April 16th, 2004


Return to sender

Today I got a returns number for some software I bought a little while back.

I've encountered some dodgy software in my time, but it's usually been shareware or freeware that turns out to be so buggy it can't be used, and it's easy to get rid of when that turns out to be the case.

This time it was real, commercial, pay-up-front software - admittedly of the budget variety, but that's no excuse. I was particularly disappointed that it came from a company I've been a customer of for a long time. Under a variety of circumstances, the program crashed with an illegal memory access - generally before I'd managed to do anything useful with it, so at least I didn't really lose any work.

In the company's favour, they didn't quibble about the return, or try to put me through a long technical support process when I made it clear I was a software developer myself and wasn't prepared to put up with it. I am hopeful it'll all be sorted out quickly and that the next version will show a return to reliability. Returning the software may be my small contribution to making sure that happens.

As someone who's been on the other end of that tech support phone, I felt a tiny twinge of guilt that I wasn't prepared to work through the issue and try to help them find a solution, but my assessment was that (since they weren't able to identify it straight away) it was going to be a tough one to isolate and I'm just not able to give the time to it that it would have needed. For a start, my free time doesn't coincide with their hours for technical support.

I won't name the company or product, as my experience of their customer service has been OK so far, and there's a chance that the problem is down to some obscure combination of circumstances on my machine. I can have some sympathy with that - just not enough to let them keep my money!

As compensation for this secrecy, for those who've read this far, I've revealed my "Current Music" this time.