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Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000

You'd think tech support people would stick together …

On Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Register's Friday frolic through readers' memories of support jobs that had odd endings.

This week, meet "Larry," who once worked for a company that we won't name. Just understand that this firm is a big name in the business IT world. You don’t need to have the powers of a seer to figure this one out.

Larry was running a project to replace the laptops in an entire division of 500 staff, and decided to split the deal between two PC makers.

Users were mostly happy with their shiny new laptops, but one user brought theirs to Larry to report it wasn't working. This machine – well and truly still under warranty – was making the kind of noises that suggested a storage drive had died.

Larry verified that problem, and called the laptop vendor to request a replacement.

Seeing as Larry worked for a very, very, big software company, he was a very, very, big client for the laptop-maker. He therefore called the help line for customers of that status and was connected to a support person.

"Immediately they gave me attitude and accused me of faking the error so I could get a new drive!" Larry lamented.

Justifiably miffed, Larry asked to speak to the manager.

The support chap hung up instead.

Larry called back, demanded to speak to the manager – successfully this time – and suggested his staff could be a little more polite.

"Instead of listening to me, the manager defended his rude staff member and proceeded to yell at me," Larry recalled.

The details of what happened next are not entirely clear, because Larry's dander was up.

He slammed his door, and his call with the laptop-maker's support manager became a shouting match.

By the time the call ended, Larry was fuming. He called the company's sales representative and cancelled the remaining order.

"This wasn't a dozen machines, or maybe a couple of dozen. This was 350 laptops in total, at $1,000 a piece – not counting peripherals, docking stations, bags, and other doodads the company ordered depending upon the department and seniority."

The sales rep begged Larry to come back.

But he didn't. The division of the very, very, large software company where Larry ran the PCs worked with just one laptop supplier. And hopefully a support manager somewhere got a very stern talking-to

Has bad support led you to change suppliers? If so, click here to send On-Call an email. ®

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