Customer Service and YOU

by derek on March 6, 2009 · 58 comments

Is customer service alive?
Let me clarify that…..is good, helpful customer service still alive?
Some say yes, while others may say no.
I am going to share with you a couple of stories on how Customer Service is dying and how it is still alive and kicking. 
 
Customer Service is Dead
In December 2007, I bought my husband a 2008 Chevy Corvette for Christmas. Dont ask me what type it is. I have no idea, I just let him pick it out. Well late January this year, one of his headlights went out. To make a long story short, we discovered that the light didnt go out.  The entire casing for the light was malfunctioning. The whole thing needed to be replaced. Since the vette is still under warranty, he put in a service ticket for the headlight casing to be replaced at the place where we bought it. We were told that the part would be here in about 2 weeks. 
Two weeks go by and no phone call. He call up customer service and was immediately put on hold for a long time. He got switched to different people. Come to find out the part was never ordered. Ok, thats fine. Mistakes happen. No big deal.
I make my husband call them after a week full well knowing that the part isnt going to be there but just to make sure the part was ordered. Guess what? It was not. I about flipped out. I asked to speak to upper management to complain. I was put on hold and switched around to different people. When I did speak to someone, not only were they unfriendly they were almost belittling me. Complaining did no good. You would think after buying such a car from them, they would care how their customers were treated. 
Btw, the vette was fixed today.
If you have a story about bad customer service, you might find this forum useful or funny…depending how you feel. You can submit your story to Customer Disservice
 
Customer Service is ALIIIIIIIIVE!!
I have an iPhone and I love it. I am addicted to it. When I am bored, I whip it out of my pocket and entertain myself. I have an app (application) on my phone called State Plate Hunt by Jeremie Weldin. You can find out info about it here (iTunes link) or here. Basically, you can keep track of what license plate you see while out on the road. Living in New Orleans, we get alot of out of towners. I have seen plates anywhere from Alaska to New York. I also went on a family vacation to Orlando and found tons more plates there too. I found all but 10 plates! It took me awhile to find all of them. I even found a few Canadian Provinces. I went to install the latest update for the app. Once the app installed, I went to launch it. When I did, I totally panicked. All of my plates were gone. The new update did not keep my old info. 
I immediately emailed the developer. I explained to him what had happened. I expected to get some sort of response in a few days or so. Wrong. I immediately got a response. He apologized and said he will look into it and let me know when he comes up with a fix. 
Yeah right. He is going to fix my problem? Pffftt. Whatever. 
Just a few days ago, I received an email from Jeremie saying that he fixed the problem and submitted the update to Apple and that it should be available within a week. Wow. Just wow. I emailed him on Sunday about my problem and received a fix on Tuesday. Now, talk about wonderful customer service. 
I wish more companies/people were more like this, more caring and doing more on follow-ups. Apparently, Victoria’s Secret is like this. Now that I got your attention, you can read about how they did a nationwide search for a pair of panties
I ask you, what has been your experience with customer service? Have you received bad service lately? What is your take on this topic? Or if you are a company, what are you doing to make sure you have decent customer service?

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul@Xatal - A blog for students March 6, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Yeah, customer service always seems to be pretty hit-or-miss.
When my hard drive failed a year or so ago, Seagate did an excellent job of replacing it promptly and efficiently. Other times I’ve called companies and never really gotten much out of the calls.
Even when it’s an individual developer — like that iPhone app — it’s the same way. If the developer genuinely cares about his software, he’ll fix it quickly, but if it was more of a side-project, your problem will probably be shunned.
Pauls last blog post..Turn off all of your statistic monitors on your blog. Right now.

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andrea March 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

if the companies would know that if they treat us customers nicely and with respect, they could possibly get a repeat sale! That is what I dont get, you would think they would put forth effort to get us coming back.

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Cashmere March 7, 2009 at 8:05 am

CRM is needed in every major company today.

