Don't Drop Your PDM on a Friday

I was in a rush to get out the door tonight (to go pick up the pizza I’d already paid for via credit card) and dropped my PDM on the hardwood floor. It wouldn’t come on, so I took an injection for the pizza (knowing I would have to fudge an extended bolus somehow later), and decided to mess with it when I came home.

When I got home, the PDM was still non-responsive. I called Insulet and the rep said that she would like to help give me product support, but that if it wouldn’t come on, then I needed a new PDM and that department was “closed for the weekend.” I was so angry. (This is a lot like the issue Jaybear had with them recently). They couldn’t ship me a new PDM until that department opens on Monday! My pod expires on Sunday and I’m four months pregnant. Now is not the time I’d like to be messing with my normal regimen.

So I went off on the poor customer service rep. She hadn’t even gone through any simple troubleshooting with me and was telling me I’m just out of luck. She said I should come up with a “back-up method” until they open on Monday. Yeah, thanks.

It reminded me of when I lived in an aging apartment complex that gave us tips for how to account for their poorly working, ancient heating and cooling system: “If you find you’re cold, layer your clothing. If you find you’re warm, open a window.” She was saying, “sorry, there’s nothing we can do.”

I suggested we try putting new batteries in the PDM. She thought it sounded like a good idea. (Who’s the customer service rep here?) And, lo and behold, my PDM actually came back on and recognized my current pod. So crisis averted. But no thanks to Insulet.

She said I should have a back-up plan in the future - which further ticked me off. While, yes, I should have all my settings in hard copy (I had recent basals written down but not ratios/factors) and I do have TWO back-up pumps (first gen PDM and Cozmo - not that I told her this), it’s Insulet’s responsibility to support their product 24/7 and I’m angry on principle.

I asked her to note my complaint that their PDM shipping department be open on the weekends. And I was sure to mention that Minimed and Animas are more than happy to ship out replacement pumps overnight. Ugh. They need to tweak some of their service methods.

I don’t like the sound of this…they need to be there for us!
Glad it all worked out for you, melissa, AND!!! Congrats on the pregnancy. Best of luck to you.

I’m sorry you had this trouble!! They definitly should be open on weekends and why the heck did she jump to that instead of trouble shooting first. She should have tried to fix the problem herself before jumping to the need for a replacement! I’m glad you have that first gen pdm I kept mine for these kind of situations! Hope the rest of your night went well! I got home and almost ripped my pod off and then fell and ripped my paper cut on my finger wide open and it started to bleed again! Made me feel like i shouldnt have even come home haha. Hope you have a good weekend!!

Thanks, Elaine! We just found out yesterday we’re having a little girl. :slight_smile: I’ve been doing very well so far, and so has she.

Gave you lots of good testing blood, eh? I always want to whip out a strip when I cut myself. As long as I’m already bleeding… Hope your weekend turns itself around.

Thanks. I plan to call back on Monday (when I’m calmer) and see if I can get someone who can give me sound reasoning for their business practices. I’ll see if Janet is available.

I am smiling.

Hi Melissa -

Congrats on the pregnancy! We always carry a complete list of our pump settings in the case, a paperclip (needed to reset the PDM in dire circumstances - just did this Wednesday night…), a syringe and our bottle of Humalog. I’m amazed that the service rep wasn’t willing to even do basic troubleshooting. This is the exact reason why I upgraded the PDM and have the old as a backup. We travel a lot and I was always borrowing a spare PDM from our local Insulet rep. I’m glad it all worked out for you and that you also had backup plans. I’m finding the new PDM is eating through batteries every 2-3 weeks. I test my son a lot, he’s 3.5 years old, so every two hours. Maybe that’s why I’m running through the batteries.

Congrats again on the new baby! Stay safe!

Thanks, Susan. I will admit that, like most people, the longer I do something, the more complacent I become. I’ve never needed my written settings in a decade of pumping, so I stopped taking the time to make sure I had them. This reminds me to be more diligent. =/

The whole situation just bugs me because, for all that can be said about Cozmo and Minimed, for the nine years I was on their pumps, it was never the patient’s responsibility to have a back-up pump or alternate plan. They would have a new product on my doorstep the next morning. Dysetronic/Accu-Check actually provides all their customers with a back-up pump as standard operating procedure. I just think it’s strange that Insulet can let their customers fend for themselves until it’s convenient for their business hours - especially since a PDM is less than 10% the cost of a tubed pump. Yes, I have two back-ups, but what if I didn’t?

“She said I should have a back-up plan in the future.” Are you $#@!ing kidding me?!?!?! It is outrageous for Insulet to tell a pregnant OmniPodder to cool her jets and find a backup plan while Insulet waits a few days to do anything about replacing its malfunctioning product.

