Entries Tagged as 'Shit List'

Verizon Wireless

Like most cellular communication companies, Verizon Wireless leaves it up to the consumer to find their billing errors.

Last month I called Verizon Wireless right after the AllTel/Verizon merge was complete; and I told the representative that at the end of the call I would have ONE Verizon account; and that that would be achieved either by combining my two numbers (one previously Verizon, one previously AllTel) into a single account without making any changes to the plans OR terminating the old Verizon account.

Originally Verizon had required all AllTel customer to convert to a Verizon account to make ANY changes to their account, but they softened that policy when they found it was just as easy (and cheaper) for many AllTel customers to switch to another cellular provider than switch their plans to a current Verizon offering (I for instance would have to pay more for what I have and would lose six of my eleven “My Circle” number [that’s the numbers I can call airtime free regardless of the network they’re on] and would have to pay for text messaging and data dongle use [Internet access for my laptop]).

The customer service representative was certain he could combine the accounts, because they’d been told they could; however, after several tries (and munging the information on both accounts) he was unable to combine the accounts and “terminated” the service on my old Verizon phone.

Well, I just received the bill for the service — and interestingly enough I was billed an entire month… not just a few days.  Why?  Well simple, they didn’t terminate the account, they suspended it in order to let it age out to the end of the billing period — of course I had no service from Verizon… well, unless you consider billing a service.

How horrible unethical (and illegal)…

Needless to say I just got off the phone with a Verizon representative and gave him two options — put through a bill adjustment, or I’d file a charge back with my credit card company (don’t think there would have been much of a problem with that).  I’m not sure how he arrived at the “adjustment” figure — but then again, I don’t have an advanced degree in cellular telephone billing mathematics… I seem to be getting about half my billed amount back rather than three quarters — but when they generate another bill I’ll review what they’ve done.

The thing I really hate about having to put so much time and energy into “fixing” problems that companies like this cause (and I believe it’s intentional since they know most people won’t put any effort into fixing these fraudulent charges) is that it costs time (which is money).  So the question is, why isn’t there a law that requires companies to PAY consumers for their time when a consumer invests their time to resolve an issue that a company has caused through no fault of the consumer at say two times what the consumer normally is paid (or at least two times minimum wage).  And, of course, these companies should have to pay 21% interest on any excess charges they’ve made.

Originally posted 2009-08-08 01:00:16.

VMware Fusion

Last week I decide to upgrade my copy of VMware Fusion 1.1.3 (Build 94249) to Fusion 2 (it was free, and looked like a pretty compelling upgrade, and I already decided I wasn’t going to spend more money with Parallels).

I downloaded VMware Fusion 2.0.1 (Build 128865) and installed it on my Mac Pro and upgraded my Windows XP machine (following all the instructions).

Then I launched my Windows XP virtual machine, it seemed to run just fine, so I shut down — and my Mac rebooted.

I tried this a few more times; and yep, every time I shut down the virtual machine (that had been working perfectly for a very long time) it reboot my Mac Pro.

So I decided to give it a try on my MacBook Pro.  Well, at least it didn’t reboot my MacBook Pro — but on both the MacBook Pro and on the MacMini I got an error when I shutdown the virtual machine and ended up rebooting before I could run it again.

Four machines, all four of them exhibit problems that ten minutes of QA should have uncovered (of course I probably have run Fusion 2.0.1 on more machines that VMware has).

There is absolutely no excuse for publishing software like this… if I had actually paid for the upgrade I’d be looking for a refund.  Instead I’m just going to remove this crappy software from my Macs and go with a much better overall virtualization solution — VirtualBox.  And if I decide I want a commercial solution, I can always upgrade my copy of Parallels Desktop.

At least when software is FREE you stand a chance of getting what you pay for.

NOTE:

The only reason I was interested in trying Fusion 2.0.1 is that it includes “experimental” support for running OS-X as a guest.  But if it won’t run something that’s supported, I’m not sure I care to even try something “experimental” — glad I waited until it was out of BETA to take a look at it.

Originally posted 2009-02-05 01:00:17.

