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  1. says

    I can’t believe how irresponsible and callous this company is. All the negative press Re: Microsoft I always chalked up to “sour grapes”. Now, I feel the sting of the behemoth as bCentral closes down. Now, if you were scouring the web about bCentral the past 6 months, you may have been alerted by hints from blogs “Microsoft’s bCentral not accepting new customers”. If I blogged and found this, I must admit I would have been most concerned and would have taken some steps to protect my data and business. I learned that some customers were notified by email but I only received billing statements and “list builder” weekly updates.

    I learned that this bipolar corporation had one company hold the data and another disseminate information to the client base. If I had known that, I know I would NOT have thought anything was the matter. Not only that, I paid current my annual fee in April of 2007 and they spent the month of April and May telling other customers that they were closing the site and assisted them with transferring their data (otherwise known as customer email list ). I was told at the site by Delwin, a former List Builder Tech Support person, that he assisted a flood of people flipping over or saving their email client list. (Mind you, this list was never retrievable. I tried many times to even print it. It would just print the first page of 20 over and over) so, by this factoid, April and May were spent attempting to convert to existing bCentral subscribers to their new business called “Office.Live.com”

    I learned that Microsoft held that data (my email list) and sent out emails in April and May alerting customers of the impending demises of bCentral. I never received one word of the impending fate of bCentral. Why, my login was an old email address of mine. I even remember trying to update it but the site would not let me. I was concerned for a while but I received my billing statements and weekly updates to my mailing list, I never gave it a “third” thought.

    I got the proverbial rude awakening when I received my weekly update and I checked that data as I would often do at the bCentral website. I brought up the site and logged in. The full site came up. I clicked on “manage subscribers” and I got a “this page cannot be displayed” message. I tried “check statistics” ………same “this page cannot be displayed” , then I tried “overview” and “send a message”. I thought, this is weird but I had experienced the site down before. I remembered that I called a tech support number so I went back to the home page. Wow, couldn’t find the phone numbers to the site’s tech support. Remembered that I chatted live with instant messaging……….that was gone too. Still did not realize the full extent of the debacle.

    I persisted to get a phone number and ended up at the bCentrat Customer Support page. This is where I used to get the tech support phone numbers. I went to the drop down menu and selected “Product/Service” and then “List Builder” to find a number. I got a form email and typed a message about the site failure. Still have not received an email in return. Somehow, in another attempt, I got to a screen that showed three numbers of local Bay area companies. I thought that it was unusual but there were three phone numbers and I tried them. I reached a company (shall remain anonymous because of the impending tsunami of angry customers) and told him what happened. I apologized calling him but in light that the Microsoft tech support phone numbers were removed from the site and there was his………… He was curious and he logged on the website to check it out. His first reaction was that it was a temporary glitch and it would resolve in a minute. I told him that I had been trying for an hour. He was surprised and said that he would try to find out what was going on and give me a call back. He called back a couple of times and finally said he had good news and bad news…. Good news…..he had a phone number for me to call………bad news bCentral shut down……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What, what do you mean. what about my email addresses? He didn’t know but said that I should call the number as soon as possible.

    I called my friend first who helps me with my website. He brought up the site and tried a few things and concluded that the site was gone, just a shill front page pretending to be whole. Chris tried to access tech support for phone numbers and I told him that they were gone and just an email page would come up. I told him that I had a number from a page that I don’t think exists anymore. We called 866-361-7931 and Delwin answered, a former List Builder tech support that was held over to handle the barrage of phone calls. After I short circuited and screamed my favorite cuss words when he told us that the site was gone and so was my data, my friend shuuushed me for fear I would alienate the only person that could possibly help. I was really beside myself and laid the phone down while it was on speaker phone. Clutching my head and rocking back and forth like a crazy person I listened to my friend and Delwin speak in measured deliberate sentences, trying to get to the heart of it, hoping to uncover that one tid-bit of illusive information that would change everything….. and we could sigh “thank God it was only the website that took a dive…. and not our data that went along with it”. But that was not to be. Or at least so far.

    In Delwin’s voice I heard discomfort and dismay. He did not like telling this bad news. He was conscious to listen and try to advise. We pleaded with him for phone numbers or emails addresses or someone that we could contact to get our data back. He assured us that if it had been in his power to give us our data he would but Microsoft would not release it and he was powerless. WHAT. I could not believe my ears. DASTARDLY. EVIL DOERS. The only thing that Delwin could advise was to write a letter to Microsoft BCentral List Builder Email Data Micrsoft 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington. 98052. I haven’t written the letter yet…..found this blog and ………………

  2. Tom Grant says

    Aigh! I am having the same problem! What should I do??? Really. I have used this service for five years for a client and they’ve got all our data. I’m supposed to send an e-mail newsletter (yesterday, actually) and am freaking out! We’ve developed a newsletter management tool for our other clients, but I don’t have any of the data I need to use it, especially the “unsubscribes”! Aigh, this totally sucks and I want my money back – NOW!

    THanks for letting me vent. I’ve been trying to access the damned (bCentral) site for two days and just found your blog.

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