So much anger over a simple email

One of my businesses sells WP plugins on an annual licensing basis… its a subscription that auto-renews each year unless you cancel.  An extremely common and well known business practice in the WP world.

Well… we had this one German guy cancel his subscription before the year was up — as some people do, and that’s totally fine — but as the end of the year approached he got an automated “your license is expiring soon” email from our website.  He absolutely flipped a lid.

We thought maybe he was worried about getting charged, so we replied and confirmed that, not to worry, his subscription was already cancelled and he wasn’t going to be charged anything.  We explained it was just an automated email letting him know his license is expiring.

Then he replies with this gem (word for word):

Hi [name],

i didn’t worry, but you should.

What kind of company you are working for? Is this a garage sale?

If i cancel a subsription then i will never receive any further messages!

If you need advice to review your internal processes feel free to ask me for a proposal.


So much anger over an email!

I don’t see anything upsetting about a perfectly normal, commonplace reminder email.  I’ve received the same kinds of emails from other companies and have never been bothered.

I wanted to reply something like “I’m sorry our email caused you emotional suffering.  Please do send us your proposal for what process we should use to deal with rude customers who are triggered by automated emails. Sincerely, The Owner of this Garage Sale”…. but I didn’t.

Instead… Welcome to the blacklist!

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Will you give me a discount in return for my feature request?

I’ve shortened the first part of his message for brevity, but the rest is 100% exactly what he wrote to us:

FROM: Some user <somebody@somewhere>

I am trying to [some random thing, we have no idea what he’s talking about]
Do you have anything like that?

If NOT and you implement it, will you give me some kind discount for the suggestion?


We honest to God laughed out loud when we read that last line.  I wanted so bad to reply back “Yes, pretty please won’t you give us a suggestion for something to do with all our free time over here, PLEASE!!”.  (But I didn’t.)

Seriously though.  The poor guy must not understand that feature requests are a dime a dozen.  EVERYBODY has some idea, and everybody thinks THEIR idea is the most amazing thing ever.  (I got news for you: they’re not.)  Nobody ever stops to think our schedules might already be full, or that maybe we have our own ideas to pursue.

So yeah… some random guy with some random idea that I honestly couldn’t even understand what he was trying to say… and he wants me to PAY HIM for the suggestion?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I love this guy!

Customer From Hell – A Case Study

Customer makes a purchase through our website on Saturday, May 16th at 11:11pm (our timezone).

Seven minutes later at 11:28pm, he opens a support ticket:

my order confirmation number is [number]

with my PayPal with email [email address]

I no longer have access to this email above help me today please before I cancel payment through paypal

How nice is that? Demanding we help him “today” (on a Saturday) and threatening a chargeback right off the bat.  Well we don’t work on weekends, much less after 11PM on any day.  Nobody will even see his message until Monday, but that doesn’t stop him from leaving a flurry of messsages:

11:35pm – he sends us a copy & paste of the email confirmation he got from PayPal.

12:07am – he sends us a copy & paste of the email confirmation he got from our website.  (So obviously he got both these emails… why is he saying he doesn’t have access to them??)

3:55am – “just resend the welcome email i updated me email on paypal”

4:06am – he opens a 2nd support ticket with the message: “My purchase needs to be added to or moved to this account thank you”

5:18am (on support ticket #1) – “whats going on is someone going to address this”

5:25am – he sends us an email with the same copy & pastes as above.

5:26am (on support ticket #2) – “ok im going to cancel through paypal”

5:38am (on support ticket #1) – “i just canceled this with paypal. thank you.”

And indeed, at 5:38am he opened a dispute with PayPal.  So in the space of 6 hours, on a Saturday night into Sunday morning, he opens 2 support tickets and sends a total of 8 messages, plus 1 email, then opens a PayPal dispute.  For real.

On Monday we reply to all his messages and he closes the PayPal dispute.  End of round 1.


Round 2.

June 4th. He opens a support ticket saying “I have the [name of product] but there is no purchase history”.  He seems to be referring to the My Account area of our website where he would be able to see his purchase history.  He’s created a 2nd account under a different email address from the one he purchased with, which is why he’s not seeing anything.  We tell him this.

