, don't use Simplex for any cryptocurrency transactions.

Tip for consumers:
My tip? Don’t bother, unless you like losing money. Shop around for other services.

Service
Value
11/6/21

If you are seeking or have a room to let, avoid this one. They regularly advertise rooms to let on SpareRoom in SW England. The problem is, they won't show you the room! They expect you to sign a contract based on the pictures they provide you. They claim covid is the reason they can't show the room, but government restrictions for covid have been gone for months. Besides, if you're going to rent a room in a shared house, everyone in the house will be exposed to you anyway. Think of it this way, would you sign a contract to buy a car, never having seen in person with no test drive? I have requested to see several rooms, but they've always refused me "due to covid restrictions." If your business requires you to meet with people and you constantly make excuses to avoid meeting, then you're in the wrong business.

Tip for consumers:
Avoid... unless you're comfortable with signing a six month lease without ever having seen the property.

2.9K Views
10/25/21

I've had a free account with ProtonMail for years. Not particularly for the security features, but for the same reason I refuse to feed Google so they can read my emails and extract advertising data. Up until recently, I thought ProtonMail was fairy secure and private. However, they recently agreed to spy on an activist for the Swiss government. At the government's demands, ProtonMail logged a french activist's IP address and gave it to the authorities. You can read about it here... https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/06/protonmail-logged-ip-address-of-french-activist-after-order-by-swiss-authorities/

Tip for consumers:
Good for everyday security and when you don't want Google reading your mail. If you're a subversive or an activist, you might want to rethink your email provider

Products used:
I still use my ProtonMail free account, however I am more wary about the security breach now.

Service
Value
Quality
410 Views
10/9/21

I tried Lebara for a month, just to evaluate the service. Like every other MVNO that uses Vodaphone's network, the data is throttled. Lebara is particularly slow. The most I could ever get was 10 megabits per second. In contrast, when I switch to the other SIM in my phone, I get around 100 megabits per second. That SIM is on the Three network. Lebara has ZERO customer service. There is no one you can call if you have a problem. I send several emails and not one was answered. I'm big on customer service and to not even get a canned response to my email is reason enough to dump the company and move on.

Tip for consumers:
Don't was your time and money. Customer service is non existent and the service is the worst I have ever used.

Products used:
I used the SIM only service for one month.

Service
Value
Quality
8/8/21

I've used giffgaff in the past. The coverage was good, but everything else suffered to an extent. Calls were okay, when you could make one. There were times I had 4 bars signal on my phone, but couldn't make a call. Same with data... full bars and the slowest speed I have ever seen on a network. Imagine using google maps on your phone for satnav and the map stops updating. You have full bars, but literally a blank map screen! It's hit and miss. From what I hear, O2, the operator that carries giffgaff, throttles data and calls to all other network operators that use their network. It's a very inexpensive network, but what good is being inexpensive when you can't even make a call?

Tip for consumers:
Go with a service that doesn't use O2. O2 throttles data and phone calls. Apparently their network doesn't have the capacity to handle all of the subscribers. NEVER port your number without trying the service first. Get the SIM, activate it and test the service with whatever number they give you. If it's acceptable, then port your number. It's much more difficult to port your number, then have to port it back if the service isn't good.

Products used:
I used giffgaff for about three months. It was frustrating and annoying to have full signal, but no connection half of the time

6/30/21

Just be aware that anything you read on the DailyMail is censored. Even comments that are 100% verifiable and accurate are removed if they don't meet their agenda of misinformation and scare tactics. Steer clear and get your news elsewhere

Tip for consumers:
My tips? Don't! They are a waste of time and effort. Controlled by the government, they feed you whatever the government wants.

5/7/21
Verified purchase

I've ordered food using Just Eat several times. There hasn't been any real issues with the service itself, but the lack of any real customer service department makes me go elsewhere. I'm all about customer service. If you want my business, then you better have someone on hand if I have a problem or a question. This chat online rubbish doesn't suffice.
I've been reading about how people get shoddy orders or they order a gift card and never receive it, then Just Eat refuses to refund their money. The solution is simple. Use PayPal to pay. If something isn't right, open a case with PayPal and you'll get your money back. Just be sure to document everything. Example, take a pic of the bad food or mishandled delivery. Send screenshots of replies from the company. Upload all of this to PayPal if you have to open a case and you'll get your refund. Works 99% of the time.

