About Adam

Adam Stout works in the technology field and is currently located in San Diego, CA.




Recent Entries


Budget FastBreaks Take Too Long

Posted: Oct 04, 2009
I travel a lot for work.  for the last few months, I have been flying to the same place every week.  I stay in the same hotel (a Residence Inn, which I really like), flying the same flight (which is tolerable) and renting my car from Budget (which is progressively gotten worse).  The past two weeks have taken forever to get my car.  Here is the complain letter I just sent to Budget.  We'll see how they handle this:

Why do I have a FastBreak account? 

1) I have for the last 10 weeks or so using my Fast Break and although Avis has a sign up where people can see what car they have and can go straight there, I have to go to the booth, wait in line and find out what car I have.  This is amazing since i have to go to the Avis booth to get my car.

2) Last week I rented a car (with FastBreak) and it was a horrible experience.  Once I waited in line to find out what car I had, I went to the space (lugging my baggage) and there was no contract in it.  Then I went back to the booth and although I just asked for them to print a new contract, someone went to look then looked at ALL the cars to find my contract.  After about 20 minutes they came back and printed a new contract (for a different car).  What a waste of time.

3) When I returned the car, I looked at the contract and the bill was twice what it is normally (each of the past ten weeks or so).  It took about 20 minutes after I returned my car to get it straightened out.  Once again, I'm glad I had the FastBreak to help me out.

4) I rented a car tonight and after waiting in line to get the contract (and waiting for about 10 minutes while they looked it up and printed it) and going to my car, I looked at the contract and found yet another rate on it (not as high as last week, but still way too much).  I went back to the booth and after about another 10 minutes, I got the correct rate.  Good thing I had Fast Break.

Please explain to me what FastBreak gets me and why I should ever rent from Budget again?  This seems to become more and more of a problem and take more and more of my time.  Since I fly in at 10pm or so on Sunday nights, I would really hope to save any time I can getting to my hotel.  This concept seems to be missed by your company.

Quicken Support Sucks

Posted: Oct 02, 2009
For the past week I've had a problem updating one of my account in Quicken.  This happens occasionaly, but overall, I'm pretty happy with Quicken (I just started using it in June).

However, when I tired to use their on-line chat support, I had a horrible experience.  Below is the message I sent to Intuit.  I couldn't find a place to send them feedback on the support process itself so I had to pick another category.  Hopefully somewhere there find this message and does something to improve the quality of their support.

"I tried to use your on-line chat support and it was a horrible experience. 
1) They didn't seem to tell me what was going on.  No "just a second while I look up the problem" just an "ok" and then a long period of nothing.  I had to keep asking what was going on.
2) I couldn't tell if the person was restating my question or telling me what to do. It would be helpful if they said, let me clarify... or lets go through these steps to see if we can solve the problem.
3) It would be faster if you just supplied the script they are reading from.  They wanted me to do something and when I asked what we are trying to accomplish, all I got was "please follow the steps"
I hope you can track down the log for my session and change something.  I would have been better off not event starting the chat that was not helpful and wasted my time."

Done with Blogger

Posted: Aug 18, 2009
Due to several connection issues between this site and Blogger's server over the past few days (you may have noticed the lack of updates lately), I've decided to move my content back to my own server instead of hosting it on the Evil Empire's servers.

Let me know if you have any problems with the site in the next few days.  I'm expected the site to be faster as well as easier for me to customize and maintain.

The New Matrix SUV?

Posted: Aug 03, 2009
Last night I flew into Texas and I had a pretty funny experience at the airport when I went to rent my car. Last week, as I was going out to get my car, I saw that Budget had a few Toyota Matrix-es. Since I'm considering buying a compact car in the next few months, I figured I'd request one. Imagine my shock when I was told that a Matrix isn't an economy car, not a compact, not a mid-size but that Budget considers the Matrix an "SUV".

If I were renting an SUV and I got a Matrix, I would be rather upset. For those who don't know what a Matrix is, think of it as a sporty version of a Corolla.

This is an SUV? The guy behind the counter had a hard time keeping a straight face when he told me. I just had to laugh, after all, he wasn't the idiot that came up with this classification.

