Software & Hardware Reviews

Educational, Business and Entertainment Software Reviews

July 2015 . Vol. 21 No. 7

Recent Software Reviews from Software Exchange LLC

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January 2015--The Incredible Foldscope(TM)--an Orgami-based Optical Microscope from Prakash Lab, Stanford University
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November 2014--Royalty Free Stock Photos and Images from US Government Sources
October 2014--Best Free Streaming Music/Audio/Video Apps for iPhone and Android Devices
September 2014--Some of the Latest and Greatest iPad/iPhone/Android/iPod Touch Apps

That Amazing Twitter: Your Personal Consumer Advocate twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter

By Howard Berenbon LLC Member/Manager
Software Exchange LLC

Have you ever had a consumer problem that seemed unsolvable? If you haven't it's unusual. From time to time I have problems with companies I patronize, some minor and a few serious. Most of us have questioned a cable or phone bill thinking, wait, I never asked for that service. But it was there in plain black and white, a $50 fee you hadn't expected from adding a new service.  Often it may be a billing error that can easily be resolved and removed with a quick phone call and explanation. This happens and it's usually corrected.  However, what recourse do you have if the charges re-appear in your next billing cycle, and sometimes with a late fee?  If you've had charges for products or services that you can't seem to resolve over the phone even with promises from the agent that "you're good, and the fees have been removed," you may want to look to for the solution. Twitter is being used by large and some companies to assist with customer service including consumer problems. It's a great vehicle to add consumer confidence and aid in customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction, which, no matter how hard you try to please someone, there are complaints you need to address and resolve to protect your company's reputation. Twitter and Facebook are two popular social media forums companies use to assist their (valued) customers.

Over the past year I've had to look to social media to resolve problems that I was unable to resolve via the normal channels, mainly telephone or e-mail. I used Twitter to contact Virgin Mobile to ask for a copy of my daughter's receipt for an iPhone purchase after a complete failure talking to Virgin Mobile over the telephone. They could not locate the receipt, and we were just out of luck.  The receipt was required to complete a Visa extended warranty claim form for a battery replacement reimbursement. It just happened that I was listening to NPR radio with a story on Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Mobile and Virgin Galactic and that's when it dawned on me: to Tweet my request directly to Richard Branson. To my surprise I received an immediate answer from Virgin Mobile with an offer to get the iPhone receipt (from  Though the representative had some difficulty, two days later they retrieved the receipt from their archives and I had a copy in my hand to fax to Visa with my claim form. Success!

Another incident was with our AT&T telephone land lines. We switched over to U-verse voice early this year, but due to phone call drop out and audio problems (which may have been specific to our area), we canceled U-verse (had a 30-day guarantee) and had our land line phones re-connected. Unfortunately, we were billed for the re-installation though promised otherwise. A call to AT&T customer service fixed the problem with the charges removed (we thought). Well, this month the $190 charges reappeared with a disconnect notice. Needless say, I was shocked and called customer service and was told they would be removed. But the agent was unable to send me a confirmation e-mail for the fee removal, and that's when I turned to Twitter and tweeted my problem to ATTCares. Within an hour Michael, Social Media Manager from ATTCares, responded asking for my account number, which I sent as a private direct message. Minutes later Michael called on my house land line and assured me that he would process the fee removal immediately. I requested an e-mail with the confirmation number and two minutes later I had a letter for my records.  Fees were removed and I had a zero balance. Success!

So, if all your efforts fail with the conventional methods, like a phone call to customer service, go directly to Twitter for help. It's very likely you'll get an immediate response to your tweet. Most companies have a Twitter presence and your solution may be just a tweet or two away.  You will need to set up a Twitter account, which is free and easy, and if you need to "direct message--DM" a customer service agent, you'll need to "Follow" the agent, and they will need to "Follow" you.  You can send your information without using DM but it's not advisable because whatever you send will go public and viewable to anyone.  

Though my initial phone calls to Virgin Mobile and AT&T were handled politely, they were unable to solve my problems. When the charges appeared again on my AT&T account and I called, the agent said she would remove them, but was unable to send me a confirmation letter via e-mail or otherwise. I wanted written documentation so that if the fees reappeared I'd have something in writing to back me up. Using Twitter, I was connected to a manager who saw the charges and the problem--it required a manger approval, and he e-mailed the confirmation which I printed for my records.

For more information about Twitter or to sign up, visit HB

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