Showing posts with label Customer Service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customer Service. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ben Nevis

A long, long time ago Terry met a guy who introduced him to the Scotch of Ben Nevis distillery.  This stuff is rarely found outside Scotland. The first bottle was purchased in Edinburgh, if I remember correctly. The second bottle when we made the pilgrimage to the distillery itself.

The distilery won't ship outside the UK, and we can't receive liquids anyway.

In preparation for our trip to England we decided to try to order some Scotch and have it shipped to our hotel. But ... the web site doesn't have a place to enter a different ship to address than the bill to address.  When I tried calling I got a repeated busy signal.

And then I sent an email.  Through email, the manager? owner? really awesome guy who works there agreed to send it to the hotel where we will be staying and when we get there we can call him with our credit card information so he can be paid.  In the end I was able to work out with him a Paypal invoice that we could pay in advance, but in the meantime he had gone ahead and sent the Scotch so it would be sure to arrive while we were still in country.

And now the bottles sit proudly on our apartment waiting for the jet lag to subside so Terry can properly enjoy them.

Love good customer service.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sometimes State totally rocks

There's always so much to complain about, right? Well that isn't today's episode around here. I'm talking about the Emergency Backup Care system. It's an employee benefit that recognizes that most of us have 2 working parents and sometimes %#@#%&; happens.

The gist is this: when normal child or elder care falls through, State finds care (if you need it to, otherwise you find the care) and pays for it, with a nominal copay. You can use the service up to 5 times a year per kid.

Our situation: Alex's school closes its doors to Kindergarteners two days in May to show upcoming Kindergarteners what to expect. As it isn't a normal school closing, her afterschool care isn't open all day as it is on school vacations and such. We expected Terry to just take the day off and it turned out it was a day he couldn't take off. What to do? Call Info Quest of course!

Our regular morning babysitter is available that day to watch Alex. We'll pay her normal hourly rate for the day. We'll fill out a reimbursement form and send it back, and up to $90 will be covered; they cover up to $100 of care minus a $10 co-pay. $90 doesn't get a full day's care in DC but it defrays a large chunk and I am thrilled that this service exists.

If we didn't have a regular babysitter, we could leave the job of finding care to the fine professionals at Info Quest and they would find either a daycare/childcare facility or a private nanny. We can call the night before and get childcare arranged for the next morning - think "Snow Days", put into quotation marks because half the time there was barely any snow. These people have really thought of everything.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Oh, IBM/Computershare :-(

Somewhere in my youth, or childhood ....  my parents bought me one bright shiny share of IBM stock. It came as a nifty actual piece of paper that they put into a frame and propped up on a shelf in my bedroom.  As I was a child or even a baby (who knows when they bought this share? Maybe it celebrated my birth) I was listed as a minor and my dad as the custodian on the account.

For all these years, I have continued to own this stock. It's split, I've been doing dividend reinvestment all this time so eventually I have bought a share or two, and the value has increased of course. All this means I now have 3-and-a-fraction "book" shares in addition to the one bright shiny paper share. Somewhere along the line, a company called Computershare started managing the stock.

For various reasons, now is the time for me to deal with this stock. And wow what an ordeal it is!!

The first step in doing anything at all is to transfer the shares into my name alone. I asked if it would be simpler if my dad just sold the shares, but because I am now in fact no longer a minor it doesn't matter that he is written as the custodian. So for the purposes of getting rid of these shares it doesn't matter that his name is on it, but to get his name off it will cost be a bunch of money and time. Sounds about right?!?

First I learned I would need to fill out a form and acquire a "medallion guarantee" certifying that my signature is the actual signature of me, the person who will become the account holder. A notary stamp is NOT sufficient, which is written in all caps and bold and made very very clear. Unfortunately, these things are available only through financial institutions. Of course, I use credit unions and primarily online institutions. No local brick and mortar. And because banks are agreeing to pay up if I'm not really me, of course they only provide these things to their own customers. In comes the Fedex charge to send the form to my financial institution (but hey, at least they do it! Not every place does.)

Then, and much more frustratingly, I discovered I need that paper stock certificate that was last seen in the childhood home my mother sold ten years ago. There is absolutely, 100% no way to do anything with this stock until I hold in my hand the paper share. I can pay about 10% of the value of the stock I have to acquire a new one from IBM (to then turn around and send it back to them with the magical "medallion guarantee" and another form or two). I asked the oh-so-helpful customer service lady whether, if I bought stock today, I would receive paper shares. She said no. She agreed that if I bought and then sold a share in the last however many years, this requirement of a paper share would of course not be necessary. I asked why I am being penalized just because we bought the share several decades ago. She wasn't amused.

Yes, the value of the stock is greater than what I will be shelling out in order to be able to have the option of selling it. However, it has cost me plenty of time and annoyance (and soon also cash) to deal with this. Trust me, not I nor anyone whose investment choices I have any control over will ever buy IBM stock, or any stock through Computershare as I cannot tell what requirements are coming directly from IBM and which are made up by Computershare.

* Note: I've edited the name of the not-IBM company. It's Computershare, not Compushare.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Kiwi Crate

I'd heard rave reviews of Kiwi Crate for a good year or so. For Hanukkah, my mom got the kids a subscription. I can't say enough good things about it.

I love that they include every single thing you need for the projects - even down to tape. Alex was able to follow the step by step instructions (with pictures) without any help, although I was a pretty active and excited observer. I love all the little extras - a few additional projects you can put together, the pair of scissors they include in the first crate of the subscription because a lot of the projects need cutting, the extra glow sticks that are only actually needed if you do the additional projects, the booklet with stories and activities all on the theme of the projects.
The kit comes with 2 projects plus the add-ons mentioned above. We managed to do one project between opening gifts and showers/bedtime, which means it took fewer than 10 minutes. Alex slept with her new glowworm stuffed animal for several nights and Zoltan spent days petting and hugging his.

Because my mom is eager, she ordered the subscription well in advance and we've already received all 3 crates. The third crate (I skipped the 2nd for now) was winter themed. The "extra" was a snowflake cookie cutter and recipes for sugar cookies and salt dough to make ornaments.  One of the main projects was malfunctioning and this is where I get to extol the quality of their customer service.

I don't like that there are no phone numbers anywhere on their web site; you have to email your problem and wait for a reply. But, to their credit, the reply came only a few hours later. They immediately sent a replacement for what didn't work AND told me where to find a similar product in a craft store if I didn't want to wait for delivery.

When relaying everything to Terry, I marveled at the good customer service we've been receiving lately. After thinking about it a moment, I observed "Maybe we're just used to bad service after 4 years of Russia and then Comcast."

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fat Brain Toys

We have been happy consumers of Fat Brain Toys for several years now. I like how most of their stuff isn't plastic crap. They tell us where most of the toys are made and even break it down age and gender-wise who's buying the products.  I even spent a November Gratitude extolling their virtues.

And then they got even better.

Last we knew, an item was missing from our Christmukkah order and they shipped it out right on time. Of course, it was a replacement for something that never came so they didn't charge us for it. It arrived the morning of the first night of Hanukkah. However, the night before that I had discovered the original item that had, in fact, been included in the original order.

I called to find out what to do and was told to follow the process for "returns" outlined on their web site. So, I did. Then they refunded us the cost of the item because, I assume, it was considered a regular return. I called to explain what happened and to tell them to put the charge back on.

The lady sent me a $5 credit as a thank you for the call. And by the way, all this fuss was for an item that cost $7.95.