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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rocks vs. Sucks: a Tale of Two Helpdesks

Bottom line up top: Amazon rocks, State Farm sucks.

As I wrote earlier, my Kindle screen went Tango Uniform early this month, a couple weeks after the warranty expired. Amazon was really helpful — after going through some troubleshooting measures that didn’t work, they agreed to replace it under warranty anyway. Very cool. They overnighted me a replacement — with a bum charging circuit. Back on the phone, Michael said I already tried all the stuff they would have walked me through anyway, and said they’d send a replacement for the replacement. But with the snow, the “overnight” delivery didn’t happen until Friday. Not Amazon’s fault, obviously, or even UPS’s. But I have the new Kindle, it works wonderfully, and I’m working on trying to keep up with the growth of my reading pile.

On to some less wonderful support. I took my car in to get the bumper fixed on Friday, then called State Farm (the other guy’s insurance) to let them know the car was in the shop and I needed a rental. Now earlier chats with the claims people led me to believe that was all I needed to do. Now I learned why State Farm can be anagrammed into Fart Steam, because that’s what I got: Kristen tells me “their policy” is that they don’t do a rental until the parts are in stock and the work is ready to be done. “That’s why we don’t recommend taking your car in on Friday, unless we can confirm your garage is working through the weekend.” Well, DUH… what with the snow, that was something else I was planning to do Monday that didn’t happen until Friday. And it would have been nice to hear about this “policy” before I took the car in. I barely managed not to take it out on Kristen; after all, she’s stuck having to deal with the idiot State Farm policies with no control over any of it.

And that’s the lesson for today: give your helpdesk people a way to chuck “The Book” in the trashcan and use their heads. Amazon obviously does that; their support staff can stretch a warranty and thus I have no regrets about having a Kindle or buying my mom one. State Farm just sucks… their rigid stances on stupid things is one reason we switched our car insurance to Progressive a few years ago after 20 years with State Farm.


  1. Hiya FAR,

    The first thing that came to mind is what do you expect. You've got to have car insurance, but you don't have to have a kindle.

    However, after thinking about it, I thought that the kindle people were really good to you. But the insurance people - meh.


  2. Hey FM. The thing is, Amazon has a huge majority of the eReader market, while State Farm is one of many car insurance choices. I guess one of these companies wants to maintain that market share....

  3. I think the root of the problem here is that State Farm was the other guy's insurance policy. You can't exactly threaten to pull up stakes and leave their circus, because you never even signed up with them. If you were a State Farm customer, it may have been a different story entirely, with customer service bending over backwards to help you, so you wouldn't jump ship when it's time for renewal.

  4. That's a good point, Antony. Doesn't make it right, but it's a good point. ;-)


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