Bad Customer Service From A Customer Service Solutions Provider. What?

What part of “CANCEL THE MONTHLY LEASED LICENSE NOW” did customer service solutions provider Kayako misunderstand? Reader Chance’s request wasn’t unexpected. He tried to cancel his account three times and switched service providers before Kayako decided to renew his lease and issue a new bill. The full debacle, inside.

Kayako makes a pretty awesome support suite that came highly recommended to me from a couple of friends. I will say first off that their support software is top notch and feature packed, and I have no qualms with their product.

Their customer support, however, leaves much to be desired.

Kayako offers a few options for their products- monthly hosted, monthly and yearly leased, owned. We opted for the monthly leased option as we didn’t want to plunk down the hefty $499 price for the owned license. Our major problem with all versions of the Kayako software was that it required either the Zend or Ioncube decoders to be installed on our server in order to run their software- all versions have “encoded” files that require the decoder running to use, including the owned license.

The decoders were causing a performance hit that we didn’t like. We looked around, found another support suite that did not have encoded code, and installed it. It worked. The owned version of it cost 1/4 the price of Kayako. It didn’t require any performance robbing decoders. We decided to go with it and drop Kayako.

This is where the pain began. First, there is no cancel button on their website. The only way to cancel is to contact their support email:

A few days ago, my first email:

I want to cancel this account. Please cancel all renewals of this license immediately.

Their reply:

Can you please let us know the reason for the cancellation of your eSupport License? If you have any issues regarding the product, we will be more than glad to assist you in that.

Waiting for your response.

Ok, you want to know why. I understand that- cool.

My second email:

We have decided to go with a solution that has 100% access to the source code unencoded. We have already made this decision and migrated to the new solution.

Please cancel the account immediately.

The key phrases in this email being “we have already migrated to a new solution” and “cancel the account immediately”.

Their second response:

In case of the Owned license, you will get 99% of open source code. You can modify the source code to customize the software as per your requirement. The 1% source code which is not provided includes the license management files and they are not provided to stop the piracy of the software. Please let me know if you are interested in buying the Owned license as we have some special offers for the day or you want us to cancel your eSupport Monthly Leased license.

Awaiting your response.

I’ll be the first to admit I snapped a little bit after this one. I already told them twice to cancel the account, I already told them we migrated to another solution. I know that in a couple days I am going to be re-billed for the leased license if they do not cancel my account. Now it just smells like they are trying to draw this out and get another payment from me when I have already removed their software from my server, installed another solution, and just want to move on with my life.

My third email:

I can not believe you badger your customers like this. I don’t want to talk about it or see special offers.


If I receive another charge from your company I will file a fraud claim with my bank and perform a charge back. You have guaranteed that I will never be a customer of Kayako in the future, and I will go out of my way to share this experience with others.

Today I was billed again after repeatedly asking them to cancel the account. Kayko has not replied to my previous email or canceled my account.

My final email before I perform a chargeback with my bank:

I was just billed again for this license after I have asked you repeatedly to cancel.

You have 24 hours to refund my payment before I file fraud with Worldpay and my credit card company.

I am waiting for your response.

Screw you Kayako. Take it from someone else who runs a service that does monthly billing- This is not how you treat customers.

You have effectively taken a customer that was pleased with your software but couldn’t use it due to a compatibility issue and turned him into someone who is going to badmouth you to everyone he comes in contact with everywhere he goes online. I’ll get my money back anyway, and all you will have to show for it is bad press. Keep up the good work jerks.

My Experience with Kayako – A Warning [jccommerce]


Edit Your Comment

  1. DMDDallas says:

    Usually when a customer tells you to cancel, you do it right away and give them some kind of special offer to sign back up at a later date.

    Clearly they have burned that bridge down and now have no chance of getting a customer back.

  2. DMDDallas says:

    BTW, the link is 404.

  3. ConnertheCat says:


    I don’t know, I think you would ask them why and if it was a problem ask if they tried to have it fixed. But yeah, they went far and beyond that here.

  4. Rando says:

    That logo is pretty much visual studio’s logo

  5. Rando says:

    @DMDDallas: never heard of then? lol

  6. LyriCali says:

    I will never use Kayako

  7. DMDDallas says:

    @RandoTheKing: I was speaking on what good customer service practices are.

  8. ihateauditions says:

    My company tried using Kayako a few years ago, and it was a complete nightmare.