So instead of a Matrix, I got a POS Chevy Cobalt. I would really like to be able to not call it a POS, but it is. For instance, the seat belt gets stuck behind the seat when the car is parked making it difficult to put on when you get in. I'm not sure what is wrong exactly, but the steering wheel it awkward to hold on to when you're driving (I think the bars from the center to the wheel are in weird locations). At least I know not to even waste my time test driving a Cobalt.

I Hate US Air

Posted: Jul 30, 2009
I flew US Air last year and was very caught off guard when they charged me $2 for a soda. The bag charge for a bag is one thing but for a soda? It only took them six months to come to their senses and reverse their position and reinstate free beverages (although they still charge $7 for a beer or wine). I should have realized with this idiotic action that they have no idea what customer service really is. This week I was unable to get on my normal flight to my client's site so I book a flight on US Air (after all at least I could get a free soda now).


US Airways really doesn't understand what customers want (or at least what I want). Why am I so disappointed you ask? Good question...

1) The seats are super uncomfortable. I was on a flight for a little over two hours and my butt was killing me. It was like sitting on metal the whole time.

2) My flight was late. To be correct 3 out of 4 of my flights were late, but thanks to US Air I had twice as long in the air port as I expected waiting for a flight.

3) Not responsive to requests. When I saw my last flight was an hour late, I went up to the customer service desk to see if they could put me on an on time flight they had to Reagan National (instead of Dulles where I was scheduled to go to). They told me they couldn't move me (even though I didn't have any checked luggage) until my flight was canceled. They took a great opportunity to create a amazingly satisfied customer and instead to make one who won't return for a long, long time. If there was room (which they didn't even check) what is the harm on putting me on a flight that was on time?

4) Unfriendly Flight Attendants. I've been flying United again (after a long absence from them) and I'm impressed by the flight attendants friendliness (and the pilot's too). On at least two of my flights this week, I've been impressed by how grump the US Air Attendants are. They look like we are inconveniencing them.

5) Soda. OK, it is free now, but where as on United they give me a can and a cup with ice, US Air pours the cup for me and does not leave the can. This is great for diet coke (my poison of choice) since when you pour it, it is half foam. They end up giving me (maybe) 6 ounces of soda. I would be pretty upset if I paid for $2 for that, instead I'm just very unhappy. I'm a heavily caffeinated person and without it, I get grumpy.

Next time I can't get my United flight (the only non-stop where I'm going), I'll try American but US Air is off my list for the next few years. This has been horrible.
Although I have only lived in Virginia in short while have noticed the cultural divide between Maryland and Virginia. To celebrate that divide here is a little observational humor...

Q: What do you call a driver from Virginia?
A: A Virginian

Q: What do you call a driver from Maryland?
A: An idiot

The normal version I tell has a few more expletives, but this gets the point across.
Apparently Verizon just doesn't understand customer service. Below recounts the ordeal I have had to endure to try to become a customer. No matter how good FIOS is, it isn't worth this. I hope someone from Verizon reads this and takes it to hear how many opportunities they had to make me a satisfied customer and what a good job at ensure I'm not one.

An Open Letter to Verizon:

On May 11th, I ordered the FIOS triple play (phone, internet, tv) online for my new residence in Virginia from my current residence in Pennsylvania (using my simple to install Verizon DSL). The online process was fast and simple. I did get an error through when I tried to schedule the installation. It gave me the default date of 5/19 which was unacceptable since I was moving in that day. I tried to change the date but when I selected 5/27 it gave me an error saying the time wasn't selected (which it was) so I had to select 5/19 to get the order to go through.

Two days later I received a call from customer service informing me the current resident still had service there. I missed the call so I called the number in my confirmation email. When I gave the operator my conformation number she responded that that was a Virginia order and I needed to call the office that handles those. I'm a bit unclear as to why you have one number to call if it takes you to the wrong place. The operator gave me the direct number to call (which I believe had a Richmond, VA area code). I hung up and called the new (direct) number in VA. In a few moments I was told I had the Pennsylvania office (even though I dialed Virginia. I'm very unclear how I got transferred back to the wrong state when I called a direct line. I was given another direct number to call and transferred to that office.

