Monday, 26 March 2007

Customer Appreciation Revisited

A few months back, I had written this entry about my experiences with HDTVSupply.  To recap, I had purchased a Component Video switch from them two years ago off of eBay (they are a power seller there).  During my move I had misplaced the power supply to the box.  Since neither the switch itself nor the manual states what the power supply specifications are, I thought I would ask HDTVSupply if they could help me and look at one to tell me the specifications in order to buy a replacement.  I called HDTVSupply and got two unique interactions:

  1. My first call got a pretty gruff and rude guy who basically told me to RTFM and all but hung up on me.
  2. My second call got the same guy and after I explained I had read the manual and purchased the switch from HDTVSupply two years prior, he told me I was a liar and I was looking for free support.  When I didn't have an order number (it was two years ago and from eBay remember), this pretty much confirmed it for him.

Now, it was completely possible that this was an isolated incident and the said gentleman was having a bad day at work.  I had pretty much written off the incident as such.  Imagine my surprise when I got this email yesterday:

HDTV Supply support@hdtvsupply.com

We have reviewed your blog and what you said about HDTV Supply and ask to
have it deleted as we do not have any orders from you and it may impact our
business.
Failure to do so will cause us to take further action.
Please delete it within 24 hours.
Thank you and best regards,
Legal Department
Kent Howard - Attorney at Law

HDTV Supply, Inc.
(805) 277-xxxx

This is pretty disturbing for a variety of reasons and shows a systemic disregard for their customers.  Also, notice that a generic mailbox was used as well to prevent me from replying directly to Kent.  So, instead of Kent contacting me and apologizing on behalf of HDTVSupply for a bad customer interaction, he (and by inference HDTVSupply) has instead contacted me to threaten me to silence.  Had this been a positive interaction by Kent, I would have simply updated the original post and let readers know that HDTVSupply made good on an otherwise poor customer interaction.  Instead, they threaten me with lawsuit (what else would 'further action' mean?).  It's an interesting tactic... not what I would do of course, but interesting nonetheless.

Sunday, 01 April 2007 10:35:40 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Incredible. So in addition to your poor customer service experiences (and yeah, he could have been having a bad day), they have poor record keeping, too. I say the latter as despite your inability to produce an order number, they should have been able to query on your name, address, or some other identifier.

Furthermore, I'm bothered by the e-mail for both its content (which I find to be 'amateurishly written') and its presence. I would have expect a cease-and-desist letter (which is what this is, IMO) to be of the snail mail sort (or at least snail mail following email) written on the letterhead of said attorney (which would contain information you could use to verify and contact them directly instead of a generic mailbox).

Instead, you have received an e-mail from an individual *claiming* to be an attorney who uses the phrase "...and what you said about HDTV Supply...". Wouldn't they specifically cite what they found offensive? IANAL, but if I'm calling someone on something I'll be specific about it.

I agree with your closing remark - not what I would do either. Good luck with this situation, Ryan.
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