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"Paid for" Customer service AKA: service plans

WWAY talked about the type of customer service that people expect in the process of purchasing - or possibly having to return - physical items... milk, bread, TVs, etc.. What wasn't mentioned is when you buy something, and then pay the extra fee for a service plan. In my case, I purchased an iPod from that store with that "Big Red Circle". I normally don't buy extended warranties, but with something like an iPod, stuff can happen.

In any event, about a year after I bought it, it developed a problem that was supposed to be covered by the "extended service plan". Again, this was sold by the store, as a store product, and had nothing to do with the manufacturer. I followed the process for obtaining service to the letter.

They actually contact out the servicing of this service plan to a third party. I had to deal with them sending a mailing label that the post office said would end up in dead mail. More phone calls, and they then sent me a UPS label. I returned the iPod, and it was claimed that they never received it. Multiple calls to "Big Red Circle's" offshore customer service department were summarily transferred to the third party. Requests to the local "Big Red Circle" customer service desk to have them assist resulted in no callback from the store manager.

After a complaint to the BBB in their home office town, I got a call from the third party saying "we found it, and we've sent a "gift card" for a replacement. More calls to "Big Red Circle's" office, and exchanges with the BBB and I ended up with a gift card for less than the replacement cost of the iPod that was only mailed a few days prior to me receiving it. Nothing more than repeated deception on their part. A quick search online using that store's real name, and the words "service plan" showed that what I encountered is pretty typical.

So.... You can't even depend on good customer service when even when you've actually paid for it.

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