National Bad Customer Service Week

So did I miss a memo? Is this week National Bad Customer Service Week? I sure as hell seems as it is. Pardon my rant here, but it has to be done in order to preserve my sanity.

Company #1: HP.

Have I ever told you that I hate HP? They make crappy printers. Let’s just throw that out there.

If you don’t believe me, it is because you have not had enough experience with HP printers. As an example, let me briefly mention their flawed products. For quite some time, HP released flawed products to the market, and made little to no effort to rectify their poor products. When a customer buys several laser printers, and those printers turn into paper monsters, and the customer contacts the manufacturer only to find that there is a flaw and a part has been made available to customers free of charge, but only when the customer calls to complain and specifically mentions the repair part, it makes customers angry. It shows that HP has poor service. But this is not why I am angry with HP today.

On Sunday, I ordered two monitors from the HP website. They were listed, clear as day, at a price of $160, with a $50 mail in rebate. I ordered two, and had a $25 off coupon, so my total came to be $312.60. My credit card was charged, and I received my confirmation. Later that day, I receive notice that the order was cancelled because they could not complete the payment. Keep that in mind as I proceed.

The following day, I called HP, and was told that the product was a “promotion that sold out too fast for us to honor all the orders.” Fine, I can handle that. Just give me an immediate refund and I will be on my merry way. I was told that it would take up to 7 days to get my money back. I asked for a supervisor.

The supervisor then told me the item was a price mistake. Well, which is it– a price mistake, or a sold-out promotion? There is no need to lie– just lay it out for me. The supervisor insisted it was a price mistake, and that I would get my money back within 7 days.

That is not acceptable. So, I contacted HP Executive Support. The lady there was friendly, but not very helpful. She asked to return my call, which I have to admit that she did actually return my call. She stated, however, that HP did not take my money out of the account, and only put a “precharge” on the account. According to my bank statement, they took the money. I have $312.60 less in my account that I currently cannot use. They took my money. When will I get it back? Who knows. If it’s not back by tomorrow, I will contest the charges, and make HP look like fools.

Company #2- First Chatham Bank.

I have been with this bank for about two years, maybe more, maybe a bit less, but it has been a substantial amount of time. They pride themselves on “knowing your first name.” Nobody over there knows my first name.

We were referred to this bank by an acquaintance of the vice president of this bank after our last bank were such bumbling idiots that they lost the original to every single piece of documentation on our account, including internet banking passwords, six signature cards, and more. They (the old bank and worst bank in the world– National Bank of Commerce, now Suntrust) said that my records were taken home by a bank employee who had been terminated.

So, when I started these new accounts (one personal, one business), I was excited to have an “in” at the bank, and expected service accordingly. Not today, though.

Last night, I ordered some keyboards from a company called “Chief Value.” They’re next in the list, but I have to go on about the bank first. Chief Value tried to do address verification on my account, but it failed because the shipping address (home) is not where my statements are sent (PO Box). They sent me an email saying they would try again, and let me know.

Today, I got an email saying address verification failed, and that I needed to contact the card issuer (my bank) to have them add the shipping address to the account’s notes field.

I called my bank. I explained my situation to someone who obviously didn’t listen. I explained it again, and she punted me to someone else. I explained my situation to the next representative. She punted too, and sent me to another lady. She also punted, but this time, told me to call the other branch, where I do not do any banking whatsoever.

I called the other branch. The first person with whom I spoke didn’t listen either. I explained my situation to her again, and she punted. She said I had to talk to the person who opened my account, and then transferred me to her voicemail.

Voicemail is not good. NEVER send a customer who has been given the runaround to voicemail. It gets them angry, and makes them that much less likely to use your services in the future. After all, if I can’t get an answer now, on my schedule, why would I bother trying to get an answer at all? Now is the time– I am calling for resolution. Resolve it, or tell me flat out what I can do to resolve it, but don’t send me to some stranger’s voicemail so I can have them fail to call me back.

