Tag: customer service

More garage door drama

When we left for work this morning, the garage door wouldn’t close again, and I nearly exploded.  I drove into the office in a deep funk, and called the Avalon community phone number.  The message told me that while the office opened at 9 AM, they didn’t answer phones between 9 and 10 AM.  Fine.  I fumed for a while.

Back-story:  I’ve reported problems with the garage door not closing twice now.  Both times were on very cold days like today, and both times, the "fix" appears to have been temporary.

I did some browsing online and found that a garage door not closing in cold weather is a fairly common problem.  There were plenty of articles on it, like this one.   Yet when I reported the problem in the past, the maintenance guys seemed surprised, as though they’d never seen a garage door stop working before.  (Perhaps that was the case, who knows?)

At 9 AM, I headed home and dashed up to the office–which was closed.  The sign outside the door said the office hours were from 10 AM – 7 PM on Mondays.  I called the phone number again and indeed, the message said the office opened at 9 AM.

Imagine what happens inside a rocket when the pressure in the tank builds shortly before ignition.  This will give you some kind of idea what was happening inside me.

Nevertheless, I promised Kelly that I was not going to be a jerk about it.  I went downstairs to find the concierge, who confirmed the office hours, but was also kind enough to call and see if the maintenance manager was already in.  She was!  So he took me upstairs, let me in the office, and directed me to her office so that I could talk with her.  I kept my cool.  I explained the history of the problem.  I explained that this was a well-known problem with garage door openers.  I gave her printouts of the articles I found so that she could pass them along to maintenance.  And, without being a jerk, I let her know that I would really appreciate it if the problem was resolved once and for all today.

She apologized.  She took notes.  She said she’d have her maintenance manager go right over and look at it.  Thank you, I said.  I appreciate it.  I went back to work.

After work (and about an hour or so of holiday shopping), we got home and the garage door still didn’t work.

Ignition!  At that moment, I felt like driving my car though the garage door.  But I had a pregnant woman in the car with me and it probably wouldn’t have been good for her.  Nevertheless, the engines were lit, I’d cleared the tower and it was too late to turn back.  I tried to stay calm.  I went upstairs with Kelly and then dashed over to the rental office in the hope they were still open  They were.

I explained the problem.  One of the people remembered me from the morning but the maintenance manager was gone.  She radioed maintenance and they had no idea about my problem.  I couldn’t help roll my eyes and I know she saw me do it.  She asked the maintenance guy to meet me at the house and he’d look at it.

He did.  He made an adjustment to the down-position power and that seemed to work.  For now.

I went back over to the office to thank them for their help this evening.  She told me that she called the maintenance manager after I left, and she apologized for not getting to the problem sooner.

I sure hope this thing is fixed!  Now if I could only calm my temper down a bit.

Yet another customer service rant

We got a notice from Avalon Communities (which owns/manages our townhouse) that they are improving their website to provide additional value to customers.  The downside is that for the time being, all automatic rent payments have been canceled and we have to send our checks to the central rental office somewhere in Florida I think.  The notice said that we’d be notified as soon as the new system was available.  Among the benefits of the new system are:

  • The ability to set up automatic, recurring rental payments
  • A more user-friendly environment for setting up such payments
  • People who set up such payments won’t have the money taken from their accounts until later in the month, giving them more time to pay.

I was thoroughly annoyed by this, and was tempted to write their customer service people to explain why.  I decided that wouldn’t do much good, and instead, I would vent my frustration here.  Here is what annoys me:

  1. I had set up a recurring automatic payment before I ever moved into the townhouse.  It was fairly straight-forward.
  2. I have never had a problem making rent payments on time and in full.
  3. Now, I have to take the time to manually mail off a check for December rent and
  4. Once the new site is up, I have to go through the process of setting up automatic payments a second time

I can’t see how any of this is of benefit to me.  In fact, from my perspective, it is pure inconvenience.

Just writing this up raises my hackles, and makes me think that I should write their customer service about it.  I may come across as a jerk in doing so, but how else does customer service know when they are doing something foolish?  I realize that this is probably a minor thing to most people.  It should probably be a minor thing to me as well, but it has been gnawing at me for days
Thanks for listening.

