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Total silence from "Support"

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tchaik
 
Posts: 16

Total silence from "Support"

Post Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:43 am


Hello, everyone.

For *months* now, I have been trying to obtain clear and sensible information about pricing so that I can make the right decision about renewal. In the early days, I did get some kind of reply (including some explanation about problems with their communications) but it didn't make sufficient sense about pricing so I asked for further clarification. Despite *so* many attempts, I am simply ignored. The email addresses return errors about failed delivery, yet I then get an automated reply which shows that my emails are clearly getting through. Silence. Complete silence. So now, my account has been expired for so long that there is now a red flag saying my account will be deleted if I don't pay soon. I cannot afford to lose all the photos and, significantly, all the captions and further information I have added to my albums. But the pbase team just will not respond.

Is anyone else having this kind of problem? It seems a staggeringly inept way to run a business? There's no number to ring from the UK, no social media presence... if they choose to ignore you, there's nothing you can do. To not want a loyal, very long-term customer's money seems perverse.

Thanks for reading,

tchaik.

richo
 
Posts: 158

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:25 pm


tchaik wrote:Hello, everyone.

For *months* now, I have been trying to obtain clear and sensible information about pricing so that I can make the right decision about renewal. In the early days, I did get some kind of reply (including some explanation about problems with their communications) but it didn't make sufficient sense about pricing so I asked for further clarification. Despite *so* many attempts, I am simply ignored. The email addresses return errors about failed delivery, yet I then get an automated reply which shows that my emails are clearly getting through. Silence. Complete silence. So now, my account has been expired for so long that there is now a red flag saying my account will be deleted if I don't pay soon. I cannot afford to lose all the photos and, significantly, all the captions and further information I have added to my albums. But the pbase team just will not respond.

Is anyone else having this kind of problem? It seems a staggeringly inept way to run a business? There's no number to ring from the UK, no social media presence... if they choose to ignore you, there's nothing you can do. To not want a loyal, very long-term customer's money seems perverse.

Thanks for reading,

tchaik.


Pricing information: http://www.pbase.com/pricing.html
Are you using the support@pbase.com email? I do not think the help@pbase.com is working or monitored.

I recently renewed and it went through without a hitch.

tchaik
 
Posts: 16

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:50 am


Hi, richo - thank-you very much. It was that pricing information I was emailing them about, because I requested clarification about an apparent change since I last renewed (when I bought what turned out to be several years' worth of storage all at once, because of their "credits" system). The pricing information now talks about a yearly cost for a specified volume of storage, but elsewhere on the site and in the forums there is still mention of the credits. What I have been asking is, if my photos take up less space than the annual volume I'm paying for (which they do), will my payment last longer than a year until my credits run out (as used to be the case), or is the annual payment now due annually regardless of what little space the photos consume? It isn't clear from what I've been able to find, and they won't answer it :(

I've tried the addresses help@, support@ and emily@. The latter is simply ignored. The other two return errors reporting failed delivery, but are accompanied by auto-responses saying my emails have been received and are being looked at by the team, who will get back to me as soon as possible. But they don't.

akmc_in_au
 
Posts: 872

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:21 am


tchaik wrote:Hi, richo - thank-you very much. It was that pricing information I was emailing them about, because I requested clarification about an apparent change since I last renewed (when I bought what turned out to be several years' worth of storage all at once, because of their "credits" system). The pricing information now talks about a yearly cost for a specified volume of storage, but elsewhere on the site and in the forums there is still mention of the credits. What I have been asking is, if my photos take up less space than the annual volume I'm paying for (which they do), will my payment last longer than a year until my credits run out (as used to be the case), or is the annual payment now due annually regardless of what little space the photos consume? It isn't clear from what I've been able to find, and they won't answer it :(


It's always been charged in blocks of usage per month; you can consider the charge for one block to be one credit.

The size of the blocks have varied over time, but it's always been that way. (It has "varied" as in, it has increased; it was about 650 meg when I joined from memory, now it's 2 gig.)

