Stupid customer service e-mail of the month

My dramas with my credit card took two interesting turns today. The more significant, but slightly less interesting turn was that I called the bank about the continued slurping of my account. They had a look and found that the company in Utah reckoned it was going to claim US$49.95 a month out of it. Like hell they are. The bank people were most helpful, and arranged to have the card cancelled and a new one sent out to me, as well as reversing the transaction.

The less significant, but possibly more interesting (and certainly more amusing) turn to the story is this: Last week, I e-mailed the company who think they have me as a customer, and who think they can get money off me. They’re a big company, they make software. Although I’ve never dealt with them, I’ve heard of them before.

Oh sod it, I’ll name them. It’s PowerQuest. I’ve certainly heard of their Partition Magic product before – it’s quite well known in geek circles.

So since this is going to cost them money (because my bank quite rightly will give me the money back), and because I’m a nice kinda guy, I thought I’d drop them a line or three:


Can you please have the appropriate person contact me regarding two charges to my credit card account by your company. I have not authorised these, and have already had my bank reverse one US$29.95 transaction. Now I see there has been a second US$49.95 transaction.

Evidently someone is using my card fraudulently, and since my bank will refund me, it will end up costing your company money. So you may wish to investigate it further. Please contact me for more information.

Thanks and regards,


Pretty straightforward, I would have thought. Well this morning, I get the following, somewhat surprising, reply from their Customer Service department:

Dear Daniel,
We are sorry for the delay in responding. If you still have not been able to download the software then please let us know.


I had to re-read my original mail (which was tacked onto the bottom of the reply) to be sure I hadn’t written the wrong thing. I hadn’t.

How is it possible for somebody to read enough of an e-mail that they can figure out my name, yet get the contents of the mail so completely wrong? Surely anybody of even subnormal intelligence should be able to scan the mail I sent and figure out that Form Letter #34 (Downloading problems) doesn’t come close to fulfilling the requirements of what could be considered to be an intelligent and appropriate response.

Now, it’s no real skin off my nose if they lose money because someone has fraudulently used my credit card. But I’d prefer people didn’t get away with that kind of thing, so I sent a brief reply back.

Please read my mail again. I did not purchase software from you.

I’ll await the next instalment with interest.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.