The roads must roll

Just finished up 4 scene critiques for the writers workshop.  Professor Gunn has us working on "setting" this week.  I think I have two more critiques to write, but those scenes haven’t been submitted yet so there’s not much I can do.

Very productive day at work today.  My Universal Importer for the Big Application we’ve been working on for the last year got it’s first trial run and was successful, which made me happy.  I spent all morning on it.  It was one of those days where I got into the office, disappeared in code, and when I came up for air it was 12:30.  I had to interview someone this afternoon, and then it was back to work on the Universal Importer.  I headed home around 4 PM.

Comcast called me early this afternoon.  They wanted to see if they could troubleshoot my phone problems now, rather than have me wait for a technician on Monday.  "Monday?" I said, "I was told he was coming today between 3 and 6 PM."  Turns out, when the Comcast rep said, "Tomorrow between 3 and 6," she meant "Monday between 3 and 6".  They called me back around 4:30 to do some troubleshooting.  They were going to remotely reset the modem or something.  They also told me that the phone number we’d been assigned was never "registered", whatever that means.  In any event, they solved half the problem.  I was able to make an outgoing call from the house phone tonight, but still not able to receive an incoming call.  So the Comcast tech will come on Monday.

Did some banking today, depositing various checks.  When I got home from work I found our engagement pictures on a CD in our mailbox.  There are 91 pictures, many of which came out really good.  Especially the pictures of Kelly.  At some point, we’ll make some of them available.  I also had a message from the concierge that they had a package for me.  I walked over there and would you believe they couldn’t find it.  They were very apologetic and asked me to come back tomorrow–they’d have it all sorted out.  Stay-tuned.

Paid the credit card bill and that means the honeymoon is paid for in full now.

Spoke to Mom briefly this evening.  Also spoke to vickyandnorm.  I did laundry when I got home from work.  It was my first time using out washer and dryer.  Kelly likes doing laundry, but I badgered her into letting me do some today.  She made us scrambled eggs with mushrooms, peppers, and cheese for dinner.  High protein.  We headed to the gym around 8:30 and I got in a decent chest and back workout.

I’m 172 pages through Rainbows End and it’s slow going simply because there isn’t enough time in the day.  Tomorrow we’ve got Poker Night; Saturday is the Think Tank softball tournament (if it doesn’t rain), and on Sunday we’re planning on wrapping up what’s left of our wedding to-do lists.

And if that isn’t enough, when I checked to see if Dad’s tux had been added to the list tonight, I discovered that it had–except they spelled his first name "Dan".  This is remarkable only because I spelled out his name when I called to have him added.  I’ll get it changed on Sunday when I go in to get fitted.

To shower and to bed…

Happy Birthday, Casey!

Bloom carries over 130 varieties of coffee*

Another weird night’s sleep last night, but better than the night before. We were up just a little late this morning and headed into work. I had anotherfull day of coding, punctuated by a meeting in the morning and a meeting in the afternoon. I felt pretty productive today.

At lunch, I finally wrote the next scene for my writer’s workshop, about 750 words, which is pretty good for lunchtime. Actually, the scene takes place toward the end of the story, but I kind of liked it. I think it works pretty well. I’m eager to see what the group thinks. I also got one critique written for the group and may get to one more before going to bed tonight.

Lots of mail today, mostly for Kelly. But I did get the October/November issue of ASIMOV’S today.

I managed a little bit of reading. I’m about 160 pages through Rainbows End.

After I picked Kelly up from work, we headed to the grocery store to do some shopping. Then back home and I made us French bread pizza for dinner. Doug called this evening and I spoke to him for a little while. Then Kelly and I headed to the gym. I did a half hour of cardio. It felt like a good workout.

I called Comcast today to have someone come out and check the phones. The phones haven’t worked since we moved in, but I never complained about it since we mainly use our cellphones. But since we’re paying for the service, it seems like it should work. So they are sending a tech over tomorrow afternoon.

* This was a line from a commercial that was playing when I started this entry and I couldn’t think of a good subject line so I appropriated it.