12 blocks cost $US23. That hasn't changed in all the time I've been here. A credit is therefore worth $23/12, or about $1.92, though few people think of it that way since I'll bet that the majority of members are paying for one block only.

So, if your average consumption for a month is less than 2000 megabytes, you will be charged one credit. It doesn't matter whether you have one photo in your galleries or 1000 photos in your galleries, if it's under 2000 meg, you are charged one credit.

If a member's average consumption is anywhere between 2001 and 4000 meg, they will be charged 2 credits for that month. If it's between 4001 and 6000 meg, they will be charged 3 credits. If it's above 6000 meg, they need to learn to reduce the size of their posted photos, cull better, or get a life outside of photography. Possibly all three.

But it will be three credits, and so on it goes.

The amount of credits charged each month does not vary based on the actual amount of photos you have within a single block of storage. It only changes if you use MORE blocks by going from under 2000 meg to between 2000 to 4000 meg.

If you stay under 2000 Meg, then $23 will be enough to buy you credits for 12 months. If you move up to over 2000 meg, you would need to pay $46 for 12 months. And so on up the line.

In short, no, your storage won't last longer if your photos occupy less space. You are paying for having up to 2000 megs of storage in any given month. How much or how little of that is used is up to the photographer.

tchaik
 
Posts: 16

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:21 am


Hi, and thank-you so much for taking the time and trouble to post all that - really appreciated.

Something *has* changed, because they used to calculate based on what you're actually using rather than what you could potentially use. Thus, when I paid for what appeared to be three years' worth, it in fact lasted me 60 months. So it's six years (because I've been trying to get answers for most of the last year!) since I even needed to look at the pricing structure, found that all the information about the complicated way they did things had disappeared, replaced with simper information in one place but an echo of the old way in others. Hence the confusion.

This revised way is certainly simpler although not such excellent value for money (just by comparison, I mean - in absolute terms it's not going to break the bank, is it?). But presumably it means you can renew only one year at a time? If I try to pay now for 3 years in advance (for example), it will give me more space instead of more years?

dw_thomas
 
Posts: 424

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:11 pm


I honestly don't think the basic accounting has changed, just that the maximum size of a "block" of data has increased. In my history here (since mid-2004) I seem to have been always nibbling at the edge of the subscribed block size, which as I recall was 200 MB when I first signed up. They always charged for any part of the next block size. A few years back the chunks were 1 GB and I was about to run over that, so I bought two blocks for the year. That showed as 24 months to go and counted down by one each month until I actually hit the 1 GB, after which it started dropping 2 at a time. Somewhere along the way more recently, my status started showing as 20-something months and I learned the "blocks" had been increased to two GB. I'm near that boundary, but not over, so months later I still show "15 months of service."

I admit it's all sort of frustrating and depressing, as the resources offered, especially the degree of customization and amazingly flexible gallery hierarchy seems unavailable elsewhere (unless I do my own), but the place operates like a hobby run amok -- which I think it is! Especially the lack of communication is discouraging.

Myself, I read the occasional whining about failing to make it a social networking extravaganza as almost frightening, as I see that as the last thing we need. Complaints about interfacing with mobile devices are more legitimate, but don't really bother me much as my phone is just too small to seriously view photos, and my iPad has as much resolution as my desktop, so the conventional browser is sufficient. (I think though there is, or has been, a problem with uploads from iOS devices. I generally don't upload to PBase on the road.)

DaveT

smith_xt
 
Posts: 144

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:53 am


I haven't paid on my account in nearly two years and still have full access to all the account features. Even IF the owners read this and lock the account I could care less! PBase has been a sinking ship for years!!!

akmc_in_au
 
Posts: 872

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:11 am


dw_thomas wrote:I honestly don't think the basic accounting has changed, just that the maximum size of a "block" of data has increased.


Agreed. This is a potted history of PBase prices, as best I can gather it from the News forum.

