EverQuest released a new expansion. Frankly I’m not really bothered and may not buy it. However, Grete is kinda interested so I said I’d get it for her account. This is the first time we’ve not pre-ordered, and enthusiasm is low (Grete’s pretty down at the moment, so her general EQ mojo is low anyway, hopefully she won’t beat me when she reads this), but I said it would be fine to get it for her account.
So I log on to the Sony website, go to the account management page and try and buy the expansion. I get a dialog which asks me to fill in our post code, select a secret security question and a secret answer. Never seen the page before, no prompts telling me why it’s showed up. The drop down list of secret questions is empty (other than the default entry of ‘please select a secret question’). So I try ignoring it, but it wants me to select something, I try answering a random question but it still wants me to pick a question.
I can’t pick a damn question.
I search, in vain, for some way to update it via the profile, but it’s not there. So I go to the Sony help site which if anyone’s tried to use it, knows how terrible it is. I finally opt for Live Chat, and get a form to fill out with 6 questions and a box to describe the problem which I fill with a couple of paragraphs of text, and then click ‘go live chat’, at which point I get a popup telling me live chat is disabled due to maintenance. Why the hell did it let me fill the form in then, stop me before I put in the effort.
So I finally go to the e-mail help and rant about the problem and the stupid site. Maybe they’ll fix it, maybe they won’t, but since we were already just on the edge of maybe buying it and maybe not, if they don’t fix it without a lot of hassle they just lost another sale. This is typical, in my experience, of Sony. They make everything as hard as they can, so you have to fight to spend your money with them and they still make you feel like it was your fault.
Second rant. I e-mailed a shop that sells miniatures and said specifically and clearly ‘are you able to order this particular miniature for us’. The reply was waffly and didn’t answer the question, but commented on some vague notion of them not getting that mini in the last delivery and ‘maybe being able to sort it out’. The mini in question can be purchased direct from the supplier in the US, and we said that to the folk in the shop when we were in there at the weekend (before this e-mail), but they said the supplier’s customer service was bad and it can take ages to arrive. So, I replied to this vague e-mail saying ‘on Saturday you said it would be quicker to order through you’, and the reply to that was ‘it will be if it arrives before the end of the year’. WTF does that mean? Why can’t they just answer a basic and simple question.
Q: Can you order this mini for us?
A: Yes, it will take 2-8 weeks or
A: No, we don’t do specific orders, if it arrives as general stock we can let you know or
A: No, but I’m sending a full order in for re-stocking and it’s listed, should be here in 3 weeks
or anything else, other than totally vague randomness. This is a niche hobby with low turnover and a small market, you’d think they were keen to retain any direct customers they could get. I was polite, clear, concise.
So I bought it over the web from the US supplier, and they shipped in 24 hours after I placed the order and sent me a nice e-mail to tell me so. I’ll pay the $16 shipping charge on a $7 purchase to get service from someone who’s clear, concise and polite (I actually bought another two mini’s, to take it up to around $12 worth of mini’s, but that’s not the point).
In this day and age, I get very frustrated when technology gets in the way of simple purchases or when people can’t, don’t or won’t answer a straight question with a straight answer. It’s my money, they either want it, or they don’t want it, but I’m not going to fight to give it to them.