I know one should extrapolate too much from limited experience, but I have consistently been receiving terrible customer service over the last couple of weeks, to wit:
(1) I've already blogged about my experience with Speakeasy.net, which led to several readers emailing me similar stories about that company;
(2) I purchased a ticket on the United Airlines website. I discovered that Orbitz was offering the same ticket for $15 less. I tried to take advantage of United.com's low fare guarantee. I emailed all the pertinent information, with a promised response within one business day. Two business days later, I received an email in the late afternoon demanding more information by fax by midnight. I duly sent that information. That was weeks ago, and I have not heard anything since, despite a followup email, to which I received a boilerplate response. And, it's nearly impossible to get to speak to a live human being, and even more difficult to speak to someone who speaks English in the American vernacular, if one calls United's "customer service" department.
(3) My moving company (which I won't name pending how it ulimately resolves the issue, which is currently "under investigation"), a respectable company affiliated with one of the national giants, promised at least three times that there would be "no charge" for a particular service. On moving day, I was told that there would be a $300 charge. A week later I was told that the charge would actually be $972.
(4) I called Comcast to set up cable installation. They sent a complete moron, who wanted to run a cable from the third floor to the first floor, by way of staircases and hallways. I called Comcast, and they offered to send a new technician two days later. No one showed up. I called Comcast, and was told the technician must be running late. He never showed. I called again, and was told that the previous two folks were wrong, that no one was coming to my house that day, that someone would call me that day to set up an appointment later in the week. Someone did. And then didn't show up for the appointment. I decided we can live without cable.
Is this a real trend, or have I just had bad luck?
UPDATE: I forgot about a fifth example: I learned last week that Alcon has recalled an eyedrop I use, "Systane Free", for safety reasons. Instead of offering a refund, the company is only offering an exchange for other versions of this drop; without boring you with the details, these other versions have different properties, and I don't want them. When I called Alcon's customer service, I was told they hired a third party to handle the recall, so I'd have to take it up with them!