Posts Tagged Customer Support
A few days ago I was ranting about eBay’s Customer Support. My problem in a nutshell: I tried to sign up for the eBay Partner Network, it wasn’t possible and all I received after contacting the customer support several times was auto-generated bullshit.
I’m certain that most of my dear regular readers are expecting a follow-up article with even more ranting at this point (see several articles about The PayPal Scam for reference…), however, I got some very good news in store for you: eBay really turned things around!
Kristina, who first commented on my blog post, got in touch with me via e-mail and was able to clear up the mess. It turned out that something during the registration process went wrong and once I tried a different e-mail address (I got a number of options…), I was able to finally sign up. I have no idea what will happen to the account I originally tried to sign up with, but I’ll leave it up to eBay to decide.
While the domains I submitted have been set to “invalid” (again), the first hits were tracked. So I’m rather hopeful and I might have already solved the issue by submitting the domains once more, but this time with “www” in front of them (I’m working with redirects via .htaccess to avoid duplicate content; that means if you’re trying to access “soulwarrior.net“, you’ll end up on “www.soulwarrior.net” instead). Maybe this is causing errors on eBay’s end, who knows…
Anyway, I want to thank eBay and more specifically Kristina for listening, taking the time to take a closer look and coming up with a solution for my problem. That’s certainly the way to go and will make me want to use eBay more again!
You should do so, too, so check out the advertisements on the right hand side of the page.
There’s this thing called the “eBay Partner Network”. It’s quite cool – you run some advertisements for eBay on your website and hope for people to click them. If they head over to eBay and purchase some stuff there, you’ll get paid as well.
This sounds extremely smart and I’m certain some of you might have stopped reading already, googling the Partner Network site and trying to sign up. Let me tell you that you might be on your way to quite some desperation, as I’m currently trying to accomplish the very same thing, however, it’s not meant to be.
As it turned out, eBay’s sign up process isn’t as streamlined as you think it would be. Yes, you can register on the site easily; in fact, you can even connect your account there to your regular eBay account with some possible benefits (don’t ask me about them). “All you need to do” is letting them know which domains you would like to use to run their ads, upload a text-file to the servers of the respective servers and have them check everything and give you a go. If you ever set up Google Analytics for a website, you’ll be very familiar with the process.
However, there’s a simple catch: eBay isn’t Google. eBay doesn’t know perfect automation. eBay doesn’t have helpful help sites. And more than anything else, eBay doesn’t have a fucking customer support.
The “domain activation site” of the eBay Partner Network told me that my sites are “invalid”. It doesn’t give me an explanation WHY they are considered to be “invalid”. There’s no section in their FAQs telling you when the status of a site will be considered “invalid”. So I did what every foolish webmaster in his right mind would have done: I sent them an e-mail. Or rather tried to. I used their contact form and all I got in response was this:
Alright, the site’s down for a short while. So I tried a few minutes later. Same message. I tried an hour later. Same message. I tried the next day. Still the same bullshit.
Great, so I decided to phone them. Unfortunately, you can’t phone the eBay Partner Network. You can only phone the normal eBay Customer Support. Alright, sounds like the next best thing and it’s the same company after all, so what could possibly go wrong?!
Turned out they can’t do shit over the phone (well, they can charge you money for calling them, but that’s not really what you were looking for, was it?). Their advice was to “send an e-mail”. I explained that it’s not possible in the respective section. I got redirected to the “normal eBay Customer Support forms”. I was told to let them know about a “technical problem” and that they could help me out once I sent an e-mail. Well, OK; I sent an e-mail. I waited. I waited another day. I waited a little longer. And after 5 quick days that passed in a hurry (in “internet time”, this can be considered a full year!), I finally received a reply, referring me back to the support of the eBay Partner Network. Well, thank you for this useful piece of advice…
I didn’t quite know what to reply… after a while, I figured it would be best to let them know _again_ that the support form of the Partner Network isn’t working for me and that I would appreciate if they could simply forward the e-mail to their colleagues. I now got told that I reported a technical issue that has something to do with a “third party contractor”. Unfortunately, eBay can’t help me out as the “respective third party contractor” needs to take care of the problem. I think it’s rather fitting to quote the Miz at this point: “REALLY? … REALLY???“
I honestly don’t know how to proceed. The possibilities seem endless; telling them to fucking read my e-mails, fuck themselves or fuck the “third party contractor” (which is simply another eBay company) all sound rather appealing to me at this point. Any suggestions?