Tip for consumers:
Always pay with PayPal. Just Eat is known for not refunding money when you get a substandard product or your delivery never arrives. Most of the time the deliveries make it just fine and the food is okay. Just in case, pay with PayPal. This way if there is a problem, you can get your money back. The customer service is abysmal and they often ignore your request for a refund, thinking there's nothing you can do about it... well, there is. It's called PayPal.

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5/4/21

Let's get something out of the way... SpareRoom are NOT here to help you find a room. They are here to rent rooms advertised by paying customers. Now with that, lets move forward.
SpareRoom isn't a bad site, it's a site where YOU need to be careful. Remember, these people are trying to get your signature on a lease. May adverts have dated pictures or pictures of rooms that are not the one for rent. If the pictures look too good to be true, then they were probably taken right after a remodel and don't reflect the actual condition of the room now. ALWAYS go and look in person or ask for a virtual tour (using Zoom or Facetime) so you an see the current condition. Never send money without looking in one of these ways first.
The search feature lacks a few things. For example, when you save a search, it won't store the sort order of your search. They want to feed you rooms from their regular paying customers. Also, you can't exclude postcodes. For example, there is an area near me that is ALL student housing. If you're not a student and you don't want to be kept awake all night, then you'll want to avoid this area. It mainly falls within a certain postcode.(first three digits). Now, you can search that postcode by itself, but you can't exclude it from broader searches. I find it a waste of my time as this post code comprises most of the search results. Even when you exclude student housing, you'll still get the majority of your results from this area.
The mobile app is even worse, because you can't specify "bills included" or "furnished" in your search. I hate finding a really nice place only to discover bills are an extra £200 a month and it's completely unfurnished.
The site isn't all bad. You can at least look to see what is available. I recommend ringing them on the phone rather than sending a message. At least if a person answers, the advert is probably real and not a scam.
Most of all, just use common sense. If an advert sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn't.

Tip for consumers:
Take note that this site will nag you to upgrade your account for £20. You won't be able to reply to many of the new adverts for 7-10 days if you don't... and if those adverts a still around after 10 days, they probably aren't worth your time.

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5/4/21
• Updated review

So I get an email from Deliveroo stating they are increasing their service charge from a flat 49p per order to 5% of the order total. In my opinion, 49p is way too much for the shoddy "customer service" they provide and now they want more? Stick with the places that offer their own delivery service and avoid Deliveroo. They aren't worth your time.

Not bad, but needs improvement in customer service.
4/8/21
• Previous review

I've used Deliveroo several times and the service has been very good. The drivers are normally quick and the food delivered hot. I do take issue with the customer service end of the business. The customer service people do the absolute minimum to address problems. I mean MINIMUM. I tried to report an error on one of the restaurant's menus where you were forced to choose a "sauce" even if you wanted it plain. If you didn't choose a sauce, you couldn't order the item. I received a reply a couple of days later stating they would correct the problem... that was over three weeks ago and the problem still exists. Luckily the restaurant has their own website and they offer a choice of no sauce. So when I order form that restaurant, I skip Deliveroo and do it from the restaurant's website... Sorry Deliveroo, you lose.

Tip for consumers:
Beware of glitches on the website. If it's not working properly or you feel something is missing, then check to see if the restaurant has it's own website or is listed on Just Eat. If Deliveroo doesn't care enough to fix it's problems, then take your business and money elsewhere.

