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You may understand I am a little upset about a response I got from one company's Customer Service department if I copy this comment I made elsewhere regarding them:

They seem to give about as effective support as half a wet tissue instead of a bra to a woman with 40DD boobs and give marginally less valuable service than a chimp in a mechanic's costume working on a Maserati Grantourismo
I have about 90 minutes to seeth before their office opens and get the name and direct email address for the head honcho at the national office of this multinational. The Far Eastern headquarters of the group may be a bit puzzled if they use a translation program on some of the language.

It might not win but I reckon it will walk away in the category "Email reply with most errors and highest negative customer reaction in fewest words"

Unless of course you would like to add your own contender after reading it past the orange thingy.

Bit of explanation. The fault is in a TV recording box from this maker which to a new standard. That's from a consortium of equipment makers and others so a customer knows they should work in a similar fashion with a similar look - think a tighter version of Android in phones.

As its new on the market there are some software teething problems which regular program updates should address. Some have already been fixed and new features like using an iPhone to remotely set recordings added. Annoyingly for me, the standard feature so you can backup recordings to a computer USB hard drive has not been added yet.

This glitch is very well known to happen sometimes, it hit one of the big batch the consortium have on permanantly as a soak test, it's one of the noted glitches on their bulletin board and the company have stated they are working on it. Over 1000 people were sent boxes in a big trial before launch to comment on how the standard menus all will use etc work. Most went to people a bit gadget freaky (yeah me!) only because trial applications were only publicised through alerts on discussion board related to AV equipment. I suspect this was a bit deliberate as the closed board for triallists had been opened to provide "community support" by the consortium.

You've possible had your (Windows) computer do a recovery after it did not close properly.  The thing starts up and usually everything's fine. One the few occasions this glitch hits your PC doing a similar thing would have deleted all your files, everything as if you had a new computer. In this case the DVR deletes all your recordings after rebooting for no apparent reason.

To carry on the analogy, you likely know that files do not disappear the moment you press "Delete". Even after you empty the waste basket or trash can, despite the dire warnings all that happens is the area where those files are on your drive can be overwritten. So its reasonably easy for specialist programs to dig around and retrieve a lot if not all your data. (Lesson here is, take advice if you give away or sell on an old computer. Your personal data like bank account details may still be there.) More difficult to retrieve data (but possible with specialised forensic equipment) "reformatting" the drive will make most inaccessible - the minute changes to the physical structure leave a "ghost image" so even reformatting can still leave sufficient evidence in legal cases.

So when about 150 hours, including a couple of event live broadcasts I wanted to refer to write a diary I plan for year round-up, Did the "reset and delete" routine act like your computer reformatting a disc or did it act like the ordinary delete so one of the far more knowledgeable program writers who lurk on the discussion boards might write a recover files program, Like most such boxes these use the Linux operating system and, as you can see, I am more familiar with Windows. That's not as fanciful as it sounds - a couple of people have cooperated to rewrite large chunk of the software on a previous DVR from this company to add and improve the "official" and added remote recording bookings to it. Every time I asked, all I got was the official response that the recordings once deleted cannot be watched.

My last attempt by email explained all this, that I knew the official response but was it the equivalent of a "empty waste basket" or "reformat drive". The "waste basket" scenario might not help with the diary I am writing but as it would mean a possible 3rd party program might surface.  If the latter: I suspected that the crash may be related to brief garbled segments in recordings I had noticed, likely from faults on the hard drive. In which case I wanted a warranty replacement. Very technical but fairly straight if their technician knew anything about the program. So this, minus "Dear Customer" and "regards" at top and tail is the reply.

Sorry recordings cannot be retrieved if you reset or retuned the unit as
this wipes recordings.
OK another version of the "official" reply I had before and no use but what about the warranty if they were adamant nothing could be done?

Then I looked more closely at those 16 words. I realised that the last 11 are so badly composed they contain two factual errors about the box and put all the blame for loosing thier recordings back on the consumer, without even acknowledging the company has been aware of the problem, publicly stated via the consortium they are working on it and they have not identified why it is triggered.

Somebody thought that using the everyday "you reset" rather than the more correct "box is reset" usage, it would be admirable "Plain English". Or just do not understand what they had written or copied from a standard script. Quite apart from the accusation that you, the consumer are responsible by your own deliberate action rather than the known software glitch doing it, what else?

Look at the "or". That means there are two options for this circumstance. Rephrasing one it warns:

  "If you retune the unit, all your recordings will be deleted"

Think about it. They are saying if I move from London with one set of UHF frequencies and move to Leeds where reception is from different transmitters using different frequencies, I cannot retune my recorder to receive TV at my new home if I want to keep my recordings?

What about all the re-allocation of frequencies when the UK finished the change to all digital TV and clearing space for new 4G services? Most homes had 2 retunes to new local frequencies a couple of months back in the phasing. Many had to do a manual retune because the frequencies switched in many cases between 5 am and noon while most boxes with automatic retunes perform a check at about 3 am. I did and no recordings were lost, does that mean I had a faulty box then?

Clearly nonsense unless you replace "or" with "and". Then it makes sense, unless you are familiar with the operation of the box.

The customer has two options on the service menu. One resets the box and indeed deletes the recordings. The other option retains recordings. Until (I think) mid October the "retain" option was hidden in a special engineer's menu. To access it you push the right buttons in a special sequence and it pops up. The code had done the rounds of the boards so most of the regulars knew about it, if they did not remember the code. The glitch looked a simple case of the programmer of the recovery program pointing it to the "delete" rather than "retain" sub-routine (which maybe should have been checked when the glitch first hit?)

So anyone can now reset their box without deleting Before it was open for all and had to do a reset, if they phoned for help, they should have been told how to use the hidden option. So the whole thing is nonsense as worded. But if you admit the glitch used the wrong sub-routine and not blame your customer, or simply it happened because of a program error the company is working on and advise people how long it should take to add the features that should have been working from day 1; would they have fewer customers like me (if I'd paid for it) would want their money back and never purchased a thing your company makes again?

Right, 16 words,  one incorrect causing 2 factual error from the phrasing and lack of knowledge compounded by using an idiom which also blames the owner for doing something they did not. The monkey who wrote it is probably at their desk now sweetly innocent that one very annoyed customer is trying to find the biggest company organ grinder in the country to let rip about their antics.

OK the glitch itself is not as bad as Apple's new mapping system sending people to the middle of the Australian desert, 47 miles from the town they wanted to be and probably out of gas. I could have told them about the unsuccessful efforts I have made for about 7 years to get the electronic map company they use to acknowledge that the Google Earth images, the photos at ground level and other people's maps show the new road and buildings closeby missing from their's. I've pointed the 2 policemen to the emergency incident they were trying to attend but could not get their satnav to find it, Metropolitan Police central control cannot see the road if you try to refer to it.  I first noticed it when all the deliveries to my apartment block started getting delayed or go missing because of a name change, not to mention the gallop down the road to get the taxi sent to take a neighbor to hospital.  

But does the email I received make Title Contender?? Or do you have a better?

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