Robotic Gas Pumps Mean Never Leaving Your Car (And That The Computers Have Won)

Robotic Gas Pumps Mean Never Leaving Your Car (And That The Computers Have Won)

It’s no secret that the robot revolution is coming, when our machines achieve self-aware intelligence and rise up against us as our new overlords. But really, we’re letting it happen because it’s just so much easier to let a robot pump your gas. Especially in the winter when the car is so toasty warm and the pump is so icy cold. Brrr.
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Software Update Bricks Teen’s Tablet, Microsoft Shrugs

Software Update Bricks Teen’s Tablet, Microsoft Shrugs

A few weeks ago, we received an e-mail here at Consumerist HQ with the subject line, “Bill Gates screwing a 13 year old.” Well, that couldn’t be literally true, but it was intriguing. Rick was writing on behalf of his grandson, who had saved his money for months to buy a Microsoft Surface that had effectively been bricked by a software update. Microsoft refused to repair it under warranty due to a missing screw, and Rick had spent weeks fighting the company. He turned to Consumerist for help. [More]

PepsiCo Thinks Its Drinks Aren’t Smelly Enough, Wants To Add Scent Capsules

PepsiCo Thinks Its Drinks Aren’t Smelly Enough, Wants To Add Scent Capsules

Have you ever cracked open a bottle of Tropicana orange juice and thought to yourself, “I would drink so much more of this juice if it smelled even more orange-y”? Probably not, but the folks at PepsiCo are seeking to patent technology that would arouse the customer’s sense of smell from the moment the container is opened. [More]

Boom.

This LG Microwave Is The Ultimate In Disposable Appliances

Recently, I was surprised to learn that Goldstar and LG are the same company. LG stands for “Lucky Goldstar.” Gasp! This is no surprise to reader Jef, though, who has to keep ordering the same microwave over and over, and those microwaves come from either Goldstar or LG. Why has he bought four of the same microwave? Is he a landlord, a rich person with many houses, or an eccentric person who insists on having a microwave in every room? No. His problem is that the microwave in his kitchen keeps breaking down, sometimes just barely after the end of the original warranty.

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Does Neato Robotics Carry Parts To Repair Their Vacuums? Here’s A New Replacement Vacuum Instead

Does Neato Robotics Carry Parts To Repair Their Vacuums? Here’s A New Replacement Vacuum Instead

When David’s Neato robotic vacuum cleaner stopped working after more than a year, he flipped it over and tried to figure out what was wrong. It was out of warranty, but maybe it was something simple that he could fix himself. Yes, a tension spring was missing, and the vac wouldn’t be able to maneuver properly. So he called up Neato Robotics and asked if parts were available, since this was something he might be able to fix himself. Nah, forget that: Neato Robotics just sent him an entire new vacuum, no questions asked. [More]

Locked In A Greyhound Bathroom For More Than An Hour

Locked In A Greyhound Bathroom For More Than An Hour

What’s worse than using the bathroom on a bus? Getting locked in there for an hour and a half. Barbara’s mother decided to use facilities half an hour before her bus was due at its destination, but miscommunication meant that a mechanic was never summoned, and she remained trapped for an hour and fifteen minutes. [More]

Congratulations, Apple: You Lost Another Prototype iPhone?

Congratulations, Apple: You Lost Another Prototype iPhone?

The internet is all a flutter over pictures from Vietnamese forum Taoviet.vn that seem to show a new lost iPhone 4G prototype. This one is all “16GB”, turns on, and once ripped apart, appears to contain an Apple-branded processor. [More]

Super 8 In Pasadena Is Super Run Down

Super 8 In Pasadena Is Super Run Down

You know you’re not in for a life-changing experience when you get a room at a Super 8 motel, but you at least expect that for $190 a night, there will be hot water and blankets big enough to cover both you and your girlfriend. And no plywood in the bathroom. And four legs holding up the bed. But not at the Super 8 in Pasadena, CA, according to Matt, who was just there for the Rose Bowl.

EECB Cures Ikea Phone Loop, Induces Mass Customer Service

EECB Cures Ikea Phone Loop, Induces Mass Customer Service

All reader Scott wanted to do was get his daughter a ‘Big Girl Bed’. After a nearly 6-hour trek to a nearly empty Ikea, Scott had to grab the name of the bed and attempt to pick it up himself at the ‘furniture pick-up’. However, when he arrived home, he was not happy to learn that it didn’t come with all the pieces he needed to build it. Stuck in a robot-phone loop, Scott turned to the tried-and-true EECB. See Scott’s letter, as well as Ikea’s response, inside.

