Friday, June 17, 2016

Bundurock & Dilana's DVD: A Horror Story

*Note: A review of this DVD should be forthcoming. Before I can get to that, this needed to be said.

The first rule of business is "the customer is always right". That isn't meant to be taken literally, but rather as an instruction that customers should be shown respect, because their money is what makes any business work. Without customers, there is no business. So even when they are wrong, or crazy, or demanding beyond reason, they must be humored enough to feel like staying with your business. Unfortunately, Bundurock either never got that memo, or they completely ignored it.

Pissing off your customers does not just reflect poorly on the business, it reflects poorly on the people running it.

When it was announced that Dilana was going to be filming a DVD, I was ecstatic. Since the likelihood of me ever being able to attend a show was remote, this would be my chance to be able to experience a concert. When it was announced it would be a crowd-funded effort, I was slightly less enthused. For every success story that has come from that avenue, there are also horror stories. I decided to hedge my bets and wait.

As the announced release date was approaching, I jumped in and made my purchase. The DVDs, we were told, would be shipped out at the beginning on November 2015. November arrived, and there was no word on shipments. Communication was sparse, and only when the month was nearly over was it announced that an 'unforeseen' delay in finalizing the product meant that shipping would commence in early December 2015. They would arrive in time for the holiday season.

Christmas came and went without a word. Over the course of the following five plus months, Bundurock has been an abject failure in every respect. First, they missed the deadline in getting the DVDs edited and produced. They appear to have lacked any experience in that area, so they did not actually know how long it would take to make the DVDs. The right thing to do would have been to announce from the start that they were new, and they could not make any guarantees, rather than promise us something they had to know they couldn't deliver.

Second, they are one of the most unresponsive businesses I have ever had to communicate with. Over the course of months, I have lost count of how many emails and messages I sent them, the vast majority of which were never replied to. I am a customer, whose money they had for more than six months by this point, and they didn't believe I deserved a response when I politely asked when I could expect my DVD to be shipped.

They made numerous promises that the DVDs were going to ship 'next week', and that we would be getting updates 'at the end of the week'. All of those were lies designed to placate us into throwing in the towel, as we did not receive any information until a large enough number of us badgered them into doing their jobs. Lie after lie piled up, as their reputation disintegrated.

Worst of all is the attitude taken. The implication was that they were so busy getting the DVDs done, printed, and ready for shipping that they didn't have the time to give us updates. Aside from the fact that posting an update on a Facebook page takes all of five minutes, they gave us the finger each and every day, when their page was filled with stories they had been reading and decided to share. They had time to make sure I saw they liked a story about some petty garbage, but they didn't have time to talk to someone who had given them money. They were bordering on being intentionally disgraceful.

Even as the DVDs began shipping, they could not resist insulting us. Pictures were posted of the lucky packages on their way to the post office. But they either didn't have the resources or the good sense to send them all out at once. Instead, we had to sit and wait, watching as a slow trickle of DVDs made their way to other, luckier people, while the photographic evidence was posted, just to rub it in our faces even more. If it had been anyone other than Dilana I was waiting for, I would have demanded my money back.

I don't want to blame Dilana, because I understand the avenues for independent artists are difficult. However, the decision to utilize Bundurock to make and distribute her product has left a pronounced stain on her good name. Now, I will have to question the decision to buy any of her future albums, on the chance that these people could have a hand in the process. It only seems right to me that they never receive another dollar for their miserable service and pathological incompetence.

It didn't have to be like this. Problems happen, and I can understand that. But when someone actively ignores their customers, and refuses to take any responsibility for the equivalent of pissing on them, they don't deserve the respect that not publishing this piece would be. Simple communication could have tempered these ill-feelings, but they refused to do the right thing. They clearly had no idea how to do the job, and when that became clear to those of us unfortunate enough to have done business with them, there was no apology, there was no effort to make good on their failure. They continued to obfuscate, delay, and show the business ethics of a snake-oil salesman. They even went so far as to tell me my frustration and anger isn't warranted, and is a minor price to pay, because I'll have the DVD to enjoy for years to come. That is utter bullshit. They have stolen half a year of my life by making me chase them down and badger them into doing the job they promised. My anger is more than warranted.

I may finally have my DVD, but I can never truly enjoy it. Every time I put it on, I will remember the cesspool I had to crawl through to pry it out of their hands. They have ruined something that was supposed to bring me joy, and they have for the first time made me think less of Dilana.

That might be their greatest sin of all.

And of course, it arrived with the case shattered in three places. Because of course it did.

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