Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Lycos Deletes Emails and Says 'Too Bad!'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-that's-customer-service dept.

Communications 513

Billosaur writes "The Consumerist brings us a tale of woe which is apparently generating outrage in some quarters, along with death threats. Lycos email customer Whitney did not access her account for 30 days. This resulted in Lycos deleting over two years worth of email. It isn't so much Lycos' policy that's the problem (though that requires some scrutiny), but the response of the 'manager of all of Customer Service,' Mike Jandreau. Apparently he's not too service oriented, as his exchange with Whitney shows. And since this story was posted to The Consumerist, apparently Mr. Jandreau has become the focus of some unwanted attention. Of course, his final response to her might have something to with it: 'I'm sorry, no one here has any intentions of helping you with anything. I am the manager of all of Customer Service. There is no one higher than me that you will speak with. You violated our policy, which is, despite what you say, completely clear. No one is holding anything hostage. Your e-mails have been completely deleted, and no amount of money can now restore them.'"

cancel ×

513 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The Mail Nazi! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864686)

No mail for you!!

Only ONE sure way to prevent this... (1, Troll)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864696)

Carefully dip my sack in and out of your mouth. Stop when you have a gob full of curly red pubes!

Re:Only ONE sure way to prevent this... (1, Offtopic)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864768)

anyone with teeth would destroy you.... you do realize this?

Re:Only ONE sure way to prevent this... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864944)

Why is parent a troll? It really IS the only way.

Outrageous (5, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864704)

I would demand a full refund for this free service.

Re:Outrageous (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864948)

We are talking HUMAN RIGHTS here people.

Re:Outrageous (1)

Fuckin ROBOTS! (999276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864974)

LOL, What?

Re:Outrageous (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865064)

I would demand a full refund for this free service.
Somehow, I doubt they will pay you back the amount the advertisers paid them on behalf of you.

Re:Outrageous (1, Funny)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865152)

Sounds like eBay's customer service ;)

In addition, I demand - (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865312)

- that you un-blackhole all that spam I used to get. Da' noive!

Only Losers Use Free Webmail (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864724)

What do you want for free? You think you have the right to escalate the matter to the CEO of the entire company over your FREE email account? Gawd quit whining and move on.

Re:Only Losers Use Free Webmail (3, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864920)

Of course, no company like Lycos ever makes money on said free email accounts. They don't get any revenue from advertisements or anything, so driving customers aways like they're bubonic rats won't have any effect on corporate revenue. Aggressive reduction of your customer base is always a good business model.

That said, Lycos is pretty currently pretty out front about the need to check mail every 30 days. I don't know if that was true when the subject of this signed up.

Re:Only Losers Use Free Webmail (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865052)

The profit largest source of profit that Lycos will get then is customer good will. A company has to make money somewhere in order to exist and they will have a hard time doing so by treating people poorly. At the end of the day, a minimal level of courtasy is cheaper to provide than outwrite malice.

Re:Only Losers Use Free Webmail (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865076)

That said, Lycos is pretty currently pretty out front about the need to check mail every 30 days. I don't know if that was true when the subject of this signed up.

Provided they had in their terms of service the right to change terms whenever they wanted, it really doesn't matter if it was true when this induhvidual signed up for the service. you pays your money, you takes your chances, and your chances are a lot worse when the money involved is $0.00.

Sure, the guy's response is infantile. He should be taken out back and slapped around for how bad he made Lycos look. But the simple fact is that if you care about your email, you should be making backups, and if you care about your email and you are not making backups, you are stupid. Sure there's stuff in my gmail that I would be bummed to lose, but nothing critical is in there, so I haven't bothered to back it up. Everything critical is saved to my local machine, and gets backed up to a disc or a removable disk at some point.

Killed Server (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864730)

Well, we made short work of that server.

corporatespeak (4, Funny)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864736)

Of course, his final response to her might have something to with it: 'I'm sorry, no one here has any intentions of helping you with anything. I am the manager of all of Customer Service. There is no one higher than me that you will speak with. You violated our policy, which is, despite what you say, completely clear. No one is holding anything hostage. Your e-mails have been completely deleted, and no amount of money can now restore them.'"
Sounds like someone needs to brush up on their corporatespeak.

