Netscraps

A windsurfing, CSS-grudging, IE-hating, web-developing, gigantic-machine-puzzling blog

Category: awful customer service

Onepass United MileagePlus Expired Miles Are A Scam

United MileagePlus Expired Miles ScamFor years I had a Continental Onepass account. It was great. My miles never expired.

Then one day Continental merged with United, & Onepass merged into MileagePlus. United quietly changed the terms & conditions, no doubt to “benefit their customers”.

On September 30 2013, my ~150,000 coveted mileage points expired. I didn’t notice until a few weeks later & quickly saw United’s convenient offer to “reinstate” them for $300. What a silly mistake, I thought. I called the MileagePlus hotline & spent about an hour talking to various levels of customer disservice. In the end, there were three options:

  • MileagePlus Expired Miles Reinstatement FeesPay $300 to have my miles “reinstated”.
  • Find any points that should have been applied within the last 18 months, which would magically reactivate my expired miles.
  • Get the United MileagePlus Explorer credit card, pay $200.

The United phone rep claimed that I’d received warning notices about my points expiring at least three times but couldn’t provide specifics. I didn’t get the memo. It’s odd — and by “odd” I mean complete bullshit — because the whole time I received all the usual account updates & other promotional United junkmail. I even went back & searched through 3 years of Continental/United emails since the merger… nothing about my miles expiring.

Budget Car Rental to the Rescue … ?

I’ll play their little game, I thought. I remembered I’d rented a car from Budget, one of their MileagePlus points partners, within their 18-month period. I even had the receipt with the rental agreement number. So I called Budget, gave them my MileagePlus account number & waited the requisite 8 weeks for my points to show back up. Nothing.

SuperBudgetManI called United MileagePlus support & was assured I needed to go through Budget.

Budget customer service was far more helpful & verified that my MileagePlus number they had used was correct & that the problem was on United’s end.

I sent all that information to United MileagePlus support.

Another reply from United indicated they might deal with the issue if I got confirmation from Budget.

Budget sent me confirmation, which I forwarded to United MileagePlus support.

Waited another week with no reply from MileagePlus.

Called United back & they said it might be because I had rented the car through Priceline. It hadn’t been a “name your own price”, just a normal package deal. But United couldn’t tell me for sure, they had to check with supervisors & they’d let me know.

That’s where I’m at so far. One thing is for sure, I’m not paying to “reinstate” my miles.

UPDATE 1/25/14: Got the reply from United:

After reviewing your MileagePlus account, an inquiry was sent to Budget regarding the missing mileage request. Budget advise that rental did not qualify for mileage credit due to an invalid rate code. If you have any questions, please contact Budget.

So apparently booking through Priceline (not even “name your own price”) means no mileage credit. No reinstated miles.

I went with the F@#$%^&*! credit card option. That way it’s $200 to recover the expired miles, but you get 30,000 miles once you spent $1,000 within 3 months. I waited for the new card to arrive before calling back to charge the $200 expired miles fee onto their card. The 30,000 points is worth $200 & I get my ~140k expired miles back.

And one cancelled credit card on my credit report — If you also go this route, remember to cancel the card after you get the 3-month points benefit or you’ll get hit with their annual fee a year later.

Saba Marine in Colchester VT is a @#$%*! NIGHTMARE

Saba Marine in Colchester Vermont is a FUCKING NIGHTMARE.

Saba Marine in Colchester Vermont took four weeks for outboard motor service & screwed up so many ways, I lost count.

I have a 2004 15HP Honda Outboard — BF15, popular model, they are all over the place. Several years ago I decided to branch out & try Colchester area marine repair shops. This year was Saba Marine’s turn. They screwed up just about every aspect of the job.

Wednesday April 3rd
I know Saba Marine isn’t a Honda dealer, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Talking with Cameron at their service desk, I went over that I wanted the impeller replaced & the carb adjusted a bit, & asked if Saba Marine had someone who could work on my Honda outboard?

“No problem,” Cameron assured me, “it will be ready this time next week.” It dawned on me as I was driving away that Cameron had forgotten to take down my phone number, so I drove back & made sure he wrote it down. I shouldn’t have bothered.

