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Does Your Vendor Issue Gag Orders? 210

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the next-up-charging-protection-fees dept.
Presto Vivace writes to tell us that CIO has an interesting article about customer "gag orders" that some ERP vendors are trying to impose contractually. "The effect: customers will be prevented from working with peers and others in the software company's "ecosystem" to help with technical issues or compare pricing options. 'In addition,' Wang adds, 'the customer now lacks the proper checks and balances in pressuring a vendor to deliver on promised capabilities or address severe security issues, and cannot go to the media as a last resort, if needed.'" What other questionable practices (and potential solutions) have others had to work with?
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Does Your Vendor Issue Gag Orders?

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  • by swb (14022) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:59PM (#26877053)

    Since ERP is critical to many organizations, all we need now is a homeland security tie-in and anyone who complains about how shitty their ERP package is gets hauled off for interrogation.

    Don't laugh, I'm only about 3% joking about this.

    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:39PM (#26877623) Journal
      If you're a CIO, and you sign something like this, you should lose your job.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        Almost ALL Microsoft partners sign this.

        So the CIO's of most american comapnies need to be fired.

        READ the contract for being a Microsoft partner, it's full of that kind of language.

        • So then, logically, anyone with a brain wouldn't want to be a Microsoft partner?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cbiltcliffe (186293)

          So the CIO's of most american comapnies need to be fired.

          Yeah....now you're getting it....

    • by icebike (68054) on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:22PM (#26878335)

      ERP - Today's shibboleth for software nobody needs obfuscated by an acronym nobody understands.

      Does this mean the CRM and HRM rage is over?

  • Let them sue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rinisari (521266) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:59PM (#26877071) Homepage Journal

    Let them sue you and let them watch gag orders get thrown out as unconscionable.

    Right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe they'll be like the credit card companies and the stupid card-charge rules. You can't transfer the charge directly to the customer, offer discounts for cash/check/etc, or have a minimum purchase.

      The CC companies are smart on this one, so far, I've not heard of them litigating against an offender. Since their end probably wouldn't hold up, that's about the only way the contract would be honored by anyone.

      I hope the companies with these gag orders won't be that smart.

      • by Bryansix (761547)
        (Sarcasm) Because companies should be allowed to make it harder to use a credit card and force cash only transactions because carrying around cash is a good idea. In addition if you want a candy bar you better had the cash or you get to go hungry... serves you right for living in the 21st century! (end sarcasm)

        Seriously! What are you smoking. Those Credit Card rules are totally fair and anybody who wants to break them doesn't deserve to get my business.
        • by fmobus (831767)
          Yeah, it's totally fair to have cash-paying people subsidize card charges related to other people's purchases. I really hope your sarcasm mark was around the wrong paragraph.
          • by Bryansix (761547)
            Are you freain' kidding me? It's cost of doing business! Take credit cards or go work in McDonalds. This is 2009 after all. And Cash is NOT free. You have to pay someone to take it to the bank and to drop off spare change of smaller bills. Then there are the security risks it entails. Basically you are telling one side of the argument and being a complete Luddite at the same time.
        • Re:Let them sue (Score:5, Informative)

          by phantomlord (38815) <slashdotNO@SPAMkrwtech.com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:02PM (#26877981) Journal
          Buying that candy bar with your credit card likely cost the merchant money. There's a base transaction fee (75 cents at the place I managed), a purchase percentage fee (Master/Visa was 2%, Discover 3% and AmEx 5%) that they keep, a card rejection fee (swipe an expired card and you just cost them another 25 cents to tell you it was expired), etc.

          So, at best, your $1 candy bar cost the merchant 77-80 cents in just transaction fees, in addition to the 50 cents or so they paid to actually purchase the bar for you to buy... In other words, he just lose about 30 cents to sell it to you... In addition to that, there are fees just to check your balance for the day, fees to request a payment from your processor, etc. Debit cards are slightly cheaper to process, but overall, the break even point for the restaurant I used to manage was about $5 per transaction. Guess what we set the minimum transaction at?