Walgreen’s

Unfortunately it’s a pattern I’ve seen all too often in the past — the tale tale signs of a merchant that clearly care nothing about you as a customer except what they can extract from your wallet.

I was in Walgreen’s, and I was purchasing a few items and I noticed that they had a $5.00 off on your next purchase with a $20.00 purchase — well, it just so happened that I could make immediate use of that so I got together $20.86 in merchandise and went up to the cash register.

The cashier entered all the promotional codes for my purchase… I swiped my credit card (which was authorized for payment), out came my receipt, an no $5.00 off coupon.

She called the manager on duty (a person I’d conversed with on a number of occasions — who I’ve always found quite competent, quite friendly, and quite helpful).  It took her a few minutes to get to the register; she said that she could void the receipt and do it again, but my feeling was that the cashier had done nothing wrong — it just didn’t work.

But wait!

Walgreen’s apparently knew there were cases where this wouldn’t work — they had provided stores with a form that customers could fill out and mail in.  It did take her quite some time to locate the form, in all I stood at the check out about 40 minutes (40 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, nor will I be compensated for in any way).

So, corporate expects customers to spend their time and money (no envelope or stamp was provided by Walgreen’s) to correct their problem.  The advertisement clearly stated that the $5.00 off coupon was instant, not a mail-in rebate; and that it could be used on the next trip to Walgreen’s (like immediately).

I can’t fault any of the store employees — they tried to do what they could; but I do fault the corporate policy.

I came home, I wrote a lengthy message to Walgreen’s customer service telling them what had happened, and what I thought of their policies, and that they’d made me a happy and loyal CVS customer (there’s a 24-hour CVS right across the street from the 24-hour Walgreen’s near my home).  And when I sent it — I immediately deleted the email address I’d provided Walgreen’s for their sales circulars and online shopping (I’ll have no need for those) and directed that they were to remove all my information from their systems.

I have no need to invest my time and my money correcting the failing of a company that doesn’t offer in any way to compensate me for their mistakes, and I encourage everyone to do what I always do — use your wallet to show you just won’t accept this type of behavior.

If a company makes a mistake — the company should fix it without any intervention of the customer that’s effected.  And my personal feeling is there should be a federal law that requires companies to pay individuals for their time and expense they invest in fixing problems that they in no way contributed to (whey are doing work for the company) – after all, the way it stands now, companies have no reason to get it right, since it always seems to be you the consumer that get’s the short end.

I’m just saying “No” to Walgreen’s — just like all the other companies who’ve shown they don’t deserve my business.

Originally posted 2012-05-28 02:00:03.

Media Com

OK, so I thought Comcast was bad…

After I first moved I had Cox Cable — and it was great.  The installation happened exactly as they promised; I consistently got 15 mb/s down stream out of the 20 mb/s down stream burst they promised, and it was at a fair price.

Then, of course, I bought a house and moved in, and Cox didn’t service my new address — Media Com ( mediacomcc.com ) did…

So I went to the office to order service since there didn’t seem to be any way to do it online.

When I got to the office, and stood in line for about half an hour, I came to find out that they couldn’t setup cable service for me since the address had never had cable and wasn’t in their database and the person who added addresses would take two to three days to complete it.  But I was told that they would call me as soon as my address had been entered.

Never received a call… so I stopped back by the middle of the next week.

My address had indeed been ordered; and I was able to order Internet service (actually TV plus Internet was $0.10 cheaper than Internet alone, so I got both — not that either option was what I’d consider a fair price).

The installer arrived within the window provided; but didn’t actually have everything to complete the installation (no outside box — so he just wired the splitter up with no protection from the elements and promised to come back within a couple days to install the box).

There wasn’t a problem bringing up the Internet (it was a self install) — I can’t tell you anything about the TV service since my TVs (to this day) still remain in the boxes from the move.

The first thing I noticed was that the connection was slow (we’re talking very slow); but I didn’t panic right away and call technical support because I knew that on many system the modem might take 72-hours to provision correctly.

After a few days I started to run speed tests… they consistently showed that I was getting around 400 kb/s down stream out of the 8 mb/s advertised (but, of course, not guaranteed).  I might have been happy with 4 mb/s, but less than 2 mb/s meant that the connection would not be usable.

I placed a call to technical support and of course had to wade through all there attempts to deflect the problem as something I was doing.  Finally they decided that there must be a problem and scheduled an appointment for a four hour window the next Monday (almost a week in the future) with a 30 minute notice call.

Sunday evening came around and their automated system called me to confirm my appointment.  I pressed the button on my cell phone and the appointment was confirmed.

Monday I’d arranged my schedule to be around the house all afternoon… fifteen minutes before the close of their window (fifteen minutes after their notice period had expired) I called technical support.

The first thing I heard was… “we still have fifteen minutes” — then I pointed out that no, since I’d been promised a call 30 minutes before the service technician arrived that they’d officially missed the window.

A little more checking and they discovered that my appointment had been cancelled by the local office because they’d determined the problem was with the head-end and not in my home — of course no one had bother to notify me that I didn’t need to be available.

Immediately the technician offered me a credit for the missed appointment — I ask to speak to a supervisor.

The supervisor assured me that I should have been notified; but he was unable to provide me any information about when I could expect a resolution to the problem — so he committed to have someone call me back within 72-hours.

I stressed to him that if Media Com couldn’t honor simple commitments that I would switch my service to AT&T ADSL.

The week passed, and no return call – so I called in again, go a promise of a call back… and to this day I’ve never received a call back.  I also filed an online support ticket that’s never been answered.

The day after I had AT&T ADSL installed (which gives my consistently 5 mb/s downstream out of the 6 mb/s promised) I returned the equipment to the local Media Com office… and was ask why — I recanted the story so that everyone waiting in line could hear it.

The woman didn’t seem to be the list bit surprised, and never offered an apology.

The following week I called up to make sure that my account was closed and to insure that the 30-day money back guarantee was honored… the person I spoke with just happen to be a supervisor and was actually the first person who genuinely apologized without me needing to underscore how pathetic their customer service had been.

I could have lived with the poor Internet service for some period of time had I believed that the company was actually customer focused and that they would honor their commitments.  Further, I would have been far more willing to work with them had their customer service actually apologized right off, and made me feel that mine was the exception and not the norm.

BUT… 400 kb/s — come on… my cell phone does better than that!!!

Originally posted 2009-08-03 01:00:43.

Promise NS4300N NAS (Update)

Looks like Promise has “fixed” the issue with Seagate 1.5TB drives in the NS4300N NAS…

They’ve replaced Compatibility List NS4300N_SR5_Compatibility_List_v1.0-20081031.pdf with NS4300N_SR5_Compatibility_List_v1.0-20081126.pdf on their support web site — the never revisions of the V1.0 Compatibility List omits the Seagate 1.5TB drive (interesting that they choose to call it V1.0 rather than V1.1 and remove the previous V1.0 list from their web page)… but the firmware release notes still contains the statement that they’ve added support for 1.5TB drives (the only 1.5TB drive I know of is the Seagate).

Promise’s actions are a little suspect… maybe it’s time for a trip over to Alameda’s Small Claims Court…  I’ve retained copies of both versions of the compatibility list as well as the firmware release notes.

And for the record, I have still yet to receive any update to my online support inquiry even though I’ve updated it a number of times with “additional” comments and information; and I’ve called Promise as well.

Originally posted 2008-12-04 22:13:22.

Circuit City “One Price Promise”

Do retailers really think consumers are stupid?

Take a look at Circuit City’s “One Price Promise” on their web site… pay particular attention to the exclusions.

One Price Promise?  Yeah… you can be confident you’re likely to be screwed over if you’re not an informed consumer.

I’ll spend my money elsewhere — though I’ll be happy to force them to better a lost leader price by 10% with there “Unbeatle Price Guarantee”!!!

Originally posted 2008-11-26 12:00:28.

PayPal

The world’s most-loved way to pay and get paid.

What a crock… everyone I know loathes PayPal… the only reason anyone uses it is critical mass; pretty much the same reason people use eBay — that’s like saying people love the phone and cable company just because they use their services.

