[ct-user] Re: [DX] Beware of Idiom Press

Garry Shapiro Garry Shapiro <ni6t@scruznet.com>
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 23:29:39 -0800

William R Liporace, KB2HUN wrote--heavily edited:
> Here is a message that I have been reluctant to print. .....
> About a month ago I bought the SUper CMOS Keyer III.... I did not get it working. ..I actually got the number for Idiom Press and left a
> message.  I ...was told, "We do not make
> mistakes! It was not there (sic) problem!"  I was surpised. the next statement
> was " If I send them the chips they will test them for $5 and $10 to
> replace the chip.
> So for $55 I have a box of scrap and no keyer! ....

To which Gary Hext, K4UU replied:

> I have purchased and built 2 kits from Idiom press and bought other
> stuff.  I have
> no complaints about what I received.  Both keyer worked as soon as I put
> power to
> them and they are still going strong.  You may have gotten a customer
> service guy on a bad day.  Don't blame an entire company when you might
> have made a mistake.  Kits are funny that way.  73  amd Happy Holidays 
> Gary Hext K4UU
Well now, both these hams rang my bell, but for different reasons.

Mr. Hext says he is a several-time satisfied customer of Idiom Press,
which comment moves to invalidate Mr. Liporace's account of a rotten and
viperous response from a vendor, who may have been, adds Mr. Hext,  "a
customer service guy on a bad day."

Yeah, Will, what's your problem? You probably can't read or execute
simple instructions, anyway. It's not Idiom's fault that you are
incompetent, is it?

I don't buy that for a minute! Mr. Liporace may or may not have made an
error constructing his kit---the response he got from Idiom is
outrageous, and unacceptable. As he said, he now has a pile of
nonfunctional junk for which he spent good money---and got insulted in
the bargain. That Mr. Hext managed to deal with them twice without
either being burned or ridiculed is his good fortune, but that is
irrelevant to Mr. Liporace's valid complaint.

Mr. Hext thinks Mr. Liporace should not blame the whole Company. First
of all, why not? A company's frontliners represent it, for better or
worse. Second, the "whole Company" is very small---a one-holer, if you
will; there is good reason to believe that Mr. Liporace's tormenter is
related to the owner.

Why have I thrown in my $.02? Because I had a similar experience---with
the same company! 

Several years ago, I purchased a Logikey K-1---a keyer---an Idiom Press
product. (Gee, is this deja vu all over again?) That unit has four white
buttons across the top of a simple box containing a simple circuit
featuring a one-chip microcontroller. Unlike Mr. Liporace, I bought it
assembled. I soon found that some of the buttons, in concert perhaps
with too-little firmware debounce, too-regularly double-entered or
triple-entered--which can make one appear particularly foolish in a
pileup. I wrote a detailed, straightforward letter to Idiom. Silly
me---I thought the vendor would want to know about field problems with
his product. How could I entertain such a naive and foolish thought?
Perhaps it was my 30 years in design engineering, engineering
management, technical marketing and field support--a lot of time on both
sides of such issues. I had learned that customer input was invaluable
to the development and marketing process--and most invaluable when it
was a complaint.

The response from the lady at Idiom was DENIAL---they had GREAT buttons,
she said. Their engineers had selected them very carefully! Perhaps I
was not aware of the proper technique for OPERATING the buttons---which
she graciously reiterated for me, in detail.

I went ballistic. I took her letter apart and critiqued it, sentence by
pompous sentence. After every statement, I told her what she SHOULD have
said. I told her that she had taken a basically satisfied customer with
a samll problem that merited attention and had turned him into a
snarling Customer from Hell, who would rot before buying anything else
from her Company, and who would tell everyone he knew of their perfidy.
I asked her how many advertising dollars did she think it would take to
balance the damage she had done in a few ill-considered and arrogant

A second letter arrived a week later, its tone quite different from the
first. Apologies were profuse. Included was a BAG of buttons.

Sorry, Mr. Hext--Mr. Liporace is indeed a wounded party here. And many
companies--big and small--don't ever seem to get what "customer service"
means. It's not supposed to be service in the agricultural sense.

Garry Shapiro, NI6T
Editor, The DXer
newsletter of the Northern California DX Club

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