Roku Support Hell??!!

I love Roku. I have been a purchaser, gifter, recommender. You might call me an unpaid evangelist for the danged things. And now, I am more than a bit embarrassed by them. 

I have had a Roku for years.  We loved it so much, two Christmases ago, we gave one to my parents. Last Christmas, I gave one to my sister. Last fall we retired the original Roku to the downstairs TV and picked up a new XDS to go with the HD TV we finally got around to buying. 

I know of at least a  handful of Rokus that other people have purchased, because I told them how amazing and wonderful it is. 

The year I bought one for my parents, there were floods in California and shipping was delayed and lost and the one i ordered was never going to make it in time for the holiday. I called their support line and they worked with me to make sure that a box arrived at my parents house in time, even special overnight shipping it. 

So much can change in 18 months.

One of the people who bought one on my recommendation is a friend. They bought theirs on Dec 1, 2010. The remote died in March. ( ??!!). They have been fighting with customer support ever since to try to get a replacement. 

First they sent an email and got this response: 

From: ROKU Technical Support <>
Date: Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 4:44 PM
Subject: Roku has updated support CaseID #665373

Please note that the below has been entered:

Thank you for contacting Roku Customer Service. My Name is Karthick and I will be helping you with your query.
From your e-mail I understand that your Roku remote is defective and it might need a replacement.
The best way to handle your request is with a quick phone call to our call center.
Roku does not process RMA or return requests by email.
Roku Customer Support can be reached at 888-600-7658 (Roku) Monday to Saturday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM PST.
A knowledgeable Roku support agent will gladly provide assistance..
Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to assist you and thank you for choosing Roku.
Best Regards,
Roku Customer Service
But when they called that number, they told them phone support only lasts for 90 days and they could not help him on the phone line, they should be using either email or chat help.  ( crossed roadsigns anyone??)

The case finally got entered, a remote was supposedly  ordered, so recently,  during a 10 minute break,  my friend decided to hop onto Roku support chat and check the status, see if the remote had been shipped yet:

Notice the  4.5 minutes of silence from Roku once my friend confirmed it was the correct case, then Roku comes back and asks if there is anything else– as if “John” had helped in the first place. The only thing I can figure is that the chat agents are juggling so many windows at once that “John” lost track of who he had helped and who he had not. This is completely unacceptable as a way to run customer service. 
My Friend is at his wit’s end and is honestly ready to  give away the Roku once the remote comes and it is functional again ( you can not use it at all without a remote).
I am just embarrassed to have recommended this product so strongly, and am rethinking.  Maybe it is time to get a Boxee Box and check them out seriously.  

A rock and a hard place…

I just did something I swore I never would… I just googled to see if Verizon FIOS is available locally. Luckily, it is not, so I was saved from that conflicted decision.

Long ago, we were very happy with the internet we got from our local cable company. Then they were consumed by Comcast. Shortly after that Comcast started agressively throttling our bandwidth.

We do not do P2P or illegal file sharing. However, there are two IT professionals in the household who often work from the home office and upload and download large files. Comcast did not like that. I wrote about it three years ago when it was happening. Comcast even replied, but could not unthrottle me. It was unliveable. We switched to ATT/Uverse just a little over 3 years ago.

We have been happy with the service. So much so that I have evangelized it locally and convinced many others to change over. Then came the bandwidth cap decision, which has me concerned and is unresolved.

Add to concerns of much higher charges, in the last week Uverse performance has SUCKED. I will be on the phone with them tomorrow, but this is crazy. We will be watching something On Demand or DVR and it will cut out. We either get a “temporarily unavailable” error message or none at all, but booted out to the main menu “Press OK to watch Uverse”.

This is NOT cheap service. we have a nice package and the fastest Internet connectivity available. That does not seem to matter any more.

I am feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place and it is cold and uncomfortable, with something sharp poking me in the ribs.