So far, this year is shaping up to be my year of bad tech support experiences. First, there was HP Tech Support, then the never-ending hold-and-transfer game at Linksys tech support, and now I've been going around-and-around with Ceiva Tech Support.
In case you're not familiar with Ceiva, they sell digital photo frames that download new pictures to display every day. You can either load them up with your own photos, by putting the pictures in a private account on their servers, or "subscribe" to commercial galleries with a wide variety of art and information. The Ceiva frame has a built-in modem for downloading the photos, and you have to pay an annual subscription fee for the service.
Every year the cost of the service increases slightly. This year, it jumped about 15% and now stands at $95 a year. Yikes!
Accompanying the increase is really bad technical support. Ever since the new year, my frame has had trouble downloading new pictures from the Ceiva server. The message on the frame says that the server I'm calling into did not answer the phone. I've reported this to Ceiva tech support repeatedly, and in response they always send a brain-dead auto-response that tells me to make sure that my frame is connected to a phone line (duh) and that the phone line works (duh, again).
When I reply to the auto-response and repeat that, yes, my phone line works and none of the voodoo steps they suggest has resolved the problem, and that clearly something is wrong on their end, they always respond that I must call and talk to a tech support person to resolve this.
Excuse me? How is talking to me going to fix the problem of their dial-in node not answering? Perhaps its nearby and they're going to ask me to drive over and reboot it for them. Otherwise, it defies all logic, and is disrespectful of my time as a customer. Apparently, until they talk to me personally, they refuse to report the problem to their network administrators. So, the next time it fails (which is about 50% of the time lately), we repeat the same ignorant, inefficient dance.
And for this they want more money per year? As you may surmise, I've stopped recommending Ceiva as a useful device.
UPDATE: Someone from Ceiva saw this post and contacted me. Kudos to them for searching out complaints on the web. I was told that they ran some diagnostics and decided my frame needed to be replaced and that it was not a dial-in problem. When I got the new frame, the exact same problem still occurred, and when I reported this, I was back in the same circle of tech support. Shortly thereafter, I let my Ceiva account expire.