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Annoyed Customer


warrenpeace
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I am one of the people who have the annoying one story building bug in CMRT. I have been waiting since April for a fix. Apparently, the bug has been fixed in the 3.0 versions of CMBN and CMFI. Why am I still waiting for this to be fixed in CMRT?

Because there's more fixes to be included in the 3.0 for CMRT than there were for CMBN and CMFI since CMRT is new and still has alot of bugs, while CMBN and CMFI had most of their bugs fixed already.

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I am one of the people who have the annoying one story building bug in CMRT. I have been waiting since April for a fix. Apparently, the bug has been fixed in the 3.0 versions of CMBN and CMFI. Why am I still waiting for this to be fixed in CMRT?

NDA prevents any kind of answer. Perhaps we can get some high fallutin' type to answer?

Hello? Is this mike on?

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I think the communication policy has tremendous room for improvement. As a customer I feel like a customer of a multi billion $ company although it's such a small company.

No infos about progress, about the progress in fixing bugs, about reasons for delays, about upcoming features, about NOT coming features, no feedback to customer ideas.

Quite disappointing.

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I think the communication policy has tremendous room for improvement. As a customer I feel like a customer of a multi billion $ company although it's such a small company.

No infos about progress, about the progress in fixing bugs, about reasons for delays, about upcoming features, about NOT coming features, no feedback to customer ideas.

Quite disappointing.

Actually I have heard all that and more. They just don't spend oodles of time catering to the same old questions over and over and over ad nauseum and thank god or they'd never get around to actually releasing a game.

Wait - you've been a forum member a whole month now? Okay okay just kidding for all I know you been lurking longer than me. Still it is funny.

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Because there's more fixes to be included in the 3.0 for CMRT than there were for CMBN and CMFI since CMRT is new and still has alot of bugs, while CMBN and CMFI had most of their bugs fixed already.

This is correct. CMBN and CMFI 3.0 share some fixes with CMRT, but CMRT has its own set of things that need to be fixed. And some of those bugs - like the building entry bug - took a long time to figure out. It's a processor+driver-specific compiler bug. Not quick to diagnose and fix.

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I think the communication policy has tremendous room for improvement. As a customer I feel like a customer of a multi billion $ company although it's such a small company.

No infos about progress, about the progress in fixing bugs, about reasons for delays, about upcoming features, about NOT coming features, no feedback to customer ideas.

Quite disappointing.

So your join date was in August of this year and you've made an assumption about BF in this extremely short time. Doesn't say much about your reasoning ability. In fact quite disappointing.

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Why would anyone think that a small company would have the time and personnel to be more responsive? BF is amazingly responsive imo.

And as pointed out, it is hardly surprising that BF doesn't have time to answer the same questions repeatedly when their primary objective is to get patches, upgrades and new product out the door.

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I think the communication policy has tremendous room for improvement. As a customer I feel like a customer of a multi billion $ company although it's such a small company.

No infos about progress, about the progress in fixing bugs, about reasons for delays, about upcoming features, about NOT coming features, no feedback to customer ideas.

Quite disappointing.

Yeah it sucks that one of the two programmers posted just before you...

And then after you...

Terrible communication. NOT.

Ok...

Bobo

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C'mon, cut the guy a break. Complaining is the FIRST step to grogdom. And who does this Phil Culliton think he is anyway? Pshaw. Using the old "compiler" excuse. Hah. Like his arcane language will shield him from the forum's righteous anger.

Edited to add my FIRST post in the new (2001) forum. Why? Because I was complaining, dammit!

"I'm curious if this is possible. At the end of a scenario, could you somehow splice all the individual turns together to get a single replay of the entire scenario? If so, could you do it so you still have camera control? Pause, forward, reverse?

Thanks,

Ken"

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=27921

THIRTEEN YEARS and we still don't have full game replay!!! Get that guy Phil and put him to work!

:)

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Yeah it sucks that one of the two programmers posted just before you...

And then after you...

Terrible communication.

