Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

A Deal to good to Pass On

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Even though I have previously blogged about DealFind leaving their customers high and dry when the vendor fails to render the service promised, this deal is just too good to pass on, and NAPA has a decent rep….

Why DealFind isn’t such a Find

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

A friend of mine bought a Dealfind voucher for rug cleaning from MarkItClean after staying with me for a while. He purchased the voucher directly from DealFind and forwarded it to me.

After emailing MarkItClean in August, I got busy and didn’t follow up for a while. When I finally got time to chase MarkItClean down I called their number and left a message. A week or so later I called again and got told their voicemail was full. I contacted Dealfind saying the vendor was unresponsive and I couldn’t even leave another message. They gave me an alternate number. I called that and again got voicemail. I left a message, and as expected they did not get back to me in the 3-5 business days they indicated.

In December, I contacted Dealfind again, and asked for a refund. Natalie, asked for the same information I had already supplied in the Dealfind contact form, saying they would contact the vendor on my behalf. I told her that after 6 months of trying to redeem this voucher I wasn’t about to wait any longer, and that Dealfind should have intervened on my behalf the first time I spoke to them. Natalie wasn’t in so Quiin took over, and led me to believe that I would get credited with Dealfind dollars in my account since my friend had paid for it on his credit card. This in fact, was not correct. My friend got credited with Dealfind dollars (he didn’t even get the choice), since he was the original purchaser of the voucher.

At this point I got frustrated and asked to speak to a supervisor, and was transferred to Natalie. She seemed to understand my perspective but claimed there was nothing they could do. Their accounting system and department would not allow them to credit anyone other than the original purchaser, even if they contacted the original purchaser and got permission/confirmation that the voucher was intended for me, and that any credit should also be given to me. I found this unacceptable, and I told her so. I told her that my circumstances were not unique, and that they were leaving their customers unprotected.

Dealfind’s compliance department did not follow up after initial complaints to ensure the vendor provided the service, and they didn’t offer any kind of refund until I refused to accept anything else. The refund + 10% wouldn’t have covered the time I spent chasing Dealfind and MarkItClean down trying to get the service. After a long conversation Natalie said she would talk to her accounting department and follow up with a few other people and get back to me the following day. She did not. Quinn called me the next day, to offer to contact my friend to let him know the vendor did not render the service. Again, a waste of my time at work and of my cell air time. If you cannot count on a manager in a company to do what they undertake, I wouldn’t bet you can rely on the company.

The problem is that Dealfind vouchers are completely transferrable, but there is no protection for the recipient of the voucher in the event that the vendor does not render the product or service as advertised. If you buy someone a voucher as a gift, beware that you may be giving the gift of frustration. Dealfind has rigid business processes that no one there seems willing or able to modify even if it benefits their customers, and ultimately their business.

Cancun Calling

Monday, August 1st, 2011

If you get a call from 314-627-6928 from an organization representing themselves as Cancun Calling, HANG UP!  They will tell you, that a friend or relative has entered your name for a vacation draw for a $2500 credit towards an all inclusive vacation.

They won’t send you the offer in writing for you to consider and it’s only good for the duration of the call.  A vacation will cost $69 activation fee and hotel tax of $110 + any incidentals such as calls from your room and of course your airfare.  Sounds like a good deal, even if you have to attend a 90 minute time share presentation, but what they don’t tell you is it’s not really an all-inclusive vacation.

They will direct you to http://www.cancuncalling.com/ and give you a promo code so you can actually view the information on the site. Mine was uniep1425.  They will be talking to you all the time trying to convince you to proceed to verification using the phrase “does that make sense”, where your credit card number and verbal authorization will be recorded.  Don’t DO IT!  Under Discover Cancun it says European Plan (Accomodations Only).   The site is all in flash so I can’t give you a direct URL.  If you don’t notice the European Plan, and give them your credit card # your on the hook!  An offer to good to be true usually is…..

