01-24-2011 12:50 PM
I have been an Act user for years. January 18th, 2011 I got this email claiming a free upgrade "Sage customers, have you heard: FREE Upgrade to Sage ACT! 2011" in the subject line sent by firstname.lastname@example.org, however when I clicked on the link I was directed to purchase. I phoned SAGE that morning to clarify (I thought it might be a mistake but who knows...) and was told that it was a mistake (cool....we all make mistakes), they would be issuing a release later on today (better late than never) and that there would be a discount if I bought into a program (Not cool!!!!!....bait and switch). I called back 2 other times and experienced the same tactic. I record all my calls including these. My local laws permit me to do so as long as one of the recorded parties is aware of the recording.
This is not a criticism of Sage ACT! Product as I love it. It is an attempt to keep the playing field level and fair.
The reason why I am pursuing this is because I spend a great deal of time and energy (relative to the task) managing good emails versus spam. If I had of read the subject line for what it should have been i.e. "Purchase support and get a free upgrade" or "Get a $30 off your upgrade" I might not have opened it because I am not in the market to upgrade unless it was at op cost. I opened it because the subject line was “get a free upgrade”...that's it. Sage was one of the few emails I let in that is not a client of mine, I have spam guards. If Sage can get away with this misrepresentation then so should anyone.
I am taking the time to carefully document this, I am extremely sensitive to marketing tactics and content. The email that I received from Sage Act! then followed by the exchange of information with their sales / customer support people leads me to believe that Sage Act! considers its marketing tactics as above the law. These types of companies should be following regulations, laws and setting an example. If they can operate in this manner it should be equally viable for everyone else to as well.
I am surprised that they did not issue an apology the very same day for their oversight (I would have been satisfied). I am pretty put off by the callus way in which they used a bait and switch tactic and I am saddened that their customer service department played this off as if it was nothing.
This is a huge mistake (at best) and blatant false advertising (at worst).Bait and switch tactics are illegal: "In retail sales, a bait-and-switch is a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising a product or service at a low price or with many features, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available at the original price or the list of assumed features is different.
LEGALITY - In the United States, courts have held that the purveyor using a bait-and-switch operation may be subject to a lawsuit by customers for false advertising, and can be sued for trademark infringement by competing manufacturers, retailers, and others who profit from the sale of the product used as bait. However, no cause of action will exist if the purveyor is capable of actually selling the goods advertised, but aggressively pushes a competing product. Likewise, advertising a sale while intending to stock a limited amount of, and thereby sell out, a loss-leading item advertised is legal in the United States. The purveyor can escape liability if they make clear in their advertisements that quantities of items for which a sale is offered are limited, or by offering a rain check on sold-out items." - Wikipedia
I would have let this go if the customer support had just said it was a mistake and told me that they will be issuing an explanation but instead they tried to sell me something else.
As a point of interest I had to place 8 calls to Sage in order to realize that they are not proactive in remediating their errors. In fact, I received an email on January 20th (after my phone calls) correcting the issue (not apologizing) days but the fact that they had already attempted to sell me on another product and service had already been made. I have the recording of these calls clearly documenting the bait and switch attempt.
If anyone has received the email in question i would urge you to contact their customer support.
01-25-2011 05:17 AM
Yes, you are correct that we inadvertently sent an email on Tuesday, January 18th with the wrong subject line to a group of customers. The subject line was miscopied from a different email that included the terms and conditions for the free upgrade. We provided a follow-up message to impacted customers correcting the error and extended our apology. We again apologize for any confusion that the subject line of this message created.
01-27-2011 04:32 AM
Thank you for your reply but as I was clear to point out (read the entire post) the customer service people took this as an opportunity to sell something else. This is a classic bait and switch. If you can not understand that and apologize I will submit this to the apropriate sources. I have all of the recordings as prrof. i.e. 3 different reps doing the same thing as I calling in about the first ad. BAIT and SWITCH - CLASSIC!!!