Tag Archive: customer service

Apr 02

Youcaring.com: you had one job!

IMG_5996UPDATE: The problem was with the Paypal account I used. Apparently in the years since I used that account, Paypal Japan has changed policies and I can’t receive money on that account without upgrading to a premium account.

I am not pulling this post down because youcaring.com still took 3 business days to figure this out (including one business day of not answering me at all), and because I’ll have to wait at least one more to get an answer on how to change the destination account. (Re-upgrading my Paypal account will take 7 to 10 days.)

But yeah, youcaring.com’s crime is mostly just slllloooooowwwww customer support.

I recently helped rescue a sick tanuki (see photo; poor little guy) from around my neighbourhood, and I thought it would be nice to do a little bit of crowdfunding to cover the costs of the compassionate fellow who drove several hours over toll roads to help me set the trap and then again to pick the little guy up and take him for treatment.

I did some quick checking around and came across youcaring.com. For a small-scale, beer money project like this, they seemed perfect, particularly the part about no fees. Crowdfunding platforms generally take a 5% – 10% cut of whatever you raise. Sometimes it’s worth it. On the large platforms, you get quite a lot of exposure, which is valuable. But for a tiny project like this, mostly targeted at friends and family, a smaller site with no fees was appealing. Also, of the smaller sites, they were one of the few that offered Paypal, which is important because I’m based in Japan, where a lot of other payment processors won’t allow me to withdraw funds to my local bank account.

youcaring-logo-1-big<–(Their logo.)

I launched the campaign on Thursday evening (Japan time). A few hours later, my friend Rosie let me know that it wasn’t allowing her to click through and donate on her phone. I quickly tested it on my phone and multiple browsers and found that the button that is supposed to trigger the checkout screen wasn’t working; it was just reloading the page it was already on. I tested a few other campaigns, and the site worked properly.

I immediately opened a ticket with their support system. They’re a small site, so it didn’t seem unreasonable that they only answered during west-coast US business hours. They didn’t answer overnight on Thursday, my time. Finally got a peep out of them on Friday morning.

Them: Are you able to have your donors try on a different browser or device? There is a known issue in Firefox that our engineers are working on.

Ignoring the fact that, in addition to my problem, apparently their platform doesn’t work on 12% of computers (that’s Firefox’s market share) and they don’t mention that anywhere on their site, I pressed on, and replied within 4 minutes.

Me: The "Donate Now" button does nothing, so my donors can’t actually complete their donations. They click the button, the loading screen appears, and then just returns to the link at the top. It won’t progress to the credit card entry screen. This happens in all browsers, as far as I can tell. I’ve tried personally with Firefox and Chrome, as well as the mobile versions, plus the mobile browser within Twitter. Can you confirm that it’s not happening with this campaign on your end? [note: since then I’ve tested in the Edge browser; that also doesn’t work]

Despite having replied within minutes, this exchange took place about 15 minutes after their close-of-business on Friday (their time) and I have received no reply as of today (April 2). Which is totally reasonable for a business this size, except that the thing that is broken is the main function of their platform. And yes, it’s just for one customer (as far as I can tell—other campaigns go to the payment screen with no problems), but this isn’t like some weird formatting, or photo uploads not working properly. This is the bit where people give money to the campaign. Also, the worst time for a campaign to not be able to accept money is when it launches, of course, because it really ruins any momentum that you build with that initial post to your followers.

To add insult to injury, to anyone on the donate page who left one of the “send me emails” boxes checked, they have been sending emails advertising all the lovely campaigns that person could donate to… even though the one campaign that person was trying to donate to hasn’t received any money yet. So the “Donate” button submits the donor’s personal info, but doesn’t accept the money.


PERSPECTIVE: Yes, I’m running a tiny campaign trying to raise a few hundred bucks. It’s a “beer money” campaign, and there are no lives or livelihoods hanging in the balance. Terry the tanuki is going to get treated regardless. So it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense for youcaring.com support to spend a lot of time on me and my piddly campaign. However, I would be wary of any company that behaves this way towards any customers. Maybe it is worth it to pay that 5% fee to deal with a company that responds meaningfully when you have a problem with its platform (especially in the case of a medical fundraiser or a similarly important fundraiser). I guess I’m mostly annoyed because I have software to run my own fundraiser directly off my website, but I thought I’d save time and energy by using an existing platform for this one. Ugh. My mistake.