I sense a strange attitude here torwards customers that raise criticism. Why are you using strawmans?

Ofcourse I appreciate that Mr. Culliton posted and mentioned what the problem with the bug has been (although for the technically interested it's not much). But you seem to forget, that's already months after customers have been waiting for a patch for CMRT.

And why is one of only two programmers the only one communicating with customers? That's usually the job of marketing or business guys.

There is also a difference if new features are kept secret or if customers, which already have bought their products and are waiting for fixes, are informed if, why and when they can expect a solution.

Especially when things take longer than expected, it's good to keep customers informed. Information instead of being kept in the dark reduces frustration.

The latest upgrade for FI is also an example, how a bad information policy can create problems: I and it seems several others were expecting tank riders. But instead of explaining the technical problems and presenting the tactical argumentation, why it can be argued to be excluded and therefore reducing the expectations, the customers were kept in their wrong believe and then negatively surprised. Marketing guys should know what the number one reason for family quarrels on holidays is: too high expectations.

And please spare me an excuse of time constraints. They have a guy that is playing every saturday evening to showcase the game. I am sure he could also answer many questions if he would play 10 minutes less.

To me it's obvious that the information policy doesn't allow it. Not time constraints. Which leads back to my initial comment.

If the information policy is perfect for you, fine. But do you think that makes mine (and others) dissatisfaction vanish?

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I sense a strange attitude here towards customers that raise

If the information policy is perfect for you, fine. But do you think that makes mine (and others) dissatisfaction vanish?

It's called a search.... took me 30 seconds... See below (why no tank riders in CMFI/GL)

14 years as a customer of BFC and ALWAYS getting things fixed in successive releases and new games in an abandoned genre make me touchy when folks whine... they still whine anyway but I am sick of it.

Will CMRT get patched? Yes. Will CMBS come out? Yes. Will there be

a $10 Ver 4.0? Yes. Will there be a Bulge module? Yes. When? I don't know and neither does BFC I suspect.

Apologize if it comes across as harsh. I would encourage you to read some of the archive threads here and see how BFC has supported these games. Pretty darn well.

Read this too:

http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/1/29/3916154/turn-by-turn-battlefront-combat-mission

Bobo

\

Quote:

Originally Posted by Battlefront.com View Post

Unfortunately the scope of work for tank riders was too massive to be included in a $10 Upgrade. Each model plus (IIRC) 2 LODs has to be hand tweaked by a 3D artist, hand coded by Charles, and tested for problems. There are always problems (guys sitting above the deck, into the turret, facing the wrong direction, using the wrong animations, etc.) because placing these hotspots is more art than science. The assuredness that a certain number of hotspots will need some tweak or several means the development cycle is repeated for a subset of the total number of changes. To give you some understanding of the process we go through...

From memory there is about 200 vehicle models between CMBN and CMFI. If we figure an average of 10 "hotspots" for soldiers per vehicle (some have more some have less), that's a total of 2000 hotspots that have to be created for the base models, times 3 to include the LODs. That means about 6000 hotspots have to be added, coded, tested, and tweaked before we're done. Knock the workload down by a small bit because there are a few models that are 100% the same between releases or nations (there's still some work to do, just not as much) and exclude the vehicles that don't need the feature at all. Oh, let's say 5000 hotspots. I dunno what each hotspot averages out to in terms of work, but 3 minutes each is probably very conservative. That means the cost of an Upgrade has to cover 250 hours of labor just for this one feature, plus the other features, plus the other testing, plus the sales related expenses, plus the "opportunity cost", plus our risk, plus profit.

So yea, a lot of work. Which sucks but its what we got.

Reply With Quote

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But you seem to forget, that's already months after customers have been waiting for a patch for CMRT.

And we have communicated that a patch is in the works for all of that time. Even though we've already communicated that, several times now, we still provide updates when requested. Like this thread :D

And why is one of only two programmers the only one communicating with customers? That's usually the job of marketing or business guys.

We don't have dedicated marketing or business guys. I suppose we could divert time away from making the games and fixing them, but I suspect that would create another batch of complaints.