June 12th, he replies:

well check this out I need support and so far your support is so so …. [name of product] is broken i need the up date [name of 1 random file that’s part of our plugin]

so check this out again

[then he copy & pastes again his original purchase receipt email]

OUR support is “so so”?  We’re not the ones who can’t keep their email account straight, but okay dude.  Now for the first time he’s saying something is “broken”, although he doesn’t elaborate any detail as to what exactly that means.  And he’s asking for a specific file to be updated, which is such a random, nonsensical request, we don’t know what to make of it.

We reply asking for some info to help us sort everything out, and we also explain again which account he needs to login under to find his purchase.  He never replies.  End round 2.


Round 3.

July 21st. He opens 2 new support tickets back to back.  The first one:


Because typing in all caps helps us to understand so much better.

The second one:

ORDER NUMBER: [number]

[order number] needs to be added to my profile and history of purchases

Well at least he turned caps lock off, but he still hasn’t found any of his punctuation keys.

We go through a series of messages with him.  We again explain how he’s created 2 different accounts on our site, and telling him which one he needs to log into to see his purchases.  Eventually we transfer his purchase from the 1 account to the other, which seems to make him happy (or, at least, he stopped replying after that and went away.  Not so much as a “thank you”…).  End Round 3.


Round 4.

December 27th. He opens a new support ticket from yet another email address, and now a 3rd separate account that he’s created on our site:

I lost access to everything email cell phone website i mean everything

Hello my names is [name] my business is [name of business]

I had purchased the [name of product] when I received my stimulus check last summer I have the files but I do not have my serial licences for each extension please help.

We point out that he now has 3 separate accounts on our site, and ask him if he has access to either of the previous 2 logins.  Then on December 30th he replies:

no i do not sir. i lost everything and it is very hard to recover from this … but the bright side of life is I am no longer homeless I am renting my gf and myself so now I have stability for my business and myself.

By this point we’re closed for New Years and the weekend, it won’t be until Monday January 4th that we see his message and reply again.  Meanwhile he replies again with this:

ok well whats the hold im suppose to half [name of product] you guys sentme an email because I switched e,mail accounts short time after my purchase please just me my serials

We reply and transfer his purchase (again) to his now latest account.  End of round 4.

Anyone wanna place bets how long it will be until he loses his email access again?  How long will it be before he’s asking us to transfer his purchase to yet another account?  Sigh.

I think you need to learn English better

A guy messages us through the “pre-sales questions” contact form on our website, asking some technical question about how to do something with our software… or so we thought. One of my staff email him back:

Hi Ian

Sorry you’re have trouble. Please note that for queries like this a support ticket needs to be logged via our website here [link to our support site] so that we can assist you.

Thanks in advance,


You may have already noticed the typo, right? Well this “client” had something to say about it… his reply:

FROM: Ian <ian@someasshole>

I think you need to learn English better. I am trying to buy one of your products and you make me do a stupid ticket?

(emphasis added)

Now, Megan is a super nice lady and, guess what, a NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER. But we all make mistakes sometimes. She said “sorry you’re have trouble” when she meant to type “sorry you’re having trouble”. Big whoop-de-do. When you answer hundreds of emails it’s bound to happen once in a while.

Megan replies trying to make light of it:

Hi Ian

Thanks for pointing out my grammar and spelling mistakes – I see you had a few as well. lol
Must be that time of the year! One can tell it’s really been challenging for everyone.

(message then goes on about his technical request and why he needs to talk to our support team….)

To which he replies:

FROM: Ian <ian@someasshole>

Ha! You are a joke. We are going with another option. Bye

All I can say is, thank you Ian for revealing to us what a major asshole you are before actually buying our software, so we won’t have to deal with your bullshit on an ongoing basis. Welcome to the blacklist!

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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.


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!


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.


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,

Customer Reply #5:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>


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!


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.


Customer Reply #6:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>





… 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.



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>


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.


Customer Reply #7:

FROM: Tyler <dumbass@somecompany>


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>


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.

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!

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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)

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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!

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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.)

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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