Why I Would Not Buy a Broan/Nutone CentralVac

Friday, August 27th, 2010

In 2007 I purchased a Broan/Nutone VX550CC central vac to replace my aging CanaVac that never did turn itself on when you plugged in the hose and flipped the switch on it.  The unit was on sale, and the specifications seemed quite good compared to much more expensive models by other manufacturers.  I didn’t install the unit right away because the current CanaVac was working, and I was busy.  Replacing a working vacuum with a working vacuum was a little bit further down my list.  Eventually, the CanaVac bit the dust and I installed the NuTone unit only to discover that it too didn’t turn on automatically using the switch on the hose.  It’s a pain to turn it on and off manually, but I tolerated it for a while until a friend of mine checked out the wiring for me.  He confirmed there was connectivity, so it wasn’t a wiring issue.

That started the whole reason for this post.  I called the 1-800 number in the Nutone warranty booklet and was told the warranty service is performed by Transglobal Service.  I called Transglobal Service at 1-800-360-2742 spoke to Claudia on Feb. 4, 2010.  I told her my story, and asked for a service call.  They indicated they needed the original proof of purchase.  I thought there was no way I could find it.  I even contacted Home Depot to get a timeframe for when I made the purchased on my Home Depot card.  That helped narrow down where to look for it, and eventually I did find it.  I faxed it in to Transglobal on May 4th to the attention of Charmaine (not sure of the spelling).  I got a work order (2128724) and was told I would be called to arrange a service call.

I didn’t hear back from Transglobal, so eventually I got around to calling them on May 4, 2010 and found that they had cancelled the work order because I had not called them back and because they assumed it was no longer under warranty.  I read the warranty info to them and they asked that I fax it in because they have no database that tells them what the warranty period is.  I faxed a copy of the warranty in but that didn’t seem to satisfy them.  Every time I called in, I got challenged that there was no warranty on the unit.  It in fact has a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser home in which it was installed.

On May 7 I called again finally asked to speak to a service manager.  I was getting tired of having to repeat the entire sequence of events to each person I talked to, and they kept reading from a call log that was not being updated.  Apparently my fax was not readable, but no one bothered to call me back to see if I could fax an enlarged version.

On May 28th I called again and spoke to Debra Makaruk about the warranty and they didn’t have my warranty info on their call log.  Debra asked me to email a scan of the warranty page to her.  I did so on the 29th, and on June 1st she arranged to have Diane call me.  Shortly after that call, I emailed Debra this:

” I got a call from Diane, and I must say I wasn’t impressed!  She asked me all the same questions Trans Global asked me in terms of what was the problem with the unit.  When was it purchased, did I have a receipt.  The only thing I hate more than chasing people to get them to do what they should have done in the first place, is repeating the whole story and re-supplying the same facts to someone else when the buck gets passed.”.  That pretty much says it all IMHO.

After completely ignoring the basis for my frustration, Debra asked for my contact information, and home address, which I supplied and asked her to me contacted in two weeks as I was going to be out of town the following week.

On June 13th I received a call from George from Transglobal.  I emailed Debra this account of our conversation:
“George told me he was calling in regards to my service appointment on Monday between 1:30-3:30pm.  I told him I hadn’t scheduled any service appointment, that the last time I had contacted you I had asked to be called on Monday to arrange a service appointment because I was out of town all last week.  Later during the conversation he said the service times are what he determines based on his schedule, but he never asked if it would work for me, he made it sound like that was the time I had arranged.

He again challenged my claim that the product was under any warranty.  He didn’t listen when I told him we had tested the connectivity of the wiring, so we were pretty sure it was a control unit problem.  He said he had no information on the situation other than the unit was dead.  I corrected him, and also told him that I had supplied the warranty information several times, and was tired of repeating myself to every TransGlobal service representative I spoke with.  I told him it wasn’t my fault that you guys don’t record the information I provide in one centrally accessible place, or disseminate it appropriately.  Although he said he had no information on the call, he then tried to tell me he wanted to confirm what the problem was, in pretty much the next sentence.

