I'm very glad that the customer is now only denied access to the app. I can see one day a company that sells the "cloud-lock" will allow any thief to get in the customer's door because they left a negative review for the product (and not bragging about their vengeance in a public forum like this Garaget company did). The fact that your lock one day will betray you, or your smoke detector won't sound, your pacemaker will pump differently or your car will make a different ethical decision because the company that sells it thinks that you're an asshole is beyond crazy.
If this isn't a wake-up call to anyone who doesn't realize how dangerous this DRM (Digital Rights Myass) thing is becoming, I don't know what is. This is the can of shit that's just can't wait to hit the fan for those who trust in those cloud-based proprietary "solutions." This is exactly the kind of behavior that Stallman and the EFF warned us against and guess what, they're right again.
Now seriously, this is amazing, so unprofessional. The company really mixed up things based on how someone felt at the moment of dealing with support? Now the question on the table is if that breaks contract or not. Both cases are terrible. If you say yes the company opens a juridical risk and if you say no it means its Terms of Service have something like "...and we may deny the service if you leave a negative app review or ask for our support in a way that we don't feel belonging to a 'safe space', specially if the user don't trigger warns us..."
And the problem is: the industry's interest is to lock you in on their cloud so that you end up paying a recurring fee of some sort, while the public's interest is clearly to be as free as possible from the manufacturer once you have purchased from them...
So until there is clear regulation about what you own, what you don't, and what your (preferably protective) rights really are when you purchase a device that relies on the manufacturer's cloud for operation, and even more generally, when you seem to own some thing but the manufacturer explains in the fine print that you only have a "license to use" that thing that limits what you can do with it ; until that, my friends, we're going to be at the mercy of manufacturers acting in their own interest, punto.
This attitude is rife in the tech industry, sadly, people somehow thing one of their own is being abused by others having an opinion or reporting an experience. Safe spaces, trigger warnings....
Personally, I think this is terrible, but I think this incident is a good wake-up call to how ridiculous this kind of thing is, and why consumers should stay far, far away from such devices. I hope this gets a lot of mainstream media attention. But it's not DRM; that's an entirely different animal. That's where your own device (usually a computer or mobile computing device like a phone) is sent some encrypted media content, along with keys to decrypt it, so that it can only be viewed on your device (and according to certain stipulations), and this is enforced by your own device against you, the device's owner.
People will most strongly remember the first and especially the last words you say to them. Make sure those words are the ones you want remembered.
It is important to see although this door lock/car control/whatever problem is new, the underlying thought process is not new. Not having the rights to understand and modify, leading to having to trust what "the cloud" or proprietary software does (especially those that determine your personal security) is a topic that was brought up again and again by the people I mentioned. We will be lost in the details of this particular case of this door lock/crazy customer/picky company otherwise, so I think it is worthy to relay the principles.
The manufacturer seemingly disabled the product, or primary advertised features of the product, in retribution for a short negative review left on Amazon.
IMO Amazon should immediately drop the product when they catch wind of that, and so should any other retailer that carries it. The manufacturer's abused their relationship with the retailer (which now has to handle a return of a perfectly good device they sold) and the customers (who now have to fear retribution for reviewing products they purchased at retailers).
Regardless of whether the content of the review was justified or not, this probably won't go well for Garadget, whoever he is. A journalist has already reached out to the customer.
I can sympathize with being frustrated with customers. It takes a lot of self-control to remain professional at times. If you don't have that kind of self-control, you need to hire someone else to do customer support that does, or you won't have a very successful business. Being the boss doesn't mean there are no repercussions for your actions.
Just, don't but from Amazon. Even Alibaba is better.
Well, turns out my strategy of de-DRMing Kindle books is more than a good suggestion, just to be on the safe side.
Under my moral compass, after I have purchased one edition of the book, I have the right to convert it to whatever the hell I want.
Then let's hope the journalist won't forget to talk to Garadget as well.
Gradget just now deleted a comment recommending contacting Amazon and the US attorney general, and has locked the thread.
People should avoid startups those use crowdfunding websites as risk free capital gainer preorder pages.
They don't get proper investment for a reason.
That's not always true. Ergodox-ez.com has an awesome product (a keyboard) they funded through indiegogo. Not to mention basically every 3d printer company, even the VC funded ones.
