PS Consultants - ideas & solutions

What’s the difference between a CD Rom and a fridge door?

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 CD back.

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 slot?

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 feet wide?”

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 sent.

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 (1).

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 services operation.

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 fridge door.

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.

I think.