Welcome to my new blog

Hi, I’m PROGRAMMER BEAR.  I like fishing, long walks in the forest, and computer programming.

I’m a web developer by day, so I’ll be talking about topics ranging from web technologies to more technical programming things, general work/life issues, and anything else that seems interesting to me.

Hopefully something I say here will someday prove useful to somebody.  That’s nice to think about anyway.


Answer my support request I never sent you!

How can people possibly be so stupid? This is a real, unedited email exchange between us and a “customer”. For this post I’ll call my company “BearPayments” (not the real name), I’ll call the customer “Tyler”, and I’ll call my competitor “BruhPayments”. Other than that, this is exactly what was said:

Customer Email #1:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

I have been double billed and sent in 3 tech questions via website with no response. Please help

We searched and found no record of any purchases or support tickets under this guy’s name or email…

Our Reply #1:

FROM: BearPayments <support@bearpayments>

Hi Tyler,

Thank you for sending this. Sorry you’re having trouble. I have just checked our support tickets and we don’t have any reference to any tickets logged by you. Where did you send your request to? Please let me know so that I can follow up for you as soon as possible.

Thanks,
BearPayments

Customer Email #2:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

Please see the double payment! One taken last week and one done 2 weeks ago. I did it right from your trch support pages. I asked how i can export client/ invoice/ hst totals to spreadsheet. I have a government audit

We still have no record of any support tickets or payments from this guy…

Our Reply #2:

FROM: BearPayments <support@bearpayments>

Hi Tyler,

Did you log the ticket via this link [link to our support site]? I have done an extensive search and cannot find any tickets – can you possibly give me the ticket number – I would like to get to the bottom of this for you!

Thanks,
BearPayments

Customer Email #3:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

I did :) thats ok if i can get the refund and get help exporting.

Huh? We still have no record of any payment from this guy!

Our Reply #3:

FROM: BearPayments <support@bearpayments>

Hi Tyler

Please can you give me the ticket number as I am not picking it up my side. Please can you also confirm your receipt numbers.

Thanks!
BearPayments

Customer Reply #4:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

I dont have a ticket. I am working remotely. If you can direct me on how to export to a .csv file for sales/ > customers i can send to canada revenue agency

Huh? You said you submitted a ticket on our site, now you’re saying you don’t have a ticket? Which is it?

Our Reply #4:

FROM: BearPayments <support@bearpayments>

Hi Tyler

I’m not sure where you have tried to contact us (as mentioned earlier in our email thread) but we have no record of you reporting the issue besides these latest emails. Please note that for queries like this a support ticket needs to be logged via our website here [link]

We will be able to assist you once you have logged your query there.

Thanks in advance,
BearPayments

Customer Reply #5:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

Great!

I hAve done it through your website’s! It was right through the website as mentioned. Please look into the payment charges with the license and aresponse to the question i have asked 20 times would be appreciated. Never had such shaddy tech support in my life!

Forward the ticket and question to tech as i have told you i have done this multiple times!

I am very busy, so please send it over to tech. I dont hVe time to sit and re submit a ticket for a simple issue that i have done multiple times! I amgoing through a desk audit and have asked for 3 freaking weeks
Now! Lets move this along! It’s not hard!

Cheers

Are you on drugs? We have no payment records, no license keys, no support tickets, no… nothing from you! How can we help you when you won’t give us anything?

Our Reply #5:

FROM: BearPayments <support@bearpayments>

Hi Tyler

We have double checked absolutely every forum and inbox and ticket and we have no record of anything from you.

What link are you using to log your queries? Client’s often get BruhPayments and BearPayments confused.

Please give me the link of the website that you used to log your query – I cannot check for your these “20” requests without this link.

I asked in my previous email for your purchase receipt number to check this “payment” and you did not provide it – please can you send this to me so that I can follow up.

Without the website link and purchase receipt I cannot help you.

Thank you.

BearPayments

Customer Reply #6:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

I DO NOT WANT YOU TO CONTINUE CHECKING

I WANT MY ANSWER ANSWERED

LET ME SEND IT TO YOU AGAIN
–> HOW DO I EXPORT CLIENTS TO .CSV Smile
–> HOW DO I GET A PRINTABLE REPORT WITH ALL MY CLIENTS NAMES ON IT WITH TAX COLLECTED AND COST OF INVOICE VIA .CSV

THANKS

… because shouting at us in ALL CAPS helps us to understand?

Our Reply #6:

FROM: BearPayments <support@bearpayments>

Hi Tyler

No need to shout. It’s very clear what you need assistance with. I’m not asking you to keep checking. I’m simply asking for the website link you used to contact us or log your ticket. This inbox is not monitored 24/7 – all our clients log their support tickets via our website which you have not done – if you have you would be able to give me a ticket number.

When I ask for proof of purchase from clients in order to assist with their queries they find it very quickly by searching their inboxes as the emails sometimes end up in spam folders.

Simply search “BearPayments” in your inbox and you should be able to find the information I need from you fairly easily.