          We only started taking cards because so many people don't carry cash these days, so we were turning customers away. Most are quite understanding about the minimum transaction once we explain why we have it. We do make exceptions for regulars or if someone just bought $30 worth of food and forgot to order some fries or something. You might not like it, however, we can't stay in business long if we're losing money on every transaction, so where are you going to buy your candy bar from then, your high horse?
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Last I saw, Mastercard had a requirement for merchants that they not set a minimum transaction amount. If a merchant was caught doing this, Mastercard would terminate their business dealings with them.

          • Re:Let them sue (Score:5, Interesting)

            by nwf (25607) on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:24PM (#26878363)

            Wow, the place you worked was being ripped off. We pay much less than that per transaction and nothing if the card is rejected for any reason.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by phantomlord (38815)
              Bigger businesses work out better deals with the credit card processing companies (often working directly with the credit network instead of an intermediary) while smaller businesses can't do that, so you get stuck with a middle man making profit for not doing much other than passing your transactions to the merchants.

              I wasn't involved in the actual negotiations with credit card processing companies, the owners of the restaurant did that themselves. All I know are the details of the deal they negotiated
            • It depends 100% on your transaction volume and your history. Where I work we get transactions for pennies, but that's an exceptional deal that we get for being a long-standing, reputable, high-volume customer.

              If you get a lot of disputed charges, if you only process a handful of cards...It's a wholly different situation, and the GP is right, it can cost 75 cents or more to process a card.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jjeffers (127519)

            We pay 3% flat rate across the board. No transaction fees. I've received a lot of processing fee quotes and never once have I seen one with rates like that.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              Cool, i've seen profitmargins lower than 3%! Seriously, why creditcards are so popular on your side of the pond is beyond me, the only added value of a creditcard is to the company dispatching them. The dealers get sacked, the users get sacked & the fat cats get fatter.
            • by ByOhTek (1181381)

              I've checked around a few places myself after hearing my dad's rates.

              My dad gets charged $0.30/transaction + 3% for visa/master card, which is decent but not the best of the people he works with (AmEx was $1.35 + 5%, so he doesn't accept that).

              Both gaming stores near my house, high-volume, 2-3 million/year profit (not gross, net, I don't know what their gross is) have a flat $5.0/transaction fee. But then, their average sale is over $100

              It depends on the middleman you go through, your negotiating skills, an

          • by Bryansix (761547)
            Lame and not informative at all. I have actually setup merchant accounts myself so let me explain something basic. All the fees are negotiable. You can in addition ask for a lower transaction fee and in place pay a higher percentage. For a food service merchant account that is the way to go. For high dollar items you want a high transaction fee so you can get a low percentage.

            Fees are not that high. For instance Paypal is 1.9% to 2.9% + $0.30 USD See here... https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_wp [paypal.com]
          • by rtechie (244489) *

            You might not like it, however, we can't stay in business long if we're losing money on every transaction, so where are you going to buy your candy bar from then, your high horse?

            It really doesn't matter whether he likes it or not. You signed a contract and you have to follow it. These aren't "pack in" or "implied" licenses. You specifically agreed to this when you agreed to accept credit cards as payment.

            And these contracts WILL NOT be tossed or altered in any way by the courts. They are approved by the Co

      • by Zerth (26112)

        All of those are true, except for the cash discount. You are not allowed to charge CC customers more, but you are allowed to discounts cash customers.

        It's all in how you word the signs.

        Also, while I dislike the "no minimum", I only dislike it because of the 20-30 cent base transaction fee. If CC companies would switch to a straight percentage, I'd wouldn't want a minimum fee.

        Although I could get along with a 1 penny base transaction fee

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525)

      For those of us who are employees, exposing your employer to legal action is generally a CLM.

