Locked out

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Buying a car from an auto dealership and using the service department is one of the biggest jokes that can be played on a consumer. They tell you when you buy the car that you have a warranty, you have lifetime oil changes, you have access to loaner cars if needed…they tell you a lot of things.

What they don’t tell you is that they are severely understaffed (which has only gotten worse). What they don’t tell you is that their service department hours are limited to the hours you are working (no weekends), so it makes it virtually impossible to schedule even routine maintenance without having to take time off. What they don’t tell you is that they don’t really have loaner cars, just that they will get a rental for you IF they deem it necessary.

So, the long story…

I bought a 2018 Kia Niro almost four years ago. I like the car. I really haven’t had any issues with it up to this point. But, the routine maintenance has been a challenge for the reasons listed above. It’s just hard to schedule an appointment.

About three or so months ago, the car started to give me issues when unlocking the car. Initially, the car wouldn’t recognize when I walked up to it (mirrors open and lights come on). The keyfob is the trigger for this function so I started keeping my eye on how often it would happen. It slowly began to progress to the point that pushing the button on the keyfob wouldn’t unlock the car. Pushing the button on the door handle wouldn’t unlock the car. Eventually, after pushing the buttons for several minutes, it would eventually unlock.

It did what most people would do and I assumed the battery in the keyfob was going dead. Afterall, it’s been four years with lots of use. I was actually surprised it took so long for it to be needed. So, I replaced the battery.

Did is solve the issues? Nope. It seemed to have made them worse.

Not only was it still difficult to get the doors unlocked, but now suddenly the car wouldn’t start! The car is a push button start, so there is no auxillary ignition slot for a key. Now I was getting a message that the keyfob needed to be in the car – while I was holding it while inside the car! Again, after furious button pushing, eventually it would start. But now I am wondering when I would be stranded for good if something didn’t happen soon…

So, I took the car to the dealership (last Wednesday) to see if they knew if there as an issue that was something fairly easy. They initially discussed that the keyfob might need to be reprogrammed to the car.

Cost? Approximately $75…

Mind you, there is NO OTHER WAY to start the car as there is no key. The keyfob is the key!! So, it is kinda required equipment. To charge a customer for this is absurd!

I complained loudly. The car is even still under warranty. There should be no charge for this!

They decided they better investigate further and find out if that really is the issue. So, an appointment is needed. Remember the whole schedule thing? Can’t do it and I am afraid I am going to be stranded. Soonest they could get me in would be five days (a Monday) because their “electronics guy” is out for training. They offer to pay for a rental while I wait for the car to be looked at.

OK, I supposed. Whatever.

Monday comes, no call from the dealership.

I call. I am told they are too busy to look for the paperwork, they’ll call me back. Two hours later, I call back. I am now told that the car wasn’t looked at and that the “appointment” wasn’t really an appointment so much as they were going to see if they could squeeze me in. I am told they will for sure get to it tomorrow…Tuesday…as yet, still no call with a status update.

Are car dealerships set up this way just to be a pain in the ass? Does everyone else have an issue with their car dealership after purchasing a car?

Registered?

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Lots of companies want you to register the product you purchased. Probably so they can track you or something, but hopefully it is because they want to provide you with excellent customer support when the product breaks or malfunctions or something.

Why then, if they want you to do this, does it have to be so difficult?

I went to the Ryobi website to register a product and to make sure the warranty was going to be there if needed. I signed into my account and the very first thing I noticed was that EVERY page I went to the “live chat” box popped up, even after closing it. Annoying…

When I finally got to the product registration page and inputted the model number, the correct product doesn’t come up. WTH? I searched through everything that was suggested and they were the right type of tool, but not even close to the correct model.

So, I had to use the “live chat” after all…only to have to agree to have them send me an email so they could get all the pertinent product details and then they would register the product for me and confirm via email that it was done.

I am still waiting for that email.

Again, this is a large tool company. It’s their website.

Think it should work correctly? Think it is good customer service to have the customer go to your website and then they can’t do the thing they were directed to do on the website in the first place?

Not even remotely.

