Thursday, December 21, 2006

Consumer Outrage

I am not generally hostile to technology but, if there is one thing guaranteed to make my blood pressure rise, it is a non-responsive automated voice telephone system. I purchased a Christmas gift item from Kodak in America at the end of November. I received confirmation that the item was shipped on 30 November by first class air mail and, according to the Kodak website, it should reach me within 7-14 days. Needless to say, the package still hasn't arrived.

Yesterday, I double-checked the status of my order on the Kodak website to be informed that it was shipped on 30 November. I then endeavoured to contact Kodak to find out what was happening. First, I incurred the expense of an international call to their service centre. I selected the "questions about orders" voice prompt and then went through the ridiculous charade of punching in my order ID to have it report back to me that my order was shipped on 30 November. Grr...having delivered this information, the voice system either wanted me to investigate another order number or hang up. There was no prompt asking me to hold for a customer service representative.

I hung up and tried to contact Kodak by e-mail thinking that it might be a better avenue. Nope:
We wanted to let you know that we've just received your message. Due to a large volume of inquiries, you may experience a short delay while we investigate your concern. We assure you that a Customer Service representative will respond as quickly as possible.
So, thinking that perhaps I had misheard the initial options on the automated voice system, I then telephoned Kodak again. Still, no speak to a real person option. Still the same charade of punching in numbers to be told something I already know. So, with increasing desperation and volume, I said help! superviser!help! help! help! help! superviser! help! HELP!...

Miraculously the voice mail system then transferred me through to another line where I was informed that I would wait approximately 1 minute and 47 seconds. More like 5 minutes and 47 seconds. I then got a real person but no satisfaction.

I was informed that, from Kodak's point of view, the package would not technically be overdue until today (something to do with international time zones and business days) and to call back if I don't receive it. When I asked what procedure I should follow to get through to a customer service representative, the operator could only advise me to call the relevant number and follow the prompts!!! I have zero confidence that the package will arrive in time for Christmas but we'll see.

(To be fair, I understand that I will be credited with the A$20 shipping fee but, in effect, I can see my phone bill will cancel that out. Not a happy customer.)


Blogger Tom Bailey said...

Things like this often happen. Phone trees are the things I have the biggest issue with.

December 21, 2006 8:05 am  
Anonymous aubirdwoman said...

the dh and I totally agree with you Brenda. sheila

December 21, 2006 10:54 am  
Blogger Caitlin said...

You can sometimes circumvent the whole number punching business by saying "OPERATOR" early in the call - but "help help supervisor" works too, obviously!
I hate sucky customer service. I reckon the best thing anyone can do is publicise just how completely sucky it was - sometimes the company will make it right, but if they don't, well, they don't get any more of my $ that's for sure!

December 21, 2006 11:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found if you push "O" immediatley you will by pass that annoying "push 2,3,etc" and get no where. Good luck, hope your order does arrive in time! Merry Christmas from California!

December 21, 2006 1:45 pm  
Anonymous Jan said...

There is no situation more frustrating than the one you describe. I just had a similar problem myself.
However, regarding mail delivery, your kind prize arrived almost immediately! I was shocked to find it in my mailbox so soon after you sent it. Thank you so much!

December 21, 2006 1:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Brenda, What a spoiler for Christmas, I hope your parcel arrives and I too hate these automated services we have to deal with more and more often these days.

December 21, 2006 3:47 pm  
Blogger Debra said...

According to, they say that if you hit the pound sign, you should get directed to a human being.

Don't know if it works, but it's better than shouting for minutes.

December 22, 2006 8:35 am  

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