Category Archives: customer service

Grass is always greener on the other side

The title of this blog could apply to anything … but in this case, it applies to Cable TV/Internet.  In the Bay Area, the Cable provider is Comcast.  Yes, we all like to punch Comcast in the gut, complain about how bad their customer service is … and I am one of those … but man, I found something even worse.

I went to visit dad in LA, and in LA, the cable provider is Charter Communications … yeah, the same one who just got FCC approval to buy and take over Time Warner Communications.  Well, when I arrived, I found out Cable TV service is out … not only that, but Internet is also down.  Their phone is also down (but we don’t have that service, so at least we didn’t have to worry about that).

I went to their web site, to see if I can find any outage information.  Oy vey … You can’t even get support for a network problem.  How did I find outage information?  Not on the web site … no, I had to go to  No, it’s not a Charter web site … at least with Comcast, they have a section on their web site, where you could check for status of the connection, and determine if there is an outage … but with Charter, you had to check through third party sites.

They didn’t even publish a phone number to report a problem.  I had to find the local Charter office, then call a 888 number … not a local number, but a 888 number, where I was able to get to support.  Then, they said they detected a service outage in my area.  However, they don’t allow me to speak to a live person.  Eventually, after about 3 subsequent calls, I found there was a fiber cut, which was affecting multiple areas … constituting most of San Gabriel Valley area.

So go ahead, complain if you want to about Comcast, but be careful what you ask for.  With this small sampling, Comcast is not that bad .. Charter … oof.  I wonder how Customer Service is with Cox, or Centurylink.  Why do cable providers strive to have bad customer service?

Prius Dead? Is this it?

Yes, I bike a lot … even in the rain, I prefer to ride my bike to work, do errands, etc … So it came as a surprise to me, when I did decide to drive my Prius, it just wouldn’t start.  It was completely dead.  Not only did my keyless remote not work, but power locks, dash display, clock, everything … no power, nothing.

Uh oh … WTF do I do now?  I couldn’t even put this in neutral.  The trunk … the door doesn’t even have a keyhole to manually unlock it.  Damn!

Actually, it’s been like this for a couple of weeks, but I never really did anything about it.  I mean, why should I … I bike everywhere anyways, and I really don’t miss it.  Well, since I do have to make a trip down to LA, I figure I need to get this taken care of.

I make several calls (not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 calls), just trying to ask a simple question … is my Prius dead, with no possibility of resuscitation?  Every time, they forward me to a service manager, only to get voicemail.  So I decide to not ask a question, just tell them my car is dead, and need to have it looked at.  So the person who answered says they can have a tow truck come by, tow it to the dealer.  I thought, great … appointment at 2 pm.

So the next day, I take off early, to await the tow.  2:15 pm comes by, and nothing.  So I call the dealer again … they forward me to a service manager, and voicemail again.  Damn it … one more call, and the guy says, we don’t do that.  We give you a number, you call them, and you arrange for the tow.  Well, it would have been nice if someone had told me that in the first place.

I could have raised my voice, really ranted on the phone, but being in customer service, I couldn’t find myself doing that.  I feel for them, so I didn’t make as much of a big deal as most people would.

Well the good thing is, I finally got it towed, they diagnosed the problem as a dead auxiliary battery, but the rest of the car is in good shape.  Whew .. so replace the battery, and all should be good.  What is the auxiliary battery?  It’s like a normal car battery, located in the trunk, by the spare tire.  Well damn, that’s all?  The hybrid battery is still good.

I guess I should drive the car a little more … maybe I’ll just drive it to move parking spots, but it’s good to know I won’t have to go car shopping … at least not yet.  I’d rather do bike shopping.

Probably The Worst Customer Service Experience I’ve Had To Date

Couple of weeks ago, the inevitable happened … My Drivers license and Debit Card fell out of my jersey pocket.  I thought at first that I didn’t bring it with me when I went on my ride after work, but when I checked the office the next day, it wasn’t there.  Oh crap.

So I went into my local branch to try to get a replacement ATM card, but then they needed an ID card in order to give me that and I didn’t have it.  I went ahead and got an ATM card ordered on Monday and they told me it would be on a 2 business days delivery Express Mail.  I called on Wednesday to try to get
a tracking id, but then they said it was thru UPS. OK so what’s the tracking id? They didn’t have one. I actually arranged to work half day from home, just so that I would be here, just in case I needed to sign for it. Well, I waited all day and it never came.

I called them to report that the ATM card never showed up I asked if they had a tracking ID but they still didn’t have one. They suggested I call back good in the morning to follow up on this. They said that the original order that was cut on Monday never got printed so it never actually got past home plate. At this point I’m really irrate. And yes, I did escalate this … In fact every time I called, I had to escalate it.

So now the customer service agent orders a new card and says I would get that next business day but that I would have to call back later for a tracking ID. I proceeded to call multiple times, and each time, they give me a different story. One says the card in process, another says it’s for 5-7 business day delivery …. Arghh. The fact that the agent told me next business day and this one contradicts that … What the hell is going on here? Finally after several more calls, I find out the Thursday order is not next business but 2 business day, which would mean Monday. Nooo … This would mean almost 2 weeks without a debit card. I need it now! They then authorize for Saturday delivery, but guess what … I have no tracking id.

I call in again Friday afternoon, and they again say it’s not expedited and is schedule to arrive in 5-7 business days. I explain the situation yet again, but they don’t see it expedited. The agent says they will try to get the debit card person involved but she is not at her desk. She says either she or the debit card person will give me a call back within the next 24-48 hours. No, this is not good enough. I get them to promise to call me, either way with a status before COB, which would be 9 pm.

I get an email at about 6 pm from UPS regarding delivery for Saturday, and for the first time, with a tracking id. Notice I never got a call from customer service. I did get my card finally at 1 pm on Saturday. It meant having to wait for this package, and I had to cancel a ride with my good friend Karen, who was up for the weekend for Mother’s Day. That really pissed me off.

Oh the call that I was promised? No call yet. Chase, you failed miserably.

Oh my lesson here … Put my id in my saddle bag so that I did risk it flying out of my jersey pocket. Wow!

All this ordeal was hanging over my head, and I was not in the right frame of mind for riding. Now that I got this squared away, I an enjoy my ride. Two weeks lost training, and Davis Double is coming up next week. I think I’ll just have to wing it.