As promised, I was just about to write a review recommending simplyaudiobooks.com for all your non-encrypted audiobook rental needs. Aside from the incredibly slow turnaround time on rentals (I had 3 shipments in the month of December, amounting to one and a half books and am looking at about the same this month, despite the fact that I rip them and return them the same day) I've been pretty happy with them.
Unfortunately, I just received my third "you really should pay us more money and upgrade your account, because only losers pay for the cheap plan. What's another $10 a month, anyway??" email in under a month.
I am no longer able make such a recommendation, and am now obligated to find a different mail-order audiobook rental service. (Boy am I glad I didn't pay for a whole year in advance.) I'll post another update regarding my next audiobook provider after I find one.
Why companies would think that badgering their customers is a good idea is beyond me, as it's the best sure-fire way to ensure that I stop being one.
I spent an hour and a half on the phone today with T-Mobile. Long story short: no exchange order was ever placed by the fuckers at Customer Service Junior High. Unfortunately, the phone I was using to call them only lasted 1 hour and 29 minutes, so I'm reasonably certain that the order still has't been placed. The battery died right as the person was starting to ask me another undoubtedly unimportant question, immediately guaranteeing that I will get to spend ANOTHER hour and a half on hold, hopefully with a longer battery this time.
One amusing aside though: I decided to spend some of my on hold time telling jokes to the Quality Assurance screener. I had just finished saying "What does George W. Bush think about the Roe vs Wade decision? He doesn't care how people get out of Louisiana," when it rang and an actual person picked up. Your mileage may vary, but I think that amusing the Quality Assurance screener can work to your advantage.
Aw heck, while I am yammering about why exactly you should consider not using T-Mobile, I'll go ahead and report on my last hassle too.
So the Sidekick2 is juuuust about to come out, and T-Mobile extends a "special offer" to Sidekick1 users that will allow them to have a Sidekick2 before the release date through a trade-in program. All you have to do is call a special phone number. A number that only one smiling Hindu is manning. After a day or so of failed attempts at calling the number, I start seeing on the big sidekick user forum that a few people start getting through, and were expecting their phones shortly. Then there's some sort of glitch, and EVERY SINGLE person who got their order placed on the first day suddenly doesn't exist in the system. Fast-forward a few days and now the people who got through on day 3 have their phones in their hands. All the day 1 people are told they will just have to wait. Fortunately this didn't affect me, this is just background.
So anyway, I finally get my Sidekick2, and lo and behold, the keyboard doesn't light up. All the documentation says it's supposed to, as the Sidekick1 keys do. People on forums start posting pictures of theirs lighting up, or not lighting up. Suddenly it is apparent that at least 90% of the specially chosen early adopters actually have defective units. So I call to get a replacement for my $200 purchase on the same day and am told I will only be able to get a refurbished unit, and there are none of those available yet. I cannot simply go to a T-Mobile store, I am told. "Because we are fucking retarded," is the best answer I can get out of anyone when I ask why. This is of course me paraphrasing the actual answer. So I wait a week and a half, and finally get my replacement. Can you guess whether the keyboard lights up?
At this point, I decide to skip the waiting on hold and navigating through bullshit menus and try out the online customer service that the high-tech phone automaton is always suggesting I try. Within minutes I get a response outlining how sorry everyone is and how they are overnighting a phone immediately. Two days pass, no phone. So I email again and am told that I'm going to have to actually call. So I call and talk to a nice operator who tells me that I was not actually supposed to get a replacement, as the keys aren't supposed to light up, so I can just fuck right off. Paraphrasing again. After much haggling and bitching, I succeed in actually speaking to a manger -- this is extremely difficult to do with T-Mobile, I've tried on many occasions. She tells me flat out that the device is not defective, the keys are not supposed to light up, and I won't be getting another replacement. I call her a fucking liar and show her where she can find pictures of it lighting up, and explain that the problem is caused by faulty paint (as I read of people scratching the keys and finding that there is a light underneath, etc.) to the point where she realizes that she can't try to pull the wool over my eyes and agrees to send me another one. "But it won't light up, you understand. I'm just trying to get you off the phone a happy customer," she says.
