Oracle Corporation Redeemed

Previously I had written about my first purchase from Oracle Corporation. I did not enter my company’s partner code on the ordering page. Therefore I did not get the corporate discount I was entitled to. The effort to get this corrected had me running in circles between departments at Oracle. I was really disappointed with the service I was getting. Luckily this story has a happy ending.

The first guy I talked to in the Oracle training department (Oracle University) referred me to the billing department. The billing department always went to voice mail. My messages were unanswered. The partner program department was also of little to no help. They seemed confused over the purpose of my purchase.

I did get in contact with any guy in the training department. He followed up and got my partner number. Then he went ahead and cancelled my first order. Then he resubmitted my order using my partner number, getting me the discount I should have received. This is exactly what I needed.

In the end, this is going to save my company $150. To tell the truth, my company probably does not care about this. However I care deeply. Oracle had an opportunity to help me through a problem with my first purchase. At first it seemed like they would fail. The result would be a bad story that I would be telling people for a long time to come. Instead a member from the training department stepped up and solved me problem. Now all I am going to remember is the good job his did.

I guess the moral of this story is that customer service is king. It took an Oracle employee some time to research the ordering rules, and to find a creative solution to my problem. However they have gained a happy customer. And they have also earned a good reputation that I am not going to keep to myself. I have already spent a couple more thousand of my company’s money for additional training from Oracle. I would not hesitate to do so in the future based on the efforts of just one employee who did me right.

No Discount

My company did well this past year. So they said they would pay for me to get certified. I told the big boss that we use a lot of Oracle on the job. It would make sense for me to be Oracle certified. I got approved.

I went to the Oracle website. It was easy to put some self study material in my shopping cart. At checkout I was asked for my Oracle partner number. Since I had no idea what that was, I left it blank. I got charged full price for the software.

Later I found out my company is an Oracle partner. We qualify for a 25% discount on training materials. I called up the training department to find out how to get that discount applied retroactively. They referred me to billing. The billing department always went to voice mail.

This is the first time I purchased anything from Oracle. Since I already got the training budget approved, I went ahead and purchased some more instructor led training. However I am just not happy with my customer service. I just want my stinking $150 discount from the software I bought. It doesn't matter too much to my wallet since my company will reimburse me. But now I have a sour taste when I talk about Oracle training. Something went wrong here.

iPhone Pay for Play

I read a story today on Hacker News about an iPhone developer. After releasing an iPhone app, he sent out some requests for bloggers to review the app. One such reviewer said they were busy. But they would make time for the review if the author paid them $50. So the author had a dilemma. Should he pay for such a review or not.

Not the review site did not come out and say the $50 was for a good review. However they said they would refund the money if the review was bad. Same difference right?

Personally I think this feels pretty slimy. Don't go out and charge people for positive reviews. By the same token, don't pay people for positive reviews either. No its no illegal to do so. But it is dirty. I've had similar offers before. However in my case they were asking for money to host my application for download. All of those jokers got put on my e-mail spam list.

Better Business Bureau

Previously I had written about getting ripped off by Verizon. Their customer service was of no help. The elevator music that their phone systems played while waiting to speak to customer service stated that they solve your problems the first time you call. Unfortunately I had called three months in a row without any satisfaction. Escalating it to a manager did not correct the problem either. I was unable to speak with anybody higher than a first line manager. It was time to involve the Better Business Bureau.

To tell the truth, I had never used the Better Business Bureau before. But I figured through rumor that they might be able to help. I looked them up on the web. I was surprised to find out that there are regional and local chapters of them that deal with your problems. So I guess it is not some monolithic federal agency.

The BBB did have a way to file a complaint online. However they first encouraged you to try to work a resolution yourself. They provided a lot of training online on how to do this effectively. The best advice I read was to communicate with somebody in authority such as the CEO or president of the company.

I used Yahoo finance to research who was in charge of Verizon. It was some guy who makes $6.2 million a year. That sounds like somebody with power to solve my little problem. I copied the corporate address down from Yahoo finance. Then I drafted a letter to the Chairman and CEO of Verizon using a template provided by the BBB.

This actually seemed to produce some results. Of course the big chief did not call me directly. But somebody from executive relations did. He seemed like a competent guy. And he was able to share some future changes in Verizon policy that might help me out. He was also able to come up with a plan that took care of my immediate needs until the future changes took place. I was still a bit salty about the poor treatment I had received so far. This guy was very good. He addressed all of my concerns.

Here is my advice to you. Don’t use Verizon for your wireless phone needs. Expect little help when calling their customer support. But if you do need action and can’t get it through normal channels, write to the CEO. It worked for me.