I hope I get a satisfaction survey…

Sirius-ly annoying

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Does it astound you how companies or corporations or whatever you wanna call them when they assume the customer is stupid? Does it astound you that they don’t realize in today’s world that there are other options that you, as the customer, have when it comes to entertainment? It frustrates me. Gets me all pissy, and stuff. Guess I am in the right place…

So, the subscription to SiriusXM is up in my car. Well, in another month, but basically I have gotten the renewal notice already. Knowing there is a “game” to play with these companies I called and went through the stupid hassle again. The whole point here is that as the customer we shouldn’t have to play the game in order to get the best deal. Sirius-ly.

When I got the car I had and used the free trial. When the trial was up I cancelled the service. I wasn’t going to pay $20+ a month for radio in my car when I can literally get it for free or use whatever streaming service I have on my phone. Sure, there are lots of choices available via the service but they a pretty much the same as the apps I can get on my phone and they are actually better than listening to the regular radio because there are no (or rarely) commercials. So there is some give and take when it comes to features.

After about eight months and multiple offers at different pricing tiers, SiriusXM finally hit one I couldn’t pass up. It was better than some of the streaming services on the phone, Amazon, and Apple. So, for just over $6 a month I felt it was worth it. After a year at that price, and a pandemic going on, they offered another year of the service at the same price. Of course I accepted it have enjoyed it more since used it nearly every day while working from home.

Now, two years later, its that time to renew again.

I did the messaging online and long story short, they didn’t offer me the same deal to start with. They instead offered just six months and then back to their “regular” price.

Uh, I just said if I wasn’t going to get the same price I was going to cancel. Did you not believe me?

So I told them to cancel it.

Oh, wait, suddenly now the same price is available again…weird…

No, not really. They just like to yank people’s chains hoping you’re stupid enough to pay any attention to the deal you’re getting. It’s irritating. Sirius-ly.

Anyway, I renewed at the same price I have gotten for the last two years. Do you supposed since I have had the price for three years that it should now be the “regular” price?

Probably not. And I’ll have to cancel again next year.

Or not.

Resolved

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Final episode of the whole Comcast/xFinity saga (at least until the next issue comes up…). If you are curious as the to what led up to this, you will have to take a look at Thieving and Ongoing Saga. Those will get you caught up.

So, yesterday, I was back on the phone with Comcast for over 45 minutes, again. I called and after running through the whole saga with yet another customer service representative, and him reading over all the previous notes left by all the various other people I have talked to throughout this ordeal, he finally messaged the payment services division.

He has to use use their internal messaging service to make contact so it took about 20 minutes to get a response back from this division. Once they responded back, they had to do their research based on the reference number I had been given. They finally sent a message back that the person who had been assigned the case wasn’t in the office but would get back to me in the next 24-48 hours.

So, after all of that, I am left with, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

$#%@&!

My skepticism was at an all time high.

Lo and behold, 10 minutes after I get off the phone, I get a phone call from the guy supposedly researching the issue. He apologized three times for not getting back to me sooner since he had indeed received everything he needed last Friday when I emailed the documents in. BUT, they still couldn’t locate the payment as yet and he was still doing research. He would call me back when he knew more. I also asked if I could get a credit applied to my account because of all the time and trouble this has caused and it was an error on their part since it has been paid the same way for years. He said, no, he couldn’t do that and they weren’t sure why it had happened.

If I could have reached through the phone, I likely would have punched him. But, I was trying to be nice, not really expecting a response, so I thanked him and asked if there was a number I could reach him directly at. He actually gave me a number and extension. I was surprised, but hung up thinking I wouldn’t hear from him for another week.

15 minutes later, he calls back and said they had located the payment and that it got applied in a different division (whatever the F to the uck that means) and that it would be transferred and applied to my account within the next 24-48 hours.

20 minutes later he called back and left a message that it was now applied to my account and that would resolve the issue. No “Thanks for your patience” or “We’re sorry, here’s some credit…” or anything.

Honestly, I want groveling. I want profuse and profound sucking up to keep my business.

But we all know, especially them, that they have us over a barrel.