      • Re:Let them sue (Score:4, Informative)

        by erroneus (253617) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:35PM (#26877571) Homepage

        http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/CLM [thefreedictionary.com]

        Which of these meanings of "CLM" did you mean? I presume career limiting move, but please don't do this to readers... making them look up CLM when all you need to do is write a few more characters to make your meaning clear?

        • CLM explained (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Savantissimo (893682)

          CLM may mean:

          Cthulhu Love Manouever
          Crazed Licentious Muppet
          Coccyx Liberating Moose
          Custom Lined Meerschaum
          Coconut Lapidary Mount
          Carnivorous Lemur Molester
          Chilton's Lada Manual
          Cretaceous Labradorite Mineralology
          Chicken Lusting Madmen
          Customer Lip Management
          Cheeky Little Morons ...or permutations thereof.

        • I presume career limiting move, but please don't do this to readers... making them look up CLM when all you need to do is write a few more characters to make your meaning clear?

          Using an abbreviation without expanding it carries a specific connotation, namely that the concept that the abbreviation represents is so entrenched that anybody who cares about the subject should already know the expansion. For example, entities who favor the expansion of government-granted monopolies on reproduction use "IP" without explaining that it refers to "intellectual property", not Internet Protocol.

          • by GuyverDH (232921)

            You make reference to "Sports Fans" in your signature? Turn in your geek badge. Everyone knows that true geeks hate sports.

            Unless you're just a big athletic supporter...

    • Your assuming that the lawsuit would be in the court of law. Point me to a single contract nowadays that doesn't force you into "mandatory binding arbitration". Go google that phrase, your screwed if you think you can take it to court.

  • by olddotter (638430) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:59PM (#26877073) Homepage

    Why would any major company agree to such arrangements?

    Of course such insane arrangements with respect to investments lead to a portion of the financial meltdown.

    • Answer: PHB (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mengel (13619) <mengel@users.sou ... t ['org' in gap]> on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:30PM (#26877491) Homepage Journal

      Because a Pointy Haired Boss says "I don't care what the end user license agreement says! Install the software!." After five or ten rounds of that, the admin doesn't even ask his/her manager anymore. They just click "I Agree" in the box without asking.

      Now if it's an actual paper contract that goes through a legal department, the story might be different; but it rarely is.

      • Large Enterprises (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:07PM (#26878079)

        In large enterprises, the "click through license" usually means nothing. Lawyers have gotten together to determine the true agreement.

        But, some of those signed agreements are really, really stupid - sorta like the finance guy who would search ebay for better pricing on Cisco $150k switches. Idiot.

        The PHB is usually a huge idiot when it comes to software. He/she got where they were by demanding action "install CRM this year", then holding all pay raises for 10,000 people in IT hostage until it is done.

        Where I worked, Microsoft gave us a bunch of BPM free software. It turns out they needed some sucker/company to stress test it. What a joke. There software performance was tied to how big/fast your MS-SQL server clusters were since **every** transaction, no matter how short lived, had to be put into the DB. In the end, it couldn't keep up and we wasted 9 months with MS engineering/support. We deployed a few IBM P-series servers with 24 CPUs and switched to a UNIX BPM solution that could scale the way we needed in just a few months. Done.

        The 120 windows servers were never fully reused before their warranties ran out. MS hadn't certified anything on VMs at the time.

        I'm probably violating an agreement talking about this now. That was under company that was bought out by an even larger company a few years ago.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:03PM (#26877993)

      Simple. It probably didn't HAVE such a license back when they first went with the software. But through upgrades, license terms change.

      They almost got us that way at the library. The company was EOF'ing the version we used of the card catalog system. The new version (besides being a LOT of money) had a license with terms similar to this.

      Long story, short, we use an open source KOHA software. It has its warts (though less than you might think considering how "leading edge" we are in number of libraries running the system). But overall, we put a fraction of the upgrade cost for the commercial package into a "features" fund and we pay a company to develop features that we need as we need them. And the beautiful thing is once we pay to develop it, ANY library can use it. And vice versa. Open source feature has already paid off, too, since we found some features essential for our book mobile usage developed already by a library in Pennsylvania.