There is also a difference if new features are kept secret or if customers, which already have bought their products and are waiting for fixes, are informed if, why and when they can expect a solution.

It would be great if we, the makers, could also get this sort of information. I know I'd find it very useful to know how long it is going to take us to find/fix a super nasty bug that has to do with the screwups of engineers from other companies. That way we wouldn't be sad when we look at our development calendar and find we're unexpectedly months behind schedule.

Especially when things take longer than expected, it's good to keep customers informed. Information instead of being kept in the dark reduces frustration.

You mean such as responding to a thread like this?

The latest upgrade for FI is also an example, how a bad information policy can create problems: I and it seems several others were expecting tank riders. But instead of explaining the technical problems and presenting the tactical argumentation, why it can be argued to be excluded and therefore reducing the expectations, the customers were kept in their wrong believe and then negatively surprised. Marketing guys should know what the number one reason for family quarrels on holidays is: too high expectations.

Customers have too high expectations no matter what. Your post is evidence of that. It's apparently not good enough for you to have the only serious 3D wargame out there and to have way above average support for those products.

And please spare me an excuse of time constraints. They have a guy that is playing every saturday evening to showcase the game. I am sure he could also answer many questions if he would play 10 minutes less.

To me it's obvious that the information policy doesn't allow it. Not time constraints.

You obviously not only have never owned a small company before, but you've obviously never worked for one. There's *ALWAYS* time constraints. A customer can always cherry pick a pet peeve and claim we could have dropped everything to satisfy it. Not so easy on our side of the fence.

If the information policy is perfect for you, fine. But do you think that makes mine (and others) dissatisfaction vanish?

See, there's your problem. We know dissatisfaction will never vanish. Not ever. So we are perfectly content to do the best we can and not worry about the rest. It's the only way to stay sane in the wargaming niche. I know we certainly don't get paid for the stress levels we already have.

Having said that, are our communications perfect? Nope. Do we do better than most in supporting our customers? Yup. We even do better communicating what's going on to them, believe it or not. I know I bought a TV from LG that has defective Netflix software in it and for 4+ years they've said "it's not our problem" and Netflix says "only LG can fix it". Even that is several years old communications so I guess neither is going to own up to the problem and I'm stuck with what I have until I get a new TV. Which, I might add, cost a lot more than $55.

Steve

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Steve, your post was incorrect. You do have a marketing/PR guy. In fact you have your own broadcast channel dedicated to providing wonderful examples of game play and additionally almost every week giving hints of what is coming in upcoming games as well as answers to the extent you have them. What you ask? How did you not know of this? Need to know basis and compartmentalization I guess. Anyway, there is this guy Chris and he has a program on twitch.

If anyone is complaining of not getting updates and is not watching these then you have only yourself to blame. Where? Check Chris's sig, link is there.

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I sense a strange attitude here torwards customers that raise criticism. Why are you using strawmans?

Welcome to the forum, as a new poster you were bound to get poked. Still,welcome to the forum, may not seem like it but new faces are welcome. You could have been here 10 years and that post would have gotten largely the same response. Google battlefront if you want some perspective on size of company and history.

As to the other programmer who doesn't post updates, Charles doesn't post anything. We are not even sure he is real. Rumor has it he is just a brain in a jar. Whatever you do though do NOT risk pissing him off. There is no telling what bugs he might introduce just to get revenge. I can see it now. My coordinated assault moving in text book fashion crushing my enemies before me when suddenly my entire battalion stops, my tankers dismount, my mortar and MG teams abandon their weapons and my pixeltruppen all line up in formation . . . and moon me. This accompanied to the sound of a long wet fart. Fade to victory screen which has only "total defeat loser, now piss off".

Yeah not something you want to risk.

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There is no telling what bugs he might introduce just to get revenge. I can see it now. My coordinated assault moving in text book fashion crushing my enemies before me when suddenly my entire battalion stops, my tankers dismount, my mortar and MG teams abandon their weapons and my pixeltruppen all line up in formation . . . and moon me. This accompanied to the sound of a long wet fart. Fade to victory screen which has only "total defeat loser, now piss off".

