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patience wins.
This thread has 3 replies. Displaying all posts.
Post 1 made on Tuesday September 14, 1999 at 16:20
David B
Historic Forum Post has been frequently auctioning IBM home director x-10 starter kits. I got my first one for $13, and thought getting a few more might make for nice Christmas gifts. I got 2 for $11 each last week. This week I wanted 2 more, so I entered their auction when the minimum bid was $9 and the Bid Increment was $4. Checking this auction in it's final hour, I discovered they had lowered the Bid Increment to $1, and the MINUMUM BID to $7. Having previously bid I could NOT lower my bid or enter a new bid for the lower price. Several late comers were thus allowed to bid and win these units for a lower price than I had bid. This is unfair. I decided to complain to egghead, and cancel my order unless they would lower my cost to $7 each.

Emailed customer complaint. Automated response simply said "thank you for your input".

Emailed a different customer service address. Automated response said "Thank you for your inquiry. A customer service representative will get to you within 24 hours."

Two days have gone by so I decide to "talk" to someone there. Scouring egghead's site the ONLY phone number I find is one for new business accounts (1-800-753-3855). I dial it. It's automated options DON'T include talking to a customer service rep. I dial "0" instead. Now I get a set of options including leaving a voice mail for a customer service rep. I dial "0" again. I get an operator at She says "How can I direct your call". A person, at LAST! Someone I can speak to about a Customer service complaint please?. She gets me Nina. Nina listens, agrees it was unfair. Confirms that the auction did what I said it did. "I'm sorry, but those are the auction rules. All sales are final. I can't change or cancel your order." I asked who could.... she connected me to Nesty. Nesty listened carefully and also agreed it was an unfair auction and understood why I was upset. He couldn't do anything, "all sales are final". He did say he would mention this to his supervisor. Could I talk to his supervisor? Sure. He connect me to Troy. I asked Troy if he had any authority. Troy had been briefed and he DID have authority. He agreed it was unfair. "What would you like me to do?", he said. I wanted 2 home director kits for $7 each instead of $9. He said OK. I wanted them to audit this auction practice. He assured me they would, as they had had several complaints.

Lesson... be patient and doggedly persistant. The 4$ was irrelivant. It surely cost them more than $4 to have me on the phone so long. I had paid more than $9 for these kits before. What mattered was that something was unfair, and patience found the person who could do something to rectify it. Good job, Troy.

OP | Post 2 made on Tuesday September 14, 1999 at 16:33
Roland S
Historic Forum Post
The IBM Home Director is basically the same as the X-10 ActiveHome package, isn't it? Any differences?


OP | Post 3 made on Tuesday September 14, 1999 at 16:56
Historic Forum Post
When you purchase products over the Internet can you expect much ďserviceĒ? The higher prices you pay at a retailer are for a reason, SERVICE! Most retailers offer customer service before and after the sale. Once the Internet company gets your money, they could care less. (some are good and pride themselves on service, but they are usually not the cheapest). They donít need your word of mouth advertising to improve their business; they just need to be the first on a search list. Your negative comments wont effect them, just your immediate friends even know of your problems and even still, you canít expect anyone to pass up the super discounted prices. Most people still support the local retailers in their hometowns and some have to revert to the Internet to find products. I live in a pretty small town so I know the feeling, all of us who want to keep up to date with technology must purchase items from the Internet companies. It is a shame that so many retail companies today play follow the leader and never pursue to take it the edge of technology. I guess itís easier to let the other make the mistake and learn from those instead of making a few mistakes of their own. Anyway, just my view not that it counts much.

OP | Post 4 made on Tuesday September 14, 1999 at 22:16
David B
Historic Forum Post
ROland... Yes, the IBM kit is similar to the activehome starter kit. I think there may be a keychain remote or something like that in the activehome kit that is not in the IBM kit. I actually downloaded activehome software from and am using it instead of IBMs. Works fine with the IBM components. If you call the help # from the IBM kit, you get someone working for activehome.

Customer service... what I expect to give up in exchange for a low internet price is handholding and product education (training to use their product). I do not expect to give up customer service and have found that with patience and persistance I don't have to. Any retailer that hides behind a web page and doesn't respond to customer order inquiries, complaints, and refund requests will not be profitable for very long. The web sites I've ordered something from that have not been responsive have lost my business from that point on. The nice thing about capitalism is competition. With a dozen or more other web sites selling the same thing, your price has to be competitive AND you have to provide basic service to your customers. Some sites just require a more diligent customer to get them to give that service.


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