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How to deal with defamation / problem clients
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How to deal with defamation / problem clients

SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider
edited July 2013 in Providers

Ok, I'm at my wits end trying to deal with this customer. Basically how it goes.
1. The customer loads funds.

  1. 5 minutes later, while we are waiting on the Paypal payment notification he opens a support ticket with payment proof.

  2. We reply explaining that funds are in his account and that he needs to order a service.

  3. We are then repeatedly accused of being a scam, swore at and genreal rudeness while we repeatedly explain that an order needs to be completed in order to receive a service.

  4. Threats to defame and screenshots of posted defamation.

TL;DR how do you deal with false defamation and general problem customers? What experiences like his have you had and how were they resolved?

I would under normal circumstances never post a private support ticket of a user publicly but as you can see he has already done so, violating the implied privacy (although permission I would give willingly) of me and my support staff.

Here are the support replies as proof:_
If you want them, PM ME or find where he posted them. Im considering this issue resolved and have removed them_

If you wish to say something about my replies feel free to, I don't mind if you have suggestions but bare in mind the thread should be focusing on defamation and problem clients. And please don't say sue.... its LEB people.

X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer

Comments

  • Is that the same @Ishaq that works for @BlueVM?

    BlueVM | Best VPS Deals [~] 1GBPS, RAID-10, OpenVZ/KVM, 8 locations. [~] Feathur VPS Control Panel!
  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider

    I would think so, @Ishaq works for a few companies.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • BlueVMBlueVM Member

    @Magiobiwan - All of my employees are free contractors. They can work for other companies as long as nothing specific to BlueVM is discussed. Anyway I'm pretty sure that's the same Ishaq.

    BlueVM | 20% Off For Life => Coupon Code: FEBRUARYSPECIAL
  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider

    Kind of off topic (please make this the last post in this regard).

    Same here my two employees are both contractors same specifics as @BlueVM I would say its fairly common for support staff. Especially given the limited support budgets with LEB pricing.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • Perhaps offer a refund and put it behind you. You've made it clear that the user isn't entirely innocent and has maybe exaggerated/blown the issue out of proportion which essentially clears you from anything they may say. They asked for a refund so I'd just provide it and forget it ever happened.

    Thanked by 1SplitIce

    VPSCorner is a Offshore, Secure, Cheap VPS Provider. Posting as Luke, not all opinions are that of VPSCorner.

  • rds100rds100 Member
    edited July 2013

    Personally i would refund the payment the moment he opened the ticket, and then tell him "sorry, your payment is refunded, we do not want you as a customer".

    If he is unable to understand basic ordering process, imagine what other problems he will cause in the future.

    edit: besides receiving payments through paypal not related to a purchase is against PayPal's ToS. I suggest you to reconfigure your account to not accept payments sent with via "send payment", you should accept payments only via checkout.

    Thanked by 1SplitIce

    -

  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider

    My problem with refunding people like this is that they win, and they most likely incur PR related costs.

    People win, for what ever reason or gain (I can only speculate) they will repeat the process will they not? Thats really why we have our refund policy so strict to stop all these people walking all over us like they did early on (we had a huge fraud rate of about 20% early on due to people on hackforums really loving our service).

    I may end up just refunding, simply out of a lack of will to fight any more. Ill wait and see if anyone has any different input or ideas, Im not sure how customers of this magnitude are. Thanks @VPSCorner @rds100 for your input.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • @SplitIce said:
    My problem with refunding people like this is that they win, and they most likely incur PR related costs.

    People win, for what ever reason or gain (I can only speculate) they will repeat the process will they not? Thats really why we have our refund policy so strict to stop all these people walking all over us like they did early on (we had a huge fraud rate of about 20% early on due to people on hackforums really loving our service).

    I may end up just refunding, simply out of a lack of will to fight any more. Ill wait and see if anyone has any different input or ideas, Im not sure how customers of this magnitude are. Thanks VPSCorner rds100 for your input.

    It's not about winning though, it's about providing a good service and retaining a good reputation and customer base.

    VPSCorner is a Offshore, Secure, Cheap VPS Provider. Posting as Luke, not all opinions are that of VPSCorner.

  • prae5prae5 Member

    Wrongs on both sides, but imho bigger fail on the providers side.

    Customer clearly wanted proxy service, added funds and was under the impression they had ordered service. Clearly they misunderstood your order process.

    However, you missed an opportunity to avoid all of this. You could have simply manually provisioned it and told them in the future you need to do x, y and z.

