Sunday, November 29, 2009

Netflix's Customer Service Box

Dear Netflix, please let me out of your little customer service box.

I hooked up the PS3 streaming disc as was watching a movie. One of my PS3 controllers was low on battery after an extremely long session of "Demon's Souls" which is almost impossible to pronounce correctly. Go on try it and remember, apostrophe 's' and plural.

Anyway, I plugged the cable into the PS3. The controller wasn't actually connected to the cable which may or may not matter. The result; however, was the PS3 shut off. Is this a problem related to the PS3 or Netflix. I dunno but I thought I would report it to Netflix. ...only I can't.

Netflix's website insists on pre-defining your customer service experience. There is no way for you to actually enter an issue they haven't expected you to have.

Let's start with even trying to report an issue with streaming through the PS3. The only options you are allowed to have are:
• The disc arrived broken
• The disc is scratched or unplayable
• I received the wrong disc
• I have lost the disc, and need a replacement
• I haven't received the disc
Absolutely nothing about any problem you having with the service itself, not even an option for "other."

What if I went to the section to report a problem with the movie? That doesn't work either; because, the only options that come up are to report problems with movies that I already watched. The movie that I was in the middle of watching isn't listed.

What if I decided to go off the sidewalk, and just report the problem with the movie I failed to watch by selecting one I did watch, did not have a problem with, but is on the list that I am allowed to choose from? I could just explain that this wasn't the movie I was having a problem with and detail my problem, right? Nope, because there is no way to explain the problem again, only pre-defined choices:
Please tell us if you experienced any of the following problems. (Check all that apply)
• Audio did not match the picture/was out of sync
• Parts of the audio were missing or cut-off
• No subtitles on a foreign language film
• Picture was blurry
• Picture was unwatchable or missing
• Wrong movie/TV episode started playing
• Unexpected pauses/frequent stops and starts
There is a continue option at the bottom, and from the way it words the question, leads me to believe I don't have to select any of those options and can go onto the next page where I can actually tell them about my problem. Nope. You press continue, even without selecting a single problem from their list, and you get, "Thanks for your input. We will investigate and resolve the problems as soon as possible."

Good to hear, glad their on top of things.

Though to be fair, I am enjoying my Netflix subscription and really haven't had any other problems. Now that I'm working again, I have even increased my disc limit to two DVDs at a time. I really can't believe all the good, new TV shows that came out and you people let get canceled while I was in Australia. Shame on you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Break Things

Things don’t work for me, mostly electronic / computer type things. Unless somebody is watching. I may have mentioned that before, but this is a story of what my evening has been like.

I got one of the new Xbox 360 Wireless ‘N’ Network adapters. It is brand new, ordered from Amazon and shipped the day it was released. I put the Driver disc in my new Xbox 360 as instructed and it doesn’t install any drivers. It just tells me it is a “Mixed Media Disc” with only the option to eject it. I popped it into the computer and I can see the files on it just fine. But I am told that just popping it into the 360 should start running the driver install process.

I went to the Xbox website. They don’t even list the new wireless adapter on the site. I filled out an email service request form. When I pressed submit, it told me that nothing matched my search. I am sure I wasn’t filling out a search. Luckily, when I pressed the back button my data was still in all the fields. When I pressed submit again it went through. I gave me an email service request number, but oddly enough didn’t send me one of those generic “We have received your service request and somebody will answer you soon” generic emails. It has been 24 hours and no response, they not work weekends?

I decided to see if I could Google some information. I found an article on the new adapter on Tom’s Hardware. Mostly the comments section was divided between the people who were going off about how Microsoft and the Xbox suck and those people who just thought the adapter was way to expensive. I posted a comment… I know, I know. But that isn’t the point, and please don’t bring up the Xbox/PS3 debate or even how expensive the wireless adapter was. I needed one for reasons that are none of your business, and that isn’t the point of this.

The point is that Tom’s hardware lets you make the comment and then just asked for you user name and an email address. It then sends the follow email:
Thank you for your participation in Tom's Hardware!

You have less than 48 hours to register with your Username and Email Address.

Username : "XXXXXXXX"

To register, please click on the link below:

If you don't validate your account within 48 hours, your Username and Email Address will be automatically deleted.

Tom's Hardware Team

This email is generated automatically; replies are not read. To contact us, please use the contact form on the site.
You can see the link isn’t tied to my email address as a confirmation or anything. I just takes me to their registration page which gives me two options: “Sign up for free by clicking 1” and “Already member.” You’ll note that both of those don’t actually make sense.

I suspect the first should be reworded to “Sign up for free!” and then have another title that says, “New Member.” he second one is missing the article and should be, “Already a member.”

Anyway, I fill out the first one. It tells me, “The email address is already in use.” If I click on the “Already member” option it asks for a username and password, which I don’t have. I try entering what I would have as a user name as password if I did have one, but that didn’t work. The window has its own “Not a Member” link but when I try to fill it out, it keeps telling me that my email in the two fields (you know, the standard thing where they make you type it twice just in case) don’t match. I copy and pasted them in making sure there were no extra spaces screwing it up and even reloaded the page and tried it again from scratch.

Finally, I go to the recover account information and enter my email which it tells me does not exist in their database.

I can’t find the “contact form on the site” which the email mentions but does not link to.

So, is it just me or is it Tom’s Hardware that is fubar? I am willing to believe it is just me; because as I've said, this stuff happens to me all the time!

So in the end I’m going back to playing Demon's Souls on my PS3.