Monday, August 1, 2011

Cranky Customer is CRANKY!!

UPDATED: I've issued a retraction and apology, as my complaint is not with Randy Cassingham but with the actual owner/managers of 'Heroic Stories.

For years, I have been subscribed to a mailing list known as "Heroic Stories", originally started by Randy Cassignham. I was originally subscribed using a work email address, but I can no longer send messages using that address thanks to an email system upgrade/migration, and I've decided to move my subscription over to a personal email address. So, easy-peasy, right? I mean, listserv management has been around for years and years. I check the footers of the email, and there's an unsubscribe instructions section, but nothing about modifying your subscription. Okay, no worries. Some sites like to cut down on administrative messages included in their posts. So I head over to the website, where I find a "Change Your Details" section in the site menu.

This is promising!!!

Except, not so much.

This page is essentially a subscribe page. Its unsubscribe information simply refers to the instructions included at the end of the email, along with the smarmy admonition to "Follow them to the letter, and it works first time, every time." The site also says that "These instructions work even if you can no longer send mail from the address the issues are sent to." Well, since that's my biggest issue (being able to unsubscribe an address I no longer can send as), I decide to give them a shot.

Let's take a look at the instructions:
   the word "Gazelle" in the Subject line.
This copy sent to:
Okay, all of a sudden I'm not very confident this is going to work. There is absolutely nothing in the email address that looks like a subscriber ID or anything like that. But, it does have a Subject line requirement, so maybe that's a unique word assigned to each subscriber. Or maybe it's just a spam filter requirement.

Yeah, it's a spam filter requirement.

The response from the listserv software said:

Regarding your "unsubscribe" request to Gazelle....
Sorry, but the e-mail address '' does not appear to be a member of 'Heroic Stories'.
If you believe you have received this message in error, then please contact the Heroic Stories Listmoms at .
- The Heroic Stories Listmoms
That's exactly what I was afraid was going to happen. There was no way for the listserv to know what address I wanted to unsubscribe, so it defaulted to the sender's address. I tried it from multiple email addresses, including the work address that is currently receiving the message. Yeah, no joy.

But wait, all is not lost! There is an alternative contact address. Unfortunately, while hope springs eternal, frustration trumps all. I received an SMTP 550 bounce message on that address.

I remembered that Cassingham also runs a website called Cranky Customer, wherein he relates customer service horror stories. How ironic it would be to submit a Cranky Customer screed regarding his own suite of websites and processes. And once again, my hopes are dashed on the cruel rocks of realities.
Note we do not accept submissions!
It seems that the site was set up as a personal complaint site for him and his friends. Well, I have a personal complaint site as well, my much-ignored blog.

So, let me just say that I will now be unsubscribing from any and all of Cassingham's sites and endeavors. He claims to have invented for-profit email list subscription services. Unfortunately, he hasn't invented an exceptionally easy way to modify, manage or cancel your subscriptions to his suite of sites.

This cranky customer is DEFINITELY cranky.

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