Crowdfunding (and pre-ordering in general) helps hardware startups raise the cash they need to manufacture a batch of product. Without it, they'd have to raise the full cost of the batch in advance, (which is probably a lot,) on the hope that customers will buy it up. I can't think of many startups that have that much goodwill from investors.
It makes sense to be extremely skeptical when giving your money to an early-stage company, whether as an investor or a pre-order customer. But writing off crowdfunding in general means you're writing off almost every hardware startup, including some of the great ones.
What I do see is they use an open source firmware, used on several other keyboards.
First responder to this thread was pretty much lambasting all projects that opt for the crowd funding pathway, which I think is a grossly unfair judgement call.
I don't think its unreasonable that someone who takes a risk on giving you money in your infancy to realise your product should get some equity or something else from it that's more than just a "preorder".
That's why you shell out customer service to disillusioned minimum wage drones: they hate you as much as the customer, which creates a subconscious empathic link.
In this case, I don't think Amazon even is the retailer, they're just the platform, in the same sense as eBay/PayPal.
Also, the guy (presumably guy) has said to return the product for a refund, so things will pretty much be zeroed out, unless the customer doesn't go through with it.
To me that means their products are now inherently suspect.
Is this another example of American tendencies to be extra sensitive about "profanity" or am I missing something? From my reading, the rep. was significantly more out of line even in his tone and message than the customer, even before he went and defacto-bricked the device in his own little tantrum.
The character assassination gets even more childish if you look at the customer's account:
> This user is suspended until Dec 28, 2019 3:37 am.
> Reason: attitude
'course, here I am doing the judging now.
Calling child protection services because other parents allow their kids to roam outdside without constant supervision is a whole different kettle of fish.
I can't tell if you are justifying a call to child protection services in such a case, or not.
As I've indicated elsewhere: this event also means I can't trust any of the reviews of their products, because it's clear they are happy to punish customers who leave bad reviews, and at least some proportion of customers will be aware of this when leaving reviews.
In other words, the creator would rather be alone with his product than have customers. That's fine, but in that case it's probably best to reconsider selling it altogether.
But the BIG issue here is that you must treat customers with respect: if you do not want offer service to certain person, apologize, explain situation on your side (whatever - we are small team, we require dress code, etc.), offer refund, and that is that. Be nice. Be polite.
In short, I do not have problem that they disable his account. Whatever - that is the business. I have problem with their attitude.
It's pretty much a standing joke on some shows - US guests on these shows fall in two categories: those who are aware of UK humour and/or the specific show (often people who live or have lived in the UK) and who are "in on it" and tend to play up the difference and play up to US stereotypes, and the unsuspecting innocents who have no idea what they're in for, and who get pounced on like prey.
Same deal on radio, though that's been loosening lately. Sublime's "Wrong Way" still omits "whore" and "tits" whenever I hear it on the radio, but some songs get away with "bitch", which I guess is progress.
A few years ago Jon Stewart (late night cable) played a clip of the routine and they were all bleeped except for one.
We are a small team who don't have the resources to test every single OS version on every device. Problems will happen.
As such we're happy to issue you a refund, and you can keep the device. All we ask is that you let us update the app to make sure it's working on your device, and hopefully others.
Thank you for helping us find the issue. We will work tirelessly until it is fixed. If at some stage you are satisfied we would be delighted to turn your one star review into a five star one.
Company which needs a little bit of help in how to deal with customers
There was no "we won't help unless you promise to change the review to a 5 star" implied.
(except I'm not sure how I feel about asking them to change their review at this stage)
Thank you for helping us find the issue. We will work tirelessly until we turn your one star disappointment into a five star experience.
They didn't offer this, the bricked the device and suggested returning it to Amazon, who have no power over any of this.
It's about acknowledging the customers frustration, hopefully lowering it by returning the money no questions asked, and ALSO keeping the door open to continue the conversation in the hope for a more positive outcome.
Maybe the customer angrily throws the device away and you never hear from him again. Okay then, everybody moves on.
But maybe he is less frustrated and is willing to have a productive discussion about his problem, provide you with more information and try some things.
Again this might lead nowhere. Ideally you either find that something completely out of your control was the fault, and the customer can admit that blaming you for it was unreasonable, or you find the fault and are able to fix it.
So you might end up with a customer that no longer blames you, or even better one that is now able to use and enjoy your product.
They used to just let customers keep them until people apparently caught on and took advantage of the policy.