Now you see it, and now you don’t

We were up pretty early this morning. Kelly had to go into work, but I stayed home because I needed to be here for the cable guy. I made good use of the time. I got my books unpacked. There are 36 boxes of books and I managed to get most of them unpacked and on shelves. Not in proper order, you understand, but in rough alphabetical order. I will need to go back through and do some rearranging, but it’s good enough for now.

The cable guy arrived at 9 AM. He got everything setup. HD cable downstairs, regular cable upstairs in the guest room/office. High-speed Internet (yeah! we have Internet again), phone service. I got the wireless working, and even have an extended WDS network going so that we can do remote wireless printing. When the cable was set up, I saw HD on my TV for the first time. I watched a portion of Sunrise Earth, and a portion on some show about Dracula on the History Channel. It was pretty cool!

I turned in our move-in checklist, noting all of the damaged items when we took possession of the townhouse. I was careful to note everything, not matter how small. The most significant things were (1) the ice maker does not seem to be working and (2) there is a loose tile in the kitchen floor. Once that was turned in, we got our mailbox keys and I emptied our accumulated mail. My replacement pilot certificate was there from the FAA. Way fancier than my original!

I headed into work at about 11:25 and was in my office at 11:35. Not too bad. It was a busy, hectic workday, despite it being only a half-day, mainly because of some software problems I’m dealing with.

After work, I went home (6 minutes) and did more unpacking. Kelly got home from work and wanted to rest for a while. She napped and I continued to do some unpacking. Later, I showed her the new HD stuff from cable.

We headed out to Target in the evening to do a bunch of shopping. When we got home, we decided to take it easy and relax in front of our new HDTV. And that’s when we discovered that the cable wasn’t working. Turns out that the box was bad, and to make a long story short, after talking with the cable company, and getting a $5 credit for the lost day, we have to swap out the box tomorrow. I was annoyed to no end, but what can you do?

I got the book I’d ordered for the writing workshop, James Gunn’s The Science of Writing Science Fiction.

No home Internet access until I move

When I came home today, my Internet access wasn’t working. There was a single blinking light on the cable modem. Cable TV was fine. I did some basic troubleshooting and decided it was hardware but called Comcast anyway. The customer service person I spoke to agreed it was hardware. She suggested I bring in my cable modem and get a new one. I did that and the new one appeared to work. At least, all of the lights are flashing properly.

When I connected to my wiewless network, it seemed like it was working. I was redirected to Comcast’s site to configurey modem. I installed the configuration software and things stopped working. After more troubleshooting, I simply gave up. My rationale: I move in 2 weeks. I’ve got a lot to do and I waste a lot of time on the Internets. I’ve got my iPhone so I can get and send email and browse if I have to. Meanwhile, I can read and write and pack and not be bothered by the Internet. I probably should cancel everything now but Dad will be here next week and he’ll at least have tv. Plus the bill is already paid. When we move, the cable people are coming out to set everything up so I’ll be back in business then. Meanwhile, I have access at work and at Kelly’s.

I’m fine with it.

Bring your own bagels

From now on, I’m bringing my own bagels for breakfast. Ever since Au Bon Pan reopened downstairs, they have been incredibly stingy with the cream cheese. It costs $0.99 for a bagel and $1.00 for cream cheese, and they barely put any on. I asked for extra cream cheese once, and they tried to charge me an extra dollar. I spoke to the manager and he was very understanding, told me that they should be putting more cream cheese on, and didn’t charge me. But when he’s not there, forget it.

Rather than worry about it, I’m just going to bring my own bagels from now on and leave some cream cheese in the fridge at work.

International calling

Going through my checklist of things I need to do before I go on vacation, this morning I called T-Mobile and had them explain to me how International calling works on my cell phone when I am traveling in Europe. Turns out, its very easy and straight-forward. I spoke to a very enthusiastic support person, who turned out to be very helpful. But that’s nothing unusual since my experience with T-Mobile has always been good.

First, he confirmed that my phone can handle international networks (it’s a quad-band phone) and that my services are all set up for international calling.

