Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Kudos to Plextor

All too often, when someone writes about an interaction with a tech support organization, it’s to vent. So it’s only fair to write about good experiences as well.

My CD-RW drive had been dodgy for quite some time, and completely unreliable for burning CDs. (It started acting up during the production of telynor‘s Java Sutra project, though I think it was just crap. It’s some no-name brand that was installed by the people who built my computer.)

Given that prices have come way down, I decided that rather than buying a new CD-RW, I would invest in a DVD burner. After doing a bit of research (including consulting with eloren), I decided on the Plextor PX-708A DVD+-RW drive, which was available from Best Buy for a good price, and had a $30 rebate attached.

Got home, disassembled the computer, and removed the current DVD and CD-RW drives. Rejumpered the DVD-Rom to be a slave to the Plextor, cabled everything up, and rebooted. Everything came up and the computer recognized hardware changes, eventually telling me “I found a DVD-RW drive.” So far, so good. I was a bit surprised that it identified the drive as an NEC rather than a Plextor, but I chalked that up to a generic driver on Windows XP’s part. Consulting Plextor’s website suggested that I should need no drivers for an XP system, but did note a firmware upgrade was available for my drive. So I downloaded it and ran it. And it said “You don’t have a drive of this type”.

NOW I’m concerned. I check the support page and find that their phone support is open for another half-hour, so I give them a call. A real live person named James answered the phone on the second ring after punching through to tech support. We ran through a few diagnostics, and he admitted to me that he’d never heard of this happening before, but suggested that we remove a particular entry in the registry and reboot, forcing the computer to re-recognize the drive. On the way to booting, I decided to take a side trip into the BIOS to see what it detected there and found that it too was seeing an NEC drive. James at this point theorized that they must have blown the wrong code into the drive at the factory, and recommended that I return it and exchange it to get one that isn’t defective. Fortunately, Best Buy has a very streamlined returns process, so this was painless, and when I got home with a new package, it installed properly right away.

Today, I called their support line back, partly to let them close the ticket, but also to get the e-mail for James’ manager. I sent this e-mail to his boss:

I just wanted to write and compliment one of your tech support representatives.

I called last night and spoke with James about problems I was having with my new Plextor DVD+-RW drive. For some reason, the drive was identifying as an NEC rather than a Plextor (even at the BIOS level!), and refused to be identified by a firmware upgrade.

Although this was not a problem that anyone had ever encountered before, James was very thorough checking all the possible resolutions before suggesting that I return the drive the store and exchange it. We speculated that the factory must have blown the wrong code into the drive causing it to misidentify itself.

James was very personable and easy to work with, and because of this I had one of the best support experiences I’ve had in a long time.

As a computer professional who has worked in a variety of support environments, I know how frustrating the job can be and how seldom a customer bothers to commend a good job, so I wanted to make sure and write in and relate my experiences.

Plextor is very fortunate to have such a great employee in their support department.

I’m very pleased that Plextor has such a good support department, and if my experience is in any way typical, I recommend them as a vendor.


Maybe it’s just me…


MST3K presents “Dark Dungeons”


  1. Go you! My experience is that people have a tendency to complain rather than compliment, so it’s rare for me to hear about any compliment about tech support.

    Now, about the rebate…..did it require you to send the UPC in? There’s a computer show on the radio here and one of the callers recounted his experience with rebates and failed drives. It turned out that the place he bought it wouldn’t accept it for return because the UPC code was already clipped out.

    Oh yeah…..I take it that NEC was not the OEM for this drive.

  2. Yeah, been there

    I had a related experience a number of years ago. It was with a code library we were using for a game I was working on. I had a problem getting their stuff to run, and called the support number the guy who answered the phone was very helpful. He was neither dismissive of my problem, nor tried to make it my fault. Nor was he bothered about having to take a little time to dig into just what I’d been trying to do. (This was a code library, after all, and there were many things I might have been trying to make it do.) He solved my problem cheerfully, on that occasion and on another one a little later in the project. At the end of the project, I called back specifically to ask to speak to his supervisor, so that I could put in some well-deserved praise for him. Turns out it was a very small company: I’d been dealing with the president. Funny, but all the more impressive. So I told him to give himself a raise.

  3. It’s goof to know that you give positive feedback as well as negative (thinking of a particular dining experience while you were in Boston), equally thoroughly. 🙂

  4. Having survived a six-year hitch doing tech support for computer software, I can tell you that it is always very nice to get an appreciative letter from a satisfied customer. Good for you.

  5. Go you! So many people who complain about bad experiences never speak up when they have really good ones. I, too, try to make sure that service providers know when I have an exceptionally-good encounter with one of their employees. No idea if it gets the folks better raises, but I hope it at least brings some smiles.

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