Hastings Direct Customer Services Fail

Now I’m sure lots of people deal with Hastings Direct Customer Services and are totally happy. Their prices are cheap, so there’s every reason to give them a try. Actually, in the first instance – buying car insurance from them online, I was happy… barring an error in the start date of my policy. However, from that point forward I had the most ridiculous experience with Hastings Direct Customer Services – details below:

1) I Purchased an insurance policy online
2) I Realised it started a week after I needed it
3) I Rang to make the necessary changes

I had hoped it would be simple, but then was told I’d have to start a new policy and cancel the old one, so was put through to someone in sales. The new policy quote was nearly £100 more expensive than the one I had bought 5 minutes earlier online. So, I said I’d cancel the old one and

try again online.

I then spoke to someone in the cancellations team, cancelled the policy, which cost me £25; for a policy which hadn’t even started yet, and had only been opened up 15 minutes previously. That would be an £876,000 per year premium going by the per minute cost of having my policy with Hastings.

I sent them a grumpy David-Mitchell-style email stating: “Next step small claims court, because I refuse to have the piss taken out of me in this manner. I’ve now gone elsewhere for my insurance, and I genuinely feel I have a grievance against you (I made sure I avoided all your sister companies/trading styles too). If your customer service agent had taken the time, and been flexible with this ridiculous sting of a cancellation charge then I probably would have stuck with Hastings… but alas, script reading and insincerity was taken to a new level by the final customer service agent I spoke to.”

In the end, they did refund my £25 cancellation fee, but what a palaver. There ends my Hastings Direct Customer Services Fail tale.

How to do everything and be happy

self help and personal development book how to do everything and be happy by Peter JonesHow to do everything and be happy is a great book by a very nice man called Peter Jones (no, not the Dragon – an easier going, smilier type). It’s not one of the big hitters of the self help & personal development genre, and I’m sure Peter would be fairly happy for me to say that. In fact, Peter’s own write up of the book states:

Every now and then a self-help book comes along that questions the very nature of happiness, shakes the very foundation of all the things you hold dear, and forces you to reconsider every assumption you’ve ever made. This isn’t one of those books.

How to Do Everything and Be Happy is a book for ordinary people. With ordinary lives. It’s for people who have been ambling along and wondering why they’re not – well – just that little bit happier. It’s a book for most people. It’s a book for you.

And do you know what? It’s a bloody gem! I came across it quite by chance while scrolling through the new personal development titles section on the Audible mobile store, and thought it looked like a nice addition to my (now slightly overwhelming) personal development audio library.

Peter reads the book and is instantly charming through his very easy-to-listen-to voice and “cheeky chappy” accent. He relates personal experiences, and those of friends of his, that quickly and effectively make you feel like it could be you he’s talking about.

The essential themes of the book are as follows:

  1. Make time for yourself, and for doing what you want
  2. Know what it is that you want for yourself
  3. Take the necessary actions to get there
But it’s so pleasantly written, and easy going that you start making progress on these steps from the very first 30 minutes of the book. Peter is clearly a calendar/diary obsessive, and puts forward a strong case for the use of diaries. So close that I am now using a diary consistently having not managed to use one consistently… well… ever! There are no painfully challenging pieces of self discovery to go through, and no tough concepts to try to get your teeth into. Just simple, clear advice about how to get what you want out of life and make progress.
Because it’s not too over the top, and not too in depth, it’s a good read. So good that I read/listened to it 6 times in the first two weeks. Not because I needed to, but because I wanted to.I could have left it at one read, but I really wanted to get familiar with the material and there’s just something about Peter’s reading of the book that makes it a thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial experience. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone from a self-help novice, to a personal development guru. You WILL get something out of it. Some might see it as a little lightweight, but that’s really not fair when you look at the way the book is approached, and how much you can get out of it without feeling overwhelmed by new techniques and strange exercises and visualisations like you might find in a weighty Tony Robbins tome!
You can buy the How to do everything and be happy on Audible and visit the How to do everything and be happy website here. Peter also wrote a very nice blog post about me entitled The Wisdom of Jamie Anderson about my Facebook cover image – I’ll expand on that soon.
So, please buy the book and give it a try! Thank you Peter Jones for an excellent, thoroughly enjoyable, and very useful “happiness manual”.