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26:aug//2K - mr flump vs the technical support people - part 1

Every once in a while everything decides to turn to crap. In this instance, the launch of the new site and the almost orchestrated collapse of one of the vital components in my computer.

Most people now would be assuming that this would be something like the processor popping or even my graphics card getting some corrupted memory or something. Unfortunately, if it were really that simple, I could just nip down to my local supplier and pick up a temporary replacement. In this case my Ultra Wide SCSI adapter in the computer has decided to develop a major fault. It has decided all of a sudden to decide that it is incompatible with some of the other hardware in my computer. Now, I've been operating with this card for well over 3 months now and I have always been impressed by its performance (For those of you still using IDE drives, you'll need to see it to believe the difference with SCSI) but in order for me to have any access to my hard-drives, I need this card.

It started to happen about 3 weeks ago, I went into Windows and noticed in my Device Manager that a conflict had arisen with my Matrox G400 graphics card and the SCSI card. Unusual, I thought but nothing major, just a quick driver fix. I installed some new drivers only the other day, so off they came and the old drivers came back on. Problem solved, no more conflict.

Everything seemed fine. Then I booted up Flight Simulator 2000 the day after and noticed that it just kept crashing and the graphics card was displaying corrupted images. Very unusual I thought since the drivers were working fine just before. Anyway, back I toddled into the Device Manager and my Motherboard Resources were in conflict with... Wait for it, my SCSI card. Completely bewildered as to what the hell was going on (something which doesn't happen often for someone who has been installing and troubleshooting PC's for over 8 years now) I decided that it was time to phone the people at the store where I got the SCSI card from to see what was happening.

This is the first time I have ever felt the need to phone any of these places but a 250 piece of hardware is in the balance and its still under warranty. Anyway, I ring them up and a nice young lady picks up the phone (I say nice but she was actually going to be the start of my troubles).

"Hi there, thank you for calling the ******* technical support helpdesk. My name is Marie, how can I help?"

After explaining that I had a piece of hardware that I believed was faulty and was causing problems with my system she then informed me... "I'm sorry Mr West but you need company which are looking after your warranty cover. Here is their number..."

OK, not the best start, but I give them a ring up and all I get is some guy down the phone who didn't seem as though he should have access to a phone, let alone communicate with any other member of the human race.

"John speaking."

Taken aback by this (I'm used to courteous telephone manner with where I work) I ask him if I've actually got the right number and then proceed to tell him my problems.

"I'm sorry but I'd need to actually inspect your system. Is it possible for you to take your computer to the nearest branch of ******* and get one of their engineers to look at it"

Well, this seemed easy enough to do, so I go down to the store with the computer in the back of the car and place it on the desk of the Technical Support area. Also, Marie was the person that just happened to be there.

After about 30 minutes of waiting, someone came out, took the system away and run some diagnostics on the computer. They then came back out after about an hour of me looking around the store and informed me that there was indeed a problem with the SCSI card and Marie would deal with the matter.

Now, this is where it just got silly. She told me that I'd have to send the SCSI card back to the manufacturer because the policy at ******* only covers replacing hardware for up to 28 days from purchase. She seemed unable to give me any more explanation as to why I had to do this or why she couldn't just give me a replacement there and then and keep the customer happy. Also, the fact that I'd been waiting an hour and a half for them to tell me there was a problem (which I knew in the first place) and them actually knowing they cant do anything about it seemed to stir up some anger.

To cut the story short, I spoke to the manager of the store who offered to send the card back on my behalf and would keep me informed as to what was going on. This was on the Tuesday.

3 days later, I still hadn't heard anything back from them, so I decide to give them a phone and see what was going on.

"There is a known bug in the card which you have and they need your complete system specs."

So I rattle these off to the guy on the phone and he says he'll contact me by Monday and let me know what the solution is. I wonder how long it would have taken them to phone me to tell me this if I hadn't phoned them?

Monday comes... and then it goes. Tuesday while I'm at work, he phones me to tell me that the manufacturers have written a new BIOS release for the card that will fix the incompatibilities and that I'll have my card back by Thursday at the latest. Brilliant I thought, because I've got a lot of stuff to get written up for the site and its launch and I'm starting to look like a bit of a nerd going into the Comms Port at Costa Coffee in Aberdeen every lunchtime to get my e-mail.

Well, Friday came and still, there was nothing. After another phone call, Marie picks up again, however this time she has no idea who I am and what was happening with my card and that I must be mistaken by thinking they had sent the card back on my behalf because its not a service they offer.

Before I get arrested for shouting and swearing down the phone. I slam the phone down and decide to phone the manufacturers of the card directly to see what the hell was happening with the card.

I phoned them up and they tell me that the new BIOS is being put through quality control and that it will not be ready until the middle of this week at the latest providing it passes. OK I thought, until I noticed AGi had taken the decision to launch the site early!!

Its now Thursday and ******* still haven't contacted me about the card or even bothered to let me know what I already know about the quality check that's being done on the BIOS. Good old customer service for you. I'll keep you informed and I'll put up a copy of the "complaint" I sent to the ******* store.

//mr flump. [wormsmart@mrflump.com]