Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fitness Bands & Poor Customer Service (rant)

Hello readers!

I haven't posted in awhile, because I haven't really had much to say. I have been trying to get this whole diet and fitness thing under control and it is harder than I thought it would be. I also realized yesterday that I was doing some things wrong, but you live and you learn right? Of course!

Anyways... moving on.

Lately I have been doing a lot of research on Fitness bands. I did have a blog entry about the Jawbone Up but I removed it. Now, I want to start by saying that the Up is a good product.... when it works. However if you have an issue with the Up getting help is like pulling teeth. I had my Up for less than a week and it started to malfunction. It has this timer that you can set when you have been idle too long, thing basically reminds you to get off your behind and do something. I liked that feature it was the reason I bought the band. That and it helped you track your sleep and also helped monitor your steps. Well the awesome band turned into a horrible nightmare after only a few days. My idle alarm went off every thirty minutes regardless of if I was moving or not. Naturally I contacted the customer support and went through all of that. I had 4 conversations with their customer service in a 24 hour period.

You know what they did? Absolutely nothing, all of them told me the same thing 'well it looks like we need to reset the band.' I explained that I had already done that and they said to try and reset it again and to contact them should the problem persist. 3 online sessions and one email later, I still had issues with the band going off every 30 minutes even when I turned the alarm off. It was a nightmare and a half cause I got woke up every 30 minutes. Now, when this band vibrates you can hear it, it is louder then when a cell phone vibrates, which was great until it went wrong.

So after I got no help from Jawbone, I contacted Best Buy where I purchased the product from. I finally got help! They looked up when I purchased the band and told me I was well within the 15 day return policy and that they would be happy to take the product back with no questions asked. The woman was very kind, apologized for the band and told me that when I came to return it to seek out the employe who is designated to the fitness band area to get fitted with a suitable band for me.

Well I took the band back and decided okay, it just has to be this band so I will give it another go. I get home set everything up again and nothing happened. The thing didn't vibrate at all cue another conversation to Jawbone, and two resets later I took the band back to Best Buy again and returned the thing. Now, I know that working in customer service there are times when you simply cannot help a customer because nothing makes them happy. Thing is I was happy, I just wanted my band replaced because it wasn't working, they told me that would take 2-4 weeks to receive. I spent $129.99 for a product that worked less than a week and now they want me to wait longer for a product? No thank you, I told them I would be returning it to the store and the store could deal with them from that point on.

I was so frustrated with this product, if only because I paid $129.99 plus three trips to Best Buy which is roughly about 10 dollars in gas for me because they aren't close. So I ended up spending over $150 dollars on something that was supposed to encourage me to move more. Needless to say I took my frustrations to Twitter and caught the companies attention pretty quickly. They followed me and sent me a direct message asking where I bought the product from. I explained that it was Best Buy and they said they would look into this... like it was something that Best Buy had done to their product to make it not work.

So... hold on a minute.... now not only were then just taking me through the reset process but then they proceed to blame the faulty product on where I bought it? Come on now, that would be like me saying that letting my milk spoil in my fridge is all Walmart's fault. They didn't want to take responsibility for their faulty product.

They asked me for the ticket numbers and email in which I used to communicate with their staff and just now got told that they appreciated my feedback. Now the thing that really pissed me off about all of this was the fact that no one cared. It didn't matter how many times I contacted them I got the same generic response each time, and if there is anything that gets under my skin more, it is generic prompt read responses. None of them took a moment to actually listen to the problem, none of them cared that this device was causing me stress. I couldn't get them to answer any questions outside the prompted answers or 'if you would please follow the instructions we are sure this will fix your problem.' The when all was said and done after all the emails all the online chats and all the issues their final reply was 'thanks for your feedback.'

They didn't care that I wasted nearly 6 hours of time trying to get a replacement band. They didn't care that I am jobless and couldn't afford the gas to keep going back and forth. They didn't care about anything that I had to say until I took to Twitter... then they suddenly cared, apologized for the faulty device and said they would be looking into why I wasn't helped. You want to know why I wasn't helped? Because companies have stopped training people to listen and started training them to read a prompt. I am pretty sure if any one of those associates had listened to the fact that I have an Anxiety disorder and the band was making it worse, then they probably would have acted sooner. Nope, they just kept going off their prompt because hey, they already had my money why should they care?

So, I ended up going back to Best Buy and got a whole new band all together. I purchased the BodyMedia armband because I know it works. I know it works because its the same model that they use on the Biggest Loser. At first I was like great, now I have to pay a subscription fee for the band on top of my subscription fee to Jillian Michaels, so I was stressed out. Thankfully I finally had some good news and luck on my side, because I already had a membership to JM I could just sync my band up to my account and not pay any additional money. So now I am paying $4 dollars a week to help get my butt into shape and a band that syncs with the program so I get more accurate counts for my calorie burn and so forth.

 Here is what the information looks like when going through JM website. On a side note the band will not automatically send the data to your JM app you have to sync it with your computer to get the information off. This isn't actually a bad thing because you aren't supposed to wear this band 24/7, they don't want you to exceed 23 hours a day. So, I take my band off for an hour a day to sync and charge the band at once. If you want results throughout the day I highly recommend the bluetooth version of the band and use the app to see your progress throughout the day. If you don't need fitness advice you can simply use the BodyMedia app but you have to pay for their subscription if you go without the Jillian Michaels app subscription. 

Now, I also want to let you all now that I am not saying that the Up isn't worth it, because it totally is as long as the band is working. I was thrilled with my results until it went faulty but at the end of the day I switched to a new band because I wasn't treated like a person, I was treated like a robot and felt like I didn't matter to them. Needless to say, if I know the product improves and that I wouldn't have those issues again, I would get the Up. It was comfortable, and looks like a bracelet so I didn't feel like anyone was staring at me. Sadly, that is not how it turned out, and I went with something I had more faith would work. Now, I also want to mention that Jawbone and BodyMedia are merging, I just hope the poor customer service doesn't continue when that happens.

Sorry for the long rant, but I just felt like I needed to write this entry because Fitness bands are becoming a huge thing. People want them to be fashionable and they want to know that they work. We shell out a lot of money for these things to work and to keep up motivated, so mine as well get the best quality possible right? Right! I would still like to encourage anyone and everyone who is trying to get into shape, to seriously look into the fitness bands. However, when looking into them keep in mind what you want the band to tell you.  Every band has its own perks, advantages, and disadvantages. Do your research, ask your friends, and don't be afraid to talk to sales associates. I highly recommend getting a product from a third party source such as Best Buy, as they tend to offer better warranties and if you get it from Best Buy you can get an additional 2 year warranties (mine was $19.99) and if something goes wrong you just go to the store and they replace it with a new one. That and most stores have a 15 day return policy for electronic devices, but always be sure to ask if your product falls within the 15 day return policy guidelines. Some stores will not take back an opened product.

I hope this entry helps someone!


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