It’s laughable that a brand that’s synonymous with poor service and screwing people over every time they have a chance would have a slogan like that…

Of course, I broke into hysterical laughter the first time a Pacific Bell customer (dis)service person answered the phone with:

How may I provide you with excellent service today.

My reply was transfer me to a company that actually cares about it’s customers if you can find one.

Remember, it’s the worst companies that find it necessary to try and convince you that they’re loved…

Originally posted 2011-01-20 02:00:53.

Lowes “We Care” LOL

I purchased an inexpensive ceiling fan from Lowe’s in July — I needed something small, something that would be close to the ceiling, and since I didn’t really care for anything I had to choose from, something that wasn’t expensive.

I ended up with a:

Harbor Breeze,  30″ White Breezeway Ceiling Fan
Item #: 20006 / Model: 0020006

For about $30…

I found the fan a little noisy from the start, and originally it wobbled quite a bit on the ceiling (that I took care of by taking it down, and putting it back up using some felt spacers to help cushion it against the outlet box).

Last week, it finally got cool enough here that I didn’t need the fan circulating air in my office… so I turned it off.  Yesterday it got warm enough that I felt like it was a good idea to turn it on to circulate the air to keep the office as cool as possible.

To my surprise, a ceiling fan less than three months old appears to have bearing that are going bad (certainly I don’t class this fan as inexpensive any longer, I classify it as CHEAP).

I figured, I’d contact Lowe’s and find out what the warranty was and how painful it would be to get service… so I clicked on their web site, send off a message to customer service (with all the information on the fan, model, etc) and went about my business doing other thing.

Submitting online requests are great; they very low impact on a person’s time — you send in the request when you have time, you deal with the response when you have time — it’s the next best thing to not needing to contact support… that is when you actually get customer service.

I got a message fairly early this morning — they needed the item and / or model number in order to provide me with the information I ask for.  Hmm — can you say careless, incompetent, and not really interested in providing service — all that information was in the web request AND embarrassingly enough, the entire web request (including that information was sent to me).

I replied that I had provided the information already… and if there was something more they needed they’d have to be more specific.

The next note came back that they couldn’t access the original web request; yes — you got it, all the previous information was once again copied onto the request.

Enough was enough… I picked up the phone and called.

The woman who I spoke with (after going through the obligatory maze of voice prompts and responses — a good sign a company doesn’t really care about it customers) seemed concerned, but she immediately needed to put me on hold (wasting more of my time) to research the problem.  Then all she had to come back with was that the local store would call me.  When I told her I’d like to speak with her manager, she immediately apologized and told me that the local store would be calling to help me (yeah — like I was deaf, dumb, or stupid — she obviously had been dealing with Lowe’s customer service people too much).

I was a little “rough” on her… and got a manager.

The manager was equally ineffective — but in fact confirmed that all the information that would have been needed to resolve this had been entered into the original message; but since it had been turned over to the store they would need to handle it.

As I pointed out to him; I did an online request for information because I didn’t want to spend the time chasing this down on phone calls — had I wanted to make a phone call originally I would have been able to, and that all they had really done was to waste my time and encourage me to shop elsewhere.

I received a voice mail this afternoon from one of the local Lowe’s store — apparently they’ve pulled a replacement for me and it’s ready for me to pick it up at my convenience.

I’ve got news for Lowe’s — it will NEVER be at my convenience, and I certainly don’t intend on wasting more of my time to take down this POS fan, drive to Lowe’s, pickup another POS fan, and install the same POS fan — I’d much rather invest a little more of my money and less of my time in acquiring and replacing this fan with something that provides better service than either this POS fan or Lowe’s!

Originally posted 2009-10-23 01:00:11.

Green Online… JUST SAY NO

Below is a note I sent to Willis Orchard Co about an order I placed for some tropical plants.


On 19-Mar I placed an order for three Medjool Palms (1.5′-2′) and a Drawf Cavendish Banana Tree with and expected ship date around 1-Apr… yesterday (11-May) I received the FedEx packages containing those items.