I know they trashed them as I was the only company resource in the US and they shipped them to my house to be destroyed. :/
I guess handling the return would cost more than the value of the item, and presumably they really don't want a 3 star review.
(I did not accept the offer, that would feel a bit dishonest)
Also happened to me at least twice with Spreadshirt (but they don't really sell devices). Once the product clearly had a defect (part of the print was coming off), once I ordered it just too small.
I only know the situation in Germany for that, and the law here is not even as straightforward as most customers expect, just the big online retailers are pretty relaxed with their return policies (because that is what the customers are expecting).
There is no situation where you could insist on keeping a defective product, and its also not commonly offered voluntarily.
It's ripe for abuse, so I'm sure companies have to be careful with it, but if it's low margin stuff it probably doesn't matter much anyways.
And also you can in principle be asked to cover any loss of value if you damaged the product or used it in any way that was not "necessary for testing/evaluation".
So far I had to return every item I did not like or that arrived damaged. Especially for obviously damaged goods it makes no direct sense for them to ask for it back to trow it away on their end, but I really think at least a retailer like amazon does not just hand waive a decision like that and has some economic reasons.
Somewhat related, once I noticed a significant price drop the day after I had bought a product from amazon, and asked support if they could refund me the difference. They could not, but told me to just order another one for the lower price and refuse the delivery of the first order (which means the logistics company returns the item directly).
So clearly "cheaper and simpler" for a company like amazon is not always as straightforward as one might expect.
Giving away your product for free to every customer that complains seems like a quick way to go out of business.
If you buy a faulty ipad from apple, they'll certainly give you your money back, but they'll make you return the ipad.
It's hard to explain, but I've lived through this so many times, and seeing an angry customer turn into a better marketing resource than any adwords campaign, and getting the warm fuzzies at the same time, is good business in my book.
Sure, but Apple won't remotely disable your device until you turn it in for a refund. If you want to preëmptively cut off services, you should initiate the refund. That leaves the customer with a free (albeit broken) product. This is partly why few companies remotely disable devices after purchase, particularly as a retaliatory measure.
Loosing one or two less future sale probably makes up for the loss.
Understanding that one customers frustration and improving the experience for other new future customers could literally be priceless.
The marginal cost to make more units is dirt cheap, I'd be surprised if it's >$20 - the cost to develop the whole system in the first place is the hard part on the technical side of things. Then there's the business side which they just blew pretty bad. Giving the customer the hardware costs them almost nothing - write it off to make the customer happy. As long as you don't have to do that too much, it's perfectly sustainable.
"They think my service doesn't work now, well let me show them what not working is really like!" The irony is amusing, except for Martin.
Also, I'd like to take this time to note that this is another reason that it's important to have control over your own devices.
I agree with the point about having control of your own devices as well - an awful lot of "smart" devices are going to be worthless or near-worthless as soon as the company behind them decides it's not worthwhile to keep the cloud service running.
That said, I do view it as important for those of us that do care to be loud about it. It's in the benefit of all consumers for devices to be secure and usable without a external support.
I mean, even though I feel personally it should all be open hardware and software, I won't even go that far. Just let my stuff work when your servers stop working.
You don't get to do a personality test on your customers. Some will be jerks and it's their right. Someone who doesn't recognize that others are under no obligation to like you is dangerous to society.
Yes, you do. As a business, you get to decide your customers. Full stop. You do not have a right to purchase a product from a business, and they have the right to refuse you as a customer.
You can't retroactively undo a sale based on your whims.
But you can! You don't like it, but its entirely possible (clearly) and legal.
Why should you be required by law to provide services to someone? Or are you interested in Amazon using their leverage to enable customer abuse of sellers? No thank you.
The entitlement complex runs deep in society today. So unfortunate.
I wonder how you'd feel if a company decided to disable your fridge years after you bought it, because you publicly pointed out an issue with the product and figured it's worth 2 stars. Tell me, is there a time limit on this insanity?
I don't buy networked products that I'm not okay with losing the cloud functionality at a moment's notice. Caveat emptor.
But seriously, it's not you or the creator's call whether I have to return the product. I don't have to return it if I gave it a bad review.
Just because I bought something from a store doesn't mean I'm now accountable to the creator.
I hope you don't have to test your theory in court, because you will lose - because the law is clear on this matter.
The law is clear. You can keep the product. You are not entitled to services. You can keep your lump of silicon, that is all you are entitled to.