    • Of course such insane arrangements with respect to investments lead to a portion of the financial meltdown.

      Oh no...

      This may be a valid analogy, but I can totally see it getting out of hand.

      The Pirate Bay Trial, Prosecutor:
      "Your honor, what The Pirate Bay is promoting, in essence, is the same thing that caused the meltdown of financial systems worldwide!" (followed by dubious lines of logic.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drooling-dog (189103)

      Why would any major company agree to such arrangements?

      Why indeed. Just the other day I was talking to a guy who works for a large company that forbids any use whatsoever of open source software, on the grounds that it would somehow leave them exposed to some kind of legal repercussions. One can only wonder if any of their lawyers and managers have even looked at the EULA crap they actually do agreed to, or where their odd misconceptions of FOSS alternatives came from.

    • Why would any major company agree to such arrangements?

      Does anyone in your organization actually read End User License Agreements (EULA) before clicking "I Agree"? Do you personally know anyone who does?

  • Good luck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qoncept (599709) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:01PM (#26877103) Homepage
    I just got an email from my boss that our proposal to switch to a new reporting tool, mostly due to the licensing BS the old company tried to pull, has been approved. The moral? Don't pull this shit or you'll get dumped. Rewriting all of our reports in the new environment is going to be expensive, but cheaper, in the long run, than dealing with that sleazy company.

    "and cannot go to the media as a last resort, if needed.'"

    Is that a joke? What an interesting story that would be.
  • by Ostracus (1354233) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:01PM (#26877109) Journal

    "Presto Vivace writes to tell us that CIO has an interesting article about customer "gag orders" that some ERP vendors are trying to impose contractually. "

    Contracts aren't blank checks. There are limits.

  • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:01PM (#26877111)
    And they wonder why people resort to piracy?

    In all seriousness, trying to force the consumer to do anything to save your business will ultimately drive them away. If you want to safeguard your business, stop making a poor product, work with your customers to fix issues, give decent support, and stop trying to legally tie their hands behind their backs.

    This is akin to legal DRM. All it does to legitimate customers is push them away; software piracy seems like the only recourse. Companies have to learn that this is the kind of stuff that we won't stand for if it is ever to change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      Pirating software can be an effective business strategy. Think about it -- when you pirate software you might be sued for software piracy. When you pay for it, you might be sued for breach of contract.

      Which is worse?

      • How about option three? Don't use their product at all?

        • by PitaBred (632671)
          The job still needs done one way or another. Maybe not by that specific company's product, but somehow. If you have the choice of a) Shitty contract that costs a LOT b) Piracy that is reasonably safe or c) Don't get the job done and lose the efficiency gains/cost savings/money making, what do you choose?
          • by Ostracus (1354233)

            D) Use open source. Yes I'm 100% serious. My ethics are my own. Not what someone forces upon me. Be it an unethical company nor "but everyone else is doing it" society.

            Read this [google.com] to understand.

      • or you could select an "free software" product with open source and avoid either eventuality.
    • by houghi (78078) on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:07PM (#26878077)

      trying to force the consumer to do anything to save your business will ultimately drive them away.

      Ultimately is long term. Most companies think only short term.

  • by penguinstorm (575341) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:01PM (#26877113) Homepage

    My ERP vendor takes an entirely different strategy of providing miserable tech support, denying the existence of obvious bugs, claiming the the 1960s technology on the back end is better than modern day RDMS, and having their tech support staff focus on minute tiny details that aren't relevant to the problem whenever you ask them for a solution.

    I'd switch ERPs in a heartbeat, if the economy would recover.

  • Seriously, anyone who's living under a gag order like that and can't go to the "media" won't be able to talk about it on Slashdot, either. It's right there in the first concern listed in TFA:

    discussions of contractual details require the vendor's written permission

    • Unless he *didn't sign*.

