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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I'd share with you a recent miserable experience I had with Chargemaster/Polar which gives you a fair idea of the 'quality' of the company. Here's the email I sent them after my misadventure:

Dear Chargemaster,

As you know, last night you kindly remote-controlled the EV charger at Seacourt Park & Ride for me, so that I could charge my Nissan Leaf while I visited Oxford. It was unfortunate that my existing RFID card is no longer valid and no replacement was issued. Anyway, when I returned (as discussed) at 10.30pm I was unable to unlock the cable because of my defunct RFID card. I was also unable to contact customer services to get them to do it for me. I called seven times, between 10.30pm and 11.44pm and each time just went through to an answering machine. I left (increasingly irate) messages each time, including my mobile number. You have to understand that it was literally freezing at that time, zero degrees. In the end, I felt I had no alternative but to give up, abandon the cable, retire to a nearby hotel and try again in the morning. I was not prepared to drive all the way home to the Cotswolds and leave £500 worth of Type 2 cable lying around in the hope that your company would retrieve it and return it to me.

This morning, I returned early to the Park&Ride, called the customer service number again and … amazingly still got no answer. Finally, your engineer Mark called me back at about 7.40am and unlocked the cable remotely.


So, attached is the invoice for the hotel and the call logs. I stayed in a Travelodge to minimise expense. I also had to pay a second parking fee of £2.00 to retrieve the cable. Please therefore send me a cheque ASAP for £81.00 to cover my expenses caused by your company’s inability to operate a 24 hour customer support line as promised by your website, app, etc. As you can imagine this was a very disagreeable and annoying experience.

Regards,

They called yesterday and left a message. I called back this morning. They (surprise, surprise) admitted it was their fault, said they'd disciplined the engineer (naughty boy!) but declined to cover my expenses as they claim they, of course, would have 'immediately' despatched an engineer to retrieve my cable and then have returned it to me (at, presumably, far greater time and expense than just sending me a cheque for my miserable hotel room.)

Hmmm ... can you imagine me calling them the next day asking them to retrieve my cable and return it to me? It would either be a no, or cost me more than the cable.

But then again, what did I expect? This is evidently a cynical and small-minded company which has presumably made quite a tidy income until now from soaking up government grants by installing unsuitable EV chargers in (often) unmarked bays and then failing to maintain them, or offering 'free' home chargers to people who don't even have EVs ... well, good luck to them trying to charge EV owners for their 'service.'

I take consolation in the thought that cynical business practices and dubious business models do sometimes (sadly, only sometimes) lead to failure. For example, see their inability to list on AIM in 2013 (unable to find investors who agreed with their valuation). Hopefully, once there are no more low-hanging and ill-advised government grants to be picked off and exploited, they will founder and make room for more genuine market participants, such as Ecotricity.

Finally, a word of warning, if you plan on relying on a Chargemaster/Polar EV charging post, then maybe you'd better carry a cold chisel and a hammer with you to make sure you can get your cable back.

Eugene the disgruntled
 

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Sorry to hear of your troubles but it is no surprise to most people here. Chargemaster/POLAR has behaved like this right from the very start and I can't see them changing.

I will not use POLAR/Chargemaster except in a dire emergency and only when my only other course of action is a flat bed truck.

Glad you got it sorted :)
 

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@Eugene Lambert my advice is modify the Type 2 connector so that it can be pulled out if necessary. It takes 10 minutes with a dremel and has saved me grief in London countless times.
Does that mean that anyone (if tried) can remove your cable from the post?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Eugene Lambert my advice is modify the Type 2 connector so that it can be pulled out if necessary. It takes 10 minutes with a dremel and has saved me grief in London countless times.
Yes, I think you're right. Any chance of a picture (worth a thousand words) of the mod? I can guess how, but ...

Does that mean that anyone (if tried) can remove your cable from the post?
Yes, but you can lock the cable at the car end, and how likely is this to happen. Not very, in my opinion, and by far the lesser evil.
 

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I'd go through a small claims court to get your £81 back.

Compare and contrast Ecotricity. I took their man's advice after multiple rapid charge failures in March and ended up in a god-awful multistorey car park in Ilford with an empty battery at 10.30pm and at least a 5-hour wait for the car to charge. Their on-line guy,after a bit of pressure from me it must be said, obtained authority for me to get a taxt to Maidstone (£85-ish) and retrieve my car the following morning. Total cost £108 (parking £7-ish, train fare £16-ish) and their cheque arrived almost by return of post.

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome is your friend. It would cost them more to defend the case than it is worth.
 

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Yes totally agree, a small claims court and a nice email to OLEV wouldn't do any harm
Agreed ^And write to discharge master with a letter headed " Letter before Action " detailing what you want back for their incompetence and deceit as outlined in copy of email!:D

Demand your data and all call information under a "Subject Access request." (Data protection act) They must send it in 40 days minimum, if not...

Keep a copy of the request ad letter and have it ready for the ombudsman as they will reimburse you and force CM to pay albeit after about 6 months!

Have won 3 out of 3 cases with insurance companies with this approach:).
GBEV v RBS, Direct Line and Lloyds.:)

Amazing what working on gliders and powered aircraft teaches you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, thanks to everybody for the advice. The (satisfactory) end to this story is that I wrote Chargemaster a letter pointing out their folly and advising them that unless they settled my reasonable expenses I would be taking them to Small Claims Court. I gave them two weeks to respond before I started my action (it's all done online as Wowbagger pointed out https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome and cost-effective). And, lo and behold, I received the following communication from them yesterday, with cheque.

chargemaster.compensation.redacted.jpg


Do I think Chargemaster now see the error of their ways? Oh, I doubt it. They knocked back my email/verbal request for compensation and presumably only settled after I threatened court action, presumably after consulting their oily lawyers. Hopefully the cheque won't bounce.

If anyone in a similar situation would like to see the letter I sent them, then get in touch!

A small victory for EV drivers ...

Eugene
 

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Well done on getting them to do the right thing.
 

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there is a hole, an actuator pushes a pin into the hole.
cut away the thin strip that leads to the hole so that it can slide in the newly cut channel.
or cut the entire end of the plug off , but you only need to cut away the thin strip
 

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there is a hole, an actuator pushes a pin into the hole.
cut away the thin strip that leads to the hole so that it can slide in the newly cut channel.
or cut the entire end of the plug off , but you only need to cut away the thin strip
Yes thanks I have now done the job. Cutting end off seems a bit extreme. I suspect Eugene may actually have been using a brick. When a polar locks one of them in you are a bit stuck. A short plug and socket that could be sacrificed in extremis would be one solution. A crowbar would be criminal damage I imagine.

PS re-reading his post I see it was type2.
 

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Yes thanks I have now done the job. Cutting end off seems a bit extreme. I suspect Eugene may actually have been using a brick. When a polar locks one of them in you are a bit stuck. A short plug and socket that could be sacrificed in extremis would be one solution. A crowbar would be criminal damage I imagine.

PS re-reading his post I see it was type2.
I've had Chargemaster posts crash on me several times. When using the brick, I've found that you can pull hard and force the magnetic door open to release your cable.
 
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