On the other hand, the support engineer's response (that ends with blocking the user's device for good) _is_ a bona fide tantrum, worthy of textbooks.
I am also quite surprised by the number of comments here at HN siding with Garadget. People like these shouldn't be allowed anywhere near tech support roles, as a single such incident can ruin the company unless they can spend tons of money for lawyers.
(This is why it is, in my opinion, better to start with enterprise products. Enterprise sales are much less public and you can afford to fire customers you don't like with ease, and vice versa.)
I don't think that's a support engineer. I'm pretty sure that's Denis Grisak, the founder of Garadget. I find it fascinating that he used the phrase "only demonstrates your poor impulse control" to the customer while arguably his own response seems to suggest his own impulse control may require reinforcement.
I have been a founder too, and I am aware that this is a lot more stressful than it seems from the outside, and this one star review might have been the last straw.
However, dealing with angry customers is a part of the job (like everything else, until proper employees are hired). Let's say that this person is not particularly good at said job.
I wanted to fire every customer who called in because of the abusive way they treated the support people. The support people patiently explained to me that it was part of their job and they didn't take it personally.
I have found people are on a grid with "people helpers" as one axis and "problem solvers" as the other. Close to 100% people helper, you know that you can help this person because you've done it 100x. Close to 100% problem solver, you're going out of your mind because you've done this 100x.
It's not like he was being abusive to an individual support staff member, he cussed about the app in an Amazon review and on their forum because it was genuinely failing for him. Nothing wrong with that, people get worked up when stuff doesn't work sometimes, you need to be able to handle some level of that when doing support for your product.
And worse, they're selling a physical product which they just made effectively useless after that customer invested time in installation and setup. Sad to see the warnings about cloud services being abused in this way seem to be quite true.
Companies aren't about the big idea. They aren't about the product. They're about serving other people. To do that, having a big idea and a product can definitely help. But the very easiest way to fuck up a company is to forget that success comes down to a great number of small interactions.
This scenario is "B2C", "the customer is always right" may be a tired phrase but it rings truer than you might think.
A lot of people are saying this guy should be respectful of this small, indiegogo compnay. Problem is, they are ignoring the fact the product is being sold on Amazon, this may be the customers' only exposure to the company so they might not have any idea of how large the company/operation is! Customers have an expectation of quality on Amazon
This is a useful perspective to take if you're in sales. For a support engineer, not so much. When I did Tier 1 for credit cards, the mantra everywhere invoked was instead:
"The customer is not always right, but is always deserving of respect."
Which has always struck me as a much more balanced and sensible attitude to take, when the objective is to solve a problem.
Sometimes that problem is between the keyboard and the chair. It happens. But it's still a problem that merits solving, rather than being a jackass about, because it's still stopping the customer from using your product, and why should he give you money for something he can't use?
Of course, that doesn't seem likely to apply here - pretty hard for an app crash to be a PEBKAC. I've found it a useful enough perspective to merit mention here, in any case. And perhaps such an attitude would've dissuaded the Garadget representative in this thread from so precipitously making a fool of himself, too.
"You'll never win a customer with an argument."
For the topic at hand (Garadget), the rep was absolutely out of line; I don't know if this was a policy they were enforcing or just a bad day, but I've been called worse than that by my customers even on good days, and it should just roll off you at this point.
But, always trying to please the customer has a nasty effect of backfiring a lot of the time, since sometimes pleasing them means getting into support situations that are untenable.
Respect? Absolutely - usually customers are smart, and as long as you are reasonable and respectful, so are they. But aiming to please gets people into a bad mindset of not being able to deliver bad news or establish policy.
Edit: corrected spelling mistake.
The more nuanced formulation acknowledges the existence of limits on what will be done - you don't, for example, get a 90-day delinquency reaged off your account once you pay up to date, no matter how you ask.
It also, and I think this has merit for Tier 1 reps who are constantly exposed to all the marvelous and frequently trying vicissitudes of humanity, explicitly calls out respect as a value. Certainly I found that explicit reminder useful from time to time, and I know others did as well. Perhaps this fellow might have, too.
If you're going to split hairs to that degree I would absolutely expect you to notice that the customer called the product a piece of shit, not the support engineer.
