So I set up an RMA through the customer support, which went quite smoothly. The guy I spoke with was friendly and helpful. He was amused that his support script kept defaulting to PS2 when he entered PS3, and joked good naturedly about it.
Today I got an email with my RMA shipping label, but it says I'm only returning the dongle. Since that seemed odd -- I thought I was returning dongle and guitar -- I called back to clarify.
However, the lady I reached at the same number I used the night before said I now had to go through Activision's support number where I could speak with a real person about my question. That one, incidentally, is not toll free.
So I fired up my cell phone to use all those free minutes I don't ever use and called the 310-255-2050 support number.
After working through all the automated menus, I hadn't managed to find anything that actually kicked me to a real person. If you so much as hint that you're calling about Guitar Hero: World Tour, you're sent off to automated response purgatory.
Even my usual trick of hitting 0 (zero) while the system was waiting for a response didn't get me anywhere. In fact, the system eventually apologized for not knowing what I wanted and hung up on me.
After trying for 20 minutes to find a real person in this choose-your-own-adventure maze, I had an idea. I got myself into one of the automated responses on how to get my guitar working and simply said:
That was it. Just say that word and you get transferred to a real person.
Granted, the first time I did this, I got sent to someone who appeared to hang up or press the wrong button on their phone. After that, I was in some sort of voice mail system.
I hung up, redialed, and pulled the same trick. (Saying "operator" at the other menus didn't seem to work. You have to get down to an actual support recording, not a menu.) And it worked again and I spoke with a nice guy who assured me that I should just return the dongle now and if that didn't work then my warranty would cover me for returning the guitar too later.
But there's your support telephone menu cheat code. Just say "operator".
Wish I could remember which date of the old radio show has Tony Kornheiser talking about his similar escapades with his cellular support line. He nearly blows a vein in his reenactment of his screaming into the automated service, "REPRESENTATIVE!!!" so I can't imagine what he sounded like during the call.
This ("representative") is another keyword which has served me well on the phone, and pretending to be TK screaming makes it that much more fun.
Good luck with the guitar.
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