On my way up to Denver, I decided to stop at a restaurant a friend had recommended in Pueblo, Colorado. He said it was a great example of the mix of cultures you get in the West, and I had to agree that the Do Drop Inn had a lot to like. It's a mixture of Italian, seafood, and Mexican. Besides, by the time I got there my stomach was hurting from the tone of the discussion almost as badly as from being empty. I went for their Pesto Pie, a real "Italiacan" meal.
It's one thing to be wronged in a business transaction, but altogether different to get the details of the argument wrong. I was certain that something was amiss in the way the conversation went so I decided to check with the subject of the discussion for clarification. I called TrueCommerce and talked with John Kachaylo for that company's take on the issue.
John assured me that TrueCommerce has a money back policy in place that lets any customer get a refund for any reason, and that the policy was rarely taken advantage of. In addition, he was unaware of any customer that had even requested a refund in recent months, but that he would check the records to make sure.
While John was checking, I called my client back to recap what I had heard and to make sure I had the details right. As it turned out, the actual complaint my client had with TrueCommerce was not that the company had misrepresented the nature of their software. Rather, he felt he had not been adequately informed about additional charges that he would be responsible for in order to implement EDI with multiple trading partners. Now, that's definitely different from what I had heard originally.
Shortly after I hung up the phone with him, John called me back with clarification from his end, which did in fact match what my client had just told me. It seems my client's trading partner had put some testing fees in place (there are those nasty testing fees again!), and the customer was unaware of the fact that these fees along with the charges for setting up translations for any additional trading partners, would continue to be required.
To me, this sounds like a relatively honest misunderstanding, since TrueCommerce may not have been aware of the trading partner's policies (though they could have found out easily enough).
There is still a difference of opinion regarding the refund though. My client maintains that he had to get his lawyer involved in the conversation in order to get TrueCommerce to refund his money. TrueCommerce maintains that they refunded the money without having to be pressured.
Regardless of these details, it's still disturbing to find problems this far into the EDI game. There are plenty of small companies coming online with hubs, and companies supplying EDI services really should make it their business to understand the requirements of the hubs their prospective customers are planning on connecting with. Full understanding and full disclosure prior to inking the deal may mean missing a few sales, but in my experience, clients are far more forgiving if they believe you made every effort to inform them, than if they sense you were either negligent, or downright hiding something. My guess is that this was an honest misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion. Now where have I heard that before?
Until next time, cheers!