Today at work, I was setting up a few Windows machines. One of the windows product keys didn’t work. After checking thoroughly to make sure there were no typos, I decided to call Microsoft Support.
After a few minutes of waiting, I was greeted by an Indian man with such a heavy accent that I could barely understand him over the phone. He introduced himself as “Philliam” (pronounced Phil-Yum). I assumed that he had came up with the name by mixing “Phil” with “William”. I got a good chuckle out of it. After all, Microsoft support people in India always choose funky names. For example, I have been on the phone with people who have named themselves Elvis and St. John. After about 5 minutes of explaining my problem to Philliam, he decided to transfer me to Activation support. Once I explained the problem again to activation support, they told me that they could not help me and transferred me back to the main support line. When a new representative answered the phone, I explained my problem yet again. She decided to transfer me to activation support, even though the problem I was having had absolutely nothing to do with activation. This time, instead of going along with the transfer, I asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me that I shouldn’t talk to the supervisor. When I asked again, she refused to transfer me. After a few more tries, she finally transferred me. After 15 minutes on hold waiting for the supervisor, she finally picks up the phone. She introduced herself as April, and asked what my problem is. I told her that my genuine windows XP license key is not working. She informed me that I have to pay $60 to talk to a technical support rep about my problem. I pointed out that that is ridiculous for them to charge me $60 because their licensing system is screwed up. She then restated that I needed to pay $60 to talk to a rep about my licensing problem. I told her that there was no way I would pay $60 because they didn’t correctly activate the license key on my software. She then asked me for my license id. After I gave her that, she asked for my CD id. This continued for 20 minutes. She asked for every single code on both the CD and the packaging. When I asked why she wanted them, she refused to answer. After 20 minutes on hold while she was “verifying” my license key, she picked up the phone. She said that I needed to pay the $60 for a tech support person. I told her that that was ridiculous. I bought the software online from Microsoft. She then insisted that Microsoft does not sell software online. After I told her that I definitely bought it from microsoft.com, she accused me of lying and that she is sure that Microsoft doesn’t sell software online. I started looking around in my desk for the receipt that I printed out. I found it and gave her my order number. She then said “Oh”, and restated that I had to pay $60 for tech support. I asked to speak to her supervisor. She transferred me to her supervisor. After 20 minutes of waiting, a man picked up and introduced himself as James. James asked what my problem was. I told him about my problem with the product key. He told me that I need to pay the $60 for help. I asked him to generate me a new license key. He refused to help me until I paid the $60. I threatened to complain to Microsoft corporate unless he helped. After 20 more minutes of giving product id’s and CD keys, he finally generated me a new license key.
Microsoft has one worst support teams I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. What would have taken 5 minutes with applecare or another decent support line took over 1 hour and 45 minutes. I hope I never have to deal with the inept customer support agents at Microsoft again.
My name is Matt Coneybeare, I design and develop for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch), Mac OS X and the Web out of New York. In 2008 I started a software company called Urban Apps that has made some pretty popular apps such as Ambiance and Hourly News. My current Stack Overflow reputation is about 27k.
I was a Rockstar a decade ago, but then went back to school and collected a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Now I am settled down with my beautiful wife Di and our dog Hamachi. When not at my desk, I love exploring New York City as a Yelp Elite, or training for marathons.
- Matt Coneybeare