Thursday, April 05, 2007

A message from Amazon to Wales

On the same weekend that I received the good news that Amazon is bringing 1,200 jobs to Wales (is there any sense in giving £9 million 'grant' to a company that made between $370 and $510 million profit?), I was sent back a cheque from the company with the following (very polite) message:
Dear Customer,

Please find enclosed your cheque for £22.93 as the words are written in Welsh. Sorry to ask but could you please amend and return to us so we may proceed with your order, as the bank may not be able to read it.

Kind regards
Billing Dept.
A very odd and old fashioned attitude I must say. I've been posting cheques in Welsh to BT for years without any problems. I've e-mailed my local AM (Rhodri Morgan), Alun Pugh and Andrew Davies ac well as the company itself, which has responded, just to confirm that yes, cheques have to be in English only. Not a very good way to endear themselves to the Welsh public!

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Blogger Mark Leslie Woods said...

I'm assuming Amazon employees in Wales will have to comply with the Welsh language laws -- are they sufficient to compel the customer service people located in Wales to also offer y'n helpu Cymraeg? (assuming also, that there will be customer service types in the Welsh location . . . )

I might point out that Amazon does not yet have a portal in Italian, which has a lot more speaker than Welsh, so we might be a long way down the line, for them.

4/05/2007 12:05 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

The 1993 Welsh Language Act doesn't apply to the private sector, so no, even if they had customer service staff in the new location (which I don't think the plan to), they wouldn't have to offer a Welsh service.

Again, there's no obligation on them to accept my cheque in Welsh, but the Welsh Language Board have an agreement with all major banks to accept them. As an internet company they operate in Wales, so it's just courtesy to accept cheques in Welsh IMHO.

4/05/2007 12:23 pm  
Blogger Peter Black said...

knI worked in a bank 20 plus years ago during the summer holidays when I was a student in Birkenhead and they were happy to process cheques in Welsh. I thought that everybody dealt with such cheques.

4/05/2007 1:22 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

So did I, it's 2007 for goodness sake. This is the annoying thing about trying to receive the slightest service in Welsh, you think you've reached somewhere where, for example Welsh cheques are accepted, and then you find you're back to square one.

Do you think there's much point in me sending them a CHEQUEMate?

I'm quite annoyed with them.

4/05/2007 2:30 pm  
Blogger Nic Dafis said...

Hmm, thought I posted a comment here yesterday. Must be getting too old for the blogging lark. I can't even *find* the comments box on your Welsh blog.

Anyway, yesterday I was all for giving Amazon the benefit of the doubt, but their response shows that this is more than one ignoramus in the accounts dept.

My letter writing fingers are itchin', boy. Tell me who to shoot.

4/10/2007 8:35 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

You can put your letter writing finger back in it's holster Nic (for now) as Amazon have decided to settle out of court ;-)

4/13/2007 12:22 pm  

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