The very next day I get a shiny new refurb Sidekick2. I plug in the power cord, give the screen a flip and witness the majesty of a keyboard that -- wait for it -- lights up brilliantly.
To be fair, I do have to report that I know a person who had a good T-Mobile experience once (Hi Christian!). After dropping his phone in the drink -- note: this is not actually a clever metaphorical way of describing a body of water, it was literally his drink -- they replaced it for him. T-Mobile has great customer service four years ago!
UPDATE: So I guess they didn't replace it for him that time, my bad.
So here's a little timeline of the latest (of many) bullshit hassles with T-Mobile. Perhaps someone who is considering choosing T-Mobile as a provider might gain some useful knowledge from it:
Friday Sept 2nd: I email explaining problem, explaining that I need a replacement Sidekick 2. The dead one is Sidekick2 #4 for me. Before that I had two Sidekick1's. (I know, glutton for punishment)
Wednesday Sept 7th: I email again, asking why the fuck I havent heard anything, and why I don't yet have a new phone. I think I edited out the 'fuck' before sending. Course I posted my letter here, so I guess it doesn't matter.
Thursday Sept 8th: I get email in response to my obstinate and belligerent email. It said essentially: "Okey Dokey, you are important to us. We will send you a new one, use your 10 digit phone number as a reference number to track on ups.com. Are you interested in purchasing our bullshit Accidental Damage, Theft and Loss Insurance?" I replied right away declining the bullshit insurance, and asking whether the phone would be shipped overnight as I had requested. (The tracking info was not available at that time)
Monday Sept 12th: Not only have I not gotten a reply to my query, but the tracking information is still not valid. I email again, asking if they intend to have any sort of future communication with me and whether or not I can expect to ever use the service I am currently under contract to pay for.
Tuesday Sept 13th: Still nothing, still no tracking information available.
Meanwhile, my phone is utterly useless now. Can't do anything at all.
On Fri, 2005-09-02 at 12:47 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Thank you for submitting your question via T-Mobile.com. You should receive a response within 72 hours. Please reference case number 558405 in the event you need to update your request.
T-Mobile Web Correspondence
It has been more than 5 days since I submitted my request, with nary a
response. I was told 72 hours, which would have actually been
inconvenient, but 5 days is totally unacceptable.
My phone is now crashing even during the initial boot up after it
crashes. This afternoon I went through the hard reset cycle at least 20
times. I cannot place a call or it locks up. Browsing the web causes
it to lock up. Sending SMS causes it to lock up. Now I cannot call you
even if I wanted to, which I sincerely don't. In the last 2 weeks I
have seen the 'big red X' 5 or six times, the 'upside down screen flip
freeze' probably 30, the white screen that explains how to do a soft
reset (in 3 languages) 3 times, and one really funky looking animated
screen covering white squiggly lines once. Add the fact that the data
network was just down for a day and a half (meaning after a reset my
phone was unable to download my address book or any data whatsoever),
you can understand why I'm a little bit irked.
Clearly there is a problem that doing either a soft or hard reset (or
both!) doesn't fix.
As a "valued customer" of T-Mobile, I would really appreciate it if one
of these two things (in order of preference) were to happen:
1) you send me a replacement sidekick2 next day air, processed as soon
as possible, so that I can use the service I am paying you to provide me
2) you cancel my account. Don't give me a credit six months from now
(when I won't remember that I'm supposed to get one and then don't
realize that you didn't give me one). Don't bill me for the price of my
defective phone, don't offer me more minutes or text messages (because I
have the data only plan, making those useless) -- in other words, I
don't want any of the crap T-Mobile has been giving me for years now.
Please take one of these actions ASAP (and honestly, I would prefer
option 1, despite the poor customer service T-Mobile has always provided
me.) As I have previously explained completely the results of any test
that you would realistically ask me to try, it should be no problem for
you to immediately send out a replacement, thus keeping me as a valued
If for some reason you wish to keep me as a customer, but are unable to
immediately overnight a replacement sidekick2 because of supply reasons,
I will be requiring ANY loaner phone sent overnight, with my account
prorated for the 5 days that I already have been unable to use the
service, and for the total number of future days until my replacement
Thank you for your time (but not the 5 freakin' days that I've been
waiting to hear from you without a phone),