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Survey: Top 7 tech gripes | TechBlog | - Houston Chronicle

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November 29, 2009

Survey: Top 7 tech gripes


Jay Tamboli : Flickr/CC

We love technology, except when we don't.

And when we don't is when it's more of a hindrance than a help, especially when it's misused or when it simply doesn't work as it should.

Then, it drives us bonkers.

Consumer Reports asked 1,125 Americans to rank 21 common gripes on a scale of 1-10, and the results appeared in the January 2010 issue - the same print edition that includes the wireless provider survey I wrote about Saturday. And like the cell phone piece, this story isn't on the magazine's Web site.

What's interesting is that, of the 21 complaints, a full third are tech related. The tech complaints and their rankings are, in order of their appearance on the list:

• Not getting a human on the phone - 8.9, No. 2 on the list.

• Cell phone use by drivers - 8.0, No. 4.

• Unreliable Internet service - 7.6, No. 7.

• Discourteous cell phone use - 7.6, No. 8.

• Spam - 7.5, No. 10

• Unreliable cell phone service - 7.0, No. 13

• Passwords and PINs - 6.1, No. 20.

A disclaimer says that "Differences of fewer than 0.4 points are not meaningful", which means a lot of the complaints are lumped together. Unreliable Internet service and discourteous cell phone use, for example, get the same ranking as dog poop.

The story also breaks some of the complaints out by demographic categories. For example, women are more irked by passwords and PINs than men; older people are more upset by cell use while driving and spam than younger people. Oh, and urban residents are a lot more pissed off about dog poop than their country cousins.

Personally, I'd rank the tech items a lot differently. My top tech complaint would be unreliable Internet service, followed by unreliable cell service, discourteous cell use, spam, cell use while driving, not getting a human on the phone and passwords/PINs.

How would you rank the tech complaints? And is there anything that's not on the list that should be? Please leave a comment.

Oh, and be sure to read Bill Montgomery's thoughts on how air travel fares on the list in his Houston Departures blog.


Posted by Dwight at November 29, 2009 10:46 AM
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I would modify "Not getting a human on the phone" to "Not getting the right human on the phone." Most of the time I need tier 2 or 3 support, so I've unfortunately resorted to being short or even rude with the first person answering the call. This usually expedites the call, although sometimes they just hang up on me.

I don't see the big deal about discourteous cell phone use. Leaving the ringer on in a movie is bad, but talking on the phone in an elevator isn't an issue for me.

Posted by: Tim at November 29, 2009 12:54 PM

Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish

Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 to pay your bill, Press 3 for Tech Support

Press 1 for Product A, Press 2 for Product B, Press 3 for Product C, etc etc.

Please hold while your call is transferred.

Click, click, Dial Tone.................................

Posted by: davesmall at November 29, 2009 02:11 PM

After reading this you should go to youtube and search for "everything is amazing nobody is happy" and watch the vid of CK Louis on Conan O'Brien. It puts some prospective on electronics and being happy.

Posted by: Tom Hundley at November 29, 2009 03:35 PM

Robot_voice>Please enter your 10 digit phone number at the beep.
Me> enter beep beep beep etc.
Human_voice> Hello - Customer Service - How may I help you?
Me> Yes I'm having problems with my .
Human_Voice> What is your phone number?

Posted by: Brazos at November 29, 2009 04:10 PM

Dwight, the problem is when you get a human on the phone with an accent so foreign it's impossible to understand. For example, ever call Xbox technical support? You'll be dialing India. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Astro at November 29, 2009 08:52 PM

Ranking seems reasonable. I would think people are tired of replacing batteries for more than what the whole item costs new.

Posted by: NoWhining at November 30, 2009 02:56 AM

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