Needless to say, I was not as polite as I would normally be, even to someone who called me during the supper hour, because he was not straight with me, he did not listen, nor did he explain himself very well. Also, I do not appreciate having to repeat myself, especially when I have brought it to the attention of TransGlobal on numerous occasions.

I just thought I would advise you of this so perhaps you could take some corrective action and provide a more pleasant customer experience in the future.”

That didn’t get any real response from Debra other than saying she needed a “Date Code” from the unit.  I looked all over it and sent back the one thing I thought may have been it on June 21st.  I was determined I wasn’t going to jump whenever TransGlobal decided they needed something else in order to service my unit.

Then one day I was in Home Depot with a buddy and he suggested that I talk to Customer Service there about my experience.  The person I needed to talk with wasn’t available at the moment, so after waiting a while I left a message and went home.  Fareed called me later that day, and that is when things started moving again.  On July 5th Fareed called my cell and informed me that Marilyn or someone whose name starts with M will be calling me at 1pm to arrange a service call and that Home Depot will cover up to $100 for the service call but I have to put it on my credit card initially.  Transglobal didn’t call.

On July 7th I called Home Depot to let Fareed know that Transglobal dropped the ball again.  I spoke to Wendy and then to Peter, who said he would talk to Fareed on Thursday and they will address this together with TransGlobal or take it to Mark their store manager.

TG contacted me and arranged a service call for July 20th.  They told me there would be a $82.95 + GST trip charge when they called to confirm the service call the day before.  The service representative arrived, was very courteous, and checked out the vacuum.  He looked all over the unit for the “Date Code” but could not locate it.  He concluded that the unit had a defective controller board and he needed to get parts.  He said that would be about a week.  I asked him how long it might be before he got back to install it, because TG had told me he was only in town 2 days a week.  He said that wasn’t at all the case.  He was based in Calgary, and was only out of town about once a week if I recall correctly.  He never collected the trip fee or got a copy of the warranty page as I was told would be required.

I called TG again July 30th and got my new work order #2167929 from agent Alda.  She said she would call dispatch and find out why the service rep hadn’t been back to fix my unit and why I hadn’t been contacted.  I never heard back from her, and on Aug. 4th I called again.  This time I spoke to Shelley who said there is a note on the work order indicating “please cancel”, without any reason given.

I decided I had had enough!  On Aug. 4 I called Home Depot spoke to Peter and told him I wanted to return the unit for a store credit, because TG seems unwilling to service the unit so even if I get it fixed now, I might have the same issues down the road.  He said I would need to talk to Fareed who was not working for a couple of days.  Later that same day Shelly returned my call.  She said that parts would be COD but could not tell me the amount.  She didn’t know why the tech hadn’t called me, or why there was a note on the work order to please close it.  When I asked her how much the parts would be, she couldn’t tell me.  She said she would have to get back to me.  I chastised her for not thinking ahead, and surprisingly enough, I didn’t hear back from her.

On Aug. 7th I called Fareed @ Home Depot.  He had forgotten my last name so hadn’t called me back.  He had to talk to his store manager to authorize the return.  He called me back to say that while they couldn’t offer me a stored credit, but they could exchange the power unit.  He suspected that the unit I got was defective from day one, and that a replacement should solve the problem, even though it meant if anything ever did go wrong I would still be stuck dealing with TG.  After supper I went and picked up the unit.  I returned once to get a missing piece because Nutone had changed the unit so much, but I am very happy to say that I now have a working VX550CC that turns on and off using the hose switch as it should have from day one.  This is thanks to the customer service at Home Depot, and not the “service” provided by Transglobal.

What did I learn from this experience?  Home Depot values their customers, and if you’re buying a major appliance, consider who services it as part of your buying decision.  It might be worth paying a bit more to buy from retailer who stands behind the products they sell and a manufacturer who does the same for what they make, but it pays for itself sometimes.

Thanks again Fareed, Peter and the Home Depot.

Spence Diamonds - Think Twice Before Buying

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Spence offered great value, and I had a wonderful experience selecting the ring.  They were even kind enough to give me a store display ring similar to the one I ordered so I could propose with it.

