Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh Woe is Me Plus Rant Alert!!

I live a bit out in the boonies where we can't see the road from the house. Not the way boonies, and every year the not-boonies creeps a little closer and our view is slightly more house filled. So far, there's still 30,000 acres of dairy behind us. Really, it's lovely. If I look out the window of my room, I see the Koi pond, walnut trees, oak trees and the sheep if they happen to be wandering by.

The downside to this is that there is no cable or DSL at our house. Some of our neighbors closer to the road have it, we don't. Comcast wants $22,000 to bring cable up our driveway. No, I did not make up that number. That's what they want. Gasp, choke wheeze We do not have cable and won't be getting broadband anytime soon, let me tell you.

I swear, I'm working up to my rant. Stay with me, I'm pretty much done setting the scene. (never do this is a novel, people stop reading.)

Anyhow, a while back, I signed us up for satellite which is kind of like dial up after a double espresso. It's not fast by any means, but it's better than dial up. Well last Wednesday, the satellite modem went on the fritz. We (I do mean we because we ended up tag teaming them. Two of us on two different phone lines...) spent a hellish 3 hours on the phone trying to get someone to not put us on hold, disconnect us, transfer us to the wrong person or -- Is any of this sounding familiar? Because I am willing to bet you have your own Customer Support Nightmare story. We finally were somehow mistakenly transferred to someone who could help. It was agreed the modem was not functioning. A service call was arranged for today (Friday, Oct 10) to replace the non-functioning modem.

I left work early so I could be home for the tech guy with the replacement modem. He was there right on time. Yay! A little later, I saw him sitting on the floor talking on the phone and doing whatever. He comes out and says to me,

"Your modem isn't working."

To which I say, "Well, yeah. It's not working. That's why you're here. With the new one."

"Nobody told me that. I don't have a modem with me, but I ordered one for you. It'll probably be here next week. Maybe Wednesday."

If you want to imagine me trying not to blow my top, go right ahead. I didn't lose it for the most part. I just noted that every nerve in my body was shouting at me He's lying! I just knew it. But I told the nice man in the nicest possible voice that my time and his had just been completely wasted. Off he went.

Since this is a Customer Support event, there was no way ever that this was going to actually involve customer support, I figured I'd make the calls now as opposed to later in the week when I was really upset that nobody had done anything. I called the tech service company who told me that no one told them they needed to replace a modem.

Carolyn's thoughts on this: They're a TECH SERVICE company. They only get called when all the stupid first level stuff like resets, unplugging and plugging back in fails to work. By then it's 80% sure to be hardware related. The other 20%, by, the way, is moron related. Like, Oh, I didn't know it had to be plugged in! Why yes, the lights do come on when it's plugged in. So, why the heck wouldn't they have some replacement modems along just in case?

Whatever. The tech company said they were ordering a modem for me and would come out when it arrived. No problem. They were happy to help me with my service issue and was there anything else they could do to help me?

Fact: When dealing with Customer Service, never trust the left hand when there's a right hand involved. Or vice versa.

I called the satellite company to relay to them that somebody somewhere was an idiot and it wasn't me. In the nicest possible way, seriously. That call included this gem of an exchange:

"Have you unplugged---"

To which I say, "We already did all that. You told us Wednesday that the modem doesn't work. That's why you sent the tech guy. He was just here, and he said the modem doesn't work. I'm confident the modem, in fact, does not work."

"Is there power to the modem?"

I am now thinking to myself I need to lie and say no. But I didn't'.

"Well, we can't send you a replacement modem if there's power to the modem."

"You're saying that even though the modem doesn't work, you can't send us one that does?"

"That's right."

Go ahead and imagine me blowing my top. It will be amusing for us all. Only I didn't. Props for Carolyn! I slowly worked around the absurdity of it all without actually destroying her carefully constructed bubble of a world in which all logic and rationality is sucked out a black hole, and she put me on hold (cold shivers down your back? Mine too.)

Aside: Think of the potential profits to be had under such a scheme. People pay $80 a month for equipment that does not work and cannot be replaced with something that does work. It's brilliant. If only more customers were actually idiots, they'd be sitting pretty darn pretty.

