Customer Service from hell and response from PAX and others

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by UncannyGarlic, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    Here's a story about a third party PR company (apparently consisting of one man) handling customer service which insults a customer seeking an ETA on a controller that he preordered after the delivery date was missed. To sum things up:
    Long version:
    [spoiler:4152c09744]
    • The customer emails the company informing them that they missed their announced delivery date and asking for a date when it will be delivered, as he had preordered two Avenger N-Control controllers for xmas gifts.
    • His first email got "Dec 17" as a response from Paul Christoforo, president and owner (presumably sole employee) of Ocean Marketing, to which the customer replied asking what that meant.
    • Christoforo says they haven't shipped from China
    • Customer asks if it will be delivered before Christmas and for an ETA
    • Christoforo says "They are in the USA now in customs so its wither before or after Christmas. "
    • Customer notes that a $10 discount is offered to new orders but not preorders and says he should just cancel and reorder to get it and asks about compatibility with Xtendplay
    • Christoforo responds that it is compatible and says that if they catch anyone cancelling a preorder and reordering they will cancel the order. Compares the delay and preorder with preorders at GameStop and says the customer would never complain to a game developer. Says he should cancel since they need more units and Christoforo will ebay it. Ends email calling customer "Dave" "Dan".
    • Customer CC's email chain to Kotaku, Penny Arcade and others and responds in a long, frustrated email. States that he can cancel the preorder and states that he will file a complaint about the service. Points out flaws in comparison. Lists all of the problems he's had with Christoforo and comments that his company should keep people in the loop and be friendly and reasonable with customers. Justifies why he can hold Christoforo's feet to the fire about missing their release date and not posting any update until a week after. P.S.es are insulting.
    • Christoforo lists off his supposed industry contacts and says that no publication will care that he sent these emails to them. He insults the customer. Finally gives a good response about the situation and a ETA, says that both preorder and new customers will receive $10 off their next order. Insult customer, list's off gaming publications, retailers, and conventions, including PAX East, ends with an insult.
    • Gabe (Mike Krahulik) notices PAX East and says he'll cancel the booth if he has one.
    • Customer says that the controller is good for handicap gamers and not to cancel the booth over the pissing match.
    • Christoforo insults Gabe, not recognizing his real name, and states that they won't be at PAX East because it's a nothing show.
    • Gabe tells Christoforo his full name (which was his name listed on the email), tells him to Google him and says Christoforo will never have a booth at PAX.
    • Christoforo insults Gabe, says he talked to the owner of PAX last year and goes on about his connections. Ends with an insult.
    • Gabe: "I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular."
    • Christoforo: "Love penny Arcade !!"
    • Gabe: "I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:) "
    • Christoforo: "Great !! Love PR"
    • Christoforo tries to back peddle, having Googled Gabe's name, and tries to justify himself.
    • Gabe: "Please remove me from this mailing list "
    • Christoforo insults him and says his son could do better than Penny Arcade.
    [/spoiler:4152c09744]
    Short version:
    [spoiler:4152c09744]
    • The customer emails the company informing them that they missed their announced delivery date and asking for a date when it will be delivered, as he had preordered two controllers for xmas gifts.
    • His first email got "Dec 17" as a response
    • After a request for a clarification is told that it will come either before or after xmas
    • Customer points out a $10 discount on their website that applies to new orders but not preorders
    • Cristoforo (customer service) then insults the customer and lists all of the conventions that he has booths at (including PAX East)
    • Customer copies Penny Arcade, Kotaku and others in his response
    • Gabe states that Cristoforo will never have a booth at PAX.
    [/spoiler:4152c09744]

    Penny Arcade and Kotaku both post the story on their websites and Kotaku then does a follow up story where they contact who they thought to be the head of marketing of the developer (Brandon Leidel) at an email address they had on hand. They get a response but it turns out that it was Christoforo using that email address and Leidel. Kotaku finds the guy on a steroids forum talking about using 'roids. After the story is posted and Leidel sees it he sends Kotaku an email informing them that he his company "fired" N-Control 8 months ago due to constant shipping delays and being associated with Cristoforo. Insults Cristoforo and says that they warned N-Control that this would happen. He says the only reason he chimed in was because Cristoforo impersonated him.

    Entertaining/interesting reads, I recommend reading all three articles.