Re:corporatespeak (5, Insightful)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865280)

Yeah, not the best possible response, even if she was being exceptionally difficult. Let me give it a try:

"I am responsible for all decisions regarding Customer Service. At this time, we have followed our normal policy for free accounts. We offered you the opportunity to upgrade your account, which would have paid for one of our staff to restore your e-mails for you. However, since we didn't hear from you in 48 hours, the automated process has run normally and completely deleted your e-mail. It is absolutely unrecoverable. I'm sorry for your inconvenience, but we've provided the service that you signed up for. Please provide comments that will help us improve our service in the future if you wish. However, as the Manager of Customer Service for all of Lycos, I have decided that this particular case is closed and will provide no further reply to your questions and concerns."

Hmmm. Same thing, but not quite as confrontational. It still states the important bits: it was policy, we warned you, you ignored us, I'm the manager and I've decided to close this issue without further correspondence. "10/10 for effort, but minus a few points for style, ya?"

It is his fault (-1)

DesertBlade (741219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864738)

He should have logged in every 30 days to make sure his emails where safe. I used to log in to Hotmail, Yahoo, etc once a week so I wouldn't lose my emails.

Re:It is his fault (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865220)

While I agree with regularly logging in to and confirming the state of email accounts, I can't help but notice a slight flaw.

All account users will not always have access to their accounts within 30 days. Accidents, illnesses, vacations, jail time, power outages, disasters, and missed bill payments. While it is nice to have a free mail account it's bridging on fantasy to work with a short account login turnaround. Forgetfulness is the fault of the user, but completely deleting all files and parading around the fact they can't be recovered (even for a free account) is just nasty.

Though in the end the true lesson is: back your mails up if they mean something to you.

tupiche (4, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864750)

>Your e-mails have been completely deleted, and no amount of money can now
>restore them.

I doubt this is true. There are probably more than a hundred different archives, tarballs, and tape backups from which they could salvage most, if not all, of the poor woman's e-mail.

If his sister/wife/daughter would "lose" her e-mail would he be so dismissive?

His statement is especially suspect when the original tech support answer
was

Should you want to restore the previous contents of your account, you
will need to upgrade to the Lycos Mail Plus service...Restoration is not
available to members who do not upgrade, and our policy will be strictly
enforced. To have your account restored, you must upgrade, and pay the
$19.95 upgrade fee
I guess the corporate mantra is: If extortion won't work then resort to extermination.

Sounds like my last three [slashdot.org]
employers.

Re:tupiche (2)

rice_web (604109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864908)

I think it's entirely possible that free accounts, of which there could be millions, offer no form of protection. Think logically the amount of storage that that would require for a small company like Lycos, and the likely small staff they have. I just can't imagine them having a massive backup system.

If they do, of course, then shame on them. But why be so quick to accuse them of being lazy or inept?

Re:tupiche (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865014)

> I think it's entirely possible that free accounts, of which there could be millions, offer no form of protection

Possible. I doubt it, though. The recent article [slashdot.org] about under the table influence applies. Hard disk and network backup storage technology has been an enormous money funnel. If Hotmail and Yahoo! can upgrade from 25 MB accounts (default) to 1 gig accounts (default) then, in all realms of real probability, all e-mail is archived someplace for a long time.

Backups not really required; logical delete. (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865170)

I think it's entirely possible that free accounts, of which there could be millions, offer no form of protection. Think logically the amount of storage that that would require for a small company like Lycos, and the likely small staff they have. I just can't imagine them having a massive backup system.

Except that, if I'm understanding what happened correctly, at one point after her email got deleted, they offered to restore it ... but only if she upgraded to the $20 premium service.

That was the beginning of the whole argument. She got mad because she felt that this was extortionate, and Lycos' Customer Service Manager basically revoked the offer and said "haha -- now you can't get it back even if you pay!"

So there was clearly a backup there at some point. Or not even a backup; they could have just logically deleted the data, but not physically deleted it yet. It wouldn't have appeared in her account, but it would have still be there on the servers somewhere. (A lot of web hosting companies do similar stuff; if you don't pay your bill, your site will disappear, but if you cough up it will reappear instantly. It wasn't actually deleted, just deactivated.) So it wouldn't be necessary for them to have much additional storage; they wouldn't need to keep a totally redundant backup system (though they probably would), just some feature in their email system that would let them render messages invisible to the user, but allow an admin or DBA to put them back later if the customer upgraded.

