6.02.2015

Shorted Out & Short Changed: A Silhouette America and Cricut Story

Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption

If you've noticed, I've been a little silent on my blog lately.  That's because I haven't been able to get much scrapbooking done and it's not because I've been super busy.  It's because the power cord to my Silhouette Cameo shorted out.  

Now that I have my new power cords (yes, you red that correctly--I purchased 2 replacement power cords) SAFELY in my hands, I feel it is now appropriate to blog about my experience with Silhouette America's customer service.  

Don't get me wrong, I love my Silhouette Cameo!  I love it so much that I thought I was going to die they past week without it.  But Silhouette America's customer service is (excuse my foul mouth) CRAP!


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My power cord got a short just above where it goes into the AC box.  After trying hours of trying to tape it just so I could get one project done, the cord broke cleanly in half.  





















After about an hour of attempting to stabilize the short in my power cord with  electrical tape, the cord broke cleanly in half and I gave up in a fit of tears.  After calming myself down a bit, I went to the Silhouette America site looking for a link to order a replacement part.  I searched and searched and searched and couldn't find a single page that would lead me to buying a replacement power cord.  

I'll admit, I was frantic while searching so I could have missed it because it wasn't big and bold or where I logically thought the link should be.  But let's be truthful here, who wouldn't be panicked if their Silhouette cord was shorted out?  I thought, "Surely, they don't expect you to buy a whole new machine?  That would be insane!  There has to be a way to get a replacement power cord!"  


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All great website developers know you should account for every logical instance a link should appear.  Apparently, Silhouette America's website developers are a bit clueless
in this aspect of website design.  
























So I called the customer service number and pressed 0 for customer service and technical support and got this message:  "Thank you for calling the support line.  Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time.  If you have reached this message, please note that all available representatives are currently assisting other customers.  In order to attempt to provide you live support, we would request you please try your call later.  If you require more immediate assistant please email us at support@silhouetteamerica.com and we'll follow up with you as soon as we can.  We look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you."  And then it promptly hung up on me with no option to wait for the next available customer service representative or even an option to replay the message!

And because I needed immediate support (I was on a deadline with a few projects for clients), I sent an e-mail.    


Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption
Hello, 
The Power Cable for my Silhouette Cameo shorted out.  I attempted to hold it in place with electrical tape to get it to work again, but because the short is right where the cord goes into the AC box, I can't get it to stay in place even with tape.  My machine won't power on and so now I need a replacement.  How do I go about getting a replacement power cable? 
Thanks!


And I waited, and waited and waited for a response.  I thought this was supposed to be for those that needed immediate assistance? A few hours later I tried the phone at least 10 more times and got the same message each time.  I gave up on calling that number and getting timely support. 

I had a project due that evening for a client.  The card was already planned out in Silhouette Studio, just waiting to be cut.  I even bought new cut files for it.  I was panicked at first, but after thinking about it, I certainly wasn't going to let all that work and money go to waste.  In a stroke of "brilliance" I used Silhouette Studio to print outlines of all my cuts.  I cut out each shape by hand then traced them onto my cardstock.  I had already pulled out scraps I intended to use and wasn't going to go through my stock and cut 8.5x11" sheets from my untouched 12x12" sheets just to print on the cardstock I wanted.  And then I cut each of my traced shapes out and assembled my card.  What would normally take me an hour or less took me hours!  But I got it done just in time.  Whew!


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The card I made by cutting out printed outlines of the Silhouette cuts,
tracing them on cardstock and then cutting out and assembling
the card.  This took hours, but the card looks pretty great
considering the circumstances.  

Early the next morning I still had not heard from Silhouette's support team.  I was mad!  I finally Googled "Silhouette Cameo replacement power cord" and found an online forum for scrapbookers where someone had asked just what I was asking:  Where can you buy a replacement power cord for your Silhouette machine???

There were a few helpful links posted.  One was about Silhouette power cords with a fraudulent UL and how to get a replacement.  Mine was not one of those…But the other link!  (Oh bless you helpful strangers on the Internet!!)  It was a link to an FAQ on the Silhouette site.  I thought, I'm sure I already looked at their FAQ page, but why not?  What do I have to lose by looking?  So I clicked on it and this FAQ page looked different.  And there it was!  A link to purchase replacement parts!  I didn't care how much I had to pay for a stinkin' power cord I was buying not one, but two of them!  I was never going to do this again!

