2 Followups On Negative Customer Service Issues; eBay And AT&T

I’m big on customer service. When it’s good I’ll point it out; when it’s bad, I’m also going to talk about it. I’ve had a couple of negative things occur lately, so to speak, and I’m going to talk about the aftermath of both of them; neither has ended well.


by Piez

Let’s start with the tale that I told on this blog about buying something used on eBay. The overview is that I bought something, a Palm T/X, it didn’t work right, sent it back, guy fixed that issue, something else immediately broke, I sent it back again, and then I hadn’t received anything, ever. Guy wouldn’t return either phone calls or email; very irritated. And the thing is I knew he wasn’t going to fix it, and he wouldn’t even think about just sending me a different one.

Here’s the aftermath, since I wrote that post on 10/5. I wrote the guy 2 more times and left a phone message once more; nothing. I kind of outed the guy on Facebook by mentioning his name, but I never pursued it, as I knew it wasn’t going anywhere, and my heart really wasn’t in it to go that route. Finally last week I talked to a lawyer about my options; it was a quick down and dirty thing. He said I really didn’t have any. Sure, I’d paid m money and I had a registered note saying he got it, but if I wanted to file a small claims suit against him I’d have to go to his state, which was Michigan, and for the $151 it cost me I’d lose more money than I’d get back.

Knowing that, I figured I’d write him one more time. In that letter, I threw in that I had spoken to a lawyer, which I had, and that it was recommended that I try to work it out with him, which was kind of true. That letter got a response, and the guy said he thought he’d sent it back months ago; yeah, right! He mentioned in the letter that it bothered him that I went to a lawyer. I wrote back that all I wanted was my Palm back and asked what he’d have done if he’d been in my shoes and hadn’t received his product in almost 4 months.

That didn’t get a response, but today, finally, I did get my Palm back in the mail. The alarm still doesn’t work, but everything else does, and man, I really have found that I need my database and my calendar with me, even without the alarm. That plus it can connect to the internet if need be, plus I can use it as a reader and for a host of other things; I’ll deal with it. So I have it back, but I really still can’t say it all ended well.

The next story is new to some of you, especially if you don’t read my business blog. It involves the negative process of trying to get a replacement phone from AT&T, then finding out that we had insurance where my wife could have gotten that replacement instead, and how the processes for everything were very long and convoluted. I complained that in this day and age it shouldn’t take an hour just to set up on a new plan, or, after I learned about the insurance, to put in a claim. If you want to see more of the setup, go to that link.

Here’s the follow up. My wife and I started thinking about all of this and we got irked. It cost us $50 to replace her phone after I’d been paying insurance on both her phone and my phone for more than 2 1/2 years. At $5 a pop, that’s around $300. The replacement phone they sent her looked nice, a Samsung Propel, but when I looked it up it was a 2-year old phone that they don’t make anymore; and it was refurbished! Come on, they couldn’t send her a new phone after all these years for what I’d been paying for insurance, even after spending another $50 for it? All for the privilege of not having to sign a new 2-year plan?

And that’s not all. My wife loved the look of the phone and loves the keyboard, but it’s a power hog. We thought that the phone was brand new, and it still might be, but the battery wasn’t holding a charge. So I spent another $20 to buy a new battery from a local battery company, only to see that the new battery also won’t hold the charge. That means it’s the phone; sheesh!

At this point there’s no recourse for that, so we’re stuck with it for at least a little while. I did call and cancel the insurance, and I told the guy why. I mean, if we’d just stuck with the new phone after the rebate it would have only cost $20 and it would be working great. Turns out phone insurance is a joke, and that’s irksome. Turns out you can just keep buying new phones, even if your plan isn’t completed, as long as you’re ready to sign a new one, but you can still keep whatever you had on your old plan; that’s what I have now. So, I feel like an idiot of sorts, but what can you do, right?

So, nothing else on eBay that I can see, and I’m going to have to think about my association with AT&T after 15 years when I’m ready for a new phone and a new plan, since I figure the next time around I’m probably going to have to get a new plan anyway. Kicking and dragging into the new technology; thy name is Mitch!


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Buying Used On eBay; Go At Your Own Risk!

I am a Palm pilot fanatic; always have been and still am. The problem is that they’ve stopped making them. The new smartphones lack many of the features that the Palm had, and thus I haven’t purchased one because, for me, it’s kind of a waste of time.

I decided to go a different route. Because my wife is an eBay fan, I decided to go to eBay to see if I could get a deal on a used one. There are actually a few people who are selling new ones, but the prices are outrageous and thus I haven’t gone that route yet. I found one at a fairly reasonable price and put a bid in on it. Eventually I won that bid, and within a week I had my “new” Palm.

Five days later is when the trouble first began. The screen gave out. It still lit up, but it looked like it was broken, and you couldn’t see any of the data. I felt cheated. I contacted eBay and they connected me with the guy I bought it from, who said I could send it back and he’d fix it.

I did that, and though it took 5 weeks, I finally got it back and I thought all was right with the world. That is, until two weeks later, when I noticed that the sound had gone and that I’d missed a meeting because the alarm didn’t go off. I had the guy’s address and phone number, called, and he said I could send it back and he’d fix it.

At this point that was 2 1/2 months ago. For about six weeks he ignored my emails and phone numbers. I finally sent one from my business address saying if I didn’t hear from him I was going to escalate it. I finally heard from him, and he said that he couldn’t get it fixed and that it would cost me $75 to repair it. I said no, but I was also incredulous; you sold me a used Palm, you have other used Palms, and you’re not going to just send me one of those other ones? If I’d paid the extra money it would have come to more than what I would have paid for an original; that wasn’t happening.

I asked him to send it back and said I’d see what I could do on my own. That was two weeks ago; suddenly he’s not responding to any of my emails or phone calls again. What the hey? It’s only costing him postage to send it back, and I’m getting no satisfaction.

And get this; because the original transaction took place more than a couple months ago, it seems I can’t complain about it on eBay either. So, the only place I can complain about it is here. Now, I’m not going to “out” the guy here, because unlike a company I’m not sure that’s quite fair. What I will say is that I can’t ever see me buying another used product off eBay, and truthfully buying something used isn’t really in my makeup to begin with, mainly for things like this.

Unless you know the person and trust them I say “buyer beware”. Man, I’m irked!

Classic Botanica Wire-bound Weekly Planner – Jan 11 – Dec 11






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