664 Views
4/28/21

Proton VPN is owned by ProtonMail, a secure email service that offers encrypted email. Proton has been around for many years and their secure email is very good. The VPN is safe, secure and centred around privacy. Proton VPN is the only VPN that offers a real and secure VPN absolutely free. The free version isn't really limited but only has three locations available from the thousands that are available to paying customers. Those three locations are usually loaded to near capacity, so you won't get super speeds them. Also the three free locations don't unblock geo-restricted content all the time. It's touch and go. Getting ProtonVPN is free and anonymous. Just get a free ProtonMail email address and you get the VPN for free. You can pay for an upgraded VPN and have access to more locations and servers. Crypto currency is accepted for even more privacy. Take note, ProtonVPN is a bit pricey for what you get. I recommend paying with crypto currency as there is no conversion fee. If you live in the UK, your money will need to be converted to USD or Euros. Either way, you'll pay a fee for the currency conversion. Both PayPal and your Bank will charge you a fee AND take a percentage of the conversion.
No, i don't have proof of purchase. How would I get proof of purchase for something that's free?

Tip for consumers:
Get a ProtonMail account and email address. You only need the free one. Then use it to get free ProtonVPN. Simple!

Products used:
I use the free version of ProtonVPN as it serves my needs.

705 Views
4/28/21
Verified purchase

I joined Smarty a little over a year ago and it was a decent upgrade from GiffGaff. Smarty uses the three network. The signal is is okay and I always had good data speeds. Coverage could be a little better, but what would you expect for £10 a month with unlimited voice, text, and 30gb of data.
The bad is customer service is poor at best. They are great for making excuses instead of fixing the actual problem. The most recent problem is the straw that broke the camel's back, as it were...
Smarty doesn't allow you to send text messages to "short code" addresses. A short code is a 5 or 6 digit number instead of a full mobile number. Here's the problem... A new law requires services like PayPal to text you if a purchase is made that is over £30. The text asks you if you made the purchase and you are required to answer yes or no, or the purchase is cancelled. The text comes from a short code address, 62226. Smarty won't allow you to reply. No matter what you do, the response text will not go through. I purchased a laptop on eBay using PayPal. Because I couldn't respond to PayPal's text message, the sale was cancelled. The seller was a bit upset and was reluctant to let me change the payment method. I finally talked him into it and used Apple Pay on my work iPhone to complete the sale. I can respond to short code messages on my work phone as it is on EE.
I sent a message to customer service, as there is no way to call them, asking why I couldn't respond to PayPal. I received a load of apologies and their assurance that Smarty is working hard to implement short code text messages on their system. Rubbish! I did some searching on the web and found people who have been complaining about this for over a year, always getting the same basic reply... "it's coming very soon."
Finally Smarty blocks what they refer to as "adult content." It's not necessarily adult content, but anything they think you shouldn't access... like VPN sites, for example. The ONLY way to turn this off is to submit a credit card, in your name, to prove you are "of proper age." I am over 40 years old and I don't own a credit card anymore. I destroyed all of them and their scheme to keep you forever in debt. Smarty claims this is the ONLY way to remove the content lock from your data. I offered to send them a picture of me holding my ID, showing my age. They refused... another reason for leaving.

Tip for consumers:
Before choosing your mobile carrier, do your research. Choose a carrier with a good reputation for customer service, even if it costs a little extra. You'll be thankful you did in the long run.

Products used:
I signed up for the £10 plan originally. After about a year, I became tired of the non existent customer service and their lies. The inability to respond to PayPal text messages (short code messages) is what finally did it for me and two days later I ported my number out to a different mobile carrier. Bye Smarty. I won't miss you.

Service
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Quality

James Has Earned 40 Votes

James H.'s review of ExpressVPN earned a Very Helpful vote

James H.'s review of Halfords earned a Very Helpful vote

James H.'s review of Amazon UK earned 2 Very Helpful votes

James H.'s review of eBay UK earned a Very Helpful vote

James H.'s review of DailyMail UK earned 3 Very Helpful votes

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James H.'s review of Smarty earned a Very Helpful vote

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James H.'s review of Trustpilot earned 12 Very Helpful votes

James H.'s review of CherryBlossoms earned 3 Very Helpful votes

James H.'s review of ProPrivacy earned 3 Very Helpful votes

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