Monday, December 11, 2006

Customer Appreciation Ain't What It Used to Be

*Updated: HDTVSupply is not happy with me about this post.  Read more here*

I had a bit of a snafu recently with HDTVSupply that irked me.  I had bought a component video switch from them some time ago – I wasn’t sure exactly when, but I knew it was about 2 years.  The thing is ugly as hell, but does a great job at switching video without signal (quality) loss.  I had misplaced the power supply for the switch and could not figure out what the specifications were to replace it.  I checked both the website (linked above) as well as the online manual.  The only thing is said was that it shipped with a 9V wall wart.

The problem with Video-Storm (the maker) is that they don’t include a phone number to get ahold of them.  I really wanted to get this particular power supply replaced that day, so I knew that the email they provided would take too long.  I shot them an email anyway, but decided I would just call the store I got it from and ask nicely if they could just look at the wall wart and tell me what it says.

When I called HDTVSupply the first time, I got a fairly gruff guy that informed me I should check the manual.  Not knowing that the online manual was the same as the one that was originally shipped to me, I told him I had lost it (which I have).  He told me to then check HDTVSupply’s site and they have the manual and it should have it.  He then pretty much hung up on me.  It was hard to get a word in edgewise with the guy to let him know that I had already checked the manual at the manufacturer’s site and I was just hoping he could look at one for me.  To cover my bases, I checked the manual on their site, and it was of course the same as the one on the manufacturer’s.  I then called HDTVSupply back.  What came next was pretty surprising.  As I explained to the gruff man again that I had bought the switch from them “almost two years ago”, he accused me of lying.  He told me to be honest with him and admit that I didn’t buy the switch from them and that I was looking for free support.  He claimed they hadn’t been selling it for that long and yada yada that people were always doing this because Video-Storm doesn’t publish a phone number on their site.

I will admit a moment of doubt crossed my mind, as it had been nearly two years - but I was 99% sure it was HDTVSupply that I had purchased this thing from (on eBay no less).  When I couldn’t produce an order number for him, it really seemed to confirm for him that I was lying.

Well, gruff man from HDTVSupply - bite me:

I pulled this image from my purchase history on eBay.  Hmm… It appears to me that Mar 14, 2005 is pretty close to two years ago.  All in all, it was a rather unpleasant and unhelpful experience and it really makes me think long and hard about purchasing from them again.  Even if I had been one of those ‘free support’ people, it was his moment to shine and convert me into a customer with his amazing HDTV knowledge and customer skills.  It’s really a shame.  He blew that chance when he accused me of lying.

Video-Storm did end up getting back to me with the information I needed (~3 hours later) – but it was all for naught as I ended up finding the damn wall wart about an hour later!

Sidenote: The artifacts on the screenshot above are caused because I am running Vista RC1 still and nVidia has crappy drivers for it.  As such, WinSnap corrupts the image as it tries to capture it. *Updated:  fixed the artifacts*