June 22, 2008

So Where Were We?

Well, it has been a while eh? I think part of that has to do with the fact that I was starting to subconsciously associate my blog with the XBox ordeal and that whole situation was just getting to be too much for me. To wrap that whole saga up... UPS got my XBox back and promptly delivered it to me. Things were not resolved anywhere near how I would liked to have seen, but it got to the point where I was so tired of dealing with it that I didn't even care anymore. I have my XBox again and it works. That's enough for me at this point.

Another birthday and Father's Day have come and gone as well and both were great (despite the Red Wings taking a dump on my life the night before my birthday). Christa and the kids came and met me for lunch at work on my birthday, which was fun for them. It always amazes me what a kick they get out of coming to my work. I have to admit though, from a little kid point of view the NI campus is probably pretty cool. Plus my team showed up right before them with cake, so that never hurts.

Speaking of work... I've been at NI for about a month now and I am really enjoying it. I am on the WSO (Web Support Operations) team and I am fortunate to be working with a lot of very smart, capable people. My manager Tom is also great. We seem to have a lot in common in regards to our general philosophies about how work should be and I think we are going to work well together. So far there has been a lot to take in and some of it can be a little overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day I am being out in a position to analyze and solve a lot of different problems and I think that is what I am best at so it should be good. I am getting close to wrapping up my first project, and when I am done the NI forums will never be the same!

I finally figured out how to blow most of my birthday/graduation/RotoTimes money. At first I was planning to buy an ultra mobile PC (think mini-laptop), but then I decided that didn't offer enough value to me to warrant a $400-$500 investment. So instead, on Thursday I ordered one of these instead. Now I'll be able to play games in HD (which should be a big improvement), and we'll get our TV channels in HD now which will be nice. It was a little more than I planned on spending, but I was able to subsidize it a bit by dipping into my RotoTimes money a little more than originally planned.

Which brings us to RotoTimes... I spoke to my editor earlier this week and it looks like I will be back with them this season. They are still working out the format they want to use, but he gave me all indications that once things are squared away on their end, that if I want to write for them again, they want me back. Beyond that I am looking to kick things up a notch over at TOFTT and I have a new little side project as well. So I'll have plenty to keep me busy from a writing point of view. Which is a good thing.

I think that is everything for now. Christa and the kids are heading to California in a couple weeks. I'm sure Christa is looking forward to getting away from our record heat wave for a bit, and the kids can't wait to see their grandparents. It is never fun having them gone, but it will give me a chance to really pour a lot of time into my writing so it should at least be somewhat productive if nothing else.

June 6, 2008

Signed, Sealed, And Delivered

So I submitted my last RotoTimes article last night. I saved the best for last and got to write an article dedicated to my Penguins. I am slowly starting to get over the loss in the Finals, but the last abomination of a goal is going to haunt me to my grave. I genuinely feel bad for MAF and the boys.

Anyway, there are some other things going on that are starting to look up, but I don't want to write about it yet. Just know that things are better than they were a day ago in many ways.

June 3, 2008

My Microsoft XBox 360 Support Nightmare

As many of you know, I have been dealing with a very unhappy situation regarding my XBox 360 and Microsoft XBox Support. It has gotten pretty ridiculous the way I am being treated by them and how unreasonable they are. Things finally reached a boiling point last night and my (almost) last resort was to send this e-mail off to the Microsoft Customer Advocacy Group. It gives a pretty comprehensive history of the whole situation. Enjoy!

I am writing you in an attempt to resolve an ongoing problem that I have been having with Microsoft XBox support. My Xbox 360 got the 3 red lights problem in late April and was no longer working. I filled out the necessary claim online and proceeded to send my XBox 360 console to your service center once the shipping materials arrived. My console was fixed and shipped back out for delivery to my home. This is where the problems begin...

It was taking much longer than I expected for the package to be delivered to my home. I checked the package tracking online through the UPS website on 5/21 and was shocked to see that the package was listed as delivered on 5/19. This was very surprising to me since I had not received the package. Further examination of the tracking showed that the package had been delivered to the town of Dale, TX which is approximately 50 miles to the south of where I live. The tracking (which you can see for yourself by going to UPS tracking and entering the following tracking number: ## ### ### ## #### ### #) also showed that the address on the package was initially incomplete and that UPS had to correct it for delivery.

At that point I contacted Xbox support by phone and told them my situation. I was told to call UPS and confirm that the package had indeed been delivered and that they did not still have it. I called UPS phone support and they confirmed that the package had been delivered. I called XBox support back as instructed and told them that the package was no longer in UPS' possession. At that time the agent on the phone confirmed my address and said that they had the correct address in the system so there was "no way the package could have been incorrectly delivered". I was told that they would look into it and I would get a call back, but that I was probably going to have to file a claim with UPS as the agent on the phone insisted that your service center had shipped the package correctly. At that point I contacted UPS again to look into filing a claim and was informed that only the shipper could file a claim for the package and that I could not.

