Has anyone else either been kept haing on the phone for ages, or else, not had their emails to Apple Store Europe responded to?

I started a query back in October which was finally responded to in November. I had to get a case reference from Apple Tech and I had to pay for the call even though it was within the 90 days free support:
"Technical Support Options
To get technical assistance by phone, call 0870 876 0753 (UK) or01 407 3000 (Ireland). If your product is within its 90-day complimentary support period or covered by an AppleCare Protection Plan, you will not have to pay for the call." (quote from website).

I got back to them with the case ref and since then (mid November) nothing except the automated email response.

I am wondering whether it's just a freak or whether they are being particularly rubbish at the moment?