erik lundegaard

All Customer-Service Roads Lead to India

Just got off the phone with India. Okay, with's customer service department. Should I put “service” in quotes?

We all know the game. Tried downloading a song off, something millions have done without a problem, but when choosing the application with which to open the .mp3 file, I picked, apparently, incorrectly. At least a pop-up window told me I'd picked it incorrectly. But instead of sticking around to help, the window disappeared. Meanwhile a big thank-you from amazon on my purchase. And the purchase? Nowhere. Just another day in the disconnected neighborhood.

Amazon's “Help” section not only didn't help me locate the file anywhere on my computer, but somehow,while clicking this and that not too carefully, I inadvertently bought another song. One I'd never heard of.

So. Searched for and called their customer service number. Explained the situation in a very hoarse, bronchitis-ridden voice and was informed that they weren't trained for MP3 problems, but they gave me a number to call. That person, too, wasn't trained on MP3 issues but she transferred me to someone who was. Apparently the transfer went all the way to India (more likely: stayed in India) because the dude on the other end had a thick Indian accent. If he's in the U.S. I feel sorry for him because no one will think he's in the U.S.

After I explained the situation (sans the second, inadvertent purchase: too complicated), he said he was sending me an e-mail with instructions and I was to go to the amazon page and refresh it, but his instructions merely led to more questions, which I tried to ask, but which he batted down, initially, with a demand that I not interrupt him. Since his final instructions didn't answer my questions, I asked them. Do I refresh the amazon homepage or the “thanks for purchasing...” page? Do I click on this link in the e-mail? Is refreshing the homepage supposed to do something? Because it did nothing for me.

He: “Sir, this is the last time I'm going to tell you this...”

Really? The last time?

This is how you lose customers. You create a needlessly complex model that contains bugs on common paths and a customer-service department half a world away.

Finally bought the song on iTunes.

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Posted at 08:04 PM on Mon. Dec 29, 2008 in category Business  


Mister B wrote:

I don't buy any songs on/off the Amazon site. Not so much because of your problems, but because I haven't had any trouble at all with iTunes.

If it ain't broke, your call doesn't end up in India.
Comment posted on Tue. Dec 30, 2008 at 09:06 AM

Tim wrote:

It's not all that similar a situation, I guess, but this reminded me of Max Barry's post on DVD anti-piracy:
Comment posted on Thu. Jan 01, 2009 at 06:44 PM
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