Saturday, 6 October 2018
It's been one of those turbulent times recently where lots of problems associated with driving instruction all seem to come at once. A high turnover of new pupils owing to loads of tests going out in the same week. Car damage due to pupils reversing the car into a trolley corral in the supermarket and most shockingly the driving school website going down owing to it being hacked.
It's my first experience of being hacked though I have had my driving school website spammed many times. My website seemed to be accruing fake URLs which went from my website to a page about Viagra or Casinos or some other such thing. They never really effected anything so I had a word with a web developer guy and just redirected them to my site's home page. This time though the site went down totally.
I must give a shout out to the nice people at GoDaddy who managed to get my site back up and running after nearly a week. It took a good few hours back and forth on the phone but now we are back in business. I've dropped to the 2nd page on Google search but hopefully I will be back on the front page soon. Phone calls did definitely drop off during the down time. Was it because it coincided with the students just getting back to university or does a website help to sell lessons? I have been a bit sceptical about the effectiveness of websites recently with most enquiries coming from Google my Business. It surely can't help consumer confidence when they click the website button and are presented with a blank screen though. Probably better to have a site than not.
So why would anyone want to hack a lowly driving instructor's website? one thing hackers do is make a copy of your website and then destroy yours a bit at a time. When it has completely gone you receive an email from them offering to sell you the site files for a price. If it came down to it I would just redesign the site on the same domain and link it all up again. No way would I give in and pay some hacker for my own stuff. Another reason is to access any online payment data to get into people's bank accounts. If you are taking payments through a website you need top notch web security which can be expensive. As payments can be made using the banks over the phone I don't see the need for this function on a website. Not for a small one person business.
So anyway we are back up and running online. I'll now be taking online security more seriously and have got a firewall installed to prevent further interference. The rear lights of my car will be fixed next week. My diary should settle down and everything running smooth again soon. You need the difficult times to appreciate the good times. Yes indeed.
Tuesday, 5 June 2018
Hooray for the Financial Ombudsman. The dodgy car salesmen have been beaten.
A couple of years ago I was taken advantage of by unscrupulous car sales people who sold me a car on a PCP. They withheld important information from me the most important of which was the mileage limitations on the contract. Turns out I would be 30000 miles over the limit at the end of the contract with a whopping bill to pay. Only after I had switched the dual controls from my old car into the new car was the information placed before me just before closing time at the dealership. Too late for me to do anything without putting myself out of work. I had written about this at the time as I was very angry about it. I made a complaint to the financial ombudsman about financial misconduct and was fortunate to have enough evidence to support my case.
A couple of years later and I am pleased to say that the management has changed at the dealership with a much more professional crew steering the ship. I went in there a few months back and managed to get in touch with the branch manager who took my complaint seriously and we began talking. I had all the excess mileage charges waived and dual controls fitted to the new car free of charge which saved me over £2000. The new PCP contract seems to make sense so I'm now back on track. Apart from a dodgy sensor which occasionally tells me the rear tyre is going down when it isn't the new car is fantastic. This will be my 5th Skoda Fabia in a row. All has ended well.
On a totally different note there must be driving instructors out there who receive the odd crank call now and again as I have done recently. I get some guy ringing up at all hours of the night just saying my name over and over again. Spooky voicemails greet me in the morning. I blocked the number but the voicemails still come through now and again which is a bit strange. Some person texted recently asking for driving lessons and when I couldn't fit him in immediately he started messaging me asking if I was from Grindr and using acronyms I didn't understand. Another number blocked from my phone. Hazards of having your phone number publicly available I suppose.
Anyway with some luck the time of problem solving is over and it's time to enjoy another busy hard working summer. We can go out on the motorway now which should be fun. All the best to driving instructors and learners out there. Just keep rolling along.