microsoft customer service madness

In January, I ordered an Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit from Amazon. It’s a NiMH battery pack with a USB cable to connect the controller (also a charger) to the Xbox. It arrived a few days later. While the cable would power the controller, its “charging” light wouldn’t come on and it didn’t seem to be charging the controller. The kit came with a piece of paper that said, “In case of problems, do not return! Contact Microsoft!”

It didn’t say how to do that, but I found a way to do it online (it wasn’t very easy, either) and after a few emails, they told me to phone them. On the phone, they gave me a mailing address. “Send the kit here and we will send you a replacement.” That sounded fair, so I did so.

Today, I got a package in the mail from Microsoft. I opened it, and it contained an Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit. This is a slightly different product. It’s more expensive, but does not allow you to play while you charge. Without two battery packs, it’s not very useful, and it only comes with one.

I called Microsoft to explain their error, and after a lot of explaining, the representative asked me for my tracking number for the item I sent to their returns facility. I said, “I never got one.” He hissed and said he’d try to help, but that without a tracking number, they couldn’t prove that the facility had ever received my original item.

“Well,” I said, “you sent me a replacement, so surely you did it after receiving something. Also, the replacement is in a box labeled with my RMA number.”

This didn’t mean much to him. He said I should go to the local USPS office and ask for my tracking number. I assured him that this was not possible. USPS does not have a tracking number for every parcel, unless one is requested. He confirmed this with his supervisor. Instead, he said, I could just give them my “drop off confirmation number,” which would be on my receipt.

“I sent this over a week ago. I do not have the receipt anymore.” He said I should go to the USPS and ask them for my receipt. I tried to explain that the post office would have no means to find a record of my business with them. The guy kept repeating that I could just go ask USPS for my receipt and they’d have it… somehow. I’m pretty sure he thought I was insane for suggesting otherwise.

Eventually I said, “You know, I have the tracking number of the package in which my replacement came.” This excited him, and he took the number and put me on hold. When he came back he said, “Great! Now we know you received a package from us! All I need now is the tracking number for the package you sent us.” He seemed to think that I had the number, but was reluctant to give it.

“Look,” I said, “I have a box, from you, with a tracking number showing you sent it and I received it. It has my RMA number on it, which refers to what I sent in. The box’s shipping label has the name of the incorrect part. How on Earth is this not enough information?”

He said, “I’m going to go the extra mile here and really be on your side. I’m going to bypass our procedures and file this request anyway. It will probably be rejected, but I promise you I’ll call you back. When I promise I’ll do something, I’ll do it!” I’m pretty sure I’m never gonna hear from this guy again. I’ll call them on Tuesday and they’ll deny having any knowledge of my case or possibly of what an Xbox is.

On the bright side, at least I ended up with something more expensive than what I sent them. If they had sent me a small plastic widget-cover, I’d be pretty angry. As it is, I just think they’re hopelessly disorganized.

Written on February 4, 2010
stupid   xbox