In the course of a year and a few months spent doing credit card Tier 1, taking on average about 150 calls per day, I dealt with a lot of people. A very few of them were indeed just assholes, of the sort who'll open with "your product is a piece of shit" just because that's their attitude in general. They were easy to identify, but hard to work with. A vastly greater number were instead moved to unusually assholish behavior out of frustration with the situation in which they found themselves. Given a touch of professionalism, they were easy to identify, too, and easy to work with as well once given the opportunity to vent some of their ire and settle down enough to behave rationally again.
Perhaps the customer in this case is just an asshole. But my experience, which is not inconsiderable, shows that that is extremely improbable. Given, as I mentioned before, a touch of professionalism on the part of the support engineer, I see no reason to doubt that this situation could have been brought to the same sort of mutually successful outcome which I so often produced in my time wearing a headset all day. Instead, the engineer has succeeded only in producing a PR nightmare for his company, and I hope also in getting himself fired for cause. (I would! On the spot, in a heartbeat. Just as, in any of the several customer-facing roles I've had, such incredible behavior on my part would certainly have incurred the same response.) I fail to see how such an outcome has any utility for anyone involved - the customer's still stuck with the same broken product he started out with, and the company's out both money and reputation, too. I'd be fascinated to see how anyone could argue that that's a reasonable expenditure to buy a mean and fleeting little moment of satisfaction for one support engineer.
Disabling a previously bought product for a negative review is probably illegal in most jurisdictions. It is clearly illegal under Amazon ToS. If I were the device buyer I would just return the unit. Even if they restore access this is an accident waiting to happen.
Reading this reinforced my conviction that I do not want my home hardware managed remotely. At least not the stuff I regularly interface with.
This guy should be respectful in general.
That's a basic prerequisite for any normal communication regardless of the context.
Feel free to piss off your customers at your own peril.
That can actually be a winning PR strategy. Not sure how it is in the US, but here many companies have started to respond with blatant sarcasm and mockery to unreasonable criticism in social media. You'll have a newspaper's support guy answering "brb, getting one of those sweet-paying protest gigs" when someone accuses them of being "paid by George Soros, just like those protesters".
This, however, is not one of those cases. The customer may have been a bit harsh, but his review is completely within the bounds of acceptable human behaviour. They could have reached out to them, and they would have probably been willing to change the review as well.
Even more so if you had the ticket on hands. :)
Come at me, Ryanair :)
When the service was back up, it wouldn't let me check in because that closes two hours before the flight. There were around 20 people at the check-in, all of which had had the same problem.
They made every single one pay 45 Euro per boarding pass, telling us to file a complaint later.
Filed a complaint, got a canned response "sorry, those are the rules". Didn't feel like suing them.
So, let me say this to Ryanair: "I'm very sorry for being toxic, and ruining the experience. Also: eat me!"
Here the mere threat of using the Small Claims Court is frequently sufficient to prompt adequate redress. No lawyers are allowed to advise parties. The head of the company has to show up in person and sit waiting on a bench along with everyone else waiting for the case to get called. Court sits outside of normal working hours, and there's no appeal. For small amounts it works incredibly efficiently.
The Saturday (return) flight is going to fly as scheduled, so they said it wasn't their responsibility to reschedule it for free. He could either pay out of his pocket to reschedule his return flight (if he could find a suitable flight), or he could return from Hungary a day before he actually flew there.
I recall my first boss, who once had a customer push to the front of the line in a crowded shop. The customer rudely demand to be served. My boss was a very proper older southern lady, and she said, "Ma'am, you can also find [this product] at the grocery store across the street, and I encourage you go there." After the woman had stomped out, my boss turned the other customers and said, "Well, she wants us to have a bad day, and we're not going to," and she served the next person in line. I'm told the other customers practically cheered.
Of course, if you had told her that her product was a "piece of shit," she would have disapproved of your language but she would have refunded your money and replaced the product in an instant. She took quality seriously. If you were really rude about it, I suppose she might have "fired" you afterwards, though.
As a boss, you need to set limits about how badly your customers can act before they get (politely) booted. Anything less is inhumane to your employees. But this doesn't mean you should fire a customer over a bad Amazon review.
(Interestingly, Amazon have in the past remote-deleted Kindle books on people's devices - but for very much better reasons that "you were a bit rude in your review", and they _still_ copped a roasting for it...)
It was a bit weird, but I guess acceptable in that situation.
