Friday, January 27, 2012

Armstrong Forest

(Large Trees, leaning to be looked at)

Today we go to the redwoods, Armstrong forest.  It is up to the Russian River valley, an enchanted land, always north of here.  

After our wedding Rachel and I went there for a few days. Not so much a honeymoon as just a few days to decompress before coming home and being married in NYC.  We were both new at it, like a foal and a colt trying to learn to walk.  They were awkward times and her and I are sometimes awkward people.  We have somehow managed to get up and running together.

Jesus Christ, what the fuck am I writing...  I just woke up and I can already hear Bob Seger songs playing in the background of this post.  

Let me get a strong tea and I'll try again.

Ok, gimme a second and let the tea take its grip on me. It should free my mind of all that Captain Kangaroo nonsense.

We are going to the redwoods today but I assure you that it's only with the intention of developing the land for condos.


Today we go to worship trees, big thick red ones.


Ok, enough about trees.

I finally got a replacement for my little camera, the one that was lost in transit.  They lied to me about what I was getting and when the box arrived it was not quite what they had said it would be. I wrote a lengthy letter of disappointment to the CEO and the Customer Service Manager of the company, detailing my frustrations.  I don't normally ever do stuff like that but with my parents in town and a baby here I find that I am in this strange time warp where I can only accomplish one thing a day and yesterday I happened to choose that.  Everybody had taken a nap so I went a little crazy with it, the letter writing.  

Since I don't have anything else to write about today I will include the letter here. In the event that any of you are interested in seeing non-political rhetoric at its intermediate level.  Also, if the recipients of the letter do a search for me I hope they come to understand that I have a voice and I intend to use it, either to be unjust or to call out injustice.  Of late that voice has been maligned as merely a debilitating sickness, a poweful imagination but precious little conscience to speak of.

You and I, dear readers, know otherwise....

Here is that conscience attempting to affect the conscience of others:

Mr. Sullivan,
I write this rather lengthy letter not because Precision Camera failed in any one specific way, but rather failed in a series of interactions, and seemingly as a matter of practice.  I sent my camera in to get repaired in early October.  I received an email on Oct. 11th that the camera had been received. When I checked the repair status shortly after that it reflected an “In Repair” status, where it remained for over a month. I believe it was in mid November when I made the first phone call to check on the repair as it had been stalled in that status for some time.  I was told that they had to order a part from Panasonic and that they were waiting for the part to arrive.  I understood and left it at that. I did, however, register online to get email updates concerning the progress of the repair. No emails ever arrived.
After a few more weeks, totaling two months by then, I checked online again. The status had changed to “Completed” and it had been shipped.  I was overjoyed because my wife and I were expecting our first baby, a boy who was born on January 7th.  But after a week and the camera still had not arrived I called Precision back to get a tracking number.  This is when I realized that they had shipped it to the billing address and not to the shipping address, and also that the camera had not been repaired, that the parts were not available.  I made several phone calls seeing if anybody at the billing address had received a package for me and to keep on the lookout for one. The UPS status reflected that it had been left on the front door of the building.  This being Manhattan I probably don’t need to explain that the camera was lost to us forever.  
I called Precision to let them know that it would seem that the camera was lost in transit.  I was assured by Denise at ext. 7212 that Precision would take care of this and not to worry.  I let her and every subsequent person that I talked to know that I was willing to pay the minor difference in cost to get a newer model camera replacement, or that I would contact B & H Camera to get the sales invoice for a refund, though I preferred a replacement. All of that was added to the notes and I was relieved for things to be progressing. I was told that they had to go through the process of trying to have UPS recover the item and to make sure that it did not make its way back on to a UPS truck, etc.  I awaited their response.  After 10 days and no word back I called again.  I spoke to Denise again and she told me that it was still being researched but that Precision would get back in touch with me.  They never did.  I called back once more and expressed my frustration.  I was told that UPS is saying that they delivered the camera. I explained that whether or not that’s the case that shouldn’t affect me as it was Precision’s error in shipping to the wrong address. I was becoming increasingly frustrated at what was turning into a prolonged absence of my camera considering the upcoming baby we were expecting.  Luckily, I had my Nikon D7000 and my 35mm cameras to fall back on, but a point-and-shoot seemed much more appropriate for the subject, less overbearing.
Finally in late December, Miles ext. 7214 was the first person from Precision to actually call me, and was also the first to seemingly recognize that I shouldn’t be waiting any longer, that the UPS loss was not the real issue. My arrangement was with Precision, not the shipper.  He looked into the matter and got back to me.  After a few days he came back with the offer that Precision would buy me a refurbished camera of the same model. He left a voice mail assuring me that it was “just like new” and was “from Panasonic” and would “come with all of the accessories and original box” as well as a 90 day guarantee.  I was a little bit disappointed but I reasoned that even though I purchased my camera new it was in need of a repair when I sent it in.  I asked if it was “like new” then why didn’t Panasonic stand behind it with a 1 year warranty. He explained that the warranty was from Precision and not from Panasonic.  I said that if it was “like new” then it should have the stamp of the manufacturer’s warranty on it, anything less was definitely not “like new.” After a brief negotiation Miles upped the coverage to 120 days.  He told me that he would provide that guarantee in writing and that it would arrive in the box with the camera. Once I had confirmed with him that it would get sent to Precision first I also requested that they quickly verify that the unit worked before sending  it to me because the deal left me unable to return it if it failed right out of the box, I would have no recourse other than another unwanted repair.  
I wasn’t thrilled about getting a rebuilt camera as a replacement but I was also eager to get the camera, our baby had already been born by this time.  Considering all that Miles assured me I felt that the settlement was agreeable and fair.  He told me that it would arrive within two weeks.  On the 14th day it did arrive.  At first I had thought that it hadn’t arrived because I went to check our Post Office box and they didn’t have anything for me. I called Miles, he checked the tracking number, verified it had been delivered. I went back to the box and that’s when my serious questions concerning this settlement began in earnest.  
The box was not addressed to me, it was addressed to Best Buy, though it did have the correct shipping address.  When I opened the box there was a 3rd party battery charger and no battery in the box.  There was no letter of guarantee. At this point I felt that there was no way that Miles could have told me the truth.  Why would Panasonic buy a battery charger from another company to provide with units they had refurbished?  Why was there no battery in the box? Why was the box addressed to Best Buy?  Why should I have to buy a battery at $40 when it was part of what I was promised and part of what made me concede? 
I hope by now you can understand my frustration.
I work for a very prominent computer company and I understand the requirements of customer service. I understand when a company makes a mistake what must be done sometimes to render the situation right. And I understand the need to do so quickly and with as little effort on the customer’s part as possible.  None of that happened in this case.  I was hardly ever contacted, I had to make the follow-up phone calls myself, when a person who could resolve the issue finally did assist me they did so in the cheapest, easiest and least timely way possible for Precision, all the while misrepresenting what they were actually offering and providing.
I chose Precision camera to repair my camera because I had read the reviews by photographers online and I felt that you offered a high level of customer service.  I am disappointed in the series of interactions that I’ve had with your company and I am disappointed that the final resolution is one that has left me feeling that I have been punished for being both trustful and agreeable.  I don’t blame any one person. Miles was actually very cordial and pleasant to deal with even as my frustrations were mounting, as was Denise.  What am I most displeased with is that I got something less than what I was told I would be getting and had to wait almost 4 months for that. Now I am left with the additional feelings of mistrust.
I don’t know what should be done at this point to resolve this matter.  
I am hoping that you do.
Sean Cusick
CC: Ms. Sheila Banes, Customer Service Manager