I cannot assist you without your purchase receipt, website link and ticket number. If you activated the license key on your website you would have the email from us where you were sent your license key – this would also help confirm if you are in fact using our product at all.

Thanks,

BearPayments

All the previous emails sent by us were written by my support staff… at this point I decided to jump in, as the owner, with an email of my own:

Our Reply #6 1/2:

FROM: Bear McBearface <owner@bearpayments>

Tyler,

I’m Bear McBearface, I’m the owner of BearPayments.

So far you have accused us of having “shaddy” support, yelled at my staff in all caps, and yet you refuse to answer a basic question such as what is your ticket number.

If you cannot act respectfully with my staff, then this conversation will be over.

As it stands now, you mentioned some double charges, and yet we have no record of any payments from you. You say you have asked our tech support a question “20 times”, and yet we have no record of any support tickets from you. It’s a very basic question when we ask, what’s your ticket number?

At this point it is my belief that you are not even using our product. As far as we can determine, you’ve never purchased anything from us, and you’ve never opened any support tickets with us. I believe its likely you are using a competitors product… for example perhaps you are confusing BearPayments with BruhPayments.

We have done everything we can to try and help you, but we can’t proceed until you answer our simple questions. What is your ticket number? Or what is your payment number? Please just answer this. It is not necessary to abuse my staff.

Regards,
Bear

Customer Reply #7:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

Bear,

As i have told your staff i am on the road. I don’t need a ticket number, i got an email with no response back MULTIPLE times. If your sensitive to that thats Pathetic!

I will send the 2 paypal invoice when i get home. I have told your staff my problem 3 times. It’s very easy to send me the solution rather then making me click on a link and re tell my issue for the 21st time!

If your upset and SENSITIVE your customer used CAPS… shame on you!

How about you pick up a phone and call.

There is obviously an issue- i have clarified multiple times my two issues- send it to tech support. Is it that hard or is it that you can’t find a solution to a tech problem?

Im waiting

And then a 2nd email sent shortly after…

Customer Reply #8:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>

When i get home i will go through my server and tell you the ticket number and auto response and invoice your system gave me.

We switched from google email to zoho so i dont have that history on my phone. I run 5 companies and have yet in my life to ever deal with a company who when a tech issue has occurred that the rep could not transfer a ticket to tech support!

It sounds like your system for tech support is out dated if this sinple request cannot be done after multiple emails advising its not working. I run a ticket based system and i am able to create move or delete tickets as needed. If your system cannot do that (which i would be surprised) it tells me it’s shady support or laziness!

So now as the CEO of BruhPayments maybe you can give me an answer after going back and forth for 2 weeks!

A good ticket system is Zoho desk- you should loom into it if your system is outdated and wont let your staff create a ticket for your client Bear. Smile and you don’t need to be so sensitive a simple response would have been faster and more appropriate!

(emphasis added)… so he’s lecturing me on our support process, accusing US of being “sensitive” after taking his abuse, and then he refers to me as the CEO of a competing company! He has no idea who he’s actually emailing with! What an idiot!

Shortly after, he forwards his payment receipts which show, you guessed it, he purchased from **BruhPayments**. Not from us.

My (hopefully final) reply:

FROM: Bear McBearface <owner@bearpayments>

Tyler,

Your payment receipt says **Bruh** Payments. Look at my email address. We are **Bear** Payments. We are a totally different company. You are not our customer.

Regards,
Bear McBearface
Owner of BEAR Payments

All that time wasted arguing with us, abusing us, and he’s not even OUR customer! What an asshole!

Welcome to the blacklist!

See more from The Joys of Customer Support

Fix your shit or face legal action!

From a potential customer:

Your page of free vs. pro is a complete LIE… This is illegal. It mentions nothing about limited the field types, just the amount of them. Fix your shit or face legal action!

Okay dude, see you in court. Also, welcome to the blacklist!

(for the record, I honestly have no idea what he’s talking about)

See more from The Joys of Customer Support

You didn’t drop everything and immediately implement my suggestion, how dare you!

There’s a LONG story of communications with this guy so I’m paraphrasing significantly. Suffice to say, this dude writes in asking for some feature we don’t have. We give him our standard reply — he can post a feature request for it (which is not a promise we’ll do it, only that we’ll consider it if it gets enough votes), or he can hire some other developer to do it for him. He then flips out and leaves bad reviews on 2 different sites.

He writes:

do you not understand how coding plugins and subsequent updates for them work? If I hire a developer to patch YOUR plugin, every update you have presents an opportunity to break a non-official coding change.

No, I don’t understand how coding plugins works. I just make a living selling plugins exactly because I have no idea what I’m doing. If only WordPress would implement some system of hooks and filters so us poor developers could implement non-official coding changes safely…. but who am I to argue, Mr. Not-a-developer Dude obviously understands better than me about such things.

This is a tasteless suggestion, also assuming I wasn’t prepared to pay YOU SPECIFICALLY to do this is a poor move.

We never asked for money, and we don’t want your money. (I don’t offer custom development services anyway, I have no time for that)

My 1 star review stands for the plugin, if I could take away another star just for this reply I would.

