Westinghouse Customer Service; Worst Ever!

Yeah, I know, some people say that bloggers shouldn’t write about personal stuff on their blogs. Sorry but this time not only must I, but it’s going to go beyond just being a personal complaint. Stick with me and heed my warning, if you will.

WestinghouseStinks

Just after Christmas I went out looking to find a relatively inexpensive 32″ flat screen TV for my office. I had gone to a few places and found myself at Best Buy. In the back around TVs of similar size I came across a Westinghouse 32″ flat screen TV for $189. That was amazing, as it was about $50 less than its closest competitor. I asked one of the Best Buy guys why this TV was so inexpensive, because the image I saw looked pretty good, and he said they were trying to grow in the market by keeping their prices low. Sounded good to me, the price was right, so I bought it.

Got it home, set it up, all looked good. Very clear picture, and I was finally able to take advantage of the digital hookup I have here in the office. I pulled out my Time Warner remote, set it up so it would handle turning the TV on and off, and off I went.

Or so I thought. It seemed that other than turning the TV off and on, anything else I did with the remote, at least every 2nd or 3rd thing, made the TV try to reset itself. Thus, I had to go to the remote that came with the TV and reset it. I thought this would be a one time issue, but no, it’s an issue that’s continued for the almost month I’ve owned the TV. I thought maybe it was the Time Warner remote because I’d programmed the TV to it so I tried the other 2 remotes I have in the house for Time Warner, those that weren’t set up with the TV; they also made the TV reset itself.

What the hey? So, within 4 days after buying the TV, I went online to their customer service page, wrote up my complaint, and submitted it. Almost immediately I got an email saying they would be contacting me within 2 business days. To make a long story short, after 15 phone calls and two more online customer complaints, I’ve heard nothing. Oh yeah, I’ve gotten to talk to people most of the time; that’s the 15. The times I’m not counting is when I went through the phone prompts and either got a busy signal or had the phone up and disconnect on me. I also tried to contact them 3 times through Twitter, as they have a handle there(@WestinghouseTV; try sending them a message telling them how bad you heard they are; they won’t respond).

The final straw was last night when I called at 6:20 their time (9:20 my time), said I was calling for the 15th time looking for service, was put on hold and they kept me there until 7PM their time, when their customer service office shuts down. What the hey? In other words, they never came back. Me being me, I stayed online (speaker phone) for another 10 minutes of stubbornness; nothing!

That’s when I decided it was time to call them out in a blog post. But y’all know me; I don’t just roll like that. I decided to look up complaints about their customer service issues, and man, what a load I found!

This site called Customer Services Scoreboard ranked them at #589 out of 593 for worst customer service; I don’t even want to know who could possibly be ranked worse.

On this page of Best Buy reviews, of all things, I found many people with the same complaint as mine. What’s shocking is that it ranks 3.6 out of 5 stars, and even those who ranked it high state they had the same issue as mine, but like the picture. Really, you don’t mind having to reset your TV every time you use it? Should I have fussed at @BestBuy for selling the TV in the first place?

I would add a bunch more but there’s no point. I remember when I was much, much younger Westinghouse used to be a company known for quality. Those days are obviously long gone; products, customer service, stinky! People, save your money, save your peace of mind, don’t buy anything from this company, no matter the price. If you don’t believe me, do a search on Google; mine showed 3,100,000 references to complaints against them. However, this will be in the top 10,000 blog posts about how lousy they are; now that’s a shame! 🙁
 

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Comments: Edit, Delete, Leave Alone?

At some point all of us who write blogs and get comments sometimes get one that’s not quite the norm for one reason or another. Depending on your topic, demeanor, or just the people who happen to show up on a particular day, you never know what you’re going to get from day to day. As a blog owner, you have to deal with this issue, or at least should. The question is “what exactly do you do?

I tend to scribble a lot
Nic McPhee via Compfight

This was the topic we discussed in our Sunday Hot Blog Tips Live Google Hangout, and it was the topic I brought up. The issue came because in the last week I received two very long comments on two separate blogs. On one of them I knew the person. Both of them weren’t just long comments, but didn’t have any breaks, which means they were very long comments, no break for paragraphs, and not necessarily following what some might consider a proper story format, as in starting with an idea and following it in a logical sequence.

Both of these left me in a mental quandary. On their own they weren’t very easy to read. So when I did was edit one, on this blog, by breaking it into paragraph chunks. On the other blog I left it alone because it was just too hard to figure out how to break it up.

