When attempting to “trash” a service via Comments to a post, make sure (i) you have made appropriate attempts to contact a service’s support operations and (ii) give them a chance to respond. A recent attempt to “trash” PamFax in a Comment turned out to be the result of the user attempting to fax to a number that was “not in service”.
I am starting to receive an occasional comment harshly complaining about a service whose offering has been reported in Voice On The Web. When I receive such a Comment I will forward it to the relevant vendor for a response prior to publishing the comment in all fairness to the vendor. Upon receiving a response from the vendor, I will publish the relevant story in order that all the facts are on the table.
In the next few days I will be publishing the editorial policy for Voice On The Web establishing some ground rules. But one of those is that before reporting on an offering, I will, if possible, test out the offering to make sure it works as described. There are a few vendors whose stories are currently on hold pending getting their offering to work properly.
Prior to reporting recently on the PamFax 2.0 launch I tested out the service on a laptop PC (Windows XP), a desktop PC (Windows XP) and a MacBook. In all three cases I was able to make some suggestions for minor modifications (usually text or navigation) but I did successfully send three different faxes to my All-In-One printer.
PamFax 2.0 did experience some teething problems during their first week; they were monitoring the situation via their internal dashboards and making changes to the back office servers. In addition they have released a client update which is automatically installed when a user next opens PamFax (done it on all three of my PC’s here). And then I demonstrated to InnerPass personnel how they could use PamFax as a Windows printer to send a stored document from their document management service.
A couple of days ago I received a comment (I’ll save embarrassing the sender) that, amongst other statements, claimed PamFax was “Inconsistent, poor software”. He had attempted to send a fax – three times unsuccessfully – (including his one time “Free” test fax). He concluded with:
Now I have credit with them I never wanted to give, and a useless piece of software that also takes you[r] skype user and pas[s]word. the software is a POS. I found plenty [of] other experiences online to substantiate this. Do not waste your money. The claimed repeated use in the article is the clincher. I now probably am in that category since after the useless trial page was blown by them, my two further tries would be registered as a repeat customer. Trashy, scam type software, skype certified or not, I promise if you have Vista you will be subject to frustration. [typo corrections by author]
I forwarded the comment to Dick Schiferli at PamConsult, publisher of PamFax, who investigated the user’s attempts to send a fax; I received the following response:
I’ve attached the transactions summary and the fax summary to this email. As you can see the three fax jobs originally failed with “Line hung up”. There were line costs as a connection was made and that is why a partial refund was issued. This is also clearly communicated by the system to you.
The reason is because this number is no longer in service. I called it and got a voice answer saying this number is out of service or disconnected. So, the PamFax error message is correct and also the fact that there were line costs resulting in a partial refund is correct.
This user tried to send faxes to a disconnected number. He apparently found out after three tries that he had the wrong number and then sent to the right one (see attached history).
I personally called the number where three times the user got a message “The line was hung up” and confirmed that this number is “no longer in service”.
Bottom Line #1: PamConsult personnel are monitoring their service to ensure that it delivers as promised. They have the back office systems, including call detail records, that allow them to investigate any customer service issues that may arise. PamFax also has a Help Desk system, including a knowledge base, for reporting such issues.
Bottom Line #2: Make sure you have the correct fax destination number! While “The number was properly input, +1 showed up with a US flag and the 10 digit number including area code was there” is true, if issues you call a number that is not in service, yes there may be a small termination charge – since the call was answered by a phone system robot – but, really, get the number right!
Bottom Line #3: Don’t attempt to “trash” a service without first contacting the service’s technical support. In this case a service request had been sent in; it was investigated but such investigations are not instantaneous. Better to take time to get an appropriate response than to rush a partial or inappropriate response that only creates further antagonism and frustration.
Full disclosure: For over four years the author supervised a technical support operation for a software product where over half the support calls related to the software’s feature set reporting on either faulty (third party) PC application software or faulty PC hardware. It is important to hear both sides of the story before allowing comments that are effectively a “blasting off” rant.
PamNews, May 6, 2009: PamFax update published – Upgrade to PamFax; backend server addressed for improved performance.