26
Feb
2009
 

Don’t Screw Your Customers Over

by Marcus Zarra

As part of working with the print world I occasionally have to actually print something out. Publishers like to have paper copies of contracts, tax documents, etc. Its a pain in the rear and outdated but a necessary evil at this point.

One such occasion happened today and I needed to mail out a new signed contract to THe Pragmatic Programmers. As luck would have it, I lost my aging copy of Mail Factory, an app that prints nice mailing labels, since the last time I needed to print a label. No big deal, I went to their website and tried to download a new copy. Since the last time I used it, about a year ago, they have cancelled that product and rebranded it Labels & Addresses. Still no big deal, I downloaded the new application and recreated my label.

When I went to print the label I saw in the preview window that they printed “trial version” on the label. Ok, now this is starting to get annoying. If you are going to let me demo the software, let me demo it! Don’t put trial version on the very first label I try to print!

I took a deep breath, remembered that I have been using their software for many years now and decided to just buy a license. They even took my old license in and gave me a discount. Blood pressure dropped, things were fine. Then I ran into their payment processor — Digital River.

I am stunned, stunned, that anyone is still using these thieves! Immediately they try to charge me a “license backup” fee which is an Opt-Out. Annoyed, I opt out of that. On the payment page I have a choice for PayPal. Surprise, there is a $3.50 “manual processing fee” for PayPal. This is NOT 1998! Still, I wanted to print a pretty label so I back out, add a credit card and hit process. I am then presented with this:

SWREG - Error
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Did my order go through or not? Who knows? I check my credit card provider, no charge. But are they slow or did it fail?

I contact the software vendor but they are only open until noon EST. Guess I will find out tomorrow or the next day since their site claims they strive to respond within 1-2 days. A happy customer this does not make.

Advice

Do not do this to your customers. Stop using these payment processing services that charge you insane amounts of money and screw your customers over. Spend a day (yes it only takes ONE day) and write your own that links to Google or PayPal. Or just use E-Junkie like I do. This is a customer facing system. When you bend your customers over with additional fees, cryptic error messages and other junk, they are not going to come back to you and say “please sir I would like some more”.

Also, respond to customer email within 24 hours. Don’t let it sit. Don’t give your customers a 7 hour window per day that you handle email. This is just bad.

My Solution

I deleted their software, will be asking for a refund (IF they ever charge me) and I wrote the label by hand. I will not be going back to them any time in the future for any of their software unless they stop using Digital River.

Marcus Zarra

Marcus S. Zarra is a founding partner of MartianCraft, LLC. He has been developing Cocoa software since 2003, Java software since 1996, and has been in the industry since 1985. Currently Marcus is producing software for iOS and OS X. In addition to writing software, he assists other developers by blogging about development and supplying code samples on Cocoa Is My Girlfriend. Marcus is also the author of Core Data (2nd edition): Data Storage and Management for iOS, OS X, and iCloud and Co-Author of Core Animation: Simplified Animation Techniques for Mac and iPhone Development. You can find Marcus on Twitter, on App.net and on StackOverflow.

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Comments

evansj says:

I bought VMware instead of the upgrade from Parallels 3 to 4, exactly because of the “license backup” fee. There was even something about it on their support forum, they said it was something that DR did and they couldn’t do anything about it. Of course they could – they could switch to a different processor.

the silent man says:

Most of the problem here is with the software developer, not DR.

The labels issue with ‘trial version’ is on them. The auto add of ‘license backup’ is most likely a deal between the developer and DR(aka, DR will give you lower rates if you auto add the license backup). If the developer wasn’t cheap and wanted lower eCommerce fees, that wouldn’t happen.

The $3.50 manual fee for paypal and error are a bit ridiculous, but that is an issue with SWREG, not all DR platforms. Other DR platforms such as eSellerate do not charge extra for paypal processing.

rebo says:

Heh this is weird, just 2 days ago I had TERRIBLE problems trying to order littleSnitch through SWREG/ Digital river.

These people are absolute amateurs they messed my payment up 4 times. I still don’t know if my CC has been charged.

I will never buy anything through this company.