Customer Service

Apple Store dis-service

I haven't blogged about this before hoping it would go away. Today however it became even worse. About six weeks ago I got a new iMac iSight. The computer is great. For the first few weeks it worked fine. Then the DVD drive stopped working. Kaput. Done. So just over two weeks ago it went in to the Apple Store Fashion Show in Las Vegas.

This was the first problem. I'd called Apple Care. They had diagnosed the problem. We were pretty sure what the problem was. I called the Apple Store to see if they had the part in. They patently refused to help save one of their customers a 100-mile drive to a pre-Christmas mall teeming with people. Using the flimsy excuse "what if it's not the optical drive" but a cable or some other part. So we already know that the primary purpose is to make the customer bend to the rules of the shop.

Wednesday night they finally call, as promised, and say the part is in. Today the machine goes in. The 10-minute job of replacing the optical drive, OK make it 40-minutes with extensive testing, will apparently take the store two-days. So they will have the machine back in a week. A week to replace the optical drive component in an iMac G5 - a minor variation on the machine that Apple allows customers to do themselves.

So the new computer that I need to get work done has been inoperable for half the time I've owned it.

Of course I could have saved all this headache by simply buying their Pro Care offering which would have cut the repair time to overnight. What this really means then is that the Apple Store, once a customer has spent thousands on computer equipment, and purchased an extended warranty, is made to wait three weeks for a repair that if I'd pay the extra fee of Pro Care for would be overnight. Somewhere along the line they have failed to take into account the thousands (hundreds of thousands that is) of dollars that have gone Apple's way at my direction over the past few years because we normally avoid just such these tactics.

Against the law?

Interested in joining an gym in Las Vegas? A stop at the website of the Las Vegas Athletic Club says "Our specials change all the time". Going in isn't much better. They will tell you that you need a contract but you can't get a copy of the contract ahead of time in order to look at and review. It's sign up now or don't sign up at all. In fact when asked for a copy of the contract so it could be taken and reviewed the response was that it was "against the law," to do so.

Clubs like 24 Hour Fitness seem to be able to post their prices online and have information. All this leads one to wonder what the game is? Is it just snake-oil sales at its best? What secret clause in the contract is it that members aren't meant to learn about ahead of time? Oh, you want pricing information, that too is something you'll have to write down because the club doesn't put it in writing ahead of time.

In the end there is probably nothing wrong with this business. But it does make one wonder (and look for another club) when there is so much secrecy about joining a club.


Hard to believe but finals are here once more. As so often is the case the fall finals there are many students who haven't quite prepared properly. Somewhere along the line the message that certain preparation must be done 48-hours in advance means it will turn into IT's crisis 30-minutes before the exam starts. Hopefully these same folk will determine to start preparing for the bar exam a little further in advance.

The RegisterFly Debacle

Wow! This is a huge mistake in the making. It all started a few months back when a colleague was looking to register a domain name. Another colleague suggested All went well and both colleagues were happy.

Earlier this week I finally got around to getting out from under Network Solutions. I'm tired of paying premium prices for terrible service. So having collected several domains I'd left with another terrible registrar (EnameCo), I set out to transfer the domains to RegisterFly.

When private is public

Did you sign up for a private domain with GoDaddy? A school librarian recently found out that the private registration is for the time that GoDaddy wants and they cancelled the "private" registration without telling anyone.

RegisterFly, another discount registrar has some similar vague language in their terms of service for private registrations:

Growing pains

I spent too much time helping out a friend today. How is it possible to spend too much time helping a friend? Well, this friend is a professional who didn't have time for the problem their Internet Service Provider created. The ISP had a problem and changed some passwords or something... who knows... but they didn't tell the customer anything about it. So instead of conducting business my friend spent the day burning money. Or might as well have. When you're a professional and time is billable a minor slip-up by a company is a big deal.

In this case the solution was pretty simple, change the password. It is more the hours that go into getting the company to own up to their changes. As companies grow from very good small companies into mid-sized enterprises it becomes increasingly difficult to make sure that the old-time customers continue to get the service that brought them to the company to begin with. In this case the unnamed vendor is a company I've done business with for more than a decade. It is a great shop and I'm confident that the people at the helm can get it on the right track. I just hope they know it's off the rails now.


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