Recently someone purporting to be a phone rep from a Westinghouse call center left me a comment. After the months of pain, I appreciate getting some more information from behind the scenes. Given how many times I called Westinghouse, chances are good I maybe even talked to this guy once or twice (so hello again, anonymous Westinghouse guy!).
The situation at Westinghouse is largely as I imagined. Here is the comment, and my response follows.
Heads up for everyone ever trying to deal with a Westinghouse RMA.
I ?currently? work for the call center for Westinghouse. It is not our fault the service center will not ship you a tv, or even tell us why. Our database only lists information that has been typed in by other tech support reps, and occasionally things like a logged reciept, tracking number, or RMA number. And yes, it is true that we cannot transfer you to a manager, they do in fact have to call you back. Also, we literally do not have access to any contact information for the corporate office or the RMA center in any way, and even if we did, we are expressly forbidden from given it out. You'd have a much easier time searching for the contact on Google. We also have no way to change any of the Warranty policies, or give you free shipping labels for RMA. Those don't even come from a ?manager? at the call center, that all is done through corporate.
Basically, 95% of all of the RMA issues arise from the fact that a)the Westinghouse corporate warranty policy does not allow us any deviation on our level and b)the RMA center is the slowest, shittiest facility I have ever dealt with. Last I heard, there were litterally 5 people working there. Also, the fact is, there are far more returned RMA tvs than there are available to ship back to customers, and that is causing most of the shipping problems. But please don't call us at the customer service and expect us to be able get you a tv faster. We are in NY and ME, and the service center is in TX, we cannot ?walk downstairs? like some people would like to think.
If you do want to buy a Westinghouse tv for some reason, please PLEASE purchase it at Best Buy. We have an exclusive deal with Best Buy that if your tv breaks during the warranty period, you can call us to get a return authorization and bring it back to the store directly and get an exchange/store credit, even 11 months 3 weeks and 6 days after you bought the tv. Other than that, DO NOT buy one online, and I'm sorry to say it but, even at Woot, E-Cost, or any other online discount store. ESPECIALLY if it is a refurbished television.
And also, please, everyone, read the warranty policy on ANY expensive item you purchase, especially TVs. You'd be surprised what isn't covered under most electronics companies warranties. Almost every major TV manufacturer requires you to ship a defective tv back to them at your cost.
For all I know I can get fired for posted this online, but to be honest at this point, I could give a shit. Sorry everyone who has had to deal with a Westinghouse RMA, but please remember that if you have to call the tech support line, it really is not our fault, and there is almost nothing we can do.
I worked at a call center too (tech support and general billing/service for a residential satellite TV company); I lasted about four months. I remember very well the horrors of that job. Working at a call center should be classified as a form of torture by the Geneva Convention.
The main criteria of whether we were doing our job "properly" was how fast we finished the calls. Call volume mattered, not making customers happy. The second criteria was how closely we followed the scripts. We were told to never, ever deviate from the scripts, even when the scripts were completely bogus, redundant, or insulting to the customer's intelligence. And the scripts ARE insulting; they are written to appeal to the lowest common denominator of customer, by necessity. If I as a phone rep knew how to fix a problem and it deviated from the script, tough crap. Deviate from the script at your own risk. If someone was monitoring that call, you're in trouble.
At any given time, there was approximately one manager per 15-20 phone reps. If a customer asked to speak to a manager, s/he often got put on hold for a good 10-15 minutes by necessity; this is because I was 30 cubicles away looking for someone to take the call. And yet putting people on hold was a HUGE no-no, per company policy. It was a lose-lose situation.
The company under-staffed the center to save money, so the hold queue was always filled to the brim. By the time the customer got to us, they had been sitting and fuming on hold for 15 minutes or more. We also had an offshore call center in general vicinity of India, and those reps were only trained to take the most basic of calls. If there was a tech support issue or anything complex, it was transferred to us (resulting in another 15 minutes of hold before they talked to me). THOSE weren't fun calls.
We had to take calls non-stop for hours, until we got a specified 15-minute or 30-minute break. Breaks were measured DOWN TO THE SECOND. Aside from your breaks, you couldn't stop taking calls even to go to the bathroom or get a sip of water.
Phone reps are hated by customers, because they are the voice of the company for the customer. They are also abused by the company; the pay is terrible, the people doing it are desperate (few people take that job if they can find any other), and the company knows they're replaceable. Attrition rates at call centers are through the roof. Even people how stay at the call center aspire to become managers themselves as fast as humanly possible, so they can stop taking calls, so at any given time, the person you're talking to when you call a call center has probably only been working for 3 or 4 months tops. Phone reps are seen as little better than cattle by their employers.
So I definitely sympathize. In all of my lengthy dealings with Westinghouse, I was always polite, and the phone reps were generally polite back to me.
One thing that absolutely IS the phone reps' fault, though, is when I'm promised a call back, and then I never get one. This happened to me many times when dealing with Westinghouse, and there's no excuse for that. Or when someone says "Call back tomorrow and we'll have more information for you!" knowing full well that they won't. This also happened to me many times. Once the phone reps determined that they had no information for me, I was often told anything that would get me to hang up quickly.
If one girl at Westinghouse hadn't finally taken 15 minutes to somehow track down my first (lost forever) monitor, I'd never have known what happened. I don't know how they did it, but if a phone rep had done that sooner instead of two months of dodging my questions, I may have been able to get UPS to track down the first package.
If someone is unable to help me, they should say "Sorry, I'm completely unable to help you." A little honesty goes a long way. If I'd have contacted the corporate office sooner I could've gotten things done a lot faster, without all the run-around.
But yes, this comment reaffirms what I already suspected. Don't buy expensive electronics online; the price savings aren't worth the disaster you face when it breaks. And remember you're taking a huge gamble when you buy Westinghouse or any other "bargain" (i.e. cheap) brand.