customer disservice

Cranky Consumer Report

When I run into a really good piece of software, I post about it here. For example: Scrivener is really working well for me, and so is Curio (if you’re really interested you can look for my original posts on these two). When I’m writing (which I will be doing as soon as I finish this post) I have only these two applications open, and they work very well together. I recommend them highly. If you are visually oriented (as I am) you will really like Curio.

Cliphanger Black Small
In the same spirit of sharing information, I have a complaint. Have you heard of the Cliphanger? It’s a system for keeping cell phones, pdas, ipods, etc easily within reach. You put the removable hanger on the back of the phone, put the hook on the wall or the dashboard, and voila.

Simple ideas are often the best. I’ve been struggling for years to find a good way to stow the phone while I’m driving — so I can see the caller ID, and hit the speakerphone if I need to. So I ordered the Cliphanger — which is not cheap, we’re talking here about mass produced plastic parts and small bits of adhesive, after all — with some extra hooks.

At first all went well. Hanger attached to cell phone, no problem. Clips onto purse strap, no problem. Hook attached to study wall. I let it sit 24 hours, as recommended, no problem. So I was very cheery when I went to put the hook on the dashboard of my car. In fact I was going to put on two hooks, one for the phone, one for the ipod. I had hopes of never again hearing that sickening crunch of stepping on a very expensive piece of plastic and metal.

I get the first hook ready, I prepare the surface, I study the dashboard for the perfect spot. I apply the hook.

The hook falls off. I pick it up. Maybe I did it wrong? But no, the hooks on the office wall went on without a problem, exactly the same way. I try again.

The hook falls off and rolls underneath the seat to a place unreachable by grasping human fingers. So maybe it was a one-time defective hook. I get the other one ready, very carefully. I place it on the dashboard firmly, hold it there for thirty seconds.

It falls off immediately, bounces on the open door and flies off into the grass beside the driveway.

So I did what any reasonable consumer does: I went back to the website, found the email address for assistance, and I wrote. Two days later I wrote again. Nothing.

Today I decided to file a claim. I filled out the online form, explained (again) the situation, and hit the send button. Now this is what I got:

We have received your submission. Please reference the above RMA # and return all available broken Cliphanger pieces to the address below. For most returns, a small padded envelope and a first class stamp via the USPS are sufficient. Replacement parts will be sent when we have received your return.

Cliphanger, LLC
695 North Kays Drive Suite #9
Kaysville, UT 84037

Email any questions or comments to: Remember to include the RMA # above in all correspondence for best service.

A suspicious person could postulate that this company has programmed those little buggers to go skittering off to remote spots, so there’s nothing to return and you’re just out $5.99 for a pack of three. Worse, you’ve got a hanger on the phone but nothing to hang it on. Worserer: nobody from customer service gets back to you.

Time, money, effort: wasted.

So fie upon Cliphangers. Fie.

why has nobody created this?

I’m putting this down here out of frustration, and in the hope that some suitably knowledgable person will be inspired.

This is what I want: When I use Google like an address book (you can do that, did you know? Put in a name, city, state and see what comes up), I want to be able to automatically have that information added to my address book. Because really, it’s embarrassing, the number of times I have had to look up my dentist’s phone number. This could be a Firefix utility or an address book plug in or something Googlish. Just think of the possibilities.

There was a small utility called GoogleFill, but alas, it’s broken. So if you’re a Mac person with Skills, doesn’t this sound like an interesting project? Hmmmm?

Now I am officially pissed

Edited to add the link to offending webpage.

I’ve been trying to put together a complete list of all my books, with editions and ISBNs, etc, to put up on the website. Which means consulting Amazon. Which I was doing, comparing ISBNs to their listings, seeing what covers they have up and what they don’t. When something caught my eye.

On the page for the unabridged audiobook of Queen of Swords, there’s a one line “editorial review” without attribution. And what does it say?

Set in 1814, Hannah Boner gives birth to her half-brother’s child.

I’m not given to cursing, but I made a colorful, very loud exception. If you’re going to put down salacious falsehoods about the novel and about Hannah, you should at least have the good sense to spell her name correctly. Because it’s one thing to be an idiot, and another to being a clueless, sloppy idiot.

What makes me even angrier is that there’s no easy or straightforward way to contact Amazon and ask some questions. Such as: the hell? And: where did this come from? And: who is responsible, so I can tear off that individual’s tiny little head.

Accusing Hannah of incest. It makes my skin crawl. The casual browser would look at this and get what impression? Don’t tell me. I know.

Tomorrow maybe I’ll be able to handle this with some equanimity. I’ll get it fixed, but it’s likely to take a while. Grrrrr.