Stick this up your arse, Acer

Dear ‘Escalations Customer Services’,

Well, where should I begin? How about “Did you actually read the letter I originally sent?” or perhaps “How on earth can you even begin to include the phrase ‘satisfactorily dealt with’ in your reply without tears of laughter in your eyes?”

You may make an assumption from this that I am far from happy with your response to my complaint. In fact, I’m so far from happy that “happy” itself as a word or even a concept simply doesn’t exist right now. I am disgusted, sickened, annoyed, irate, angry and utterly in disbelief at your inability to grasp the fact that your company has screwed up and seems to think that trying to bluff it’s way out will work.

I sent a screen to you to be repaired after a “repaired” fault in it re-occurred very soon after it was shipped back to me. I expressly requested that it be delivered, on completion of subsequent repairs, to my parents in Perth. I do not care where it ended up, who signed for it, or anything else. I want the monitor to go to the address I asked for it to be returned to, and which I was told would not be a problem. It seems that this was a problem as you were unable to complete this simple task.

On March 8th I was working my notice out. I was also living in a friend’s spare room having emptied the contents of my house and moved them to Perth – you know, the town in Scotland where I asked you to send the screen. I began moving my things up there no more than 2 days after I shipped it to you for repair, hence knowing at the time that I did not want the screen returning to Halifax or Bradford, but instead to Perth. This is what I told the person I spoke to on the telephone when I rang to arrange sending it to you.

Hence, regardless of when the screen arrived in Halifax, who signed for it, who carried or or signed for it – all you’re actually confirming is that you screwed up a simple request to sent my monitor to Perth. Not Halifax.

I apologise if I seem to be repeating myself here, but you obviously need this fact drummed into you as it seems my earlier letter and emails were not sufficient to make this point. Let’s make it nice and clear:

HALIFAX BAD – YOU SENT MY SCREEN HERE
PERTH GOOD – YOU DIDN’T SEND IT HERE. YOU GOT IT WRONG.

Would it be easier if I sent you maps and little diagrams? Look in an atlas. Halifax does not equal Perth. They never have, even in the olden days. There is also the small matter of two places existing in the same physical space which simply does not happen in the universe I live in, though I obviously can’t comment on your little dimension. After all, you seem to think that sending someone a letter confirming the fact that you’ve made a mistake is enough to rectify their problems.

You are wrong.

As I said in my last letter, had you bothered to actually read it, I am asking you sort this problem out. Either arrange collection of the screen from SSP with Mr [employee] (who I don’t know) or ship a replacement of similar specification (and in working order) to my parents’ address. Long and short of it is that you lost the screen. Not me. You failed to follow instructions that I clearly provided and which you confirmed, verbally, would be adhered to.

Also, as you seem to be proceeding down the path of assuming I didn’t tell you about the address request, I would like an apology for your unspoken accusation that I am a liar. I am not sure which is worse – your constant sidestepping of the issue, or the insulting undertone to your responses which insinuate that I’m attempting to clear up a mistake that I may have made.

Much as I would like to call your phone number, I repeat the fact that I am in Vietnam. It would cost me a fortune to ring you up. Besides, it seems that when I do call that certain words aren’t heard by your operators. I thought perhaps the long ones might confuse them, but “Perth” is only one syllable and that seems to have shot in one ear and right out the other side. That and “[street name]”, “[house number]” and “Can you please deliver the screen to”.

Now, one last time for the hard of thinking. I’ll try to keep this nice and simple for you as it’s obviously very hard to grasp:

GET A REPLACEMENT MONITOR SENT TO MY PARENTS’ ADDRESS IN PERTH AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

That’s the address at the start of this letter. The one with “Perth” in it. It’s a town in Scotland. Not England, not Yorkshire and they’re not a company and wouldn’t have signed for it in the name “[employee]”. These little clues are what gave away the fact that you are simply perpetuating the fact that you screwed up.

Currently my opinion, and that of many people I know, is that your company is full of people who simply dodge responsibility when something goes wrong. This would explain the stupidly long response time for email queries and your blinkered form-letter responses to letters of complaint. So go on. Prove us wrong. Try to actually sort out your mess instead of letting it fester. After all, it’s supposedly a good sign of a company not that it doesn’t make mistakes, but how it deals with them when they happen.

Currently, you’re ranking with PC World and Barclays in my list of “worst people to do business with”, and believe me that’s company you don’t want to be in.

Sort it. Now.

Yours,

MOSH

Acer = *****

For ****’s sake:

Thank you for your letter highlighting the problems you have encountered with our company.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this has caused. We aim to provide you with the highest standards of service, however, there ay be occasions when our service falls short of your expectations. Our aim at all times is to act in the customer’s best interest and to continually improve our quality standards.

We have contacted City Link on your behalf and they have confirmed that your monitor was delivered as per request to [my old employer’s address] on 8th March and was signed for in the name of [person I don’t know]. We have included with this letter a copy of the City Link Delivery Confirmation.

We hope that your complaint was satisfactorily dealt with and would like to assure you of our commitment to current and future customers to deliver a quality service and provide customer care that will at the very least exceed their expectations.

Should you wish to discuss (etc, phone numbers)

Where should I start? I think I’ll hinge on the use of the words “as per request”. I note that they’ve not said as who’s request, because I sure as hell didn’t specify my old workplace as a delivery address. I mean, why would I? Admittedly, I was still employed there on March 8th, but given how long the previous repair took, I didn’t expect to be.

Regardless, by that date my house was empty and all my possessions were in Perth with my parents. I had no way of getting said monitor up there any more. Hence why I had asked for it to be delivered direct to them.

“We hope that your complaint has been satisfactorily dealth with.” Did they read my original letter? I asked for the monitor to be delivered to Perth several months ago. I still want it delivered there. As I asked for it to be and as I was told by the guy on the phone it would be.

Let us make this plain: I AM NOT SATISFIED. I have no way to collect said monitor. I am in Vietnam. My parents are in Perth. Get a ******* map out and look at the distances involved, you *****.

Surely it’s not too much to work out that as ACER ****** up, ACER should sort it? They have the company phone number. Phone Mr XXXX, and ask him to dig the monitor out. Get Shitty Link to collect it and take it to Perth. As it was supposed to be.

For ****’s sake. How can a company go on about improving customer service when it ignores all the complaints it gets sent? What a bunch of ******* retards.

Now it’s Acer’s turn

No need to explain why I’m sending this letter to them – just have a read:

Dear ‘Customer Service Department’,

I am writing regarding the above-referenced case which to date has not been satisfactorily resolved. Towards the end of last year I returned an Acer AL1715 TFT screen for repair. The screen was flickering horribly and occasionally just blacking out. After a lot of mucking around with CitiLink (who were beyond useless), the unit was finally collected and returned to me a couple of weeks later, seeming to be working fine.

It may be interesting to point out that just before the unit was returned, I received an email reply from your customer services department in response to my initial query with the hardware fault. This was fully four week after I had mailed them, and hence why I then decided that all future communication with Acer would have to be by telephone. Three to four weeks’ turnaround to respond to a customer email is utterly unacceptable and dives well into the territory of appalling. Unfortunately, it leaves me without a paper trail.

Within a few weeks, the same problem was re-occurring, so I arranged to have the unit shipped to you again. Of course, I didn’t bother emailing this time – I arranged it all by telephone. My reasons for this were twofold. Firstly, I didn’t want to have to wait four weeks to get a reference number with which to return it as per my experience with your emailed support. Secondly, I was in the process of emptying my house out as I was moving abroad. At the time the unit was collected, I was working out the final week or so of my notice period with my employers, from where the unit was collected.

Fortunately, or so I thought, the person I spoke to on the phone accepted my parents’ address (where all my things have been stored) as a return address for the unit. This was given to them at the time I was getting the collection/delivery codes for CitiLink and therefore should have been entered on your system at that time. I really couldn’t give you any more notice than that.

We now fast forward to June this year. I checked with my parents and they had not received the screen. Unfortunately, I was currently in New Zealand and could not find the paperwork with the reference number on which I was sure I had with me. Regardless, on the 8th of June, I emailed your Euro Support people asking if they knew what was going on and where my screen had got to.

On the 19th of June, I received a reply from “Jim” saying he could find no record of this from the information I had provided. I would have thought my name might have been enough, but no. On the 20th of June, I replied to “Jim” with my old address and the full name and address of my former employers.

My next reply was nearly a full month later on 14th July, this time from “Darren” saying he couldn’t find anything on the system from those details. He asked if I knew exactly what model the monitor was and what date it had been returned. Given that I have only ever returned one thing to Acer I find it unbelievable that with the name and address of a customer and the fact that it’s a “TFT screen” your staff are unable to find the relevant records.

Regardless, I replied on the 15th of July (notice how I pretty much always manage to reply within a day or so? A shame your staff can’t). I confirmed that the model was an AL1715 and also gave him my parents’ address to where the unit should have been returned. In addition, I mentioned that some months ago I’d made my initial query using the web forms and perhaps there’d be a record there including the serial number. You know – things I would have expected someone in a support department to already have checked.

Incidentally, by now I was in Hanoi. Nice scenery, lovely people, still no sign of a monitor that was supposedly being dealt with in a country with a superior infrastructure.