I happily purchased two power cords and then just for kicks, went to Silhouette's homepage and attempted to find the "Purchase Replacement Parts" from there.  No such luck.  It's like they want you to wait forever and a day for customer service since I know none of us crafters are stupid enough to think we should have to buy a whole new machine. 


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A project I created with my Cricut Expression.  I was frustrated with the non-intuitive and not at all user friendly Cricut Craft Room software but at least eh project was simple.  I was able to get it done in an afternoon and met my deadline!




It was time to start my next project.  Luckily I hadn't planned this one out in Silhouette Studio yet so I pulled out my (slightly dusty) Cricut Expression.  I can't tell you how frustrated I was with the limitations of the old Cricut software, Cricut Craft Room.  No wonder I haven't used it very often since I got my Cameo!  I know Cricut has come out with new software and machines that probably cut cleaner and nicer than my old Expression, but I was not about to go and spend hundreds of dollars on a new machine and software just so I would be less frustrated for this one day.  Luckily, this project was simple and I *fingers crossed* had two Silhouette power cords on their way to me.  I finished this project in an afternoon and got it shipped off the next day.

While in the midst of this second project, I check my e-mail.  And there it was, nearly 24 hours later--FINALLY--a response from the Silhouette Support Team.  I opened it and read it.  I just couldn't even…  I.  Just.  Can't.


Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption



Hello Adrienne [sic] 
Thank you for your email [sic].  Did you purchase the machine of [sic] our website? 
We look forward to your reply [sic] 
Thanks, 
Silhouette Support Team

All I could think was, "Why would it matter where I purchased my Silhouette Cameo from?  Regardless of where I purchased it, it is still a Silhouette America product and they should offer customer service for it!  It's not like Scrapbook.com would be able to provide customer support for a Silhouette machine!"

Now I was really mad.  So I wrote them back.  And surprisingly, I didn't sit on the e-mail for a while.  I know that sometimes I can be a little quick to cut deeply when I'm frustrated and so I usually write my "I'm Hulk and I'm angry nasty-gram" then let it sit while I calm down.  I always go back and revise it a few times and sometimes I even have my mom look at it and help me tone it down a few notches (particularly when it is to someone who I deal with in person).  I usually read these e-mails a zillion times during and after editing them.  But I read this one once, changed zilch and sent it. 


Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption

Since I didn't hear back from customer service in a timely manner, and after much searching around on the web this morning I was able to find the Silhouette page to order replacement parts.  I had to Google it and visited a forum website for scrapbookers who posted a link to your site.  I managed to find a link on that Silhouette page to order replacement parts.  When I tried to navigate and find the same page from Silhouette's homepage, it was impossible to find it.  Perhaps you could put in a customer suggestion to make the replacement parts page easier to find. 
Also, might I suggest that your customer service number allow you to wait for the next available representative instead of telling customers to e-mail customer service for more immediate support and then hang up on them.  I don't think 24 hours is immediate support.  I run a custom scrapbooking business and I will now be more behind on my deadlines than if I didn't have to wait the extra, unnecessary 24 hours.
I went ahead and ordered myself 2 replacement power cords.  As to your question, I bought my Cameo from Scrapbook.com.
Thanks,  
Adrienne 

I think I'm getting better at this "I'm frustrated and here's why, not to mention I've got some suggestions for your pathetic customer service" e-mails.  I was firm and stern, but not hysterical or mean.  

I made some suggestions to them about their website and the customer support phone number and despite the fact that it took nearly 24 hours for their first response, I got two responses to my second e-mail pretty quickly--at least compared to their first response time.  At least I received these e-mails the next morning, instead of the next afternoon.   


Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption
Hello Adrienne, 
Thank you for your email [sic] and taking the time to share your suggestions for software adjustments that may be considered for the new software offered by our company.  We always love to hear ideas from customers who enjoy the Silhouette.  We will relay your comments on to our Software Development team for further review and future consideration. 
Let us know if you ever have any further ideas or suggestions you may wish to share.  If you still require a phone call, please reply with the following: 
date to be contacted 
a general time frame (1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, for example) 
preferred phone number 
Thank you, 
Silhouette Support Team


Ummm…software??  I was talking about your website and phone system, not your software, Silhouette Support Team!  Not only does it take them too long to respond (still) but they can't even understand a well written e-mail.  I can only hope that they meant the software for their phone system.  Though I know for a fact that Silhouette does not develop their own phone system software--there are companies out there who's sole purpose is to do just that (a sorority sister of mine used to work for one such company).  
  
Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption

Hello Adrienne [sic] 
We apologize for the inconvenience.  We will let our Manager know about your suggestions. 
Please let us know if you need any further assistance. 
Thanks, 
Silhouette Suport Team

Hmmm…looks like someone realized that second e-mail wasn't quite right so they sent a third one.

Needless to say, I didn't contact their customer support again after checking my order status on Silhouette's website.  It was done processing and had shipped by then.  I have been relentlessly checking the tracking status for the past several days.  I really wanted to make sure I was actually going to get the two power cords before I said or did anything else--especially this blog post.  

So finally, a week later, I have my two replacement power cords.  (Yay!)  And for those wondering, I'm not switching back to Cricut even though their customer service was always amazing years ago when I needed them.  I love my Cameo and the fact that Silhouette doesn't come out with totally new and different software only for their new machines.  I found it despicable that in order to use Cricut's newer software (that's more like Silhouette's software), you would have to buy their new machine.  Why couldn't Cricut make the software compatible with their older machines as well?  It's like when Cricut stopped making the Gypsy--eventually they also stopped offering support for it as well after a period of time.  

This practice of Cricut's is a way of forcing loyal customers to spend more when they don't need to.  My Expression and Gypsy work perfectly fine and I shouldn't have to buy new machines just to get support or better software.  Plus, we are already a terrible throw away society as it is.  I mean, have you seen the number of people who stand in line for hours every time a new iPone model comes out just to purchase it even though the iPhone they currently own is only one model older and still works perfectly fine?  I love still you Apple, since I haven't used a Microsoft or Android product in years and years because I enjoy the ease of use and longevity of your products.  But don't worry, you aren't the only company, or people for that matter, drinking the Kool-aide.* 

So shame on you Cricut for gouging your loyal customers' pocketbooks.  And shame on you Silhouette America for terrible customer service.  We scrapbookers and paper crafters deserve better.  We are passionate about what we do and do not deserve to have those passions taken advantage of or dismissed so freely.

For all you Silhouette America fans out there who need replacement power cords, USB cords or cutting strips, visit this link to order your replacement parts--since it's not easy to find on their own site:  http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/shop/replacement-parts

And just as I finished up this blog post, I looked one more time for that link from the Silhouette America homepage.  Luck would have it, either I managed to look in the only right spot for that link (because every great web designer knows that important links like ordering replacement parts should have more than one way to get to them--you should account for all logical places to put a link to that page--which Silhouette America apparently doesn't have) or Silhouette America took my advice and added a link (added a link back in?  made it slightly more obvious????? Oh hell!!!  It's there now so thank goodness!!!!). 

Silhouette America, Cricut, die cut machine, die cut, Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait, Cricut Expression, Cricut Explore, Silhouette Curio, Silhouette Design Studio, Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Design Studio, customer service, help, technical support, replacement parts, power cord, scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting, crafting, GrowthBusters, growth addiction, overconsumption
Oh my gosh!  Well look what I found finally!  Not sure if it was because it was added recently or recently made easier to find, or if I just wasn't as frantic in my looking and that helped. But like I said, though, a good website developer thinks of all instances!


I promise I'll post more on those projects later!

Here's to happier crafting days!
Adrienne


*For more on the topic of overconsumption, environmental destruction and the world's addiction to growth, visit the website for the non-profit GrowthBusters.  You will find a great deal of information, including links to other leading non-profits working out in the field and doing studies on growth and its consequences.  I was the post-production supervisor and editor for GrowthBuster's documentary  GrowthBusters:  Hooked on Growth, and am a huge supporter of their cause.  So shame on you Apple and every other company that feeds into the growth mantra!  I understand that many countries' economists pressure you to get your company growing so the GDP will grow; that you even pressure yourself to grow.  But the way you are going about growing your company is by taking advantage of the average citizen, encouraging them to throw out the old and spend their hard-earned money on the latest and greatest tech gadget, or the coolest kicks or clothing, or the McMansion in that gated community.  Human beings are more than just consumers.  Our happiness is increased, not by owning the latest iPhone, but by spending time with those we love and doing what we love, whether that's gardening, scrapbooking, hiking or reading.  We deserve more than a world that is pillaged for its environmental resources to feed our addiction that we've been blinded by and more than this never ending unhappiness.  It is time for a new way forward!


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