Re:Backups not really required; logical delete. (4, Insightful)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865392)

That was the beginning of the whole argument. She got mad because she felt that this was extortionate, and Lycos' Customer Service Manager basically revoked the offer and said "haha -- now you can't get it back even if you pay!"

I can't read it since it's slashdotted, but if she was offered restoration for the upgrade price, and declined it, then it's entirely possible that the argument went on long enough to cycle her Emails out of the backup rotation. Given that Lycos offers both paid & unpaid services, I don't think it would be a stretch that the unpaid services were on a short backup schedule, with the paying customers having more recovery time.

I can't see the whole argument, but if her contact with Lycos CS was anything like the calls I would get doing tech support, it probably involved a lot of words that the FCC charges companies large amounts of money for using. She may just be posting the final notice after weeks of abusive behaviour. There does come a time when the answer "No, now go away & leave us alone" becomes the right one.

Re:tupiche (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865180)

> But why be so quick to accuse them of being lazy or inept?

Because this is Slashdot, where companies - even those that provide a service for free - are necessarily evil, and consumers are never wrong. How dare they try to hide behind the terms of the contract? To read the headline you'd think the company just deleted someone's emails for no reason.

Re:tupiche (2, Informative)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865290)

> To read the headline you'd think the company just deleted someone's emails for no reason

Okay. You win a point. There was a reason: to be cruel for personal amusement.

Not if I were running the business... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864928)

There are probably more than a hundred different archives, tarballs, and tape backups from which they could salvage most, if not all, of the poor woman's e-mail.

If I were running a FREE email service I would NOT take the same care as I would for a pay service.

Sometimes, the adage, "You get what you pay for." is true.

If she really wanted to save to emails, she should have gotten off of fat-suv-driving-ass and backed them up! Fucking dingbat!

Re:tupiche (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865008)

She got exactly what she was promised. One login during the grace period could have saved her account. Lycos removed the account because she didn't use it as agreed upon. She can whine and cry extortion all she wants, it's still her own fault, for not getting a real email account with her own domain, and for not using the free account as she agreed to do. She should learn from that, pay the upgrade/restore fee and be more responsible with her oh-so-important mail next time.

Re:tupiche (1)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865016)

I doubt this is true. There are probably more than a hundred different archives, tarballs, and tape backups from which they could salvage most, if not all, of the poor woman's e-mail.

Especially if they do business in any of the many countries with stricter-than-nonexistent data retention laws (yeah, I know, lycos.co.uk is undoubtedly a completely distinct corporate entity, yada yada yada).

Re:tupiche (1)

I_am_the_man (694208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865464)

If his sister/wife/daughter would "lose" her e-mail would he be so dismissive?

Does the fact that the customer is a woman have anything to do with it?

Wrong response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864772)

He should have said "the dog ate them".

He's an amateur (0, Offtopic)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864774)

You want to see bitterness? Watch me when an Ubuntu install fails.

Re:He's an amateur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865350)

You want to see bitterness? Watch me when an Ubuntu install fails.
Well, it's exactly as surprising as Lycos deleting accounts after 30 days...

Exchange Link (2, Funny)

TranscendentalAnarch (1005937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864780)

The link for the exchange has already been /.ed, anyone got a mirror?

Re:Exchange Link (4, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864884)

google cache [72.14.253.104]

Boo Hoo (-1, Redundant)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864800)

The same thing happened to me with hotmail. I forgot to login for over 30 days and everyhting was gone. BFD. You get what you pay for. If it was SOOOOOOOO important, perhaps she should have made a local copy of it on her machine.

Nah, that would be too simple.

Re:Boo Hoo (2, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864870)

The point is that the original tech support response was that her mail could be retrieved for $19.95 and, when the consumer dared (dared, I say) to call the policy into question, the new response was that everything had been summarily, finally, and completely deleted.

Uh-huh. What's Lycos' archive, backup, restoration, and redundancy system like? How much money have they poured into their network stability?

Policy is one thing. Bull5hit is another.

Re:Boo Hoo (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864882)

If it was SOOOOOOOO important, perhaps she should have made a local copy of it on her machine.

That, or pay a few bucks for the premium service.

What do you expect? (4, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864804)

Sounds like the Lycos servers wolfed them down.