My fight with PayPal is more or less over. Here’s a very brief summary of what happened so far:
- I sold some Loot on eBay
- The same guy bought most of it and payed via PayPal
- He scammed me – as that’s fucking easy thanks to PayPal
- As PayPal’s too stupid to collect the money and can’t get a hold of the buyer, they’re charging me for it – makes sense from a business perspective, after all!
- PayPal gave me back some of my money…
- …only to revoke that action as well a little later
- They didn’t do shit, did not listen to reason and threatened me with a Schufa record and a collection agency
Long story short: I paid. I THEN phoned an attorney who told me that they would never do anything about it as the amount (1.600 €) won’t be worth the extra trouble of suing me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t claim my money back (I HAD to transfer it via bank transfer, they would not use direct debit as this way I would have been able to revoke the transaction – their specialty), so I pretty much lost what I used to make in a month in my last job…
“Fortunately”, PayPal is giving you plenty of advice what to do when you’re not pleased with their “service”. Let me quote the important part for you (the e-mail was in German):
“Dies ist unsere abschließende Stellungnahme in dieser Sache. Sollten Sie mit dieser abschließenden Stellungnahme von PayPal nicht einverstanden sein, können Sie sich an folgende Stellen wenden um eine offizielle Beschwerde gegen PayPal vorzubringen:
- Europäisches Verbraucherzentrum Deutschland – Kiel Andreas-Gayk-Str. 15 D – 24103 Kiel
- Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) 110, Route d’Arlon, L-2991 Luxembourg
- UK Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Sie haben außerdem innerhalb der nächsten 6 Monate die Möglichkeit, den Service des Ombudsmannes für Finanzfragen in Großbritannien zu nutzen. Informationen dazu finden Sie unter: http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
In a nutshell: This is our final response, if you still feel like complaining go to one of these guys: [...]. Another scammed eBay seller recommended using the Financial Ombudsman. I received my reply today, go check it out by clicking on the picture on the right.
I have to say: PayPal didn’t disappoint and really redefines the meaning of customer support!
I felt it was finally time to upgrade my laptop again. Having worked with my Sony Vaio VGN-CR190 for more than 3 years, I’ve kinda fallen behind a little. I had one horrible experience with my Sony laptop in those 3 years: The whole thing crashed after 11 months and 15 days, so at least I still had some warranty. I asked if I could still make use of it if I would send it in right away (although it might not arrive in time, shipping to the US takes time after all) and I was told that this was fine. Turned out that the support then claimed the problem was caused by me having dropped the laptop, but that’s certainly not true… I had to pay for customs again, so the whole thing turned into a huge investment, but at least that was the only time something like that happened to me (granted, the power adapter broke down three times now and the whole laptop is sometimes shocking me as there seems to be electricity running through the frame…).
Having worked with the new laptop for a few days now, I have to reconsider my opinion about Sony. I mean, surely it wasn’t great that the laptop broke after only a year, but then again, it worked fine in the first year. The Samsung laptop is causing troubles right from the beginning as the keyboard is acting a little funny. Sometimes, when I hit the space bar, the cursor jumps up one line.
You can imagine HOW annoying this is. I constantly have to delete what I typed after the cursor moved up accidentally and reposition it. To say it is slowing me down is an understatement. It is frustrating to no end and you lose almost all your motivation to do some sort of work with the laptop. I googled the problem, but most of the time, it was suggested that it has something to do with the TouchPad. However, the problem persisted after turning off the TouchPad and even after deinstalling the drivers completely…
Other suggestions, like a virus might be causing the issue, can also be discarded. I started the PC in safe mode and did a virus scan, so it seems extremely unlikely that it’s any sort of an software issue. I guess the only way to get rid of the problem is waiting for the support to get back to me (I wrote to them twice) and sending in the machine. Let’s see how much longer it will take Samsung to reply. I’ll keep you people posted.
Update: Everything’s working now! I connected an external USB keyboard to make sure the issue is caused by the hardware. However, everything worked out well. I disconnected the external keyboard and everything was still working! My best guess: I immunized the PC yesterday evening with Spybot – maybe that did the trick, but it only worked after rebooting (I didn’t do that after immunizing)? Anyway, I’m gone writing novels now!