Anyway, I logged in this morning and the payment has been applied to my account. Case closed. I hope.

We’ll see how the payment goes this month, with I just schedule yesterday.

Ongoing saga

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Comcast/xFinity has some real nerve. Obviously, there is always an issue with the cost of their service. Too high for too little. That has never been in doubt. But, if you saw an earlier post (Thieving) about the issue I was having with their billing, well the saga continues…

So, brief catch-up if you haven’t read the other post. Comcast decided randomly that it wouldn’t accept payment from my bank. They have done so for years but suddenly have decided the payment last month wasn’t going to be accepted. Instead of notifying me of an issue, they just said I hadn’t made the payment and said my account was “past due.” My bank says and has proven the payment was made and accepted by Comcast (thus, money was deducted from my account.) Now you are caught up.

I have made several calls the Comcast and navigated their stupid automated system over and over to get to a live representatives, who quite frankly don’t know squat. I was told the first time I needed to get confirmation from my bank that the payment was made.

I did so. It wasn’t the “right” kind of verification.

So, I was finally able to get through to Comcast payment services who said that they did receive a payment couldn’t (read wouldn’t) apply it because they needed some kind of verification because it was paid by a “virtual credit card.” Say what? I am using the bill payer service from my bank and the payment is made electronically to their system. There has never been an issue before. They don’t me to contact my bill payer service at the bank to get the specific authorization they needed.

I contacted the bank. They did their research and communicated directly to Comcast with the information. Comcast’s response? The customer has to provide the proof.

#$%&#$$@!!!!

Listen, Comcast, I authorized the bank to pay you. You have an agreement with the bank to accept electronic funds payments. You have been accepting said payments for years. Now, you won’t accept the payment and want me to authorize a payment the bank made on my behalf?

What the F’n crack you smoking over there?

I haven’t yet sent the proof to Comcast yet, but I’ll let you know if need a couple of you to accompany me down the the office to voice my literal displeasure in doing business with them.

How about a peaceful protest involving some windows and flipped cars? I feel like burning something down.

Breakthrough

As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” You could also throw in his “Shazam!” or “Golly!”

There was a breakthrough. I am holding my breath, but at least there may be a payoff to my concerted effort and persistence.

Goal Zero finally responded to my customer service inquiry – only nine days after submission. Not with an answer I liked, but at least it was an answer.

And Ryobi, finally, after two hours on hold yesterday and then resorting to the “call back” (yeah, don’t fall for that ever…) option for no response. I called again this morning and after 20 minutes on hold, someone actually picked up!! They were very nice and got the process started for tool replacement via the warranty. Mind you, this was just the first step so there are still things on their end that they need to do, but I am hopeful. Hopeful that at least the process will now go the way it should have at the start.

Persistence. Patience. Bargain with the devil? Nah, I didn’t have to go that far, but I was contemplating the next step…a witch’s curse? Pentagram on the garage floor? Flaming sacrificial alter for burning the tools? There are a lot of options when you think about it.

Hopefully none of you out there are doing customer support. If so, know that you may not be safe from the dark world. As a matter of fact, maybe that is why I have had strange happenings in my home office…perhaps I have been cursed in my role for customer service…that might explain the strange goose-pimples at odd times of the day…

I’m out! I gotta go get my protection on.

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

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Blah!

It’s been that kind of week.

Blah!

Customer service issues that still haven’t been resolved. Radio silence. Crickets everywhere.

Work has been overwhelming in trying to help schools with distance learning with little to no guidance from the state on how they should be tracking attendance, engagement, or even if they need to do it. Every call is a lot of shoulder shrugging, head nodding, what ifs, and apologies for not being more helpful.

BLAH!

It’s Friday.

I have never run a marathon, but is this what it feels like?

I need this weekend like no other.

Customer service?

 

The saga widens.

If you’re a business, staying in contact and helping your current customers is important for continuing to be a business. This shouldn’t even be a question. It’s a given!

If you’re a business and want to stay in business, you should respond to potential customer inquiries so they can decide if they want to buy your product. Again, this should be a given.