Re:What do you expect? (0, Redundant)

instantkamera (919463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864858)

Funniest thing I have read on slashdot.

ever.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865288)

hint: lycanthropy

Re:What do you expect? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865358)

"Sounds like the Lycos servers wolfed them down."

Oh, you sly dog.

This reminds me of my ex-wife... (0, Offtopic)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864818)

I had this exact thing happen to my hotmail account of over 4 years. Thing is, all I had in it were rants between me and my now ex-wife, so no big loss. I don't know what I was trying to prove by saving those anyhow...

Lycos is right, obviously (4, Interesting)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864826)

If you get an email address from them, you agree to their policy, which is to delete email accounts that haven't been accessed in a while. The grace period is longer at other providers, but it is still a very common type of rule, simply because users never bother to remove old accounts. They would just pile up if there was no rule in place to delete accounts after some inactivity. In fact, I find it comforting that Lycos actually deletes email and doesn't keep it around forever. If I were offered the choice of two types of accounts, one which can not ever be deleted and one which expires after a month, I'd take the latter.

Re:Lycos is right, obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865232)

If I were offered the choice of two types of accounts, one which can not ever be deleted and one which expires after a month, I'd take the latter.

Get an account with Lycos. Just beware. Go on vacation, get busy or forget and 31 days later..poof...two years records down the tubes.

Now at some level this is the woman's fault for relying on Lycos' half-assed free service rather than either getting a paid account or at least dealing with a reputable provider like Yahoo, Google or even hotmail.

First Po5t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864832)

ASSOCIATION OF Can connect to 486/66 WITH 8 el3ction to the goals I personally Theo de Raadt, one corporate use the sling. FreeBSD at about 80 One common goal - one or the other those uber-asshole very distracting to whether to repeat Juliet Are together BSD culminated in surveys show that some intelligent for *BSD because That has grown up core team. They the project to gone Romeo and poor priorities, A change to right now. I tried, members' creative suffering *BSD share. *BSD is FASTER CHIP Future at all 200 running NT today. It's about Gains market share legitimise doing

If that's his picture... (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864842)

was anybody in his right mind when he put that irresponsible child in charge of customer service?

Re:If that's his picture... (1)

geoskd (321194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865412)

was anybody in his right mind when he put that irresponsible child in charge of customer service?


Lycos probably only consists of about 2 dozen people, if that. A company like that does not require a lot of personell, so he probably is the customer service department. As for who hiured him, most likely he is one of the original founders and ended up doing customer support because no one else was willing to do it.

-=Geoskd

Before it starts... (5, Interesting)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864856)

Before too many people begin criticizing this woman for using a free email service and not following the terms of the account, let me just say that this is as much about them deleting her email as it is the responses she received from management. Go read the replies she got from the head of Customer Service. That kind of answer is totally unprofessional. There are words used to describe people who exhibit that kind of behavior, words akin to "douche bag" and "asshole". Personally, I was unaware that those were job titles used at Lycos...

Re:Before it starts... (1, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864916)

> them deleting her email

The e-mail isn't really completely deleted.

> Go read the replies

Exactly. This is a perfect example of social bullying.

Lycos is Stupid (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864876)

Hushmail's policy is better. You can have a free Email account, but you must log in every two weeks. Forget to log in, well, Hushmail will let you back in for a fee, of course.

I'm not saying "keep customers Email forever," I'm saying "Hang onto it for, say, a year and offer to sell it back to them."

Of course, this still doesn't change the fact that there are a million better free Email accounts than Lycos already available. Gmail is perfect enough that you need no other unless you want encrypted. (It's rapidly turning into my external memory a la Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, "Oh, that obscure movie that I couldn't remember the name of but I remembered some facts about, I'll just search my Gmail. Oh, here's one I sent to Inu Yasha about it a few months ago."

Re:Lycos is Stupid (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864942)

Hmm... on further it seems that Lycos offers a similar deal, cheaper. So, my question is, did this guy just delete all her Email out of spite because he was annoyed. He is so fired if that's the case....

That is the policy, they didn't follow it. (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865026)

Well, from what I understand of what happened, that was Lycos' policy. She didn't log in for two weeks, and her email got "deleted." I put that in quotes, because it sounds like it really got put into hiding, or escrow, or something. (Basically, a logical delete but without a physical delete, or something like it.) Then they offered to give it back to her, IF she upgraded to the $19.95 "Premium" service.

