cost of information

Subject: cost of information
From: Stephanie -dot- Barton -at- eddiebauer -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 10:07:37 -0700

I'd like to know what others think of the policy that some companies adopted of
charging customers for tech information. I recognize the need that arose to
charge customers for hand-holding support after they had worked on equipment for
a while and might not have bothered to read any of the documentation, but I am
in the midst of trying to extract information--information, not support--about
several software products from several companies. And I'm pissed.

I tried several routes to get information, calling customer service, writing and
calling tech support. One of the companies, which will remain nameless,
responded to my initial contact via e-mail with "Go look on our website." I
called their customer service, who directed me to tech support, who said--get
this!--"Go look on our website." Now, I needed this information immediately to
prepare a report that will be a presentation for the director of my department.
If I had the time to go scouring the website, if I knew the right string to
input to get the info immediately, I wouldn't be $%$&#%^$ calling! I contacted
our corporate sales rep, thinking--hey, we are a major corporate client, we've
spent big bucks purchasing upgrades and enhancements--what gives? Finally, as a
last resort, I contacted an acquaintance (who's on this list actually), who
literally found the documents I needed in a matter of minutes. (You know who you
are and thank you so much)

The story does not end here (forgive me, I'm annoyed). My corporate sales rep
called back and explained that if we wanted premium technical support than we
should be paying for it. I explained to him that I was not looking for tech
support, I needed technical information and I should not have to pay to get
product information My concern here is that if I didn't have a) the acquaintance
to contact and b) the big corporate name behind my title--I'd get no
satisfaction at all.

I realize that all information is not free--but product information should be.
Has anyone else had this kind of difficulty gathering information from major (or
minor) software companies?

Seething in the Northwest,

Steph (and I'm on the digest)

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