Archive for category 800-Pound Gorillas

Why won’t Facebook let us report bogus profiles/contests?!?!

I ran across a fake Southwest Airlines Facebook profile today promising to give away all-inclusive vacation packages to 30 entrants:

SouthwestScam

(note how the profile name has a period after the first word: “Southwest. Airlines” – that’s how they make it look like Southwest’s own profile page as much as possible)

I hate to see my friends taken in by these fake contests.  I don’t know the exact angle for these scams – how do they benefit from creating fake contests except to get many Facebook accounts to “Follow” their fake account?!?

Like a good Facebook citizen, I want to report the fake profile to Facebook so they can review it, determine that it’s fake, and then take it down.  Hmmm… how do we do that?  Oh, I know.  Click on the profile’s page, pull down the “…” option menu, and click on “Report Page”:

SouthwestScamReportButton

Once I click on Report Page, I’m given several options, including the obvious: “It’s a scam”

SouthwestScam1

Click on Continue, and I get another list of options:

SouthwestScam2

Two options: “Block Southwest. Airlines” and “Hide all from Southwest. Airlines”.  WHAT?!?!  Where is “Report to Facebook for review”???

Facebook: Why have you REMOVED the most obvious and most useful option for people to report scams to you???  Instead of letting you review the post or profile directly, you simply want users to stick our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away.  Who gives a shit about our friends and others that might fall victim to this scam, right??

ABSOLUTELY LAME FACEBOOK!!!

 

Microsoft breaks Office 365 mail server and blames the client!

I use Thunderbird as my email client for several accounts, including an employer’s Office 365 account.  I organize my emails in folders, and have been doing so for years.  My last Thunderbird update was 11 days ago.

Yesterday, when I opened my Thunderbird client, the folder list for the Office 365 account disappeared and only showed “Inbox” and “Trash”.  My other IMAP accounts all work fine.  I closed and reopened Thunderbird several times hoping it was just a temporary glitch, but to no avail.

I went to Office 365’s web site today.  Of course, there’s no way to contact Microsoft about an issue, so I have to go to the Microsoft Office 365 Community and hope that other users might have an answer?

It turns out I’m not the only one seeing this problem.  It also turns out that someone from Microsoft is claiming that the Thunderbird client is not supported by Office 365.  He also claimed the problem is in the client.

Funny, but the client didn’t change from Wednesday to Thursday.  What else could have changed?  The IMAP server provided by Microsoft?  Probably… yeah, let’s go with that.

Lame response from Microsoft

Lame response from Microsoft

Lame response if you ask me!  Sounds like Microsoft is trying to force customers to use Microsoft software instead!?

Sprint (and others) fail to honor CTIA Commitment

On December 12, 2013, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless committed to adopt a set of principles to allow consumers that OWN their smartphones to unlock the phones, allowing the consumers to sell their phones (to offset the cost of an upgraded phone?) or switch to other carriers while being able to keep their existing phone.  You can read the “Carrier Unlocking Voluntary Commitment” letter here:

Carrier Unlocking Voluntary Commitment

Sounds nice in theory.  Not so easy in practice.  I called Sprint today asking about unlocking the iPhones currently on our account so they can be sold to help pay for new phones.  At first they were reluctant to even acknowledge that phones could be unlocked.  I asked them about their “unlock” policy which is published here:

Sprint\’s Unlock Policy

Once I pressed them, they acknowledged that the 2 active iPhones on the account did satisfy the conditions under which Sprint would provide the MSL (Master Subsidy Lock) Code and they gave me the codes for the 2 phones.  (It’s still not clear how I use the MSL?)

After I hung up the phone, I was reminded that we had a 3rd iPhone on the account that has since been upgraded already, so I called Sprint back and told them I’d like the MSL for the 3rd phone.  The customer service rep immediately tried to tell me that they don’t give out iPhone unlock codes.  Oh, really?!?  I informed him I just received MSL codes for 2 of my phones, and just wanted the code for the 3rd phone.  He put me on hold… (they’re good at that!)  When he came back,  he conceded that I was allowed to have the MSL code but had to track down which phone it was for.  He put me on hold again.  When I was taken off hold, the rep on the other end was someone else (a supervisor?) who proceeded to tell me “We don’t normally give out the MSL codes, but since you’ve already gotten 2 of yours, we’ll give you the third”.  I said “Excuse me!  Don’t make it sound like you’re doing me any favors!  Sprint’s own policy spells out under what circumstances we can unlock our phones, and our iPhones satisfy all your requirements for unlocking.  So why are you making it sound like you’re going to do me a favor?!?”.  He said “I’ll provide you with the code”.  I said “OK, but don’t make it sound like you’re doing me a favor!”.  He did give me the code, but he certainly didn’t want to make it easy!!  Why should a customer have to fight with “Customer Service” to get the service they deserve????