    Likewise posting support tickets is an instant fail as far as I'm concerned for any provider.

  • rds100rds100 Member

    Manually provisioning his order without going through the normal ordering process would bypass the fraud checks. Maybe that's what he wants to accomplish.

    The right thing was to refund the payment. Then you can either explain him how to make an order and pay for it, or just tell him to go away.

    Thanked by 1DalComp

    -

  • yep, just refund and let him hassle someone else, sounds like he's already spent more than $10 of you and your staff's time.

    i also agree that you shouldn't be posting private communications in public.

  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider
    edited July 2013

    @prae5 said:
    However, you missed an opportunity to avoid all of this. You could have simply

    manually provisioned it and told them in the future you need to do x, y and z.

    Not actually possible given the configuration options (e.g SSL) and different pricing different plans. Note that nothing has been provided.

    @prae5 said:
    Wrongs on both sides, but imho bigger fail on the providers side.

    Customer clearly wanted proxy service, added funds and was under the impression they had ordered service. Clearly they misunderstood your order process.

    Thats really no excuse for not ordering and defamation, despite being given explicit instructions on how to in-case they were confused.

    Likewise posting support tickets is an instant fail as far as I'm concerned for any provider.
    @SplitIce said:
    I would under normal circumstances never post a private support ticket of a user publicly but as you can see he has already done so, violating the implied privacy (although permission I would give willingly) of me and my support staff.

    I feel I am justified, if you don't. Not that I did so lightly. Don't feel I was? Don't become our customer simple. :) These have already been screenshot'ed by him (although these are better cropped than his), free for me to re-post.

    TL;DR @prae5 I disagree with you almost in entirety but that's ok you are entitled to your opinion. And it will be taken under consideration.

    Thanks @rds100, I never considered the Fraud Checks aspect. Although we do most of ours on Payment Received (so we have the transaction ID for automatic refund). Not that he would know that.

    Ok, if I get a further reply on the matter I will take an approach akin to @rds100 and @VPSCorner and see how it goes. It seems to be the more common approach (which was the point, since implementing proper fraud checks we have had very few incidents and hence have limited procedures)

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • DroidzoneDroidzone Member
    edited July 2013

    As a customer of multiple providers, this is my perspective. It seems on reading the ticket history that the customer wanted a VPN service, but did not have the knowledge to order a service. Maybe he was expecting an instantaneous provisioning. But it's quite apparent that he had the will to order a service and did not pay money just for getting your back, or creating a sensation.

    My only question is this.. As a provider, your support staff clearly verified that money was added to his account. Couldnt you just have asked him which service he wanted, and just provisioned it for him, after repeated responses made it clear that he had no clue how to do it?

    Btw.. your ticket responses were clearly civil, though a bit curt. A little less brevity and more forthcoming responses could have helped.

    As to how you deal with these people who try to malign you. Just be open, and state your response in a professional manner, and be open. If I wanted to order your service, I'd have no doubts after reading the ticket history of this customer. I just see a customer who's not computer savvy trying to get the provider to spoonfeed him, and a provider who stuck to the "No support" policy a bit rigidly.

    @prae5 said:
    Likewise posting support tickets is an instant fail as far as I'm concerned for any provider.

    Not if the customer already initiated the process by bringing the issue to public. There's no other way for the provider to respond, other than to bring forth evidence to support facts.

    C, Bash, Perl, Python, PHP, and JS hobbyist. VPS collector. Blog

  • rds100rds100 Member

    @joelgm yeah, he's not computer savvy, but somehow managed to figure out the paypal address that the company uses, then managed to send money to that paypal address and then managed to open a ticket and have the transaction details ready.

    -

  • MaouniqueMaounique Member
    edited July 2013

    @rds100 said:
    Manually provisioning his order without going through the normal ordering process would bypass the fraud checks. Maybe that's what he wants to accomplish.

    Interesting, I wasnt thinking of this.
    We blocked adding funds to the account because many people do that and then ask refunds, probably testing various cards or paypal accounts.
    It is still possible to pay the bill twice, ie setup automatic payment and then pay manually too, this gives a lot of problems with being accused we draw the money twice, but in the end, there are fewer of those cases today.

    Extremist conservative user, I wish to preserve human and civil rights, free speech, freedom of the press and worship, rule of law, democracy, peace and prosperity, social mobility, etc. Now you can draw your guns.

  • The best option within WHMCS under general settings > Credit

    Require Active Order "Require an active order before allowing Add Funds use"

    Works wonders :D

  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider

    @Maounique
    As we do Pay-As-You-Go style services we utilize an account balance system (Purchase -> Paypal -> Continue with purchase.

