Philips Norelco — Register Your Product! Oops just kidding
Philips Norelco — Register Your Product! Oops just kidding, reported 14 Sep 2008, by Will Johnson
I recently purchased a razor, a Philips Norelco model 7310XL. In the product is a registration card which states that I can go to their website at www.philips.com/norelco to register my product. So after mousing through a few screens I discover that my product doesn't appear. I contact their embedded "live support" who gives me the excuse that the product is very new — excuse me? So new that your webmaster can't take five minutes out of his busy day to add it to the website? So I bitched at the live support guy Charlie and he stated that he would forward my concern to the Customer Care Manager and I should hear something within 24 hours. The time of that exchange was 4PM Pacific Time on 7 Sep 2008. I waited a week without hearing anything from them.
The main site for Philips Norelco Consumer Products by the way is http://www.consumer.philips.com/consumer/en/us/norelco/ce/p/consumer/consumer_landing_page where you can see on the left both the "Register Your Product" and the "Live Chat Support" links. For some reason the Register Your Product link goes to a domain called http://www.harte-hanks.com what is that? While the Live Chat Support link goes to http://www.brigade.com ?
So I again logged into the Live Support, and included the escalation number that Charlie had previously given me. I told him that no one had contacted me, and he requested my address. I asked him why they needed my address to resolve my issue and he said so the Customer Care Manager can contact me. That makes no sense. They are going to contact me by email, there's no reason they would need my address.
At any rate, after I bitched at him some more, he said that he would again forward my issue to the Customer Care Manager. I informed him that I was working on an article about my experience on their site, so he could forward that as well. Customer Care Manager's really shouldn't need to be prodded to do their job. Charlie would not tell me the person's name, nor any way to contact them directly. So that was that. Charlie did not know why they hadn't contacted me. So that was that. More excuses. Still no action.
Not being one to be stopped by that. I went back to their main website and found the media contacts for Philips Norelco here — Terry Fassburg and David Wolf. So I wrote them an email in which I stated that part of my article will state.
"Live Support seems to have very little ability to institute corrections within the system or even to make meaningful contact with the company, but are mainly present to explain to the customers why they can't get what they want, or mollify them with promises that someone will contact them, when nobody ever does. My distinct impression is that Live Support is a third-party not actually affiliated with Philips Norelco but contracted by them, and then willingly ignored."
Aha, I've just done a little more research and discovered a bit more about brigade.com. On their main page we see this: "Since its inception in 1998, Brigade has focused on providing business process outsourcing (BPO) services and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) services for global corporations". So clearly, Philips Norelco has outsourced their live help to brigade. Now who is Harte-Hanks? Aha we can see here http://www.harte-hanks.com/ "Direct Marketing Services". Bizarre! So Philips outsourced their product registration to a direct marketer? Makes you think doesn't it? It makes me wonder just what the purpose of registering is exactly. Who is benefiting here? I register my product, like a good citizen, thinking that maybe this is related to my warranty and I'm actually giving my data to a direct marketing company, unaffiliated with Philips Norelco. Now I'll be on ten more mailing lists to receive junk mail. Thanks.
Comes back to why Charlie asked me for my address doesn't it? Even though Brigade is so-far-as-I-can-tell a seperate company from Harte-Hanks. Maybe Brigade is going to sell my information as well, along with the apparent knowledge that I'm a crusty troublemaker. Am I going to like my one-month-free subscription to Crusty TroubleMakers magazine though? You think Ed Magedson, founder of the Bad Business Bureau might be the editor-in-chief?