7 Things You Should Never Say To A Customer Service Rep, And 7 Things You Should

7 Things You Should Never Say To A Customer Service Rep, And 7 Things You Should

Ron Burley, the man behind “Unscrewed: The Consumers� Guide to Getting What You Paid For,” has published two articles on how to effectively deal with customer service reps. On the Do Not Want side, you shouldn’t threaten legal action, because it will likely shut down any further communication as the company goes into automatic CYA mode. (You don’t want to tip your hand about any legal action anyway.) What you should say is “Thank you,” because being nice might help you stand out among the parade of complainers.

Simplehuman's Excellent Customer Service Makes Other Companies Look Like Garbage

Simplehuman's Excellent Customer Service Makes Other Companies Look Like Garbage

Pani just had an astoundingly good bit of customer service from aptly-named simplehuman—makers of those elegant-but-expensive trash cans—and wrote to let us know about it. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and every cable, cellular, and telephone company, you might want to print this out and pass it around your CSR executive offices.

Interview With Ron Burley, Customer Service Avenger

Interview With Ron Burley, Customer Service Avenger

There’s only one leverage any consumer has with a company. And that’s financial.” So says Ron Burley, author of UNSCREWED: The Consumer’s Guide To Getting What You Paid For. I got to interview Ron Burley to plumb his brain about his customer satisfaction hacks, and the current state of affairs of customer service. His techniques are bold and make no apologies. We’re not talking letters, and forms, and complaint departments. These are real methods for real people that work real fast. He also goes into the mindset that you need to develop if you’re going to get results. Bookmark this post, it’s an epic barnburner. Transcript, inside…

Consumer's Revenge Against Restaurant Not Honoring Coupons

Alan writes:

Three co-workers and I went out to lunch. We brought a coupon that said, “Buy one entree, and receive 50% off a second entree of equal or lower price.” Three of us ordered food from the Entree section of the menu, but one of us ordered something from the [cheap] Sandwich section.

The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back (Revised Edition)

The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back (Revised Edition)

[protected-iframe id="14eedff4c1ed081d42f5a75be4931995-40783744-40309798" info="http://digg.com/api/diggthis.php?u=http://digg.com/business_finance/The_Ultimate_Consumerist_Guide_To_Fighting_Back_2" width="55" height="82" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"] We’ve posted recently about how to fight back when a business screws you over, and we’ve posted a lot of executive contact info over the years. Now we’re packaging the two together into one big mega-post of usefulness: a one-stop-stop for figuring out what you need to do to start a customer complaint, or how to escalate a stalled one so that it can be resolved.

Top Posts Of The Week

“”Have I got your attention now?” asked Mona Shaw of the Comcast payment center employees as she smashed their keyboard, monitor and telephone.”

Get Your Complaint Solved: Quick Beats Nice

Get Your Complaint Solved: Quick Beats Nice

Some of the tactics we recommend to consumers battling large and/or indifferent business are faster rather than nicer, and with good reason.

The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back

The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back

If you have a legitimate grievance with a company that they’re not helping you solve, here are 15 hand-picked articles of ours that will be your blueprint to kicking ass. They’re arranged in 3 escalating tiers, depending on how far you want-to/have-to take it. If you’re ready to stop getting mad and start getting results, check out the posts inside…

My Mayo Exploded!

My Mayo Exploded!

This jar of exploding mayonnaise serves as a reminder why one should pay attention to the “sell-by” dates on the sides of packages. Submitter Doug writes:

Yesterday my mother went to open a new jar of Stop and Shop light mayonnaise. After she unscrewed the cap the contents started bubbling out from under the seal. She removed the seal and the result is what you see here. We took it back to the store, where they apologized and replaced it with the non-exploding kind.

You can see in the picture that the jar is six months past its sell-by date. UPDATE: Oops, we’re stupid, that’s the year 2008. Damn, there’s no reason for this mayo to go unless maybe that’s a misprint. Why would it explode, though? Bacteria get inside and cause a gaseous buildup? We’re betting heavy on “compromised seal.” Full-size pics inside…