Sunday, August 15, 2010

Corporate Manipulation

AT&T is the worst of them all, simply informing you when you call to complain about your bill that "Our computers do not make errors, this is the amount you owe." Or my personal favorite -- calling them about a plan change in the middle of your billing cycle that allegedly resulted in a 'Pro-Rated' adjustment. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? In my opinion this should mean a fair assessment for the days you used a specific rate plan. It never fails, however, that even if you change your rate plan to a lower plan your bill will be HIGHER than usual! How can this be? They have the craziest math ever. I'm not the only one who has complained -- their recent 'Pro-Rate' billing statements now consist of nearly a page trying to explain with simple graphics how they reached your assessment. Pretty crazy!

Amazon is simply the best! Just call this hard to find number 1-866-216-1072. The most professional person will answer the phone at once (seriously no phone tree, no holding). They will immediately FIX your problem. "What, you didn't receive you item? No problem I can overnight a new one to you for delivery before 10AM or refund your money, which would you prefer?" I bought a rather expensive software package from them a couple of years ago that eventually stopped working, they let me keep it and refunded the money -- they win!

Comcast -- oh Comcast. I loathe Comcast. Did you hear about the lady who spent nearly 40 hours a week on the phone with Comcast tyring to fix a problem she was having? After nearly a month of this she finally got someone to take on her case and fix her problem. She was content until she got her next bill and noticed that her name had been replaced with an expletive on her statement. Or the old lady who got so frustrated she went into her local Comcast office with a hammer and smashed the representatives phone and keyboard to eliminate any distractions while dealing with her problem (LOL).

We Norton's have had our share of problems with Comcast, I really don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I think about them. I will say that at one point when I was about to explode last year as we had hit or miss Internet service I Googled their corporate number. It actually worked, two linemen came to our house in a bucket truck and spent three hours studying everything they could about our neighborhood service eventually getting to the bottom of the problem (and giving us a lightning fast 30MBPS for a trouble). we have Internet with them out of necessity as the aforementioned AT&T "Doesn't serve our area" THAT'S FUNNY CONSIDERING ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORS HAVE AT&T. When I asked a guy installing service at our neighbors house about this he told me he wasn't surprised. I rest my case.

Then there is GE. Lets be real -- GE is fundamentally a good company. Most of the airplanes in the world have GE engines that work really well. GE finances cars, and houses. They do amazing things with our Military. GE has paid record dividends to their stockholders since the day they went public, they just rock! Now to the heinous attack on the Nortons. Our GE microwave was installed when our house was built a few years ago. I knew that it only had a one year warranty, and that is fine with me.

A couple of months ago our microwave stopped working. Based on the unusual noise it was making I was able to diagnose the exact problem via the Internet, I was also warned to NEVER attempt to fix a microwave on my own via the Internet. In my research I also learned that this one part just happens to be under a 5 year warranty. What luck! I excitedly call GE Customer Service and learn that there is an $80 fee to have the company of the GE service guy, and then he will tell us his labor rate to replace this part (labor wasn't covered) once he arrives. Mind you the $80 is a sunk cost IT COUNTS FOR NOTHING! -- Usually you get to count it towards the labor cost if you decide to have the work done, but not with GE.

I find myself very befuddled that a company that finds themselves on all seven continents cannot tell me the labor cost to replace a magnetron in a microwave. I'm not asking them for the cost per pound to launch their latest telescope into space. Or to calculate a risk assessment on the volatility of the rocket fuel they will use to get the telescope into space (both things I'm sure they can do). I'm asking about how much it might cost to put a new magnetron in a microwave they built. NOTHING! It takes me two weeks of calling, eventually I call corporate and insist on speaking to their non-existent resolution department. What I get is the 'Charmian's Office'. I have come to believe that this "Office" is staffed by an intern whose job it is to make people hush and go away. But they had me believing I had reached the highest level possible in my quest.

Again I was told "Nobody can tell you how much this will cost you until the service tech puts the code into his computer." To add to the realism the guy on the phone had me on speakerphone, my suggestion that he call up a service tech real quick and have him punch in the code fell on deaf ears. I finally give up -- feeling like I was making a huge financial mistake I decided to schedule a service call. I would now like to post for anyone who may attempt to search how much the labor costs to replace a magnetron on a GE microwave. The answer is $295.00. Mind you this very microwave could have been replaced for $405. I could have dickered that down to $350 easily at my local Lowe's.

Oh the frustration with these mega corporations. I really try to be as nice as possible to these people answering the phone. It's so hard to remember at times that they are just doing their job and usually their hands are tied. Thanks for letting me vent -- you all are great listeners!


Anonymous said...

The new picture is fabulous! However, I'm ready to see the Nortons in person again asap!
Pop and Mim

Matt & Randi McComber said...

Your welcome. I'll always be here to return the favor and listen to your rants.