Cratchit Hall of Fame: Toasts to HP, Symantec, and Verizon

Most of the time, when it comes to tech customer service, we have to lower our expectations. But every once in a while, you get more than you hoped for

Three readers have come forward with nominations for Gripe Line's year-end Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame awards, each having gotten more than they expected from vendors this year.

First up, Gripe Line reader Phil nominates Hewlett-Packard customer service for coming through when his Mini needed it most.

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Phil had purchased an HP Mini with damage coverage. "I figured the machine would be exposed to a lot more potential abuse," he writes. "And wouldn't you know, about two months later I spilled a cup of soup on it. I got in touch with HP; they sent me a package to ship it in; and I shipped it. HP sent it back within a week with a new motherboard. I thought that was excellent service. Since then, the Mini has run perfectly and I'm a happy camper."

Gripe Line reader Conrad also sent in a Cratchit nomination, heralding Symantec for doing the right thing in the face of rejection.

"My company is retiring Symantec's Backup Exec and NetBackup in favor of a competitor's backup product," Conrad writes. "As part of the transition, we transferred support for existing installations to a new team. Symantec came in and gave that team presentations on its products, essentially covering the 10 percent that's needed for 90 percent of situations. They also provided documentation and links to the versions of software the team would need. I wouldn't have blamed them if they'd said, 'We'll get back to you.'"

Meanwhile, Nick was surprised when a simple question put to a Verizon customer service representative netted him better service for less money.

"I've had Verizon FiOS for several years. When I saw their promotion touting 25/15Mbps speeds this past summer, I called and asked what it would take to move to the new speed. The agent pulled up my record and pointed out I would have to commit to a one-year contract," Nick writes. "Then she said my bill might actually end up being lower. So I asked about my TV package. She explained Verizon no longer offered my current package but a new bundle had more HD channels. She finally summarized the situation: 'Your Internet speed will go from 15/5 to 25/15; you'll get more HDTV channels; and your monthly bill will drop about $50. Some of the changes may not take effect 'til tomorrow morning. Is there anything else I can do for you?" Needless to say, Nick was pleased that he'd picked up the phone.

Did someone treat you right in 2009? Nominate them for the Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame and say thanks. Of course, you can still send your gripes:

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