CONCLUSION: I’m going to follow up with youcaring.com on this, just to see how it comes out. I’m hoping for them to turn things around, but I’m not holding my breath and fully expect to spend time next week searching for an alternative platform. Bummer. They seemed really promising for future mini-fundraisers like this one.

Nov 17

WTF, Ymobile?

Picture 9I changed carriers at the beginning of the summer, moving from DoCoMo to Ymobile. I had been planning on stretching out my phone for another year, but it was on its last legs of usefulness. And then, Ymobile was having a promotion and I happened to stumble across it. Even after paying 30,000 yen for a new phone (a Nexus 6—I fucking love it) and ~16,000 yen to get released from my auto-renewed DoCoMo contract, I calculated that I’d save 99,000 yen or so over the next two years. Good deal.

One of the things that came with the deal: 3 data-only uSIM cards that I could request and use. I got the first one back in August and gave my old phone to my mother-in-law with the SIM in it so that she could use LINE (her phone doesn’t have internet). Last week, I decided to get the other two uSIMs I’m entitled to so that I don’t need to do it in a pinch later. My mother is visiting early next year, and it would be nice for her to have a working device. Also, my backup phone needs a SIM.

So, I went to the local Ymobile shop on Friday, since I was out in that area. One thing that’s nice about Ymobile is that I don’t have to take a number and wait 90 minutes to see someone like I did with DoCoMo. The downside is that the clerks are less knowledgeable about anything beyond their most basic offerings, so doing something like getting my uSIMs can take longer than it should. There is also no one in the shop for them to escalate questions to.

After some initial confusion, my clerk walked me through the registration process for the SIMs, and I signed for them on the screen of his tablet. He hit the submit button and… rejected. Weird, since I’d already done this process a few months ago for the first uSIM. He excused himself for a moment to pick up a flip-phone and call someone. He managed to get someone on the line, spoke for a couple of minutes and hung up.

Apparently, they wouldn’t tell him why I couldn’t have my cards. Not couldn’t mind you. Wouldn’t. At least that’s my interpretation of it. The wording he used was, roughly translated, something like: “They won’t teach me, so I can’t teach you why you can’t have them.” (The Japanese word for teach is frequently used in the context of telling information. For instance, people “teach” their phone numbers to each other. So that particular wording isn’t as weird as it looks.) But he used “おしえません” (“didn’t teach”) as opposed to something ending with “できません” or some variation thereof (can’t do), and he did it repeatedly. My Japanese is not great so I checked by confirming: “You can’t tell me because they didn’t tell you.” and he agreed. Well, I could be wrong. The upshot in either case: I couldn’t get my SIMs and no one would tell me why.

Worse, the clerks couldn’t even tell me what my next step should be. I asked if I could come back in three days, and maybe they’d have it sorted by then. “Not likely,” was the answer I got. One of the other clerks pointed out a couple of times that maybe I should switch to AU or another company that had more support for foreigners. I pointed out that a) changing providers would cost me money, since I had a contract with Ymobile, and b) I have already paid for the uSIM cards, and their own material (right there on the desk; I was pointing to it) entitled me to those uSIMS. I asked if they had a supervisor, department head, or other boss we could escalate the matter to. Apparently, the only point of contact they had was the number my clerk had already called.

Then the other clerk suggested I come back in December. I asked why that would change things, and they couldn’t answer me. I also pointed out again that these SIMs were paid for (and were sitting right in front of me) and while I was willing to wait a couple of days for them to figure something out, waiting two weeks for something I paid for five months ago was a bit ridiculous. Throughout all this, I was as polite as possible. Aware that I’m not very good at hiding my irritation, I made a point of apologizing to the clerks and explaining that I was wasn’t annoyed with them, but with the system that allowed something like this to happen.

So, in the end, after spending 90+ minutes in the shop, I had to leave empty handed.

Next course of action is to phone the customer service line… or rather get someone to help me call the customer service line, since my Japanese falls completely to pieces on the phone (especially since I can’t easily use the phone to look up words I don’t understand while I’m talking on it).

Still happy with my phone, but seriously annoyed with Ymobile’s ridiculous customer service.

May 12

Adobe is Pissing Me Off

TL;DR – A profanity-laden screed dedicated to Adobe, the company that makes software we all have to use even thought we’d all use something else if there were any decent alternatives because they are a bunch of bastard anal warts.