    Full email chain: http://penny-arcade.com/resources/just-wow1.html

    Kotaku's Story: http://www.1up.com/news/ocean-marketing-penny-arcade-customer-service

    Kotaku's Followup: http://kotaku.com/5871400/cut-paul-...toforo-a-breakhe-probably-just-has-roid-rage/

    Edited for clarity.
     
  2. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    Well it seems someone has lost his job. ;)


    E: Wait no, is that guy the actual owner of this company? Almost finished reading now.
     
  3. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Wow, no one came out of that one looking good.

    The PR guy is clearly an idiot from the emails he's sending out, and he lost his cool. The guy who files the complaints has the right on his side but hardly remains polite and calm throughout.

    Gabe waving his e-penis around in the middle of the conversation is kind of funny tho'. "I'm kind of an important person, you know." Hah.

    And websites reporting this as if it's an actual story with any clout? Hah.
     
  4. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    Just my thoughts. (And that the summary in the OP could be clearer.)
     
  5. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Now this is funny. Back in June 2011 someone already got into fisticuffs with Christoforo and was all "I'll get word out there!" But y'know...crickets. But this time around it's a story coz Gabe was personally offended.

    That's pretty funny.
     
  6. Dario ff

    Dario ff Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    423
    Aug 19, 2008
    Better than anything I have found so far, given that I didn't think this whole thing would be worth reading all those e-mails, and everyone dropping news about expecting you to know the previous part of the story.

    So thanks UncannyGarlic!
     
  7. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    I was on a bit of a time restraint when I wrote that, I just edited it with a long, more detailed account and a clearer, edited version of the original.

    I felt like the time at which he got pissed was reasonable and other than the p.s.es, his "insults" were reasonable. I also give him credit for recognizing that the product is a good one and not wanting Gabe to fuck them over for this.

    Yeah, listing off industry contacts and then the customer CCing them all was what made this big. One would hope that the previous exchange would have burried him but at least it got big enough for companies to take notice eventually. Hopefully this prevents Cristoforo from ever getting another job in the customer relations industry as I really don't want to deal with that crap.
     
  8. Starseeker

    Starseeker Vault Senior Citizen

    Jul 25, 2003
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Christoforo

    He now has his own wiki page. :lol:

    Edit to add:

    Apparently, the gadget itself ain't bad. And after reading the info available, the biggest problem for the original company is that he wasn't as much of a business man as he started as a school teacher making the thing for a disabled student of his.

    Review here -

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/14/n-control-avenger-xbox-360-attachment-makes-it-look-complicated/

    Edit to add 2:

    Paul got an interview from Forbes:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/danieln...m-control-to-ko-paul-christoforo-interviewed/

    And some formal replies from the N-control:

    http://gamerfront.net/2011/12/n-control-responds-to-ocean-marketing-fiasco/15260#comment-97187
     
  9. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    Clearly this is the first instance of bad customer service ever and the world is like "NEVER FORGET".
     
  10. generalissimofurioso

    generalissimofurioso The Hole Time Orderite

    Jun 17, 2007
    Well, I think this is just an example of people acting stupidly on all sides.
     
  11. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    Just to clarify for those perusing, you're talking about David Kotkin, the inventor and founder of the Avenger Controller, not Christoforo.

    I think it's more horrifying that N-Control didn't find another company or someone in house to handle PR and customer service having known that this guy was a problem for at least months. Then again, the founder is a former school teacher who has a high-school student who seems to be in charge of their website and the many unannounced delays lead me to believe that he has no business savvy and should employ someone who does.
     
  12. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Customer service ? damn you guys. You are way to spoiled by capitalism.
     
  13. Joelzania

    Joelzania Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    355
    Oct 12, 2011
    Is it just me, or has Kotaku really been milking this story for as long as they can?
     
  14. generalissimofurioso

    generalissimofurioso The Hole Time Orderite

    Jun 17, 2007
    Slow news week.
     
  15. Sabirah

    Sabirah Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    930
    Jul 10, 2011
    It's a news source. They have to do that when there is little to talk about
     
  16. Joelzania

    Joelzania Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    355
    Oct 12, 2011
    But they've made about four different articles on the same story, surely if they wanted more video game drama they could always follow the endless stalemate that is the Bethesda/Interplay lawsuit?