and the saga continues...

Thomas Farrell ((no email))
Mon, 13 Dec 1993 16:46:56 -0500 (EST)

Well, I've just gotten off the phone with NEC again about my defective
new battery. (This is long and detailed and if you're not interested,
now is the time to skip to a different message.)

I called them at 800-388-8888 to try to talk to the person they have in
charge of the replacement program. She is apparently out until
wednesday, so I figured I'd try to kick the problem sideways and see if
they had someone else doing her job while she's out. The secretary
recommended that I speak to customer service, so after a nearly infinite
wait on hold, I was connected to a service rep named Roz.

Roz seemed to initially have some problem understanding what my problem
was. I explained that I'd sent in my machine under their recall program
("Recall program?") and then had to explain what was being recalled and
why. ("Oh.") I explained that my new battery wasn't working, and that
the subcontractor refused to do anything about it. ("Precisely what do
you mean by 'subcontractor?'") I then explained how NEC had hired
somebody else to do the dirty deed for them, and that they weren't being
responsive to my problem. She then put me on hold. After a while she
came back and explained that she had just called the subcontractor and
that they said all I had to do was call them and they'd take care of my
problem. I explained that I'd tried that and they'd refused, and she put
me back on hold. When she came back she said she'd spoken to them again,
and they had explained that they were deferring to her, so she offered
to put me through to Vicki, who was the person I couldn't get in touch
with in the first place. I informed her that Vicki was out, and that I
wanted more immediate resolution. She put me on hold again. When she
came back she offered to send me a new battery. I was ready to jump for
joy. Then she started asking me for information. She wanted my name,
address, and phone number of course. I supplied them. She wanted my
computer's serial number. I told her I didn't have the computer on my
body, but would be happy to supply it later. (Perfectly true.) She
accepted that. She then asked me for the original date of purchase. I
explained that I don't know that, because I bought it used from somebody
else who bought it used. She asked if I had proof of purchase. I said
no. ("What do you mean you don't have proof of purchase?" "I mean I
bought it from my friend Scott and he bought it at a flea market and we
didn't get any proof of purchase!") She reluctantly accepted that. She
then started asking me for information about when I had sent the machine
in for the softpack upgrade, specifically some number she wanted. I told
her I didn't know it but that I'd received a wad of paperwork back with
the machine and that I'd be happy to send her copies if she'd send me a
mailer for the battery. She said she needed it in advance, and asked me
to fax it to her. I told her I don't have a fax machine. "Well, can you
FIND a fax machine?" No. "What do you mean no? Everybody can get to a
fax machine!" Well I can't. I'm unemployed and I don't have a fax
machine and I don't have a phone. This is when things started getting
*really* *weird*. She replied "You're making this very difficult for me.
How do you expect me to send you a battery when you haven't proved you
have one in the first place?" I explained that I understood that she'd
need proof, and reiterated that if she'd just send me a mailer I'd be
delighted to send her the whole battery as proof, along with all the
paperwork. She then offered to give me her mailing address so I could
ship it to her. I told her I felt that as this was NEC's recall and not
my problem in the first place, they should pay for it, and should
therefore send me a prepaid mailer. Roz then started *yelling* at me on
the phone. She said "Don't give me that. I'm trying to help you and
you're giving me problems." (I thought that's what she was there for.)
I, maintaining my composure, calmly said that if she couldn't send me a
mailer, that's fine, I would just call the state and let them deal with
it. At this point she *really* lost it. "Don't you threaten me! You're
threatening me! I don't have to take this abuse! I'm trying to help you
and you're giving me shit!" at which point I hung up on her.

I'm calling back on wednesday to speak to the person in charge of this
recall program. I intend not only to totally grill her about the fact
that this hasn't yet been taken care of, but to make sure she
understands that this is the most totally unprofessional response I have
*ever* gotten from a tech support department. And I may go to the state
anyway, just for the personal satisfaction.