Wednesday April 10th
One week later & no call yet from Saba Marine. I gave ’em a ring, their service department doesn’t answer, I leave a message.

Thursday April 11th
No call back. Am I surprised? Kind of. They seemed to have their shit together.

Friday April 12th
Now I’m worried I won’t have my outboard back in time for the weekend, so I call Saba Marine again.

First attempt, no answer from service. Second attempt, I’m on hold & hang up after 10 minutes of muzak.

Third call finally gets someone (Cameron) on the phone. My motor isn’t ready. The aftermarket impeller they had ordered out of their parts book was the wrong part — “a book error” — the replacement hasn’t come in yet. “Next week!” Cameron assures me.

Thursday April 16th
The week is almost over with still no word from Cameron. By now it’s been 15 days, double the expected wait. I call Saba Marine, no answer again in the service department. I leave another message.

Friday April 17th
No return call. I’m realizing Saba Marine was a big mistake.

Thursday April 23rd
Week three, still nothing. I’m sure my outboard is done & Saba Marine just hasn’t called. I call Cameron. My outboard is still not ready. The second impeller they ordered was yet again the wrong part & they had to order an OEM impeller which hasn’t arrived. Cameron will give me a call if by chance the motor is ready in time for the weekend. I know how that will work out.

Monday April 29th
No word from Cameron. I call mid-afternoon & tell Cameron I’ll be in tomorrow to pick up the motor. Cameron says a load of parts just arrived & my impeller is probably on it. He’ll try to have it ready.

Tuesday April 30th
Cameron calls (HOLY SHIT!!) at 4PM & leaves a message that my outboard is ready. It’s been 4 weeks.

Wednesday May 1st
At Saba Marine to pick up my outboard, I ask Cameron for a discount, whatever he thinks is fair, 5% … 10%… Cameron won’t look at me as he explains he feels bad & never should have accepted my Honda to work on. Fine, but whose fault is that? Hadn’t I asked that exact question before I dropped it off? That’s right, I had.

Can they do anything for me to make it right? Nope. I pay full price & leave.

The Ineptitude Doesn’t Stop There
I get home, put the outboard on the boat & the stream of water out the check port is clearly blocked — it’s a a weak trickle, at any RPM. I didn’t pay $300 & wait 4 weeks to have my outboard piss like a 105-year-old man with prostate problems. It’s debris in the tube that Saba didn’t take the time to clear out.

They also wired the cowling permanently shut with hobby wire — there’s no sign of the stainless pin that was there when I brought it in — but you get the idea.

Let’s hope bad reviews on Google and Yahoo Local help others avoid the Saba Marine small outboard motor service mistake.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop Can’t Handle Amazon Cloud Drive

More accurately, Gladinet Tech Support can’t fix a three-month-old issue that completely breaks Gladinet Cloud Backup’s reliability as a backup tool when using Amazon Cloud Drive.

The root issue is simple: your Amazon Cloud Drive login credential expire after 48 hours. After that, you or any services that access your Cloud Drive account have to log in again. Gladinet apparently didn’t realize that when they added Amazon Cloud Drive as an option.

So if you leave your computer running, your Gladinet scheduled backups will work for two days & then start failing. Not only will they fail, but there is no active notification that they are failing … a worst-case backup scenario.

Gladinet support acknowledged the problem immediately, which is the one single good thing I’ll say about them. The downward trend toward awful customer service started one month later, when I checked in & this was their response:

Sorry there is no update yet. And right now we don’t have an ETA either. We constantly exam all the open bugs. However, sometimes there are other more urgent to fix first. For now, please restart Gladinet within couple of days.

You’d think this bug would be pretty urgent, right? At least urgent enough to fix over several months. Or should I really be content knowing that apparently there are many more urgent bugs that need fixing?

Having the same problem? Follow my support forum topic here. Here’s another post about the same issue by another user from September 29, 2011.

To make matters slightly worse, the Gladinet Support forum search has been broken for several months as well. But they’ve been busy fixing more urgent website bugs, no doubt.

