16 Mar 2005 Boris   » (Journeyer)


Grr... I hate outsourcing...

Recently I had a PDA that was broken. I had two options: 1) Ship it back to where I bought it and get a refund (they clearly hadn't checked it - all thier fault) or 2) Find out the repair costs.

I thought I'd see what the repair costs were first. They recommended sending a web-form email. Having worked in support for many years, I like to let the poor support techs know what they are in for when I log a call. I did the diagnosis, and logged it nice and clearly listing the problems and symptoms in the email. (Short form: digitizer was broken. What are the repair costs?)

First response: Standard email back saying "Have you upgraded to the version 1.1 firmware? If that doesn't work try a soft reset, and if that doesn't work, try a hard reset. Thank you" What?! It's a hardware problem. I'd listed it as a physical hardware problem. How's that going to fix the busted digitizer? People, at least try and use a script that parses the email. I could write something in 10 minutes in perl and PHP that would do a better job than that.

Turned it over to my wife to try to get a response (She's much better at getting people to do stuff). She did the email chat thingy from thier website. Told them exactly what the problem was. Asked what the repair cost was. Was told it would be a warranty repair. No cost. Sounds good. So, I shipped it off.

A few days later I get a call saying that they looked at it. It would be a $125 repair, and could they have my credit card number?

I called then them back, and some Indian bloke says that the head of engineering looked at it, and the digitizer was broken and it would be $125 to repair. I told him that we told them that *twice* and that they said it was a warranty repair.

He said, "Yes Sir, but the digitizer is broken and that $125, but it has a 3 month warranty".

I said "Yes, but you said 'warranty repair - no cost' and now theres a cost, even though I told you twice that this is exactly what the problem was..."

He said "The head of engineering says that to repair it costs $125..."

I said "I described the problem clearly. You said 'Warranty Repair'. The problem was a broken digitizer. Why is this not a warranty repair?"

I could clearly tell he'd run out scripted responses. He said "Sorry sir, I'm not a technician. We're in Southern India"

I asked him to transfer me to engineering. He responded "I can't do that" I repeated the request to be transfered to someone other than him, either his boss or someone who was dealing with the PDA. He said "I can't do that"

I said "Well get the head of engineering to call me then" He said "I can't do that - our contract states..." I cut him off and said "I don't care - I was told no cost, and now there is a cost, and you're not telling me why there is suddenly a cost, and you won't get the guy who is saying there is a cost to contact me."

He went back to the script and said "but the repair is under warranty and its a 3 month warranty and can I have your credit card number"

One thing I hate worse than dealing with machines are people who act like machines. I told him to ship it back and hung up on him in mid sentance.

I long for the days when you could get transferred to some tech who would take 2 minutes out of his day to tell you that it looked worse than they thought. You could at get an understanding why you are suddenly paying out almost as much as the thing cost in the first place, and feel better about supporting some guy in Southern California because you would know exactly what was wrong.

I like to know why I'm forking out cash, and not for some one liner email that Mr Call Center in Southern India got with no clear description of the problem and reasoning why there's suddenly a charge.

Grr. I hate outsourcing. If you're going to outsource, at least outsource it to some tech who will know what the heck is going on. Don't outsource it to some script machine.


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