Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Willow TV's Epic Fail In Gory Detail

I've complained about Willow TV before. Here are the details of my latest complaint. For starters, check out www.willow.tv. It still advertises the World Cup, which ended 40 days ago. And it doesn't just advertise it, it is the main attraction, even though new offerings have shown up below it on the left hand bar. Right off the bat, thats a lazy, complacent website for you. Second, check out the new offerings, because thats where the trouble begins.

Three new tours are advertised. Pak-WI, SL-Eng, and India-Eng. So, like an innocent, I decided I want to watch Pak-WI, and clicked on watch. I get taken a to match menu. I click on one of the match buttons. I'm asked to sign in. I sign in. I'm told I am not subscribed to the package and should subscribe. Fair enough. I'd like subscribe. So I click on sign up. And then I'm told I'm already signed up. To the World Cup package! Right. So I email support. This is where the fun begins.

But, as prelude, note that on February 1st, I sent an email asking them whether their claim to be supporting all OS's was accurate. NO REPLY and on April 8th, I sent an email asking about IPL 2011, availability, NO REPLY,

Then the following sequence:

Mail#1, Dated April 21

Folks:

1. Is the Pakistan-West Indies series and the Sri Lanka-England series included in the monthly package or is it in the World Cup package?

In general, by signing up for the monthly package, do I automatically get subscribed to any and all cricket shown by Willow TV?

2. I watch Willow telecasts on my Roku box. When will the streaming interface through that be updated (right now it shows World Cup on the live portion and has nothing on upcoming). Will all live telecasts be available through this streaming interface?

In general, I would say your website needs some updating.

NO REPLY

Mail #2, Dated April 21

Folks,

When I click on the live video button I am told I am not signed up for the event. When I try and sign up, I'm told I'm already subscribed via the World Cup package. What is the real situation here?

Also, will this game be streamed live for those watching via Roku boxes?

Please reply at the earliest.
NO REPLY

Mail #3, Dated April 23

Dear Support,

This is my fourth email in the last couple of days trying to elicit a reply from you regarding the availability of the Pakistan-West Indies series on Willow. You website shows links for the live telecast but the Roku channel continues to show a button for the World Cup channel, which ended three weeks ago. There are no links under "upcoming" for the series either. Is the Pakistan-West Indies series being shown through Roku? (The fourth time I have asked this question without an answer).

Please reply to customer emails and please fix your Roku service. Googling for "willow" will show that in many customer forums online, people are frustrated with Willow's service.

NO REPLY.

The last email was copied to the owner of Willow.tv, Vijay Srinivasan, who I happen to know, from our IRC chatting days. No reply from him. Bizarrely enough, in the meantime, I had emailed him as well as follows:


Mail #1, April 21st:
Hey Vijay,

Whats up? Hope all is well. I'm just trying to figure out what is happening over at willow.tv. The Pakistan-WI series is advertised, but when I try and watch, it says I'm not signed up. When I try and sign up, it says I'm already subscribed to the WC package. My Roku box interface doesn't show a link for the game either.

I've sent multiple emails to support but haven't heard back yet. Any clues? The T20 game has already started.

Vijay wrote back:

Are you a Willow monthly subscriber?

I replied:


I can't subscribe when I click on the link to watch. It says I'm signed up already. In fact, there is no "sign up" button on the monthly package section, just a "watch" link. When I click on that, it says "not signed up". When I try and sign up, it says I'm subscribed to the WC package.

NO REPLY

I then followed up with:

Vijay,

Incidentally, I also sent an email to support, asking them about the IPL but never heard back then. I would say the website is a little disorganized at the moment, honestly. If you guys were not going to carry the IPL, you might as well have just put up a small notice. I'm sure tons of folks must have asked the same question as me!

BTW, I really enjoyed watching the World Cup through my Roku box. Great quality, nice interface. It'd be nice if we could get the same interface through Roku as we have on the website with links for highlights, replay etc. Or is that technically impossible/difficult?

NO REPLY

Frankly, this is easily the worst customer service I have encountered in my life. The disorganized website, the lazy updates, the poor interface, the lack of response, it all adds up to an incredibly unprofessional operation. If anyone has their ear, let 'em know they suck.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Golandaaz said...

I am thinking of contesting the charge via my credit card company. Technically they haven't delivered what they sold...

Eventually its not about the money but hope this will get them to look at the issue

I suggest we all do the same.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Golandaaz:

I'd be very interested to hear if you get replies from support@willow.tv. I've written to them again today; still no reply. I've also emailed Srinivasan again, asking him to let me know whether Willow wants me as a customer or not. I will post those emails tomorrow if I have not heard from them by then. I cannot believe I paid 129 for the World Cup and weeks later, they cannot be bothered to answer seven emails!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Golandaaz said...

I have written to them as well. Lets see. Not expecting a response

Tried contesting the charge via PayPal (because I used it to pay for the service) but PayPal recommended "Such issues are often a result of misunderstanding of the contract so please contact willow tv directly"

I now have registered a complaint with BBB. Let's see

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Devanshu said...

It's tragic. They lost out on the IPL rights at the last moment, and my guess is they couldn't recover financially from the loss of future revenue.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Devanshu: Thanks for your comment. They haven't gone out of business yet! But perhaps they don't have anyone to answer their support emails (or at least, thats what it looks like).

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one having a problem. I am a monthly subscriber but cannot cancel the service because no one is answering the the support e-mails. for the monthly subscribers I was promised that I would be able to see live streaming on my smart phone but when I try to do that I was told that I need to purchase the World Cup which is long gone.

10:43 AM  

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