Unfortunately, my engagement didn’t go as smooth, and after a couple years of not marrying for various reasons, I was given the ring back and dissolved the relationship.  Doing so required a large cash settlement, so I was strapped for money, and decided I might just as well return the ring to Spence.

When I took the ring back into the store, the gentlemen (I wish I could remember his name - a tall fellow with a beard and moustache) I gave it to initially tried to tell me that the ring was not longer within the buy back period.  After I protested, and he read the documentation again he corrected himself.  I actually had 5 months remaining.

He gave the ring and documentation to the girl at the reception desk and instructed her to take care of it.  I asked her if I would get a receipt for the ring, and she printed me off a customer statement showing the amount of the buy back and informed me that head office would be issuing the cheque, and they were quite slow so it would be about two weeks.  While I wasn’t thrilled by the amount of the buy back (it doesn’t include the GST I paid on the ring and it also didn’t cover the platinum setting ).  It was better than I was told I could expect to get trying to sell it privately, so I took the deal.  I turned in the ring July 12th, 2010.

On Aug. 20 I called to find out why I hadn’t been called to pickup my cheque or had received anything in the mail.  Heather said she didn’t have a cheque for me.  I gave her my cell # and she said she would have to send in a fax to find out what the status was, and call me back, hopefully by the end of the day.

On Aug. 23rd I called again because I hadn’t heard from Heather.  I spoke to Shelly. She checked shipments from Head Office (HO) for cheque.  She checked Heather’s email and the reply to Heather’s previous inquiry said that the HO in Vancouver is waiting for the proper paperwork from the diamonds appraisal division to issue the cheque.  She said she would follow up with another email and give me a call.  She apologized for the 5 week delay and Heather not calling me.   I told her while I appreciate that she was sorry it didn’t do me a lot of good.  I was paying interest on money I had borrowed because I hadn’t received these funds yet.  I asked to speak to someone in charge to see what they would do for me.

Scott called me on at 10:46am on the 24th.  He told me that the ring buy back agreement was subject to me returning the item with all the original paperwork.  According to their head office, I hadn’t supplied the original purchase order detailing the diamond characteristics etc.  I told him I had returned everything I had received originally in the original box for the paperwork.  In fact I returned the ring in it’s original box, and still had the original bag.  All of it had been sitting in a drawer for 4.5 years.  He claimed I didn’t not meet the conditions for the buy back and that if I couldn’t produce the paperwork, they could not proceed.  I told him I couldn’t prove that he did receive the paperwork because I didn’t make copies, and he couldn’t prove he didn’t.  I said IMHO the least he could do for taking 5 weeks to tell me what I should have been told the day I returned the ring, was to make an exception, but he refused.  I even argued that the paper he was requesting was generated by the Spence computer system, so they had all the information on file.  He insisted it was a required condition for the buy back.  He said he would look around there to see if my paperwork was at the Spence office and asked me to look for it as well and inform him either way.

So now I have no ring in my possession, and am told they will not buy it back.  On top of that, my trust of Spence has been so shaken I’m concerned that the ring I will be picking up from their office may not even be the one I purchased.  How am I to know that the diamond wasn’t changed?  They changed their mind about honouring their buy back guarantee despite the fact that one of their employees could have trashed my paperwork.  She was apparently fired because of issues like mine.

Think twice before you buy from Spence, and if you do have to use their buy back guarantee, make sure you keep copies of all your paperwork before you give them anything.

Why TPersistent?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

I decided I wanted to blog, to increase my presence in the on-line community.  I wanted a site where I could do more than just blog, and since my opinions are my own it didn’t make any sense for my blog to be part of a corporate site, and I didn’t want to publish under larryhengen.com.

Since one of my primary programming interests is Delphi, I decided to use what IMHO is the most important class in the VCL.  Without TPersistent there would be no DFM streaming, no opportunity for objects to make much of an impact during their short life time….and so it seemed fitting for my blog domain name.