28 October 2011
It’s been an unfortunate week of customer support around the board.
Last year, I purchased 11 licenses of the Backblaze online backup product for Makalu. Even then, the experience of working with the Backblaze people was a little odd; for example, I had to go through the process of getting a quote from the sales guy, which turned out to be precisely 11 times the cost of a consumer single-license. Whatever.
We moved forward, had our corporate account setup, installed the software, and begin receiving monthly usage reports from Backblaze.
A year later, we’ve decided that we can get by with four, rather than 11 licenses. (Dropbox has made Backblaze redundant for us, to a certain extent.)
I email Backblaze asking how to remove licenses, and they explain that I need to login, access a certain account page, where I can remove accounts. I don’t remove the accounts immediately, but make a note to do so before the 1-year term expires.
In the meantime, I start getting renewal invoices and automatic payment reminders from Backblaze, naturally for 11 licenses.
A few days before the renewal date, I login, and remove 7 of the 11 accounts, as per the instructions provided. Having removed the accounts, I was presented with an interface to pay for the remaining four. Which I did. Done.
A few days later, I receive another payment reminder for 11 accounts. I replied explaining that I’ve already reduced the number of accounts, and paid for an additional year of service, and could they please stop these automated reminders.
The reply I get is this (paraphrasing):
Thanks for paying! Unfortunately, since you paid online and not using the automated invoice, we've converted your account back to a consumer account, and you won't be receiving usage reports any longer.
Awesome. Nowhere in the account management and payment interface is it mentioned that to retain corporate status, you must not pay within Backblaze.com itself. And I simply followed the instructions I’d been given!
I followed up, explaining this, and asking them to do whatever’s necessary to get my usage reports going again. I’ve not heard back. (When Tim Ferris had an issue with Backblaze, the CEO immediately followed up, in Twitter. I don’t think I’ll be so lucky.)
And if that story wasn’t good enough, I’ll leave you with this Twitter transcript from yesterday:
After something like that, how could I ever confidently ask them a question again? Quite honestly, I think I could have gotten more useful information asking Siri.