Comcast Fail, level 999

Another run in with our cable company, another two and a half hours on the phone, and another complete failure in every conceivable way.

So three weeks ago I get a call on my cell phone with promises of “the X1 operating system, free HBO, free Starz, and upgraded internet speed” all for the low, low price of $130/month. Not only that, we’ll get to keep both of our DVR’s and no other changes in our service agreement.  I thought it sounded too good to be true.  Turns out, as usual, I was right. Honestly, this one is on me.  I knew better and every time, every damned time, I make a change to my cable service, I get screwed. But, I blindly believed what I was being told and signed up.

Two weeks goes by and no equipment, no email, no phone call.  I even logged into my credit report to ensure I didn’t get taken by some scam artist who promised me he was Comcast only to talk me out of my personal information.  Thinking back on this, maybe an encounter with someone trying to steal my identity would be less painful.

The website never seems to have agent chat available anymore, so I did what I always regret and called Comcast customer service.

After being half-helped and hung up on, twice, and holding for a total of at least 45 minutes, I got someone who had an IQ higher than that of a cucumber (only just) and we started the dance of agony that is Comcast’s verification process. I beat her to the punch: “my name is ——, my address is —–, and the last 4 digits of my social are —–. Can we please move forward?!”

I explained that I agreed to a new 2-year contract in exchange for the HBO, Starz, DVR boxes, wireless internet, blah, blah… Nothing had arrived, no one had contacted me, blah, blah, etc.

The agent pulls up my account information and explains that although the order was “put in but never shipped”.  Thank you, captain obvious. He went on to explain that we were not, in fact, receiving two DVR’s, we were getting one X1 DVR that would record up to 5 shows at the same time, and a “companion box” that would be able to play those shows in any other room (wherever the companion box was). I was disappointed and asked to be contacted by a manager and to put the whole order on hold until I could get answers.

Fast forward three days, and the fucking package with my new equipment shows up at my door step. So much for the “hold”.  Add to this that the DVR service stopped working in every room of our house, so holding off on installing the new equipment was basically pointless.

So the hell with it, I’ll eat the 2 year agreement and stay with the X1 companion box thing… I can’t imagine we’ll record more than 5 shows simultaneously.

Let’s plug in this stuff and get to it.  Internet modem fires right up, living room box is SLOW to start up and load working channels, but eventually it gets working.

Last step was to instal the bedroom “companion box” that had caused all the kerfuffle. “Please enter your account number and phone number”, I click continue and… “This box needs to be added to your account. Please call 888 blah blah blah” FUCK MY LIFE.

3 customer service agents, one hang up, 54 minutes on hold. I was asked to “verify my account information” 4 times.  FOUR FUCKING TIMES for a series of people to send multiple “reset signals sent to box”, and “can you please read me the error code again?”. And let’s not forget: “Sir, Starz isn’t included in your package, I’m not sure why the agent told you that it was”. “Of course not” I replied. “Of course not…”

After all of that, I’m awarded with nothing. Box is still broken, and a technician has to call me tomorrow between 5 and 9 PM.  $100 says I get no call.  I wonder how many times I’ll have to validate my information, unplug and re plug-in my box and receive “reset signals” before I get transferred to yet another asshat who can’t help me after I decide I’ve waited long enough and call the god damned 800 number. Be sure to tune in the next time I get my Xfinity internet service restored so I can blog about how pissed off I am about the 40 year contract they forced me into.

You’ll get the service you deserve, and you’ll like it

googleFailWhen the last big retail hack took place, ironically I think it was Target, I signed up for a Google Wallet card so I could put a layer of protection between my checking account and would-be thieves. So far the card has been pretty handy.  You can add funds directly from your bank account with no fee, and even transfer money to friends via email.  Pretty snazzy!

Earlier tonight I tried paying for my beers at the local World of Beer here in South Florida only to be declined.  Not that this was a new development, my Google card gets declined all the time.  So, I pick up my phone, open the Wallet app, and move over some funds.

But when I pulled up my transaction history, there was a $140.02 charge (the exact amount in my account, down to the penny), posted today, from a Target in Kissimmee, FL (home of Disney World, and surrounding shitty neighborhoods), which is 150 miles from here.

So, someone managed to get their hands on my Google account information.  Looks like my paranoia paid off!  Anyway, time to call the Google Wallet support line at 855-4-Wallet (how professional!) and report my issue.

