FON abuse

Today I got this email from FON:

email from FON

…in which I am accused of being a profiteer and someone who doesn’t care about promises made. Jeez.

Fact is, as soon as FON appeared on the Swedish market, I was one of the very first ones to apply for a free router. In exchange for providing an internet connection and a bit of power, I’d be entitled to use other FON routers for free. I wasn’t planning on using it myself since I have a 3G modem for my portable, and I never did use the FON service myself. I never used the FON router locally for myself either, since WiFi routers is one thing I do already have more than enough of.

In short, I volunteered to provide power and internet for this router since I think FON has an idea that needs supporting.

I’ve noticed that the crappy little FON router hangs every now and then and needs a power cycling to get going again. I must admit that it’s been a while since I checked it last, it being on the top shelf and all. Since I don’t use it for myself, I have no way of knowing if it’s up and running unless I specifically look. Sure enough, I just checked and it had hung again, so I power cycled it and up it comes. For how long?

My point is this: FON ought to know that their routers are crappy and they ought not to insult me before at least checking if I know that the router has crapped out again or not. But, as you can see, they love insulting people instead. So as far as I’m concerned they can shove their stupid little router where the sun don’t shine. This was my response, BTW:

Hey,

This pisses me off. Yes, I have a FON router which gives me no advantage whatsoever for anything, since I don’t use your service myself. Yes, you’re right, the router seems to have hung. I cycled the power and it seems to struggle to get up and running again. This piece of junk obviously needs more care than it should require.

Now, I would not have minded a note about “please check your router, doesn’t seem to work”. I would have done that. But with the shitty tone of this email, I’d say my voluntary service to a laudable initiative is over.

If I provide power and an internet connection for your system without *any* advantages in return, I do expect at least rudimentary politeness. But since you can’t provide that, I’d say you really ought to take this router back and find someone else to insult.

Let me know who of my neighbors want to be abused next and I’ll hand it over to them, happily.

— Martin

As a general rule, an organization that insults its customers (or in my case, backers), is an organization without much future. Bears considering.

– – – – – – –

Response from FON:

Hello Martin,

Thank you for your mail to the FON customer support team.

Soyyr if you feel like this. With the mail of ‘……..@wehlou.com’ this is the first mail we receive from you, so I don’t know how we could have helped you before. If you want to give the router away, simply follow the steps in the next mails concerning this campaign.

If you would like anymore information, please feel free to contact me anytime. I hope you found this useful. Have a great week.

Regards,
A… S……FON Customer Care

– – – – – – –

And my reply to that piece of nonsense:

A…,

You seem to be masters of confusion. *You* (FON) write to *me* saying you’re going to give my router to someone else because I’m an irresponsible jerk and don’t keep my promises. Now you say you don’t understand why I’m negative but if I want to give the router away (it wasn’t my suggestion, it was yours!) I can follow instructions. Which you helpfully don’t include.

BTW, which bloody “campaign”?

Best,

— Martin

– – – – – – –

Hi Martin,

I know you’re pissed off. You told me. We also could be. We gave you a La Fonera for free and I don’t see any mail from you asking for help. Ok, that is your thing. I will not discuss this with you.

At the end of the email there is this sentence: “You received this message because you have signed up with FON and have accepted receiving information about us. Should you wish to unsubscribe from further emails relating to the program communicated herein, please click here.”, so you have the trer options

1. get help to activate

2. opt out

3. wait till we contact you to handover or whatever the La Fonera.

Hope you understand it now.

Regards,
A… S…
FON Customer Care

– – – – – – –

On 25 Apr 2008, at 18:08, FON Support Team wrote:

I know you’re pissed off. You told me. We also could be. We gave you a La Fonera for free and I don’t see any mail from you asking for help.

Why should I ask for help? The problem is that the router hangs regularly. Needs power cycling. I have no reason to think any of your other routers are any better and I also don’t need help to power cycle. You could usefully and automatically send emails to people whose routers don’t work, with the clear subject line “please check your router”. You chose not to, you chose to be rude instead.

Ok, that is your thing. I will not discuss this with you.

Fine, no problem. I’m tired of the subject as well.

At the end of the email there is this sentence: “You received this message because you have signed up with FON and have accepted receiving information about us. Should you wish to unsubscribe from further emails relating to the program communicated herein, please click here.”, so you have the trer options

That’s an opt out of email communications. What does that have to do with wanting to hand over the router? More convoluted logic?

1. get help to activate

2. opt out

3. wait till we contact you to handover or whatever the La Fonera.

Hope you understand it now.

No, I don’t. The router looks nothing like an email communication to me. There’s nothing that says opting out of email will mean you’ll arrange a handover of the router. You people have a definite problem with clear communications.

Look, let’s turn this around. I will keep the router online and powered up another two weeks. That’s a deadline. If I don’t get a clear message who to hand it over to before then, it is powered down and goes into storage. I don’t want to interrupt your service more than necessary so I suggest you get a move on and see that I get a name of a “neighbor” to give it to ASAP.

Again, this is my final notice. In two weeks, it’s offline. I’m not going to do any clicking or navigating through your websites whatsoever, so it’s your problem to get this transfer arranged.

Best,

— Martin

– – – – – – –

Hi Martin,

if you turn your fonera on, you will be out of the program automatically and won’t receive more mail for the moment.

Regards,
A… S….
FON Customer Care

– – – – – – –

>
> if you turn your fonera on, you will be out of the program
> automatically and won’t receive more mail for the moment.

The fonera has always been on, I never turned it off. It hangs,
though, and I power cycled it so now it’s (temporarily) awake and
running.

As a courtesy to you, I’m keeping it running. If it hangs again, and I
don’t notice, I’d suggest you’d tell me in polite terms there’s a
problem.

Anyway, I didn’t ask to keep this router. I asked you to provide me
with a name and address of a neighbor that wants my fonera, just as
the subject line says. I don’t want to keep it, it’s of no use to me.
In the meanwhile, as I said, I’ll keep it powered up for your benefit.

So please provide me with a name and address of a neighbor that wants
it so I can get rid of it.

Best,

— Martin

– – – – – – –

And I told you, that you may wait for further mails. I can’t tell you any more. Sorry.

Regards,
A… S…
FON Customer Care

– – – – – – –

At this point I stopped writing or replying. I still can’t make out if they’re going to let me give away the router or if they’re just going to stop writing emails to remind me that I “made a promise”.

The guy (A.S.) obviously is either a native English speaker or very close to it, and I still have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s totally unreal.

So, I’ll just leave the router on for a while and see what happens.

– – – – – – –

Update 2008-06-07, that is more than a month later: no “further email” has arrived. What a strange organization.

1 thought on “FON abuse”

  1. Yeah, Fon is not very organized. The La Foneras a lot of fun to hack with though, since they’re so small 🙂 Relatively easy to get a remote shell, wire up to a 5v battery, and plug the serial port into whatever you want to wirelessly control 😉

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