Thursday, March 04, 2004

Compare and Contrast

Problem: broken floppy drive. After being on hold for almost 15 minutes, I played along with the "troubleshooting" instructions provided by the tech support guy. When that "troubleshooting" didn't work, he told me to restore my computer to "factory condition," meaning that I would have had to wipe out everything on my hard drive and reinstall Windows 98 - almost 3 years after I purchased my computer. Cost to Dell to ship me a new floppy drive: ~$15. Cost to Dell from me bad-mouthing its tech support to everyone I know: ???

Problem: My ineligibility for their $100 phone rebate because of a screw up on their part. After spending almost an hour talking to several customer service reps and their managers and getting rebuffed, I spent another hour writing a letter to their customer relations department. Almost two weeks after I sent out the letter, I received a call from a manager at customer relations, who apologized for the mistake and credited my account with $100 as well as 200 bonus minutes (slightly less useful because I never use more than 300 minutes out of my 600-minute plan). For the past two months I have being getting bills in the amount of -$49. Wouldn't it be great if all of my bills have negative amounts? Cost to T-Mobile to credit my account: $0, because they owed me that money in the first place. At this point I'm not sure if I will discontinue service as soon as my contract expires in 6 months because they did redeem themselves.

Problem: broken iPod wired remote. After putting me on hold for about 5 minutes, tech support guy told me that because I didn't buy AppleCare coverage and it's been more than 90 days since I bought my iPod, he would need to charge me to help me "troubleshoot" my problem. I told him that since my remote was still covered by the one-year warranty, I was entitled to a replacement remote. He agreed. I placed the call on Tuesday and just got a brand new iPod remote in the mail today. Cost of remote to Apple: ~$25. Benefit to Apple of me raving about its great service to everyone I know and not automatically ruling out a Mac as my next computer: ???

Speaking of tech support, here is a great article from, you guessed it,