Adobe, get your shit together.

I’m a buyer of Lightroom, and I recently decided it was time to upgrade and take advantages of some of the new features, particularly those related to video. I like the way Lightroom’s catalog works, but version 4 handles video like crap. 6 is reportedly much better.

So I go on Adobe site to buy Lightroom. I want the standalone version because I don’t want to “rent” the app via Creative Cloud. I want a version that will work even if I stop paying (for instance, if Adobe raises their subscription prices to more than I can afford). Luckily, there is a standalone version of Lightroom (you’re out of luck if you want Illustrator or Photoshop, though). However the website does its damndest to keep you from buying it. Go there via Google, and you land on a page that sings the virtues of Lightroom but will only allow you to buy the Creative Cloud version (bundled with Photoshop CC).

For fuck’s sake.

I eventually find the motherfucker on a page called “All Products”. I configure the version that I want (English, Upgrade version) and hit “add to cart”. The webpage takes me to the cart, gives me the total in USD, and invites me to hit the check out button. I hit the checkout button and am slapped with the message that I can’t purchase this because my account is registered to another country and I should log in with an account registered in the country the site is in (presumably the U.S.) It then proceeds to automatically log me out (after I click the only option on the page: “OKAY”).

I sign back in with my account. Okay, I thought I was on the international site, but fine. I find a page that lets me switch to the Japanese site. Which is, of course, entirely in Japanese. Which is understandable, but why force me to shop there? The southeast Asia region is in English. Surely the sites can’t be that different. Anyway, with the help of Google Translate, I locate the product page in Japanese and set it up there. Of course, it’s more expensive that the U.S. version, but oh well.

I get to the credit card screen and pop in my Credit Card details. Unlike the US site and the Canadian site, Paypal is not an option. I want to use my Canadian credit card because I recently bought a plane tickets on my Japanese one because I didn’t have quite enough money in my Canadian account to cover them. Everything goes through fine. (At this point, I could have torrented the software three or four times over, but the ordeal doesn’t end here.) After an hour or two of not getting my download link (Lightroom 6 doesn’t have a downloadable demo version—only Lightroom CC does), I get antsy and check my account page. Of course, I need to change the website region to an English-speaking country in order to get a clear picture of what’s going on. The order is “bring processed”. There is a notification that the order might take up to 24 hours to process. Grrr.

36 hours later, I check back in. Order is still being processed. Fuck this, I’m going to contact support. The three options are a phone number (not for my region, and outside of support hours anyway), a live chat session, and the Adobe forums. Fuck the Adobe forums. They are full of community mods/fanboys (called MVPs) who basically shit down the neck of anyone who suggests that Adobe may have done anything wrong.


Q. Lightroom is mangling Canon camera RAW files on import. Other files are fine.

MVP. It’s your hardware.

Q. I’ve tested it on several combinations of hardware, including different PCs, different cables, different card readers, etc.

MVP. It’s your hardware.

Q. I’m pretty sure at this point it’s not my hardware. I can copy these files all day long using other methods and they’re fine. They don’t corrupt until I use Lightroom to move them.

MVP. What don’t you understand? Adobe is perfect, therefore, it’s your hardware. Try changing USB cables.


There are dozens of threads on this particular subject alone that basically end up like this. Another common refrain is

Q. I think [product X] should have [Y feature] that [competing product Z] has.

MVP. If you need that feature, you are obviously not a professional in your field.

Q. I am a professional, and the industry is heading this way because of [good reasons].

MVP. You need to buy [consumer grade piece of shit product]. Adobe [product X] is only for professionals.

So yeah, fuck the Adobe forums.

So I try to open a chat window. Here is what it says:

24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Chat is currently closed


After several days, I finally get an email from Adobe saying that the order can’t be processed because of a problem with my credit card. I realize that I was never asked for the credit card address, and they probably just applied my Japanese address, which is why it failed. Annoying that, while partly my fault, this took nearly four days to figure out. Annoying too that I can’t use a credit card in my name that doesn’t match the address on my account. I can understand why, on one hand, but on the other hand, Amazon doesn’t have this problem, so what the fuck gives, Adobe? Especially since there is no alternative source to buy the upgrade version of your software.

Also, your shitty forums and chat support.