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Harvey@Free PS3 March 8, 2009 at 3:31 am

I hate it when you ring a company and it’s automated help. My xbox got RROD the other day so i rang Microsoft and this automated guy called Max answered. He asked me what my problem was e.t.c but i wanted to talk to a real person. It tooke me about 15 minutes to actually get through to someone on the phone!

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andrea March 8, 2009 at 8:04 pm

yeah, nothing burns me more than an automated system. what is worse is when you get one that you have to talk into. like…
phone: say one for yes, two for no
me: one
phone: im sorry, i couldnt hear you. please repeat your answer. say one for yes, two for no.
Me: one
phone: Done? ok! (thinking I had said done instead of one) thank you for calling, have a nice day!
me: NooooOOoooOOOOooo!!!

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Ed Lau March 8, 2009 at 9:53 am

Customer service has been dead for a long time. I mean, my time as a “Computer Specialist” at a local store is testament to how dead it is. The decay can be traced to the overall decline of retail as we know it. Internet commerce is quickly becoming more easy and convenient and in turn, retail stores are getting more scarce. Those that haven’t closed are cutting back and less wages lead to disgruntled employees.
I mean, I was hard working prior to the elimination of our commissions. After that, it was just a non-stop competition to see who could give the worst customer service possible.
Actually, to be honest, I hate it when employees come up to me in stores and ask me how I’m doing. If I need them, I’d be sure to ask but otherwise, I couldn’t possibly need less help or fewer people bothering me while I’m shopping.
Ed Laus last blog post..World of Warcraft – I’m Back!

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Khaled March 9, 2009 at 4:12 am

The thing I hate the most is being transferred from department to department, you should be able to select the option when you are phoning and be dealt with by the person you speak to. I also hate being put through to call centres abroad who hardly speak any English and have a tendency to cut you off if they can’t understand. Good customer service helps to ensure a company retains their customers so it makes sense to provide a good service.

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ann@Dieta March 9, 2009 at 8:01 am

Maybe now when the economy is failing emplyees will be more scared of losing their jobs and therefore nicer to clients. Although I doubt that…

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Terry @ Lighting Glossary March 9, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I agree CRM is key!

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Ling@Uptake March 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Worst thing is when your modem stops working on a Friday, and they tell you someone will drop by on Monday. And then you sit around hopping mad for the entire weekend. And then, of course, you have to stay home Monday, and then by the time their support guy shows up late after lunch, checks your modem and says you need a new one and they’re out of stock… Well, you’re just about ready to stuff the modem up his you know what.
Lings last blog post..A Review of Hotel Metasearch Sites – TravelPost, UpTake, Trivago, Kayak etc.

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Steve@trade show displays guru March 9, 2009 at 5:58 pm

hey Andrea,
Nice post. And your husband is a lucky man. 🙂
Unfortunately I’ve got more “bad” stories than “good”. I’m surprised about the ‘vette, especially for what they cost. I would say that in the old days, companies that had poor customer service would go under, but I’m not so sure that’s the case today (they seem to get bailed out instead). Glad to hear the ‘vette finally got fixed! ~ Steve, the trade show displays guru
Steves last blog post..Green Trade Show Displays

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Lil Wayne fan March 15, 2009 at 2:10 am

I suspect one of the benefits of a tough economy is that customer service will be much better… fewer customers, and the realization from workers and companies that the effort will help retain/gain those that still can spend money.
Lil Wayne fans last blog post..Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Introduces Gorilla Zoe’s ‘Echo’

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Gry Dla Dzieci June 4, 2009 at 12:57 am

Or they will try saving even more by cutting on customer service. Sometimes those big companies act really retarded.
Gry Dla Dziecis last blog post..Odkrywanka

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Neil@Free Wii March 15, 2009 at 5:19 am

I work in customer service and do not believe it to be dead. We work hard to make sure all the customers are treated well.

