What happened to the service industry?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Our condo building has a video entry system that allows people to ring the doorbell out front and get buzzed in by the unit they’re visiting. It’s a pretty cool system. Except that it stopped working a few days ago. We suspect it was during the big lightning storm. So I’ve been trying to get someone to come take care of it. First, I called the electrician who’s done some work here. He’s hard to get a hold of because his worthless Nextel phone tells me “The Nextel subscriber you are trying to reach is unavailable at this time” every time I try to call. After I hang up, I think it says, “If I had a soul, I’d send you to his voicemail. But because I’m a cold, unfeeling machine, I won’t help you at all. Ha ha ha ha ha!” When I finally got him, he said to call the company that put it in. He apparently works for them, but is willing to do freelance on the side, probably against their wishes. But whatever. So I called C&A; Electric. They said they’d call back to set up a time to come by. They did not. That was Tuesday. I was in NYC on Wednesday, so I called them Thursday. They were apologetic. They said they’d call to schedule an appointment. This time, they actually did, 8AM Friday. Then they called back to ask about the problem, and decided to send someone else, not the guy I talked to. I thought, “whatever, as long as someone shows up.” At 8:45AM Friday, no one had arrived. So I called. They were again apologetic. But they didn’t know when anyone would arrive. They promised to call back with an update. They actually did call, and pretty quickly, and told me that someone would be here at 10. They made good on that appointment, but didn’t fix the problem. The two guys looked at the unit, and complained about some stuff, and fixed nothing. They think one of the three modules that makes up the portion of the system that is outside has gone bad. Since they are unable to fix this, they suggested I contact the manufacturer. So I contacted Aiphone. I talked to a tech support guy via their little web chat interface. He was (shockingly) unhelpful. He wanted to know if I’d verified power to the unit. Now, I assume the electricians did that. I mean, wouldn’t you assume that would be the first thing they’d try? But I don’t actually know if they did or not. When he found that out, he pushed me off onto the dealer who sold us the unit. I have no idea who that is, so I tried to contact the developer. He’s not answering his cell phone. Not that he ever does. So, I have now spent the last three hours getting absolutely nothing accomplished. Hooray! Is it too much to ask for a company to actually stand behind the goods or services that they sell?

Posted in: complaint , customer service , dc , harvardstreet , home improvement