EmailAnd, here’s where the Google monster falls down.  Had my bank identified a faulty transaction (which they have a few times in the past) there would be an immediate lock-down on my account, an investigation, and a full refund, all before I hung up the phone.  But, that’s not what happened.

“Sir, I’m sending you an email with a link to our dispute form, which I encourage you to fill out right away.”

All of that Google power, all of the fanfare and hubbub about their multimillion dollar buildings and I get a form to fill out… A form to fill out, and wait…

And what about my account?  You know, the one connected to my checking account.  Was it closed and locked?  Nope.  Disabled, or suspended?  Nope.  Customer service lady (who was very nice) told me she couldn’t do it.  I had to do that from the app, on my own.  Thanks Google!

That’s how it’s done

I’ve had a Craftsman 3/8″ torque wrench for about a year and a half, maybe two years. Love my torque wrenchIt’s one of my favorite tools in the garage. In fact, take a look at the photo on the left and you’ll see me using it on my bike with a great big smile. Every semi-serious shade-tree mechanic needs a good torque wrench, and generally they last forever. And that’s a good thing, because you’ll rarely find a good one for less than $100.

I buy Craftsman tools because Sears stands behind its products (well, usually).  Craftsman hand tools have a lifetime warranty, and I’ve personally returned more than a few.  Suspension work frequently results in broken sockets and ratchets and Sears has always been great about returning them.  But not all tools are created equally, and some of them, like torque wrenches, are only covered for a limited time.

Last week, I lent the wrench to a friend who managed (somehow) to break it.  The grip became loose and the wrench’s torque set was stuck somewhere around 15 ft lbs.  Now, I know that Sears only guarantees wrenches like this one for a year, but I figured what the hell and brought it down to my local store.  I’ve read mixed reviews lately about returns, but my experience was nothing short of awesome.  While standing in line, a sales associate and a guy in plain clothes approached me and asked if they could help.

When I explained the situation, the sales associate told me that the wrench was no longer covered.  It was clear he recognized the older model and knew its age.  I thanked them and said, “well, see if you can find a trash can to throw this into, then?” and handed over the wrench.  That’s when the plain clothes guy stepped in and said “let’s see if we can figure out when you bought this wrench” and smiled at me.  We walked to the nearest computer and he looked up the part number, and then asked me if I was a Craftsman Club member, which I am.

torqueHe never asked for my name, phone number, address or any other identifying information.  He said to me, “so you bought this no more than a year ago”, without even waiting for my reply he looked at the sales associate and said, “swap him out, and make sure this one gets labeled as a return”.  On my way out of the store, I stopped and shook the hand of the plain clothes man (it was clear now that he was a manager or supervisor of some kind).  He smiled at me and said, “thanks for coming in, it was my pleasure”.

The price tag on the wrench was $69.99, and for a one-time investment, Craftsman has created a customer for life.   I’ve spent thousands on tools, boxes, and benches over the years, and when Sears had the opportunity to do customer service right, they nailed it.  Someone from Sears seriously needs to call someone at Kay’s.

Better than broken, how about MORE broken?

Before you read the email string this week, let me catch you up on today’s events:

We drove down to the Kay’s this afternoon to pick up the bracelet from it’s number 4 visit  to the repair shop.

Failure and.. More failureThe sales associate who has been there for literally this entire process, takes the bracelet out of the bag and sets it on the counter.  Before I can even say anything, we notice that there is a stone missing.  No, not the one that was missing when we sent it in…  A different one.

Yeah, that’s right.  The repair shop replaced the missing stone, “pressed” in a new post, and put the bracelet into a shipping bag MISSING ANOTHER STONE.

At this point, the sales associate marks down another damage form (something we’re very used to seeing now) and puts the bracelet back in the bag to be sent in again to the repair shop.  At that point, I type out this email on my phone:

We are at Kay’s in gulf coast RIGHT NOW to pick up the bracelet and there is another stone missing from the bracelet. We haven’t even left the store!!
It actually came FROM THE REPAIR shop missing another stone. See attached photos.

The associate is sending it back again… This is the fifth time! Four times just this month.

I am done waiting. i need a response on this issue immediately.

In the defense of Kay’s, the corporate office responded quickly with this message:

Thank you for your reply.