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InternetStrategist@GrowMap March 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm

The next time anyone has an issue with a vehicle that is still under the manufacturer’s warranty the person to contact is the regional Warranty Manager for that brand.
Try calling the dealership and asking for the person who handles manufacturer warranty paperwork. They won’t have any reason not to transfer you to that person and THEY should know how to contact the Regional Dealer Representative responsible for consumer complaints about warranty issues.
The latest ways to track our every movement continue to amaze me. You’ve shared that they’ve enlisted the public’s assistance to create a database of license plates traveling outside their home state. What will they think of next? Cars that automatically take photos of the cars traveling in front and behind them?
InternetStrategists last blog post..REVIEW: Mastering Google Analytics – Easy to Understand FREE eCourse

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calcular ruta March 17, 2009 at 2:55 am

I think that the customer service don´t alive.

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fava@web hosting reviews March 18, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Had a similar experience with some open source software.
I found a bug that made the software useless to me, so I sent an email to the developer telling him that it was broken and what broke it.
4 hours later it was fixed and I was using it.
4 Hours. To top it off this is for something that he gave away for free.
Customer service is not dead, its just a question of priorities.

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Sanavas March 19, 2009 at 4:08 am

customer service management is very important part of any company. Customer is king and it is an important thing to consider
Sanavass last blog post..Create a Blog at a Mouse Click

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Chat March 20, 2009 at 3:16 am

if the companies would know that if they treat us customers nicely and with respect, they could possibly get a repeat sale! That is what I dont get, you would think they would put forth effort to get us coming back.

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Justin@Airsoft Guns March 24, 2009 at 4:56 am

I think it really depends on the business. Of course there are going to be some that offer poor quality service, but then there are others that really shine.

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Nikita@bisnis lewat internet May 12, 2009 at 12:51 am

I agree with you, its diferrent for each businnes and other.
Nikitas last blog post..One Click Social Bookmarking for Your Blog

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Dental Marketing March 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm

And I thought I was the only who had such problems with customer service! Nice to know I’m not alone.

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Pink MP3 Players March 26, 2009 at 7:19 am

Here in Japan, I experience the best customer service that I have ever received from anywhere in the world. Even convenience store clerks are the friendliest and helpful. Sometimes to me as an American it seems over the top, but I guess compared to the U.S. it would be.
Gas station attendants bow 2-3 times and thank you numerous times, and even stop traffic for you to get out of the parking area, and as you pull away you can see them bowing again in your rear view mirror.

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Andrea April 6, 2009 at 8:29 am

hmm, interesting. i wonder if where we live is a factor in it all.

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Rhys April 6, 2009 at 6:26 am

Hi Derek
A tender topic. I am strong on never going back to places where customer service is bad. They sowed it, they reap it!
And of course I am really loyal to shops that do try!
Off topic, but:
Have you seen the ‘review’ of your site on Tuscson SEO Solutions? (day 74)
Cheers – Rhys
Rhyss last blog post..The 109 Day Link Building Explosion Review

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Andrea April 6, 2009 at 8:27 am

hmm, i took a look but i didnt see anything for day 74 or 73.

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Rhys April 6, 2009 at 6:30 am

Whoops, should be Day 73!
R

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Lloyd April 7, 2009 at 11:06 am

I think every company should have a living human being, who can speak proper English, answering the Customer Service Department – not some automated service. I get so tired of listening to computer-generated voices telling me to push a number that only takes me to another computer-generated voice telling me to push another number — which eventually takes me to a real person who can barely speak English!

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Michelle April 17, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I have had horrible problems with car dealerships. The toyota dealership tried starting a fight with my husband and then the cadillac dealership acts like they are above everyone. I have no idea why these dealerships act like this, but if several of them go out of business it will be ok with me.

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BMB April 17, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Good question. I think it is still alive, but has been dying slowly for a while. Companies who are smart can differentiate themselves in a big way with quality service.
BMBs last blog post..Personalized Baby Blanket – Bath Time Fun

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Wisconsin Car Dealers April 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I’ve heard some butcher horror stories about customer service, and not too many great service stories. I don’t know, I think i have to agree that Customer Service is dead, the people that do take care are the rare service providers.

