I fell prey to a fantastic and colorful email advertisement from Iomega on Tuesday night. I was successfully enticed to purchase their brand-new 400gig Firewire/USB external hard disk drive. I am working on a lot of projects right now that require huge image files and having a place to store them off my main system is a dream, I thought, that would finally come through with this fine Iomega purchase. I paid $380 for the drive plus $30 for FedEx Next-Day shipping. I was about to be wallowing in gigabyte bliss! The order was processed on Wednesday and it arrived yesterday at 10:00am. When I opened the box I was pleased to find a welcoming, hot pink, instruction sheet with a 2004 Copyright inviting me to call, toll-free, if I had any technical problems with the drive. Knowing Iomega would stand behind me if there was an ounce of trouble with the drive was a comfort. I unwrapped the gigantic drive. I carefully followed the setup instructions and finally plugged the drive into my Windows XP system. Windows successfully recognized and setup the drive as a USB device. Yes! Then I clicked on My Computer to see the new drive in action and… Nothing. The drive was not listed. I re-traced my steps. I checked the Iomega website. I forced a Windows Update on my machine. Nothing helped. I removed the drive from Device Manager and re-added it and…
Still nothing. I decided to use my hot pink toll-free invitation to call Iomega for some help on getting Windows XP to recognize this new drive as a hard drive and not just as a USB device.
Ron at Iomega answered the tech support line and my relationship with Iomega came to a shuddering end. I told Ron my problem. Ron told me to hang up and call a (412) toll number instead. I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly. I shared my hot pink invitation with Ron. I asked him why I should pay for the toll call to tech support when the drive was less than 20 minutes old and I had ordered it directly from Iomega.
Ron said, “that’s the way we do it around here.” Since Ron was unmovable from his want for me to pay for my toll-free tech support call, I told him I just wanted an RMA number and he could have the entire drive back. Ron transferred me to Customer Service. It’s interesting Iomega would not allow me to use their toll-free number for tech support but they would pay for the call for me to arrange a return of the product.
Matt in Customer service processed the return and asked FedEx Ground to pick up the drive before noon today. I will report the results of my Iomega RMA process here in an ongoing commentary at the end of this article. It is unfortunate my experience with Ron soured a good relationship with Iomega. I have a 250gig Iomega external HDD in glimmering silver right here on my desk that is gagging because it’s stuffed with files. My Iomega drives have never let me down. Only Iomega people, and their toll-free hot pink promises, have disappointed me.
Iomega’s policy of forcing callers who have new drives to hang up on the toll-free Iomega (888) tech support number and call back on a toll line is a bad sign. In my experience that sort of behavior usually means a company is having financial trouble.
When tech support policy gets snarly and penny-biting, it is the consumer who gets pinched. The price of that unnecessary gnashing of teeth is the loss of customer loyalty. I wasn’t asking for special treatment. I was only asking Iomega to honor the promise on their hot pink invitation.
I have no interest in interacting with Iomega again and I will enforce that decision with my billfold.