    • Since it wasn't specifically pointed out...and the original vendor has been bought out TWICE....

      The thing i hate about this setup is the lack of user help. The only avenue for aid is through a paid support contract. Irrelevent for us as there is also a required yearly license or it shuts itself off (one of them undisclosed at purchase, i wouldn't have bought if both costs known :/) Sometimes it would be nice if people that found a workaround could share it, but since you can't talk about the problem it is t

  • Consumer law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EEPROMS (889169) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:19PM (#26877341)
    Not sure how it works in the USA be here in Australia any legal contract that misrepresents consumer rights as stated in legislated consumer law can leave a company open to a AU$10,000 fine for each infringement found. A few years back I remember a case were someone got hurt by flying debris on a race track and the owner denied responsibility because on the back of the ticket it said the patrons had no rights to claim damages. Well it went to court the track owner not only had to pay the medical bills and damages but was dragged back into court for fraud and misrepresenting consumer law.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      This is not about "consumer" law. It is about contracts between businesses.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        This is not about "consumer" law. It is about contracts between businesses.

        Depending on the country, there are still some laws governing contracts between businesses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)

      Usually these agreements contain "void where prohibited" in there somewhere. This, obviously, leaves knowledge and interpretation of the local over-riding laws up to the consumer. It's a problem and a responsibility we shouldn't have to be saddled with.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:22PM (#26877385)

    The software and services fees for an ERP installation often run into the millions on dollars.
    And support contracts come up for renegotiation occasionally.

    Can't the customer just cross out the relevant lines in the proposed contract and say, "fuck you"? And if they can't, because the vendor has so much control over the relationship, *that* along should be a cause of nightsweats for the CIO, CEO, and the board of directors.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      > Can't the customer just cross out the relevant lines in the proposed contract and say,
      > "fuck you"?

      I would think that the fact that a vendor would even attempt to impose such terms would be sufficient reason to look for an alternative.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420)
      Get yourself an open source ERP solution [compiere.com]. Why be held hostage by a vendor for critical business functions?
  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:26PM (#26877419)

    I get the impression a lot of people who say that restrictions on what you can say about your service is immoral, even if it isn't illegal, haven't experienced what it's like to be at a very small IT company.

    Customers will mess you around big time. They'll get you to spend a lot of time preparing an assessment and quote, get you to travel halfway around the country to have a 45 minute meeting with you which is fair enough. However they'll then take your proposal, show it to another company who spend some time figuring out how they'd provide a similar service and travel up for a meeting. The customer would then say "can you do this £500 cheaper?". If they say yes they go back to the first company to see if they'll go lower.

    You can argue this is just being sensible but in truth, you're using up a lot of other people's time and eventually they'll have next to no profit margin but can't give up the contract because so much time has been invested already. Whilst this is going on, the company has to take the focus away from looking for new contracts to work with them.

    This can utterly destroy small businesses who need a steady stream of income to keep their head above water. I work for a company who suffers from this but thankfully it's comprised of a lot of small companies in similar situations and they'll warn each other if there's a customer wasting time like this. Not every company is IBM, Microsoft etc. who can absorb the cost of these customers. We were almost driven to administration by one particular religious group who, after stringing us along for a month and having us draw up a complex proposal and organise government assistance for them, decided to show our proposal to a different company and get them to undercut us.

    Many companies have no choice but to force NDAs on lots of aspects of proposals because of this.

    • by Mr. McGibby (41471) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:35PM (#26877583) Homepage Journal

      It is not your customer's responsibility to make your business model work. If you can't get business the way you're doing things, then don't do things that way.

      • by abigsmurf (919188)

        That's kind of my point. These NDAs are used because it can be impossible to stop customers trying to get other companies to undercut you and take advantage of the work you've already done.

        • I see that there is nothing wrong with trying to get a better deal.

