Is it just me....

....or do others feel disappointed over how poorly the supposed modern technology works in some spheres in this country (UK) ? I am thinking in particular of Caller ID and Royal Mail Tracking. When I call people overseas they can instantly see my number but no matter who calls me from abroad, all I see is "International". It turns out BT's exchanges are (deliberately or not) incapable of passing on the overseas caller's number - nothing to do with ex-directory, which is a British obsession. Foreigners are likely to list their mobiles with their landline and even e-mail addresses in some cases..

As for Royal Mail Tracking, all you ever see online is that they have received the item and that it is being processed to overseas - you know that from the moment you hand it over to them at the local post office. Why is it that these (and probably other services too) are so far behind in this country ?

On the first I have no solution, but on the latter I sometimes resort to contacting the postal service in the destination country and they can take my UK refrerence and link me to their tracking which shows everything up to and including delivery.
21:53 Tue 22nd Mar 2011
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Point 1 (BT) fair comment, caller ID works internationally with mobiles in this country so there is no excuse for BT lines not to support it by now.

Point " (tracking)... to be fair tracking beyond parcel forces own network is dependent on the foreign parcel service and there are not so many international standards in the freight industry as there are in the telecoms industry.
My caller ID and 1471 give my last number that called as 056255.....what's that?
Can't find anything definite, Crafty...
Cheers Chuck I'll keep ignoring it................
No worries .............................................

(Is this some sort if ellipsis contest?) :)
-- answer removed --
Interesting. I had no idea that the international network could finally pass caller ID. Shows how many international calls I get !
Hi, i've been waiting for a letter my sister sent which was to be signed for since 23rd of last month. When I go to Royal Mail Tracking all I get is it is being progressed through our network for delivery. My sister contacted them, told them that it contained gift vouchers and that she had reciept for them and all they say is send in a complaint form but she won't get compensation for the vouchers. So much for thinking that a signed for letter would fare any better than just putting it straight into the post box.
Question Author
Shedman, this is precisely what I am on about - of course the item is on its way as soon as you hand it over (tell me something I don't know). I cannot accept that this is called tracking - if it is then ALL mail is trackable.
"or do others feel disappointed over how poorly the supposed modern technology works in some spheres"

Actually, if you think about it, it applies to lots of things (not just in the UK). Two examples spring to mind:

Average life of record-player: 20 years
Average life of CD player: 3-4 years

Reception of Analog TV in bad weather or poor location: Degraded but watchable
Reception of Digital TV ditto: Non-existent.
Question Author
Old Geezer, if you are outside the UK (including most/all the places people here tend to see as more backward than the UK) then you can see an international caller's number on your display - but not if you are in the UK.

Rojash, your concept is considerably wider than what I was thinking of in the first instance, but nevertheless I would not think the examples you mention are any worse in the UK than anywhere else in the world (mine was the notion that the UK is backward in the cases I have in mind).

Just to moan a bit more: On their site Royal Mail only tell me the obvious (see earlier posting) but when I phoned just now I was told the item is sitting at Heathrow waiting for a flight. The significant points here are that it is now almost 48 hours since I posted the item as an express service letter (Airsure - 2nd class would have got it to Heathrow by now) and since it is destined for a very well served place, I would think that since the first 12 hours after I posted it at least 20 aircraft have left the London area for that country and probably well in excess of 30 from the UK as a whole. Maybe Royal Mail are negotiating a special rate with individual pilots and passengers to take the thing for them. Finally, the call to the 0845 number that appears to have all the information about what is going on cost me many times more than if I had phoned the country of destination (at a rate anyone can freely get) - 0845 is a premium number, no matter what anyone says or calls it.
Hi KARL, instead of dialing the 0845 number, go to "saynoto0845" on google and it will give you an alternative number to ring a normal landline number at normal rates or free if you have got free calls included in your phone package. I now try it with all 08 numbers and usually it gives me a cheaper line to ring.
If you send something Special Delivery then it will be tracked. If you send something Recorded Delivery then it is not tracked, but when it is received then this will be displayed on the website.

For International items, as Eddie51 says, International Signed For is only tracked until the item leaves these shores. Airsure, which is available to 30 countries, is tracked to the destination.
Question Author
In case anyone is interested, here is an update. The item is still at a sorting centre "awaiting a flight", we are now into the fourth day when it has not moved at all. Royal Mail apologise but point out that it is not a guaranteed date of delivery type of service. Normal airmail would have got there by now and the blurb on the Airsure service (encouraging you to look upon it as a worthwhile spend at 9 times the cost of normal airmail) says it normally gets there up to a day ahead of normal mail. Royal Mail then go on to say (in a telephone conversation) that they take no responsibility for delays - if it is lost they will refund postage. Definition of loss is the failure to deliver within 20 days of posting.

It seems to me that unless you want proof of delivery (which Airsure allegedly provides) then there is no justification for paying the money for Airsure - it is at least potentially much slower than normal mail and in my case (and how many more) definitely so.

Shedman, you are correct and I knew of the saynoto site (and now have an alternative number) but I wanted to see how much this nonsense can cost - I too deeply object to all sorts of agencies/institutions/authorities barricading themselves behind a money-making wall. There was a period when (apart frfom 999/112) the only way to contact our local police was through an 0845 number (I think it was, not an 0870 which is even more expensive).

Spudqueen, you are of course correct on your explanation, but to me tracking is no such thing if all you are told is "It is somewhere between your post office and the destination". That is what appears online but by telephone (see above implications for most people) you can actually find out precisely where it is (supposedly, although they say it may have moved on), not that that is much help when it sits there day after day.
Question Author
Must not skew things: They say Airsure can get there up to a day before normal airmail, which of course is not a promise but there is certainly no statement such as "it may get there a lot later and maybe not at all" which would balance things correctly, in my view.

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