Samsung SE-506AB Blu-Ray Burner Comes With Ancient Software

Samsung SE-506AB Blu-ray Burner includes ancient PowerDVD 9 software

The Samsung SE-506AB Blu-ray burner includes ancient CyberLink software that's no longer supported & may not play some Blu-ray discs.

Initially I thought the Samsung SE-506AB unit I bought was defective — it would not play Blu-ray discs. I had purchased it along with a Samsung Series 7 Chronos laptop.

The Samsung Blu-ray burner comes with CyberLink PowerDVD 9. The Samsung laptop came with CyberLink MediaSuite, with a free download upgrade to PowerDVD 10. I assumed v10 was better than v9. Wrong.

PowerDVD 10 kept insisting “There is a a disc with an unsupported format in drive X:”. I finally noticed an asterisk in CyberLink’s help file with a footnote that not all versions of PowerDVD 10 support BD playback … apparently, the free upgrade offered through Samsung was the DVD-only version. CyberLink needs to make that more obvious, like perhaps mentioning it in their troubleshooting FAQ??!

However the copy of PowerDVD 9 bundled with the Blu-ray burner works fine. Basically you have to use the vastly outdated software to play Blu-ray discs. Consider that:

  • Samsung began shipping the SE-506AB Blu-ray burner in September 2011.
  • PowerDVD 10 was released in March 2010. Plenty of time for Samsung to have included it.
  • PowerDVD 9 was released way back in March 2009.

In other words, PowerDVD 9 was already 1 ½ years out of date when the Samsung SE-506AB began shipping.

It’s not just a simple issue of wanting the latest version. According to the CyberLink website, “Any Blu-ray Disc titles released after 2011 June may not be compatible with CyberLink PowerDVD 9…”

So why is Samsung shipping a brand new Blu-ray burner with vastly outdated software? Taking cost-cutting to the extreme, perhaps? That’s fine, until you start to tick off your customers.

HP Support Forum Disallows Problems

HP is turning into a problem.

Apparently HP disallows tagging any forum post to their Support Forum as a “problem”.

Right, because then they would rule their own search results for “HP problem” with useful discussion threads.

Smart move.

Major select bug in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate

What use is PSP X3 when it randomly deletes pixels?

APRIL, 2011: This bug has been fixedthe patch is part of PSP Service Pack 5.

I bought PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate a short while ago. I’m getting concerned by the number of words Corel keeps adding to my favorite graphics editor product title, but they haven’t failed me in the 15 years I’ve been a faithful PaintShop Pro user.

Last week I sat down & started rather happily editing a raster layer. I may have even been whistling “Paris / Ooh La La” by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. I made a selection using the rectangle select tool, no feathering or anti-aliasing or anything special. Dragged it over a bit, then deselected. The bottom ~3 rows of pixels promptly disappeared.

I couldn’t believe it. I quickly scanned the select tool options for the “randomly cut off bottom pixels” feature Corel had no doubt added to PSP X3 Ultimate. No suck luck.

Unfortunately this makes Paint Shop Pro X3 Ultimate …. well, for lack of a better term, TOTALLY FUCKING USELESS!!

I headed over to the Corel forums where I was disheartened to find several other posts about this bug. Someone even took the time in that 2nd link to make a video. The 3rd link has 4 pages of deselect bug complaints, dating back to April 2010 (!!)

Apparently Corel hasn’t fixed this deselect bug with the 4 service packs released so far for Paint Shop Pro X3.

I contacted their support team through email. The advice came back to “reset my workspace”. That makes sense right? Because there’s that awesomely useful workspace option that cuts off pixels on deselection? You guessed it, resetting workspace didn’t change a thing, except now I’m even more annoyed that I have to set up my workspace again! But then again, hey, why bother until after they fix the whole pixel deleting thing?

I fired off a reply with the forum links to Corel Support this morning. Can’t wait to see how they respond. Honestly, I expect more from a Canadian company.

Clearly I should have bought the less-ultimate version.

UPDATE FROM JANUARY 21st, 2011: After not receiving any further response, I called Corel this morning. Their phone system said to expect hold time of under 20 minutes. I was on hold for 46 minutes. They loop one song. When I was finally got through, the support tech immediately acknowledged the issue & although they couldn’t give me even a ballpark idea when a patch might be ready, they did say it was a very high priority for their dev team. Also said they’d contact me when the fix is released. Very nice of them.