I didn’t leave a message, but instead called back. I explained that I would not be leaving a voicemail message, and that I chose a small, local bank so I can get near-instant resolution to problems that may arise. I was then informed that all three people who could help me were at lunch. ALL AT LUNCH? It’s freaking 2:15 in the afternoon. They are NOT all at lunch. And if they are, they need to be reprimanded for all taking lunch at the same time. Customers first. Lunch second.

The lady finally offered to transfer me to someone who could help. This person could not help. She said I had to fax in a copy of my driver’s license with my request because they didn’t have one. That was wrong. I had provided three copies– one when I opened each account, and one when I ordered my debit card. She then told me she was new, and didn’t know how to properly handle the situation. Whoa– the first bit of honesty from this bank.

I informed her that I would call the bank where I actually do my banking, and simply insisted that they provide first-rate service. So I called the other branch. I finally got a person over there that OUTRIGHT LIED to me. She said that “because of the patriot act, we can’t make changes to your account without photo ID.” Oh yeah, then why was Jaime able to sign a debit card request a short three months ago without presenting ID?

She finally said she would take my information and call me back. That is code for “I want to get you off my phone and research company policies and your account.”

I wrote a letter and went in to the bank. It details the customer service runaround I was put through, the poor knowledge of bank policies and laws that their employees maintain, and the fact that my point of contact is now in the “loans” department, and not even at the same branch where I bank.

I walked straight into the bank, went into an account executive’s office, and put my stuff down. I handed her the letter, asked for her to rectify my situation immediately, and told her I would wait. She reviewed the letter, photocopied it, and proceeded to do what I had asked.

While sitting there, I noticed that they had a patriot act disclaimer. I read their patriot act disclaimer to her. It basically stated, “We will ask you for ID to make account changes if you opened the account before the patriot act was in effect.” I explained that she seemingly didn’t know bank policy, asked if we were done, grabbed my stuff, and hit the road.

What crappy service! So, now…

Company #3: Chief Value

I called Chief Value, as their email requested, to inform them that they could not rerun my address verification, and that it would go through. I gave my order number, and the girl was clueless. She couldn’t find my order. Well, what more do you need– I’m reading it straight from the email.

She said that the address verification would be rerun automatically. I asked when. She said 24-48 hours. That is not acceptable. I was given no confirmation number that I had requested reverification, and judging by her knowledge of my order, I didn’t believe her for even a split-second.

I asked to be transferred to the department that handles address verification. She said that was impossible. I asked for her to put a rush on my verification. She said it was impossible. I asked her to cancel my order– she did it within 5 seconds. I asked for her supervisor, and was put on hold for 10 minutes before I hung up.

I called back and asked for a supervisor. I explained that their company advertises great service, and I received way-less-than-great-service. I explained how I order about $5,000 per year in computer parts (which I do), and that if they can’t push my order out the door in a reasonable fashion, they will not get my business, and will get a negative write-up on my blog, linked from AD. I explained that NewEgg had the item at a similar price, and that I have NEVER had a problem with them. I also explained that my card had already been charged, and that if they can charge the card, they can ship the item. Period.

He apologized, which was nice. He finally offered to upgrade my shipping, which is also nice, but not expected. The items are to ship via FedEx, and they are 4 days from anywhere in the country. I don’t need the items *that* fast, I just need to know that my order has been successfully completed, and will ship in a reasonable timeframe.

So, that is this week’s bad customer service experience. I am nearly at the point where I will only place orders via telephone, will record the conversation, and will inform the customer service department that even the slightest bit of incorrect information, rudeness, or unwillingness to help will be reported to their supervisor. It is very sad.

If I am paying for something, I DEMAND SATISFACTION. If you cannot offer satisfaction, simply say it. In doing so, that provides SATISFACTION. It’s OK if you cannot do what you say you can as long as you inform me as much. It is NOT OK if you give me a plate full of crap and expect me to eat it as part of the privilege of doing business with you.

That is all. For now.

One thought on “National Bad Customer Service Week

  1. This is probably how Nader got his start.

    Maybe there’s a future in bad customer service for you. You seem to have cornered the market!

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