The customer got pissed, because to her, this looked like extortion (although, it's probably legit), and apparently said as such to the Customer Service Asshole.

The Asshole, rather than just toeing the company line and saying "well, I'm sorry, but that's our policy -- now cough up the $20 if you want your email back, peasant" decided to go on a power trip, and said that her email was now permanently, irrevocably deleted, and that nothing -- even upgrading -- would ever bring it back.

So they did make her the offer to restore it at one point, for a fee, but then something happened (whether it was the Asshole actually deleting it, or something else, like a deadline to re-up) and the offer went away.

It's the taking-back of the offer to recover the emails that's so suspicious. Requiring you to pay a fee to get your expired emails back is sleazy, but not that unexpected. As you point out, a lot of places do it. But what's far sketchier, is when they say they can recover it for a fee, but then abruptly change their story and claim that it's physically deleted.

Re:That is the policy, they didn't follow it. (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865242)

But what's far sketchier, is when they say they can recover it for a fee, but then abruptly change their story and claim that it's physically deleted.

It's sleazy, sure. But you have the right to refuse service to anyone on any grounds other than those which are prohibited by law, and "I thought she was an idiot and I don't mean mentally retarded" is a valid reason not to do business with someone. Assuming their TOS warns you that they may delete your email if you don't use the service in too long a time, they're really under no obligation to return it unless the TOS itself also says (or more to the point, said at the time this all went down) that you can get that mail back by spending the twenty bucks.

Ultimately, this person is an idiot for not just spending the twenty bucks. If you can't follow the TOS, and they offer to let you have your data, why not just cough up the cash, then archive your mail someplace else, cancel your service, and tell the world your story? Instead, she threw a hissy fit and got smacked down.

Basically this guy sounds to me like he is behaving like a BOFH... If this story had appeared on the BOFH website, it would be posted here as a hilarious example of a stupid user, if it were even considered newsworthy. "Stupid user... I BANISH THEE! Now get thee from my sight. Ni!"

Re:Lycos is Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865056)

I somewhat agreed with it until this

"Oh, here's one I sent to Inu Yasha about it a few months ago."

I'm sorry, but we're going to be forced to sterilize you for the good of the republic now.

Re:Lycos is Stupid (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865148)

I know, it was meant as humor. I meant my brother, but since I'm not giving out real names on the Internet....

What? (5, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864922)

You mean this isn't how customer support is supposed to act?

p.s. The customer isn't always right, all too often the customer is wrong, stupid and loud with it.
 

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865178)

The customer isn't always right, all too often the customer is wrong, stupid and loud with it.
Customers being wrong or stupid doesn't mean it's sound business to have rude people staffing support, and I'm sure someone higher up in Lycos gets the hint.

Prediction: Michael Jandreau is out of a job by Monday, and hopefully a tad wiser.

Ditto... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864924)

Just happened to me on MSN/Hotmail the other day, despite using my MSN/.Net account every day for IM/etc, my hotmail account was wiped clean, thankfully I used outlook express to download most of the emails a while back, so there was only a few new bits in there.

Re:Ditto... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865202)

thats a known hotmail bug. mainly due to a browser refresh at an unexpected moment which trips the server software into opening the mail file as a new file rather than in append mode.
cant do anything about it since m$ft developers are weenies.

shorter version: ADMIN PLEASE HOPE ME (1)

Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864966)

n/t

ADMIN PLEASE HOPE ME (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865094)

Correction:

Dear Mr. Admin, sir,

I believe you have saved my e-mail someplace. I hope that you have saved my e-mail. I adore my e-mail.

I believe, I hope, and I adore my e-mail.

Signed,

Shell Account

Re:ADMIN PLEASE HOPE ME (1)

khedron the jester (888418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865450)

Is this to do with that popular version of the Fatima prayer? That's kind of obscure, don't you think?

Mixed feelings here... (3, Insightful)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864984)

... on the one hand, it was a pretty crummy thing for Jandreau to say. "I am the manager of all of Customer Service. There is no one higher than me that you will speak with" is high-handed, arrogant, and sounds like some power-tripping Napoleon wanna-be. It was as tasteless as distilled water, and I coud understand a desire to pound on him.