Yeah not something you want to risk.

That's not a bug, s, it's a feature. Think of it as an Easter egg. A rotten one.

:D

Michael

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I am following ChrisND on twitch, the above mentioned "guy" that is "showcasing" the game... and I belive a little more respect is due to a person that has his own channel on twitch (it is not an official battlefront channel) where he plays several CM games and played other games before and spends time to make streams/videos. There is no connection between what Chris does on his twitch channel and the work he does on the game in means that it's not distracting him, and I belive it's a very limited way of thinking that he could spend more time on forums rather than playing, in that view you could be entitled to say how many hours a day he should spend on programming or whatever else he does for the game, how many on leasure time or sleeping, but you obviously have no right to do so. So please show some respect.

Clarified that I'd like to also point out that the couple of videos where some preview of the upcoming CMBS game is shown are a very new thing to BFC, which never happened before, and I am glad of this new information giveout, so I wouldn't spit on it.

As Others mentioned this company is a small one (please note all that this means), and I appreciate the official replies on forums, the bones screenshots and the twitch previews but I also don't mind the lack of them since I know those people are working on the new games/Patches, past history of any gamedev company is what matters, and BFC has a strong one that can be assessed by a little search.

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And we have communicated that a patch is in the works for all of that time. Even though we've already communicated that, several times now, we still provide updates when requested. Like this thread :D

Thanks for the reply, very appreciated.

We don't have dedicated marketing or business guys.

But you certainly have guys that take care about the finances and others about the web? I guess the programmers will have a different focus.

It would be great if we, the makers, could also get this sort of information. I know I'd find it very useful to know how long it is going to take us to find/fix a super nasty bug that has to do with the screwups of engineers from other companies. That way we wouldn't be sad when we look at our development calendar and find we're unexpectedly months behind schedule.

Months behind schedule? For me that's completely new information, although I have been following the forum for a few months regularly.

Why hasn't this problem been communicated that way, that customers can see the severity of the problem and that you understand their frustration? If somebody steps on your toe it can make all the difference in the world, if he ignores it, or if he excuses and explains why it happened.

Just to be clear: I am not advocating marketing speech and NLP methods.

You mean such as responding to a thread like this?

Sure. But waiting until customers are posting their dissatisfaction probably is already a bit late. Why not handle it proactively?

Customers have too high expectations no matter what. Your post is evidence of that. It's apparently not good enough for you to have the only serious 3D wargame out there and to have way above average support for those products.

So customers should be glad to be allowed to buy your products?

That's not even for companies making leading products an adequate attitude to deal with the mob.

You obviously not only have never owned a small company before, but you've obviously never worked for one. There's *ALWAYS* time constraints. A customer can always cherry pick a pet peeve and claim we could have dropped everything to satisfy it. Not so easy on our side of the fence.

I agree, but I didn't say the communication was free for your company. In my example I mentioned a tradeoff of showcasing the game a few minutes less and therefore giving some substantial info to customers suffering from the delay - like you just did in your reply.

It's a matter of priorities. And keeping customers informed and updated has not a high priority.

If you don't want to be involved in time consuming discussions, why don't you use Twitter? Even Carl Icahn can use it. :D

See, there's your problem. We know dissatisfaction will never vanish. Not ever.

You are probably right, but if year long customers are raising their discontent, isn't that evidence enough, that something should be improved?

So we are perfectly content to do the best we can and not worry about the rest. It's the only way to stay sane in the wargaming niche. I know we certainly don't get paid for the stress levels we already have.

And what should the customer take from that complaint about the world and how frustrating the job seems to be to you?

If you smile people will smile at you. If you walk around with a grumpy face, people will look grumpy at you.

In my spare time I am a DIY homeworker. I made the experience that every joy vanishes and things become only frustrating (exactly the same work!), if I keep an impossible schedule. Correct the schedule to a manageable level and it becomes pure joy. Finishing the day (almost) on schedule or finishing behind schedule makes all the difference.