There seem to be conflicting stories about how iPhones get unlocked and what you can do with them once they are unlocked?!?  Half the articles state how the carrier (Sprint in this case) must submit the request to Apple directly, and then Apple will unlock the iPhone somehow.  If you ask Sprint, all you need is the MSL – you provide that code to the “new” carrier and they port the phone to their own network.

I’m still not clear how it’s supposed to work, but I know I got plenty of pushback from Sprint just for asking for my 3 iPhones’ unlock codes!!

Apparently, Verizon Wireless does not acknowledge the CTIA Carrier Unlocking Voluntary Commitment, at least not yet.  A Verizon Wireless customer told me that he contacted Verizon Wireless to ask about getting his iPhone unlocked, and while they were pleasant on the phone, the customer service rep was unable to find any reference to customers being able to have their phones unlocked, even after asking around to several departments.

Want your phone unlocked??  Good luck!!

At XO Communications “Your Opinion Matters!”?!?

These people make me laugh!  I don’t have time to go into WHY I was trying to contact XO Communication’s support people – it’s a whole nother story.  What gets me is how their support web page touts “Your Opinion Matters!” and offers a link so you can send them your “opinion”.

I was at this web page:

The page proudly boasts this:

Your Opinion Matters!

Yet, the link for “Customer Feedback Form” doesn’t work!  Why??  Well, here’s the HTML for that part of the page:

Oops!

Hmmm… I don’t think my name server is going to be able to resolve the hostname “ektronxostaging”!!  I guess customers’ opinions don’t matter that much after all??

To be fair, when I finally got through to a live person (THE SECOND TIME), she was knowledgeable and helpful!  I should have gotten her name!!

 

Java is going to make us throw away our devices??

I recently updated Java on my Windows machine.  Probably won’t be happening very many more times.  Now when I connect to my (old) webcam or web addressable UPS, I get the following threat from Java:

 

Java threat

Really?  “Running unsigned applications like this will be blocked in a future release”?!?  Who are you to FORCE me to have “signed applications” on all my devices?  How am I supposed to get my old webcam upgraded to have signed apps?  Who’s going to convince my UPS manufacturer that they have to hire some engineer to sign their apps??  Until you can promise me that all my current equipment (that I trust with unsigned apps) will get signed apps before you assert your mandatory block of said apps, stop threatening me!!

 

Verizon Adds $2 Charge For Paying Your Bill Online

OK, I stole the title from Slashdot, but the story bears repeating.  You can see the rest of their story here.Verizon Adds $2 Charge For Paying Your Bill Online

Really, is there NOTHING Verizon won’t do to try to steal more money from their customers?!?  They’re as bad as Bank of America who, last month, CHARGED ME to make a cash deposit!!

Spamcop allows BestBuy to spam!

I am SO tired of Spamcop giving preferential treatment to some spammers, giving them a complete pass on spam complaints!  Here is a excerpt of the processing of an email I cannot get BestBuy to stop sending:

Not only does Spamcop refuse to send spam complaints to “abuse@exacttarget.com” (an email marketing company that BestBuy uses to manage their mailing) with no explanation whatsoever, but Spamcop refuses to report spam complaints for any sites that are hosted by Akamai.  They have this bogus message “Cannot resolve http://www.<something>.com/”, when clearly they can or they wouldn’t know that the site was hosted by Akamai in the first place!?!?!

Considering that Spamcop is owned by Cisco, I think the quality coming out of Spamcop certainly reflects on the priorities that Cisco puts on network abuses like spam?

 

Earthlink ignores its own emails

Earthlink has apparently given up on reading their own emails to ‘hostmaster@earthlink.net’:

   ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
<hostmaster@earthlink.net>
    (reason: 550 hostmaster@earthlink.net...Due to extended inactivity new mail is not currently being accepted for this mailbox.)

“Due to extended inactivity”?!?  How long is “extended”???

It’s so sad that so many companies want only to take their customers’ money but have little to no other interaction with the customer!!

Yahoo! is such a hypocrite!

Yahoo! claims to value their customers, stating “We respect our customers above all else”.  They also claim to value Community and state they are committed to serving both the Internet community and their own communities.  They also claim that they don’t value bureaucracy, arrogance, sloth and many other concepts that make for bad business, yet I can’t say that I’m convinced.

I’ve been dealing with Yahoo! FOR YEARS (since 2005) in my alter-ego attempts to shut down phishing sites and contact owners of compromised web servers.

During the first year or so, they had COMPLETE IDIOTS working in the department that handled abuse complaints.  I would send them an email detailing an email address that was being used by a phishing site to collect the victims’ data, or telling them of a domain they recently registered that was being used as a phishing site.  They would constantly send me back responses asking for the headers and body of the email I received.  I would constantly send them back a reply indicating that I wasn’t complaining about an email I received – I was complaining about a domain or email address being used for illegal purposes.  They would again send me back another response asking for the headers and body of the email I received.  I would again send them back an email indicating that I wasn’t complaining about an email I received – I was complaining about a domain or email address being used for illegal purposes.  This would go back and forth for 4 or 5 iterations before they’d actually do something about the issue in the original email.

