Posts Tagged ‘customer (dis)service’

Today’s reason to hate Time Warner Cable

A few days ago, I received a postcard from Time Warner Cable. I was prepared to ignore the innocuous-looking missive, but out of curiosity, I glanced at its spare single-paragraph message:

Dear Time Warner Cable Customer:

As of October 15, 2012, an Internet Modem Lease Fee will be applied to Time Warner Cable-provided modems, at a rate of $3.95 per month. If you would like to use your own modem, visit for a list of approved modems.

Thank you.

I stared at this message in a state of disbelief. I’ve been using the same crappy Toshiba cable modem that came with my broadband Internet service several years ago. Now, all of a sudden, TWC wants to charge me $4 a month for the privilege of letting that lump of junk sit on my desk?

To spare the uninterested, the rest of this rant lies behind the cut. (more…)

LG Premium Service is anything but

Long story short: last night my LG 37″ HDTV joined the choir invisible. Total main board failure. Bummer.

But I wasn’t too worried. A few years back, when I first got the set, the screen went wonky, so I called the service number, they sent a tech, and he fixed it on-site in one day. Since then, I’ve paid for the extended premium service plan. So I figured this was a minor annoyance to be dealt with, but not an impossible one.

Today, I called the toll-free LG “Premium Care” service number. First they told me my service plan had expired. I fixed that by reading them the contract number off my current certificate (which is valid through 2013).

Then, after I described the problem, they said the recommended service method is “Depot Service.” In other words, they ship me a big box, which takes 3-5 business days to get here. I put my HDTV in the box and ship it to their service depot. It takes 3-5 business days to get there. Then it takes them 7-10 business days to repair it, provided they don’t need to back-order any parts. Then they ship it back to me, taking another 3-5 business days.

Let’s assume the best-case scenario: 3 business days for a box, 3 business days to get there, 7 business days for repair, and 3 business days to get back. That’s 16 business days: Over three weeks.

But since when do these things ever go as perfectly as possible? I think the worst-case scenario is far more likely:

It takes 5 business days for their box to get to me, 5 business days to get to their depot, 10 business days for repair, and another 5 business days to return to me. That’s 25 business days: five calendar weeks. Over a month.

Apparently, an on-site technician is not an option, they tell me. If I want to take advantage of the service plan I paid for, I have to let them take away my television for a month, and maybe longer.

Really, LG? I have a different solution: I’ll go out to Best Buy and purchase a better television — and NEVER BUY ANOTHER LG PRODUCT AS LONG AS I LIVE.

Another reason to loathe Facebook

For reasons that have long surpassed my understanding, I have for some time maintained two separate but very similar pages on Facebook. The first is my personal profile page, and the other was my Official Author Page.

Ostensibly, the benefit of the latter type of page is that anyone can join it — for instance, if they like my work but don’t necessarily want to to “friend” me and reveal all of their personal data in the process. I was okay with this.

Then Facebook had to go and ruin it all.

Facebook, on its own initiative and without asking me first, changed my Official Author Page to a Community Page, a sort of public forum that anyone can create. This removes certain features, takes its content out of people’s newsfeeds, deprives me of official control over the page, and generally makes it sort of useless. It also makes it harder to distinguish from Facebook’s automatically generated info pages.

I might have restrained my response to an angry sigh and a shrug except for one thing. In the page’s top bar of information, they altered a key piece of information. It now reads “Community Page about David W. Mack” — complete with that link. That’s right: those morons at Facebook linked what had been MY OFFICIAL PAGE to one about the OTHER David Mack, the creator of Kabuki. And they did this FOR NO REASON. And left me NO MEANS OF FIXING IT.

As anyone who has ever had a grievance with Facebook knows, this $50-billion-valued corporation has no live chat support, no customer-service phone numbers, and no real means of submitting detailed complaints. They just run roughshod, do whatever they want, and unless one happens to be a megastar with a million Twitter followers or a TV or film celebrity or a major politician, there’s nothing one can do about it.

If I delete the page and try to start over, they’ll probably bar me from using my own name on an official page, since it’s already taken by this community page, which apparently is about someone else, anyway.

How I despise Facebook.


For the past several weeks, I’ve been enjoying the new HBO original series Game of Thrones, based on the novels by George R.R. Martin. Though I usually roll my eyes at solicitations to watch cable channels’ content online, I like GoT enough that I was willing to give HBO’s new online video site a try.

So I logged on, followed the links, and saw this:

That’s right — of all the cable providers who offer access to HBOgo, the one that is most noticeably absent is my own: Time Warner Cable. Which I find galling, because Time Warner owns HBO.


Well, this is vexing…

Last week, I ordered from an unfamiliar web site some novelty items to be used as props at the upcoming Shore Leave roast of Michael Jan Friedman. As of today, more than a week later, having received no confirmation of my order being shipped, and unable to reach the vendor through its customer-service phone line or e-mail, I contacted my credit card company and filed a billing dispute, after which I canceled my order with the vendor.

A few hours later, well after the vendor’s stated business hours, I receive a flurry of responses from the vendor informing me that my order shipped yesterday via USPS priority mail. Using the tracking number, I confirmed that to be true.

Adding to my frustration, I’d already ordered the items from another more reliable vendor, and that order is now officially too far along to be canceled.

The first vendor tells me that I can cancel the original order by refusing delivery, but then I am subject to a “restocking fee” equal to 25% of the original purchase. However, I now feel that I have an obligation to contact my credit card company and rescind the claim of fraud and my request for a billing dispute.

So now I face the prospect of being stuck with four of these otherwise useless items when I really needed only two (one plus a backup). Not to mention I’ll now be out twice as much money. I can probably think of uses for these ridiculous items, but man this is just annoying. And it all could have been avoided if only the original vendor had bothered to provide even rudimentary customer service.