Customer Non-Service

This month I received my cable bill with a serious sticker shock. The price had jumped more than twice the previous month's rate. I guess I had stopped qualifying for some promotional rate. So I immediately called Comcast, the company that services my cable.

I asked about the plans that could lower my bill. It was disappointing to hear that there were not that many choices. That seemed strange as I thought Comcast had plans all the way down to bare bones local channels. I told the service rep that I needed to think about this and call them back.

It did not take me long to decide I would just go with the cheapest plan. I called back and discussed my plans to change my service. The new person I talked with had information about other plans from Comcast. I thought we were out of the woods. Silly me. Then I asked what amount I should pay for my current bill. I was told to pay the whole amount. That was just crazy.

I asked when exactly the new changes would take effect. The answer was immediately. I asked what period the current bill covered. And I was told it was next month. Then I asked why I had to pay the high rate when I just cut out all these services. That is when I was told that's what the bill showed. However I would get a credit back. I asked for the amount, did the math, and determined something was not right.

During this call I tried to be patient. However I needed the facts. And I had to double check that everything was right. As I questioned this minimal credit back for overpaying, the technician started changing the numbers on me. That was disturbing. I tried to make the math as simple as possible. I asked what my new monthly rate would be. The person on the other end of the phone would not tell me. I was told there would be FCC taxes imposed that they could not calculate.

This transaction was getting nowhere. I asked to speak with a supervisor. All I could get was a promise that one would call me back. I ended up paying the incorrectly high bill. However no manager has called me back. It is time to break out the arsenal to show this company I mean business. I think a good start would be a complaint to the FCC. Then I think I should just go to the top and pen a letter to the CEO. Comcast is a big company, and the CEO probably makes millions a year. If that does not get anybody's attention in the company, I will just turn this over to the Better Business Bureau. They will probably be tired of dealing with Comcast if my experience is typical of their non-existent customer service. Rant off ... for now.

Quality Inspection

I ordered some pants from a mail order company I use frequently. The price was right. Sometimes the quality is lacking, but they stand by their products forever. You can always get a refund or exchange. There are no questions asked. In the pocket of one pair of new pants was a slip with the following verbiage:

I have personally examined every detail of this garment to make sure it meets our high quality standards. Thank you for buying our product. Inspector: 32.

Now I have seen tags like this before. But something is not quite right with them. They are trying to convey some sort of personal assurance. However it was signed Inspector 32. That is most impersonal. Yeah maybe they internally collect metrics on which inspectors miss defective merchandise. That does not make me feel any connection with the inspector though.

Don't insult my intelligence. If I don't know your name, and I cannot communicate with you, there is nothing personal going on here. Luckily this is only a pet peeve from a pretty good company. They will still get my business. But I am hoping that I do not find another one of these Inspector tags.

Relative Value

A company got my name through my response to their ad. They had a super special offer going on. Some software they normally sell for $250 a seat was being deeply discounted. The cost during the sale week was only $5. It sounded too goo to be true. However it appeared to be legitimate.

I downloaded a trial version of their software. Unfortunately I found that it did not solve my problems. Still how could I pass up such a severe discount? The regular price was 50 times the sale price. That equates to 98% off right?

You need to look at the big picture to gain clarity sometimes. The software that they were selling for peanuts was this scaled down version of their flagship product. I believe their goal was to give me a taste of their software in the hopes I would buy the enterprise version, which costs over $1000 a pop. At the end of the sale week I decided to pass on the great sale. They could have been selling the software for a penny. I still did not need it. You got to watch out for these ambitious marketers. And you also have to make rational decisions on what to buy, and more importantly what not to buy.

Strong Value

These days I seem to do a lot of catalog shopping with Haband. They are a clothes mail order business. Their prices are low. And they seem to carry the sizes I usually need. There is a lot of competition in this business. I get a lot of catalogs in the mail trying to get my business.

Haband tries a lot of methods to get me to buy more. They flood me with catalogs. There is usually a bunch of free stuff that comes with any order. Once in a while I will get free shipping on my orders. Between you and me, I always plan to buy stuff anyway. The free gifts or gratis shipping just encourages me to buy stuff right now.

Other companies also send out frequent catalogs, offer gifts, and free shipping as well. Here is the thing that keeps me coming back for more with Haband. They stand by their clothes forever. If you are ever dissatisfied, you can get a refund or exchange. I have to tell you that some of their stuff does not seem to be of the highest quality. But with Haband, that is not hurting their reputation with me. I just ship the stuff back and get an exchange.

Let me tell share some examples with you. The button fell off a shirt. I did not sew it back on. I returned it and got a new shirt. The zipper broke on a pair of pants. Free replacement. Another pair of pants ripped. They replaced it without hassle. Their costs must be low enough that even with the occasional replacement, they still make money. As long as they keep up this policy, I will continue to buy most of my clothes from them. Good customer service is hard to come by. When I find it, I reward that company with my hard earned money.