Oracle has been sued in the US for allegedly engaging in a scheme to force owners of point-of-sale gear to switch to its subscription-based Simphony system in violation of contract and trade laws.
A&E Adventures, a Florida-based operator of family entertainment centers, filed the complaint last month in Florida state court.
Oracle was served with the complaint at the beginning of March and on Wednesday succeeded in its bid to move the case to federal court, the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami.
A&E Adventures says that in early 2010, it acquired five Restaurant Enterprise Solution 3700 Point-of-Sale systems (RES 3700) and entered into a contract with MICROS that granted the company a license to use the devices and associated software.
The hospitality biz also bought a "Red Key," a USB drive containing a license code to enable regular upgrades.
Things went downhill after Oracle acquired MICROS, the company says. In October 2015, A&E Adventures engaged Oracle to deploy one of its five RES 3700 systems at its Fort Myers, Florida facility.
"The services provided by Oracle were deficient, however, as the Fort Myers System's software has malfunctioned continuously since then," the complaint explains.
Oracle technicians returned to bill the company for 16 hours of work in December 2015 and January 2016, the complaint says, but those services were also deficient and the malfunctions continued.
A further effort was made to fix the Fort Myers system in February 2017. That didn't work either.
"Not only did Oracle's technicians fail to correct the Fort Myers System's software malfunctions, the work Oracle performed caused the system to crash, [resulting in loss of revenue]," the complaint says.
Dissatisfied with Oracle's efforts, A&E Adventures asked a third party, Postec, to repair its systems. Oracle, however, the complaint says, refused to allow that, confiscating A&E's Red Key and asserting that A&E lacked valid software licenses.
The complaint alleges that Oracle breached its contact to adequately service the RES 3700 hardware and interfered with A&E Adventures' business relationship with Postec.
To bolster its bid for class action recognition, the complaint cites 16 gripes culled from two different websites about Oracle and its customer service as evidence of widespread dissatisfaction.
Most of the objections are drawn from business software review site Capterra, where Oracle Hospitality POS gets 1.5 out of 5 stars.
In one post to Capterra, Justin McGranahan, accounts payable and IT manager for Boone Tavern Hotel in Kentucky, wrote, "Since the purchase of Micros by Oracle, the support standards have gone so far beyond subpar that I don't even receive phone calls back about issues I call in, the tickets just get closed when Oracle feels like it."
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"They state that they have left messages with the site which is false as all technical calls are routed directly to me) plus my phone number and email are on every piece of documentation and yet they can't find the time to contact me before closing the case…."
The A&E Adventures complaint argues this dissatisfaction points to a concerted campaign to move RES 3700 customers over to Oracle's cloud-based subscription service Simphony.
"As evidenced by the foregoing testimonials, Oracle is engaged in a deliberate scheme to deprive RES 3700 system owners of essential support, and to prevent system owners from obtaining that support from third parties, in order to force those consumers to abandon the RES 3700 and purchase Oracle's subscription-based Simphony system," the complaint says.
Oracle declined to comment on the lawsuit. ®