Best and worst tech support/customer services experiences

Best and worst tech support/customer services experiences

Summary: I just took a quick peek at my inbox today and noticed that I've received a good bounty of tech support and customer services stories again this year.


I just took a quick peek at my inbox today and noticed that I've received a good bounty of tech support and customer services stories again this year.  There's something about the Holiday season that gets people talking to tech support and customer services representatives in a way that people don't at any other time of year, and plenty of people seem to want to share their experiences - both good and bad (although bad experiences seem to outweigh the goods ones about 10 to 1).

So, with that in mind I'm posting this open mike session post to allow readers a chance to tell others about their tech support/customer services experiences - they don't have to be from the Holiday period, but if you can give us an idea of the time-frame of your experience).  Also, don't feel that you just have to post gripes, you can post about good experiences that you've had too. 

Me, I tend to give tech support a wide berth over the Holiday period - I generally receive quite good support from most companies, but at his time of year I'd rather watch a perpetual loop of The "Star Wars" Holiday Special that take my chances with tech support.  Anything that's busted at this time of year stays busted until the new year!

Experiences good and bad, we want to hear them!


Topics: Software, Enterprise Software

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  • Controversy Knocks

    We talk about customer service experience or the experience through the 'call centers' in the far land?
  • RE: Best and worst tech support/customer services experiences

    Worst phone support: AT&T DSL. During a recent broadband outage here in Atlanta, I tried speaking with a live person for two days without luck. I couldn't even get through, period, either a busy signal or a voice recording telling me to call back later.

    Best online support: AT&T DSL. Completely different animal. I was able to IM with a live person within a few minutes and she promptly helped me retrieve my original password.
    • Verizon DSL

      A couple years ago when we were using DSL at my day job, I had to call Verizon due to an outage. I found it amusing the phone system menu tree started out with-

      [i]"If your Verizon DSL has never worked, please press 1.
      If you Verizon DSL has worked in the past and now doesn't, please press 2"[/i]
      • LOL

        Are you JOKING?!
        Wow what a...well...positive company.
      • "phone system menu tree"

        illogical instructions, Take Two:

        "If you don't have a touch-tone phone -- press 1"

        and the famous DOS startup error message:
        "Keyboard missing -- press F1 to continue"
  • linksys and kaspersky get an F- from me

    linksys and kaspersky get an F- from me

    i bought a lnksys cable gateway it worked great for about a week then it would not connect to my isp.

    i called tech support and was told they were busy and asked me for a time the next day for them to call me back.

    i told them 1 or 2pm would be fine. so the next day came and passed with no call. i don't a lot of my work from home so no internet connection means income loss.

    so i took the gateway back and picked up a new modem and router.

    and it's been working ever since. oh and linksys did call me back about a month later and not at the 1 or 2pm like i asked but at 3am. needless to say i was pissed and told the support person i would never buy from there company again and that i can't wait a month for a call back i can not put my business on hold and wait for a call that i don't know if it's coming for not.

    i had a problem with kaspersky and vista it would lock up on start scan at 85% and stay there. a uninstall and reinstall did not do any good and nothing else i tried helped. so i emailed tech support and worse than linksys it was 2 months before i got a reply.

    i had all ready installed new anti-virus software and wrote back thanks but no thanks.
    SO.CAL Guy
    • Very suprized....

      Both of these companies are highly respected in part due to their tech support and quality of product. As to Kaspersky did you check their site for suggestions?<br><br>Curiosity has me wondering what you replaced these items with just being in the business I find these two companies well liked.

      <i>pssst....a quick install of one of the fine linux distro's and you wouldn't need to worry about virus's</i> >:-)
  • How about good ole HP?

    I've got a not-so-wonderful customer service story about good ole HP. At the company that I work for we have bought a good number of HP Notebooks over the last few years without too many problems. But the one major problem I did have turned out to be rough.

    The company Vice-President had a 17" HP Notebook that worked well for almost a year when all of a sudden he started getting the Blue Screen of Death running Windows XP service Pack 2. The message indicated that there was either a problem with his video driver or the video hardware itself. He also started noticing weird things happening with his graphics during use, such as images flickering or dissapearing, or graphics lining up incorrectly. And some times his screen would just go black and he would have to power it down and back on. After updating the drivers and still having the problem it was time to get HP involved.

    So I called HP tech support and explained the problem to them. They had me send them the computer and we got it back within a week. HP sends a piece of paper with a summary of what they did, and the message read "We detected a problem with your memory and replaced it." Memory? OK, I thought it would be a graphics problem, but let's see. I gave it back to the VP and sure enough, within two hours of using the computer it gave him the BSOD. Back on the phone with HP, I explained the situation and they had me send it back.