Next, he explained the “dialing pattern” while I am abroad. Essentially, any call I make, I hit 0 to pull up the plus (+) sign, then dial the country code, then the local number. Easy to remember. So for calling the U.S., I dial +1 followed by the area code and phone number. In London, to call the hotel I’d dial +44 then the area code and phone number, etc.

He gave me a good tip about voice mail If my phone is on and I get a call and allow it to go to voice mail, I get charged at the local rate for that incoming call. If my phone is off, I don’t get charged for the incoming call, but still get the voice mail message.

Next, he told me that text messages anywhere I travel are $0.35/message for outgoing and $0.15/message for incoming. This will likely be my preferred method of communication since it is very, very cheap.

Finally, he went through the cost per minute for calls originating in each of the countries I will be visiting:

  • Italy, $0.99/minute
  • Greece, $1.49/minute
  • Croatia, $1.49/minute
  • Turkey, $1.99/minute
  • London, $0.99/minute
  • Paris, $0.99/minute

He was very helpful and I am now satisfied that I know how to use my phone internationally and that I know how much it will cost me.

Check one more item off the list!

Twilight Zone at the Outback

I decided to treat myself to a steak dinner tonight. I grabbed my copy of In Memory Yet Green and headed over to the Outback Steakhouse, anticipating a long wait. There was no wait. I was seated at once. I ordered a tall beer, had a salad, steak fillet, fries, and I even ordered the chocolate thunder from down under for dessert. My waiter happened to be a Yankee fan and hadn’t seen the game today so I told him about it.

They were playing good music in the restaurant today. I imagine it was some satellite radio station, but it was almost exclusively classic rock, one good song after another. And something happened that I’ve never before witnessed in an Outback Steakhouse: people began singing out loud to some of the songs. And not one or two people, but whole tables full of people. This seemed to reach it’s peak when “Come Sail Away” played (which is what solidified it in my mind as the perfect vacation song). It seemed as almost the entire restaurant was singing.

Meanwhile, I luxuriated in my food and beer and my reading, enjoying every minute of it. Everything was excellent and the service as super. When the bill came, the waiter had left off the Sprite that I had ordered after my beer. I pointed this out to him and he told me not to worry about it. (It pays to be a Yankee fan!) Nevertheless, when I left the tip, I left my usual 20% and then added an extra $2.00 to it, which is about what it would have cost for the Sprite. It also pays to provide good service.

A good lunch

I decided to brave the Olive Garden once again, even though I had a bad experience there when the local franchise opened up not too long ago. This time, my experience was quite the opposite. I was seated at a good table. I had good food (chiante braised short ribs, salad and bread sticks, and of course chocolate gelato). Best of all was my waitress. She was very friendly, wished me a Happy New Year, and was really quite jovial without being intrusive. This, even when she had to work on New Year’s day. She would come by every now and then and ask how I was doing, and she would also ask how my book was (I read when I eat by myself). The clincher was when she brought the check. She brought two mints along with it. “One for you,” she said, “and one for your book.”

The bill came to $23 which would have ordinarily warranted a $5 tip for good service. I left her $10. Happy New Year!

Comcast saga, take 3

Well, they showed up on time tonight, and with the digital DVR receiver. They had it hooked up and working on the second TV in seven minutes. And now I’m all squared away. I should forget about my hassles and the terrible customer support, right? Wrong. This afternoon I was reading all kinds of complaints about Comcast online and found some good suggestions for getting my complaints addressed, so I will be pursuing some of those measures just as soon as I have some free time.

But at least all of the equipment is here now, 10 days after initial installation, and everything is working.

Comcast Saga, continued

So they still haven’t shown up. I’ve been on the phone 2 more times. I finally told them to forget it tonight, seeing as how I am supposed to be in bed in 10 minutes so that I can get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning.

We are rescheduled for delivery next Wednesday between 5 – 8 PM. I chose next Wednesday because I wanted an evening time and because it interferes the least with my schedule (I could have had someone come by as early as Friday). Also, I need some time to cool off.

In the meantime, I’m getting a $20 credit and I expect to hear from a customer service manager sometime soon.