Complaint to Shell fuels

Complaint to Shell fuels

Dear Shell,

Your attendant refused to switch the pump on for me last night at your Northfield, Birmingham forecourt.

I ride a motorcycle, and have spent 17 years filling up whilst sat on the bike, so that I can safely see what I’m doing and fill the tank to the maximum safe level.

The attendant said that she was new, and had been told not to allow bikers to fill unless they dismount. I got back on my bike and rode off to fill up at the next available forecourt, with no issues.

I stayed calm and polite, despite the humiliation of having your staff member gesturing wildly at me (I thought she might be signalling “Intentional Grounding” but then realised she wasn’t an American Football referee) for a while, before I had to walk into the shop to enquire what the issue was.

I can only think of two possible reasons why I may have been refused:

  • Theft. Shell assumes all bikers are thieves who will run off with the small amount of petrol a bike can hold. Apparently the 2 seconds it takes to get back on a bike makes a major difference to this?
  • Safety. After 17 years of filling up without turning into a fireball, admittedly this COULD be the one time I set myself on fire somehow. Again, I’m not sure what major difference there is when it takes me less than 1 second (note this is quicker than getting on the bike) to dismount whilst my leathers and helmet are engulfed in a chemical blaze. Please also note that the ‘safety’ option makes even less sense when you consider that after I’ve filled my tank to the brim, I will then be climbing on top of it, resting my torso on the tank, and starting the engine in a series of controlled explosions to power me away from the Shell forecourt.

Could you explain why this is, if this is even policy?

Also, what can you do to compensate me so that I feel welcome using your fuels (and I will always pick Shell over the competition) in the future?

Yours faithfully,

Nasty Evil Ninja


Complaint Letter to Letting Agency

Complaint Letter to Letting Agency

We rent our property at an extortionate price from a letting agency.

It’s an old house, and the actual Landlord lives hundreds of miles away, and can only be contacted by the letting agency when it suits both of them.

The joys of this have involved the house being rewired after it was found all the downstairs electrics were wired directly into the shower system in the bathroom, numerous leaks, the garage door spring snapping (resulting in a very effective guillotine we had to get vehicles past for 4 weeks), and holes left in the walls from ‘repairs’ for a year or so etc etc etc.

Every few months, the Letting Agency (let’s call them ‘Simply Useless’, to protect the guilty) come to the house for an ‘inspection’.  We give them a long list of faults and repairs which they add to the previous list of faults and repairs we gave them, and then they do absolutely bugger-all about anything. 

On Monday evening we returned from work to find a letter from Simply Useless telling us that our gardens were overgrown, they have told the Landlord, and we must (as per our tenancy agreement) ‘maintain the gardens to a suitable standard’.  We must do this immediately, inform them, and they will report back to the Landlord.

This made us both Um Plenty Big Angry.  especially as due to heavy rain most days interspersed with sunshine, every garden in our street has gone through an amazing growth spurt.  The only people in the street who have managed to fit in garden work are those who are retired or unemployed – including us, who both work to pay the extortionate rent.

With this in mind, I started typing like I was playing Whack-A-Mole:


Ms Tell-Tale Twit (made-up name)

c/o Simply Useless





08 July 2013


Your reference: xxx/xx


Dear Ms Tell-Tale Twit (made-up name),

Thank you for your recent letter of 05 July 2013.

In this letter, you advised that our garden was ‘very overgrown’ on a recent property visit.

I am pleased to inform you that, approximately 7 weeks after the garden was last tended to, the mass of moss, weeds and general plants sometimes described as ‘grass’ were mown and hedges trimmed to specification on Saturday 06 July 2013.  Sadly, as your letter is dated the day before, you did not have the opportunity to admire this transformation prior to sending your letter.

I apologise for this tardiness, but we cannot be held responsible for erratic weather conditions and life events preventing any garden work taking place.  There was a documentable growth spurt between my first cut of the year and your inspection, interspersed by periods of heavy rainfall meaning using electrical appliances was unsafe.

I trust that this resolves the matter.

I am, however, glad that the landlord responded to this contact with yourselves quickly, as we have jobs that Simply Useless are responsible for which date back almost 3 years.

