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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is This Customer Service?

I am a long time customer of a large Internet Service Provider (ISP) which I use extensively for email. It is not a free service and I am on an automatic monthly billing payment plan, even though there are a number of no cost ISP’s available that can satisfy my needs. A short time ago I began looking at alternatives, when a friend suggested that the “benefits” from my provider were worth the cost. Except for the periodic emails portending to describe my “Benefits”, which I promptly deleted before reading, I had no idea what these were, until recently.

An examination of my “Benefits” has a list identified as “Active” that includes an Extended Computer Protection program. A few days earlier I had a laptop literally fall apart at the joint where the power plug connects. The plastic board on which the internal receptacle was mounted was in pieces and the plug could no longer be attached. This was the third laptop I have had that had issues at the power connection. In any event, the cost of repair made this one a throw away. I salvaged the hard drive, now an external hard drive, for use with other systems, and spent days bringing up a new laptop with the applications I use, now under a new OS, where some of the apps would not run, or later versions are needed. Was there some recovery available under this program?

The Extended Computer Protection description had a phone number to call. I called and before I could describe the situation was told I was “not eligible” for this coverage but should speak to a different representative about my billing (Remember I am on an automatic billing payment plan), and the agent forwarded my call. The new representative could not locate my account, even after having me spell my email address out three or four times. I finally asked the representative where they were and was given an “off shore” location. I specifically asked to be connected to a representative located in the US and was told this could not be done. I am under the impression that any US company providing “off shore” customer service is obligated to provide “on shore” capability when requested.  I gave up in frustration and hung up!

The effort of moving my email now stored on a remote drive is not a simple task and I have yet to tackle it. If I store something on my PC, it should be easy to move to other PC’s, just like moving “My Documents”

Why would I bother with any other service they say they provide? Perhaps I should return to my original thought and go with a free service.

How does your customer service compare to this?

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor

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