Thursday, December 23, 2004

CompuSmart, PeopleStupid

Well, after my optimistic posting of yesterday, it saddens me to report that things have now gone from bad to worse. My miserable Mac G4 remains at CompuSmart having been looked at by, at last count, nobody. I am left with no computer for the holiday break and now I will get none of my little digital projects done and I have nowhere to download my Christmas pictures. In the absence of a sincere apology or resonable explanation form the CompuSmart frontline staff, I have resorted to e-mailing the head office in Qu├ębec. Unfortunately, the customer feedback field on their website has a limit to the number of characters that may be submitted, so I had to break up my message into four pieces. I share with you now the entire text of my complaint:


I feel I need to lodge a complaint regarding the service department at your Scarborough store in the Kennedy Commons location.

On Tuesday, December 14, I dropped off my Macintosh G4 for service. I realise that because there are far fewer Macs than PCs, there is only a qualified technician available on Tuesday and Thursday. When I dropped off the machine, I was told that the single technician would be going on vacation and would not be working on Thursday, December 16 or Tuesday, December 21 and would return the following Thursday. This concerned me, as I wanted the computer repaired as soon as possible. As I am hoping that the data on my hard drive can be recovered, I asked that the technician take a look on the Tuesday (December 14) to let me know if it would even be possible. I was told that they would call me to let me know, and that the latest they would look at it would be December 23. I was further told to disregard the notice on the work order indicating a "14-19 day backlog" and that the computer would be looked at by the following Thursday (December 23) at the latest.

My wife called to follow up on December 15, and was told that the technician was gone and that nobody had even looked at the machine. We waited out the week and called to check up this morning (December 23) and were told that "the best thing to do is wait for us to call when (the computer) is ready".

As I write this, it is the evening of Thursday, December 23. I have just called the store to be told that my machine still has yet to be looked at, that it is in queue and that the EARLIEST day that the technician will see it is Tuesday, December 27. While the service representative who answered the phone is the same one that took my Mac, he has no memory of doing so, and keeps repeating that there is a 14-19 day backlog, the work order is in queue and that the technician will be in on Tuesday over and over. He also apologised on behalf of whomever may have given me the impression that my computer would be ready (or at least assessed) by December 23. As it is he who gave me such an assurance, he is apologising on his own behalf!

Finally, my wife has called the store tonight (December 23) to see what she could find out and as it turns out, the Mac technician didn't even get in today because of the weather. Information that might have been passed along on our call this morning.

My concerns are these:
  1. Knowing that the technician was leaving on holiday, I would not have left my computer if I hadn't been assured that I could get it back on December 23. I work downtown Toronto and could easily have brought it to four other places quite near my office. If there is insufficient staffing to cover holidays, customers should be made expllicitly aware of this.
  2. In the event that work is not expected to be completed or attempted within the timeframe suggested at the time of drop-off, the customer should be notified of any delays or problems affecting the projected date of return.
  3. While I understand that Macintosh users are in the minority, when the single available Mac technician is indisposed for a period of time, should there not be a contingency plan in place? What if on Tuesday, December 27 the technician is ill or has had a skiing accident? And has to also miss the following Thursday? Will Compusmart simply continue to allow a backlog of jobs to continue piling up in the "queue" until the work order suggests a 90-120 day backlog?
I am left now to collect my computer from the store and have it serviced elsewhere. I will not get it back any faster, but I will not have to deal with this kind of amateur-level customer service. Computers are not inexpensive, and for many people, like myself and especially at this time of year, they represent a sizable financial investment. I feel that the degree of customer service should reflect this rather than sinking to the level of a fast-food restaurant.

I did not bring my computer to Compusmart for convenience sake and, at an estimated $375 for service, neither for economics. I bought the Mac from Compusmart, and have had good service at your store in the past, but this has been an outrageous experience. I am disappointed and angry at my inconvenence and for the time I have already lost in dealing with this situation (it took thirty minutes just to fill out the work order in the first place).

As the service technician seems not to be concerned about losing my business, and as a subsequent call to speak to a manager was directed back to the service desk, I am submitting this email in the hope that somebody who cares will understand why I must take my business elsewhere.

-Joshua Hardaker


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