    If you dont complete the purchase you end up with funds (or you can manually add them in the dashboard). All bills are deducted from account balance. We will eventually streamline this a bit more, and its possibly understandable if the payment took a little too long for the customer to be stuck waiting for paypal for a little while (suspicious payments take longer for paypal usually).

    I cant say I have had too many people request refunds after purchase in this manner. Although if it happens I will have an idea why, thanks.

    @joelgm
    I agree with you, although I disagree with the "will to order a service", given direct instructions to follow multiple times he did not. I probably should have added a service for him, but then explaining how to replace placeholders (single value during purchase maps to multiple for management etc) given his difficulties I imagine would be next to impossible.

    You are right, perhaps I should have been a little less abrupt in my responses. I think I got a little riled up at the rudeness, accusations and threats (not that its an excuse). I only just noticed that tendency now that I was looking for it. Thanks.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • DroidzoneDroidzone Member
    edited July 2013

    @rds100 said:
    joelgm yeah, he's not computer savvy, but somehow managed to figure out the paypal address that the company uses, then managed to send money to that paypal address and then managed to open a ticket and have the transaction details ready.

    He doesnt need to be PC savvy to do that. The first thing I see on logging on to http://www.x4b.net/dashboard/ is a big banner telling me to add funds. Clicking on the button is simple.

    I'm not justifying him making derogatory remarks. I'm just saying that he couldnt be that big an idiot to load an account with and then waste time getting back the money, and sending tickets if he didnt want a service in the first place.

    C, Bash, Perl, Python, PHP, and JS hobbyist. VPS collector. Blog

  • @SplitIce said:
    Maounique
    As we do Pay-As-You-Go style services we utilize an account balance system (Purchase -> Paypal -> Continue with purchase.

    We will be doing the same with the IaaS services, however, we thought of doing this as a setup fee for the product which becomes credit. A similar thing might help you.

    Extremist conservative user, I wish to preserve human and civil rights, free speech, freedom of the press and worship, rule of law, democracy, peace and prosperity, social mobility, etc. Now you can draw your guns.

  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider

    Yeah the new purchase system we are working on incorporates something similar.

    Basically instead of the description just containing a text string and a user identifier we will be including a hashed ID to a pending order record. Something we don't currently do, but need to further streamline the process.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • IvanIvan Member

    What client managing/billing software are you guys using?
    Also, really nice site.

  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider

    All custom :) about 2 years of development so far. Nothing I cam across could handle both PAYG billing and Monthly in any reasonable fashion.

    Thanks.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
  • DamianDamian Member

    I don't see the value in responses like "The purchase form isn't going to magically fill itself out. We aren't going to read your mind and fill out the configuration" though. I'm aware that customers tend to be punchy, especially in this field, but playing their game instead of maintaining a face of professionalism isn't cool either.

    Thanked by 1Infinity
  • Yeah, you can be professional and still communicate clearly how you feel about the issue.

    Extremist conservative user, I wish to preserve human and civil rights, free speech, freedom of the press and worship, rule of law, democracy, peace and prosperity, social mobility, etc. Now you can draw your guns.

  • ztecztec Member

    I don't like the fact that you're trying to ''win'' when it comes to customer service, I hope I never end up with a customer service rep with that mindset.

    You can spam me with any yearly shared hosting deal.

  • EpidriveEpidrive Member, Provider

    I would have refunded his money back the moment he said "fucking funds"

    And instead of you linking to your refund policy why didnt you just settled the $10 inside the ticket?

  • how do you deal with false defamation

    By definition defamation is a publicly made false statement that harms a person/company's reputation so "false defamation" would be a publicly posted true statement about someone. :)

    How to deal with defamation / problem clients

    Stop whining, grow a set of balls and deal with the problem customer with a smile and remain professional in your dealings with them. Problem customers and customers publicly posting complaints are something every business has to deal with. If you no longer want to do business with a pain in the ass customer you should inform them in a professional manner that their services are terminated and issue them a refund for any unused services.

  • SplitIceSplitIce Member, Provider
    edited July 2013

    I will consider the input. As I don't require more input, Ive removed the images, if you need them PM me or find where his copies have been posted.

    X4B - DDoS Protection: Affordable Anycast DDoS protection including Layer 7 mitigation with PoPs in the US, EU and Asia.
    Latest Offer: Black Friday 2019 Offer
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