Posts Tagged ‘General Motors’

Service of Upgrades that Are and Aren’t

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Photo: pixabay

Shiny Apple

Some upgrades are amazing. Apple gave my iPhone 6 a new lease on life with a recent upgrade that allows it to act pretty much like one of its pricey new phones. I read that this was the latest marketing strategy for the company that formerly encouraged customers to upgrade frequently.

iPhone 6. Photo:

Even so, hearing the word “upgrade” these days sends shivers my way and, in my experience, for good reason.

No Service Self Service

Have you tried the new USPS self service mailing machines? They don’t work. I don’t mean they are complicated—they literally don’t function and the old ones worked like a charm.

I tried to use several at the Grand Central post office on different days and at a satellite office with no employees. The former wouldn’t respond to light or heavy finger touches by me and countless others who ended up behind me on line for a clerk; the scale didn’t work in the latter which was problematic because I had a package to mail.

Exploding Devices

Last week almost 3,000 new body cam devices were pulled from use by the NYC police department. Why? One exploded.

Out of Order Train App & Info Man


The Metro-North app. “TrainTime” has issues. I couldn’t link from the TrainTime app to the specifics about substitute busses for trains I usually take so I stopped in at Grand Central Station’s customer service desk. The link was dead last Friday. The attendant explained that Metro-North needs to upgrade the app. He also misinformed me about the bus situation. Fortunately, another staffer set him—and me—straight. His excuse: “I just got to the desk.”

Not My Car


General Motors emailed to tell me that my 2016 Chevrolet has a soft tire and to bring the car in for service. I knew this had to do with the 2016 we turned in for a 2018 earlier this year because that car always had tire issues. So I informed the dealership, from which we’ve bought and leased cars for 20 years, that GM needs to update its records. When we first dealt with the dealership our salesman took care of everything and there was never a hiccup. Since then it has upgraded with specialists in various areas of the business. This is the second such glitch we’ve encountered since we leased the 2018 model so the specialists aren’t clicking our info in all the right places.

Does the word “upgrade” excite you or make you anxious? Was it always thus? Have you encountered either super or dismal results from a recent upgrade?


Service of Paying Your Bills

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Paying bills 1

At the time I thought my mother was obsessive when she’d send money to her credit card company before leaving on an extended trip. She had a good credit line so she didn’t need to worry about using it up. She pre-paid because she wouldn’t be home to mail the bill in on time. I can’t point fingers at the behavior now as it has rubbed off on me.

Seems thousands of Detroit’s water department customers don’t share this practice. Some 17,000 of them ignored their water bills—including giant corporations, the city and state. I heard Sarah Cwiek describe the situation on NPR. Water at most—but not all–of these accounts was shut off at once.

Drinking water 3Exceptions to the shutoff were General Motors that owes $millions and is disputing the bill and Chrysler that paid its debt. The city owed $20 million for its municipal buildings, has paid $4 million with the rest in review and the state owes $5 million. The state says it isn’t responsible for leaky pipes on the fair grounds and therefore doesn’t owe the money.

Darryl Latimer, deputy director and chief customer service officer of the Detroit water and Sewerage Department told Cwiek he couldn’t say why people ignored their water bills.

Drinking water 2The water department took what some describe as this dramatic step in an attempt to restructure a bankrupt and poorly managed service in record time. In spite of receiving shutoff warning notices with past due bills some felt that before initiating a massive shutoff the department owed its customers a major, widely publicized warning and before shutting off the water, someone should have researched which of the accounts served customers with young children and the elderly. Some approached a UN Panel because they felt the shutoff was a human rights violation. The panel declared it would be such a violation only if it affected people truly unable to pay.

Since I heard the program and began to write the post, Hannah Hendler at The Agenda Project wrote the following in a July 24 email: “DETROIT’S WATER WARS — Detroit placed a temporary halt on dangerous water shutoffs following concerted action by the Detroit Water Brigade, People’s Water Board Coalition, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, We the People of Detroit and many more.”

Are you easygoing or rigorous about paying your bills? Are you more diligent about paying some bills than others? Do you believe that Detroit’s water department should have taken a softer approach to get the money due it? Should there have been any exceptions to the shutoff? How do people expect a waterworks to function without the money to run it?

Water faucet

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