You are a small company. If you and your partners decide it, then it is so.

For you it can make all the difference and for the customer the difference in the schedule wouldn't change a lot anyway, since a delay behind schedule is the same as a lenghtened schedule.

Pressure is good - but if the schedule becomes unrealistically, then it becomes very counterproductive.

I know I bought a TV from LG that has defective Netflix software in it and for 4+ years they've said "it's not our problem" and Netflix says "only LG can fix it". Even that is several years old communications so I guess neither is going to own up to the problem and I'm stuck with what I have until I get a new TV. Which, I might add, cost a lot more than $55.

But LG is a billion $ company in a mass market and probably has millions of customers. What these companies can do small ones often cannot.

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I am following ChrisND on twitch, the above mentioned "guy" that is "showcasing" the game... and I belive a little more respect is due to a person that has his own channel on twitch (it is not an official battlefront channel) where he plays several CM games and played other games before and spends time to make streams/videos. There is no connection between what Chris does on his twitch channel and the work he does on the game in means that it's not distracting him, and I belive it's a very limited way of thinking that he could spend more time on forums rather than playing, in that view you could be entitled to say how many hours a day he should spend on programming or whatever else he does for the game, how many on leasure time or sleeping, but you obviously have no right to do so. So please show some respect.

Clarified that I'd like to also point out that the couple of videos where some preview of the upcoming CMBS game is shown are a very new thing to BFC, which never happened before, and I am glad of this new information giveout, so I wouldn't spit on it.

As Others mentioned this company is a small one (please note all that this means), and I appreciate the official replies on forums, the bones screenshots and the twitch previews but I also don't mind the lack of them since I know those people are working on the new games/Patches, past history of any gamedev company is what matters, and BFC has a strong one that can be assessed by a little search.

Ack! Kieme I hope that wasn't intended for me, I was just ribbing Steve a bit while also pointing out there are other venues to get info on BF projects, bug fixes and the like. I have nothing but the highest respect for what Chris is doing.

Heck I even have a pair of signed boxer shorts from him! Why boxer shorts? Well I wanted something lucky while I play and I couldn't be guarranteed I'd play in more than boxer shorts! Okay only kidding about the boxer shorts, but I really do think what Chris is doing is outstanding as wel as being entertaining.

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Actually my main issue is not communication, but customer satisfaction.

Yes, I know that BF has been working on a patch since May. It is now Mid-September and it has not been released in any form. In that same period they seem to have brought CMFI and CMBN up to the 3.0 standard and fixed the bug. Why did this occur? Well, I speculate it is all about dollars and cents. Income would be generated from the "upgrades" for CMFI and CMBN, while no income is generated from patching CMRT. Frankly, I think this sucks.

What could BF have done to make me happy? Well, allowing customers access to the Beta patches either via a public beta procedure or an expanded beta tester program would be nice. At least it would make us feel like we are involved in the process. However, when I brought this up before I was told by Steve in no uncertain terms that this was a bad idea. (This was in response to some issues that were found immediately upon release of the 2.11 patch.). In general I find Steve's "My way or the highway attitude" rather bizarre for someone in a customer dependent business.

Frankly, I am getting to the point now where I probably will not be giving BF any more of my money. I think their attitude sucks.

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Thanks for the reply, very appreciated.

Noted :D

But you certainly have guys that take care about the finances and others about the web? I guess the programmers will have a different focus.

The point is we have nobody DEDICATED to these tasks. We practice "shared responsibility" instead since no one of us has the time to spend on things which are not directly related to getting products made and out the door or keeping the company from going under. Having an up-to-the-minute status report going for everything we do is not a priority for our limited time.

Months behind schedule? For me that's completely new information, although I have been following the forum for a few months regularly.

Why hasn't this problem been communicated that way, that customers can see the severity of the problem and that you understand their frustration? If somebody steps on your toe it can make all the difference in the world, if he ignores it, or if he excuses and explains why it happened.