I didn’t really have many qualms about either one, but it got me to thinking about editing comments in general. It’s not something I’ve had to do all that often… well, that’s not quite true. Since I know almost no one reads the brief commenting policy above the comment box, some people put links into their comments that aren’t adding to the discussion. They end up in spam, and if I decide to okay them I then have to go in and remove those links before approving the comment. Those links that do add to the comment I don’t mind, but they’re still going to the spam filter.

I’ve only once in 5 years, which is very good, had to edit a comment because of a bad word. Nope, not allowing it here since I don’t curse (or cuss; folks not familiar with Southern dialects hate “cuss”), and if there was more than one word I just might have to delete the entire thing. I like to think that’s people treating me well in my own space; I appreciate that.

Some comments have no spaces or punctuation between the sentences. I’m always ambivalent about that, so I’ll admit that if those comments end up in the spam filter, I go ahead and delete them. If they make it through, I almost always leave them, but I’m starting to reconsider that policy because I’ve never once returned a visit to a blog and saw that they write that way on their own blog. If you don’t do it in your own space what makes it right in my space? Could be a paid writer who could care less, right?

Then there’s some links that are, well, suspect. I don’t mean suspected of having malware, although that’s a consideration. I mean a relatively short, borderline comment with a link going back to dental implants or garlic supplements or junk like that. In the video below you’ll hear the others saying they’ll either delete the links or the entire comment; I’m going to have to think about that one a bit more, though I will admit that there are times when I do delete links, but it’s mainly when I start getting a lot of bounced email based on what the commenter put in, which of course means it’s either fake or was typed in wrong. If you can’t get your own email correct you don’t deserve the link.

There are so many possibilities in having to edit that it warranted the video, and now it’s warranted the conversation. I put it out to y’all then. I hope you watch the video, but I doubt almost anyone will because that’s just how most people are, even if it’s my own video (folks, we see the view numbers, so 25 people certainly didn’t watch my last video if I see only 10 views on the site). However, I’ve written enough here to give you an opportunity to comment on the topic; let’s see what you believe.

Now, the video:


 

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Do You Need A Certificate To Prove Your Blogging Worthiness?

Last week was the final meeting I had with University Hospital here in Syracuse. I was part of a diabetes study, the results of which I’ll hear about sometime in 2014. It was in its own way a 12-week study that lasted 12 months; figure that one out. lol

At the end of the meeting, the lady handed me an envelope, which contained the certificate you see to the right. She congratulated me for not only getting through the entire study but showing an improvement, and then maintaining most of the improvement. Everything stayed the same except my glucose readings; I have to work on bringing that down again unfortunately.

In my last post I talked about dealing with our irrelevance and how we’re not all that irrelevant when we think about it. And yet, sometimes we still feel that way in our lives, in our blogging, in our careers. Sometimes we feel that need for validation of some type from someone else; it doesn’t always feel like it’s enough when we validate ourselves.

What am I getting at? I’m going to ask 5 questions. If you can truthfully say that you are or have done these things, then I award you the certificate at the end of this post. All you have to do is print it out, put your name on the line, and put it… somewhere, anywhere. You can scan it and put it on your blog. You can put it on your wall or on your computer. You can copy it and just leave it on your computer; whatever you want to do. Or you can ignore it if you don’t feel you need it. Still, the questions, which are thus:

1. Do you see yourself as trying to contribute to the overall community in some fashion with your blog? In other words, are you writing your blog because you feel you have something to share, as opposed to only trying to make money from it? Nothing wrong with making money, but if those are your only motives then your reason isn’t pure; my rules today.

2. Do you get comments on your blog that you respond to? Even if you’ve written 100 posts and only have one comment, did you respond to that comment if you determined it wasn’t spam? Spam comments I understand; delete those things and move on. But if you got at least one good comment, did you respond? Do you try to respond to as many comments as possible, especially if the comment was a good one (heck, sometimes if you get a one line comment there’s nothing to respond to; I’ll give you that one).

3. Do you ever comment on other blogs? You might not understand what that really has to do with your own blog but you’re not really part of the community of bloggers if you’re willing to entertain guests who come to your blog without checking out what others have to say. Did you know that I did a little research project and proved that commenting on other blogs drives more traffic to your blog than anything else?