On the other hand, it is a free service, and Lycos has just proven that you do, indeed, get what you pay for. It is a shame that the old E-mails are gone, and it is unfortunate that nobody thought of a way to archive them off of Lycos' servers so that it no longer cluttered their machines, but it does appear to have been part of their ToS, so my sympathy is limited there, too.

to be expected (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864986)

well, duh!

what do you expect when you leave your email in someone else's control?

if you don't want your email to be at risk of someone else's policies (or accidents) then either run your own mail server or regularly download your mail and save it on your own machine.

This, my friends, is... (0, Troll)

sheepoo (814409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864988)

stupid!

wow (1)

botkiller (181386) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864992)

what a total asshat. this guy needs to be reminded that losing a customer costs you more than bringing on a new one, and he's gonna both lose customers present and future acting like this.

Just a classic whiner being told "no"... (0, Flamebait)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865002)

... and then they whine more.

  She used a free service. The terms of service said that her mail may be deleted, and that it would not be restored. She had to agree to those terms.

  When she failed to live up to her part of the agreement, they deleted her email in accordance with the terms of service, and refused to restore it, in accordance with the terms of service.

  She whines. They tell her "no". She whines some more. Just a classic luser. As for him being harsh, I worked customer service many years ago, and trust me: There are people out there (like Whitney) who simply refuse to take "no" for an answer, even when *they* are clearly the party at fault. They will simply keep pestering and pestering in hopes of getting a "break", and you have no option than to just come out and say "No, it's not going to happen."

  I really can't see anything out of the ordinary, or even remotely newsworthy about that story.

Re:Just a classic whiner being told "no"... (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865046)

I think the lie about the e-mail being completely deleted from everywhere on the planet is more important than your liberal use of the slur "whine".

Re:Just a classic whiner being told "no"... (2, Interesting)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865376)

I think that what you think doesn't really matter. Poor, little, picked-on Whitney was the only one of the two parties which didn't hold up her end of the agreement. She can whine/complain/state/whatever all day long, but she is still the one in the wrong, and it's just too bad that the world won't bend over backwards just to accomodate her free-loading ways.

The only thing that changes behavior is accountability. Facing the consequences of your decisions is always painful. Some people learn from the mistake, some people try to weasel out of it. It's fairly obvious which type of person she is, and I wouldn't be surprised if you, too, fell into the same category.

It always amazes me just how much people will whine when *free* services don't meet their expectations...

Re:Just a classic whiner being told "no"... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865428)

The terms of service said that her mail may be deleted

I missed the part where the word "may" became "shall irrevocably". Most services in meatspace offer a grace period, and it is not unreasonable to expect a little slack on the internet. Sure, she should have logged in (I'd be afraid of what my email looked like if I didn't log in for a month), but this kind of policy does not make for happy customers. You know, the ones whos eyeballs get sold by the impression.

The policy is a poor one if you want to retain customers and compete in a crowded market. I hope they get all the negative publicity they deserve.

He is the CSOH! (3, Funny)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865006)

Customer Service Operator from Hell!!!

Sweet! Give him a website! :)

Re:He is the CSOH! (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865158)

No No. Just about anyone from AOhelL customer service is a CSOH. Just google "AOL" and "unsubscribe" or something of the sort. They already have plenty of websites :P

Top Jerk... The winner is... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865010)

I'm sorry, no one here has any intentions of helping you with anything. I am the manager of all of Customer Service. There is no one higher than me that you will speak with. You violated our policy, which is, despite what you say, completely clear. No one is holding anything hostage. Your e-mails have been completely deleted, and no amount of money can now restore them.

Dogbert took the day off so this guy stepped in. He'll probably get a promotion.

Customer Service (2, Insightful)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865024)

I learned from my father, a musician, about customer service. There are a couple of rules which keep customers happy, and keep them coming back:
  • The customer is always right
  • You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (or muriatic acid)
  • Make sure your product doesn't suck

I have a hard time with this kind of reaction from Lycos, and other companies. How can they get away with being assholes?

I worked for Lycos as a contractor for two months. In that time, I survived two rounds of layoffs, in which they lost half their workforce. I didn't survive the third.

Re:Customer Service (0, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865334)

I have a hard time with this kind of reaction from Lycos, and other companies. How can they get away with being assholes?

Considering this is the first time Lycos has been in the news for several years now, I would say the answer to your question is: they don't. They're a dead company walkin', and anyone worth their salt has probably high tailed it for greener pastures long ago. All they've got left are power hungry douche bags like Mr. Jandreau.

