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  1.    #1  
    Hiya all...I just got e-mail confirmation from Tom Ponzo at Second Looks (PC Magazine) that he received my letter on the Visor and, indeed, they have published it at the following URL: http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/secondlooks/index.html

    If and when you have a chance, go to the URL and then send an e-mail to Tom and let him know about your experience vis-a-vis the Visor. I let him know I was pretty angry about the delivery part, but that I thought the Visor was a great product. Seems to me that my letter, which will be at the above URL thru Thurs of next week, hopefully will make an impact. Go for it!
  2. #2  
    The game is afoot! It seems that HS hasn't been able to deliver satisfaction to many of us who have tried to support them. Perhaps some external pressure will bring some actual change!
  3. Zen
    Zen is offline
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    #3  
    Posted my reply on the site. (Steve Kaminczak)...

    Sigh...

  4. #4  
    Posted mine as well

    -Rich
  5. #5  
    I forwarded the URL to PalmPower's news department.
  6. #6  
    I posted as well but was very forgiving due to the "overwhelmed" factor. However, I did state that the if communication were "fixed" they be better off.
  7.    #7  
    Raga -- thanks for the forward...I was going to but didn't have the chance.

    Anyway, as far as this Secondlook thing is concerned, I won't feel badly if it impacts sales and overall success of the Visor.

    My feeling is that, based on this awful experience, another company will eventually come along and learn from these problems, and more importantly, I would not be surprised if the next time around, many of us are even quicker to say "See ya Handspring" when the next cool device is introduced. Whether it's by Palm, TRG or another company, I'm leaning toward looking elsewhere.

    Loyalty to the product line is one thing -- but based on this ridiculous experience, overwhelmed or otherwise, you can be sure _my_ loyalty will be with the Palm OS and not Handspring. Even if I do get my Deluxe, I'm soured on the whole experience. And since I've already played around with a few of them (at Internet World), I'd be more than willing to hold off a little longer if I don't get the Deluxe and pick up a color 8MB Razor (Palm V). Will I be happy if I do get an Ice Visor on Monday? Heh...**** yeah! But if there were another close competitor (price, features) would I have already been on the horn and ordered another one and refused shipment from Handspring? **** yeah.

    It's a shame that the product is so good and the distribution of same is so bad.

    Nuff said on my part...
  8. #8  
    So, staad, do you really think Handspring isn't trying to get Visors out the door into customers' hands? I guess I'm the fool for thinking Handspring really does want to get past this as quickly as possible. Maybe you're right, maybe Handspring is just goofing off, not taking any of this seriously, and "outside pressure" will get them to wake up and smell the coffee. How stupid of me.
  9.    #9  
    DM...

    I don't think staad was suggesting they were goofing off. Rather, and I agree with him, that they figured that they'd try and implement a longer-lasting system while the only ones who are getting shafted are die-hard Handspring loyalists. IOW, how many of us are going to say, "The hell with the Visor, I'm gettin' me a Vx..."

    With some public pressure, they know that they're not going to get as many second- and third-wave customers as they would without that public pressure.

    IOW, while they're trying to get the system working properly, they're knowing that the general public, not just we diehard PDA/Handspringers, is watching. I think that is what he meant, and, again, I happen to agree with him.
  10. #10  
    dmkozak - You use your own words, not mine, when you say that HS is "goofing off". They are not "goofing off". Niether are they doing all that they can. They CAN do more. It seems that they don't feel COMPELLED to go the extra mile for customers unless they are forced into doing it. IT seems that they have started to work on the problem. The problem is that they are not addressing many of the issues that are causing the problems. What good is adding more phone staff if they still don't have the power to do anything about a problem, or even have access to correct information?
  11. #11  
    dcammodezak,
    You got it right. How stupid of you.
  12.    #12  
    Well, the way I see it, there are some things that Handspring should have done in response to this situation. First off, they should have replied to each and every e-mail and apologized for the delay. Second, they should have changed the messages for the hold-queues at the 888 and 716 numbers. Third, they should have posted a more specific note on the homepage of the website indicating that they are working on the problems and will have everything ironed out. Fourth, they need to make sure the telephone hold times are less than five minutes -- whether this means more people or better performance or both -- if at all possible. Finally, they need to immediately step up the "problem list" solution -- those people who have ordered Visors and have not been charged for them are probably not going to receive them now for awhile. That's not good.