It took some complaints and rants on a few public forums before someone from Yahoo! contacted me directly and told me to try an alternate email address to send my complaints to.  Phew!  After over a year of dealing with idiots on their front line, I was able to get to the second stage of support directly. Woo hoo!!  Of course, I shouldn’t have to know someone on the inside to get the alternate abuse email address, but I finally did.  Maybe life didn’t have to be so frustrating after all?!?

It turns out, there’s a separate special email address for dealing with domain names that have been hosted thru Yahoo! as well.  It got to the point that I would report a domain name that was recently registered and used to host a phishing site, and the site would literally be offline within 30 minutes! (I think the record was 5 minutes – great job Yahoo!)  In recent years, the process worked like a well-oiled machine.

Every now and then, I’d run across a domain whose registration was legitimate, but the admin and/or technical contact used a Yahoo! email address.  I these cases, I would send an email to the given email addresses letting the owner of the domain know their server had been hijacked and was being used to host one or more phishing sites.  The best way to tell someone where the phishing content on their compromised server is was to send them the complete URL of the phishing site.

I don’t know when, but some time ago (more than 2 years?), Yahoo! starting blocking emails to their users that contained apparent phishing URLs (as determined by some anti-phishing groups).  When I tried to contact the owner of a compromised web site using a Yahoo! email address, the email would bounce with the following message:

<DOMAIN-OWNER@yahoo.com>
    (reason: 554 Message not allowed - [PH01] Email not accepted for policy
    reasons.  Please visit http://postmaster.yahoo.com/errors/postmaster-27.html
    [120])

OK, makes sense.  They are trying to protect their users from phishing sites.  Good on ya!

Here comes the problem: Yahoo! has received emails from me for years.  They know that I’m on the up-and-up, and yet when I send them one of these bounce messages and ask them to forward the original email to their user (so that the user can be made aware that their server has been hacked), they refuse!  Of course, they start off by completely misinterpreting the reason for my emails.  After attempting to reeducate them, they seemed to realize the intention behind these emails, but THEY STILL REFUSE TO HELP ME HELP THEIR USER!

I have asked MANY MANY TIMES how do I get my email address and server WHITELISTED so I can continue to help their users without being blocked like this?  They’ve known me long enough to know that I’m not going to scam or spam their users!  It has gotten to the point that they seem to be completely ignoring my emails asking them to forward something to one of their users!

This is what gets me…  Yahoo! claims to have values.

Excellence?  Innovation?  Customer Fixation?  TEAMWORK??  Community?!?  Words are cheap, Yahoo!…  On one hand, you claim to have an “infectious sense of mission to make an impact on society”, yet when an outsider such as myself asks for a simple request IN AN EFFORT TO HELP YOUR USERS, you all but ignore me!?!

I’m sure one of the largest ISPs in the world knows how to do whitelisting?!?

And then there is their “What we don’t value…” list:

Really??  Bureaucracy, arrogance, formality, sloth, head in the sand, one size fits all, too big for your britches, closed doors, passing the buck!  You claim there are all things YOU DON’T VALUE, but I’m not seeing it.  You make it IMPOSSIBLE to speak with someone there who can actually help out with an issue.  You think the only way people should have to contact you is via email or (worse yet) web forms!  Your “one size fits all” mentality prevents you from even considering that someone from the outside may have something beneficial to offer your users (unless you can make money on it)!

CHASE prevents homeowner from paying his mortgage

A man from Framingham, Massachusetts may lose his home to CHASE after CHASE makes it impossible for him to pay his mortgage!

Here’s the complete story about a man who is trying to repair his house after extensive damage due to extreme winter conditions.  He received a $50,000 check from his insurance company, but the check is made out to both the homeowner and the mortgage company (CHASE).  CHASE said they won’t sign the check over to the homeowner until the homeowner performs over half of the repairs.  Now that he’s done that (and depleted his savings and retirement funds, and causing him to fall behind on his mortgage), CHASE is saying he’ll have to perform 90% of the repairs instead and catch up on his mortgage before they’ll release the check!?!  I’m sure it’s ILLEGAL for them to withhold the check until he pays up his mortgage – that’s UNRELATED to the insurance payment and would probably constitute fraud on CHASE’s part?!  Typical big-bank attitude – make the customer twist in the wind while CHASE does absolutely nothing except make things more difficult for their customer!  Why doesn’t CHASE meet the homeowner half-way, cash the check and pay 50% of it to the homeowner?  That sounds too simple, huh??

This is just one example why we haven’t done any business with any CHASE company for over 20 years!