    About a week later we get it back and the summary says "We detected a problem with your Hard Drive and replaced it." Hard Drive? OK. Here we go again. I reloaded all of the software and backup to put his computer back like it was and before I could finish, BANG, BSOD with the same message. Crap. Back on the phone with HP, I explained everything that happened up to this point, recommending to them that they replace the motherboard and hence, the VIDEO CARD.

    They had me send it to them the third time and about three days later I received a call from someone at their warranty repair center asking to again explain what the problem was. I told him what it was doing and that I believed that they needed to change out the motherboard and replace the video card. So he said they would.

    Now here's the real kicker. We got the computer back and they apparently had again put it back to it's original Windows XP installation, so I had to load everything back on again and AGAIN we got the BSOD, same message indicating that their was a problem with either the video driver or the video hardware. I didn't feel like sending it off a fourth time, so I tried something different. I went and bought a Windows Vista Upgrade package and updated the computer. The upgrade went smoothly and for some reason I still don't understand (especially if they really did change out the motherboard), he no longer gets the BSOD. He even uses two monitors simultaneously without any problems.

    This may be the one story where a Vista upgrade was a good thing.

    B. Beck
    • One Down Billions to go

      One customer happy.
      Microsoft still has billions to go...
  • Verizon Wireless

    While technically not a tech complaint, it was still customer service nightmaare. Case in point:

    Keep in mind that Verizon Wireless bills you a month in advance. So, when it came to the last month of my 2-year contract, I had already paid my last month's bill in advance. Eleven days before my contract expired, I opened a new account with Cingular, opting for a pay-as-you-go plan. Don't you know Verizon Wireless sent me a bill for $175 for early termination? When I called Verizon Wireless Customer Service, both the 1st and 2nd level CSR'S told me that porting my phone number constitututed early termination regardless of whether my contract had been paid in full or not. I contacted a local TV station consumer reporter, who featured me on a segment, to get the situation rectified. I promptly received a call from Verizon Wirelss apologizing, and and they refunded me the $175 (which I hadn't paid anyway) and my last month's fee.
  • Good For A Change: Apple Store

    I recently received an iPhone as a gift from my employer. After the requisite drama of getting it activated w/ AT&T I was very excited. However, I had many problems with the unit. (Insert obvious joke here: my apple was a lemon...)

    After a few days the unit stopped working altogether. I took it to the Apple store in Fresno. They were way swamped with holiday traffic, yet every person I spoke with (five different people, in total) was courteous, helpful, and genuinely interested in hearing about - and fixing - my iPhone troubles.

    The first young man I spoke with greeted me at the door, and when I explained my symptoms he took me back to the tech support desk. A quick triage didn't help, so he scheduled me for tech support. (They do all tech support by appointment, but my appointment was scheduled for +20 minutes - and it is easy to kill 20 minutes in the Apple store!) While waiting for tech support I was browsing the MacBook Pro's. Another young man offered to answer questions, so I peppered him with easy and not-so-easy questions. (I am a Mac/iPhone/Apple newbie.) When I asked a question he couldn't answer off the top of his head he went and got it for me. Very nice.

    My 20 minute wait flew by, then I went to the tech support desk where a third young man assisted me. I told him my sob story, he asked some questions, then took the iPhone in back to perform what I could only assume would be a resurrection. A few minutes later he came out and said he couldn't revive the unit. A few more minutes passed, I signed a paper and had a brand new, fully operational iPhone. No muss, no fuss. I told him that I was completely pleased with the service and asked if there was a manager with whom I could speak. I wanted to tell the manager that everyone I spoke with was completely awesome. It turned out she was standing right behind me and was beaming with pride with how well her "boys" took care of me.

    I was so impressed that I purchased a ridiculously cool 17" MacBook Pro. It was pricey, but if I'm going to be treated like royalty every time I have a question or an issue then it is absolutely money well spent.

    Many kudos to the staff at the Fresno Apple store and all of those responsible for the hard work and training that went into making a tech support visit actually be a pleasant experience!

  • Netgear's exellent tech support

    I had a great experience with Netgear. Called their 800 number during a network install and I hadn't realized until after the phone started ringing that it was a Sunday. I was very happy that even on a Sunday, I had a live person on the other end and they had my problem resolved and hanging up the phone in a period of 10 mins! ( yes, half the time was saying "what?" due to language barrier.) Apparently the problem was common enough that after describing what was happening the first question was "do you have a Westell 6100?" which I did. Problem resolved and popped onto the net a few mins later.
  • Kodak & Sandisk bad, even when not holiday

    Kodak & Sandisk are horrible. And
    the Sandisk experience WASN'T on a

    So much to write, I just can't do it
    right now. Suffice to say for now that
    it's the classic stereotype...on hold
    forever, getting cut off and having to
    call back and go on hold again,
    people who can't understand English,
    long holds while they "research", then
    you get insane, whacky answers to
    relatively simple questions, and
    extremely difficult to get to talk to a
    supervisor. The reps never have any
    tech background or practical
    experience with the product, and little
    knowledge about tech in general, and
    most high-schoolers could give
    better, smarter support. The reps
    never want to let you talk to a
    supervisor, and when you finally force
    the issue...then you're on hold
    again...even longer than before!

