Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paying for Mistakes

Mistakes happen in IT. Human beings are at the helm, and we are fallible creatures prone to distraction, forgetfulness, and plain old everyday carelessness. It happens to everyone, and you just hope it doesn't happen too often.

We have a ton of Android phones in our organization and I was asked to look into a security solution and draw up a policy around it. I did some research and came upon WaveSecure. WaveSecure seemed like a pretty good solution over all. It allowed for remote wiping, GPS tracking, and backing up contacts and such. We went through a process of vetting and I tested it out on my own phone at my own cost and liked it. I got permission to go forward and set out to buy it. Unfortunately, in the time it took for us to say "yea", WaveSecure got bought by McAfee. This was an immediate red flag as I don't, in general, care for any of McAfee's products. I hate when a company I don't trust or like gets their hands on a product that I do like and trust. I mean, good for tenCube and all, and I'm sure they're a little happier and better off, but yuck for consumers. Reminds me of ATT&T and T-Mobile.

But I digress.

I went to make my first purchase. There isn't an option to bulk buy a mass of licenses, which although lamentable makes sense as this isn't hyped as an enterprise solution. I got my first user phone, put in all the info, checked it twice, and hit the button. And I waited. And waited. I got a confirmation email about the purchase, but I never got the SMS message to the phone with activation information. I downloaded it from the Market, and it asked for the PIN. I had no PIN. Something was wrong. I looked over my info again; it looked flawless. I inspected the phone...and realized that the number I thought was the handset number was actually the last outgoing phone number.


No big, I thought. I'll just contact McAfee and let them know about this little mishap, and they'll help me right out. I went to the WaveSecure site and found a link to Customer Support. There was no chat or call option, although there was a web form. I filled that out and waited. And waited some more. I received no confirmation of my request, no indication that it had even been received. Radio silence.

I waited the weekend, and checked back again Monday. Still nothing. At this point I'm more than a little disgruntled. I look all over the website for some alternate means of contacting them and find nothing. I finally start a chat session with regular McAfee support. I'm pretty thorough with my information-sharing so I told the rep I was with everything you've read above. His/her response? "Here's a link to the WaveSecure support site. Fill out this form." Did you not here the part where I'd already done that and was taking step 2 now? And then they went on autopilot, and that was the only response I could get. I was not happy.

I moved on to the phone, thinking maybe I just wasn't good at communicating over chat. I went through the whole story again, in my bestest, calmest voice, and the end result was "go to the website and fill out the form." Okay, I was pretty ticked off at that point. I still kept my cool though, and I asked one final series of questions. My question was: does McAfee actually offer any support for this product they purchased or not? It seemed like he was looking through some documentation or something to answer this simple question. I asked again, in a different way: If I purchased this software for my company, are you telling me that my only support option is via the website and that web form? That I can never speak to a live person who may actually know something about this product? His answer was yes.

I have submitted one final email to WaveSecure. If there is no success from there I will have to ask my boss to open a dispute with AMEX, and I will be killing any ideas to go forward with using this software. I can't work with a vendor that doesn't offer customer support. If they can't help me with something as simple as the initial purchase, what happens when something more complicated comes down the line?

I may end up paying $20 for my mistake, but McAfee/WaveSecure will pay a lot more for their lack of customer support in the end.

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