On the first day we moved in, having been attracted by the large garage, we found the garage chock-full of useless junk from old bicycles to cupboards to a fine selection of spider-infested crockery.  After finally pleading with you to do something, all this ‘property’ was shoved up one side of the garage and into the shed.  We were told that “the Landlady was going to arrange for her friend to sort through this stuff”, lest she wanted to keep any before she would arrange to have this taken to the skip.  I’d like to state again that this was almost 3 years ago.  We are still storing all of this junk.  THREE YEARS later.  No ‘friend’ has shown up.

About a year ago (that’s 365 days, I haven’t mistyped this), following several leaks that took Simply Useless weeks to sort out, it was found that the bathroom floorboards were rotten and needed replacing.  It was agreed that this would be replaced and, indeed, a whole new bathroom suite was also agreed to be fitted.  A contractor came to have a look and take measurements, and I believe he submitted his quotation for the work to Simply Useless during the last Winter.  Admittedly, this is not 1 year or 3 years overdue as per the last two requests that you have failed to act upon, but considering you are writing letters and speaking to Landlords about jobs that are a couple of weeks overdue, I feel it only fair that I point out the time scale involved.

Then there is the leaking tap, that is so old I’m considering registering it as a natural spring, and going into competition with nearby Malvern who also have a similarly leaking tap in their high street (I do not know who the Letting Agent is responsible for the Malvern leak).  Similarly, a quote for a replacement of this kitchen tap was submitted by a contractor to Simply Useless months ago.  That’s months – not an exaggeration.

Recently, after only a few weeks worth of emails to Simply Useless, you did gratefully send out a contractor to ‘fix’ the collapsed drain cover at the rear of the property.  They took off the rotten and collapsed drain cover and laid this on the ground next to the now open drain.  I was under the assumption that this was temporary, but a month or so later it is still lay next to an open drain.  Could you clarify if you will be supplying a replacement drain cover, or taking the old one away at all?

Please note that due to this open drain, the grass cuttings from my recent garden tending will undoubtedly block the drain up.

As part of our tenancy agreement, you are required to address these matters, and have so far failed to do so.

Please also note that due to the unique way Simply Useless appear to be incapable of much in the way of customer service to their paying customers, there are many smaller jobs that we have raised at your ‘property visits’ which are still outstanding.  There are no doubt others that I have forgotten about in despair.

We are also still awaiting a supposed cheque payment from the Landlord for the shower which we paid for out of our own personal money, because Simply Useless did not bother to fix or even acknowledge this issue for a month or two, despite multiple complaints in writing from us, as the paying tenants.  We have been awaiting this cheque now for over two months.  If this is not forthcoming we shall assume our previous agreement is acceptable and deduct the amount from this months rent.  Please advise if this is acceptable to you.

I would suggest that you raise these concerns with the Landlord, and perhaps list every item from previous property inspections and supply us with a copy of this list, along with their current status and what you have done to ensure the work is being progressed.

I would also ask that you supply us with details of how to raise any concerns with your regulatory body or ombudsman.  I would further like to note when we enquired about your complaints procedure previously, we were told “there isn’t one”, but have now noticed in the footer of your letter that you do appear to be regulated for your business.

In light of this, I would also request that you reply to this in writing for our records.

I look forward greatly to your next property inspection, and trust you will have completed all outstanding work before your next visit, so we can be sure everyone is fulfilling their parts of the agreement.


Yours sincerely,


Nasty Evil Ninja & Partner

(sent by email and post)

Complaint To Aldi: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Complaint To Aldi: BBQ Chicken Pizza

In these modern times of technology, even the multi-national store chains have had to embrace social media and networking sites.

It must be hard for them to manage, because inevitably, members of the public will log on to Facebook, go to their main page, and make a complaint about their product or service for all to see.

Being no stranger to having to write letters of complaint myself, I decided to give this process a go myself, and see what happened…

Aldi Pizza Complaint

Here is the wording, if you can’t read the picture:

Dear Aldi,
Please see the picture below of your BBQ Chicken pizza.

As the box claims, this has “20% more topping than the leading brand”.

Now count the five (honestly, some are hard to see, but there are FIVE) tiny chunks of chicken that can be found on the pizza.  Granted, the green pepper content is pretty good – but I didn’t buy a ‘green pepper BBQ pizza’.

