Why consumers hate big companies

Comcast, in this case, but Verizon, Sprint, all the baby Bells, the power and water companies, and so many others do this crap that it’s really no surprise to us on the receiving end that people get upset with the hassle of get service from companies which are supposed to be in the service industry.  This lady’s tale at The Consumerist is quite a bit more extreme than what most people suffer through, but I doubt it’s so out there that many people are surprised.

I had cable and internet reinstalled back in March (I’m going through a divorce and I had to have a new account set up). It took a month to get a DVR and it hasn’t worked since I got it. In total, I have set up six appointments, five of which they have totally not shown up for. They are absolutely making me crazy.

My first appointment was from 2:00 – 5:00 on a Thursday. Took a half day off from work. Had a call at 5:30 that the technician was running late, and when he hadn’t shown up at 7:30 I called them. They apologized and rescheduled for that Saturday from 8:00 – 11:00.

After almost half a dozen more missed appointments, she gets to this.

That night it started crashing again. Last week, every single tv show I tried to watch crashed out. So I called AGAIN. And set up an appointment AGAIN, for this past Friday. I was going out of town for Easter, and really didn’t want to wait another week for a weekend appointment, so I decided to take a full day off Friday rather than a half day to fit in the appointment. It was scheduled for 11:00 – 2:00. Nothing. Finally at 3:00 I had to leave for my trip.

At 3:30 I got a call that the tech was in front of my house. I had to tell them I was about forty miles from my house at that point, so what the hell could I do about it? I rescheduled AGAIN for Tuesday (today), and they actually had a night appointment available, so I took that.

Amazingly, it’s not over.  But you have to read the full article to find out how much she has suffered through.

[tags]Consumer service woes, service companies suck[/tags]

Build your own phase-change cooling system

(via Hack-a-Day)

Big geek site-maintainer editor alert here, folks – I love computer fiddling. I have all the parts for a water-cooling set-up at home (no time to actually assemble, install and test it – but I have the parts if the time ever shows up). All kinds of high-end cooling get-ups tickle my fancy. I have half a dozen different kinds of CPU coolers and nearly as many video card coolers just waiting to be put to some use in some system in my house.  In my rare spare time, I sand the bases of my coolers with fine grain sandpaper just so they mount and cool better.  I spend extra money to buy high-end cooling pastes.  I do case modding.  I paint cases.  I build computers for friends because I enjoy it so much that any excuse to build works for me. So naturally, with all that geekiness in my system, I have to point out this write-up on how to build your own phase-change cooling system. Now if I can just find the time and money to buy the parts so I can put it all together.

[tags]DIY cooling, CPU cooling[/tags]

Minimum requirements for credit card use are voilation of terms

Maybe. The Consumerist has a bit on this, and they are trying to track down the actual rules.

We wanted to get clarification on whether merchants are allowed to say you must purchase a minimum amount in order to use a credit card. We called up VISA. The CSR said that it was definitely illegal and in violation.

. . .

We then called Washington Mutual. A tier 1 rep, after checking with her supervisor and credit card services, said that stores are allowed to require a minimum charge to cover the transaction fee they have to incur.

More details and an update contradicting that last paragraph in the full article.

[tags]Visa charges, minimum purchases[/tags]