On the 21st of July, I was shocked to get a reply. A timescale measured in days rather than weeks! Sadly, it was a message of apology. “Richard” had found my case on the system (in all, this had taken Acer an astounding seven weeks, give or take) and the unit had been returned. To my former employers in late March.

My next email on the 22nd pointed out that this wasn’t much use as my parents are in Perth, I’m in Hanoi and therefore neither of are in a position to get to Halifax to collect a wrongly-delivered unit. I suggested that Acer figure out why this had happened and to deal with it accordingly.

Richard replied on the 26th. Rather than paraphrase, I shall quote:

“Unfortunately we are not able to assist in this case. The unit was returned after repair to the address that the case was logged with. I have not been able to confirm that your request to change the despatch address was received before the unit was repaired and despatched, if the details were amended in our system before despatch it would have gone to the revised address.”

Now, obviously, this is wholly unsatisfactory on several points. Let’s go through them.

1) “…returned… to the address that the case was logged with.” Yup, the wrong address. I made it clear when I logged the issue that I wanted it returned to my parents. I even chatted for a few minutes with the nice guy on the phone about the reason for doing so. He seemed quite jealous of the fact that I was jetting out of the UK on a one-way ticket!

2) “…not been able to confirm … your request to change the despatch address was received before the unit was repaired and despatched”. This implies that your internal system is incredibly, perhaps unworkably, slow. Simply as I gave the address details to the aforementioned chap on the phone at the time I booked the item in for repair. It wasn’t as if it was an afterthought 2 weeks later. I physically could not have given him the information any sooner. Therefore your system is at fault as it must take several weeks for details entered during a telephone conversation to actually filter into said system.

3) “if the details were amended … before despatch it would have gone to the revised address.” See point 2 above. I gave your staff the information in as good a time as was possible, i.e. when I was reporting the fault. Therefore if they weren’t entered into the system it’s your fault. Not mine. The only alternative is that the undertone perhaps suggests that I didn’t provide the information. In which case your staff are insinuating that I’m a liar. I’m not going to jump to this conclusion, but it’s the only other option.

So, to sum up. Either your staff can’t do their job, your system’s too slow to accept an address change within a reasonably length of time (I would have though minutes if not seconds on a decent database engine), or I’m a liar and I’m trying to cover up a cockup.

Well, I know that I’m not lying. It’s up to you whether you believe me or not, but frankly it’s rather pathetic customer service to assume that all your customers tell fibs. Especially when number two looks like a decent option as shown by the initial three to four week turnaround on an initial email enquiry. Or maybe your staff are trying to cover up a cockup when one of them didn’t hit the “Apply” button to make an address change?

Frankly, I think it’s the last one. It’s an honest cockup by some poor guy at desk who takes 200 calls a day. It happens. All I ask is that you sort it out. The problem is at your end and I maintain that. I will continue to maintain that. All I want is my monitor back or a suitable replacement for it. I want it delivered to my parents’ address (the one at the top of this letter) and I want it done speedily and with no further mistakes.

I have been in touch with an old work colleague who has been down to “goods in”. They have no recollection of the unit, but in fairness to them this was several months ago and they deal with a huge number of items. Frankly, it’s not up to me to liaise with them regarding recovery of the unit. Your company screwed up and returned it to the wrong address therefore you should deal with it.

As it stands, the monitor has been out of my possession since the early days of March this year. That’s five months. When it was returned to me in the first place, the fault I reported it with hadn’t been fixed. Your support staff seem to think that three weeks is an acceptable turnaround on email enquiry and they don’t know how to search your support database. When they spot something has gone wrong their initial response is to blame the customer.

Is it understandable that I currently have next to no faith in your company from my recent experiences? I’m writing this letter on an Acer laptop before emailing it to my father to mail it within the UK. I wholeheartedly hope that nothing goes wrong with this machine as I really don’t want to have to deal with your abysmal “support” again.

A reply by email would be appreciated, though I feel I may as well wait for you to send a letter to my parents and get them to forward it to me. Ideally, though, I’d expect my screen – or a replacement – delivered to them forthwith.

Yours faithfully and with disgust,

Skype? Useless bunch of *****, more like

Long story short:

Set up Skype account. Added credit using credit/debit card. Worked just fine and dandt. Great service.

Credit ran low. Went to top it up. Two attempts ended in seeming success… using Bank Transfer (credit card no longer allowed for some reason never adequately explained) but no conformation. Third attempt, payment is “pending” and a 30-minute dig through the FAQ tells me that I have to initiate payment from my bank – they will not take the payment themselves. This is not apparent from the web pages provided.

