sine_nomine: (Default)
Cubby Sherwood ([personal profile] sine_nomine) wrote in [community profile] accessibility_fail2015-02-16 05:01 pm

Major Appliance Manufacturer Fail

I bought a blender last year. An Oster, because they are -- generally -- high quality and because this particular model had both decent power and reversing blades... the better to make smoothies with.

I'd been out of town for a while so the blender wasn't used for about two weeks or so. Awakened one morning and decided I wanted a smoothie for breakfast. Loaded up the blender, turned it on and NOTHING. Tried another outlet. Nope. Tried re-seating the blender jar. Nope. Removed the blender jar entirely and tried turning it on (because this particular model turns on without the jar in place). Nope. It wasn't just nearly dead. It was really most sincerely dead.

So I called the nice Oster people; it's about a year old. Should still be under warranty. The customer service person appeared to have found my order but she had to have me in the same room with the blender as there was information "on the blender" that they would require. I was driving at the time so that didn't happen. I called back today with the blender in front of me.

Here's where we get into fail:
Today's customer service person (who said she couldn't find my order but at least found the record of the previous call) asked me to look at the metal prongs on the plug. According to her, there would be numbers inscribed on one of the prongs and alphabet letters on the other. They could be on the inside or the outside of the prongs; it varies where they put them.

I couldn't see a thing. And I have 20/20 vision, though focusing is a little slow sometimes. Managed to find something that vaguely magnifies and lo and behold, on the inside of the metal prongs, there was in fact something inscribed. I was clueless, of course, as to what it actually said.

But here's the kicker: She couldn't assist me without knowing what those letters and numbers were. And I can actually see! What if I were a customer who couldn't?!? Would I have to call a friend to come over and read the silly plug? Could there be any worse place on an entire blender to put the very numbers that identify this particular blender than the prongs on the plug?? And on the inside of them, to boot!

I told her it would probably be faster for me to slice off the plug and send it to them. Or, alternatively, to send the whole blender back. She informed me that wouldn't work as I'd be sending the blender back "to the warehouse, not to the Customer Care Center that is trying to assist you."

So we left it that "consumer will be calling back when consumer can access the requisite numbers and letters".

I think, however, that I will instead be hunting down the address of the CEO of their parent company, packing up the blender and shipping it off with a letter that politely says "You have got to be f'ing kidding me! Figure out a way to send me a new blender... and to improve the location of your identifiers because on the plug in teeny tiny letters is ridiculous."
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

[personal profile] lilacsigil 2015-02-17 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
You know what else has teeny tiny numbers on it that you need to talk to customer service? Blood glucose testing devices. I don't use one myself, but I work in pharmacy and have many times written out the number for customers who need to replace their testing devices. Who thought that tiny numbers on devices used by diabetics was a good idea? Probably the same people that used even tinier letters on your blender plug.
jesse_the_k: Well nourished white woman riding black Quantum 4400 powerchair off the right edge, chased by the word "powertool" (JK powertool)

[personal profile] jesse_the_k 2015-02-19 04:51 pm (UTC)(link)
There are some BG meters with synthetic speech for their readouts, but that's a "special" thing. Given that the meters are almost always free (the company is guaranteed your business because you have to buy the test strips which only fit their meters) and that speech chips are dirt cheap, why oh why? Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among working age adults.
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)

[personal profile] havocthecat 2015-02-17 02:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I realize you're frustrated, and there are very good reasons for it! But please. Don't ship the blender to the CEO. The CEO's assistant and the mail room, both of whom are much lower paid than the CEO and who already have to deal with a lot of unpleasantness, will hate you and the CEO will never have to open a package containing a broken blender.

Jarden Corporation owns Oster. Contact the Jarden Board of Directors, whose contact information you can find right here. The Board will not read your information, but there is often a high-level customer care team that may be better able to assist you than at the main Oster number. If you email them with your contact information, they will often call to follow up. Emailing the Board of Directors will often mean that you're not just talking to a black hole of customer support.

But seriously. Don't dump on the mailroom or the secretaries. It won't get you any help, it will gain you a lot of ill will, and it's just plain mean to dump things on low-level people who are paid to get in the way of precisely the sort of thing that you're trying to do. I know you're not mean, just understandably frustrated.
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)

[personal profile] havocthecat 2015-02-17 02:41 pm (UTC)(link)
I totally understand! The frustration was seeping out of the post, and for very good reasons!

I hope that the contact information can do you some good - especially if you bring up the customer service from Oster and their accessibility problems too.

[personal profile] jazzyjj 2015-02-20 10:38 pm (UTC)(link)
It seems really odd to me that of all places, the prongs on a plug are where these things were written. I wonder who ever thought up that one? Hope you get a refund on the blender or something. Just as an aside, I have an Oster microwave and it has served me well. Even when I came back from an 18-hour road trip about 6 years ago, my microwave still worked just fine. My only complaint--and it's a minor one--is that when my mom first purchased this microwave and attempted to order a Braille overlay from Oster, they didn't have one. So she got a Braille overlay from a different company, but I don't remember which one.