The "C" Branch

Jaded commentary on random shit, with an extra helping of cynicism, satire and general contempt for society & Western culture, religion, politics, celebrities, technology, business & more.

Mar 25

AT&T – Possibly the Worst Company Ever


AT&T is the worst company ever.
Not sure how that “possibly” got in there…

If I was to add up all the time I’ve wasted dealing with AT&T Customer Support, I imagine it would constitute a fairly significant percentage of my life. The worst part is that all of the issues I’ve experienced are embarrassingly pathetic on their part and should never have happened if AT&T was truly a legit and reliable company.

About four months ago, I decided to sign up for AT&T DSL in my home. The company offers a “standalone” package that does not require a home phone line and simply provides an internet connection. Since I utilize a VOIP line and an AT&T cell phone for my phone lines (actually an iPhone at the time I signed up), this sort of package made perfect sense for my needs. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 30

Update on 1&1 Headaches


I finally got around to emailing 1&1 about the latest set of domains I want to cancel (and they want to not let me cancel), and got a response from them.

Thank you for contacting us.

As we checked the Domain Names, we can see that you have initiated a Domain Cancellation Request but this was not activated, we now need to escalate the case so that the request can be processed.

You will then updated via email when this has been processed.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

At any rate, hopefully their response to my problems will be better than their English.

Oct 06

More 1&1 Headaches…


As you probably already know, I’ve had my fair share of headaches with 1&1 Internet. If you haven’t yet seen my previous posts, be sure and take a look at 1&1 Internet Sucks!!!, followed by 1&1 Status Update #1 and 1&1 Sitation – Conclusion.

Well, at any rate, last month I tried to cancel a few more domains that are set to renew soon. Using my discoveries from last time, I headed over to 1&1’s Hidden Secret Package Cancellation Website and canceled the three domains I don’t want to renew with 1&1.
Yet again, 1&1 claimed that they would send me a confirmation email to finalize the cancellation process. Now that over a month has passed, I still haven’t gotten any email, and there’s nothing in my messages folder in my 1&1 control panel either.

Since I really don’t feel like being charged for these domains when they auto-renew even though I just canceled them, I’m going to be calling up and dealing with 1&1’s “support team” to try and resolve this. Rest assured that I’ll be keeping you posted.

Apr 16

1&1 Internet Sucks!!!


Even if your life depended on it, I hope you are smart enough that you would still not resort to using 1&1 Internet – partly because their service is of insanely poor quality, also because they have no consumer relations department, and lastly because their tech support team doesn’t even know how their own service works.

You might recall how, several months ago, some of my sites went down for quite some time when I changed their domains. This was due to 1&1 Internet failing miserably at providing their services. Not only were there several problems in the process, but it also conveniently takes 1&1 an eternity and a half to change DNS addresses, sometimes taking almost a week before my domains were finally functional again.

I also had tons of problems trying to get my email functioning with a third-party service. While trying to figure out how to set this up, I ended up calling 1&1 tech support. Of course, they had no idea what they were talking about when they attempted to advise me on what to do. It was obvious to me that the service representatives I spoke with had little understanding of how domains and DNS work.

Lastly, I received an invoice from 1&1 via email a few days ago. I observed that I was being charged for renewal of a domain which I had cancelled several months ago. Not to mention, when I tried to do this, I had to hunt for quite some time to locate the cancellation site. So, like any other upset customer, I called to speak with the billing department. And, like any other upset customer would, I became angry when the representative refused to help me and attempted to blame me for the situation.

She claimed that I did not click a confirmation link sent to me in an email after I cancelled the domain. Furthermore, she refused to help me over the phone and said that I had to go back to the well-hidden cancellation site and repeat the process I had already done several months ago.

I called because I wanted two things. I wanted the domain cancelled, and the amount I was being charged for this domain refunded. Since neither were accomplished, I called back, this time looking for a consumer relations specialist. I discovered instead that 1&1 does not have a consumer relations department.

So, based on all this, I would never go with 1&1 Internet for any more services again, and hope you would not either. If you’re considering using 1&1, stop and rethink…it could be the worst decision you could make.

Feb 15

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs


I’m sure many of you are wondering how things are going with my Macbook. Unfortunately, things have been only getting worse. This open letter to Steve Jobs should help fill you in on the new developments.

Dear Steve,

Well buddy, it looks like you no longer care to value your loyal customer and ardent Mac enthusiast any longer, and now wish to stab me in the back. I find this unfortunate because I was actually starting to think your company was better than the others, and even went as far as introducing many people to your products. However, now that I actually need something from you, not just advice on buying a new product, I see what I’m really worth to you.

Let me share with you my dilemma. Back in the summertime, I brought my Macbook in for service and diagnostics since there were a few issues, including a bluetooth malfunction in particular. The Apple store cheerfully accepted my computer for service and called to notify me that it was being sent off for repair. Even though they said the repair might take up to 5-7 days, the computer arrived at my doorstep only three days later, even despite the Fourth of July holiday. I was very pleased to get my computer back so quickly. In fact, I had only one problem with the service…the bluetooth still didn’t work!

