Monday, June 21, 2010

Not looking after the customer

I don’t believe in putting up with bad service.  That often embarrasses Marilyn when I go toe to toe with some fool who has violated my perception of basic customer service.  It doesn’t often happen though that I get to blow off bad service and move directly to exceptional service.

A couple of years ago when I started messing around with stocks I subscribed to 2 charting services.  The first one really doesn’t deserve to be called just a chart service.  Dorsey Wright is more a way of thinking about the market that includes a chart service than simply a chart provider.  The second service though was strictly a chart provider – something called IncredibleCharts out of Australia.  And they were very good – the best I could find at the time and at an attractive price  point.  I believe I was paying around $10 per month which they faithfully billed to my credit card every month.

Back at the start of June I got an email from them saying that they were unable to process my credit card charge.  I couldn’t think of any reason why that would be true but I did go to their website to check that my credit card information was current and correct which it was so I forgot about the message.  About a week later I got another email informing me that “per my instructions” they had cancelled my recurring billing and therefore my chart service as well.  That pissed me off.

I checked the chart immediately and it still worked.  The email advising me of the cancellation had a link embedded in it saying something about clicking here for further information or to complain so I did.  That brought up Outlook and I composed a nice email explaining that I hadn’t asked for this to be cancelled and inquiring why they would have done so.  The email bounced.

It bounced but it came back with a nice message advising me that they no longer accepted direct emails because of spam and that I would therefore have to go to their website and fill out one of those damn webforms.  Remember – this email bounced at the address they had linked in their erroneous email telling me my service was cancelled (even though it still was working).

By this time I was 3/4 pissed off but I followed the link, recomposed my message, explained what all had happened and sent it off.  Its going to Australia remember so everything takes an extra day but finally I got a reply.  It was on one of those web tickets where they copy your message and reply to it and then you are supposed to click the link and respond on their webform again.  The essence of the message was that they were changing their billing system, I would in future be billed by PayPal, my service wouldn’t be disrupted and basically to ignore everything that had happened so far. 

By this time I was well past 3/4 pissed off so I followed the link back to their webform only to discover that my “service ticket” was closed.  Despite the fact that it showed as “closed” I was still able to enter a response and I did.  I said something to the effect that I had been hitherto delighted with their product but that their incompetence in handling such a minor change was at least going to cause me to canvas the market for charting services.  And I did.


What I found was that in the intervening 2 years there have been incredible strides in what is available and IncredibleCharts simply hasn’t kept pace.  I thought it was pretty good 2 years ago but its not even in the running now.  And it gets better.  I ended up switching to a free service that provides way more functionality and features than what I was getting.  Its easier to use and provides more information plus its free.  Ya gotta love that.

(follow up)

I tried to cancel my IncredibleCharts service just to make sure that they don’t somehow bill it to me again on July 1.  The area of their website that used to deal with credit card information is gone so I sent them an email telling them to cancel.  In reply I got the same canned message telling me they are switching to PayPal.

At least they are consistent.  Now we’ll see what happens on July 1 – I anticipate a fight.

No comments: