When you read this, I will be on the ship of resignation. This message in a bottle will one day be stranded on everyones deserted island. I say deserted island since when we purchase products on the internet, we become islands onto ourselves. There is no one we can ask, there is no one to whom we may visit and have our broken products replaced, there are no friendly assistants to listen to our pains and frustrations.
If you have issues with products purchased on the internet, there are only customer support/service portals: half automated support systems which aren’t interested in our solving our problems. Support staff that are overworked and underpaid, forced to have a sole interest: to fulfil their quotes. We as customers become one more entry in the long line of support tickets, being handled by ever more frustrated support staff.
My own experience began with the purchase of a Arturia midi controller. I bought it directly from Arturia, no reseller, no Amazon, no middleman. The controller has a faulty dial which, overtime, became annoying. In the beginning I wasn’t sure, thinking that it was a software bug but after experimenting around, it became clear that it was a hardware failure.
I then contacted Arturia support and have been in contact with them for the past four months. A complete timeline is below. Needless to say, it has been a frustrating spiral of promises made and promises forgotten, all of which has lead to nothing.
Hence I have come to the point of simply giving up in despair. Arturia you have ground me into a squishy pulp, Arturia you have won. I’d rather live with a defective dial than continue to have an Kafkaesque discussion with your support. My controller will forever be scarred by imperfection and I will never again have the thought of purchasing another Arturia product. But I can also see a bright side of this, at least my controller now has a character and isn’t simply a silent piece of plastic with fake wooden panels.
The irony is that had I purchased this product on Amazon instead of directly from Arturia, I would probably have had a better customer experience. The power of Amazon and their pressure on sellers is all encompassing. No company can risk being kicked off their platform for bad customer support or complaints. My reason for not purchasing products on Amazon is exactly this: I do not wish to support this all encompassing power that Amazon has. But this is my own personal view, each to their own and respect for all.
I have resorted to posting details of my unhappiness on social media, however this avenue of recourse has long lost its impact. Companies simply factor complaints into their bottom line. Instead of helping customers, their accept that some percentage of their products will be defect and simply pass the cost unto the consumers. No need for quality assurance and since only a small percentage of customers with defective products will complain, there is more profit. And those who do complain, are given the runaround until, they too, sink into silent submission.
Perhaps this message reaches you in that moment in which you too are boarding the ship of resignation. Be assured, for everyone who gives up in despair, the more profit for those companies that factor failure into their profits. By giving up, you are helping those companies upon which we all rely as givers of jobs, as makers of money and as bringers of plastic products that we so readily place into bins after these products fail.
Arturia if you read this then do not bother to send me a new controller. My existing controller is forever tarnished with my experience of your support, a new controller will only carry the same scars and disgust I have for the Arturia brand.
Apologising and forgiving is one thing, memory and experience is a scar that never goes away. I have done my forgiving of Arturia customer support, for me Arturia products will always have a negative touch because of my experiences.
And finally, thank you Arturia for teaching me a lesson I never wanted to learn. Next time I will purchase from Amazon and hope that their aggressive attitude towards sellers will ground you, Arturia, into the pulp that you have grounded me into.
Ordered MiniLab MkII controller from the Arturia online shop using my birth certificate name.
Registered controller using a artistic pseudonym as name. It is a habit of mine to have an artist pseudonym and a birth certificate name.
Lodged a complaint on their website concerning a defective dial.
Arturia support writes back telling me to make a video of the dial.
Sent video of broken dial to Arturia support.
Arturia agrees that the dial is defective, tells me to go back to my reseller to organise a replacement. Strangely though they never downloaded the video, at least WeTransfer never sent me a email that the video had been downloaded.
Pointed out to Arturia support that I purchased the controller not from a reseller, but from their website under a different name. Explained to them that I used two different names: one for purchasing and one for registering the controller. Their assumption that there is an reseller is wrong.
Provide Arturia support with my order number to verify this.
Arturia support then requested:
- Your proof of purchase (Dated invoice / bill): - Your full name: - Your shipping address: - Zip Code: - Your phone number: - The serial number of your unit:
I had sent them my order number so I assume they wanted to verify the details.
