29 July 2008

Feel My Antici ... pation (A Television Update!)

Even glaciers eventually break off into the sea, and the metaphorical iceberg I've been tracking gets closer to me every day. My replacement TV is in the hands of Pilot Air, in the process of being transferred to a local delivery company to complete the last mile haul to my house. Supposedly they will call me tomorrow to discuss delivery options.
Right, call me tomorrow. I've heard that one plenty during this whole ordeal.
I've seen mountains rise and erode faster than this issue has slowly worn itself down to the bedrock of resolution, and instead of FedExing me a TV with instructions to re-pack the broken model for return, they work through this song and dance with hitherto unknown to me Pilot Air, and a "local" delivery company, whoever that turns out to be. Do they dump the thing at WashCo Regional and call a Turner's Taxi to come pick it up?
I've handled my share of broken monitors in my days in IT, and this is nothing more than a large monitor with some extra guts for TV tuning inside, so my frustration is like salt dissolved in the waters of effort crashing against the slowly eroding mountain/cliffs of my broken television. Bitter, bitter salt of frustration.
This metaphor is working particularly well.
I mailed my letter posted here previously to Phillips / Magnavox a few days ago. If it is read at all, I hope they realize what a cock-up their support and replacement groups are. I'm still baffled that the online support is a fancy AI bot that intelligently tells you to try unplugging the thing, and that there is no option to e-mail a support rep. Really? It's so 1997.
I read recently where Comcast (I think I read this on slashdot) is reading "blogs" (their word) to find user complaints, and then acting on them. In my dreams Phillips Magnavox would find this series of posts.
Of course, that would require them to have some sort of savvy when it comes to the Internet. and much like rocks that in their stubbornness are worn down to sand (oh yeah), Phillips Magnavox doesn't have so much as an e-mail address for support.

22 July 2008

Magnavox - Right Below Shipley's on my S-List

This is getting ridiculous. Anyone who's been following this with me knows most of this, but the fine folks at Magnavox's Complaints Department (which I imagine, much like Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, covers the major land masses of several planets) don't, so I'm sending them this letter:

Sir or Madam,

As of this writing, my Magnavox 37" LCD television has been non-functioning for 57 days. The unit ceased functioning Monday, May 26, 2008 - 2 days after the 90-day Manufacturer's Warranty had expired. While my initial phone call was met with indifference, a second phone call wherein I requested that the warranty be honored was more fruitful, and I took the set to Shipley's Television Sales and Repair of 45 Waverly Drive, Frederick, MD 21703, on June 9, 2008.
Shipley's spent two weeks ignoring my television, insisting that since their parts supplier's website was down, they were unable to work on my television. When they finally did examine the television and determined what part was needed, they erroneously informed me that the part would arrive on Monday, July 7, 2008. When I called them on July 8, they informed me of the error, blaming the supplier for supplying false information, and apologizing. This would be the only apology I received from a repair shop who, in the course of losing my custom, informed me that I should not have purchased a Magnavox brand set, that they were of sub-standard quality. This is not a direct quote. Please note when examining my case that Shipley's, though they did not actually effect repairs on my set, but you are still paying them for their time, part of which was spent deriding your brand.
On July 8 Shipley's informed me that the part was back ordered and that I should expect to hear back from them in the next week. In following up myself (Shipley's perhaps returned one phone call of a promised many), I was informed that this mystery part was now on back order until mid-August, and that I needed to contact you, Magnavox, if this was unsatisfactory. Of course it is unsatisfactory. It has been almost 2 full months that I have been without my television!
I contacted your support, you may review my case on your end for these details. It suffices to point out that your support resolution moves on a time table that can only be described as geologic. What should have been resolved in a single phone call instead required a week's time and 3 phone calls with 3 different departments!
And now, now that my replacement set has been approved, I am informed as of last evening that it will still be another 10 to 15 days from Thursday, July 24 (a fourth phone call to obtain a tracking number for the shipped television, and for the phone number of the shipper) before I receive my replacement television.
Can you see the fundamental flaw in this situation? Not only is Shipley's to blame for failing to take ownership of the issue and even act with necessary speed to repair my television, but once they overcame their laziness and made their half-hearted attempt at repairing my television to no success, I find that your support procedures - with which I had been quite pleased in the agreement to repair my television under warranty - have instead been an obstacle and a source of very unnecessary frustration and indignation on my part, never mind the time wasted on the phone with representatives who were willing to only go so far as the letter of the rules, crying that their hands were bound and they were unable to take any action to resolve my issue with any greater speed.
Sir, or madam, I find this to be unacceptable practice in our society. I had been (and hope to be when I have a working unit) pleased with the quality of my television, and the value of the purchase. However, if this is how customers who do experience issues are treated when they come to you seeking assistance with their malfunctioning products, then I am forced to wonder how you are able to stay in business. This insane inability to resolve my single issue with anything less than glacial speed has forced me to reconsider my opinion of the value of my purchase. Short of a miracle of customer care on your part, I shall never purchase another product of either the Magnavox brand again, and I shall have to think long and hard before considering the purchase of a Phillips product as well. I would much rather spend the extra hundreds of dollars for a more expensive set, secure in the knowledge that if my thousand-plus dollars of television breaks three months after my purchase, I will receive prompt resolution to my issue.
I shall be forced to return home to a 57th evening without a functioning primary conduit for news and entertainment in my home, for the next 12-17 days a rather large and inconvenient paperweight.


