Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rackspace triple fail

For several years I had a virtual server with Slicehost. They were great. Then, Slicehost was bought out by Rackspace. They are... not quite as good. Among other things, Slicehost let me set an alternate e-mail address in case my address doesn’t work for some reason, but Rackspace doesn’t.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I received an e-mail from Rackspace saying my credit card was expiring. Thanks, I’ll go update it. This led to a series of brown-paper-bag failures....

Fail #1

One of the things that drives me batty is websites that don’t let you type in the credit card number with spaces. I like to proofread the number before I submit (shocking, I know); this is far more difficult with an unbroken series of 16 digits rather than the 4 groups of 4 that’s on the card.

This is particularly annoying because it’s literally one line of code to strip out the spaces before processing, no matter what language your site is implemented in.

Rackspace is indeed one of these obnoxious websites (and to boot their error message is particularly vague — just says the number is “invalid”), but they’re a youngish internet company, so maybe they’d be willing to make the fix.

Fail #2

The expiration notice had an e-mail address for questions, Great! I replied with a quick note asking them to fix the credit card number issue.

Oops, it bounced due to a problem somewhere in the bowels of their support system:
Reporting-MTA: dns;

Final-Recipient: rfc822;
Action: failed
Status: 5.0.0 (permanent failure)
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 5.1.2 - Bad destination host 'DNS Hard Error looking up (MX):  NXDomain' (delivery attempts: 0)
This should never happen. A responsible company has monitoring systems in place to ensure that such failures are discovered before they are visible to customers.

Also, that DNS lookup works fine for me:
$ host has address mail is handled by 5
$ host has address 
Fail #3

Now there’s two problems, one really quite embarrassing. Maybe there’s an alternate way to complain? I see on their website they have live chat, but I don’t want to waste time with that; I want to send a note and be done.

I see they have a web form. Great! But.... their anti-spam widget is a little too enthusiastic:

This is with Firefox 18, Adblock turned off (not that either of those things should matter).

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how your company can change simple e-mail suggestions into negative blog posts for all the world to see.

Now, there’s a lot of friction in moving a VPS from one vendor to another. But maybe I should be looking anyway. Suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Linode has worked well for me over the past few years. Very high uptime, good notification mechanism for learning of outages, great console server.