Got a Response from Sean Ryan, President of Chatterbug Company

Following my recent detective work, and the ability to find Mr. Ryan’s cell phone number, I did get a response — via email — asking for my direct phone number that Mr. Ryan said had been jumbled in the voice mail I left.

I called him back on the cell number. I told him the issues I had with the service going down and emphasized that the customer service (or lack thereof) following the service disruption was my biggest complaint.

I walked through with him that I didn’t like that the emails, phone calls and voice mails were not returned. He said he did not realize that Kathleen Clark was not returning voice mail messages.

He apologized that I’d not received prompt care, and said that they had been “inundated” with calls. Which, I’m sure they have. He said “We are trying to get through this, and some things have fallen through the cracks.”

I told him I had issue with the fact that I cannot remove my credit card number from their system. He said he would have it removed for me. I explained that it was not just my concern for my own account, but for all the customers who could not contact anyone, could not get a reply by email or phone, and could not remove their credit card or end their service on the website.

He said he was not the techie, but that he would look into that.

I expressed my concern that, at this point, the devices are still being sold and that signups are still happening on line without any indication that the service was down and I found that to be misleading. He said that the customer service line gave that information. And, I told him that he was right, but that by the time people called the service line, they had already invested in the device, or signed up online with a credit card onfile and no way to remove it.

I told him that I’d published his cell phone number and that I’d expect that others would be contacting him about their own issues. He thanked me for my input and said, “We have been diligently working non-stop to rectify the issues. We hope to have this rectified in the next few days.”

I told him that I was not doing this out of the goodness of my heart, but out of a concern for their many customers. I told him that my own financial situation was not of any concern since I’d already gone through my bank to eliminate Chatterbug’s ability to further bill my card. I told him that there were many others that had contacted me with their concerns and that I’d had a multitude of hits on my website about this problem in addition. I told him it was unacceptable to not be able to remove my own private information and cancel my account online, since there was no other way to do so either.

He said, “I can understand it’s unacceptable.”

I told him that I’d expected a fix or at least a contact within the last two and a half weeks. I told him that there should be some notice on the index page of their website and some way to remove credit cards from the website by the owner of the account and credit card.

He was gracious and seemed a bit taken by surprise when I told him that running a business on the web without offering a physical address was also not acceptable. I told him I’d gone through quite a bit to find a physical address and to find his phone number.

He said the business address was on the web. I told him, no, it was not, and then pulled up the website and read the contents of the contact page. He said he would look into that immediately, that he thought the address WAS on the web.

I also said that I found it unseemly that they would list a contractor as a board member on the Laguna Wave site.

He said he was not intentionally trying to mislead anyone. I told him that giving the title of “Chief Technology Officer” to a contractor, in my humble opinion, made it appear that he was on the board or was an officer/employee of the company. (Note: The Chief Technology Officer has now been removed from the corporate site.)

He seemed to be honestly struggling with all the information and unsolicited advice I gave him about handling customer service online and what information needed to be on his website, and what functionality it should offer for customers. (I know he didn’t ask, but I couldn’t help myself).

He said he was taking notes about my concerns, would follow up with others on these issues and would send me an email tonight and give me a call tomorrow, if that was ok. I told him it was fine. I also told him I’d be publishing an update about our conversation to keep others informed.

In this type of situation, many companies can actually GAIN customer loyalty by asking for it. If they had asked me to give them another shot when they got it all up and going, if they had contacted me first, if they had said that the “overwhelming response” had left their infrastructure overloaded… all that I would have understood. And, I may have stood beside them.

But with this? I couldn’t. And having to go through this obstacle course to reach a real live person who seemed concerned with my plight… it diminishes the effect of his concern.

So, that’s the update on this issue so far. Personally, I don’t feel confident that the service will be restored soon — but as I’ve said before, it’s the handling of the customers after the disruption that’s lousy.

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