Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Real Media and Rhapsody suck

Years ago, I used to use the Real Media products. When they 'enhanced' their service by offering RealOne, I was decided to subscribe and check out the features. While all the content and games seemed cool, the service was overpriced and the software was slow, buggy, and bloated.

For the last couple of years, I have subscribed to Yahoo Music Unlimited. Last winter, it was announced the Yahoo Music was sold to Rhapsody, Real Media's latest music product. I was a bit intrigued because Rhapsody integrates with TiVO, so that you can listen to your Rhapsody playlists on your TiVo. A few times since the first of the year, I was ready to give up Yahoo Music, but I decided to wait until all the accounts cut over to Rhapsody, just to see what the service was like.

When I cutover, the software was (as expected) a bit slow and bloated. Getting to my playlists through the TiVo was arduous, since you have to enter your account information and password, character-by-character, everytime you want to play something. After two months, I decided that it wasn't worth keeping. So, I went online to cancel.

Ha! Of course you cannot cancel online. That would make it too easy for frustrated Rhapsody users to bail out. In order to cancel you must call a toll free number. Calling the number involved waiting on hold for four minutes. When I got an Indian (offshore/outsourced) customer service representative, he could not hear me. After a few frustrating interchanges, I called back. I got another offshore representative. Once he took my information, both my email address and my credit card number, he asked why I wanted to cancel. I said that the main reason I signed up was for the TiVo access, and that it was too slow to log in through TiVo. He then tried to transfer my call to a technical support person so that they could solve my problem. I had to sternly convince him that I did NOT want to have my problem 'solved'; that I just wanted to cancel the account. The interchange remained painful, but I was finally able to get a cancellation confirmation number.

Note to self: Stay away from Real Media under all circumstances.

No comments: