Extra special customers

Just occasionally you get a customer that is extra special, and I am just mind boggled.

A customer explains what he needs, which includes a local SIP server, orders a nice shiny new FireBrick, and asks for help and advice setting it up.

He is using us for broadband too, so naturally, at no extra cost, we provide public IPs for his phone system even though the rest of the LAN is set up on RFC1918 addresses and NATs to the Internet. The FireBrick provides firewalling so all safe. All set up and working for him.

Then he decides that he now wants to downgrade his network to be NAT only, and surprise surprise the phones stop working. We don't charge extra for the public IP so there is no advantage to doing this, it takes time and effort to change, and it breaks his phones!

Well, clearly he knows the FireBrick is doing what it says on the tin, they do that, so he has no real excuse to ask us to take it back and refund him (and it is well over any Distance Selling Directive time, and he is a business anyway)...

So what excuse does he try as a reason for asking us to refund him? Well, when he ordered there was a snag with the shipment of FB2500 FireBricks, so we provided an FB2700 at the same price. Lucky him - a higher spec unit that is faster, has USB for 3G backup, but is otherwise exactly the same. We explained this when he ordered and he was happy to accept it.

But now, that is the excuse for asking to send it back - not because it does not do what we said; not because it would not do what he wants; but because it is a FB2700 and not the FB2500 he ordered.

Now, we pride ourselves in customer service. If the FireBrick was not doing what it said on the tin we would be fixing the code, or refunding him with no problem. But when it does what was agreed, is better than he paid for, and he is the one causing the problems, it is hard to have sympathy really. We are a business, after all.

It is tempting to send a small bit of black tape to stick over the USB port and call it a downgrade to a FB2500!



  1. So he broke his own network now its suddenly your fault? bizarre.

  2. Well yes, but I think he knows it is not our fault, else why give the reason for wanting a refund that we sent a better model. You'd cite the not working NAT and SIP as the reason surely. Very odd.

  3. "You gave more more than I paid for! I protest!"



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