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Komodo Dragon May 2, 2009 at 12:21 am

I can’t recall any big upset experiences that I have had with customer service, I suppose most of the bad experiences have been with getting a representative on the line that speaks very bad english, that I can barely understand them.
Till then,
Jean

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Spyware May 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm

you wouldn’t believe how irritating it is trying to call and getting put on hold for extended periods of time.

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Neil@Free Wii May 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I don’t believe customer service is dead. I have worked in Customer service for 9 years and still see some fantastic examples

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Zyapa@nike dunks May 6, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Its really a bad bad world for customer support. They always have lame excuses and false information. I just did ca complaint for my DSL Connection as I was failed to browse anything. Customer support answered me that it is down and it will be up after 5-6 hours. So I had 5-6 hours without internet, that is horrible. I just change alternative and preferred servers in connection and shocked to know that it was working. Customer support representative just wanted to get rid of my call. They are so irresponsible.

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ForexBrokers May 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Oddly enough my two best customer service calls involved and auto repair center and our cell phone service.
The worst cases have always occured when calling our health insurance company. I knew I was getting wrong answers and that they were just trying to get me off the phone. I know this because I used to work there in the call center!
ForexBrokerss last blog post..Dashboard FX – Forex Trading Account Software and Training

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Cat Supply May 31, 2009 at 8:27 am

I can not remember the last time we went to a restaurant and had a good server. I get mad at my husband b/c he does not tip according to service he just always tips 20%. And although noble. It doesn’t show that person that they could have done better.

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Christine June 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

CS has always been crucial but I think in this economy, it’s even more important than ever. We need our customers and there are so many choices, if they don’t like us, there are other places to go!

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Jenifer June 3, 2009 at 11:21 am

Customer service is obviously an major factor making your impression to the people. So every company must pay good attention on customer service. And its nor working well these days. Many organized companies are not maintaining this service properly.
There are exceptions. But very few. You said the right thing. Bravo!!
Jenifers last blog post..Student Loans to Buy a Car : It’s that simple

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tom@A free iPhone June 4, 2009 at 8:57 am

Pah! You should try Emirates fo customer service – I’m not sure they understand the concept. How nice it is when you do receive great service though.

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Adwido June 18, 2009 at 12:17 am

Customer service is dead. Business don’t seem to be as worried about providing good customer service these days. It’s crazy because I think customers are becoming more tolerant of it.

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Ultralight Fishing June 18, 2009 at 9:42 am

Customer services is in fact, not dead, by any means. I run an information technology consulting business in Florida, that was built on customer service. When was the last time you could call someone with a computer question, and got something other than “we start at $75 an hour.”? We built our base on allowing people to call up with simple computer questions, and have them answered in a few minutes … for free.
Customer service is in fact still alive. I intend to make big business insolvent with good old customer service. It does work, when a customer base grows itself, with no marketing.
This is what these large companies don’t understand. They have a board of directors, and shareholders all staring at the bottom dollar. They are so far out of touch, when was the last time they dealt with a customer? When all you see are dollars, you can’t comprehend your customers.
Long winded, but I loved your post. Keep up the good work!

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Odzyskiwanie Danych June 21, 2009 at 7:34 am

I say it all depends on the specific case. A good friend of mine is working as a head of a call center for HP, and I know they try hard and do well. On the other hand, I’ve tried contacting my local branch with a problem and got absolutely nowhere.

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Dave Brown June 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I’m glad that you had such a good experience with apple, but me personally I’ve had a horrible time with apple. Their quote unquote genius’s are far from that. Everytime ive had them take a look at my ipod they seem to not even know which way is up.

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Timmy@lowbooksales July 9, 2009 at 3:35 pm

working in the service industry it is the foundation for a good business. not only does good customer service cause repeat business, but is also great for word of mouth

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Sean@Bathtime Kids August 3, 2009 at 7:48 am

Yet another fab post. Your blog is great. I love coming here to catch your latest ramblings.