Wow I’m so sorry the review system doesn’t allow negative stars just for you.

I’m not sure who put you guys on the customer service team, but this decision is hurting your growth for this plugin.

What “decision” are you talking about? We said “open a feature request or hire a developer”, that’s it. What did you expect, that we should drop everything to implement some random feature just because 1 guy asks?

Any other plugin developer would have been thrilled to have a customer offer a suggestion

Yes because 1) obviously I don’t have anyone else making suggestions besides you, 2) clearly I have nothing else to do with my time, and 3) your request is definitely the best idea anyone has ever come up with, shame on us for not seeing your supreme wisdom.

To be honest I’m really disappointed at the service and will be
looking for an alternative plugin to use. Most plugin developers are
highly receptive to improving their products. This is a confusing
reply, and position to take on people asking to improve your product.

Yes, I’m sure years from now I’ll look back and regret this…. “if only I had implemented that one random guy’s feature request, it would have saved my entire business. But now, because I didn’t listen to that one guy, I live on dog food and cheap booze. If only I’d known.”

By the way, all of this was from a guy who’s business is selling… mushrooms. You heard me right, mushrooms. So obviously his ideas for how a software product should be developed are way better than anything us poor programmers could ever come up with.

P.S. Welcome to the blacklist!

See more from The Joys of Customer Support

Unnecessary chargeback threat

For my business I offer a 30-day no-hassle refund policy. We mention it all over our website, and we really mean it. All people have to do is ask for a refund, and we give it. We don’t ask questions, we don’t hassle anybody about anything. Then we get this:

please refund my account and cancel the license, if you people put me too many excuses to refund I’m just will call my AMEX card to pull the money. Thank you.

Why did you feel the need to threaten a chargeback right off the bat? Do you really feel that we’re scammers or something? Did you think we wouldn’t give you a refund unless you threaten us? Seriously dude, I’ve never even talked with you before, so why treat me this way?

Welcome to the blacklist, asshole!

(By the way, for those of you who maybe don’t know, chargebacks are a major pain in the ass for us small business owners. They are supposed to be used only for cases of legitimate fraud… i.e. somebody stole your credit card and went on a shopping spree with it. Unfortunately, people use them as a weapon just because they are unhappy. People lie and claim it was a fraudulent transaction so they get their money back immediately from the credit card company. In turn the credit card company yanks the funds directly from our account, plus a $15-20 chargeback fee. Then we have to provide evidence the charge was not “fraud” (i.e. we’re guilty until proven innocent!). It’s basically “legal” theft on the part of customers, and it sucks.)

See more from The Joys of Customer Support

Introducing “The Joys of Customer Support”

I’m adding a new category here called “The Joys of Customer Support”. I’ve been saying for a while that customer support is brutal and demoralizing for us programmers. I’ve been on the receiving end of many undeserved zingers over the years, but when people ask me for examples to back up my claim, I often struggle to recall the details of conversations other than the most super-recent ones. So this will be my little way of collecting them, once and for all, for posterity.

I don’t plan to write full-on blog posts for each one, they’ll just be short snippets. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. 😛

See them all here: The Joys of Customer Support

Programmer Bear announces Customer Blacklist Project with release of EDD Blacklist plugin

I sell premium WordPress plugins using the popular Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) plugin for WordPress. It’s a great business except for one aspect — fucking crazy customers, assholes, and scammers.

Don’t get me wrong, most customers are just fine. Some are even nice people! But the small % of crazies are simply draining, even demoralizing to deal with. I’m talking about customers who demand you implement some custom feature, and when you ever so politely say “no” they freak out and leave 1-star reviews every place they can find. Customers who abuse you and your staff in support tickets, treating you like fucking slaves at their every beck and call (and God help you if you take more than 24 hours to solve whatever they want!). Or scammers who chargeback their payment through their bank/credit card company, rather than spend the 30 seconds it would take to ask us for a refund!

If you sell WordPress plugins, or any other digital product using EDD, you know exactly who I’m talking about.

Continue reading Programmer Bear announces Customer Blacklist Project with release of EDD Blacklist plugin

Incorrect MIME type detection triggering “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” error in WordPress

Previously I posted about how to make WordPress permit additional file types to be uploaded. (My approach still works as of this writing.) Recently however I discovered some files that *should* be allowed via this method were still triggering “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” errors anyway. After 3 hours of digging through WP core code to find the problem, it turns out to be a deficiency in the way PHP itself detects MIME types. I present my solution to you here, in case you find yourself in the same situation.

Continue reading Incorrect MIME type detection triggering “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” error in WordPress

How to remove WordPress’ “PHP Update Required” nag box

WordPress recently introduced a scary “PHP Update Required” nag box on your WP dashboard. “Your site is running on an insecure version of PHP” they say. Isn’t that lovely? Well, no WordPress, just because my PHP version is “old” does not make it “insecure”. Fuck you.

Fortunately it’s easy to remove. Just add the following to your functions.php:

Continue reading How to remove WordPress’ “PHP Update Required” nag box