Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Good news – it’s back. Acer shipped me a brand spanking new M330 to replace the wonky one. For reasons that will remain a mystery, the new one came all the way from Texas rather than locally. That’s not an issue, it arrived in record time so seriously who cares. I’m just a bit bemused.

Acer, replaced it with no quibbles, which was expected. However, I am annoyed by the process. When you send something in for repairs, you are assigned a case ID that lets you go online and track the status of repairs. That’s great … as long as the form actually gives real progress reports. They received the phone Monday morning and by Wednesday morning, it was marked “Closed” with no updates or explanations. Nothing. No indication as to what’s going on or the status of the phone. Was it being returned as is? Was it repaired and being returned? Was it being replaced? When could I expect it back? Nothing. I waited a few hours, hoping the system would update and give me details. By 1pm I decided to contact Acer.

Well… that introduced a new level of frustration. First thing I did was give a case id number and said it’s marked closed, but that doesn’t really tell me a thing. Is it being returned repaired/replaced or being sent back as is? Seemed like a pretty clear question to me. The person asked for the serial number for confirmation, which I supplied. But for some reason all this was a rocket science level query that set off cascading nonsense which I’ll list here:

- phone was never received (I have proof they rec’d it)

– we are still waiting for you to send proof of warranty (already supplied)

– you have 2 options re sending the phone in to us (you already have the phone, under warranty)

– looped back to there is no phone with that serial number at Acer (um yes there is, I have the paperwork)

– looped to you haven’t sent it (please read my previous statements)

– we circled back to the “there is no device with that serial number listed” (yes there is, by this time I was typing in ALL CAPS)

– the serial number is attached to a case that was marked closed because the device wasn’t rec’d (once again, I said it was there check again)

– serial number is not attached to any case number

It was at that point the penny dropped and I realised the fellow on the other end hadn’t bothered punching in the case id. He went straight to the serial number for a phone that was now replaced. I was almost hammering on the keyboard by this point typing in all caps – CASE ID l************* Check again. He came back in under 30 sec with the information I was looking for – phone was being replaced, tracking #*********. Voila. My question was finally answered. Turns out a replacement phone had already been shipped out (at 4am Wed morning no less) and I could expect the phone by 10:30am Thursday morning. That was all I wanted to know.

And this brings up 2 important issues:

The repair depot dropped the ball. They should have had some information about the real status, not some vague “closed” line. That told me zip. A small line indicating the phone is being replaced and a tracking # should have been included. How else is the customer supposed to know what’s going on? Seriously Acer… I’m not a mind reader, I couldn’t throw some chicken bones and divine your intent.

Second issue is equally important. The support person on the other end ignored the first thing I sent – CASE ID. That was the very first thing I typed. Instead of insisting I hadn’t sent the phone in – which by the way was a guaranteed method of pissing me off so severely, I’m sure I left scorch marks along the internet – all he had to do was READ what I had sent. I’m not new at this. I supplied all required information, including double checking serial numbers and ID numbers. No matter how many times I told him I have paperwork proving Acer has the phone etc he wasn’t paying attention. Only when I literally shouted did he stop to look at the actual case. And what do you know, I had my answer in under 1 min.

This could have been so easily avoided if the status reports included real information. Clarity, that’s all I asked for. Acer is not unique in this. I have an archive of tech support calls that periodically make me weep. As far as horror stories go, this one doesn't even rate as a blimp on the screen. It was miscommunication. One day I'll tell you about the Sympatico techie that told a customer she could solve her email problems by going down into the basement and shut all the power down at the circut breaker. No, she didn't do that.

For the record, the new phone works beautifully. Slapped in the sim card and micro card, fired it up and everything went tickity boo. I’m over the moon happy with it. It’s fast, works well with Win10, the sound quality on phone calls outstrips pretty much everything I've tried out and all my apps are back. Sometimes shit happens and devices go phhttt. That’s what a warranty is for. Acer replaced it outright quickly, without any arguments. I’m pleased with all of that. It’s the lack of communication somewhere in the middle of the process that got under my skin. One easily resolved issue was screwed up by someone not paying attention.

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“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

 ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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