The “back-up plan” should be that Insulet backs up the OmniPod with the customer service standard for the industry, which translates to overnight replacement of malfunctioning PDMs. In order of importance, Insulet’s lethargic PDM replacement policy is wrong because:
(1) patients rely upon the OmniPod to stay alive;
(2) Insulet is hobbling itself versus its competition, and therefore not positioning itself for long-term success; and
(3) a products liability plaintiffs’ attorney would have a field day should a patient suffer an adverse event related to Insulet’s lethargic PDM replacement policy.

But most importantly, congrats on the baby girl!

I agree with you. They need to really expand how they do their customer service. Do you have a local rep that can send you stuff overnight? Find your regional person so that if you have any problems in the future, you have someone locally who could help you. I’ve had my local rep loan me a PDM for vacation and send me pods when my order didn’t arrive in time. It’s good to have a relationship with a real person and one you can rely on in a pinch.

I do think because the company is still fairly young that they are still working out their customer service stuff. I know they did lay off quite a few reps so maybe that’s part of it. The Medtronics of the world have been around a lot longer and have also a much bigger market share so I’m sure that’s why their customer service is so much better. They’ve been at the game longer. I am, by no means, excusing Insulet and this customer service reps bad decision not to be more helpful, I’m just saying that, unfortunately, good customer service is hard to find in any industry.

You would think because we rely on these pumps as a matter of life and death, that their customer service folks would be much more empathetic, even more so because you are pregnant. You should find out who the head of customer service is and tell them that at a minimum, this person should have directed you to your local rep. I think that would be helpful to them.

Hang in there!!


I called back today (Monday) and spoke with ‘Suzanne’ in product support who then put me on the line with ‘Tom’ who was able to take my complaints/suggestions and let me vent. He was very apologetic, promised he’d be following up with training for Friday night’s rep, and agreed that some change in policy would be beneficial to the customer.

I reminded him about the industry standard, the competition, and suggested several options:

  1. Even if their regular shipping department closed for the weekend, there could be an emergency supply of back-up PDMs in house with the product support team for shipping out for weekend issues.
  2. Patients could have the option to pay for the expedited shipping, thus reducing their s&h overhead.
  3. There could be a skeleton crew working the weekend shift in shipping.
  4. They could offer first gen PDMs to all existing customers the way Dysetronic used to offer back-up devices. (Okay, so that’s not going to happen.)

I reminded him that it is none of Insulet’s business what my back-up plan is or whether or not I have one. Their business is to make sure my in-warranty product is supported. And even if it’s MY fault that one portion of their system is not working (such as by stupidly dropping it), because it’s a life-supporting device, I need a means to replace it quickly to keep the entire system running smoothly.

Good suggestions. Let’s hope something positive comes out of our lousy customer service experiences.

Since Insulet is resisting the industry customer service standard, it should consider meeting patients halfway by offering the options to purchase a backup PDM at an appreciable discount, or keeping a supply of PDMs and FedEx shipping labels on hand during the weekends and ask patients to pay for the differential for overnight delivery. This “hey lady, you’re totally screwed because the guys in shipping took the weekend off” attitude is unacceptable because diabetes sure doesn’t take the weekend off.

The more of us that make these complaints and suggestions, the better off all of us will be!

Melissa, I am sorry you had to be the one, but thanks for being such an articulate voice for us.

Janet called me this afternoon after listening to my last two recorded calls. We chatted for 20 minutes. So glad to have that kind of go-to-gal at Insulet. laughs Great suggestion, Spooky!

FYI: my PDM is occasionally unresponsive until I fiddle with the batteries. I have learned that I don’t need to change the batteries. I just take them out for a moment and it starts back up. It is annoying but so far it hasn’t been a problem (and I do have a backup). Nonetheless, I have been meaning to call omnipod to report this. Hopefully your malfunction is a one-time event…

Are you referring to the “original” PDM or the new one – or both?

It is the new PDM.

I’ve been on the OmniPod for 4 years and have seen all there customer support issues. First without offending anyone here much of what was said just does not jive with my experiences. .I was on MM for 10 years and easily find Insulet’s customer support as good if not better. I know Insulet will ship a PDM on Friday for Saturday delivery. They also have PDM’s in the hands of many endos which you can borrow. A backup PDM is offered at a discount price of $300. Do any of the other pump companies ship with Sunday delivery? Never in my experience. It pays to keep your reps cell phone number handy as many of them may be able to get you a loaner.

BTW, the Tom that was mentioned I believe is Tom Peak and he himself is a T1 on the OmniPod.

Just my thoughts. Andy T1 54 years