Monday, October 14, 2013

Customer Service

My husband wanted a new laptop.  And he thought he would like one with a touch screen.  So off we went to look at computers.  He "needs" a large screen so that eliminated many of them.  He decided on one that he liked.  We have bought many computers in the past.  And we have always bought the extended service contract.  And we have never once used it.  So this time we decided to pass.

We brought the computer home and put it on the dining room table so I could set it up for him.  My husband is not techno-savvy.  Not because he isn't clever enough but because he chooses not to bother with such detail. The plan was for him to go through his "favorites" on his old laptop.  Then I would copy them and send to myself in an email.  After that, we would set up a new email for his new computer and email the links back to the new computer.

My husband periodically played with the new laptop, marvelling at the screen resolution.  Until one day when he opened the computer and pressed the "windows" icon.  The screen went black.  The power light went off.  The computer would not turn on.

We tried various combinations of unplugging the power cord, letting the computer rest, plugging in the power cord, moving to another outlet, moving to an outlet in another room and nothing worked.  The computer just sat there, clearly not getting any power.  My husband fretted that he might have done something.  I reassured him that we could have put a two-year-old and let him bang on the computer and it should not have resulted in a total shutdown.

I remembered that we could return the computer within 14 days of purchase.  So I looked at the receipt.  Sixteen days!  You are on your own with the manufacturer if you did not purchase the extended service contract.  Bummer.

I grabbed a phone that was fully charged and began the ordeal of calling customer service.  I was on hold forever.  I finally reached a customer service representative with a heavy accent and soft voice.  He asked for the serial number.  I had to remove the battery and try to read the serial number which is in very small white print inside the battery compartment.  He asked all sorts of obvious questions and sent me though all the same maneuvers.  I spent fifteen minutes on the phone with him and another representative only to be told that he would send my call to the supervisor.  The supervisor finally answered with a heavy accent and soft voice and asked the exact same questions I had just answered.  It was a harrowing ordeal for both of us.

So the manufacturer will send us a box with a FedEx pre-paid label and we will send back the computer.  They will either repair or replace the defective laptop.  So how many customer service representatives do you have to talk with when your computer dies?  Three  And how long with the call take?  About 40 minutes.

Do I regret we didn't purchase the extended service contract?  Not really.  The laptop is under manufacturer's warranty.  Had we taken it back to the store, they would have kept it for a week or more trying to identify the problem before fixing or replacing it.  We will probably get a new computer as quickly.

Do I regret all the time spent on the phone?  Not really.  That's what "customer service" has come to be.  You have to start out with that in mind.

Here's what I really regret.  It wasn't until I finished the phone call that I noticed the side of the box the computer came in.  There in big bold black easy-to-read letters is the serial number!!!


The Bug said...

LOL - that's funny! And certainly something I would do :)

Lise said...

LOL, been there, done that. I agree with you, customer service is always harrowing, and rarely do you get an answer with the first person you speak with. You have the right attitude though...know this is what you are in for before calling, somehow that makes it less painful:)

Ms. A said...

I've been going through this with the cable company and it's NO FUN... especially when you can't understand what they're saying. Thank goodness they finally sent a tech out, that spoke good Texan and actually lives less than a mile from me!

Good luck with the computer. Hubby's has been crashed for a couple of weeks and will probably have to be completely replaced... but it's not new, by any means.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Frustrating indeed which is why one of the first things I have done with new tech stuff, computers, cameras, etc. is to write down serial now. on a separate listing along with purchase date. And, yes customer service IS frustrating when you are speaking to reps in different parts of the world, which I have generally found to be courteous and helpful despite the difficulty in understanding each other at times. Personally speaking, I own an HP desktop and a newer Macbook (which replaced an older Toshiba laptop) and have found that Apple customer service is easier to deal with. Hope the repair works out OK.

Arkansas Patti said...

Ouch, that is no fun. I had something like that happen to this computer when I first got it and it turned out the tech said I could fix it by taking the battery out , then putting it back in. But I guess you all ready did that when you hunted for the serial number.
Sure hope it is an easy fix.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to discover what is actually wrong with the computer. I hope you will do a follow up post about that.

A few years ago my Macbook broke. I had an extended service plan, so I shipped it to Apple, they fixed it and shipped it back. It broke again. I shipped it again. They fixed it and shipped it back. On the third breakdown, about three weeks before my three-year warranty was up, they sent me a brand new computer.

Unknown said...

That's very funny, irony of life.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my gosh! And really the serial numbers are always such a challenge. (I keep a magnifying glass on hand these days)
I hope this story ends with a happy of luck. :)

KB said...

Ha! Great ending! I'm so sorry about the computer headaches though. I'm glad that you didn't lose lots and lots of valuable information when the computer went kaput.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. The FedEx box to return the computer arrived today so things are looking up.

Beatrice - Good idea.

Mary Lee said...

That's almost a Halloween horror story! Simply thinking about those calls I used to make gives me the shivers. Now I tuck my laptop under my arm and head to the Apple Genius Bar at the nearby mall.