Next option: set up a PayPal link. Duly done. Then option not provided, so despite all the work done to get that up and going I still can’t use it.

Net result – it takes up to 2 weeks to add credit to my account every time it runs out. Which, frankly, is ******* useless. Especially when the credit’s run out as I’ve had to make several very urgent and very long calls and now need to make more. Waiting 2 weeks to make those called (up to 10 working day) is simply ******* useless.

Letter sent to Skype:

Merje,

I appreciate that Skype has limits as regards overuse of credit cards and so forth, but I find it hard to believe that the card I used to initially put credit on the account cannot be used to top it up after more than a month.

Also, why offer me the facility of PayPal payment if it is not available in the UK? As it stands, setting the account up is very easy leading me to think this will be the case from then on. I have discovered that getting credit onto my Skype account after I have created it is an absolute nightmate and could take up to two weeks. This simply is not good enough.

While I understand you are attempting to prevent fraud, you’re making it utterly useless for people who have a genuine use for the system and I think I’ll find myself ditching Skype as an option and using the Post Office to make long distance calls unless your company can actually figure out what it is trying to do. The whole “top up” system is a complicated mess, lacking instructions and information.

I attempted to set up a bank transfer option and the first *TWO* times I did this, I recieved no email notification of the details. On the third attempt, an email was received, but your bank details were not included, thus making it impossible to start a transfer from my end. In *all* cases, no indication was made that *I* had to initiate the transfer – that was buried in an FAQ somewhere. Completely and wholly inadequate. I waited two days before realising there was absolutely *nothing* happening.

I am in a situation in a foreing country where I *NEED* to get in contact with the UK. I have very quickly realised that I cannot rely on Skype to offer a useful and reliable service for my needs. When I have credit, it’s great. But you seem to be hell bent on making it as hard and tedious as possible to add credit to my account.

I am in a foreign country with no money. I need to phone home. I cannot as I am out of credit. The only option you will give me to add credit is Bank Transfer which takes up to 2 weeks. I don’t understand this as I loaded the account using a credit card within *minutes*. You tell me to set up a PayPal account, which I’ve done, and then don’t let me use it.

Seriously. Do you have *any* idea how utterly, mindbogglingly inept you look as an organisation at a result of this conflicting information and continual supply of dead ends?

Next time I go abroad, I’m investing in two tin cans and a very long length of string. I feel it would be of more use and certainly more reliable than your red-tape enshrouded organisation.

Thanks (ha ha ha – as if)

Mosh

(P.S. This message posted to my blog and several discussion groups to highlight exactly how useless your organisation is. Buck your ideas up and study the term “customer satisfaction” and I may repeal it)

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How could they?!

OK, this news came as a bit of a shock. So I wrote them a letter. And got a (pointless) reply.

I don’t get this – you’re removing the Cult website as it’s “too similar to the commercial sector” i.e. there are other websites with similar content. Perhaps… but none of them are as good, nor as comprehensive as the BBC’s. On top of that I’m *paying* for the BBC site out of my license fee.

If we’re going to get rid of things for being “too similar” to commercial offerings, can we also please scrap Eastenders as it’s just Coronation Street set in London? And Holby as it’s only a cheap version of E.R.? Getting rid of that dross would allow plenty of funding for excellent resources such as this.

How on earth you can scrap a site that gets almost 700,000 hits a month and comes second only to your news pages is beyond me. I thought the idea was to provide a public service? The two statistics there show that this site is doing this above and beyond all expectations, and your decision is one of utter stupidity.

Cult TV is going through a massive boom right now. I mean, come on – you’ve just sold Playschool in Maori! There are DVD releases coming out left/right/centre and this site is by far and away the most detailed and comprehensive *anywhere*. Killing it off is like scuppering the Ark Royal just because the US has a couple of aircraft carriers that can kind of do the same job.

If you do send me a reply, I’d appreciate a personal one – not the usual formulaic garbage such as the official statement which, frankly, contradicts everything I’ve ever believed the BBC to stand for.

Thanks (not),

(etc)

The reply:

Dear Mosh

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the closure of the Cult website.

I appreciate you have further concerns about the closure of the website. Rest assured that your complaint has been registered on the daily log. This will be made available throughout the BBC, including the senior management. Feedback of this nature helps us when making decisions about future BBC services and your comment will play a part in this process.

Thank you again for taking time to contact the BBC.

Regards

Katherine Tsang
BBC Information

I think the basic gist of this is “your feedback will be ignored at the highest level”. **** them and **** their license fee. OK, OK, so the only decent stuff on TV these days is either on BBC or Channel 5, but I wonder if I could withhold 2p/month of my direct debit in protest?

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