Thursday, July 10, 2008

Panasonic...In Action?

About two hours after yesterday's post, I received a (belated) callback from Charles at Panasonic Customer Care, who indicated he had seen this blog (!) and had an idea of my frustrations. He gave me a new telephone number to call--this one an "executive" number to Panasonic's corporate office, which is in New Jersey, I believe.

"Who should I ask for at this number?"
"Anybody who answers the phone will be able to help you."

He was kind of right. It took me three tries to get someone on the line, because of Panasonic's confusing phone menu that doesn't tell a caller what to do if you don't know the name or extension of whom you're calling. I got a friendly switchboard operator who was confused when I told her why I was calling, but she eventually got me somebody else, who was equally confused. That person, also polite, told me I would get a callback later in the day from a supervisor in the "DVD Recorder Department."

And I did. I received a very nice, comforting call from Karen, who told me, "Looking at these case notes, I can't believe what has been happening" (nor can I). She asked ("if you don't mind") if I would pack up my DVD recorder again, but this time send it to the corporate office, where engineers could look at it. I asked what would happen there that hasn't already happened at the Repair Center, and she replied that these would be engineers looking at the unit, and they will find out what is wrong with it. Which makes me wonder: who do they have repairing units at the Repair Center, and why don't they have engineers there?

I also told her my belief that the DVD drive is defective in it (without getting any "we don't use defective parts," like I did from David at Customer Care), and also that it's possible the spindle is dirty (thanks to the forum poster who pointed that out), but I couldn't clean it myself without voiding the warranty (which she agreed, yes, that would). I told her what brands of DVD-R I've been using, and since the unit has malfunctioned with at least three different brands, the discs can't be the culprit.

Karen (whose last name I'm leaving out, but I appreciate that she's the first Panasonic employee to provide one) offered to e-mail a shipping label, so I can send my unit to her. She also provided me with her e-mail address and telephone extension, and invited me to contact her if I needed to. We also made sure Panasonic had my correct contact info, since I've changed phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses in recent weeks. Oh, and she also promised to send me some Panasonic DVD-Rs, which I didn't ask for, but I appreciate the gesture.

Reason to be optimistic? I think so, though I've been optimistic before and been let down. It's my nature to be hopeful in these situations and assume that professionals will act professionally. I know that doesn't always happen (I never told you about my clashes with HSBC earlier this year that let to me paying off my credit card and never using it again), but I feel I can take Karen at her word.

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