When I finally got a hold of someone in the correct office I thought I was making progress. Since I knew the resident had already placed the order to cancel the other utilities, I asked CS to check contact the current resident since the problem was on their side not mine. I also asked to reschedule the installation since the original date was unacceptable. The CS representative was able to talk to someone and offered me the installation date of 5/21 which was fine (although I would have preferred 5/20). The CS representative asked if it was ok to bring “dispatch” on to the line to confirm the appointment. I was placed on hold and then shortly disconnected. The irony abounds that I got disconnected while taking to the phone company. (If you look up this call, please note how long it took to bring up my record, at one point I thought I was disconnected it was so quiet on the operators side. I wasn't placed on hold, she was just waiting to see what was going on)

On 5/18, I received another call which I missed informing me the current resident had not canceled their service. I was rather busy packing and moving so I was unable to return the call.

On 5/20, I received another call about the current resident. While the CS representative asked about the current resident, I again stated that I knew that former resident had cancelled all the other utilities and since I'm now occupying the house, I'm sure they are no longer using the service. I asked her to check if there was still service here. She looked up the actual account information and saw that the service was disconnected on 5/18. She had called in reference to notes in my recorded but had not verified the information directly until I asked.

At this point, I'm all set to proceed with the installation but due to the delay caused by your inability to verify that the service was being canceled ensured that I couldn't get an install date anywhere close to when I wanted. The only dates available, the Friday before (5/22) and Tuesday (5/26) after Memorial day, were not acceptable since your installers require such a huge time window to show up (8am-5pm). The next available slot is 5/30.

I wanted to get FIOS since I heard about the amazing product and the great customer service. At this point I'm not very impressed but on the positive side I have a week and a half to take a look at the competition. Perhaps that can better serve my needs. I was all gung-ho about getting FIOS, but I wanted to thank your installation team for letting me take a step back and really decide if I want to be a customer of Verizon.

I received a mailer from Cox. They advertise that they can install the next day. I called them, talked to one person (without needing to be transferred) and they were out the next day to install all my services.

On 5/21, I called Verzion's call center to cancel my order. Even that was an ordeal. I called the number in the order confirmation email. I was asked by the automated system what I wanted to do and I was able to selected FIOS and cancel order. I was then connected to a person who said she didn't handle FIOS. She transferred me to a person who could cancel my order. I was then informed I was at the wrong call center and was transferred to a different location. I then entered the same voice prompts as before (FIOS, cancel, home account) and was connected to a real person. Once again the operator couldn't deal with FIOS so I was transferred to another person. Before my call was answered I was put on hold for a few minutes. The call took me over 22 minutes to simply cancel an order and required speaking to 4 different people. Cox was able to take my order in less time than that.

I'm am now feeling very relieved that I went forward with Cox instead of with Verizon. I can't handle dealing with you on the on-going basis. This was a horrible experience.

5/21 – Part 2 – I called Customer Service to cancel my local phone and internet at my former address. First I got connected to a person who couldn't help me. I was then placed on hold and transferred to another operator. After a few minutes on hold I got to an operator who was very nice and was able to cancel my service. Unfortunately, I'm canceling my internet after only 11.25 months and I'm 3 weeks short of the 12 month contract I signed. Although I only paid $32 a month for internet, canceling 3 weeks early will cost me $49. Apparently my math is a bit off 3/4 of $32 is only $24 in my world, but $49 in Verizon's.

For your reference, my installation confirmation was VA00024107687. I encourage you to lookup my customer record to see just how screwed up your ordering system is.

Highlights include:

  1. Calling an 800 number and being routing to the wrong location
  2. Calling a direct number and being routing to the wrong location
  3. Getting disconnected
  4. Calling me repeatedly to ask me a question about the previous residents (wouldn't it make more sense to ask them)
  5. Being given an installation date and later on finding out that it wasn't given to me
  6. Being prompted for a FIOS installation and then being told that person I'm connected to can't handle FIOS issues

I have to hand it to you, you were able to change a customer's attitude in a very short amount of time. This is an amazing feat. I've done a 180, from huge proponent who couldn't wait to get service to a vocal disgruntled customer. Simply amazing.

Adam Stout