So, writing snide letters to incompetent organisations is a pretty base form of entertainment, but unlike some other forms of entertainment it sometimes improves my life. Of course, it would be nice to get a response with some fire in it, rather than simple bland corporateness like,
Mr. C M Lightfoot,
Dear Mr. Lightfoot,
Thank you for your letter addressed to our Chairman. Mr. Sanderson has asked me to investigate the reasons why you have received mail from BUPA, which is clearly addressed to another person at a different address with a different postcode in Cambridge.
I am sorry that this has occurred, as I am sure that it must have been extremely annoying for you. My enquiries with the Royal Mail were cut short, however, when I learned that Mr. Lightfoot, the BUPA member, has now moved hundreds of miles from Cambridge. Therefore, I am hopeful that the Royal Mail will not be able to continue incorrectly delivering his mail to you.
On the other hand, please do not hesitate to contact me if you experience any further problems regarding this matter.
With regard to your ambition to have health insurance, I would suggest that you research the market thoroughly in order to obtain the best possible cover at the lowest possible price. I wish you well in your search.
(signed, one of the BUPA directors' staff)
There are several things to say here:
- Isn't it nice how the Royal Mail is suddenly to blame? The letters from BUPA were addressed to me, at an address where I do receive mail. (Not my home address, from which I wrote, which may have confused matters.) The problem is at BUPA's end, and my guess is that they believe that first and middle initial, surname and maybe some other identifying information (birth day, perhaps?) which I happen to share with this other C W Lightfoot are sufficient information to form a primary key in their database. The assumption is wrong, and the result is that letters go astray. The idea that the Royal Mail is accidentally delivering letters addressed to Leamington Spa to me in Cambridge is, frankly, ridiculous; and anyway, the bill I sent to BUPA had my address on it, not the Leamington Spa address of the `other' C W Lightfoot.
- Note how this letter is misaddressed to C M Lightfoot. Hopefully this is just a typo, and I won't now be in BUPA's database again and get mail for a fictional member of my, um, extended family.
- The advice about how to buy health insurance was pretty unhelpful. As it happens, when I last looked into this, BUPA did offer the best value, in some sense. But they, and other health insurers, don't publish information about how often they fuck up, either bureaucratically or medically. This is information I would like to take into account before I give them any money.
- It's not necessarily reasonable to expect the recipient of the letter reacting to it in the spirit in which it was sent; while I might imagine Bryan Sanderson CBE sitting in a big armchair surrounded by clouds of fine cigar smoke saying `go' and they goeth, and `come' and they cometh, and `stop sending these damn'd letters to this chap in Cambridge', and they stoppeth, and so forth, what of course takes place is that my enraged letter is deposited on some poor apparatchik who no doubt believes themselves too busy to respond in good humour. Oh well....
That said, the demands for money may stop in any case; I haven't had any for a while, and BUPA might even have been provoked by my letter into investigating which letters are sent where. And I doubt there's much point writing again unless they fuck up some more (though I need to clear up the point about credit ratings...).