I replied providing them with the details that they had requested.
No further response from Arturia support.
I sent various emails to their support, posted my pain on their forum and even started working for them on LinkedIn (since then I’ve had jobs offers from french companies). All to no avail.
On 4.11.2022 I even sent Arturia Support a fairytale:
While the sleepy town of Arturia Customer Support slumbered, the Elves began their work. It was deep in the night, bitterly cold in the sleepy old town of Arturia Customer Support.
The Elves nonetheless plied their trade and built, working hard deep into the night, facing the cold snowy nights with stoic certainty of success. For the sleepy town of Arturia Customer Support had fallen into a very deep slumber.
For the sleepy town of Arturia Customer Support had eaten from the poisonous golden apple called Success. It was laced with the putrid essence of arrogance and bad-will. Disconnected from the joyous Elves, from the sunshine of the green fields, the sleepy old town of Arturia Customer Support slept and slept. Soon the deep tones of snoozing filled the night air and the air became toxic with the stench of putrid laziness and disinterest, as the town snoozed.
Then one day the Elves completed their work, they had fulfilled their dreams and created something of precious marvel and beauty. It was the most marvellous article of loveliness that the world had ever adored. And the bringers of success left the town of Arturia Customer Support to follow the Elves to their new and wonderfully pleasurable land of honesty and goodwill.
The sleepy old town of Arturia Customer Support awoke, the town awoke not to the sunshine and green-golden fields of success, no here was another land, a different land. A land filled with putrid smells and desert sands. The town of Arturia Customer Support saw no one, heard no one, they had all gone, they who had brought the success, had taken it away again.
And the moral of the story? There is no moral in an immoral world.
Then finally on the 24.11.2022 I got a response from Arturia Support:
We’re currently working with less staff than usual so we might take longer to treat your case.
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused during this period.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
I was surprised that they had read my forum post explaining I was fine with waiting provided I knew why I was waiting. They had taken my suggestion to heart.
Then 02.12.2022 finally:
So please, since your product is still within its guarantee period, we kindly ask you to contact your supplier directly in order to process a replacement / repair of the unit depending on their guarantee policy.
Now, I understand this is not the reply you were expecting after all the time you waited for us to get back to you. So, if you do not want to contact your reseller/distributor and would like us to replace your unit directly, we will exceptionally do so.
I explained to them that I had no reseller and that I used two different names: one to purchase the controller and one to register the controller. If they liked, they could send it to the “reseller” and I would receive the controller since it was me.
Arturia support sent me UPS shipment labels to send my broken unit in. Obviously the prospect of sending them the controller that I am using and then having to wait for months for a return, did not fill me with joy. So I replied that I would prefer that they send me a replacement and I would send back the broken unit using the packaging of the new controller.
Arturia support replies saying that yes, they would send me a replacement unit since I had been through so much hassle but I should know that it is not Arturia standard procedure. They would send me a tracking number as soon as they sent out the replacement.
Yippee, I thought, Arturia will finally send me a replacement! They had all details and their support explicitly wrote that they would send me a tracking number when they sent out the new controller. They did not request any further information and I assumed, finally all was good.
Then ten days later on the 19.12.2022:
Your support request number (8xxxxxx5) is now pending for 10 days.
We yet received no news from your side, and may need your feedback to resolve your request.
Can you please get back to us as soon as you can?
/!\ After 20 days pending, your case will be considered as solved and automatically closed.
I wrote back that I was lost as to what they would needed from me and that I thought that they would send me a replacement controller.
Since then, I have not heard anything else from them.
Finally this Kafkaesque roll-coaster comes to an end. I don’t know what I need to send them and they don’t have to worry about sending me a new controller. How can I respond if I don’t know what it is they want? And how can they send me a new controller when they need something from me that I haven’t provided to them but that they don’t know what it is? Exquisitely Kafkaesque!
The support saga will end in ten days and from Arturias’ point of view, yet another successful customer support ticket can be closed.
All that remains is to await the obligatory customer support satisfaction link (“it only takes five minutes to fill out”). Yet another method companies use to ground their support teams into submission.
Merry Xmas Arturia.