You are? I'm not. A lot of people here are just as unscrupulous as the developer and will defend any unethical and terrible behaviour as long as it makes a dime at the end of the day. Take a look at any Uber thread and you'll see the same kind of comments from people who think that, if they're as ruthless and unethical, one day they'll be the new unicorn on the block.
This behaviour is all too common, sad but true.
I don't agree with disabling the customer's device, but I also don't agree with customers somehow being absolved of having a minimum level of decorum.
Customers shouldn't be absolved of having a minimum level of decorum, but that minimum is at the level of (a) personal insults at specific people ("Bob in customer support is a piece of shit" wouldn't be ok but "your customer support system is a piece of shit" is fine) or (b) libel, as decided by the legal system.
For direct criticism of a product or service literally anything that I imagine would be above that minimum level of decorum. Insulting people is not ok, but insulting products definitely is.
It's not illegal - but it's also not helpful, or constructive, and nor is it desirable if you're trying to build a helpful community.
There are other ways of getting your point across, without resorting to insults such as "piece of s*it".
In Chinese, we might call this 家教 - or "upbringing". If you have no decorum, or class - it suggests that your upbringing was poor, or that your parents failed to raise you well.
We often forget that there's another person at the other end of the phone, or at the other end of our comment. In this case, a real-life person who put a lot of work into a product. You don't have to love it - but if you are going to criticise it, at least don't be a jerk, and make some good-faith efforts to work with them through the issue.
It's not exactly like the developer didn't try to help.
It is desirable if you're trying to build a helpful community where customers help other customers differentiate between good products and products that sometimes don't work on arrival or have software reliability problems; a community that recommends to avoid certain companies is a helpful community to have for a buyer.
It might be chinese culture to avoid criticize things directly, but it's also part of the chinese culture to give backhanded compliments like "5 out of 5 stars, when it works, which is never." I don't think the 笑里藏刀 (literally translated as "dagger hidden in the smile") aspect of chinese culture claims any moral high ground over the western straight shooting f* you.
I'm chinese too.
In their first and only reply they perma banned the customers device ID. How are they helping?
It's impressive that you're able to extrapolate the questioners life up until this point based on three words.
If the product in question is a shitty product, there's no problem describing it as such.
A more amusing instance of this outlook at work:
No, you don't get it. From a business perspective expecting good behavior from customers is just plain stupid. It's not customers' fault if they don't understand something and don't take time and effort to deal with your product and just call it shit, they are human after all. You can't defeat human nature. But you can try to understand it and at least be prepared to deal with it and minimize a negative impact on your business.
To me, this is the seller trying to manipulate public perception by silencing reviews from those with a bad experience. I'll put up with a lot of problems if the seller is responsive and handle issues well, but if I risk having them stop me from using the product?
This seller has demonstrated I can't trust them not to turn off my access to their servers without warning. To me, that is an absolute deal-breaker that would stop me from ever considering their product.
I can understand anger over a customer that rushes to give a bad review without waiting for a support response first, but their response in my eyes made things ten times as bad.
Just look at Ham Radio Deluxe.
If you've already sold them the product, you really cannot do this.
The store owner could go to jail, because that is called theft.
Screwing over customers has a cost.
This story went viral. And now this business is going to receive hundreds of negative reviews.
As it stands, this is how ANY court of law would see it as well.
Free speech doesn't mean much? Entire nations were founded on the basis of individual rights to bitch about things they don't like, without incurring oppressive retaliation.
Really, this is imperialism versus the free market. Either you harden up and listen to the people whose participation influences your survival directly (i.e. customers), or you go out of business.
In this case, the latter condition appears appropriate.
From the Government.
Because we shouldn't be protected from business interests when they get too powerful?
Yes, we should be protected from business interests when they usurp our basic rights to free speech. We should be protected - by our governments - whenever our rights are misused/abused.
What else is government for if its not to protect our basic rights?
I don't think customers get to behave however they want without repercussions, but come on...
Hardware companies should (and will, eventually) offer the devices for free and switch to subscription model.
Devices like these are not products, they are services. They are useless on their own without the operating backend, support and maintenance. If I am buying the device, I expect it to be working. If I am subscribing to a service, I know that it can be cancelled anytime.
(And $5/month are worth much more these days than $99 once. If you can keep the customer that long, of course).
