Is this any way to treat your customers?

Case study in how not to treat your customers:

Wandered into HMV in Scotch Hall (our brand new shopping centre in Drogheda) to buy a CD in the January sale – GoldFrapp as it turns out. Brought the CD home , ready to play it on my PC (where I listen to most of my music). CD doesn’t play , not until I register online and let them install software on my machine, neither of which I am keen on (see this BBC online article for one of the reasons why).

So here is the heart of the ‘bad customer experience’. While I think artists have the right to earn a living, and even lock their CD’s as much as they like (see related post here on Microsoft) I do expect to get what I pay for. Nowhere on the CD does it say ‘this will not work on your computer without registration/ software install’. What it does say is ‘Insert this CD in your computer and discover exclusive audio, video and more through opendisc technology’. Not a word about ‘additional proof of identity / security software install required’.

So , here’s a quick question: what would your customers do if you treated them like this?
a) Come back and spend more money with you.
b) Grumble and spend their money on one of the many other entertainment options available.

No prizes for guessing which on I am doing.


  1. And I guess the software required windows OS. What if I’m happy enough with opensuse on my laptop? Should I waste my time with wine?

  2. I have several discs with this enhancements and although I’m not a fan of these kind of enhancements, this seem acceptable. The main screen actually allow you to play the disk without registration. If you move your mouse over the cover image, you should get a navigation bar that allows you to play, skip, pause, etc. (you should even be able to rip the tracks for personal usage.

    @victor: no it can run under macos as well and i’ve seen reports of even playable under Linux. The latter won’t get the ‘exclusive access’ to the extras and the marketing guys.

  3. Henri,

    My main problem is that it doesn’t say on the cover of the disk what you can and cannot do.

    If the CD had said ‘this will work only on your Hi-Fi, not your PC’ , then it is my choice to buy it or not, knowing fully what it where I can and cannot listen to it.

    As it is , I only found out afterI had paid my money. I now know what ‘opendisc’ means and can make a decision on that basis in the future.


  4. They don’t care. They’ve got your money. Who says their business plan relies on you buying a second CD.

    You should have taken it back and insisted on a refund. The fact that you didn’t will have encouraged them.

    In any case, I bet you’ve been back to the shop. Moaning about a thing doesn’t get it sorted out. You have to act decisively.

  5. James,

    I took it back to HMV. And yes, they refunded my money.

    I wrote this post about 3 years ago. And I have bought only 2 cds since – both presents for people that haven’t yet been convinced of the joys of mp3s!!


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