<HONEA EXPRESS: RCA: Rude & Clueless Asses or Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

RCA: Rude & Clueless Asses or Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

I assumed again. It never does me right. It is just that I expect certain things from certain people, and I especially expect certain things from certain companies. The bigger the company, the more I expect. Probably not the best equation I've developed. However, I feel that once I give someone money for an item or service that it should be provided as promised. Apparently, that is not the way it works. Don't believe me? Call customer service anywhere. Ask them anything.

In the past year I've had idiots at credit card companies, phone providers and Dell all give me the run-around and more apathy and patronizing attitude than you could find in a mall full of teenagers. Even Disney told me that I was mistaken, which is a terrible thing to say bluntly to an unsatisfied customer. Of course they were right, and to show you I play fair I apologized profusely.

The thing is, I'm not a complainer by nature. We all know people that are. I don't send back food or return an item unless it is legit, and therefore I seldom do so. What gets me is when the company is obviously in the wrong and they refuse to help you. It seems as if they go out of their way not to help you. Often the solution is not only clear, but easy, and covered by the warranty. I'm starting to realize that the wording in a warranty is open to interpretation, and not by the consumer.

It's par for the course really. I can't recall the last thing I purchased that didn't show a flaw within a six month period. For example, I bought patio furniture. A seat cushion was missing. A seat cushion. Seems easy to fix right? I thought so too. A month of emails and irate phone calls finally resulted in the company sending the missing item. Their warehouse, by the way, is less than an hour drive from my home. I could have walked there, made the cushion myself, and been home by dinner.

We just purchased a Philips LCD. It's beautiful. The picture is perfect. When I can see it. Every time the set is powered on it shows the menu. I exit the menu. It shows the menu. It will do this for roughly the first 5 or ten minutes each time the television is turned on. At least Philips, to their credit, was quick and helpful about the issue. They are sending me a USB flashstick to inset in the TV that will correct the software issue. So far I am happy with this. Hopefully it will resolve the problem. The idea of having corrective software sent on a flashstick is a pretty cool one. However, I am not holding my breath.

RCA on the other hand, does not care about me or my purchase. Slightly over a month ago I bought a Home Theater system. It has a 5-disc changer which recently became stuck, with The White Album and some Netflix items inside of it. I called the warranty number. The number had been changed. I called the new number. They sent me to a service provider. The guy no longer serviced RCA. I called RCA again. They suggested I return the item to Target for an exchange. Logical. Except that the window for such an exchange has already closed, not to mention I want my discs, and the fact that the unit came with speakers which I've already paid too much money to have installed in my ceiling means I cannot return the entire system. RCA did not care. I could not return their new product, which is malfunctioning, to them. I have to take it to another service provider, over fifty miles away. It's policy they said.

That may be, but it's also stupid.

Is it too much to expect items you pay for to do and perform as they claim? Is it too much to expect the manufacturer of said items to honor the warranty said purchase includes? RCA thinks so. I hope they are wrong.

UPDATE: I took the machine to someone else, they wanted $100 to fix it. I said screw it and opened the thing up myself and took out my discs, put it back together and walked into Target sans speakers or receipt. They opened a box, handed me a new unit and told me to have a nice day. Kudos to Target. Screw RCA.
In thanks to Target for being so cool I'll share something nice about them. Target donates at least two million dollars a WEEK to charities. That's good karma in my book.