Please could you identify what the ‘leading brand’ is, so that I can avoid the heart-wrenching despair of opening a pizza to only discover FOUR tiny pieces of chicken, and realise that if I cut my pizza into 8 slices, half of the ‘BBQ chicken’ pizza won’t, in fact, have any chicken content at all?

To help you in these troubling times, I would be more than willing to have the chicken content of all ‘chicken’ pizzas topped up (no pun intended) with horsemeat.

Yours sincerely,


And the picture, taken on my mobile only moments before:

Aldi Pizza

But wait!  15 minutes later, things got worse for this poor little NastyEvilNinja:

Dear Aldi,
In a sickening twist, and due to me cooking the pizza directly on the oven shelf, I have to inform you that one of the pieces of chicken close to the edge has fallen off as the pizza sagged during cooking.
I would have recovered this from the gunk at the bottom of the oven, but alas, it was too far gone…
At least it’s still equal to this ‘leading brand’, though…

Well, it’s Friday night, and they’re not going to beat Morrison’s emailed lettuce complaint response time – but let’s see what they can do…

Filtering Accident – Insurance Claim Template Letter

Filtering Accident – Insurance Claim Template Letter

For anyone who rides a motorcycle, there will almost inevitably come the time when you’re picking yourself up off the road whilst a car driver utters the words “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you.”

If you regularly filter through traffic (or ‘lane-split’ to you Yanks) as you SHOULD be doing on a bike you’ll have seen that many car drivers do stupid random things even when stuck in traffic.

In my case, it was a car suddenly deciding to do a u-turn directly in front of me…

I remember seeing him pull out very quickly, then I hit the brakes… and then I was sliding down the road on my back.

Of course, the driver claimed he was merely pulling into a farm driveway and so both insurance companies involved insisted it was a 50:50 blame case.

I disagreed, and despite my own insurance company telling me for two years that I couldn’t hope to get more than a 50:50 decision so should settle at that, I carried on fighting, and believe that the following letter was the only thing that won my case completely in my favour.  Some of you may find it useful in whole or in part, so feel free to adapt it and send it in to be forwarded to the other party if you find yourself in a similar insurance dispute.


Ref- xxxxxx

Date Of Incident – xxxxxx

Date of letter –  xxxxxxx

Dear Mr Solicitor-Man,

Further to our previous conversations I feel it may make matters clearer by reference to the Highway Code. I shall compare my road position and manoeuvre with that of the other driver. You will see it is abundantly clear that I was doing nothing wrong and that the driver is entirely to blame.

My Circumstances

I was slowly overtaking a stationary line of traffic, and had already passed at least ten other stationary vehicles in the line.

I refer you to rule 88 of the Highway Code in the section “Rules for Motorcyclists” which reads as follows:

88: Manoeuvring. You should be aware of what is behind and to the sides before manoeuvring. Look behind you; use mirrors if they are fitted. When in traffic queues look out for pedestrians crossing between vehicles and vehicles emerging from junctions or changing lanes. Position yourself so that drivers in front can see you in their mirrors. Additionally, when filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed low.

Remember: Observation – Signal – Manoeuvre

A number of important points arise from this rule.

1. Note the use of the word WHEN as emphasised in the rule. It does not say “Do not overtake traffic queues” (or words to that effect), or suggest that it is an inappropriate course of action to take. It is clearly not a prohibitive instruction (see for example rule 74 which give prohibitive instructions). This clearly envisages that motorcyclists may, in the normal course of riding, overtake traffic queues.

2. I had already checked my mirrors and glanced behind to make sure nothing was overtaking the traffic queue already.

3. It was only the fact that I was progressing relatively slowly, in order to check for pedestrians who may be crossing between the vehicles making the accident much less serious than it would otherwise have been.

Before I move on, it is probably worth referring to the General rules for motorcyclists set out in rules 83 to 88. Again, I have reproduced these below.

