Mac Support Pulls a Stupid

To preface this rant, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself:

1) I’ve only ever had PC’s. My father had a 286 and a 486 while I was growing up, and I’ve always been very into computers. My brother and I built our own computers for under $300 each while we were in high school. We were never presented with the opportunity to build a Mac.

2) Growing up, my friends and I played a lot of computer games, and I’ve tried to connect a Mac with a PC over a network… If you want to play a computer game at a LAN party, don’t bring a Mac.

3) I’m also very thrifty (stingy even) and never spend more than $1000 for a computer.

Those are three reasons whey I’ve never owned a mac. Please notice that there isn’t a “Mac’s are for idiots” reason. I don’t have any problems learning how to use a Mac, but I’m not going to drop a couple grand on a computer just to re-learn how to do things. (I use iTunes as my only music playing program.)

Now that you understand that I am pretty neutral on the Mac vs PC issue, here’s my rant:

Ordering a Simple Mac Product

I needed to purchase QuickTime 7 Pro to edit some videos for a client, and I needed to get it done in a couple days. No problem, right? On December 21st, I log into the Mac store, and purchase the registration key for $30. Immediately I get an email saying:

Hello Ashton Sanders,

Thank you for shopping the Apple Online Store. Your order is complete and your purchase information is located below.

Be sure to keep a copy of this email for your records. It may contain your software key(s), which you can retrieve at any time by visiting Downloadable software purchases in Your Account.

Visit Order Status to view your order details.

Best regards,
The Apple Store Team

Even though this introduction email refers to possibly containing a software key (like the one I need to activate QuickTime 7 Pro), the order details only says:

Product Name: QT 7 PRO WIN ACCESS KEY-INT
Product Number: D3381Z/A
Price: $29.99
Quantity: 1

Registered to: Ashton Sanders

And then it has instructions for how to use the registration code.

Problem: No Registration Code

Solution 1: Okay, maybe I just need to wait a while. So I waited until lunch time the next day before contacting their live chat support in the Apple Store. I explain my problem a couple times before she said, “We can’t help you with that. Go to the support website for QuickTime.” Which obviously shows that she still didn’t understand the problem I was having…. since my problem is that the Apple Store didn’t give me the Registration Key.

FAILURE.

Solution 2: I called the Apple Store Support and they told me, “It usually takes up to 24 hours for the registration key to get mailed to you.” Okay, fine. I’ll wait till 9:00 at night. I waited till 9:00 that night and still did not receive a registration key. The best part was that the support line closed.

FAILURE.

Solution 3: I called the Apple Store Support the next morning and they told me, “It usually takes up to 48 hours for the registration key to get mailed to you.” And you guessed it… still no registration key.

FAILURE.

Finally after 4 days of waiting and 3 calls, someone told me, “It usually sends you the registration key immediately, but sometimes it just breaks. I’ll credit your account (it takes 5 days) and you can purchase it again.”

Thanks Apple Store for being crappy.
-Ashton Sanders

AOL – Service Review

You can really summarize companies in two general categories:

Customer Orientedand

Profit Oriented

(Obviously this is a sliding scale but for the majority, companies will prefer one or the other.)

I have observed companies like Logitech and In-And-Out to be very Customer Oriented. When they (or even I) messed something up, they would go out of their way to fix it for me. And because of this customer orientation, I speak highly of them, and spend more money with them.

AOL is on the other end of the spectrum: Profit Oriented. They go out of their way to stop you from canceling their services etc. Their first programs were basically impossible to uninstall from your computer unless you were a computer genius… and even then it could take weeks to really get it off of your computer.

My first email address was with AOL, and when we realized that we could get better internet connection for cheaper elsewhere, we tried to uninstall it from our computer… for two years. Granted we didn’t know a lot about our computer, but we did know that once something is uninstalled, it shouldn’t keep making shortcuts on your desktop…

“But that was years ago, they are better now…”

If you believe that, I recommend checking out some of these people who tried to cancel their AOL account within the last few years:

Ask Dave Taylor how he canceled his AOL account.
Vincent Ferrari tries to cancel his AOL account.

AOL’s business decisions have lead to shirts that say “Friends don’t let friends use AOL” and hopefully will end up destroying them.

-Customer Service is King
-Ashton Sanders

Service Review – Paypal

I’ve used Paypal (an Ebay Company) for upwards of 4 years now, and I’ve never had a problem with them until last week. The worst part about it is that the same problem keeps occurring.

Here is what happened:

So I signed up for a Subscription through Paypal for an Internet service. This subscription costs me $20/month. Subscription services with Paypal are so user friendly. You even get to choose where you want the money debited from. I chose my credit card.

A couple weeks go by, and I check my Paypal account, and the subscription debited by bank account. So immediately I thought that I had accidentally selected the wrong account somehow. I hate when I do that. I go to my subscription page to correct this error… and “Who’d a Thunk it!” I correctly selected my Credit Card, and it still says “Credit Card” and the last four digits.

