A discussion on the ASPAdvice listserv about Crystal Reports brought back a crusty old memory. First I should say, I use Crystal Reports and have been since Crystal 6.0. I have a love/hate relationship with Crystal. I love the reports I am able to create. I hate when I am forced to delve into any new territory with them. (I have not even considered going to web reporting with Crystal for other reasons.) The worst was the nightmare upgrade to Crystal 8. Granted, I was going from 6 all the way to 8 in one leap. All of my apps were broken. I spent innumerable [unbillable] hours fixing applications and on the phone with [very unhappy yet thankfully, patient] clients trying to get the proper components installed on win95 and win98 machines. The one thing that was the saving grace was the free technical phone support. I didn’t mind as my long distance rate was 5 cents a minute. I got to be a pro at checking the status and wait times on their website before trying to dial in. And everyone was very helpful and very friendly. And then my phone bill came. I was calling Canada at $1.25/minute. I had $550 of phone calls to the free tech support. I could have purchased a one year tech support plan for a lot less than $550. I wrote them a long email tale of woe, explaining also how they lost out on selling a 1 year support contract. I had no expectation of them paying my bill, but I was trying to convince them to find some way of letting people know that this was most likely going to be long distance. When VS.NET was released with CR.NET in there, I saw the same lovely offer of free phone tech support for a certain period. And the same phone number. And no warning.
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