Re:Customer Service (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865386)

There are a couple of rules which keep customers happy, and keep them coming back:

This person is not a customer; they used a free service, didn't like the terms, lost their data, and then refused to follow the terms and pay to get the data back after not logging in for 30 days.

Do you want customers like that? That only cost you money?

* The customer is always right * You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (or muriatic acid) * Make sure your product doesn't suck

First of all, the customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is a huge pain in the ass and you just want them to go away and never come back. At the same time, you don't want them to go running around and telling everyone that you suck, because that's not good for business from the people who actually make you money.

Second of all, make sure the product doesn't suck? I got news for you, hotmail and yahoo do the same thing. It's standard for free email. The product was ostensibly no worse than anyone else's.

This is a clear-cut case of a user IN THE WRONG. Or, well, it is assuming what we're told about the TOS is correct. Following on these assumptions, It's also a clear-cut case of a manager who is an asshole. But it doesn't make the user any less wrong. Pay, or fuck off. It's just that simple.

I have a hard time with this kind of reaction from Lycos, and other companies. How can they get away with being assholes?

They're offering a free service. People will use it just because it's free. Incidentally, and anecdotally, the only person I ever knew that used free lycos email was happy with it.

I worked for Lycos as a contractor for two months. In that time, I survived two rounds of layoffs, in which they lost half their workforce. I didn't survive the third.

Doesn't sound like they "lost" it to me. Sounds like it was temporary and they were done.

Re:Customer Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865438)

You catch more flies with shit than honey. Anyone who's ever seen a pile of dog shit in the Carolina summer will know this.

Thanks Lycos! (0, Flamebait)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865030)

Yet another reason why I am right in running my own mail server. I've done this since I got screwed over by my old ISP in 2000. I will NEVER let anyone host my mail ever again. It's too precious to trust to idiot like the folks at Lycos. And to add to that, I finally have a reason to not bother using Lycos for anything ever again. (I used to use their People Find) Goodbye Lycos. Hope you and that asshole manager rot in hell with maggots infesting your anus and genitalia. No one screws with Frank Lazarro! NO ONE!

Re:Thanks Lycos! (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865074)

That's funny, I had no idea Lycos was still in business. Last I used them way back when they were trying to be a search engine.

What surprised me most (5, Funny)

snitmo (901312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865066)

Lycos still existed?

This guy needs some lessons in customer service (1)

Lank (19922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865096)

Maybe from the Bastard Operator From Hell [iinet.com.au] !!!

This happen to anyone else with hotmail? (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865100)

This happen to anyone else with hotmail? Many of my emails around 2004 and before are deleted except for about 10 before that period. I've had a hotmail account since around 1999.

I'm concerned... (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865128)

I've been using Lycos Mail for over 12 years, starting out back when it was Mailcity, before Lycos bought them out. It definitely isn't the best e-mail service ever. I know exactly what Whitney is talking about with regards to their spam filters and downtime in the past few months; I experienced it first hand. But I always stuck with Lycos out of convenience. Everyone I know knows my e-mail address there. Never had a good reason to switch to anything else. This just might be a valid reason.

Re:I'm concerned... (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865406)

I've been using Lycos Mail for over 12 years, starting out back when it was Mailcity, before Lycos bought them out. It definitely isn't the best e-mail service ever.
Then why did you stick with them? I know it's a hassle to have to give others a new email address to use, but enough to endure substandard service for 12+ years?

Looks like he took his website down (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865132)

MikeJandreau.com

Just comes up as a blank page.

"There is nothing higher than my blank page!"

What a goofus.

Someone failed their Charisma check. (5, Insightful)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865200)

Having clicked through the Consumerist write-up to the aggrieved customer's blog, it looks like the customer in question is being almost deliberately obtuse and the write-up at Consumerist is misleading.

Whitney is complaining because she doesn't want to pay for an upgraded account to get her emails back (apparently, there's a policy on that: inactive accounts can recover mail lost that way by upgrading to a paid account--not that unusual, IIRC, a half-dozen years back, and undoubtedly a valuable revenue stream for Lycos). Reading between the lines a bit, she's probably made herself a PitA by demanding that the CSRs do something they have no ability to do. (Remember that the key to a business isn't keeping every customer: it's keeping the customers that are making you money. Free email accounts probably aren't making Lycos much money, especially ones that nobody is using.)

