Thursday, January 14, 2010

Excerise Is Good For My Health. Stress Is Bad For It.

So, as indicated in the previous post, there are many things that are annoying the crap out of me this week. But first and foremost among them is what may be the single stupidest customer service experience ever.

I just bought a new treadmill, because walking, indoors or out, is the only form of exercise I can actually bring myself to do. Those of you following this blog religiously may know that I originally had a very cheap motorized treadmill, which I managed to short out the console on as I was putting it together. They sent me a replacement console, but none of the displays ever worked. After a couple of years of use, the motor started making noises, and I finally gave up on the damned thing. I then bought an extremely cheap manual treadmill, which I used for a while, but, frankly, that thing sucks. It's annoying, I don't get much of a workout on it, and I think the manual foot action, if I may call it that, was aggravating my plantar fascitiis. So I ordered a newer, much nicer motorized one. (OK, it's still kind of a low-end treadmill, by professional standards, but it's pretty darned expensive by my standards.)

Now, how does Horizon Fitness customer service suck? Let me count the ways...

1. They sent this 200+-pound item, clearly marked with "use mechanical lift" instructions via a shipping company who apparently believed that one old dude with not so much as a dolly was perfectly adequate.

2. The manual said to lubricate it before use, but the instructions for lubrication were vague to the point of uselessness.

3. Plastered all over the manual, however, were remarks to the effect that Horizon's friendly customer service reps are willing and eager to help out with any little questions one might have, and repeated instructions to call if unsure about something. So I called them. And got a recording saying to leave a message, and they'd get back to me within 24 hours.

4. Fortunately, it turned out that they had a nice instructional video online showing you how to lubricate the belt. Would've been nice if they'd mentioned that in the manual. So I followed the instructions, lubed up the belt, and turned the thing on for the first time. It failed to work. Every time I started it, the belt stuttered a fraction of an inch, and stopped. So I called and left another message.

5. Today, two days later -- yes, you counted right, that's more than 24 hours -- at 8:00 in the morning, I get a call from a guy who had apparently only heard my first message. He took down all my info -- name, rank, serial number, etc -- then informed me that he'd pass it on to the technical service department. Apparently his only job was to get my info. The guys who could actually help me get the thing working, he said, would call me back tomorrow. Gaaah. Well, at least he was polite.

6. Several hours later, I go out for a dentist appointment -- also annoying. When I get home, there's a message on my answering machine from the fitness people. It leaves a number where the call can be returned.

7. I return the call. I get the "leave a message, and we'll call you back in 24 hours" message. Aaaaargh.

8. I am leaving for work now, and hoping they do not call again while I am gone. Of course, I will have to stay home tomorrow and wait for their damned call. It's no good them calling me at work or on my cell, after all, since I have to have physical access to the machine while they're helping me troubleshoot it. This, fortunately, is not a problem, but it means I will have to take some vacation time. Some more vacation time, since I've been working short hours this week thanks to doing other annoying things. (E.g. the dentist appointment.) I am, however, going out for an hour or so to have lunch with a friend who's passing through town. Anybody want to place any bets on whether they'll call during the precise time that I'm gone?

This damned thing better work when all this crap is done, and it had better be damned well worth it.


  1. Incidentally, they did call while we were out to lunch.

  2. My experience exactly. I've been playing this game for nearly 4 months. I don't have the ability to work to their schedule. Why wouldn't a consumer company have support hours in the evening?????

  3. I would understand not having evening hours. Lots of places don't. It's the never, ever being able to get in touch with them that drives me crazy.

    Things now seem to be moving along, in that the service person left a message on my machine on Saturday asking me to call back to set up a time when he can come by to fix it later this week when he's in town. (I live some 80 miles from the nearest service provider.) Which would be great, except that I still haven't gotten the parts they said they were sending me, more than two weeks later. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping they'll be waiting when I get home today. If they don't come, I don't know what I'll do, because it's not like I'll be able to call up and talk to them about tracking the package.

    It's almost nice to know that I'm not alone, but 4 months?! Jesus.