          In western culture, we have become used to accepting the price tag as is. Now that we've become exposed to other cultures that question the price tag, we've woken up and realised that everything is (and should be) negotiable. If companies (small or large) have a problem with that, then that is their problem. In the same way that the RIAA need to update their business models, so do these companies.

          Western countries have become stupidly exp

    • by dltaylor (7510) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:43PM (#26877679)

      What pferdmerde!

      Getting yanked around on the front end is not what the discussion is about. NDAs during negotiation are meaningless, because the potential customer knows the quotes from all vendors, and can simply say "lower. no, lower", without specifying anything from the proposal.

      This is about telling everyone who will listen that "feature X, though documented, doesn't work; the company denies the problem and isn't fixing it. if it's important to you, don't buy this software.", or, "if you buy this software, the price quote doesn't include the 200% additional cost for \"consultants\" to get it to actually run.".

      • by abigsmurf (919188)

        Really? TFA talks about not being able to discuss contracts with third parties.

        There's a difference between A company drawing up their own different business plan and then haggling on the price to showing your business plan to them and getting them to provide the exact service you spent ages planning for a slightly lower price.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      you're using up a lot of other people's time and eventually they'll have next to no profit margin but can't give up the contract because so much time has been invested already. Whilst this is going on, the company has to take the focus away from looking for new contracts to work with them.

      This is called the sunk costs fallacy; if you're being jerked around by some customer, your best bet is to fire them and go look at other contracts. It's also handy to specialize a bit so your costs for the bid are spread across a number of clients.

    • So, basically, you need to pull such BS because you don't like the free market?

      Because that's really how it was supposed to work: many perfectly interchangeable products and vendors, perfectly informed customers, and they'll buy from whoever asks the least money for it.

      Yes, it drives profit margins down, but that's what it's supposed to do. And it's also the way to weed out the inefficient vendors. If company X can offer the exact same product for $500 less and still make a profit, while company Y would go

      • I think his point is that they could offer the service for $500 less, if they didn't have to recover the cost of drawing up specifications for the customer, which company X doesn't have to recoup owing to having the good fortune to have been asked second.

    • Customers will mess you around big time. They'll get you to spend a lot of time preparing an assessment and quote, get you to travel halfway around the country to have a 45 minute meeting with you which is fair enough. However they'll then take your proposal, show it to another company who spend some time figuring out how they'd provide a similar service and travel up for a meeting. The customer would then say "can you do this £500 cheaper?". If they say yes they go back to the first company to see if they'll go lower.

      You can argue this is just being sensible but in truth, you're using up a lot of other people's time and eventually they'll have next to no profit margin but can't give up the contract because so much time has been invested already.

      You're falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy -unless the additional time you put in results in a decent chance you'll get the work don't do it. What you've already expended is irrelevant to what you must do going forward to get the work. If the payoff isn't there then it makes no sense to keep investing time and money. We deal with that a lot; and simply cut our losses and move on if it appears the customer isn't serious or is trying to get us to drop our rates. If you let yourself get caught in a race

  • Gag orders (Score:5, Funny)

    by Captain Spam (66120) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:27PM (#26877443) Homepage

    Well, it IS a bit unusual for a company with which you have a vendor relationship to send YOU an order, but if your company makes the best in a variety of gags and other imprisonment equipment and they have a specific use for them, then there could be perfectly reasonable explanations as to why they might want to...

    What?

    That's not it?

    Oh.

    Doesn't matter. In fact, makes more sense, really, there's not much business in the gag industry. Might raise some eyebrows, especially with a company acting as a vendor to others. However, everybody needs a good laugh now and then, and if your company makes some decent gags and other tomfoolery to go around, then I can certainly...

    What NOW?

    It isn't?

    Are you serious?

    Well, that IS a bit shameful, then. I mean, your company's time and effort is very important, and it can't be stuck wasting both dealing with phony "gag" orders. In fact, there should be laws against it, though I get the feeling these are a bunch of punk kids trying to...