4. Do you promote your blog in other spaces? Blog commenting is only one way to promote your blog. You ever heard of social media? Have you heard of newsletters? Have you heard of linking to your blog via your email signature line? Often people say they don’t get many visitors on their blog, to which the question “what are you doing to promote your blog” always comes out.

5. Do you write your own content without plagiarizing, come up with topics that no one else may have written on, stay true to yourself no matter what you write about, give the best effort you can every time out (no one hits a home run every time), not fear controversy when it’s needed, and don’t believe the hype when someone tells you that you’re not good enough?

If so, then you deserve to be rewarded. I’m not giving you money (You buy my book? Of course you didn’t, so I don’t have money to throw around like that lol), but I will share the certificate you see below. As I said, it’s yours if you want it, but don’t lie to use it. Congratulations; you deserve it. 🙂


 

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Dealing With Our Own Irrelevance

Last year around this time, I was asking people on all 5 of my blogs to vote for me in blogging in the Shorty Awards online competition. This year I’ve decided totally against anything like that for my own sanity, pride, and peace of mind.

me 1991

What’s the deal? Last year at this time I was feeling as though I was actually something sort of special. I had a highly ranked blog, was writing lots of posts everywhere, starting my Black Web Friday series because I just knew that I had the juice to get things done, to change some minds, to actually make a difference.

You know what; none of it made a difference. I got 26 votes in the Shorty category after working it hard for almost an entire month. Not only did the Black Web Friday series mean nothing to almost anyone but it didn’t mean much to the people and websites I profiled either; they didn’t care. And even though my blog was ranked nicely then, around 78,000 on Alexa (don’t give me any grief about Alexa; I don’t want to hear it), the rank is now sitting around 160,000, even with consistent posting, and feels like it’s falling fast (although traffic has been up since the beginning of January & Alexa works on a 3-month model so within a couple of weeks it should start moving up again).

Some of you know that I’ve written a number of posts on the topic of influence, and why having influence can help you not only make a better income, but get things done in ways that being more anonymous, or irrelevant, can do for you. Well, while that’s still true, it seems that irrelevance is destined to follow all of us around for a long time, which is basically our entire lives.

That almost sounds depressing doesn’t it? Well, I’m not going to let it go quite that far, but I do need to explore this topic a little further. How many of you folks who read this blog know the name Chris Brogan? What about Scott Stratten, or Gary Vanderchuk or Marcus Sheridan or Ileane Smith? In blogging and social media, these are pretty big names. Take them out of blogging and put them on the street, and maybe one day in six months someone will walk up to one of them and say “Hey, aren’t you…” So much for influence or relevance.

Want more examples? How many people think of Tony Orlando these days? What about Brittany Morgan? Ric Ocasek? Michael Anthony Hall? Robert Townsend? All of these were super huge names at some point, all had influence in multiple ways, and all have, or seem to have, disappeared; I bet most of you have no idea who any of those folks are.

You want more? The nominations for the Academy Awards just came out last week. I knew almost none of the movies and almost none of the actors and actresses who are up for those awards. Last year’s Grammys, I asked myself why I would even think of watching it when the only name I knew that I’d heard of previously was Taylor Swift; that will be the same thing for this year’s ceremony, another one I won’t be watching.

See, we’re not alone. And truth be told, the guy who got the most votes for blogging last year was totally unknown in the United States, so even though he got an award, what did it get him in the long run? Maybe in his country he was elected Pope (I know, I know…).

What does all of this mean? Do we stop trying for significance? Do we stop participating in social media, in blogging, in our local activities and such? Do we crawl into bed, watch TV and eat chips and give up the rest of our lives to this reality?

Ain’t no way! Here’s another truth; we’re not as irrelevant as we think we are. For all the lack of relevance I’m talking about here, there are nearly 375 people who are subscribed to the feed for this blog. There’s lots of people higher but I’m happy with that figure. There’s nearly 300 subscribed to my main business blog. And I have a nice number of people subscribed to my business newsletter, though I couldn’t tell you if people are reading it or not.

The videos I do with my Hot Blog Tips Hangout crew have reached close to 8,000 views; that’s not bad for just over a year of videos; at least I think we’ve been doing it that long. My own video channels are quite paltry by comparison, yet I have had some views so I’m not complaining.

In other words, irrelevance doesn’t mean obsolete; it doesn’t mean hidden, and it doesn’t mean useless. Each of us, through our blogs, our outside actions, what we do at work, etc, are relevant to someone. That’s important to note because sometimes we feel as though no one notices what we do. We want more comments on our blogs; we want to make more money across the board; we want people to call us up and tell us how much they want us, need us, can’t live without us.

