If you’re going to put out a product, you have to be prepared for some negative reviews. But not everyone takes criticism well: one company reacted to a customer’s comments so badly that it decided to remotely disable the complainer’s device.
Garadget, a startup that makes a $99 cloud-enabled door opener for garages, more than doubled its $30,000 target during an Indiegogo campaign last year. Its Wi-Fi device, which uses Particle’s Photon module, lets owners remotely operate the door, and check if it’s open or closed, from any location around the world using the mobile app.
Last Saturday, one unhappy customer, “R. Martin,” took to the Garadget community board to report that he was having problems with the iPhone app. “Just installed and attempting to register a door when the app started doing this. Have uninstalled and reinstalled iphone app, powered phone off/on - wondering what kind of piece of shit I just purchased here...” he wrote.
Having received no response to his first message, Martin took to the Garadget Amazon page to vent his frustration. The device currently has 83 positive reviews, but an irate Martin added to the (now 33) critical ones with a 1-star rating. He wrote: “Junk – DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY – iPhone app is a piece of junk, crashes constantly, start-up company that obviously has not performed proper quality assurance tests on their products.”
Hardly the most offense online review ever written, but Garadget founder Denis Grisak didn’t take criticism of his company’s product well. Martin was banned from the forum until December 27, 2019, and had his device disconnected from its servers, essentially bricking it.
The abusive language here and in your negative Amazon review, submitted minutes after experiencing a technical difficulty, only demonstrates your poor impulse control. I’m happy to provide the technical support to the customers on my Saturday night but I’m not going to tolerate any tantrums.
At this time your only option is return Garadget to Amazon for refund. Your unit ID 2f0036… will be denied server connection.
Grisak has since admitted to The Register that his actions were a “bad PR move,” and Martin’s server connection has since been restored. "The language wasn't too bad for some venues, but Garadget enjoyed a very civilized community so that was a departure from baseline," Grisak said.
"It wasn't the review either – the negativity happens (deserved or not) and Amazon makes sure the vocabulary is clean there. The customer was in the very first stage of setting up his account and was already hating it. It didn't look like salvageable relation. As now learned, cutting the losses there didn't really end the losses."
A message was also posted on the community boards.
Ok, calm down everybody. Save your pitchforks and torches for your elected representatives. This only lack the death treats[sic] now.
The firing of the customer was never about the Amazon review, just wanted to distance from the toxic individual ASAP. Admittedly not a slickest PR move on my part. Note taken.
PS: Anybody has Streisand's phone number?