I was all set to rip the EA/Rock Band support a new one on yesterday's HotSpot.
Okay, let me back up a bit. You see, like many Rock Band players, I've had problems with my hardware--specifically my guitar (bad strum bar) and my drums (unresponsive pads). A few weeks back, I decided to send them back and get replacement hardware. As you might know, there's two methods for sending hardware back for replacement:
1) The Rock Band folks send you an empty in which you send back your defective equipment, then wait for a new hardware item to be shipped back to you. OR
2) You can have a new hardware unit sent to you immediately, along with an emtpy shipping box in which you can ship back your busted unit. This method is obviously the preferable one, except that EA puts a (pretty hefty) charge on your credit card, which is then refunded once the defective item is received.
Now, for my particular screwed-up drums and my guitar, I used both methods. Figuring I could hold off on drums for a while, I sent out for the emtpy box to send them back in. But, because I'm a fan of the Rock Band Strat (when it works), I wanted a new guitar right away, so I requested a replacement axe and let them charge my card.
Things started out easily enough. The new guitar and boxes to send back the defective equipment came quickly and, within a week or so, I had a new guitar and my old equipment sent back to EA for replacement. As an aside, the packing instructions for the drums were nearly impossible to understand and it took me a half hour to figure out how to get them in the box properly. I also packed in my bass drum pedal into the box--which would turn out to be a mistake. But more on that in a bit.
The replacement guitar has held up pretty well so far, even though there's something rattling in its innards when I move it around, and the star power tilt doesn't really work that well. I suspect I'll be sending this one back at some point but, as long as the strum bar continues to work, I'll hold on to it.
Because I received the guitar so quickly, I began to wonder just when my new drums would arrive. It took longer than I hoped--I received the new kit yesterday, nearly a month after I began the RMA process. Coincidentally, I also received an e-mail from EA support yesterday, indicating that they hadn't yet received my guitar that I had sent out with my defective drums. Wait, what? How is it that they received my defective drums and sent out a replacement, yet hadn't received my guitar, which I sent out simultaneously?
Hot under the collar (and all prepared to let loose on them on the HotSpot) I first made my first call to the EA Rock Band support number and explained my situation. The pleasant voice on the other end explained to me that the message I received was automated and that they had indeed received my guitar. That was a relief, but I wish they'd do a better job of keeping you informed during the RMA process with e-mails.
So, with my new drums here, I ran home last night and unpacked the new kit and... well, remember when I said above that I had packed my original bass drum pedal with my defective drums? As you might expect, the replacement drum kit they sent did not include a replacement bass drum pedal. When you think about it, it makes sense. After all, it was my drum pads that were experiencing problems, not my kick drum pedal. So sending the pedal back was definitely my mistake.
Completely pissed at my own stupidity, I called Rock Band support back and talked to the friendly support person (and make no mistake, these people are friendly. Halfway during the call, I wanted to get her thoughts on The Wire finale and felt like asking her if she was reading any good books). After meekly explaining to her my mistake, she set me up to send a new bass drum pedal my way, no questions asked. I hung up the phone with a huge smile on my face.
I consider this entire experience a lesson learned. After years of putting up with bad service for everything from cable service to PC help, I think we're pre-disposed to impatience and anger when dealing with phone support. But, despite the occasional quibble in process, the Rock Band/EA system, at least from my point of view, is a model of how an expensive product should be supported.
So, how has your experience with Rock Band customer support been?