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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Like tin foil on silver fillings


In my job I use State sourced and provided hardware and software. The taxpayers pay, but the State of Ohio specs.  The computer and printer are by Dell. In order not to void any manufacturer’s warranty we are under instruction to purchase only Dell printer cartridges.

I am so compliant I buy them straight from Dell. I wait until I've been repeatedly warned Toner Low, and have given the unit vigorous shakings until I purchase a replacement. My reason for that, about every three years the great State of Ohio replaces printers and/or computers. I've been caught with my unused cartridge accompanying the printer to the storage shelf in the records room. At a hundred a pop, that’s a very embarrassing use of my taxpayer’s money.

For a few extra bucks I always purchase the use and return cartridge. Put the used cartridge in the box, seal it in a great fight with the packing tape, put on the label and watch for the UPS man to go by.

That was my exact state last Wednesday. The checks I ran were quite dim, the cartridge was done. I made the exchange, and…no return label in the box. I checked the invoice paid in January, in the event it was part of the packing list and stapled to the invoice. I set it aside, to run to the ground another day.

Today I called the customer service number. For some reason I noticed the computer clock said 11:03. In spite of the fact I was calling the customer service number listed on the invoice paid in January, many, hopefully correct, menu selections were required to reach a person who spoke their own version of the King’s English.

My problem was a mystery. They would try…support, accessories, sales, hardware installation... Once, due to “technical difficulties” the line went dead. Yes, during a musical hold a recorded voice announced that due to technical difficulties the call was terminated.  Dial tone.I began again. 

That attempt produced another person whose every third word was intelligible to my ears. I told her that. In light of how angry I was with everyone I spoke with, and they knew it, this probably was the only person I should have thanked. “You still holding, m’am? I thank you, etc.etc.etc.”  as she called and explained the missing label to technicians and sales reps and who knows who else. Eventually she was confident she was correctly transferring me to customer service.

A broad Mississippi accent came on the line. Every other word intelligible. I began the missing label, and was informed I could return nothing, it was more than thirty days since I’d purchased the product. I glanced at the computer. It was fifty minutes since I’d picked up the phone. I swore.

I was informed I could not swear, I must apologize or she could not help me. I responded I was through swearing and Dell could apologize to me. Once more, I want a label to return my “use and return” printer cartridge.

“Oh, we have those on line now.”

It was not over. After being directed to the web site I had to search “return printer cartridge label”, as it was buried several screens down, with no direction to it. As I hung up I looked at the clock one more time. 12:02. Fifty nine minutes of my time never to be recovered.

You’re hearing this here, first. My next printer will be serviced with the most black market cartridge I can find. If it fails I will reinstall the original cartridge and let the great State of Ohio duke it out with Dell. I have three perfectly good, but replaced printers, on the record’s room shelf. One even has a brand new cartridge.


25 comments:

  1. Good lord, and I thought my day was pointless. How do you do it? You certainly have this greybeards sympathy.

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  2. Haha. What did you say? The S-word or worse? Sorry, I'm feeling immature.

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  3. It is insanely uncanny how customer service in just about any company can know next to nothing of what they're hired to know. I've been driven to the point of using some fairly lurid curse words and been told I can not talk to them that way and the next thing I know they've hung up on me because of how really obscene my words become. Oh well.

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  4. I think I'd rather staple my finger than deal with customer service of any kind. There have been some exceptions but they're as rare as return labels on printer cartridges. Me? I never could figure out how to load the damned things. Kudos to you for being smarter than me.

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  5. I do believe that lack of training is responsible for the lack of knowledge. Sadly, we are seeing more and more of this today.

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  6. Customer service is a lost art.

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  7. OY! And they probably continually told you while you were on hold that they appreciated your patience because your time was valuable.

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  8. Aaaaargh! I got my knickers in a knot yesterday when a telemarketer said "I'm sorry YOU misunderstood me" when I corrected her on using only half of my surname.
    You have my sympathies.
    Jane x

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  9. $100 a pop - profit margin ?? 15% 20% - how many does your office use per year? 10? The customer service people should care about keeping customers. I know they don't get paid well and often their training is very limited. I blame the management for trying to cut corners or just being asses about service.

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  10. That is a nightmare! You hade more patience than me, though; not sure I would have gotten past 10 minutes online dealing with this let alone close to an hour!

    betty

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  11. Hiss and spit. And I admire your patience. Recently our landline died. When I rang the company I got transferred to a call centre in India. The gentleman wanted to know what I had for lunch and whether it was a nice day. And then had me trotting round the house doing things to the phone and the internet. He then proudly told me the problem was a flat battery at the exchange - and that it would be fixed in no more than three days.
    Needless to say, his diagnosis was WRONG.

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  12. Isn't that annoying - having to listen to that awful music for hours, the often helpless and incompetent "helpers"--- reminds me of Judy Dench in the first scene of "Best Marigold Hotel".

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  13. So they replace the printers every three years but don't get rid of the old ones? Sounds like a garage sale item to me.

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  14. Companies are very jealous and protective of the printer cartridges It is a holiness thing, I guess..

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  15. It's the worst thing about technology, to my frugal mind, how much waste there is. Heck, yeah, use generic cartridges.

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  16. Hari OM
    oh - you are it telling to the right gal... if I had a dollar for every word I wasn't supposed to be uttering during many similar events of late, I might have been able to pay cash for the bed just bought... YAMxx

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  17. Didn't they even add (at 2 minute intervals) 'Your call is very important to us ....' and you're thinking, 'READ MY MIND....'

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  18. Sounds very frustrating. Sometimes, as much as I love the convenience, I really wish we could eliminate this computer stuff and go back to normal. Of course, that means we'd all have to type everything and use white out. There's no good medium.

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  19. Companies make those Web sites difficult to navigate on purpose, if it's something you really need that the company doesn't want to do for you. Someone with Florida Blue told me to be professional when I raised my voice after they screwed up my payment three times. I told the woman that professional would be Florida Blue knowing how to code my payment correctly.

    Love,
    Janie

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  20. What a hassle! After all that I'd be using whatever cheap cartridge I could get too.
    Can you not get the unused cartridge from the stored printer and use it? It doesn't make sense to have it just sit there unused. Rather bad for the economy I think.

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  21. I have spent many a long hour on the phone with utilities, services, etc. I now know to get everyone's name and badge number as often the next person tells me differently. I fear that some day we will no longer get a person not matter their accent or dialect and only a computer, not sure what I'll do then, perhaps I'll be happily in my grave.

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  22. I hear you, I believe you. Although such experiences are more the norm than the exception there is no excuse for awful and time consuming customer service. I totally agree with your reaction. Been there much more than once.

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  23. My teeth began hurting the moment I read your title. I spent one day this week trying to get my spouses cellphone number transferred to my account with a different provider. Then I spent two days (most of it on hold) trying to get it activated, then unlocked, then activated again…and then I gave up and spent $450. on a new iPhone. There are very few problems that can't be solved with money…I just hate spending it!

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  24. You could be better off just using compatible printer cartridges, and taking your used ones to the post office for disposal

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