But "subscription model" for a garage opener is, sorry to say, stupid
Of the things in my home I want a garage opener to have pretty good reliability. I need a plan B if the power is out for a conventional one. I don't want to get locked out if I miss a payment (this is not like rent where these things are regulated and lack of payments are handled through actual notices)
Relying on the internet to open your garage is just naive.
I have a smart garage door opener, smart deadbolt, smart car (remote start/heat/cool/etc), smart thermostat, smart light fixtures, smart smoke detector... all of them function without internet, or power, as applicable. Light switches, buttons, keys, etc still work. Most smart devices are like that; the remote functionality is supplemental, not a replacement.
The problem is that is was advertised as a Bluetooth-powered toy to communicate with your child via recorder messages. "It's fun" -- I have thought, so I bought it. Only later I realized that it forwarded everything that was said to their servers via their "cloud app".
OK, I have thought, so they have the recording. But at least do they have some decency to not share it with the public? And that, indeed, turned out to be a little naive.
The toy became "broken" a few weeks before the leak when I was finally fed with it, but the damage is done.
Now I have similar worries about my NetAtmo devices. They do look cool and measure CO2 content in my rooms, which is the reason I bought them, but they also contain an always-on microphone for measuring "noise pollution", and I am not sure at this point if they don't transmit everything I speak in my room to the CIA, NSA, Russians, our reptilian overlords, or whoever else needs to hear the shit I say at home.
(Well, ok, he could have just turned the other cheek - but I suspect most of us here, when at the receiving end of such abuse, have wanted to say - "You know what? Take your business elsewhere."
"Take your business elsewhere" would be Garadget issuing a refund from their end and then disabling the device.
And you don't see the issue?
Usually this kind of hiccups happen not in a sunny warm day, but when it is heavily raining, during a storm, etc.
Is it even possible for an app developer to disable an iphone ? Apple would be mad.
The Garadget device, not the customers phone!
I never mentioned a phone, did I?
Anyways, device is not disabled as in bricked, it's blacklisted on the server side of thing.
He offered a full refund (although he admittedly could be a bit more tactful).
If he's said - I'm disabling it, too bad, I'd agree that's out of line.
However, what was actually said was - You're a jerk - I don't want your business, give me back the device, and I'll give you the money back.
Now they don't have to deal with each other, and nobody loses out (well, except for wasted time on both sides).
This isn't the first time something like this has happened - but usually manufacturers are pretty reticent about it, and try to avoid looking capricious in their actions. When Amazon removed books from customers' Kindles they got a bunch of flack for it, even though there was some sort of reason involving the copy not having been licensed properly, or something.
If I brought a normal washing machine and it leaked a lot, I could post a factual review on line without fear of retribution. If I brought an internet-enabled washing machine and it leaked a lot, should I expect that posting a factual review online would get my washing machine remotely disabled? This would not be good for getting trustworthy reviews.
And if a device can be remotely disabled because of a negative review, can it also be disabled because, say, I'm a Yankees supporter and the guy taking my support call thinks Yankees suck? What if the support guy thought it would be funny to see me hopping on one foot while holding a shoe on my head - can he disable my device until I send him a video of that?
But Amazon can nuke accounts and disable "purchased" books, video, etc, at will. So there's a gray area. I think what Amazon does ought to be illegal, but hey.
But, to their credit, I can read my stupid Kindle books. Luckily their eBook DRM is terrible and I have liberated my content, but, still... to their credit, they did not block what I had paid for.
Now, I'm not saying it's impossible for them to block this content, but, it seems they are sensitive to the dubious legality or morality of doing so. I suspect it might have something to do with the huge negative backlash they got a few years ago when they did disable someone's entire content library and it got publicized.
But I am pleased to hear that Amazon is no longer (always, anyway) blocking access after account termination.
Preventing or no longer supporting access to media should be similar and require an alternative format be made available, so Amazon can block access to an ebook or movie but must provide a download instead.
That would balance alittle the current disparity of power the companies hold IMO.
Recently NowTV/Roku unlawfully accessed my set-top box and disabled an app, the main reason for having the device, because they don't like it. They claim it's illegal but it's available from the curated app-store if I buy the more expensive device from the same manufacturer (or indeed a device from many other manufacturers).
I can't afford a lawsuit and we don't have group actions in the UK. Net effect a company cripples a device because they don't like how it is being used, and commit unauthorised access of a computer system in the process (currently illegal, but only individuals are being prosecuted for it).
We need protection from such companies.