So, a few weeks later, my computer ended up back in the Apple store, and again went out for service. This time, however, there seemed to be proof that the problem would be fixed. The repair records showed that Apple repair replaced a bunch of bluetooth-related parts, including the module and antenna. So, satisfied that they surely had gotten it right this time, I returned home that August day with my computer and began using it. It seemed to be working fine, and seemed to hold up just fine for a couple months.

But, not too long after, the bluetooth started croaking on me again. First, I just noticed it had gone out once, and came back when I rebooted. I shrugged and thought that hopefully it was just a little glitch. A few weeks later, though, it did it again, and over time, these instances happened more and more often. Before I brought my Macbook back to the Apple store for a third time for this issue alone (it had been there for other things as well), the problem was so bad that my bluetooth would show up for like 20 minutes, and then go out for several hours before returning again, constantly throughout the day. You may not think this is a big deal, but it actually rendered my computer half useless to me. See, I do a lot of graphics design and things that require a lot of workspace, so I have a huge external LCD display that I hook up to my Macbook, and then use an Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse. So, when I’m in the middle of airbrushing something in Photoshop and my keyboard and mouse die, it’s a fairly big deal.

This repair experience with the Apple store was by far the worst I’ve ever had, and in fact was downright unpleasant. The folks at the Apple store that Friday told me they’d get the computer in for diagnostics that night and call me on Saturday. On Sunday, still not having heard from them, I called them to find out they were just getting to running diagnostics on it (or in other words, they had forgotten about it and rushed to actually do something with it while I was on hold for a combined, oh, 40 minutes). They called me back on Tuesday to inform me that my computer would be sent in for remote repair, and it would be another 7-10 days before I could expect it.

Well, today I got another call from Apple, telling me my repair had been put on hold because I upgraded my hard drive last month. Apparently, since hard drives have so much to do with the bluetooth (yes, sarcasm), they felt they could use it as an excuse to not fix my computer. Apparently, talking to them makes no difference either, because after over an hour and a half of debating with four different Apple repair employees, they still tell me the same thing. My third-party hard drive is bad, and because of it they can’t fix the bluetooth. No, it’s not causing the bluetooth problem (at least they could handle figuring that one out). The bluetooth is definitely bad. They just refuse to fix it with a “bad” third party hard drive in there. Of course, they refuse to tell me why it is bad, or even if it really is bad. Apple tech “James” himself even admitted that there’s nothing requiring them to back up their statement that it’s “bad” and therefore, they theoretically could just be lying about it. Of course, since I couldn’t get a straight answer from them on whether or not it was “bad” or not, there’s no official response to determine whether or not it’s a lie.

Oh, and when did you resign from Apple? Because James claimed that he was “the highest person I could speak with here [at Apple]” when I asked him several times to transfer me to someone. Apparently you have a repair tech in charge of your company now. I’ve got to admit, Steve, that’s pretty cool.

Anyways, as I tried to ask those boneheads for almost two hours today, is there anything you can do to just fix your defective product(s) in my computer without blaming my hard drive? Fax me a waiver; I’ll sign it.

Thanks, Steve. It’d be nice to prove all these thoughts of how you don’t care about your customers wrong. Do you care about me after all?

Regards,

Chris DeMarco
(ex-loyal Apple enthusiast)

Feb 14

I’ll be back…


…in an estimated 7-10 business days.

Or at least that’s what Apple tells me. My bluetooth hardware on my MacBook has been malfunctioning for, oh, the third time now. Now, you might be saying, “Well, Chris, that’s no big deal, who cares about that?” However, you would be gravely mistaken, my friend.

See, bluetooth malfunction is a bit more obnoxious when you typically hook up your computer to an external monitor, clamshell it, and only have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard. So, when I’m in the middle of typing a paper, or making a logo in photoshop, or writing a blog entry, and suddenly my keyboard and mouse die, I am not happy.

Really, though, I don’t care what the problem is, because I bought a computer so that I could expect it to work. In fact, I bought an Apple for that very reason – it’s supposed to just work, and this is just unacceptable. This is the third time it’s been in with this problem. The first time, they didn’t do anything about it, the second, they replaced every single bluetooth-related part in there, and now, this time, they’re sending it off for another 7-10 business days as of yesterday. This is actually the seventh day so far since I’ve brought it in, so according to them, it will have been a minimum of like 13 days before I might get it back.

Never mind that I’m taking 8 classes right now and all my class work is (was?) on there, or that I have web/graphics design work to do and no computer to do it on, or that I can’t do any recording.

At any rate, they better be 100% positive it’s fixed this time, even if that means giving me a new one, because if I get it back and it’s still not working right, I will be one unhappy boot camper.