Well no biggie, I’ll just check their “Resolution Center.”I must have done something wrong. I check their help center, and find a couple articles about subscriptions. Upon reading them all, I find that none of them help me.

Still not a problem… I’ll send them an email. I shoot them this email:

Subject: This subscription is Debiting my bank account…
Body: It clearly states that I have chosen to pay for this subscription with my credit card, and yet the first payment came out of my bank account. Please fix.
Why is it debiting my bank account?

I felt that I explained my problem briefly and thoroughly. Apparently… I didn’t because the response that I got was straight out of the “Resolution Center” about how to change the subscription options so that it charges your credit card. Here is the response:

Dear Ashton Sanders,

Thank you for contacting PayPal. I apologize for the delay in responding to your email inquiry. We have recently encountered a large volume of emails. We do not intend on any customer waiting this long for a response.

Hello my name is Maria. I am sorry to hear about this situation, and I understand your frustration and concern regarding the funding source of your subscription. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you with your questions.

To change a subscription funding source you must find the transaction for the original subscription creation in your account history. If you are changing your funding source to a new credit card or bank account, please add the credit card or bank account first by going to your Profile. You can then follow the steps below to change the subscription funding source.

1. Log in to your account at https://www.paypal.com
2. Click the ‘History’ subtab.
3. Choose the ‘Subscriptions’ field from the ‘Show’ drop-down menu.
4. Check the ‘From’ box and change date back 2 years.
5. Click ‘Search’.
6. To view the details of a specific ‘Subscription Creation’ , click ‘Details’ in the Details column.
7. Next to Subscription Funding Source, choose the future payment option by placing a bullet next to the preferred option for future payments.
8. Click ‘Update Information’ to save your changes.

When updating financial information, if the established credit card or bank account information is removed as the funding source for a Subscription payment, the Subscription and Recurring Payments will be canceled. Canceling a subscription cancels all future scheduled payments of that subscription.

– Once a subscription has been canceled it cannot be reactivated
– The seller’s website should be accessed to establish a new subscription with their service

I hope this email addresses your concern. In any event however, that you would need more assistant, please do not hesitate to contact us again and we will be more than willing to help you. Have a Nice Day.

Sincerely,
Maria
PayPal Community Support
PayPal, an eBay Company

Are you serious?!?!?! Maria, are you a computer?!?! Did you read the word subscription and send me this prefabricated message?!?!? My question was only two sentences long… please do me the favor of reading it before responding.

I sent them this response:

Thank you… But unfortunately, you haven’t read or addressed my problem.

I followed your instructions, and here is the problem that I run into:

THE PAYMENT SELECTION IS SET TO MY CREDIT CARD, YET THE SUBSCRIPTION
JUST DEBITED MY BANK ACCOUNT.

I appreciate your help in this matter,
Ashton Sanders

There! That was definitely simple enough! There is nothing I could do to make this email any simpler… I guess Paypal is staffed by monkeys, because this is the response that I got. If it makes any sense to you, please post a comment… cause I can’t figure it out for the life of me. (Note: I received this email at 3:45AM 4/1/07 and I haven’t bought anything from ebay.)

I would also like to draw your attention to the text I marked with red in this response (Yes, this is exactly how the email came to me…):

Dear Ashton Sanders,

Hello my name is John, I am sorry to hear about the situation regarding (Briefly repeat the members situation), and understand your frustration and concern over this issue. I will be happy to assist you with your questions.

The cash rebate PayPal email address opt-in begins February 8, 2007 – March 31, 2007.

To qualify for the $15.00 rebate, you must meet the following requirements:

– Have signed up for the Cash Rebate offer during open enrollment or through any other limited offer you may have received
– Single payment of $30.00 or more must have been made on eBay.com, eBay.ca or on merchants’ sites in the US or Canada
– eBay.com and eBay.ca purchases must have been made through the eBay checkout flow via the eBay website and not through the PayPal send money tab
– Purchases must have been made between 2/8/07 12:01 PST and 3/31/07 11:59 PST

The Cash Rebate will be deposited into the participants’ PayPal accounts by May 1, 2007. Limit one registration and one $15 rebate per person and/or PayPal account.

The following transactions are excluded from this Cash Rebate offer: Send Money transactions, payments to Personal accounts, eBay payments made to Personal accounts, donations, Text to Buy and payments for services.

I hope I was able to assist you with the information that I have provided.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again.

You may contact PayPal’s Customer Service at 1-888-221-1161.

Thank you and have a nice day!

Sincerely,
John
PayPal Community Support
PayPal, an eBay Company

Paypal Help is run by monkeys… Don’t email them unless you really don’t care about getting your problem addressed.

Paypal… you take 3% of almost every Ebay transaction, the least you can do is have a help center run by sentient beings who have graduated from the fifth grade…

This Flame brought to you by:
-Ashton Sanders