This is one reason why we don't tell customers stuff like this on a regular basis... you don't have the ability to know what it means. Case in point... "months behind schedule" was meant to describe what a series of technical problems (not with our products) has cost us in time for (mostly) one of our workers. Overall we aren't months behind in anything, but certainly there's stuff that we thought Phil would be doing now that have been continually on hold due to a bunch of hassle factors unrelated to our code. The RT patch is just one of them.

Sure. But waiting until customers are posting their dissatisfaction probably is already a bit late. Why not handle it proactively?

Because customers find a reason to complain no matter what we do. So why not save the massive energy on trying to make everybody happy and spend considerably less time dealing with the few people that are decidedly unhappy? Battlefront's been around for 15 years in no small part to us knowing how to run our business better than our customers.

So customers should be glad to be allowed to buy your products?

Yup, you should be. Because all of us could be making a lot more money with a lot less stress and increased job security doing any number of other things. Which is the obvious conclusion that the vast majority of people have come to when they evaluate their career options even within the game industry, not to mention outside of it. You guys are definitely lucky that we're too stupid/stubborn to look for work elsewhere. Because if we did, guess what you wouldn't be able to buy?

I agree, but I didn't say the communication was free for your company. In my example I mentioned a tradeoff of showcasing the game a few minutes less and therefore giving some substantial info to customers suffering from the delay - like you just did in your reply.

Yes, but being proactive about it, as you suggest, means a sustained effort on all fronts all the time without any letup. And people would still find reasons to complain.

It's a matter of priorities. And keeping customers informed and updated has not a high priority.

Wrong. Keeping customers REASONABLY informed has a high priority for us.

If you don't want to be involved in time consuming discussions, why don't you use Twitter? Even Carl Icahn can use it. :D

Again, it requires a sustained effort across all products and energy spent trying to anticipate what someone is going to complain about. I bet Carl Icahn doesn't write his own tweets anyway.

You are probably right, but if year long customers are raising their discontent, isn't that evidence enough, that something should be improved?

No, it's evidence that it is impossible to make all of our customers always happy about everything under the sun.

And what should the customer take from that complaint about the world and how frustrating the job seems to be to you?

That we're not robots here to do your every bidding.

If you smile people will smile at you. If you walk around with a grumpy face, people will look grumpy at you.

How do you know I'm not smiling as I type this? :D

In my spare time I am a DIY homeworker. I made the experience that every joy vanishes and things become only frustrating (exactly the same work!), if I keep an impossible schedule. Correct the schedule to a manageable level and it becomes pure joy. Finishing the day (almost) on schedule or finishing behind schedule makes all the difference.

You are a small company. If you and your partners decide it, then it is so.

For you it can make all the difference and for the customer the difference in the schedule wouldn't change a lot anyway, since a delay behind schedule is the same as a lenghtened schedule.

As a DIY homeworker myself, I know that's a load of crap :D It's nearly winter here already and I'm on my third year of not having clapboards on the side of my house, despite having a skid of them in my yard. Time is limited and the demands on my time are unlimited. This creates scheduling problems which do have consequences. Like me now having to replace the ice and water shielding around my exposed windows because the sun has ruined the ones that were supposed to be covered by clapboards long ago.

It's even worse for anything that's done as a profession. A longer schedule means more time invested. More time invested means more costs that need to be recovered. Spending more time to get a game done doesn't translate into more sales. Which means diverting energy into futile efforts that do little except extend our development schedules means we become less likely to be profitable. Consequences are really brutal when profitability falls away.

Pressure is good - but if the schedule becomes unrealistically, then it becomes very counterproductive.

My point exactly.

But LG is a billion $ company in a mass market and probably has millions of customers. What these companies can do small ones often cannot.

They can screw over more people and get away with it, true. Which is why we have vastly better communications and policies than companies like LG. But there's practical limitations on our ability to meet customer expectations. We're even honest enough to tell you that to your face.

Steve

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