Roughly a week after the expected ship date I began calling approximately once a week for an update on the shipping status — to which (other than the last call) I was always told that the product should be shipping within a couple days…

Needless to say, my impression of your “customer service” wasn’t very high; in fact it was so low that I acquired the forty-seven other fruit trees, shrubs, and ornamental trees I used to begin landscaping my yard from local sources…

I understand that your shipping delays were caused by your vendor; however, the failure to realistically appraise me of delays is solely a fault your company and customer service people must bare.

While the shipping delay alone was enough to make me shy away from doing additional business with your company; the condition of the plants I received certainly indicated to me that I shall not put your company high on a list to consider again.

The committed size of the plants is stated to be the overall height; while I’d would have hoped that would be the height from the top of the root ball to the highest vertical point on the plant, it’s obvious that you intend that measurement to be the distance from the top of the root ball to the furthest point on a (stretched) frond of the palms.

In my case that appears to be two just less than 18″ (one of those I’m being generous with the “just less”) and one that isn’t even 16″… further the one closest to 18″ and the one less than 16″ are based on measuring fronds that are brown at the ends (dead) — which most likely didn’t occur in a single day of shipping from Southern Georgia to Northwest Florida.

I can’t say I was the least bit surprised… and certainly I don’t think any of these three specimens would have come home with me had I visually inspected them before purchase (at the prices you charge).

Whether these represent the plants you would normally ship to a customer or simply you feel you’re a victim of the volume of your orders verses the inability of your supplies to fulfill their commitments I can’t say… all I can say is that I’m greatly disappointed.


In retrospect, I’d say ordering plants online should be put in the same category as ordering produce online — what you get might not live up to your standards, and what others are happy with says nothing about the quality.

Originally posted 2010-05-13 02:00:35.

American Blinds

I spend a fair amount of time researching the window coverings I wanted for my home; and I’d decided on cellular blinds.

Like most things I don’t know a great deal about, I read up on a topic and ask questions — and window coverings was not exception.  It took me the better part of two months to educate myself to the point I felt comfortable making decisions [well, my office and the master bed room I’d chosen Plantation faux wood blinds for before I moved in — but partially out of necessity].

I learned the questions to ask about blinds, and detemined the options I was interested in, read reviews and got several quotes.

I decided to go with American Blinds; their prices were certainly not the absolute lowest, but they seemed to have a product that was very high quality at a reasonable price.

I ordered blinds for all the remaining windows in the house except the garage (that I could get for less locally, and I certainly wasn’t putting a cellular there) and the guest bed room (it has a perfect arch, and I haven’t decided what to do there yet).

It took about two weeks for the blinds to arrive; and the first window I was going to hang was the master bath room (also the smallest window).

I opened up the blind’s packaging (they were each labeled for the room / window they were intended), and immediately noted that the blind wasn’t finished — the pull string hung down over five inches below the bottom of the blind, then I noticed that the brackets were made of PVC not metal (as promised), and that there were no instructions to hand the blinds in the boxes (as promised).

I brought up a chat window with customer service who immediately provided me with the wrong instructions for hanging the blinds (I already knew how to hang blinds with metal brackets — in fact I already had the instructions for the blinds I was supposed to be getting); it took me close to an hour to get the right instructions for hanging the blinds, and then I had to download them from the manufacturer’s site (using the retailer’s log in information).  They couldn’t explain why the blinds weren’t finished, nor could they provide me with any written instructions on how to properly finish the blinds.

I’d had enough — I didn’t order a build-it-yourself blind project; I’d paid (via credit card) for a product, and this wasn’t it… so I told the customer service representative I wanted a refund — that these blinds wouldn’t do.

I did finally get a RMA from them; and they said that the manufacturer had changed the blinds and that they would be updating the information on their site (I have no idea if they have, and really don’t care).

All I know is I’m out $35 return shipping and quite a bit of my time– unfortunately I can’t get that back from my credit card company (who I filled a charge back with while I was on the road to UPS to drop off the blinds).

If you’re going to order blinds on line, make sure that they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and order one (small) blind to start with to make sure you’ll be happy with the quality.

Personally I’ll NEVER do business with American Blinds; and I highly recommend that EVERYONE avoid them — I find their ethics a little questionable at best.

Originally posted 2009-08-05 01:00:42.