Does anyone else feel this way?
I am increasingly frustrated by the mediocrity that I see in the quality of products on the market and the level of customer service of their respective vendors. To wit:
1) In December we purchased a new mattress for my daughter's twin bed from the retailer Back to Bed. Yes, it was a lower end store brand. I was not expecting it to last 20 or even 10 years. But after six months, it looks like this:
2) Also in December, we purchased an LG side-by-side refrigerator with through-the-door ice and water. We have already had to request warranty service once because the lever that activates the water and ice was not working. Now the ice dispenser keeps getting caked up and blocked with icy buildup. I called LG and they said our water pressure is too high and to try turning down the flow to the refrigerator. If that doesn't work, they will send a repairman. I am glad they are responsive to my warranty calls. Still, though, two in six months' time does not make me feel great about the product. It also annoys me to have our great water pressure blamed for the poor performance of their product.
3) In August of last year, I purchased a new Compaq laptop. If I don't keep it plugged in all the time, it shuts down. I think it is overheating. Now I am getting messages that the battery has insufficient storage capacity. The computer is under warranty and I plan to request service. But you would think a battery would last at least a year. I have discovered online that the problem I'm experiencing is common with this model.
4) Last month we purchased a used (2008) Town & Country van. Within a week we had to take it to the repair shop because the air conditioning wasn't working. Turns out there had been a repair last year and the previous repair shop overcharged the system, resulting in its shutting down as a safety when it started having to actually work. That was repaired. Now I have discovered several cigarette lighters that are not functioning. (We use them for power sources, not lighting cigaretters.) Additionally, the rubber (plastic?) covering on the back bumper is bowing up in the middle. Looks like another trip to the repair shop is in the cards.
5) A few weeks ago my son's chess bag was stolen at a tournament (it contained a traveling chess set and a $100+ chess clock). We immediately ordered a new one (bag and chess set, not clock--he's going to have to make do with his lower end back up clock for a while) because there is no way around it: he needed a replacement for all the tournaments he has coming up this summer. He found a good deal online and we ordered it. Several weeks passed and we realized it hadn't come. But in the meantime there had been no communication from the company. I went to the website and discovered the bag is on back order. If I had not sought out the information, I would not have known. There was no email to the effect of "Sorry, your item is on back order. We expect it to be available in four weeks." I have called the vendor once and sent two emails, but there has been no response other than the automatic one their email system kicks back. At this point I need to cancel the order (my credit card has not been charged yet) so that we can do business elsewhere. But I can't even get enough response to do that.
6) We recently switched our ISP from Comcast to ATT. We were experiencing repeated service interruptions with Comcast that were not being addressed. As requested, we mailed the Comcast equipment in our possession back to Comcast in the postage-paid and addressed Priority Mail envelopes they provided. Now they are billing us over $500 for the equipment that they say has not been returned. I guess they think that after 10 years of being Comcast customers we owe them a parting gift.
Just so you don't think I'm a total curmudgeon, I will say that I do like T-Mobile. And so far ATT has been great. And we have the awesomest handyman in the world. If I could clone him I would be a millionaire. No complaints there.
But on balance, it seems that we have had more than a normal share of problems with retailers. What do you think? Does this list seem excessive to you? Has it always been this way, and it just seems more pronounced to me right now because we have done a lot of purchasing this year? Or is this a sign of the "dumbing down" of the market when it comes to product quality and customer service?
Or maybe it's just that we aren't rich enough to afford quality.