Jul 23, 2014

Pennywise and Spambot Foolish

Today I decided to make an impulse purchase from Micromat. They make some diagnostic tools for the Mac. It’s their 25th anniversary sale  (and I just celebrated mine)  so I thought what the heck.

I went through the site and added the product I wanted and a second free product to my cart. I’m a previous customer but I couldn’t remember my username/password so I just clicked the radio button for New? Please Provide Your Billing Information.

I then proceeded to fill in the 13 fields and I checked the agree to terms of service button. Then I clicked the Send Registration button. That was my first clue that this wasn’t going to be a great experience.

There were fields for selecting a product and entering the serial number but since I hadn’t completed the purchase I didn’t have a serial number so I skipped it.  When I clicked the button I got the message shown below.


Great! Just what you want to see when you’ve just filled in a form. Not only do they have a poorly designed checkout system but now it’s MY PROBLEM to resolve. They will take no steps, at this point here’s the message I get loud and clear:

“We don’t want your business. Spam costs us money and we are moving that cost on to you, our customer. You now have to resolve our spam issue to our satisfaction or we won’t sell you our products. Even though the odds that a spammer is buying our product is ludicrously low and we shouldn’t even care if they are, we don’t want to invest any effort into making our checkout system easier for our customers. “

However, like a good sheeple I decided to try and push forward. It’s been over an hour. I’ve sent emails to the sales address on the site (no response) and tweeted @micromat. The tweet worked, the email hasn’t. I was told (through a tweet reply) about an hour later that the problem was fixed. So like an idiot I went  through the entire process again and filled out the form and guess what? image

Now I’m thinking do I really want to give a company that treats its new customers who still haven’t paid for this product this way? How do they treat the ones that don’t represent new revenue? They said “Sorry” but that was the sum total of the apology. No indication that they think their check out process is flawed or that they should invest any effort in fixing it.

Fool me once  and all that, I don’t want to be duped a third time. I’ll forgo their products and my recommendation is you should too.

About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.