Bite-Size Kvetches & Kudos

We received several complaints and consumer stories in the past few days that, while heartfelt, weren’t epic. Ergo, we put them all together into one package and post them after the jump.

We’re genius like that…



J. writes:

    “Another company, I’ve begun to notice, that suffers from dreadful customer service is E*Trade. Today, I spent 87 minutes on hold with the same, Falcon’s Crest-style music playing, and still didn’t get through. That’s got to be some kind of record. Apparently, they “were experiencing high call volume.” Seems to happen a lot. At the moment, just for kicks, I’m on hold again (42 minutes and counting). All this is just to ask one quick simple question that would take 30 seconds to answer. What’s really annoying is that it’s obvious no one’s working there, but they don’t tell you call back during business hours; they just keep you hanging around. Now I’m just intrigued now how long it’s going to be, and idly musing whether I should close my accounts and move everything to Schwab or Fidelity. At least they pick up the phone. E*Trade used to be a lot better.”

Andrew:

    “Hi Ben,

    I thought of the Consumerist in posting “HOWTO: Get Your Magazines Delivered on Time” on my site.
    Maybe I’m the only one who gets red-facedly indignant about my subscriptions not showing up on time, but the most recent time it happened, I just went ahead and called a circulation manager for answers. And boy did I call the right one–Caitlin Roper from the Paris Review. She talked to me for half an hour, giving me the low-down of the Review’s distribution system. By the end of our conversation she had a) looked up the distributors for my local
    bookstores and b) determined to hold their shipments just a bit longer so that subscribers like me can get their copies before stores, like it was meant to be.

    I was terribly impressed.

    Andrew W.”

Randy:

    “Obligatory suck-up first – I love the site. I spend more time reading The Consumerist than nearly any other site I visit.

    Now, my experience:

    http://www.blahblahblahg.com/2006/03/28/ihop-joy-long-rant/

    And since that’s too long to consume and put back out for others, here’s the gist without my added sarcasm.

    Went to IHOP with 4 co-workers for dinner after work. Arrived around midnight. Hostess said 5 seated together would result in an automatic 15% gratuity, and that we could not split the check. There were 5 other guests at 3 tables. At least 3 employees at work. We asked to be seated at 2 separate tables so we could at least split the checks – we didn’t care about the gratuity. The hostess said to the person who would be our server “You want to take care of them? I don’t have time for this.” We said nevermind and left. We found a different good restaurant to eat at midnight.

    Randy G.”

Lars writes:

    “Subject: External Hard drives suck

    Dear Consumerist,

    The subject line is essentially the message I got from LaCie Tech Support tonight. I was trying to back up my laptops hard drive and my external firewire drive (that I’ve had for a couple of years) was failing to mount. The techie first asked me if I had any critical data on my external LaCie HD and when I told him that I use it to back up my laptop so it was old data that was all on my own computer he sounded perplexed. He said it’s not recommended to use external HDs for back up. I kind of thought that was what they were for. He told me they were unreliable and that I should switch to a media based format such as DVD and some other stuff I hadn’t heard of. He also noted that most external HDs come with only a one year warranty because they’re very unreliable and can go at any minute. So I guess my external HD has bit it, and the techie sold me on not buying anymore LaCie HDs. I’m sure the more computer savvy people out there already knew this, but I thought I was pretty smart for having an external HD. Apparently I was just wasting my money and risking the integrity of my information. Buh.

    - Lars”

Doug writes:

    “I’m not stupid enough to get Comcast internet, so I didn’t get hit by their recent bandwidth stupidity.

    But I am stupid enough to allow a Comcast sales drone to talk me into a “fully refundable” upgrade, the result of which was a 30% hike in my cable rates.

    As soon as I determine if I have enough sky around my house and convince the wife that satellite dishes are sexy, I’ll give Comcast the finger.

    Read about it here on my crappy blog.

    -Doug”

Bryan writes:

    “I recently had to return a motherboard and video card (both almost 3 years old) to Asus for warranty repair. Getting RMA’s was a bit of a hassle as their website is not the most easily navigated in the world. I sent them in and received the motherboard back exactly 10 days later with no hassle. However my video card sat in RMA limbo for over 2 weeks. I finally called the RMA dept to check the status and was told that for some reason it had not moved through the process. The customer service rep Amanda said she would get in touch with the tech department and get back to me with a status update. I was skeptical that I would ever hear from her again assuming I was getting the usual brush off. However I was pleasantly surprised to get an e-mail back the next day. They were out of my model of video card and apologized for the delay in getting it back to me and asked if instead of waiting for it to be repaired I would like a an upgrade to another card new in the box with all the accessories. I replied in the affirmative and my new card is currently being fedexed overnight. I’ve always been a fan of Asus’ hardware but had a rather dim view of their customer support. This has pretty much turned that around. Thanks Asus for getting it right.”

Comments

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  1. GenXCub says:

    I wanted to respond to Lars. External HD’s are usually no different quality-wise than Internal HD’s. In fact, most good computer stores will sell you the external chassis sans hard drive so you can put your own in there. It’s great for an upgrade. Use PQDI or Ghost, or something similar to create a copy of your current hdd onto a new one. Slap the new one in your computer, put your old one in an External HD chassis. If you’re willing to just use usb 2.0, most chassis’s(whatever), are about $30.

    Perhaps LaCie is just not the place to be with your data storage. Get yourself a Seagate, Western Digital, or IBM drive.

  2. Paul D says:

    Unfortunate about LaCie. In the past they’ve had quite a good reputation for reliability. I have friends who do music recording on a Mac and use LaCie external devices exclusively. We’re talking about several-thousand-dollar recording sessions backed up on LaCie drives. Never had a problem.

    I feel for Lars. He certainly has cause to complain about the service. But as far as the drive, I think he just got a bad one, which could happen to any manufacturer.

    For future reference, Seagate has 5 year warranties on their drives.