News From ME

Remote Possibilities, Part 2

Slightly less than a month ago, I attempted to program my new Harmony One remote control that, they swear, will control all the components in my office video setup. That consists of a Philips TV, a TiVo, a Sony DVD player and a Toshiba Blu-Ray player. There's also an RCA satellite dish controller in there but I don't need the remote to control it.

The remote refused to program properly, the main problem being that it doesn't want to switch input sources on the Philips TV, though there are smaller problems, as well. I called the Logitech Tech Support line and spent — I am not exaggerating — a couple of hours on the phone with a gent in the Philippines who didn't seem to have any idea how to make my remote work. Then I spent more time with another gent who said all the same things as the first one. He finally admitted it was beyond him so he'd have someone from Level Two Tech Support call me, though he couldn't say when they might get around to that.

No one called but I did receive an e-mail from Charlie, who is with Level Two support, asking when would be a good time for him to call me. I gave him a time but he never called.

I feel like tackling this again tonight. Their Customer Service number is open until 7 PM my time. It's 5:10 now. Let's see what happens when I call…

5:10 PM — I call up and enter my "incident number" from my previous call. The Logitech phone system immediately hangs up on me.

5:11 PM — I call up and try it again. This time, a voice tells me that my incident number is no longer eligible for support and I should try and fix the problem using their website.

5:12 PM — I call up again and push the number I'd push for a new case. I am placed on hold and I listen to jazzy music, interrupted occasionally by a male voice that tells me either (a) how my Harmony Remote can control any component in the world or (b) how I can get loads of support on their website.

5:38 PM — I am still on hold.

5:39 PM — The hold music stops, I hear a phone ring once. Then I hear a dead line. Then their system hangs up on me again. I think their tech support needs tech support.

5:40 PM — I call back again. More jazzy hold music plus that guy. It has now been a half-hour since I started this and I haven't made contact with a human being yet.

5:42 PM — Oh, wait. A person! I talk to someone named Dmitri and explain my history to him. He places me on hold.

5:49 PM — Dmitri returns to me and says that he's sent my case to the Level Two technicians and they can't take my call now and want to call me tomorrow. I argue a bit about this: Isn't there a chance one of those guys could talk to me now? Dmitri goes off to check and I'm on hold for a minute or two before he returns and tells me no, it'll have to be tomorrow. I try to arrange a time for this but Dmitri, who is obviously not on the same continent with me, doesn't grasp the concept of North American time zones. I keep telling him I'd like that call at 10 AM Pacific Time. He keeps telling me they don't open until 10 AM Eastern Time. I finally convince him that 1 PM Eastern Time is 10 AM Pacific Time and he says that Ben will phone me at 10 AM.

By the time this call ends, it is 5:54 PM. I spent 44 minutes and didn't get to speak to anyone with a clue how to solve my problem here. Let's see if Ben calls tomorrow and if Level Two is any better than whatever Level I was on before.