Once I received your email I called the store and spoke to Mary, the associate you just worked with. She said you had already left. I did try to call the numbers we have on your repair tickets (386-xxx-xxxx and 407-xxx-xxxx) but it went to voice mail. I told Mary that we will be doing an exchange on the bracelet as opposed to another repair. If possible please go back into the store and Mary will be able to give you more details. You can also call me at 1-800-xxx-xxxx ext. 1224.

Later tonight, just a few minutes ago, I sent this one:

Thanks for getting back to me.
Based on your response “we will be doing an exchange”, I’m guessing that the plan for me to receive a replacement bracelet as opposed to a refund?  I think the main issue with this bracelet is the design.  The store associate told us today that the posts weren’t being soldered into place they were being “pressed” which is probably why they keep falling out.  Additionally, with the continuous loss of stones I am convinced the way they are held in is also flawed.  I do not want another one of these bracelets.

So, we’ll see what happens.

But let’s not lose sight of the important part here.  The important part is that Kay’s, as a company, has completely failed on the part of customer service.  They have completely failed on their responsibility to either stand behind their products, or offer a sound explanation when they refuse to do so.  And until today’s angry email (number SEVEN) they have completely failed, on multiple occasions, to make this right, offer me ANY kind of  reimbursement, exchange… Or even a fucking coupon.

Flush it!For two weeks now, I’ve been living the cycle of sending an angry email, dropping off the bracelet, picking up the bracelet, which is fucking BROKEN AGAIN and, sending another angry email.  Two fucking weeks!  Consider the hourly salary of the woman at the local Kay’s combined with the woman in the corporate office that has been literally poured down the fucking toilet!  It would have been cheaper (by probably THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS) for them to have written me a fucking check from the start!

Fired!I am completely blown away over the massive ineptitude, and the gross misuse of company resources.  If I sat on Kay’s board of directors and came across this blog, I would fire everyone who touched this case, I would FIRE every one of them and each of their managers for gross negligence and a massive waste of company resources.  Then, I would copy every line of these stories and paste them into a Power Point presentation and travel the fucking country giving a presentation on “HOW NOT TO DO SHIT”.

But, maybe that’s just me being crazy.  Maybe that’s just me being angry and silly and crazy.  I mean, why make efforts to save the company money when you can cause all of this drama and push a guy into blogging negatively about your company and its products for weeks.  That’s such a better idea, isn’t it?

Every kiss begins with the complete lack of customer service

This just keeps getting better.  Go back and read my last post if you haven’t been following the story.

Here’s the latest email string:

Dear Frank …,

Thank you for your reply.

I apologize that the store did not do the inspection on the Topaz ring.  Even though it is not covered under the Lifetime Diamond guarantee we still prefer to offer inspections for preventative measures.  We only have two warranties, the Diamond guarantee I mentioned on the last email and the Extended Service Plan (ESP).  The ESP covers the metal of the item such as bands, prongs, and chains.  If the Topaz ring had the ESP then it would cover repair issues to the metal but not the stone itself.  After the replacement was done on her ring, there would still have not been a warranty to offer for coverage.

The bracelet is currently being worked on at shop 8399.  If you have another issue within the next few months we can look at a possible exchange under your ESP that is on the bracelet.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know how we can help you.  For immediate assistance, please contact us by phone at 1-800-…

Sincerely,

Cynthia S.

What the FUCK?!  I get protecting your company, but this is a complete pass-the-buck scenario!  I see the in-store customer service carries over into the corporate office as well!  Of course I wouldn’t post that first one without a witty reply:

I don’t want to be difficult, but at this point, “If you have another issue within the next few months” is not acceptable.  We have had the bracelet in 4 times now for the same repair. I expect a full refund for the bracelet, I can provide the original receipt if necessary.  The total was $…  I am NOT negotiable on this.  It’s just plain, basic customer service.

The Topaz ring and the diamond ring with the missing diamond (photo attached), the store associate telling us that “the warranty was returned”, and then keeping the only paperwork we had since it was “no good for that ring”.  I can assure you that we never “returned” anything, the diamond ring was a gift from my grandmother.  The topaz ring, as I mentioned earlier, was a gift from her father.  They’re probably $100 each, and I imagine the warranty would be worth what, maybe $20?  I decided to include these stories in my original email because this is about customer service and standing behind the product you sell.  I expect a reinstatement of the warranty on the diamond ring, and the repair work to be covered.  I am not negotiable on this either.

I think I’ve gone way above and beyond here just turning the other cheek on the topaz ring, looking past the misrepresentation of the Kay warranty by the local store, the completely failed local customer service after the fact, and having to take this up with the corporate office on my own time.

