Sunday, February 15, 2009

Consumer Rants: Bose

I’ve been mulling over adding a consumer-centric category to my blog, to highlight some of my less-than-stellar experiences with certain service providers and to warn my readers about certain pitfalls.

As someone who’s constantly using the services of airlines, hotels, and car rental companies, it stand to reason, at least statistically, that some of my experiences will be bad. In this column I’m not going to dwell on each and every bad experience. Rather, I’m going to focus on cases where I actually complained, and received insufficient reply from customer service, proving, in my humble opinion, that the fish sometimes stinks from the head.

While starting to write this particular rant about Avis, I was suddenly struck by the negativity of it all, and decided to dedicate my first column to a positive experience I had.

I’ve had my Bose QC2 noise canceling headphones for 2 years now. On one of the flights, the gold tip at the end of the cable got bent when I pulled it out of the seat socket. The headphones still worked fine, but you had to giggle the cable in the socket to get stereo sound (I guess one of the contacts got frayed). Since this is a proprietary Bose cable, I went to the local Bose store at a Santa Clara mall, and knowing Bose’s high-prices-no-discount policy, fully expected to be charged upward of $50 for the cable.

I told my tale of woe to the store’s assistant. He disappeared for a second and came back with a brand new cable. To my surprise, he refused to accept payment. All he said was “enjoy your headphones” – and left.

The new cable works great. The socket is slightly less L-shaped and has a lighter profile, so it’s easier to use. And the quality is great again (in the picture: the old socket at the top, the new on the bottom).

Kudos to that sales rep and to Bose for not nickel-and-diming and for the overall great consumer experience.

Next time: how much does Avis care about you?

Have a chilling consumer-related story to share? Comment on this post or email it to [email protected], and I'll publish it in a future rant.

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