Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

Layers upon layers of wrong.

I present this as a cautionary tale. Usually, when you have people who are new to the internet, or whatever field they're just coming into, there is a selection of normal mistakes. Most people will wind up making a few of them over the weeks and months that they are getting comfortable with this new experience. Usually this is one or two at a time, and when it is one at a time, it is usually something that can be recovered from with relative ease.

This poor customer? Not so much.

He wrote in very confused and upset, stating that he had purchased something, a domain or hosting (he wasn't sure which, because he said he didn't quite know the difference between them) but it was supposed to be [his organization's initials].com, but although his card had been charged for a certain amount, there was nothing within his customer account, and the email that he got free with it was not working, so could we please contact him at this alternate email, and if he was in over his head could we please just refund him as he was starting to think this was too complicated and all he wanted to do was put up a website for his business.

I looked in the customer account he had provided. No purchases. I looked at the customer account he had provided, and saw right off why the email was not working. Sure enough, he had set the email associated with the customer account, the email to which we send all account notices, as [his organization's initials]@[registrar name].com -- which addresses are reserved for employees, so he will never receive mail at this address, because he does not have the power to create it, and our admins will not create it for him. Leaving aside the problem of not knowing that the email address free with domain is not created automatically, and must be set up.

A common new customer problem involves the accidental creation of multiple accounts. Our system makes it very easy to make a purchase and create a customer account -- a new account is created upon purchase if you haven't signed in to the existing account that you'd like to use! It just prompts you for account creation information and off you go! So people will create new accounts, have their login cookies time out, and then purchase something, blissfully unaware that they've bought it in another account until they get that email message saying that their purchase has been made, here's the customer number, and they're looking at the new customer number wondering what the actual fuck.

I looked for the domain name he thought he'd purchased. Not registered. At all. Anywhere. Even with a competitor. Couldn't find the account that way. Dammit. Must have been hosting. I was on the verge of asking him to provide any email receipts he'd received for the purchase, and the last 4 digits of the payment method associated therewith, so Billing could sort him out.

... email receipts. Right. To the address that doesn't exist.

Happily, our good fellow had entered the same nonexistent @[registrar name].com email address for his second account in which he'd actually made the purchase, so I could find the account. Oh, good, and it was a domain (which does not require further setup to locate) versus hosting, which requires setup with a domain name before you can use our account recovery system to find the proper account.

...wait, he'd registered a domain, but the domain he said he wanted still existed? Yep, misspelled. And he was blissfully unaware that he'd misspelled it. And you've got to know the domain name to use the account recovery system, and you've got to have an accessible email address on the account to use the account recovery system.

Happily, the security code he had included was the one that gave me the power to change the frakking email address associated with his customer accounts. I told my team lead that I wanted to change this guy's email address on his behalf NOW, rather than faffing about with asking him if he'd like to, because the email address he had upon his accounts was impossible and he would have no other choice but to change it. My team lead is a sane god among excellent team leads, and granted me permission to do so. So I did so. And then I used the misspelled domain name in our automated account recovery system to send the guy account information about the account in which he'd actually purchased the domain, and then I sat down to explain to him, in exhaustive detail, just exactly what he had done wrong and what he needed to do to fix it, but in language that acknowledged that all of these mistakes were in fact normal newbie mistakes ... just he happened to have picked a winning combination of them. I also recommended our WYSIWYG website program, because NO EARTHLY WAY did I want to attempt to explain HTML to this fellow.

All told, it took about half an hour to resolve this.

Since these things require follow-up just for sanity of the techs involved, I did check back on that ticket before leaving. The guy had written back, thanking me for sorting everything out, and sounding far more confident about his ability to actually do this website thing. Warmfuzzies.

Comments for this post were disabled by the author