A few days later I got a call back from XBox support and was shocked with what I was told. The agent on the phone told me that they had contacted UPS and were told that I had called UPS and changed the delivery address myself, to have the package delivered to my office. I informed the agent that this was not the case. Not only was the address the package was delivered to not my place of work, but I had not contacted UPS at all, let alone to change the delivery in any way. The agent on the phone finally (after much discussion) agreed to investigate the matter further and that I would get a call back on either 5/25 or 5/26.

While waiting for the call back I contacted UPS to find out what kind of information a person would need to give in order to change the destination address of a package that was en route for delivery. I was told that only the shipper could change the delivery address of a package out for delivery. There was no possible way that I as the intended receiver could have changed the destination address.

After I had not received a call as expected I called XBox support again on 5/28 to try to find out what was going on. At this point I was told that the investigation was still ongoing and that I would be contacted by 6/2 as I had been previously told. At this point I informed the agent I was talking to that I was told I was going to be contacted by 5/26 at the latest. I also explained to the agent that I had talked to UPS and that it was not possible for me to have changed the delivery address for the package. I also told the agent on the phone that at that time I was no longer comfortable getting my original console back (in the event that it was recovered) due to the fact that it had been in the hands of strangers for nearly two weeks at that time. I stressed repeatedly that I wanted a replacement console due to complications in the delivery that were no fault of mine. The agent on the phone told me that there was nothing they could do but wait for a response to the e-mail that had been sent to the service center more than a week prior. I was told that they had no other method for contacting the service center and that they could not approve sending me a replacement console without permission from the service center. At that point I was assured that a note of my entire conversation that day, which was well over two hours long, would be made and that I would hear back by 6/3.

On 6/2 an XBox support agent called my home while I was at work and talked to my wife. The agent told my wife that they had concluded their investigation and determined that I had contacted UPS to change the delivery address and that they were going to take no further action to support my situation. They told my wife that I would need to deal directly with UPS to solve the problem. When my wife told the person on the phone, as I already had many times, that only the shipper could file a claim with UPS and that I could not the agent refused to discuss the matter with my wife. As she continued to try and talk over the situation with the agent on the phone she was again told that I needed to deal with UPS and when she again told the agent that I could not file a claim with UPS she was then hung up on by the agent on the phone. At this time my wife called me at work and told me about what had happened.

While on my lunch break I again called UPS to see if there was anything that I could do on that end and I was given some shocking information. First I was told that the problem with the package was that the address label did not have a street address on it. It had only my name, city, state, and zip code. I was then told that Microsoft had initiated a tracer to try to recover the package, but that they had only done so that very day (6/2). You can imagine my surprise as I had been told many times by multiple XBox support personnel that the investigation and recovery attempt had been initiated approximately two weeks prior. I was also told by UPS support that again, there was no way that I could have changed the delivery address for the package in this situation.

When I got home from work that evening I called XBox support again to attempt to straighten this matter out. I ended up talking to a "supervisor" who was extremely rude and refused to discuss the situation with me in a rational manner. After I described what had happened to her she told me that her notes showed that I had called UPS to change the delivery address and that there was nothing more Microsoft could do and that I needed to file a claim with UPS. When I explained to her all of the points that I have previously outlined in this e-mail she insisted that there was nothing that could be done and that I was at fault and needed to deal with UPS myself. When I informed her that the problem was caused by the service center not putting a street address on the shipping label she then told me that that was "not possible" and again refused to even discuss helping me in any way. After much effort on my part, and after her refusal to contact a UPS agent to discuss the matter with, I finally got her to look at the online package tracking. She then preceded to tell me that the entry on 5/16 said that I called to change the address. I told her that this was not the case and that it said that "The receiver's address is incomplete" because of the incorrect label. She told me that was not what it meant and went back to her stance that there was nothing more she could do and insisted that there was no way she could contact UPS to discuss it with them. I tried to continue to discuss the situation with her hoping that she would begin to listen to reason and at that point I was hung up on. It was very upsetting to me that I would be refused help in this situation despite the fact that your company is still attempting to either recover the package or be compensated for its loss by UPS, especially considering the fact that it was an error on the part of your service center that caused the problem.

At that point I tried to contact the normal Microsoft support line, which gave me the phone number to Microsoft Corporate, who then gave me this e-mail address to contact. I am hoping that this matter can be resolved in a timely manner as this whole situation has been very upsetting to me. I have been a loyal Microsoft customer for many years and have purchased many Microsoft products, including both iterations of the XBox console, but this whole scenario has left a very bitter taste in my mouth to the point that I would definitely not be inclined to purchase any more Microsoft products after seeing how Microsoft customers are treated. I don't feel that I am being unfair in wanting my XBox 360 console to be replaced and I feel that in light of recent events that that is the least that you can do to make this up to me. I hope that we can resolve this matter soon and in a way that all parties will find acceptable.

-Chris Yarbrough
Hopefully this will actually get me somewhere. If not, "7 On Your Side" will be getting a very similar e-mail from me.