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Friday, March 2nd 2007

Customer Service Rage

I’m getting personal here. In November I bought a beautiful Samsung i730:

I Love(d) This Phone

I had to switch from Cingular/ATT to Verizon to do so. But I was coming out of a messy relationship with an absolutely godawful HP iPaq phone. The iPaq was the worst piece of junk in the world and so I was ecstatic to get my hands on this new Samsung pocket pc/phone.

This Samsung was so fast, its design so clean. Samsung even tried to help fix Windows Mobile’s notorious memory management by putting a stop-all-programs command right in the program launcher.

It had some problems. As usual all of them software related (thanks, Bill). For instance for a couple of random days in December Windows Mobile would stall up whenever I got a call. That was inconvenient. But overall it worked pretty darn well, and I was pretty darn happy.

So, with that rambling back story in place, on to how I got so angry.

A day ago the phone had turned itself off and wouldn’t turn back on. I did what any normal person would do – I took the battery out and put it back in. The phone started up but then got stuck on one of the startup screens which “Loading…”

I took the battery out and put it back in again. The phone stalled on startup once more. I put the phone on its cradle and tried to make it connect to ActiveSync. No luck. I pushed the soft reset button. No luck. I left it on overnight to see if it would finish booting up. It didn’t.

Finally, I took it into Verizon and despite the troubles, was in a pretty good mood when I did so.

A hard reset by them didn’t work. Then they give me the bad news – they can’t give me a new phone from a store, they have to call in and have a refurbished one sent to me. Since it’s Friday I’ll probably get it Tuesday. I’m a little upset but okay.

Can I get a loaner phone? They don’t give out loaner phones. The excuse was a multimillion dollar settlement with a family over porn which was on a loaner phone they gave to them for their teenage daughter to use.

See if you can find any evidence of what you would suspect to be a major story, if true.

But maybe its true. I’m not happy but I can live with that excuse at least.

Well, will my bill be prorated? No. Okay, that’s a little shocking and I’m getting a little mad. So, I won’t have a phone for four days because of a defective product (not anything I did) but I’ll still be paying for service.

The manager was pretty adamant that I couldn’t get a refund for, or get these four days without a phone prorated. The money isn’t the point seeing as it isn’t much. It is a matter of fairness and also, just absolutely ridiculous logic. This is almost verbatim:

Manager: Here’s what I tell customers. The cable company wouldn’t give you a refund on your cable bill if your television broke.

Me: They certainly would if your cable box broke, that is a much better analogy. I just had that happen several months ago.

Shouldn’t they hold themselves to some sort of liability for stocking the product? It doesn’t matter one iota that they didn’t manufacture it.

I got really peeved at that crappy analogy. Up to this point Verizon has been pretty good to me, and this phone (minus this incident) has been a jewel but I was peeved enough that I would’ve quit Verizon right then and there if not for the contract termination fee.

I think I’m being really objective when I say I give customer service people a lot of credit and am not one of those people who holds companies to an incredibly high standard. Not only am I wimp and want to avoid confrontations with them but I think a lot of these service jobs are pretty tough. So it wasn’t what was at stake in this discussion, it was the absolutely ridiculous defense put up for basically screwing me over.

The sad part is I’m annoyed despite the fact that after having that argument they managed to reset my phone when they gave it one last effort. I lost all the data on it but at least I can send and receive calls…

Anyone else with any cellular company horror stories? Hopefully much worse than my own.