A tricky one, eh? Especially so if you happen to be a LG
Electronics UK customer support operative.
The story began with the purchase of a GMA-420B “does everything
but +R” CD/DVD reader writer a couple of months ago. Looked like a
deal at the time – still does. At under £200 it was the breakthrough
I had been waiting for and I ordered one from usual local source.
The installation went easily enough – stick it in the case, plug
in the connectors and there it is on the hardware list. I then
inserted the accompanying CD with the usual bundle of applications –
and it was apparent that I seemed to have either a dud player or CD.
A quick check revealed the drive was seeing things, but the CD was
indeed extremely blank; a veritable coaster for my collection.
So I called the supplier and discovered that they had just become
another victim of the recession in the IT trade, and had ceased
trading. Deepest sympathy, but no easy way to replace the CD. So I
called LG Electronics and found my way to the customer support desk.
It told them the story, and they said “well, you need to get your
supplier to deal with it”. So programmed are they to shoo away
customers with problems that they simply had not heard that there
was no supplier to talk to.
Eventually one lady “gave me a number” and asked me to return the
CD. I was slightly fazed, the paperwork and processing to swap out
this duff CD Rom would be at least 100x the cost of another CD. But
rules is rules, and so I gave up trying to be rational and sent the
Nothing heard for a month. Then UPS starts putting notes through
the door, saying that they are trying to deliver something from LG.
Which I found puzzling – why wouldn’t it fit in the usual letterbox
Anyway, a day or so later my good lady syncs with UPS at last,
and the mobile rings with her indoors on the end – “what on earth
have you ordered from LG Electronics that’s about 6 feet long and 3
Well, that one stumped me. I had been expecting the CD Rom, and
this sounded like something rather more. So I was excited – maybe LG
had decided that in order to compensate for taking a month to do a
simple thing, they would send some special “bonus” gift.
When I got home, I opened the parcel and read the packing note.
It was a fridge door; I was sorely let down.
So I emailed the support department and thanked them for the
fridge door, but would they please send the rest, so I could have
some fun assembling it all.
Next day another package arrived from LG; this time it contained
the original CD rom and the news from LG that:-
“I am sorry to learn of the problems you have had and can confirm
that the disk is faulty. However, due to the licensing laws in the
UK we are unable to send out a new disk to you and must refer you to
your retailer for the replacement.”
These people clearly don’t read Computer Shopper, do they?
So I responded to the UK Help Desk email address:
I have this morning received a letter enclosed my original CD a
month after I returned after talking with your people. As I
explained, the retailer in question has ceased trading. How often
have you lot appeared on WatchDog I wonder..?
Came the next email:-
We have been advised by our Customer
Services Department that a fridge door has been delivered to you in
error and we would like to arrange collection of this on Monday
afternoon if convenient.
You will notice no mention of the CD Rom. So I replied:
“I'd love to help, but I have been waiting more than a month
for LG to resolve the problem with the software provided with the
DVD writer. See attached….”and I attached the letter I had been
I felt tempted to say:
“Send the CD Rom I asked for a month ago, or the fridge door
gets it”, but I refrained. And then I was told:
As per the attached file. Our Customer
Services Department have advised you to contact your retailer re
software probs you are having. They can be reached on 0870 607 5544
Well, this upped the ante, so I went a little
further into Mr Angry mode:-
You aren't listening too well - the retailer that supplied my
with the DVD recorder drive doesn't exist any longer.
So either you find a way to deal with this - and maybe that means
you send me an entire replacement GMA420B - or I carve a note of
complaint to the local trading standards office on the fridge door.
Either way, thanks for giving me a terrific topic to write about
in my magazine column this month. And I may also test my theory that
someone in LG head office is smart enough to realise that customers
are harder to come by and retain than staff for their UK customer
The phone rang first thing next morning. A rather irritated voice
said that they would give in to my demands and send me a replacement
CD Rom. And when could they collect the door, please?
Well, 3 days on their collectors (TNT, for some reason) haven’t
found the house, and I am the keeper of some poor soul’s spare
I still don’t have the CD Rom, and I will continue to nag for it.
But I did of course get all the software necessary from Roxio and
Intervideo anyway, but don’t anyone tell the grumpy and inept people
at LHG Electronics UK, please.
And in case you are still puzzling the question at the head of
the column, a fridge door is about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide and
won’t fit inside a CD walkman, and a CD Rom doesn’t keep your milk
cold in the hot weather.