Here’s the strange, sad tale of Short-Tempered Tim at New World Video Direct in Brooklyn, NY. When Nicholas called NWVDirect a week or so ago with questions about an extended warranty for his new plasma TV, he got terse answers from a generally unhelpful man on the other end. The call was abruptly disconnected. Undaunted, Nicholas called back and got the same man, so he asked to speak to a supervisor, which is when things started to spiral out of control at the NWVDirect call center.
He said his name was Tim and he then placed me on hold for a supervisor. About 30 seconds later, someone picked up the phone and said, “This is Timothy, how may I help you?” To my surprise, this was still the same agent but he was obviously attempting to disguise his voice. So I asked if he was the supervisor and he said yes. I told him that I was just speaking to him and I would like to speak with his supervisor please. He then called out to someone and said, “Who transferred this call to me?” – apparently attempting to continue to act like he was the supervisor.? It was almost comical that he felt that I couldn’t notice that he was the same person. He was trying to speak to me in a deeper voice and it was very obvious he was trying to cover up what he was doing.
He then said let me transfer you back and before I could say anything I was transferred back to “Tim” the agent again. I then asked Tim or “Timothy” why he wouldn’t let me talk to a supervisor? He claimed he transferred me to one but I told him that he didn’t do a good enough job in disguising his voice and that I wasn’t thrown off by the name either!
Timothy the agent/”supervisor” became very belligerent at this point. He started yelling at me, telling me to “Fuck off” several times and using other inappropriate language. There was one point in the recording where he told me to come down to the store and speak to him face to face, as if to provoke a fight.
Okay, so that was just a bad phone call all around, but then when Nicholas emailed an official complaint to NWVDirect, he got the following response a few hours later:
Hello. The person who helped you originally on the phone did not do anything wrong until you asked to speak to his supervisor.
It’s that simple.
Maybe he was a bit tuned during the call due to an email he was replying to, but he was answering your questions to the best of his ability.
Everything that was said after that was a result of this and is considered fruit of a poisonous tree.
Your email was NOT read. The subject line WAS read ONLY as we were expecting your email.
Please do NOT reply as it will not be read.
Thank you, Our apologies, Have a good New Year.
Okay, so that didn’t work. Nicholas next took his complaints online to avsforum, which prompted the owner of NWVDirect to get involved and post his own response on the forum in what seemed like a good-faith attempt to make things right:
Hello. My name is Charles Hamaoui. I am appalled and very concerned about the events surrounding the original thread with respect to what occured that evening.
It was confirmed by me this call came in after normal working hours on the east coast. The employee that answered the telephone was completely inapropriate and indeed rude. As it turns out, our shorter staffed supervisors were not in the vicinity to overhear the call due to the time it arrived.
This is NOT a reflection of our Company and should be condsidered an isolated incident.
Nicholas and Charles spoke on the phone at some later point, where Charles told Nicholas that Tim had been fired and that he was sorry for the whole ordeal. He also sounded genuinely shocked when Nicholas read the “fruit of a poisonous tree” email back to him. Nicholas responded that Charles sounded suspiciously like a calmer version of Tim. The phone call ended without anything resolved. Later, Charles posted again to the avsforum, a portion of which appears below—and which seems to imply that the whole “firing Tim” thing was just something Charles said to placate an angry customer:
Thank you for calling this evening. I hope we cleared the air a bit. I doubt it though.
You seemed vindictive and more concerned with finding out who sent the email and if that person is going to be fired or not.
Question, lets say this person had a bad day, made a mistake, and apologized. Lets say this was the job that supported his wife and kids.
Would you still be persistent on getting him fired? or move on and get your answers answered the correct way?
. . .
Charles posted again later, and came across as even more weary and exasperated. We think he’s sincerely trying to make things right, but maybe he’s in a customer service situation that’s beyond his ability to resolve—it’s not easy to put the fuck-you-cat back in the bag after Crazy Tim lets it out to someone who just purchased an expensive plasma TV and wants to protect that investment. So in the end, all we can say is we hope you enjoyed this tale of customer service gone awry—and if you want to buy A/V equipment but would also like good after-sale support, look elsewhere. Oh, and Charles, you may want to keep Tim away from the phones.
Both recordings are below for those of you who want to compare and weigh in on the Charles/Tim identity issue. (This writer thinks they’re different men.)
(Thanks to Nicholas!)