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Dan August 10, 2009 at 11:21 am

Customer Service is one of those things that you’re never bothered about it until you require it. As soon as you require it it becomes the most important aspect of a company.
.-= Dan´s last blog ..Woop! I’m on Smashing Magazine! =-.

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Terry @ iphone repair August 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Customer service might not get the initial business but customer service may decide wither you comeback or not.

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John@Trijicon TA31F September 24, 2009 at 10:34 am

I have found that going the extra mile generally makes a big difference in getting the sale these days. We don’t have an automated answering system – when you call, you always get a human. We take the time to work with our customers and they come back to us time and time again because of it.
I have encountered a couple companies with poor customer service recently and a couple with great service. The one with the poorest service is the United States Postal Service. They lost a package – it was likely stolen by an employee. They are very slow to call us back and they really don’t care because you have no recourse with the government.
An example of great service – I bought a Razor gaming mouse on Woot.com back in December. I got it and it didn’t work. I emailed Razor and got an RMA. I sent it by USPS and after about 2 months, I started wondering where it was. I emailed Razor and asked – they never received it. It must have been lost in the mail. I didn’t insure it b/c it was broken and I only paid like $35 for it in the first place. I told Razor I couldn’t find the receipt and basically told them it wasn’t worth my time to keep looking for it. They ended up sending me a brand new mouse anyway. That is what I call good service. I bought 3 more of their mice last month.
.-= John@Trijicon TA31F´s last blog ..Trijicon TA01NSN ACOG on Sale =-.

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Krystian@Hotels Hastings October 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm

For me it really depends on the place where you go to.
In some big shops you have a really bad customer support while in some others, you get a great customer support.
I was buying a vending machine recently and was talking to the salesman and not only the whole process was great but the communication afterwards and the support.
In some hotels in my area (East Sussex) you can get a receive a decent customer support, while in other hotels it’s almost perfect.

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Zurich@canadian mortgage insurance quotes October 8, 2009 at 1:56 am

do you mean that customer service is a disgusting part of having phones, ipods, and other related gadgets? uhmm.. i cannot definitely say i agree with you. perhaps, some have points when they say they are annoyed when the operator cannot comprehend what they mean to say. but i guess they must not generalize at all. anyway.. sometimes, the problem belongs to the network not to the operator.
I salute those customer services. it is not an easy task at all.

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Naomi October 9, 2009 at 3:10 am

hi,
its nice to hear that you have got a good customer support in these days.Obviously a good customer support is required in every field as we are not experts. The problems with most of the companies is that they provide automated systems and machines cannot understand the urgency of us.So they have to look in to the recorded complaints frequently and have to sort out the problems very quickly.The key terms for customer support are quality and timely. Then only customers will be satisfied and will be back and they can also grow.

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Naomi October 9, 2009 at 3:14 am

hi,
its nice to hear that you got a good customer support in these days. Customer support is required in each and every field as everybody are not experts. So these support guys will have to take the complaints frequently and have to sort out the problems quickly.The keywords for customer support are quality and timely. With a good customer support people will be satisfied and so does the companies with their increased sales.

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ANSH@walmart black friday ad November 2, 2009 at 3:15 am

I would like to say some think about that topic, customer service is a facility which is offered by the resource to their client to solve its problems if the client is facing any kind of problem regarding to that product. It make a healthy relationship between the customer and the service provider.
.-= ANSH@walmart black friday ad´s last blog ..2009 Cyber Monday Ads, Sales, Deals Specials =-.

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Bob January 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Dude, I used to work for a customer service base car rental company and the whole premise is BS. Eg: This is a cool shirt, and will make a great gift for website hosting.

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Free Itunes Codes February 15, 2010 at 4:09 am

Apple Has Always Had Good Customer Service. I know I was having a problem with my iphone syncing up with Itunes and they really helped me through it.

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Get Free iTunes Codes October 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

My apple iPhone was continually losing power until I read this website. I enjoyed how your page went from DEAD to Alive! It really cracked me up.
I’m really enjoying my iPhone 4 now! Talk to you guys later!

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