I can’t help but feel like anything I buy with Kay, regardless of cost, will be completely ignored from a customer service standpoint if I lose the receipt, spill coffee on the warranty card or just forget to bring my papers with me.  This is unacceptable for a customer who has purchased a single item, and certainly more so for someone like me who has many purchases spanning over multiple years.

Do your company a favor and forward this email to your management.  Don’t respond to me with another “we’ll see, if it breaks again”.  And don’t lose a loyal customer over a few hundred dollars.

– Frank

Comments?

Comcast redux

Got my bill today.  “Looks high” I thought to myself, and sure enough:

In-Home Service Visit – 09/26 – 30.00

What.  The.  FUCK.  (If you don’t know why I’m freaking out, read my last few Comcast posts.)

I could call the 800 number, but I’m in no mood to hold, and I’m about to smash stuff and burn down my house… Better use the internet chat so they can’t hear me screaming, cursing, or making idle threats:

  • CHAT ID: 0BDE3C9D-9169-4559-87D1-77E7014B673A
  • Problem: Do not understand why I am being billed for “In-Home Service Visit”. Tech came out to fix existing problem with your cable system, not my fault.
  • Genevivie > Hello Frank, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Genevivie. Please give me one moment to review your information.
  • Frank > My Issue: Do not understand why I am being billed for “In-Home Service Visit”. Tech came out to fix existing problem with your cable system, not my fault.
  • Genevivie > You have reached Comcast Billing Department. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help resolve your issue. I’m sure we can work together to get this resolved for you as soon as possible.
  • Genevivie > I understand that you are being charge for the service call, is this correct?
  • Frank > that is correct
  • Genevivie > May I know when did this happen and how much was it?
  • Frank > My account should have very colorful details
  • Frank > I’ve been dealing almost daily with customer support for a month
  • Frank > My bill says: In-Home Service Visit 09/26 30.00
  • Genevivie > I am done processing the credit here in your account Frank.
  • Genevivie > Before we end the chat, let’s review what we have done today. I have processed the credit of $30.00 in your account for the service call.
  • Genevivie > I am glad to have resolve your issue today, is there anything else I can help you with?
  • Frank > excellent. Am I going to have to have this same conversation again next month?
  • Genevivie > No Frank, rest assure of that.
  • Frank > thanks

Yeah right.

So again, the agent was very nice and helpful. And this time I managed to keep my cool.  But, inevitably the survey pops up.  And I love the survey…

The chat agent was very nice, again. However the fact that I have to talk to one just about once a week (minimum) is completely unacceptable. Comcast’s customer service is abhorrent and completely inexcusable. If there was another cable company in my area, I’d pay whatever it cost to break my contract and get the hell out. Was this the kind of feedback you wanted?

Fucking Comcast.

Victory is mine, for a price

Victory is mine!  Well, sort of.  And, with a price.  But beyond that, VICTORY IS MINE!  Or is it?  After almost a month of complaining, calling, indefinitely holding, and missed appointments our Comcast cable service is working as expected.  For those of you that have been keeping up with the story, you can read up on my previous posts below, but the short version is it was broken, and using a combination of just about every method (chat, phone, blog, twitter, facebook), I finally got them to send out another tech to look at our cable boxes.  The issue was (again) determined to be “outside the house”, and that repair guy actually showed up this time!  I wasn’t home, but my understanding is that he worked on the connection outside the house, and had to drive over to whatever connection station they have to make the repair.

Anyway, the service is working, and I guess I have to keep my promise and pay this month’s bill.  Sounds like a great story, no?

But, did I really win here?

How many hours do I have invested in chasing down what should be considered basic customer service?
The bottom line is, if you offer a product or service and it doesn’t work, you make it work or you don’t bill for it.  Right?  How have we drifted so far from this basic principle?  When the service I paid for started working I felt like I accomplished something amazing.  But I haven’t.

If I was standing in a watch store and bought a watch and it didn’t tell the correct time I would get a working watch from the sales person in about one minute, two MAX.  Why did this take 4 weeks?  How did we get so used to shitty customer service that actually getting what you paid for has become an amazing accomplishment?

My story could likely be used as a victory for Comcast’s customer service division, where a huge problem on social media and phone was dealt with and fixed by a large group of people who came together.  I wonder if they’ll include the stack of calls and complaints it took to get them to do it…