While we love technology, sometimes its purveyors make our blood boil. We're talking about annoying policies and practices, whether a new PC stuffed with junkware or how we have to switch providers just so we can get a better mobile phone.
Automated email responses
Major offenders: Too many to list
The scan function on your multifunction printer won't work. You fire off an email to the manufacturer's tech-support department, and a few minutes later a reply lands in your inbox. Wow, fast service! Suspiciously fast, in fact: turns out it's just an automated response acknowledging receipt of your message. Or a boilerplate list of common questions and answers, none of which apply. Talk about tossing a boat anchor to the man who has just fallen overboard.
Bob Cameron, a systems administrator, needed Yahoo's help with an email problem: the service was blocking messages sent from his church to members with Yahoo accounts. So he visited Yahoo's support site, spent considerable time collecting the information that Yahoo requires for reporting an issue, and submitted his help request.
In return, he received a canned response "asking me for the same information that I had already spent all that time collecting and editing". When he tried again, another response promised a personal answer within 48 hours (it never came) and directed him to the very site where he'd submitted the support request in the first place.
Seems like tech companies are doing more canning than Heinz. We contacted Yahoo and received no response. We also got the silent treatment from HP, another company that dispatches canned replies to requests for help.
The fix: Believe it or not, we're willing to cut companies a little slack on this one, as support departments receive huge volumes of help requests, and a canned response at least assures you that your mail arrived.
But when companies promise a personal follow-up, they'd better deliver. If the company doesn't answer your queries, you can always call tech support, or try a live online-chat session, if that's an option. In fact, both alternatives should yield much faster and more efficient results than email.
NEXT PAGE: Preferential support for business customers