Okay, this has NOTHING to do with insurance, but it does relate to customer service and, more critically, goodwill.
Our home is warm, inviting, comfortable, and almost 50 years old (much like its owners). Unfortunately, some of the existing telephone wiring dates back to Bell & Watson, which has caused us, over the years, to purchase approximately 897 cordless phones, hoping to find "the one" that will work without interference.
Imagine my delight in finding that the new DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone) technology offers exactly the kind of performance for which I'd been so fruitlessly shopping. I looked around, and found a very cool GE model (sleek, flat, black and BOSE-quality sound). I bought the single base unit because I've been burned before, and didn't want to eat two phones.
No worries, it works flawlessly.
Well, except for one small detail: I have looked all over the web for the expansion handset, visited every local brick-and-mortar, and come up completely empty-handed.
No problem, I'll just drop GE an email asking where to purchase a model #28106. I was that specific in my email. Here's their (idiotic) reply:
"Thank you for your recent inquiry about where to buy GE telephones. GE Telephones can be purchased from retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, RadioShack, etc... You can also purchase GE products from www.home-electronics.net. If you are looking for GE Telephone Accessories (such as optional handsets, replacement batteries, headsets, etc...), there is an Accessory Order Form in the back of your instruction book to order by mail or you can call our toll-free number (1-800-338-0376) to order by credit card."
Um, NO!!! you can't. None of these stores stock this item, either on the web or down the street. And when I call your stupid 800 numbers, they refer me to other 800 numbers, which refer me back to the original one. I did manage to find one -- just one -- actual human being (Chris) who pointed me to Pronto.com. They do have quite the selection, just not (apparently), the one I want.
What's so utterly frustrating is that GE had (apparently completely by accident) built an enormous amount of goodwill with their product, which they've now squandered by making it well-nigh impossible to buy another (compatible) product.
I wonder if there's a lesson in this.