Michael emailed us, and Dell, from a loaner computer while he’s on a trip. His own laptop isn’t working, and thanks to a steady stream of broken promises and incorrect information, now he’s stuck without access to the software and development files he needs for his work.
After calling every major computer maker with two basic questions, Laptop Magazine determined that Apple has the best overall tech support, while Dell, HP, and Acer have the worst. Though the results aren’t surprising, the depth of the PC makers’ incompetence is truly disappointing…
A list of online tech help sites. [New York Times]
Consumerist reader Darkrose writes, “I just got this in my e-mail. Thought you guys might be interested in it.” In the email, GM’s president Troy Clarke is in high PR mode, pointing out the grave consequences and emphasizing that GM wants not “a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.” We thought other readers who aren’t GM customers would find it interesting.
Last month, Walmart announced it was shutting down the DRM side of its online music store, and too bad if you were a customer, because they were also going to turn off the DRM server that authorized your music for playback. Apparently enough customers complained, because they came to their senses—at least for the time being—and decided to keep the server running. Read their email below.
This chat transcript from “Yet Another Girl”‘s blog is an example of how sometimes you can find exactly the answer you’re looking for on a customer service chat. Unfortunately, in this case, you’ll do all of the work yourself while the chat agent stares numbly at the screen, wondering how did I end up here? I don’t even know what this “apple” thing is!
Reader Adam has written in to share his maddeningly typical experience with Comcast. As he says, “They didn’t kill my first born child, but they were a big pain in the ass.”
A FiOS Support Agent has kindly written in to share some insider tips to getting the most out of your FiOS support experience. Of particular interest: Make sure you know (and approve of) where they’ve buried your cable so you know wherenot to dig in your lawn!
Companies are slowly learning that those infuriating automated phone trees aren’t the answer to their customer service problems. Some experts even claim that automated systems anger customers. The New York Times decided to trace the history of the hated trees, while wondering if things will ever change.
Reader Adrian’s PS3 is broken and since the console was a gift that didn’t come with a receipt, Sony is denying warranty coverage. Where it gets tricky is that there’s a “manufactured on” sticker on the back of the machine indicating that it is clearly less than a year old — meaning that there’s no possible way it could be out of warranty coverage. Adrian tried explaining this concept to Sony, but they weren’t interested. No receipt. No warranty. When Adrian threatened to switch to XBOX, Sony’s only answer was that “their support wasn’t much better.”
Creative Labs heard your chest-beating across the internet and decided to reinstate spurned developer Daniel_K less than a week after booting him from their forums. Unlike Creative, Daniel_K issued drivers that allowed Creative sound cards to work properly under Vista, and even enabled previously crippled features. The drivers were downloaded over 100,000 times. The company thanked the developer by accusing him of “enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, [in] effect, stealing our goods.” Even though he has been reinstated, Daniel_K is still pissed.
Creative’s executive team will be coming in to quite a mess Monday morning, thanks to its VP of Screw Ups, Phil O’Shaughnessy. Friday morning, he posted a warning on the Creative customer forums that told programmer Daniel_K to stop writing his own drivers for their X-Fi sound cards. The cards still won’t work on Vista over a year after the OS was released, because Creative hasn’t released drivers for them—but by Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s account, Daniel_K is “stealing” from Creative by making the cards work. Then the weekend happened.
A DirecTV CSR claimed that reader Mark changed his installation by following troubleshooting instructions to unplug and reconnect his box, and now owed $79.95. Mark, who paid $6 per month for DirecTV’s protection plan, refused to pay the fee and asked to cancel to his service.
37signals, the company behind the affordable online project management service Basecamp, has some of the fastest customer service we’ve ever seen: twice over the past year, they’ve responded in near-real-time to support questions with helpful, non-canned responses. We’re so used to big companies that sacrifice customer service in the name of profit, or small companies that aren’t prepared to handle queries, that it’s nice to come across a company that does it well. [37signals]
The folks at NPR would like you to know that they’ve added a “Green Room” to the NPR Shop. In addition to not wrecking the planet, your purchase supports NPR’s general awesomeness. The glassware made from recycled wine bottles looks pretty darn cool. [NPR]
03/27/2007 01:18:23PM Agent: “Did you purchase your copy of windows from Dell?”
Bulletin Boards came into being back in 1978 as a way for local computer club members to exchange messages with each other and to share programs by phone. Today there are over 300 computerized bulletin boards in the United States, and you don’t have to belong to a computer club to use one.”
Wow, really? Hey look, someone just typed letters so that it looks like a naked person!—MEGHANN MARCO