Customer service these days (well maybe always, but definitely more noticeable these days) is severely lacking in all kinds of different places. With most business being shifted online because of the current lockdown, customers are trying to reach out to companies as they deal with product issues or consider purchases. I am no different.

The Ryobi issue is still ongoing…no call back from the Warranty Department. Do I call every day now? Do I wait it out? Should I create a Twitter account just so I can go on there and shame them into helping me?

I emailed a company to ask about a product I currently have to see if they had a connection cable needed to connect to another product I have of theirs so they would work together. As yet, no response to that email from Goal Zero.

On top of that, I took the battery out of one of the vehicles and took it to a local company to have them check it out. It died in the vehicle for no reason and there isn’t anything that was drawing power from it, so I was wondering if it was bad. I dropped it off on Saturday with the understanding they would call on Tuesday or Wednesday with the test results (seemed like a long time to me, but OK). Yesterday afternoon came and no call. I called them. “Oh, yeah, seems to be working fine but we would like to test it one more time.” So, I’ll be picking that up this afternoon, hopefully.

Is this normal? Is customer service normally this bad?

Anyone else having a hard time getting online customer service? This stuff shouldn’t be that hard as it can mostly be done remotely. Are companies really not that nimble to make adjustments for customer service? Is it that hard to pick up a phone and just call?

I would be interested to know if you are experiencing more frustration than normal when contacting customer service.

Warranty Department

fashion hand hurry outfit

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Continuing the saga from yesterday

With a phone number and instructions to have tools, batteries, and chargers on had when I call the number, I called this morning to make sure that I was calling during East coast hours.

The call was answered by a machine and the instructions were the same as I received in my call yesterday. Then it proceeded to read back my phone number and ask if I would like a call back when someone to handle my call was available, if so, press 1.

1

And now I wait? Until when? It’s been two hours so far. Am I just supposed to wait all day by the phone, in the garage, staring at the tool that doesn’t work?

So, the saga continues…

 

A tool story

Technology in today’s day and age allows companies and customers to better interact.

That could mean that customers have better access to product information and new offerings from a company. It could mean that companies provide better support and customer care when issues arise with it’s products. It could mean that customers are able to communicate with the company their needs for tools and features they need.

Regardless of what could happen, customers should have a good experience with the product and the company. It’s what keeps them coming back to the company and it’s what also has them recommend the company’s products to people they know.

A little over a year ago, I decided it was time to update my power tools so I decided that having something with lots of tools and one battery system would be the best since they are all interchangeable. The answer was…

Ryobi.

In general, I like the tools. They 18v One+ system is a great idea because of the variety of tools that will work off one battery system. No need to have a bunch of different battery sizes and no need to have to buy new and newer tools since other companies keep changing their batteries all the time.

So, I invested. I bought a multiple tool set and over the last year I have added several more tools and a new set of extra batteries with a quick charger (30 minutes to be exact). It’s been a little less than a year since I did this and everything has worked as expected until now.

That 30 minute charger just up and died…used it two weeks ago and it work and then went to use it last week and it didn’t. Nothing. No power.

So, I wanted to find out what now. It is less than a year old and is probably under warranty. I logged into their website, ryobitools.com, and navigation is PAINFULLY SLOW! It takes minutes just to get their page to load, let alone navigate from one place to another once you actually get there.

All I could think as I wait and wait and wait is, “Really?” With a company this large with that kind of budget, they can’t get a website that is zippity-do-dah fast? Kind of not really great customer service, ya know?

When I finally get to the “Contact” page I called the Power Tools phone number for support, 800-525-2579, and their navigation system is garbled and hard to understand…and the number they say to push for help sounds like “8” but when you push that number is says it is invalid. I called several times and finally pushed “2” (sounds nothing like “8”) and got through. WTH? Seriously. I am not joking. Call it yourself.

So, besides having a painfully slow website, they also have a call system that is garbled and hard to understand. Makes total sense for a company trying to get and keep customers, right?

Oh, and after I talked with someone I have to call another department (East coast times, mind you) to get warranty help. I’ll let you know how that goes…