Dependable Erection

Friday, August 15, 2008

Adventures in Customer Service Land

Chapter 1 - About those rain barrels

I stopped in at Costco today to chat with customer service about my "collapsible" rain barrels. As it turns out, i have neither the receipt nor the original boxes, so i didn't want to schlep them back to the store only to be told i was out of luck. But Mr. Customer Service Man said to stuff 'em in a plastic bag and bring 'em back and they'd be happy to issue a store credit.

Chapter 2 - The recurring destruction of the pepper mill

Olde Thompson's replacement pepper mill sadly lasted barely as long as the first one. I'm guessing something about the design or the production run is at fault. (Brilliant, i know) So i didn't want to replace this one with the same model. Called the 800 number, spoke with a very helpful Ms. Customer Service Woman, and a whole new salt and pepper set of my choice is on its way, no return of the broken item necessary.

Chapter 3 - The unbearable arrogance of the phone company

A few months back, Mrs. D finally got the Alltel situation resolved. So she's got a Verizon cell plan, and for some reason it seemed like a good idea to get a phone for me on some sort of family plan. Now we can stay in touch while i'm driving to work, or if one of us goes to the bathroom while we're eating dinner, for no extra charge.

So, about a month ago, i start noticing that my phone is needing to be charged a little more frequently than seems right. Like twice a week. Even though i basically never use it. I take it to the Verizon place at Northgate, where we got it. There's a huge line, but it looks like most of the people in the line are waiting to pay bills, and there's a bill paying counter right in front of the head of the line. And i ask a couple of people in line if this is the bill paying line, and they all say yes. So i walk up to what appears to be the "repair my busted phone" counter, where there's no line, only to be told i've just cut in front of all those people in the bill paying line.

OK, my bad, but i really have better things to do with my time than waste an hour of it waiting for a Verizon customer service rep. I head back the next morning and learn that i made a good decision, because even though i'm now the first one in line, the rep i talk to says i'm in the wrong place. I have to go a Verizon "store." "Well, what exactly is this?" i ask. "This is a Verizon Wireless Center. You need the Verizon Store." "And where might i find one of those?" "Down on 15-501 somewhere." Well, gee, thanks for the help. Good thing i didn't waste an hour of my time acquiring that piece of information, or i'd really be pissed. So, i look up the "Verizon Store" on 15-501, and drive a bit out of my way to stop by. After waiting only half an hour in the line for the "repair my busted phone" person (which is also the line for the "let me sell you all kinds of upgrades and fancy gizmos to your new phone while i take 20 minutes to activate your account" person) Mr. Customer Service Rep tells me that the problem is bad software, since the battery is only 5 months old and couldn't be defective. It'll take another 20 minutes or so to upgrade the software, and then the phone will have to charge for an hour or so. I tell Mr. CSR i'll come back at the end of the day to get my phone.

That was Wednesday.

This morning, whaddaya know? Dead battery. So i swing back out to the Verizon Store on 15-501 to tell Mr. CSR that i think his diagnosis may have been mistaken. I'm willing to wait a bit for him to replace the battery because there's a barbecue joint at the other end of the strip mall that smells pretty good but, as it turns out, all my waiting is going to have to be done up front because there's about ten people already in the line being sold upgrades and gizmos to go with their new phones and it's going to be close to an hour before i even get to talk to Mr. CSR about his mistaken diagnosis. And Ms "I'm Walking Around Making Sure That Everyone Is In The Right Line" is unable to muster up the initiative to say "why don't you give me your contact information and i'll get the phone back into the repair shop for you so you don't have to wait in line for an hour just to do that." Her contribution to the discussion amounts to, "Yes, i guess you'll have to wait in that line. They're the only ones who can fix your phone."

So now i'm out 3 extra trips to the "Verizon Store" on 15-501 (at 16 miles per round trip) and about an hour and a half of my time (including travel time) and i still don't have a working phone.

Oh,, and while i was waiting in line the first time, Mr. "I'm Walking Around Making Sure That Everyone Is In The Right Line" tried to get me to consider switching from TW Roadrunner to Verizon DSL. Until i told him that story.

As Meat Loaf once said, "Two out of three ain't bad."



  • "As Meat Loaf once said, "Two out of three ain't bad." "

    So don't be sad!

    By Blogger Marsosudiro, at 6:01 PM  

  • Dickie's BBQ?

    Costco is good for cell phone customer service, too. If the reps there can't help, they steer you in the right direction. They might help even if you haven't bought your phone from them. (They do Verizon and AT&T).

    By Blogger toastie, at 7:32 PM  

  • Costco consistently takes anything back, for no reason (no reason even asked), and cheerfully. They are a shining example of good customer service.

    Two other things I found out recently: (1) for some reason hubby & I ended up having two separate memberships, which is silly to pay. The CSR said, sure, just bring in both cards & we'll consolidate them and -- get this -- refund us for one of them. She didn't even have to ask a supervisor what the procedure was! and (2) I took my mom there, and she bought quite a bit of stuff, and was going to reimburse me but I lost the receipt. The same CSR said she could print out a duplicate copy of the receipt.

    For a big-box warehouse store, Costco really rocks.

    By Anonymous Valerie, at 10:09 PM  

  • Get a Peugeot peppermill. Same as the car. I don't know whether the cars are worth a damn, but the peppermills don't break.

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 12:50 AM  

  • Thanks, Joe. As long as Olde Thompson keeps sending me free units i'll save my money and put it towards a new rain barrel*. As soon as they stop, though, i'm going high end.

    Rain barrels are once again becoming hard to find locally. and although i've had one or two merchants tell me that demand fell drastically in our wet spring, online prices are still ridiculously high.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:07 AM  

  • too bad you didn't realize that your newphew is a verizon customer rep (he doesn't handle cell phones, rather landlines and FIOS, but I'm sure he could have helped!!! -

    -your favorite sister

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:39 PM  

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