Saturday, March 31, 2007

NFL and Real.com Team to Mess with Customers?

Last fall I signed up with the NFL through their NFL.com web site for the NFL Fieldpass product.  I think you get access to a bunch of interactive stuff, but I was only interested in one thing.  That was the ability to listen to the radio broadcasts of NFL games.  This mainly started out so I could listen to the San Diego Chargers (since coverage of a West coast team is limited here in NC).  I did find it nice to be able to listen to other games though (e.g. Sunday night games, Monday night games) when I was up here in my office working.  Just some background noise.

Anyway, I decided I wanted to cancel my subscription to the Fieldpass, which is provided via a Real.com subscription (the makers of the RealPlayer).  Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.  First, between the NFL and Real, they make it very hard to find out what you need to do to cancel your subscription.  You have to follow several links and FAQ's to eventually find the answer.

And how do you do it?  You have to call them up on the phone!!!  The number specifically is 1-866-212-1346.  And if you are lucky enough to figure it out ahead of time, you also need to have your account number (something you have to find via a link in the Realplayer software.

So what is up with all of this?  I get service from an on-line web site for an on-line service, but there is no way to cancel it on-line?  Indeed, I have to suspect both the NFL and Real have done this for the sole purpose of frustrating customers - hoping they will get so tired of trying to cancel their accounts, they'll just keep paying. I know there are companies out there that use that strategy.  I just would not have expected it out of companies like the NFL or Real.  Actually, I can almost expect it out of Real, but not the NFL.

That's not the end of this rant though.  Once you have that information, try to actually get it canceled.  First of all, the hours for customer service appear to be 6am - 6pm PST M-F.  Now, the last time I checked these are companies that operate on-line services 24/7/365.  But they can only handle customer service requests during certain periods of time during the week?

Next, once connected, be ready for a long wait.  On Friday, 3/30 I called and was on hold for about 20 minutes.  I finally gave up as I was tired of wasting cell phone minutes.  So, I still have not managed to cancel the service.  But based on this experience so far, as nice as the product was, I will have to start a push to warn people away based on the crappy way these two companies are treating their customers.

1 comment:

  1. A quick update. OK, I was wrong on the hours for Real.com. They also had some on the weekend - why wait until 10:30 a.m. EST to open is beyond me.

    Anyway, it only took a wait of 35 minutes on hold before I finally reached a live person. Several more minutes of providing information (name, e-mail, etc.) even though I had to key in my account number when I first called, and they were finally able to cancel the subscription.

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