    IOW, there are some problems here which are not too incredibly difficult to solve. The problem list solution, btw, should have already been handled. Unfortunately, Handspring has allowed its sales force to remain open and taking orders, when it should be concentrating on fixing the existing problems 100%. From what I've heard from customer service reps, they are asking the tech people to help out with customer service and sales, whereas the bottom line, right now, is to solve the shipping/customer service problems.

    My guess is they have nothing but good intentions and headaches from this situation. However, by allowing the salespeople to continue taking orders when shipping has been temporarily discontinued is irresponsible. I know _for a fact_ that some people who ordered in the first week of October have already received their Visors. I also know that many people who ordered the first day or two have been mischarged, not shipped Visors, and/or left without orders and will be forced to wait a month or more.

    Maybe they _are_ trying their best to solve these problems, but from the way I see it, there is only one way for them to gain the proper incentive in solving them: lose sales.

    Whether it's angry customers like 'thankful' or 'Doc Gandy,' or tangible, bad publicity like that at www.secondlooks.com, I don't think complaints from some impatient future Visorites will matter as much as a serious dent in prospective second- and third-wave sales.

    Just my $0.02
  13. #13  
    *None* of the October orders should have been shipped if it meant longer delays for Sept orders. Those should have been corrected and filled first. There are currently shortages now for some colors ordered by September customers. Six weeks is almost up for them, and their Visors are now projected for delivery in week 7-8.

    Handspring should've posted a message on their front page long ago, right after their order database crashed, saying: "We are experiencing technical problems with orders and are not taking any new orders until Nov 1st since that is the date of projected availability. Those who placed orders by phone on these dates _______ please call us to ensure your order is correct."

    Failure to notify customers when they knew there were serious problems *could* leave them liable to a class action suit.

    The official Handspring line was that they couldn't even send e-mail messages to those on their list because it would have drained resources from getting the problem fixed. The reality is that it *wouldn't* have drained resources, or else just would have taken resources away from October order-taking.

    This wasn't just an error. This was their plan B. In order to get the most October sales they could, despite their initial failures, they made a conscious decision to keep 'em coming. That is what led to the call center being overloaded -- a second forseeable failure of immense proportions.

    Even as this latest fiasco hits them, their "solution" is to continue to take toll free orders, and make early customers spend money on desperate toll calls that are repeatedly disconnected because operators are taking new orders.

    Cutting off toll calls repeatedly after every two hours is something that they might also be sued for. Some people were on hold eight (4x2) daytime hours to talk to someone who had no clue about the truth of their order/shipping status. That's almost a hundred dollar phone bill for just a promise of "I think it's in the mail, call us back when you don't get it."

    --Please see a real lawyer for any advice. This is just my opinion.--

    [This message has been edited by reganc (edited 10-24-1999).]
  14.    #14  
    Reg:

    In theory, the legal issue could be possible, but there's few judges that would listen to a case based on a company offering products and not being able to fulfill the orders due to over-demand or lack of product or whatever. As long as they rectify each and every double-billing or incorrect billing, they won't be liable for jack.

    Having said that, if it indeed remains as out of hand as it has been thus far, they won't be in business for another month. Considering the deluge of orders and the complete breakdown in the ordering process, their order center will be forced to stop accepting more until they straighten out the current and prior orders, as well as indicating on the web site that they have to stop taking orders until Nov. 1. If that happens, prospective customers will start finding out what is going on and will run for cover. Hence, kaputsky will go Handspring. Mebbe farfetched, and I certainly don't hope so, but considering how catastrophic this is to what everyone's referring to as a "young company," it wouldn't completely shock me.
  15. #15  
    There is a distinction between order and pre-order. September pre-orders are still subject to the original 'we will ship in October' statement. According my calendar, it's still October. End of story. If you're sour before November, don't blame it on Handspring. Come November, be sour all you want.
  16. #16  
    Merry,

    We are not "sour" because our Visors are not shipping in October. Read the discussion board before narrowing the issue to "we ship in October."
  17. #17  
    Merry,

    Many Ice and Blue Visor orders from September are now due to arrive sometime in November because they shipped their warehouse clean to other people, some of whom just ordered last week. But that's not the worst of it...