Yeah, Lycos looks like a bunch of jerks here. I'm not saying otherwise. But I find myself in disagreement with the Consumerist's claim that they owe her a paid service for nothing just because they're jerks. Sorry about your luck, Whitney: in the future, don't store your email with Lycos.

The danger of all storage you do not control (3, Insightful)

DigitalCrackPipe (626884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865204)

While Lycos is certainly not earning any customer service points (I wouldn't do business with them), my sympathy for anyone for losing email stored online is minimal. While many online services are very reliable have been around for years, there are no guarantees. Any data stored exclusively on a remote server is unimportant data, particularly if the service is free. The only way to ensure your data is not lost to you is to have direct control over it.

I think the crux of this matter is how insulting Lycos is to the user community (or at least one user). Perhaps it is a reminder of how spotty support can be for free services. Everything is often great, but occasionally support drops out completely, without the recourse (and support) that paid services usually offer. Enjoy things while you can, but don't expect them to stay the same forever.

By what about my message from Osama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865218)

All she needs to do is say she is a terrorist and the FBI will get all of her email back for her.

Re:By what about my message from Osama? (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865338)

Ignoring for a moment the personal repercussions on her own life...

That is the _perfect_ expose.

Free service (4, Insightful)

Traa (158207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865226)

I expect several people to come up with the "thats what you get for using a free service" reply. I'm wondering what advise those people have when someone considers using a free operating system?

Re:Free service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865396)

Well, the probelm with that is that that here we mean a free as in "beer" (and later "Free as in Free Hundred Quid!!") service while the OSs you are refering to are meant to be free as in the "Give me liberty or give me death" sense.

The two are orthogonally related.

Re:Free service (1)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865436)

That is indeed what you get when you use a free service. In terms of adviCe (noun v. verb) on using a free OS, I guess that would depend on the license that OS uses. However, the zinger you're trying to throw out there with your free OS question is based on an apples to oranges comparison. If some company decides they aren't going to support the OS they used to support, I can still salvage my data. And if their OS had some sort of strange licensing agreement about me logging into the OS to keep the OS active, well -- it'd be pretty dumb to use that OS, wouldn't it?

Like the Old INS (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865234)

This reminds me of the customer service at the old INS. It was pretty bad and all because I guess they figured that dealing with non-citizens they didn't need to exercise anything like courtesy. Anytime you're not paying for a particular service, watch out if you have any trouble. Only money talks in the ears of corporates out to make a buck. No one wants to lose a paying customer, but someone getting free stuff, eck! Oh, and seeing ads doesn't count as payment, ever.

Re:Like the Old INS (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865390)

This reminds me of the customer service at the old INS. It was pretty bad and all because I guess they figured that dealing with non-citizens they didn't need to exercise anything like courtesy.
Who says civil servants have to be civil?

Refreshingly honest and clear answer (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865264)

I'd much prefer an answer like this, than the usual bullshit you'd expect from a customer service manager that would amount to the same thing.

This person switched providers... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865354)

In the last year or two, it became horrifically spammy and was often down, so I phased over to other email providers with better spam filters and more reliability.

... and didn't print off important e-mails, or forward them to the new provider. Poor customer service aside, they didn't exactly do themselves any favors here. If you're not going to use a service, then clean house and move on.

Go customer service! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865424)

As someone who's worked on the otherside of the counter if I had to guess I would say that the victim here wasn't exactly being curtious in their requests to get their e-mail restored. There are plenty of people out there whom believe that they can get whatever they want from a company if they just spend enough time talking.

I did customer service for a bank and got a call from a customer who had disputed a charge on her account. The charge was for a hotel reservation which she had canceled. As most people who have used credit cards for such a reservation know you must cancel by a certain time or you get charged. So in short, she canceled late, we investigated and said "vendor did nothing wrong we can't reverse the charge" and she proceeded to talk my ear off for about a half an hour until I finally had to say something not too far off of what Lycos had said. In short, some customers just aren't going to listen until you say something like this to them.

Links are dead (1)

Fatalis (892735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865442)

Requesting cache.

You get what you pay for. (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865456)

And I don't think the man was exceedingly rude. More like "brutally honest".
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>