Re: [bitfolk] How much should BitFolk allow you to owe us be…

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Author: Andy Smith
Date:  
To: users
Subject: Re: [bitfolk] How much should BitFolk allow you to owe us before we suspend your service?

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gpg: aka "Andy Smith (BitFolk Ltd.) <andy@bitfolk.com>"
gpg: aka "Andy Smith (Linux User Groups UK) <andy@lug.org.uk>"
gpg: aka "Andy Smith (Cernio Technology Cooperative) <andy.smith@cernio.com>"
Hi Nicholas,

Thanks for your input.

On Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 05:01:18PM +0000, Nicholas Hollands wrote:
> The size of the limit would probably be best declared by the
> customer, and agreed by you,


The problem customers don't alter default settings or respond to
emails so there is a default that must be set, by BitFolk.

Once there is some acknowledgement that limits have been exceeded
it's not really an issue as the customer can decide what they want
to happen. But yes there would be no problem in later making this
process simpler by allowing people to indicate ahead of time what
should happen.

But there's going to have to always be a default.

> If a customer (say) goes into overage three months running, start
> requesting additional funds up front, possibly as a function of an
> overage average over a period.


So just to be clear, this whole thing is a very rare issue. Although
as I say there are a few customers that go into overage every month,
they pay it each time and that's fine. A large, unexpected overage
bill that a customer is unhappy about is really rare. One of the
size I am talking about here has happened once in over 10 years.

The main factor in this incident is a lack of communication. If
communication had been established while the outstanding amount was
relatively small then this wouldn't have turned into a problem.

Your proposal is quite complicated and is targeting a problem that I
don't think we have. If customers are willing to accept that if they
go into overage, and DON'T respond to attempts to contact them about
that, then they will have their service temporarily impacted in the
interests of not costing them a lot of money, then this is a very
simple way to solve the problem.

Managing repeated overage isn't a problem that I have at the moment
so I don't want to get into that at this stage.

> If something does unexpectedly drop into freefall like that, a
> phone or skype call (or other 'instant' comms method) may be the
> quickest way to get someone's attention and resolve the situation.


In the case at hand the customer had supplied no contact details
except email. In actual fact the only reason why they became aware
of the matter was that we realised one of us coincidentally knew
them on a social media platform, and they were poked there.
Unfortunately by that time it was already at the end of the billing
period.

You can already supply alternate/additional email addresses and
phone numbers at the Panel:

    <https://panel.bitfolk.com/account/contacts/#toc-address-book>


Had any alternate contact methods been available, I would have used
them at the point where I raised the support ticket.

So the question becomes, what methods of contact must you supply
before being able to have a VPS provisioned? At the moment it's just
an email address and a postal address.

Requiring a phone number seems quite radical, although it would solve
a lot of the problems that people have.

I think it is perhaps best that the phone number be optional (as it
is now), but if you don't supply one then you accept that in
emergencies your service may be impacted because we couldn't contact
you.

One thing that could be changed is that the order form does not even
collect a phone number. So you have to sign up, and then go to the
address book and add one. The order form could optionally collect a
phone number and explain why it does so, to make this more obvious.

Cheers,
Andy

--
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