Update 2: The problems are back… however, at least I’m rather certain that it’s a software issue now…
Although I usually don’t tend to generalize too much, it seems like some things remain true for all former state-owned enterprises. I already left a few words about Deutsche Bahn and today I need to talk bad about Deutsche Telekom. Both companies don’t seem to realize that the days when they were the only fish in the water are long gone. Granted, it’s not very likely that Deutsche Bahn will have to deal with another competitor in the near future, however, I don’t think these companies will have a future if they don’t learn about customer service. Especially in case of Deutsche Telekom, I’m hard pressed to actually call it “customer service”.
Here’s the case: I called Deutsche Telekom 1,5 or 2 months ago and asked them to lower the monthly rates. Even their most basic option is a lot more expensive than similar options of competitors (Alice, Kabel Deutschland, etc.). As I’m not interested in landline telephony at all, I would pick a service provider with an internet only option, however, I guess we’ll have to wait another 10 years before one of these companies finally understands the customers’ needs. I’m getting off track… Anyway, it appeared like the customer support was actually doing its job and my monthly rates were reduced by 5 Euros (remember: Always give the Telekom a call whenever they got a new deal running; claim that you’ve been a “customer for a long time” and from time to time, you’ll actually get what you wanted).
Now (yes, 1,5 months later), I received my order confirmation and as always, the Telekom tried to pull off its oldest trick: They did not change my existing contract, no, they set me up with a new contract. Although I did not call their customer support to get “a new and cheaper contract”; I did so to get something off my existing contract. I felt a little ripped off (although I’m more or less used to it by now, you constantly sign new contracts with Deutsche Telekom without knowing it), but that still wasn’t all there was to it. On top of that, they reduced my DSL connection.
It’s one thing to sell me a new contract without letting me know (like I said, you’re getting used to it when dealing with Deutsche Telekom), but it’s an entirely different thing to reduce the – already rather disappointing – services without letting me know. To sum it all up: They wanted to sell me a new contract for a little less money with a lot less power (the new DSL connection was only half as fast) which would mean I would be bound to them for another 2 years.
I shared my disappointment with the clerk at the hotline. I was calm, I made my point clear and it was obvious to him that I’m a person you can talk to. If you are willing to listen to my problem and do something about it, I will be a very pleasant customer. Heck, I even made his job easier and explained that I was rather pleased with the customer service of Deutsche Telekom so far, but the price is a problem.
His reaction was rather disappointing: He explained to me that I should have asked for more money off when I first talked about paying less with his colleague. Why I couldn’t do so with him was beyond me. He went on explaining me why the power of the DSL connection had to be reduced: As more of my neighbors have signed up for DSL and we all share a connection, the individual power of the DSL connection is becoming less impressive. As you can certainly imagine, it is beyond me why I need to suffer from my neighbors arrival in the 21st century…
I decided to pass on the 5,- Euro reduction per month as this means I can get out of the contract in another year. If I then switch providers, I will have made up for the extra 5 Euros per month after only 6 months. With a better DSL connection. The clerk on the hotline didn’t quite like this explanation. He was eager to point out the unique Telekom advantages. Such as the fact that I will be customer of the provider that actually owns the cables rather than simply renting them. I fail to understand how this is a convincing argument after my connection has just been reduced without explicitly telling me so. He also pointed out that I got a good landline connection instead of some crappy voice over IP service. I explained that I couldn’t care less as I only need my landline connection to give my mum a call every other week or talk to Deutsche Telekom.
Oh, did I mention that I had to explain when my contract actually started? I made use of the Entertain “Try & Buy” option. After I tested the offer, I ultimately decided against it (because, just as expected, the performance wasn’t any better than before), which should have resulted in me falling back to my old contract. However, Telekom was eager to sign me up with a new contract. Why call it “Try & Buy” when you’re not actually “trying” something is yet again beyond me, but I guess I’ll never quite understand this company. Naturally, I did not receive any form of compensation for this or the other reason for my complaint. Apparently, it’s not a big deal for Deutsche Telekom to sell their customers contracts they never agreed to. They don’t care if they’re losing customers, after all, they still have enough. This will only change after more people wake up and realize that Deutsche Telekom is actually doing nothing to keep their existing customers happy. Alternatively, the company will (understandably) file for bankruptcy.