Tough to be us isn’t it? Well, here’s the thing. We are what we are. We can decide to try to be more, we can decide to try to be better, or we can try to be ourselves. Frankly, being ourselves might or might not put us over, but what more comfortable spot is there when all is said and done? Strive to be the best you can be, strive for bigger and better things if that’s what you want. But when you start thinking about insignificance, think about someone else. You are special; we all are.
 

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Nook HD From Barnes & Noble

Last March I wrote about the Nook 8GB Color Tablet that I bought for my wife the previous October, saying how much I liked it, though I didn’t have one, and how she was happy to have it. Well, this year I bought one a few days after Christmas, only better than the one I bought her, and I’m talking about it as well as putting in a product link if you want to check it out; hey, I’m allowed to try to make money here and there, right? 🙂

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Nook HD

The tablet I purchased was the Nook HDicon, and it’s a major step above the one I bought her, in more ways than one.

I’ll get to the immediate details that concern the HD part of it all. Initially I couldn’t figure out why I wanted the HD; turns out I didn’t have much of a choice. They discontinued making the one I bought her in favor of the upgrade, and it only makes sense. While she could watch videos that we can download off YouTube (Nooks play MP4 video files), she couldn’t watch any HD videos on hers, and sometimes that’s the only choice you’re given. On mine, I get full HD, which is pretty cool.

Next, let’s talk capacity. Her Nook was an 8GB, which was as high as it went, and you could put a 32GB microSD card in it for more storage. Mine came in either 8 or 16 GB, but I can put as much as a 64GB microSD in it, though I went for the 32GB for now because of the price. So you know, I bought the microSD at Staples rather than at B&N or at Best Buy because it cost less; that might not always be the case. Why do you need more capacity? Because HD files take up a lot more space, even at 16GB, which I filled up, surprisingly.

Because I bought my own, I know more about it and thus I can now talk more about all the features. I have paid for and downloaded two books onto it. One of those books I actually purchased for real, but it was too big and unwieldy to carry around anywhere, and way too big to even read in bed. The Nook HD is 7″ high, light and easy to carry, and has a nice range of brightness so that I can make it either really bright, which is crystal clear, or darken it, which I do when reading late at night and my eyes don’t want to deal with all that light.

A neat thing about the books is that you can change sizes of the font, font colors, fonts themselves and the color of the background. That’s pretty neat, something the old one couldn’t do. And you have them for as long as you have your Nook.

Magazines will be interesting for me. There’s one I still subscribe to, PC World, and I’m thinking about switching it to the Nook. The magazines stay as long as you want them, and of course it’s easier to carry magazines around with you on the Nook than taking them outside of the house. And it turns out that the price of the magazines is the same as the price of regular magazines; neat. You can also subscribe to newspapers but the choices are limited, and I couldn’t find one that addressed local news so I won’t be going that route.

You can move both audio and video files, as well as images. The sound isn’t bad, and you can buy small speakers to attach if the sound isn’t loud enough for you. However, I’ve found that the sound on the HD is better and louder naturally than on the original. And the types of videos I’ve been adding have been things like TED talks, documentaries, and some cartoons. Some of these things I watch, then delete; a few I plan on keeping, such as the 20 minute opening to the movie The Secret, which always seems to make me feel better.

It’s also wi-fi if you happen to be in an area where you can access it. If you’re in B&N itself you can read books for up to an hour on the Nook for free, which could be a way to get around having to buy a book if you’re sneaky like that. However, you have to sign in with a credit card, which I wasn’t up for. Still, being able to access the internet is cool. And there are apps you can search for and add; I added Evernote since I have it on my computers and my smartphone; access everywhere!

One last thing. The battery holds much longer than using my smartphone, which immediately makes it a better reader overall. I’ve loaded some of my pdf files (yeah, I have lots of them) and my Word Doc files (I’m working on a detective story, as some of you know), as it accepts those formats as well as many others. Frankly, last year I was kicking myself because I didn’t buy one sooner, and now I think I’d have been kicking myself if I hadn’t waited for the HD.

That’s all I can think about to say so I’ll leave it there. By the way, it’s still rated higher than the Kindle; just thought I’d toss that into the mix. I love this thing, so I have no hesitation in talking about it and in trying to help market it. Any questions, just ask, but I hope you check it out if you want something that’s more than just a reader.
 

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