    Carl,

    The reason they could possibly be liable for the mess is because they knew they had a serious problem early on with orders and didn't halt orders, notify customers, or even admit there was a problem until we forced them to.

    The biggest problem wasn't even the database failure, it was the subsequent cover-up. Internal corporate e-mail could show the flawed decision making behing it I'm sure. They should have known that hiding the problem would cause massive confusion once orders began shipping. They also knew that they didn't have the call center support in place to handle the problems.

    They chose to just begin shipping anyhow so they could look good as a company and get some of those credit cards billed. Now people are being overcharged, bank accounts are being overdrawn, people are spending hours on new "customer friendly" expensive toll lines just to be cut off or BS'ed by fools, etc. Everyone is now paying the price for their negligence.

  18.    #18  
    Reg:

    Being an early adopter (ordered an Ice with serial on 9/14) and not having yet received my package either, I know what's been happening and I agree that the problems have not simply been caused by Handspring (the Call Center's screw-ups, database failure, web site crash, etc.), but a lot of it has been excaberated by Handspring. Whether it's negligience or incompetence or unwillingness to temporarily stop accepting orders, they've earned a lot of blame.

    But the only thing that would warrant a successfull class-action would be if they billed people for units they didn't receive, overbilled them, and/or charged credit cards more for each product than was stated, and ONLY IF they refuse (or are unable) to rectify the problems in a timely manner (within 30 days or so). Then there's some liability.

    While I strongly agree with you that their unwillingness to remedy the first orders has resulted in more recent orders being received (with some products that will be subsequently unavailable for the prior orderers) is simply awful customer service, it doesn't make them liable for anything other than a poor reputation for terrible customer service, and despite the fact that the whole thing was created or excaberated by Handspring, it's simply a case of poor customer service from ordering to order fulfillment to solving the order problems.

    IOW, a lawsuit for over- or incorrectly-billed cards is one thing, but at this point, the best way to send a message is to reject delivery of your shipment when and if same is attempted.

    Having said that, I'm going to accept my package and see what transpires over the 30-day period. If more of these problems continue, or if technical support is seemingly as inefficient and inept as the order-resolution process has been, then I'll return my Visor stuff with insurance and a receipt of acceptance, get the Palm Vx, and I will move on.

    I don't blame anyone for being angry, but realistically speaking, the best thing to do would be to sidestep Handspring and get a Palm. My reason for sticking with Handspring is optimism that these problems are an initial screw-up, but not indicative of the company or its product. If I'm wrong, then I'll be out ~ $300 and none too pleased along with the rest of you.
  19. #19  

    Good points. I realize that a class action might not be the remedy that makes sense.

    There is though a very strong case here for an FTC fine on Handspring for $xxx,000 or so. They often do that to warn other companies not to act in such a cavalier manner with customer orders and credit cards.

    Dell was fined a million bucks a few years back for a not delivering on promises. And just this week Quest was hit for $2 million for "phone slamming."

    All someone has to do is find the most eloquent threads that sum up the nightmare and highlighting Handspring's selfish decisions and failures *after* the database crashed on them.


    Here's the best links for FTC info: http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/action.htm
    http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/brfovrvw.htm

    [This message has been edited by reganc (edited 10-24-1999).]
  20. #20  
    Hot Carl, the only point I would like to point out to you is that you might have overlooked Handspring's hardware limitations to do what you suggest. You would like hold times to be limited to less than 5 minutes. Your suggestion is to hire more CSRs. However, without additional telephone trunk lines more CSRs wouldn't be able to accomplish anything. And, getting additional trunk lines rests more with the telephone company's ability to supply them than with Handspring's ability to hire more CSRs. Likewise, for Handspring to send 1,000's of status or notice e-mails, might very well require computer hardware which Handspring does not currently have. I am sure you realize that adding additional telephone trunk lines or new computer e-mail systems are not solutions which can be implemented overnight. In fact, a month is a more realistic time frame. And, since this situation has only been going on for about a month, even if Handspring realized a few days after its Sept.14 announcement it would not be able to handle the volume, and it took immediate action at that time to update its systems and equipment, those changes would only recently have begun to be implemented. If you don't think Handspring is doing the best it can, then buy Palm or TRG, and suggest this to whomever might listen to you. On the other hand, if the think a Handspring product is right for you and that Handspring will be able to support any product you buy from them, then patience is in order.
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