It took over 4,000 entries and almost four years, but it finally happened: my blog has finally gotten me into trouble. I’m finally a player!
Yesterday morning, as I was working at my desk, I got a phone call:
Female voice with Eastern European accent: Hello, I have some questions about your web site.
Me: Go ahead…
FV: How do you create your website?
Me: With Blogware, our weblogging software. Is there anything in particular you’d like to know?
FV: And how are comments added to the website? Do they email you, and then you add them?
Me: No, that’s handled automatically by Blogware. Every article has a link that you can click on to add a comment. You type it in, click a button, and it’s there.
FV: And if there were a comment you wanted to delete, could anyone do that?
Me: No, only the owner and people the owner sets up as administrators can do that.
At this point, it was beginning to dawn on me that the person on the other end of the line wasn’t a customer. What was going on?
FV: I am asking because I would like a comment removed. Someone left a comment that is not true.
Me: Not true? Which one?
FV: The one in the thing about movers. Someone left a comment about our company that is not true. They said we did things, but they signed a paper clearing us. If you do not remove this comment, we will send our lawyers after you.
I sighed. I needed to get a lot of work done, and dealing with non-work headaches, especially the threat of legal action, was the last thing I needed.
I decided the best thing to do for the time being would be to copy the comment, take it down and evaluate the situation when I had more time. I pointed my browser at the Blogware control panel, found the article and called up its comment-editing page.
Me: So which comment is it?
FV: The one about Quick Boys.
For the record, here’s the comment:
Re: Anyone Know any Good Toronto Movers?
by Anonymous on 2005.06.27 02:00PM EDT | IP: 188.8.131.52
No good ones to recommend but two to avoid at all costs:
Moveworks: Hired them in 2001 to move between two units in the same building. They showed up 3 hours late, failed to bring wardrobe boxes, and sent two 16 year old kids with one of their girlfriends. They moved about four things into the service elevator and then took off, leaving two moving dollies behind and me to do the entire move without assistance. Thank god for friends.
Quick Boys Moving & Storage: Avoid like the plague. Hired in April to move my girlfriend into our place. They took seven hours to load a one bedroom apartment into the truck and drive about ten minutes (they were, of course, being paid hourly). Held her stuff hostage at this end until we paid for the full move. Damaged a substantial percentage of the furniture with scratches, etc. “Forgot” to unload two boxes of crystalware and took three weeks to deliver it to us. The movers were surly, unpleasant, and stank of body odour.
Good luck! A lot of the companies out there really exist to rip you off so be careful. I’ve heard good things about El Cheapo and Two Small Guys With Big Hearts but have never used either. If I ever hire movers again, I’ll just swallow my cost-saving needs and go with the big guys.
It was written by my friend Jay Goldman. I’ve known Jay for about three years and I’ve worked with him on a couple of occasions. He’s always dealt straight with me.
Me: And you say that this comment is not true?
FV: It is a lie. Let me put my boss on the line.
Gruff Male Voice with Eastern European Accent: Remove that comment. That’s all I’m going to say. (click)
Niiiiice. A real sweetheart, that one. There was a bit of an edge to the “That’s all I’m going to say” bit.
FV: So if you could remove that comment, it would be appreciated. I will check to confirm that they have been deleted.
And with that, she hung up.
I noticed that someone had recently added a new comment about Quick Boys. Here it is:
Re: Anyone Know any Good Toronto Movers?
by Anonymous on 2005.07.28 10:45AM EDT | IP: 184.108.40.206
I have used Quick Boys Movnig Storage i think they were the best and they have moved couple of my friends as well and they were all
happy. I belive no one is perfect even big van line make mistakes as well.
I think whats up there is not true. I highly recomend Quick Boys Moving storage.
Thank you Julian.m
In light of the phone call, the time when the comment was posted and its English-as-a-second-language wording, this comment seemed very suspicious, almost as if it were planted by a shill.
I Googled, using “Quick Boys” and “movers” as search terms. It turns out that the blog entry was the number 2 result. So that’s why they were unhappy.
I saved copies of both Quick Boys-related comments to deal with them later and then deleted them.
Five minutes later, she called back.
Female Voice: I am looking at your site and I see that the comments have not been deleted. I am going to talk to your employer.
Me: Have you reloaded the web page?
Me: On the toolbar of your browser, there should be a picture of a piece of paper with arrows going in circles. That’s the “refresh” button. Click it, and you’ll reload the page.
FV: Ah. I see. Good.
Me: Now wait a minute. I’m only doing this because I don’t have time to deal with you idiots right now. When I get a moment, I’m going to look into this. Now if your complaint is legitimate, I’ll gladly do as you ask, because I’m not into smearing people. But the way you’re acting, that’s just plain thuggery. This is a personal web site; my employer has nothing to do with this. The person who made the comment is voicing his opinion and he’s not the sort to lie.
FV: But he signed a contract saying he was satisfied.
Me: And if he did, there won’t be a problem. But if he wasn’t satisfied, his comment is going back up. You can’t go pushing people around like this. Do I make myself clear?
FV: I understand.
I gave Jay a ring. He was in a meeting, so I simply left a message. He called me back later that afternoon:
Jay: Hey, Joey, I hear Quick Boys is on your case.
Me: Heh. Yeah. So, what happened?
Jay: Pretty much what I wrote — my girlfriend was moving in and hired them. They arrived over an hour late and in the end took a grand total of nine hours to move a single bedroom a short distance. When they got to my place, they refused to unload the truck until she paid up and signed the contract.
They took so long that they had to run somewhere else and left a lot of her stuff on the ground floor of the building; we had to take it up ourselves. Plus, they damaged some of her furniture and held onto some her stuff until we complained. They say that she signed something that clears them of any responsibility. I asked them for a copy of this document, and after stalling, said they’d mail it to me. I never received it. It’s worthless anyway; I talked to my lawyer and he said that a contract signed under duress like that isn’t valid.
Jay: Hey, sorry to cause you all this trouble. You can take down the comments —
Me: No. I trust you, and they way they’ve treated me, I can’t say I trust these guys. Those comments are going back up. For me to take them down…
Jay: …would be pretty bad.
Me: That’s right. In fact, I’m going to post a whole damned blog entry about it.
As I mentioned before, I know Jay, and based on his actions and my dealing with him, trust him. On the other hand, my (admittedly and thankfully) brief experience with Quick Boys has been filled with subterfuge and threats. Thus far, I have no reason to trust them.
The worst thing I can do as a high-profile Toronto blogger, an employee of a company that makes blogging software and a card-carrying member of the EFF is to back down in the face of idle threats like those made by the people at Quick Boys. When someone kowtows to bullying like this, we all lose.
If any representative of Quick Boys wishes to respond to this, they can do so in the comments or give me a ring at the office. I believe they know the number.