    Look, if you're going to keep interrupting me...

    What do you MEAN "wrong again"?!?

    *sigh* All right, fine, YOU make your own damn comments, all right?

    Honestly, can't figure out just what it is you people want from me...

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:36PM (#26877587) Homepage

    Of course, if you're locked into their software already and these are the new terms for the next version which you have to have because they are dropping support for your present one, well, you were a complete loon to lock yourself in to begin with.

  • by chrome (3506) <chrome@st u p e ndous.net> on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:42PM (#26877671) Homepage Journal

    Where I am, vendors dance to our tune. Maybe it's because we're huge, but compared to the US we're tiny, but none of our vendors try that crap on us.

    Jut the mere hint that we might think about going to a competitor, and they're scrabbling around on all fours, asking for forgiveness.

    Don't agree to it in your contract and they have nothing on you? *shrug*

  • Oh yes, and I laugh every time.
  • by Hordeking (1237940) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:52PM (#26877801)
    I guess anything that needs to get out will have to be anonymously leaked.
  • by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:53PM (#26877837) Journal

    Our ERP company is a crock of q14=&$^8 NO CARRIER

  • by PPH (736903)

    Its common in the utility business. Regulated utilities have little incentive to compete for customers in different service territories. So there's a natural tendency to share best practices, lessons learned, which products are crap and which are not among your peers. Because of this, vendors have maintained tight controls over contract terms involving NDAs as well as industry trade groups, where the customers might have a chance to make comparisons.

    One interesting aspect of the utility business is that, w

  • by Aurisor (932566) on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:32PM (#26878483) Homepage

    *struggles against the duct tape*

    URMMMM! HRMMMMM! NNNNNNNG!

    *rocks chair*

  • Well, ? (Score:3, Funny)

    by FeatherBoa (469218) on Monday February 16, 2009 @05:38PM (#26878589)

    Well I work for and we ! Frankly, otherwise. Furthermore , and I really don't see the problem.

  • Face it folks, we've entered dark waters. Being a consumer today has become a dangerous and wholly nasty affair. As a society we've become sheep, and allowed our service providers to hold us hostage and hijack our infrastructure to ensure that their imposed dominion receives little or no resistance. Worse we've raised a couple generations of fat stupid people who will gladly give up their rights as long as you give them a Whopper(tm) and American Idol at the properly programmed times periods. This is no sub

  • ...is don't talk about ERP.

  • Most companies will skirt the law if they can improve/protect their bottom line. I remember "stories" of a large OEM that manufactured PCs who had a super fast bus technology they had patented. A certain large OEM that produced CPUs requested the specs so they could make sure their CPUs were optimized for the new bus. months later the PC OEM discovered motherboards with their bus being sold by CPU OEM in the Asian market. PC OEM threatened to sue. CPU OEM said that if they sued then they could no longer sel

  • I vaguely remember about 10 years ago one of the anti-virus vendors included in their EULA that you can't say anything bad about their software without getting their approval first? I remember immediately dumping them for all software evaluations for any product.

    About 3 years ago I moved out of the software evaluation business, so I don't remember which one any more.

    Similarly, a long distance company tried to forcibly move me to their Long Distance service. Even going so far as to saying I had approved in o

  • Print a mini-contract on the back of the check used to pay the bills with said company.
    Essentially state that by cashing this check, the payee agrees to release the payer from any and all contractual gag-orders or other stipulations that would limit the payers ability to counter problems that payee's product / service / support may give.

    Then when an issue arises, wave the cashed check as the contract. It's as legal as the hodge podge the vendor tries to shove down the customers throat.

    Better yet, photocopy

  • What other questionable practices (and potential solutions) have others had to work with?

    As the customer, the solution is very simple:

    "If you want me to sign the contract you need to remove these terms..."

    As a consultant, we get that sometimes; and then we have to decide if we want the work or not.

    A contract negotiation is just that, a negotiation.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill

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