Sometime later, I had to race into the other room to pick up on another phone because the battery was running out on the cordless. A million years later, she came back and told me that the Tech company knew they didn't have any modems but came anyway. And as a special service for me, at no additional charge, when the modems arrive, they will replace ours. Sometime next week probably.

So, who's the liar here? (And let's all agree it's not me, okay?) The Tech Service company or the Satellite company? Right, it doesn't matter.

This post is coming to you at the speed of dial up. Let me just assure you that about 70% of the internet is inaccessible via dial up.

Also, to make this vaguely writing related, I was trying to write while I was on hold, so now my neck and shoulder hurt.

Please comment to make me feel better. Feel free to share your Service call nightmares.


Tori Lennox said...

Oh, honey, do not get me started on the insanity that is Customer Service. It doesn't matter whose Customer Service. They all use the same playbook!

You have my utmost sympathy.

Carolyn said...

Thanks Tori. I tell you, the internet on dial is heck. Pure heck. I can't do anything! Sob.

And you're so right about Customer "service." They have a convention every year held in Hell.

Diane P said...

Well at least you kept your calm. My hubby was on a cell phone trying to tell this guy that he had ordered 130 tiles not 130 sq ft and the guy said he had to check the catalogue & would call back. This after spending countless hours the day before placing the order. My husband hung up calling him an inappropriate name-dumbs... which the guy heard and called us back.
So customer service is not a word I am mentioning any time soon in my household. By the way my hubby is normally the calm sweet one.
I get to deal with this company now.

Jill James said...

Carolyn, you have my utmost sympathy with the non-helpful customer service. We just dealt with a stupid computer business. I thought the husband would blow a gasket.

Shari Anton said...

Hugs, Carolyn! Let me tell you about the last time I needed the washing machine repaired ... or maybe not. Let's just say my laundry room floor has never been so clean, nor will it be again! Service? Hahahahaha

Carolyn said...

Thanks for all the kinds words and examples, too. It helps to know I am not alone.

Today (Sunday 10/12) the company called to schedule the service call for Tuesday. (I KNEW it wasn't possible.) He's being all official and asking dumb questions as if they needed to arrange Secret Service security for the visit when I interrupted and said, "Do you actually have a modem to bring out?"

He puts me on hold and after a bit, he comes back and says, no. They do not have a modem and probably won't until maybe Wednesday. ::Sigh::

I also got an email urging me to sign up on line (really? my internet doesn't work at my house so how is that going to happen?) for my service call because appointments go really fast and they really really want to get me up and working again.

I hate this. But I will call Monday to confirm the modem has been ordered.

Party at Carolyn's if it's ever repaired!!

Elizabeth Hoyt said...

Hey Carolyn! I've had a toilet on order for THREE MONTHS. This is for the upstairs (where everyone sleeps) bathrooms. And they kindly took out the old toilet before finding out that the new one was BACK ORDERED forever!!! HAHAHAHAHA!

I find that chocolate and denial really helps...

Elizabeth Hoyt said...

Every couple of weeks customer service calls me up to tell me that my toilet is STILL back-ordered. Isn't that nice? Isn't that helpful? I can just see that customer service lady ticking off "called customer" on her customer service form.

Hope you get your modem fixed sometime before the new year!

Carolyn said...

Arghh! Poor Elizabeth!! That's terrible.

When we were remodeling our house, I ordered the PERFECT tile, which had to come from Texas. I had the contractors all lined up based on the delivery date. No tile arrived. I kept calling and rescheduling because there was no tile yet... until finally the contractors said they couldn't adjust their schedules anymore and had to take other jobs.

I called the tile place, a bit hot under the collar, and told them I wanted to know why the heck they were walking from Texas with my tiles and that now I was going to be ANOTHER six weeks without anything in the back of my house because my contractors couldn't wait anymore.

Turns out my tile had been in for a month but they were too darn lazy to move it off the truck and bring it to my house. They LIED to me.

Naturally, I've told everyone I know to NEVER EVER use Quality Floor and Tile in Petaluma CA. Remodelers stick together and they talk.

So, Elizabeth, number one, don't buy your tile from this outfit. Second, is there possibly another source for your toilet? I suppose you already thought of that. And I know how it is when you find exactly the item you want. . . If you put in some other toilet, it just won't be the same and you'll hate it forever for not being the one you loved.

Toilet love. Oh My.

I hope yours comes soon.