Answer the bleeping email

Earlier this week I got email from VMware announcing that I could now order Fusion 3.0 for my Mac. Because I had been a beta tester of this, they offered me a coupon code that was supposed to give me a 25% discount.

To my annoyance, it did not. The order page insisted the code was invalid.

In spite of diminished income in this recession, I still have more money than patience, so I just ordered the upgrade without the discount. Of course that ticks me off, so I returned to the email that promised this boon and noted that it didn't say a word about "No reply possible", so I hit reply and (politely) expressed my disappointment.

Yeah, I know - I should not hold my breath.

I don't want to single out VMware here. Yeah, it's really dumb to send out coupon codes that you aren't honoring, but never mind that. Where VMware really fails is that I can't send them email.

That's hardly unusual. At far too many large companies today, email from outside is discouraged or blocked outright. You usually can't hit "Reply" and if you visit their web sites, you are more likely to be forced fill out contact forms that may confine you to certain subjects - your particular concern may not be among the choices.

VMware has such a system. In addition to finding nothing that matched my needs, all of their forms request extraneous information that I don't feel like providing, thank you very much anyway.

Suggestion to companies implementing such things: have a "I think you screwed me" form and DON'T have any required fields other than one of email or phone.

It's possible that someone from VMware may eventually reply, but I have little confidence of that. I could try calling them, but large company voice mail systems aren't fun to navigate. I SHOULD be able to send email. That is the most convenient way to provide everything that they'd need to either redress my complaint or tell me to go stuff it. Nobody has to write down who I am, why I got the code - it's all there, because I'm replying to their promise!

Oh, right: they'd need a lot of people to handle customer emails. Oh, boo-hoo: how much would it truly cost? How much happier would those annoying customers be if they could communicate this way?

As noted, VMware is hardly the only sinner. I'm just ticked at them because they promised me $15.00 off and didn't give it to me. I'll get over it.



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© Anthony Lawrence







Wed Oct 28 21:42:24 2009: 7368   BrettLegree

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Glad to see I wasn't alone on this one...

(And yes, I also ordered it!)



Wed Oct 28 22:01:32 2009: 7369   TonyLawrence

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I did also fill out their "Website Feedback" form - which was the closest match I could find.

I'd say maybe 25% chance of a response? Unless someone from VMware happens to stumble upon this and does something on my behalf - which wouldn't be right, because you should be able to get stuff like this fixed easily and ordinarily.

Every company should have an "ombudsman" email.



Thu Oct 29 14:37:12 2009: 7370   AndrewSmallshaw

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Ever heard of the postmaster? Sometimes it works, though admittedly not most of the time. At least you can then vent your frustration on the sites that list companies that do not implement it correctly.

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