How about a little punctuation for that misdirected support email?

This is funny. An end user sent a support email to his ISP, instead of the company they bought the software from. It caught my eye because there’s at least three sentences crammed into one, and it was a little hard to read:
“I recently installed [foobar application] and it really didn’t help at all the first day it seemed to but after that nothing so I ran a test and it told me to send this info to you maybe you could help.”
This kind of misdirected email comes in frequently, and it’s really our fault, since our default support string is “Contact your ISP”. It’s supposed to be changed when a service provider brands our software, but some SPs are lazy, and leave the default strings in. To make matters worse, the ISP looked at the application and said, understandably, “no, you should contact the software manufacturer,” which the user did next, which is why I got this email. Unfortunately, the service provider gets away with little or no support calls, pocketing this user’s money, and putting the load squarely on us.
It seems pretty obvious to me that if I’m paying someone for something and it doesn’t work, then I go straight back to that someone who’s got my money. I do that first. If that fails, then I go to the manufacturer. Since this isn’t an iPod or something, and the user’s essentially buying a subscription to a service, they shouldn’t really be going to the manufacturer, not even if the service provider says so. We don’t see any of this user’s money, and we can’t cancel their account or put a stop-payment on their credit card. Still, we see a lot of these calls, and we never quite know what to do with them.
Update: OK, now this guy’s getting on my nerves. He sent in two more emails, and paged me on my Blackberry. I’m going to kill him.

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