Two hours later, an email popped up from a Corel Senior Project Manager — he sent me a beta patch to try. It solved the bug perfectly. Now we’re getting somewhere. It still amazes me how PSP Photo X3 was able to ship with such a basic flaw, but I guess it happens.

UPDATE FROM FEBRUARY 1st, 2011: Just received this from the Corel rep.

I’m working with the support team right now to release an Interim Patch with just this hot fix in it. It should be available by the end of the week and I’ll let everyone know about the KB article at that time. Again, we will roll it into the full Patch later but this will get it out for more people.

I’ll make sure to post the link to the public interim patch when it becomes available. Nice to see Corel is being proactive about this. Better late than never!

UPDATE FROM APRIL 1st, 2011: FIXED!! No April Fools joke. Corel has posted the fix under PSP X3 Knowledge Base article 000005465 – “In some cases, pixels along the bottom edge of a selection are dropped”. For the record, this patch is not part of PSP’s auto-update process – it has to be installed manually. Corel has released Service Pack 5 which is part of the auto-update process, & includes this patch. Spread the word…

Continuous beeping from my Trojan UV Max C4

Continuous Beeping from a Trojan UV Max C4

Continuous beeping from my Trojan UV Max C4Our Trojan UVMax C4 water purifier started beeping continuously. The install date was April 2009, so it’s been a year — according to the manual, time to replace the UV bulb!

I dutifully ordered a new UV lamp ($90) & installed it. Wiping my hands in smug homeowner anticipation of what was sure to be the return of super clean water for my family, I plugged the C4 power supply back in… green lights all around… but the beeping didn’t stop.

I unplugged the unit, waited a bit, plugged it back in… more beeping. Pulled out the manual. The only mention of the beeping alarm is in the troubleshooting section, which refers you back to the Control Panel section, which has all kinds of useful information about the status lights but absolutely nothing about a beeping alarm.

The manual says there’s supposed to be a model-specific reference card stuck behind the power supply. Sure enough I could see the tab sticking up — I felt a wave of relief, as surely the reference card would have an answer to The Meaning Of The Incessant Beep.

Nope. No mention of an audible alarm whatsoever.

By now I could feel a beeping-induced headache. Putting my hope in the Internet for a solution, I ran upstairs to the computer. Sure enough, the top result had the answer (thanks, Google) — but it wasn’t from the Trojan UVMax website — a random reseller had taken the time to post the answer … Apparently TrojanUV produced defective C4 power supply units between January 2009 – January 2010. Yep, a whole year of defective units. But although they’re now four months into people discovering the problem, there’s nothing about it on their website. No notice, no press release, nothing (or am I just not seeing it?)

The solution is to contact Trojan for a replacement power supply. In the meantime, I’m stuck with choosing between unsafe drinking water or constant beeping.

So in review:

  1. There is nothing the Trojan UV Max manual about what the beeping alarm means,
  2. There is no way to silence the beeping alarm,
  3. The Trojan UV website lacks any information about this year-long manufacturing defect.

Just to make life a little harder, the email link on the Trojan UV Max support website (Viqua) goes nowhere.

I called their customer service line & the rep I spoke with knew about the C4 problem right away. Apparently they had mistakenly installed firmware for the “Plus” version — which have a reset button to silence the alarm — into the “regular” C4 units, which don’t.

I asked the rep if the replacement C4 power supply was shipping via overnight express. He mumbled something to the effect that I should have it “within a day or two”. However it’s been 3 days & I still don’t have the replacement Trojan UV Max C4 power supply, so it’s becoming clear that Trojan doesn’t care enough to ship these via overnight or 2-day mail.

By now I’ve lost count how many ways Trojan UV customer service has completely failed their customers.

UPDATE (1/21/11): Still no note about this defect on their website. Even a simple note on their Support page, like “C4 Beeping? Click here to contact tech support” would be far more helpful to their customers than nothing at all. However in the 8 months since I originally posted this, Viqua has fixed their website contact links so they actually work, so that’s one step in the right direction! Seems that people have had better success by calling Viqua though.

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