Techie labelled 'disgusting filth merchant' by disgusting hypocrite

For once, the boss rescued IT from a revolting customer

On Call Welcome once again to On Call, The Register's weekly reader-contributed column that recounts readers' stories from the frontlines of tech support.

This week, meet a reader we'll Regomize as "Ogden," who shared a story from a couple of decades back when he worked for a young firm that sold mobile phone ringtones, wallpapers, and the like.

Some of the shop's digital tat was not safe for work (NSFW), as it featured images of pretty people in provocative poses. Those running the shopfront were mindful not to advertise those images widely, reserving promotion for publications that are completely unsafe for work – and probably best not left in public places.

Ogden was the startup's first tech hire and after a few years on the job found himself leading a team comprising eight developers, a pair of sysadmins, an IT manager, and the customer support team.

That responsibility meant he was also called upon to handle the most challenging support calls.

Which was how Ogden ended up on the phone with a customer who "started by calling us disgusting filth merchants" and then escalated to "choicer terms."

Ogden was able to glean that the caller's teenage son had bought and downloaded quite a few of the NSFW images. The caller had paid the bill, but wasn't happy.

"How dare you sell this material to an underage boy. I've done research on your company, and I found one of your directors' home addresses," the customer ranted. "I've a good mind to go round and break his legs."

The director in question was Ogden's boss. And, as luck would have it, he was in the room at the time.

Ogden put the call on speaker and let his boss introduce himself.

"I'm so sorry sir," his boss said. "We've blocked your son's mobile from being able to order anything else from us and will refund all the money."

The director went on to outline the policy of only advertising NSFW material in certain magazines.

"Somehow your son has seen our ads in publications not intended for children," the director explained.

"Oh yes I know," the customer responded. "I have some of them on my coffee table."

Have you handled customer complaints grounded in hypocrisy? Or had a complaint conclude as deliciously as the one Ogden handled? If so, click here to send an email to On Call and we may feature your story here on a future Friday. ®

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