I keep trotting this comment out every few weeks, because it happens so often now that the cloud eats something we own. Probably my most frustrating experience was when Apple forced me to update iOS, but they removed many features that I relied on. BTSync broke, Nightshift functionality that I was using with Flux was rendered unusable. And a ton of other little annoyances.
Apple heavily damaged my iPad with an update awhile ago. And Apple won't take no for an answer, and will keep downloading the next iOS update even over a cellular connection, so I had to firewall it.
Computing today might seem seamless, but, just you try and go against the grain. You'll encounter a remarkable amount of resistance. All I want is so have agency over the devices that I buy.
Garadget sold a product to the customer, accepted the customers money -then disabled the product when the customer wrote a negative review.
Who's the jerk?
That's not at all the same narrative.
- useless comment either empty of content or context
- people asking us to fix things that weren't broken, or weren't broken on our site
We didn't ban them. Instead, we extracted each useful information out of it:
- adding missing informations to guide people on the site
- adding features to remove frustrations from people
- adding filters to remove fake email addresses (dns lookup on the domain name) so that we spent only time on those who are expecting an answer
The client is not always right. And I don't try to be nice to rude people. But that doesn't mean you can't use rude people to improve your business.
And clearly, if you can't stomach the stupidity and nastiness of humanity, don't sell to the average human. It's like getting angry at mosquitoes because they bite you, it's the most useless reaction ever. Worst, those particular mosquitoes give you money and you are not allowed to kill them.
So either do your job professionally or leave. Leaving is a very sane option IMO. There is not reason you should live this experience if you don't want to if you have the choice.
Any person working in an affordable bar, restaurant or shop knows that. Because they often don't have the choice.
This is gold! ;-)
I sell a little object on Amazon; a person returned it with an angry message (non public) that explained that it didn't work, and while explaining it, clearly demonstrated that she didn't understand how to use it.
I wrote her back to say I was sorry of what had happened and that we would try to do a better job of showing how to use the object (which we did).
She didn't reply -- but bought 2 the week after...
You're right, the client isn't always "right", however, on a personal level, I'd recommend being nice, period. Outright extracting value out of the "rude" customer is part of the problem, at least in my opinion, as that frame of mind permeates throughout culture.
Maybe, if you were "nice", you'd influence that person (maybe they had a terrible day, not everyone is a troll) and then, not only would you gain value from their complaint(s), you'd have an additional customer for life (or at least for a more time than never).
Relationships are the backbone of sustained success.
Working low-wage, unskilled customer service sucks, but offers important life lessons about the way other people conduct themselves, and your own options to conduct yourself in the face of behavior you don't like. The best thing about high-school jobs is they offer concentrated streams of some of the interaction types necessary to becoming a well-adjusted person.
You either learn to stick to principled action while other people's behavior roll off you like water off the proverbial duck, or grow up to be the kind of person that thinks societal tut-tutting of 13 year olds on twitter an important moral cause.
On a broader note, IoT hardware that you install in your house that needs a service provided by a shaky startup company is going to cease to be a salable product fairly soon as more people get burned by it. We really need a low-attack-surface, standardized protocol to control and monitor these things without the support of the manufacturer. If we could make universal remote controls for AV equipment in the eighties, we ought to be able to make a universal remote control for home gadgets in the '10s.
If it was purchased from Amazon the customer may not know anything about the indiegogo or the size of the "company". Just expected to get a working product.
Let's not pretend that Garadget is somehow being magnanimous here.
You're being strangely defensive over this whole thread and I'm going to echo another commenter in asking, are you affiliated with Garadget in any way?
And there's really no problem with it, since you can get your money back. You don't lose any money.
> are you affiliated with Garadget in any way?
Let's say it's true. Would I say it, after going so far of somehow getting a 2843 days old HN account for it? Or let's say I'm not. Why would I even bother to answer to anyone but a moderator (who would probably send me an email in that case)? So, what's your point? Trying to discredit a discussion partner because you run out of arguments?
Don't break the law.
It doesn't matter what fine print the customer signed, if the contract is illegal.
Consumer protection laws protect us from this BS.
No, he isn't. He suggests returning the device to point of purchase, Amazon, who have no control over this situation.
You don't state which country your in, or answer the question someone asked of you regarding the potential affiliation you may have with this company.
1 point by erikb 14 hours ago [-]
I've been actually answering that question twice, yunoreed.