Technology is a pain in the ass.
Today, we wanted to order a part for our toilet cassette as one of the seals had sprung a leak.
The internet is a wonderful tool to search for suppliers.
Click on the company name and up pops pictures, gizmos and options for browsing their stock and merchandise.
Then try desperately to find what you’re looking for, or worse, someone to speak to.
And thus the problems began.
In one instance, the email address we tried brought up an Insurance Company.
In another, the phone number was a fax machine (does anyone still use fax machines ???).
We’d purchased a reserve complete unit last year, but the telephone number for that company was now unobtainable, though their website was still active with the same telephone details.
We sent an email to a firm that looked promising having found the part number, and got an automated reply, with a reference number for our enquiry.
It was a start.
Their telephone number gave us nothing but advertisements for their products, then a ray of hope with ‘If you wish to talk to someone, go to the Chat Page on our website’.
We found said chat, and laughed.
Our options were to click on the image wished to chat about, nothing whatsoever indicated parts, spares or toilets, but caravans, holiday parks and camper vans Chat Rooms for owners’ experiences and recommendations.
We tried the phone number again, listened to their spiel and hallelujah, eventually got to a menu with ‘hold for a representative’ (mobile phone charges thus far £4.23).
Hubby spoke to a very pleasant young lady who checked the details he gave her, confirmed the part, what it was for and the price, and then spoilt the whole effect by saying they were out of stock with a four week delay from the manufacturer.
We then decided to go directly to the manufacturer. We had the paperwork from when the cassette was originally installed in the boat, and a variety of email addresses were on the back. We had to go for the one for ‘Europe’. No reply, no auto response, zilch.
After emptying the holding tank and cleaning it out, Hubby took a look.
The manual said that the seals had to be lubricated, so they were all meant to come apart, so there he was sitting on a towel on the bathroom floor surrounded by bits of plastic, elephant bum roll, tools, torch, bin, my small compact mirror and a new box of rubber gloves.
He soon got to the bottom of the problem.
A piece of disintegrated toilet paper had become wedged under the seal, and this was what was causing the seepage (I’ll point out here that the leak was only when the cassette was upright for transporting, so there was no problem in situ).
Hubby cleared the small blockage, took the whole thing up to the gents to ‘flush through’ with hot water, then put it all back together again on the boat.
Good news is that we didn’t need the spare part afterall, so in theory all that frustration this morning actually paid off and we saved ourselves about ten quid.