    We purchased a license, which then failed to work. When we tried to resolve this, we got a run-around from an Indian help desk.

    As far as I can tell their business model is that some people will accidentally mistake their product for a viable solution and send them $500, which is apparently a lot of money wherever they are.

    They sure as hell aren’t a software or a customer service company.

  9. They must’ve learned this from AOL’s successful customer retention policies.

    “Dear Valued Customer,

    Your request for cancellation of your account has been denied. Have a great day!”

  10. Buran says:

    Wow, they obviously don’t care about you but only about the money, AND they obviously don’t trust you either. Good call on dumping them.

  11. mribiz says:

    We’ve had similar problems with them. They are quite a mess. Unfortunately we’re still on their system. We’ve been searching around for a new solution and are in the stage of testing. Once we have something we plan on going away from Kayako. Over the years they’ve grown but their customer service has gone the opposite direction. They’re quite rude as well. Occasionally you’ll get someone that knows something but that’s probably 1 in 5.

  12. ludwigk says:

    Kayako is a CRM suite. It’s a web app company. It doesn’t imply that they’re going to have the best customer support.

    Now, if this was a consulting company for “customer service best practices”, or something like that, then this article might have some relevance.

  13. Freedomboy says:

    “BY LUDWIGK AT 02:47 PM Kayako is a CRM suite. It’s a web app company. It doesn’t imply that they’re going to have the best customer support.
    Now, if this was a consulting company for “customer service best practices”, or something…”

    Simple “cancel my account on request” actions are a few slices this side of “best service” there LUDWIGK.

  14. BrianH says:

    I have a lot of experience with Kayako, none of it good. They are an Indian outsourcing operation with a focus on $$$ and not quality or customer service.

    When a client of mine was a customer of theirs (different industries), they f***ed up and copied him on an email that was intended for someone else. He showed it to me, I forget the wording, but it was something to the effect “this big American company has deep pockets, they’ll always renew once we get in there, just make the sale and then it’ll be impossible for them to get rid of us.”

    Other than that, they’re great.

    Actually I’d love to hear who makes the new support suite (from the OP) at 1/4 the cost. Might be worth checking out.

  15. mikelotus says:

    go to their site, [] and hit “contact sales” and you see they have support problems right away.

  16. mac-phisto says:

    couple questions: how long before billing did OP call to cancel? if he has accounts payable experience, he should understand that it often takes 3-5 days to ensure that billing is cancelled.

    also, how is billing done? perhaps it’s possible that the account was cancelled, but that the billing amount charged to the OP’s account was for service already rendered?

    not trying to play the blame-game here, but there’s not enough info to determine if these guys really f-ed up. if he only gave them a day to cancel his account, then it’s understandable that they didn’t get it processed in time.

  17. freshyill says:

    I just want to weigh in and say that their Support Suite is pretty nice, although it does have its quirks. I used it extensively at my last job, and I miss having it (or an equivalent) at my new job. I haven’t had to deal with their customer service, however, but I’ve heard they kind of suck to deal with. There were plenty of times when we also had performance issues.

  18. RaghavArora says:

    Hi All,
    I sincerely apologize for all the inconvenience caused. The billing staff never had the intension to charge anything extra from the client. The staff just wanted to convince the client to stay with Kayako. However, it did not result good and we lost you as a customer.

    Please email me your complete license details at ( and I will cancel your license and will be more than glad to offer you the complete refund.

    For any other questions or comments, please email me at the same address and I will be more than glad to assist you.


    Raghav Arora

  19. ludwigk says:

    @Freedomboy: I should qualify and say – they should still have good service, its just not ironic, as OP indicates.

  20. That70sHeidi says:

    OK, anyone who has ever been online knows that it takes a few rounds while the company tries to retain you, so his third email is just ass-y. All he had to say was “No thanks, please cancel.” The employees are probably required to offer, you turn it down, then we’re done. In addition, he did NOT explain why he was leaving in the second email, an extra sentence would have been much more polite, as well. What a mountain out of a molehill. And he sounds like a dick as well. Good job!

  21. @That70sHeidi: I disagree. No customer should ever have to play “Tag! You’re It!” when they ask a company to cancel — especially when the only way to contact them is through email. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

    The OP was polite in his initial request for cancellation and then, justifiably annoyed when they tried to drag the process out; he was then charged AGAIN for service that he no longer wanted.