Sincerely,


Robert C. Murray

04 June 2008

Magnavox - An Update

UPDATE 6-11-08: It's in the shop as of Monday afternoon. No word yet. Hopefully soon!

I called Magnavox back on my lunch this afternoon. I spoke with Bill, who caught my initial earful of what happened on the last call, and how I felt that wasn't very cool.
I sat on hold for 20 minutes listening to some entertaining instrumental jazz, with periodic interruptions from Bill (Where ... eez Beeeeeelll?) letting me know he was still there.
Bill is a good man, because Magnavox is going to cover the cost of the repair of my television!
So Bill, at Magnavox technical support, thanks for helping me out! sure the Mag crapped out in 90 days, but maybe they aren't so bad after all.

30 May 2008

Magnavox TV goes BOOM

Back in late February we bought a Magnavox LCD TV. I hadn't read anything bad about them, in fact I'd read some good things, and they had what felt like the best deal for us. Fast forward to right around the end of the Warranty Period, and Monday morning, in the middle of the Enterprise marathon (shut up, it has its moments), the TV goes into Standby mode, ne'er to return. I've pulled the plug for a full day, I followed the instructions in the manual AND on the website, I even replaced the remote control batteries thinking that might be the issue. Nothing. I call Magnavox support at 1-800-705-2000.
I speak with one rep who then forwards me on to another rep who has me try what I already tried. I play along because I think, much like with tech support I've dealt with (and done myself) in the past, you have to cover the basics, because people lie. Just when I'm expecting him to pull that support miracle (try this, or we're sending you this part, etc.) he asks me to hold on for a moment, and when he comes back on the line, he provides me with 3 repair shop numbers.

What.

Before I can even think to object (I think I was a bit stunned, and it was later in the evening, I was tired), we end the call. Fast forward to today when I realize fully what has happened, but I call one of the repair shops (the most convenient for me), and the lady I speak to informs me that the parts for the TV might cost more than I paid for the TV.

hah.
hahahaha.
hahahahahahahahahahah.

I'm starting to see red.

Magnavox of course has no recourse for contacting them via e-mail, so instead of a well thought out e-mail letter to their customer service group, they'll be receiving Angry Consumer Rob on the phone this evening, seeking justice from the corporate machine.
I've dealt with crap support before. Anyone who had to call HP for support around 2002/2003 knows what I'm talking about. I shall not rest until my TV is repaired with minimal cost to me. Not even owning a product for 90 days before it goes dead is a TERRIBLE way to do business.
Stay tuned here, friends. I'll let you know what happens after I talk to them again.

26 April 2008

Welcome Friends!

This was written Saturday evening
Welcome. This is the third time I've tried to use this "Blogger/Blogspot" interface to do a regular-ish weblog. I've been practising on my Myspace weblog for a couple of months now, and I'm going to give this another shot.
A welcome to any readers from the Myspace weblog who've decided the random nonsense I type out is worth reading somewhere beyond the Myspace.

On to business:
We just had a wild thunderstorm here. It went right over us, multiple lighting flashes with thunder following immediately. It was really cool; normally I ignore thunderstorms because they aren't directly overhead, but when they're this close I close the laptop, turn off the TV, and sit down to watch the storm. Why not take God up on the free entertainment he's offering us?.
Of course, last Summer while Francesca was in Austria I decided to go out onto our balcony with my new d40 to try to get shots of the lightning - a flash and crash right in my face as I opened the door made me realize that I should stay inside during this particular storm.
The storm has now passed, some of that mid-Spring stickiness has come out of the air, and it's looking to be a nice, cool Spring evening.

Also, completely unrelated:
If you have a chance to go see the Met(ropolitan Opera) -hopefully in person- at a movie theatre for one of the $22/ticket HD simulcasts, I highly recommend it. It's almost like being there, and you get neat interviews and behind the scenes stuff you likely don't get to see when you've paid $100 to sit in the house itself.
I've been practising on my Myspace weblog for a couple of months now

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