Adventures in Customer Service

December 10, 2007 at 4:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Wilsons are having fun with customer service at two large corporations right now. It has been extremely frustrating, to say the least. The two companies in question? Time Warner Cable and JCPenney.

I’ll start with JCPenney. The Wilsons have had photos taken at several places in town. For Christmas, we decided to give JCPenney a try. I guess we were in an experimental mood. The photo-taking process went fine. They could use some new equipment, though. The monitors they use to allow you to select your shots are extremely outdated. Come on, guys, you can pick up a couple very nice monitors for a couple hundred bucks a pop. Splurge a little, would ya?

The problems began when we picked up our photos. I didn’t look at them until the next day, as The Missus was getting ready to put them into our Christmas cards. I took one look and scowled.

Mr. W: These are awful!
Mrs. W: I know.
Mr. W: I wouldn’t accept these prints from a one-hour joint. You aren’t sending these to people, are you?
Mrs. W: What choice do we have? We don’t have time to get them retaken.
Mr. W: We don’t need to retake; the poses are fine. We just need new prints. Look at this crap. It’s obvious nobody has calibrated their machines in ages, and they didn’t do any post-processing. I could have made these photos look great in 45 seconds using PhotoShop.

Long story short, we decided to complain. First, I called. The manager was busy, so I left my number. Nobody called. The next day The Missus called. Same thing, nobody called back. At this point I’m pretty much furious. One thing’s for sure, we aren’t paying a cent for the photos. They really are that bad. Beyond that, I don’t think there’s much we can do. Well, except tell all of you that we think JCPenney’s photos are terrible quality. I would scan one of the photos and post it here but I don’t want them to sue me for copyright violations. I don’t need the grief. I’ll post an update if we get this resolved.

The second story is from Time Warner Cable. On December 1, The Missus called TWC to downgrade our television service because a promotional period we had signed up for was about to expire. On December 5, a TWC service guy came out, fiddled around outside and left. TV service successfully changed. Unfortunately, he also took out our internet service. Drat. I called that night. The woman apologized profusely and promised to have a truck out “by tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow evening at the latest”. I could live with that.

It snowed on the 6th, and TWC didn’t show. Grr, but I decided that maybe the service guy couldn’t get around to all of his appointments because of the weather. Silly me.

Nobody showed on the 7th, either. I don’t remember why I didn’t call until late that night, but by the time I called, the office was closed. Just for fun, I went through the automated “verify your appointment date” process. The voice said “Your appointment is confirmed for January 3rd, sometime during the day.” Double-U. Tee. Eff.

I tried calling on Saturday the 8th, but I never had a window of opportunity long enough that I could sit on the phone and wait for somebody to answer. I waited a while at one point but had to hang up to go ref some soccer. Grr.

The offices were closed on Sunday.

Today I finally got a person on the phone. Her name was Sharon. Sharon was very helpful once she let me finish my story. She couldn’t get me the help I needed right away, so she asked if she could call me back. I had heard that one before, but whatever. I gave her my cell phone number where she could reach me in my parents’ basement, where I had fashioned a temporary office. Believe it or not, she called back less than ten minutes later. They would fix the situation immediately, and they would credit me 7 days on my bill. Gee, how nice.

Mr. W: Is 7 days really the best you can do? That’s not an apology, that’s just not charging me for service you never even provided. It’s the bare minimum!
Sharon: Well, the outage was only 5 days…
Mr. W: True, but this is day 6, and my service isn’t restored yet.
Sharon: What do you think would be fair?
Mr. W: [I rattled off a list of inconveniences I had been through.]  Is 7 days really all you can offer? Because if so, I think I’m done with Time Warner.
Sharon: We don’t want that, sir. What do you think would be fair?
Mr. W: I think a month would be fair.
Sharon: Well, I can ask, but I don’t think they’ll agree to that.
Mr. W: Like I said, 7 days is an insult. I want a month.
Sharon: OK, I’ll go ask. I’ll have to call you back.

Ten minutes later, I was credited with a month of service. Honestly, I expected a counter-offer of something like 15 days. I don’t know what I would have said to that. I probably would have agreed, because I’m a ninny about these things. But hey, I asked for a month and I got a month. TWC keeps me as a customer, and I don’t have to go through the inconvenience of switching providers. Now we’ll have to see when my service is finally restored. I’ll let you know. 2007-12-11 Update: Sure enough, our internet service was back online by yesterday at 5:15pm (the first time I was home to check).

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The Comments

meatball December 10, 2007 at 7:40pm

RE: JCPenney

I’ve actually had decent luck filing complaints via corporate Web sites. It might be worth a shot for you, especially if you’re sure to note that you’ve tried to reach the local manager twice and received no response. I’ve got satisfactory responses from McDonald’s, Dial Corp. and other companies. The only complaint that received no response whatsoever was through the Buffalo Wild Wings site (which was most disappointing because we like the place). Good luck.

West A Dad December 10, 2007 at 8:52pm

Sounds like JC Penney and Sears are working together. 

I thought Sears was the worst till I read this today.

I completely understand and feel your pain.

Dave K December 11, 2007 at 2:33am

BW3’s has reached our permanent boycott list.  Two straight times, one person in our group got their food in 2 minutes, while some waited 45 minutes. That’s following a few times where everyone waited 20-30 minutes.  All we ever got was boneless wings.  I don’t see how it could take 45 minutes to make chicken nuggets (it didn’t, they were incredibly unorganized).  The worst part of it is that there were no apologies made or service recovery done.

Some time in the last 3 months, their management changed.  The quality of both the service and the food declined.

Mr. Wilson December 11, 2007 at 2:44am

Which location?

Dave K December 11, 2007 at 2:50am

Downtown.  I haven’t thought about whether the boycott extends to all locations.  The downtown location is the only one I go to so it’s probably a moot point.

meatball December 11, 2007 at 4:12pm

Our bad B-Dub’s experience was at the south location, so I guess the service can stink no matter where you go.

foxspit December 12, 2007 at 2:58pm

I haven’t gone to BW3’s in a couple of years probably, but it’s mostly because I think they charge way too much for mediocre food. I like their wings but anything else off the menu has been a disappointment, especially when I see what they are charging for it. If I’m going to spend that kind of money, I typically choose a different restaurant.

I love the atmosphere of their downtown location though. If they could put Bisonwitch’s food in that location, they would be sitting on a gold mine.

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