    He does not owe the company any explanation for why he wants to cancel. Kayako was completely in the wrong on this one.

  22. Why did you remove your post Chance? Did the Kayako people threaten you or something? Instead of removing the post, you should replace it with an update.

  23. JohnFromKayako says:

    Hi. My name is John, and I’m staff at Kayako. I just wanted to let you guys know what was going on. First, the person in question has of course gotten his money back; that’s something one takes for granted at any upright company. Second, we are of course very unhappy with the staff member who allowed this to happen, and we are taking the matter very seriously. We are making sure nothing like this will happen again. I would like to point out, though, that every company has new support staff, and that people make mistakes. If the original poster had just escalated the problem, this would have been handled with no hassle. That’s just the nature of life: people make errors, things get fixed, and life moves on.

    Kayako has a deep commitment to customer support and customer relations, and we’re quite proud that with a userbase in the tens of thousands, that almost nobody had anything bad to say about us after a piece like this in a large magazine. Indeed, it looks like a few people even stepped forward to talk about their good experiences, something almost nobody ever does.

    We believe the piece was removed because the second the problem was discovered, it was fixed in the appropriate fashion. We’d just like to remind customers of all companies that they’ll get faster resolutions on the average if they at least try to let a company handle minor mistakes before trying the public route. Things happen; we’re of course as unhappy about the situation as Chase is. However, it’s fixed, it’s added to the training manual, and we’re undertaking new steps to ensure it never happens again.

    We take customer service very, very seriously. We just need to know about a problem before we can fix it. :)

  24. Phantom_Photon says:

    I have used Kayako extensively in the past. They are based out of India, and often have issues with basic english.

  25. Yay! Time for the taking it seriously tag.

    Appreciate the follow-up, John. It’d be even nicer if the OP can let us know how things worked out on his end.

    John, if your company takes customer service very, very seriously, they should really consider having a phone number. That way, frustrated customers wouldn’t have to go to sites like the Consumerist when they suffer “minor” mistakes like being overcharged after repeatedly requesting cancellation. It’s kinda hard to escalate through email.

  26. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @JohnFromKayako: They are taking it seriously…..

  27. alrightstill says:

    Wow, I think that’s the quickest response from kayako customer service I’ve ever seen…

  28. JohnFromKayako says:

    Phantom Photon: Kayako is actually in several countries. I, for one, am in the United States. As far as language quality, we’ve been looking into language coaches for the purpose of flying them out to train our support staff in person. We’re also looking into corporate trainers to make sure that the expectations of our staff and our customers are in alignment despite cultural differences.

    Imaginary Friend: keep your eyes peeled. Phone support is something we’re investigating, and something we expect to implement.

    Alright Still: I’m not even support staff. I’m a software engineer. ;)

    Everyone: I want to be clear – the reason I found out about this blog post was because one of our higher staff put it in the developers’ conference room, because it was important enough to us that even the staff who don’t deal with customers had to see it. Customer relations are our bread and butter.

  29. jccommerce says:

    I’m the OP.

    A quick Followup:

    I did some searching and ended up canceling my recurring billing with Worldpay myself after figuring out how to do that. Why you would make a customer search to find out how to cancel their billing arrangement is beyond me- that will accomplish nothing more than making your customers angry.

    Kayako eventually replied and said they would refund my credit card for the last payment.

    On 2/12/08 the refund was received from Kayako.

  30. JohnFromKayako says:

    If by eventually you mean “in under four hours.”

  31. jccommerce says:

    Actually, what I meant was that I was told my refund was going to be processed on 25 Jan 2008 and you “eventually” got around to actually processing the refund on 12 Feb 2008 at 1:11AM (according to the support ticket that was sent on that date, ticket ID ZES-208389 in your support system).

    In this case, “eventually” means 19 days later if you really want to be a smartass about it.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I to am being ripped off by this company Kayko. They sent
    me virus infected software. When I beought it up they just pretended like it never happened. They don’t want to fix the software or the virus damage, they just want to keep my money! Do not buy or do anything with this company ever!

    • Anonymous says:

      @ClarenceEpaphus: We have absolutely no record of your purchase, report of a virus, a virus being sent or a complaint about this issue. This suggests to me that if your claims are genuine, you haven’t actually tried to contact us about it. Feel free to e-mail me about it – jamie.edwards theatsign