Monday, March 10, 2008

More on Customer Service - Nintendo

I'm the first one to complain about bad customer service, the death of customer service, etc. I have another experience I'd like to share.

My boys went rushing out yesterday with their saved up cash and gift cards, to buy Super Smash Brothers, and some extra Wii-motes and accessories for their Wii. They had planned to spend the rest of the day playing their new game. They were so excited!

But when they got home, the game wouldn't play! An error message kept popping up. Sometimes the game would come up, then crash. They did try other games and found that it happened with all of them. I got kicked off my computer so they could look it up. "Call for Service" it said. Ahhhhh.....not good news. There was no joy in my house.

The Big Kid made the call. I would have offered to, probably insisted, but he did it before I knew it. He waited semi-patiently through all the automated stuff (he had it on speaker. You would not believe how many times they warn you that this phone call may be monitored or recorded! )

Finally, Jay came on the line and listened to the tale. You probably won't be surprised, being familiar with the way our luck runs, to find that our unit is out of warranty - by TWO WEEKS. Now, what does that usually mean? You're on your own, bucko. Pleasure doing business with you. *shrug*

Jay cheerfully informed my son that although the unit was out of warranty they would honor it anyway. THEN he said they would extend it for another year! "How much does that cost?" asked The Big Kid. "Your only cost will be any packing materials you need", said Jay. "You have a printer? Hang on, I'll e-mail you a prepaid FedEx label." WHA!!

So, while they still didn't get to play (Big Kid did. He went to a friend's house, and came home more dejected than ever for not having it here.) they are very happy. MEGA Kudos to Nintendo for their customer service (I'll report again when it's all said and done in 11-16 days ). They made my boys very happy. And the Mommy too, of course, from whose pocket would have been rendered the cost, I'm sure!

Update: the Wii was returned via FedEx in exactly 11 days! WOW!!! Surprised

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Library Fine

The note read, "Behavior Contract for 8th Grade Picnic". No one will be allowed to go if they have any suspensions, excessive tardies, etc. Oh, and unpaid fines.... including library fines.

So when Second brought me that note we knew we were being pushed to action. No more standing on principle alone. Isn't there some old saying that goes something like "He who stands on principle stays at school with the principal (during the 8th Grade Picnic)"? Photobucket

Here's the story. Last year - yes, that would be 7th Grade - he took out a library book. Unfortunately, he lost it. He came to me about it, and I told him he would have to pay with his own money. I mean, what better time to learn, right? So he can be more careful the next time? Photobucket

But he found the book, after all, before he paid $12.50 for it. The librarian told him the fine was $4.50. He had come prepared with a $5 bill for the maximum fine. $4.50 was a pleasant surprise - now he could get a snack from the machine, too! Photobucket

Incident over, done with, and forgotten. At least until last fall. The note from the library stated that he had never paid the fine.

He spoke to the assistant librarian - the one he says he paid - about it. I had him point out that he would not have gotten his report card if he hadn't paid, because that's how they do things. But the Asst. librarian told him they are not allowed to withhold report cards anymore, which was news to me.

Every month a note is sent to his homeroom teacher, diligently reminding him of this fine. She asked him about it the first month, and he explained himself. She discussed it with me during a field trip, too. She believes his story, BTW. He is not a liar, and he is not one to make up an elaborate story. She said she would discuss it with the librarian. I told her that I had advised him not to pay a fine he had already paid, that since they don't give out receipts it is their word against his and they should figure it out. Incident forgotten, again.

Until the note, this morning. This is getting desperate, people. I don't want him to miss his picnic, principle or no principle. So I went to speak to the librarian myself.

This was the first I had heard of there being an assistant involved. The main librarian didn't know anything about it. The assistant came running from the other end of the room when she heard us talking. "He did NOT pay that fine!" She seemed overly defensive to me. She also denied that the Kid had ever discussed it with her, or that the teacher had. So we first had to explain to the Head Librarian why we were just now coming in to talk about it after all these months. Photobucket Please understand that I am not accusing her of anything other than not recording his payment (well, saying no one had mentioned it to her...but I suppose she could have forgotten? Though she WAS very quick to defend herself.Photobucket). The head librarian assured me that the Asst. is very competent. I am not questioning that in the least. I don't know her. She may indeed be the most reliable person in the world the rest of the time. People make mistakes, of course. I admit I am tired of paying for the mistakes of others, but I suppose it all evens out somewhere along the line. Right? Photobucket

But I absolutely do NOT buy it when someone says things like, "we are very thorough about this", "we've never had a complaint before", or the biggie "we don't make mistakes". Because everyone makes mistakes. Anyone who says they don't, IS a liar. I don't care if I AM the first one to complain, that means nothing. I don't care how thorough you are, or what measures you have in place to prevent mistakes. Ask my bank, who just credited me $500 of an ATM deposit THEY had misplaced and assured me that it couldn't possibly be a mistake on THEIR end. Photobucket Of course the flip side of that is I have to be willing to accept and admit that the mistake could be on my end. Or even on my Kid's end. I am always willing to do that, even when I know beyond a doubt that it's not. Photobucket But you know what I hate worse than all that? I hate when the person cops an attitude about it. Like this lady did. I really, really hate that, and I will fight that much harder on principle when that happens, 100% of the time. Photobucket

Bottom line - they take in cash payments. They don't give receipts. It's my word against theirs. Does anyone have any doubts as to who will win this one? Photobucket

I stayed calm throughout the discussion (not common for me Photobucket especially with the attitude component). I thanked them for their time, and assured them I would see that it was taken care of.

On the way out, I stopped by the Assistant Principal's office and asked for a moment of her time. I calmly explained my story. I made it clear that the issue is NOT the money itself, and that I do not want my son to miss the picnic. She knows my son, knows he is a good kid, not a troublemaker. All that is beside the point, of course, I know he is no perfect angel, and I admitted that. I do happen to believe his story, and his homeroom teacher does. But without a receipt.....Photobucket

What do I want out of this? I think what I want is for the library to admit that it's possible they made a mistake. EVEN IF I have to end up paying the fine. I will be happy to pay it, if it comes to that. Well, not happy, but I'll do it. Photobucket . I will not ask my son to pay it. I want the library to admit it could have happened and I want them to purchase a receipt book to use for cash transactions. It's crazy that they didn't already have that in place.

Edit: Just had the call back from the school. The library is still denying any mistakes... Photobucket But, they WILL start issuing receipts from now on. And we agreed that I will pay half the fine. They first offered to let him work it off in the library, but I flatly declined. As far as I am concerned, he paid the fine last year. He doesn't need to be working it off again!

"The librarian says he avoids the library", she if to imply a guilty conscience?! NO, I replied. Why should he go in the library if he knows he can't check out a book? He's been walking to the public library every week all year. But he laughed when I told him this. "I go to the library with my class every week!" he says. Just doesn't check out a book, of course. He's even gone in there to do research! But they would remember that, and they don't make mistakes. Hmmmph.

So, I suppose I should have taken care of this a long time ago. Frankly, I assumed he had done so, since he hadn't mentioned it again. Sigh.