Customer Service

SOHO Organizer gets a paid update

Chronos the makers of SOHO Organizer have posted a paid upgrade to version 6. I spent time troubleshooting the last paid beta the company released over a year ago. Presently while I am not in the market I have to wonder at the fact that the Chronos technical support forums have been "discontinued". On January 26, 2006 Chronos had posted a policy that helped make the forums ineffective when customers, tired of delays, broken software and broken promises, took to posting comments that revealed the incomplete and broken nature of the software. Evidently sometime between January 2006 and mid-2007 the forums were taken down. One wonders if the reason for this was to help prevent would-be purchasers from discovering what past buyers thought of the money they'd spent.

The non-fixed APR

Credit card companies frequently are coming up with new ways to sucker customers. The beleaguered industry is certainly not without its benefits but the methods used by many companies are outright slimy. Consider the advertisement in the mail from Bank of America. The ad for Zero Balance tells how I can get an unsecured loan of "up to $50,000* at competitive non-variable rates."

There is not even one little footnote symbol next to the "non-variable rates" portion that is highlighted in yellow for would-be borrowers. What does a non-variable rate mean? Is it the fixed rate that many would commonly think it might be? Well, no. While there is no footnote indicator there is an explanation in the fine light gray print on the back it explains:

By "non-variable rates" we mean that the APR will not automatically vary with an index, such as the Prime Rate. We reserve the right to change your APR, fees, or other credit terms at our discretion.

So it turns out that "non-variable" means they aren't tied to a somewhat predictable index, the economy or any of the normal things that most outrageously priced credit cards are tied to. Instead Bank of America can decide, at their discretion, to increase your rate to the maximum the day after you sign up. In fact if you sign up with a 10% maximum APR the next day they can change it (changing the credit terms) to a low 33% APR.

Ignorance is not a defense

Throughout my decades of being a student of public education I have been taught that ignorance of the law is not a defense. It seems even some attorneys don't get it. Though I am not a legal scholar or expert in any way the logic of Russo & Hale's motion in a case against a former client is simply baffling. Perhaps the firm should change it's name to Bottom & Quince. Though it is hard to imagine even Shakespeare's most comical players playing this skit.

This drubbing of a customer makes me think of an experience we had a few days ago. We went to a nice, expensive restaurant for dinner. It was not as good as it had been about a year ago when we were last there but it was still good and fun. The trouble started for us when we ordered desert, the chocolate course. We each asked for coffee and placed the order. And we waited. And waited. And continued to wait. Finally a manager shows up, slings the chocolate on the table, drops off the fruit plates and says "is there anything else you need". We asked for the coffees we had ordered. It is then that the manager tells us that our server got a big table. At this point I'm thinking "here's a manager that doesn't get customer service".

Spanning Sync Uninstall

After a recent post about problems with Spanning Sync there seemed to be hope. Alas it was not to be. Following my post there was a comment indicating that Spanning Sync desired to try to make their software work. I spent another several hours getting the data they needed and emailed it away as instructed.

At the end of the day it is yet more time wasted on this product. There are people who test it and never have a problem. So it seems it does work for some, but if it doesn't work you're stuck. Now the trial has ended, the product has been uninstalled (itself a 45-minute process that hangs at every turn) and I'm only haunted by the ghosts of Spanning Sync. Although it's not installed it is still causing sync errors. Fantabilous!

Oh and now sync seems to be completely broken.

The cable guy

Part of this weekend's activities includes fixing the in-laws TiVo system and getting their home entertainment system working. Since we were to help set it up initially they've moved it to a new cabinet and had the local cable guy out to help troubleshoot.

Somewhat unsurprisingly the cable guy's answer is to give up on TiVo and go to the cable company's second rate DVR system. Ultimately the problem stemmed from two cables that the cable guy wasn't sure what to do with and just stuck in the back of the case. Low and behold when the TiVo says it can't connect it is possible that the network connection cable is important. Similarly when the cable guy says "TiVo doesn't work with our system," it really means he wants to sell you something else more than help you. It also means that he won't take the time to read the one-page instruction sheet or think for a few minutes about why the TiVo can't control the cable box without the connectors. Imagine.

Basic advice for everyone. Don't let the cable guy do more than pull the cable to your house. If you need help with your system find a local independent expert and get them to come help you. You'll get a much better deal and you'll have hair left at the end of the process.


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