83: On all journeys, the rider and pillion passenger on a motorcycle, scooter or moped MUST wear a protective helmet. This does not apply to a follower of the Sikh religion while wearing a turban. Helmets MUST comply with the Regulations and they MUST be fastened securely. Riders and passengers of motor tricycles and quadricycles, also called quadbikes, should also wear a protective helmet. Before each journey check that your helmet visor is clean and in good condition.
[Laws RTA 1988 sects 16 & 17 & MC(PH)R as amended reg 4]

84: It is also advisable to wear eye protectors, which MUST comply with the Regulations. Scratched or poorly fitting eye protectors can limit your view when riding, particularly in bright sunshine and the hours of darkness. Consider wearing ear protection. Strong boots, gloves and suitable clothing may help to protect you if you are involved in a collision.
[Laws RTA sect 18 & MC(EP)R as amended reg 4]

86: Daylight riding. Make yourself as visible as possible from the side as well as the front and rear. You could wear a light or brightly coloured helmet and fluorescent clothing or strips. Dipped headlights, even in good daylight, may also make you more conspicuous. However, be aware that other vehicle drivers may still not have seen you, or judged your distance or speed correctly, especially at junctions.

You will note that:

1. I had complied with rule 83 by wearing protective clothing, which again helped reduce the seriousness of the accident.

2. I had complied with rule 86 by using dipped headlights. I always ride with dipped headlights as it is considered good practice and safer to do so.

Accordingly, the only conclusion which may be drawn from the above is that I was riding my motorcycle safely and as envisaged by the Highway Code. I cannot, therefore, be to blame in any way for the accident.

Mr Xs Circumstances

I now turn to Mr Xs driving manoeuvre.

I shall compare his manoeuvre to two fairly similar manoeuvres; setting off from rest as he was stationary and making a right turn.

Setting Off From Rest

This is governed by rule 159 of the General Rules for Using the Road. This is reproduced below:

159: Before moving off you should

  • use all mirrors to check the road is clear
  • look round to check the blind spots (the areas you are unable to see in the mirrors)
  • signal if necessary before moving out
  • look round for a final check
  • Move off only when it is safe to do so.

It is quite clear that Mr X failed to undertake all, or more likely any, of the requirements given that the point of impact was the sill of the drivers door.

Turning Right

This is governed by rule 179 of the Road Junction section for Using the Road. This is reproduced below:

The first point to note, however, is that Mr X was not turning right as I approached. He was stationary in a queue of traffic tailing back from a roundabout. Clearly, Mr X does not have the patience to wait for traffic to flow so decided to pull out quickly and aggressively – also stating at the scene when asked if he had seen my headlight that he had not.

Again, however, the emphasis of the first two requirements is on observation and signalling. As set out above, Mr X failed these on both counts.

In addition to this, Mr X’s place of work on this day is approximately one mile in his original direction of travel, with any alternatives from the location of the accident being many times this distance.  I do not believe he had any reason, as he claims, to have been turning right into the private driveway of the farm, other than impatience at being made late for work by the stationary traffic on his direct route, and his sole intention was to perform a u-turn and travel back in the opposite direction.

Accordingly, the only verdict which can be reached from the above analysis of Mr Xs manoeuvre is that it was undertaken without sufficient care and attention to myself and other road users.


Mr X was stationary and I took all reasonable care to overtake a stationary vehicle. I checked before doing so, no right indicator on the car, no mirror checks carried out by Mr X, no wheel turns to indicate movement, and the car remained stationary so I proceeded to overtake.

Mr Xs lack of patience to wait in a queue to move clearly made him decide to take a different route. The issue here is he pulled out without mirror checks or signals, demonstrating that he was driving without due care and attention.  The fact that other road users in the same queue of traffic had observed my approach is clearly indicative that he was not concentrating on what was going on around him.

Mr X cannot be excused for not making the proper checks – what if I were a pedestrian or pedal cyclist? More substantial injuries could have been caused by his inattention.

The relatively superficial damage to both the car of Mr X, and that sustained to my vehicle as reported by the appointed engineer support that my speed was low enough to demonstrate that I was exercising a high duty of care in my riding, and was unable to avoid the situation caused by Mr X.

As shown above, I have followed the road rules clearly and exactly and am in no way responsible for this accident. If Mr X had made all the checks required as shown above or been paying attention he would have been aware of my presence and not moved until I had passed, in which case this accident would not have occurred.

I trust this is sufficient to pass to his insurers.