    If you can eventually talk to an
    English-speaking person who also
    has brains...then you can get great
    answers. Good luck with lasting that
    long or ever finding that.
  • Canon

    I had quite a positive experience with Canon. I had purchased a 3mp Digital elph about 4 or 5 yrs ago, and after using it a lot it broke down in 2006. By the time i wanted to checkout if it could be repaired since it still worked eally well and the tech guys told me that they need to check the fault and replace the damaged part. after some weeks they phoned back and they informed me that since thee part required was not being produced anymore they gave me a new 6mp camera with 2 years warranty as a replacement!! i was REALLY happy!
  • Cobys tech support hangs up on you

    My girl went out and bought some photo key chain LCD's for Christmas and one for her self. She tried getting it to sync, it failed, then she got me involved. After a while of trying to figure it out and going nowhere i called their support number. I was on hold for 25 minutes till i got an english speaking person right away. I tried explaining the situation and then go onto my problem and the guy made fun of me because I didn't tell him the problem right up front. He had me check the version of the software, found that i didnt have the latest and then hung up on me.

    After calling back thinking i got disconnected (another 25 minute hold i had time to update the software), i get a new guy who tells me to dump the program and re install it and he hangs up on me too. Im pissed at this point and call back wait 15 minutes (while im dumping and reinstalling) till i get the original guy i started with and asked him why he hung up on me. He said it was because i wasnt telling him the problem fast enough and was taking up his time. Can you believe that?!?!
  • Bit Defender loses a customer

    My 2007 Bitdefender antivirus plus shield wouldn't load anymore, so I zipped off a email explaining the problem. I thought they would answer the next day, but instead it took weeks. I did everything I could to get it to work, and needed protection now. Since they didn't answer promptly I bought Norton Internet Security.
    So boo hoo's too Bitdefender, they lose a paying customer.

    BTW Norton's work fine, except the full scan takes way too long.
  • RE: Best and worst tech support/customer services experiences

    Vonage! Worst! The actual phone service itself was shoddy or maybe it was the router they sent me, then, to try to fix it, I waited on hold for a tech support person (45min or so each time). This is after spending a few nights of my own time to get the router they sent me to work (it rebooted at least daily--not sure why, but service was lost during that time--sometimes it needed to be power-cycled to get service back at all).

    Anyway, when I did get through to tech support, I had to disconnect as part of troubleshooting and although I was promised a call back in "about five minutes", it never came.

    I finally signed up with AT&T. AT&T got the number transferred from Vonage, but Vonage kept charging me. A phone service with no number--no actual service to be charged for. Hilarious (if it didn't cost me).
    • not a customer

      My parents had vonage too, had the same problem and went with a different vendor and Vonage kept sending them bills. Unfortunately, you may need to call vonage and explain you are not their customer anymore so stop sending me bills.
  • Symantec/Norton

    This actually happened a couple years ago, but it was the most enraged I've EVER been by any tech support.

    I was having trouble getting Norton AV to install on a new PC. Actually, I was having trouble getting it to update and subsequently tried to reinstall it. Nothing seemed to work.

    I called Symantec/Norton about the problem. After devouring two low-level techs, they put me on with a "supposedly" higher tech. Good ol' James.
    Of course, I could barely understand these guys as it is with the thick accent. That's frustrating enough. What was more frustrating is that I was telling this guy how his own software worked and he was arguing with me about it. At the time, I was using Norton on 15 computers at work and 3 at home. I knew how it was supposed to work and I could test it on a computer that did it correctly and he just kept talking in circles and threatening to hang up on me if I wasn't willing to listen to him.

    Basically, the LiveUpdate wasn't showing any installed components beyond itself. Whereas on other computers it shows 15-20 components installed to CHECK for updates on. Not to install updates for, just to check. But he kept telling me that it only shows the components that need updating. Even though I could do it on another computer and I TOLD him this. He still refused to listen to me and finally hung up on me! If I could have reached through the phone to India, they would be short one James.

    Oh man...I'm starting to get pissed just typing this! :-D

    Needless to say, I dropped Norton like a bad habit. Overseas tech support BLOWS.
  • APC sucks...and it's not a holiday

    I email them a very simple question
    about a feature common to many of
    their products ("always on" outlets). I
    get back a form letter response
    asking me a series of detailed,
    irrelevant questions. They want serial
    numbers and to know the exact load
    attached to the unit. I don't have that
    info right now, I don't want to waste
    time calculating the load, and none of
    it is the least bit relevant.

    The ongoing trend of horrible support
    that can't answer your question, and
    doesn't really want to try, they just
    want to get you to go away.