April 2006 and earlier (or as early as I'm prepared to search) - 300 Meg.
May 1 2006 - It increased to 400 Meg as per viewtopic.php?f=5&t=21416#p124544
Some time in early 2007 - It increased to 500 Meg, though this was not announced in the forums ( viewtopic.php?f=5&t=28385#p170365 ) I seem to remember that a banner about it appeared on my home page at the time, but I may be misremembering.
Some time between 2007 and 2011 it became 800 Meg as we can see from this announcement on 2 July 2011, which advised that it had increased to 1000 Meg: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=45609#p327121
(I could have sworn that when I joined in June 2007 it was 650 meg, but again I could be wrong.)
Then on 24 July 2017 it went to 2000 meg.

If anyone goes to their home page, there should be a line which reads "Time Left". On the right of that is a question mark icon.

In my case, if I click on the link, it takes me to a full account history dating right back to the time I joined. Every payment added 12 credits. And every month, within the first 3 days of the month, one of those credits would be deducted. It didn't matter how little I had in my galleries; one month meant one credit. So for July 2007, when I had a whopping 6 Meg in use... one credit was deducted on 1 August. I'm not sure what the cost per block was then, but as we can see from the above, it was somewhere north of 400 meg.

One year later, for July 2008 I had 47 Meg, for which I was charged... one credit.

Fast forward to July 2012 when I had 463 Meg - one credit. By that time the blocks were worth 1000 Meg.

No matter how large or small the proportion of a storage block is... as long as it's under whatever the storage block size is, it's one credit, month in and month out like clockwork.

dw_thomas wrote:Myself, I read the occasional whining about failing to make it a social networking extravaganza as almost frightening, as I see that as the last thing we need.


Agreed, we don't need another Facebook. Personally, I see no need for the one we have but that's a different conversation.

dw_thomas wrote:Complaints about interfacing with mobile devices are more legitimate, but don't really bother me much as my phone is just too small to seriously view photos, and my iPad has as much resolution as my desktop, so the conventional browser is sufficient.


I'm not fussed about mobile as such - I don't believe that ANY phone can really do justice to an exceptional photograph - though the failure to keep up with new interfaces like touch are a disappointment. My biggest disappointment is with the default image size still being 800 pixels. It was adequate when it was invented, back when 1024*768 was a big monitor, but with today's monitors it turns them into a postage stamp. Sure, you can post larger, but a casual visitor to the site will still see the shrunken down (and not very WELL shrunken down) "Large" size. Similarly with the slideshow option; you get the 800px "Large" size, and that's it... and no option of having captions.

I don't want big, radical changes at PBase either... but it would be nice if its core functionality would at least keep up with the times.

amoxtli
 
Posts: 2776
Location: San Diego, California

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:08 pm


With regard to Total silence from "Support" which started this thread, the weekly Competition on the Show & Tell Forum has been stuck since June 5. Several of us have written to support starting June 7, but no one has received an answer yet.

You can read it here: http://forum.pbase.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48535&sid=6c6d516eff3633c55f076c05833962d1
Walter Otto Koenig Architectural Photography: http://www.wokoenig.net

General Photography: http://www.wokoenig.com

Pacific Photographic Society: http://www.pacificphoto.net

tchaik
 
Posts: 16

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:45 am


Thank-you very much for further replies.

I've been a member since 2008, so perhaps what I recall changing was the increase in "block" size and the adjustment caused my payment to last a lot longer.

It still leaves me perplexed about payment. I want to pay for several years (like I did before) and forget about it. But if I pay more than $23 now, am I not just paying for space I'm not using and will still have to pay again in 12 months' time?

akmc_in_au
 
Posts: 872

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:06 am


tchaik wrote:Thank-you very much for further replies.

I've been a member since 2008, so perhaps what I recall changing was the increase in "block" size and the adjustment caused my payment to last a lot longer.

It still leaves me perplexed about payment. I want to pay for several years (like I did before) and forget about it. But if I pay more than $23 now, am I not just paying for space I'm not using and will still have to pay again in 12 months' time?


Nope.

One credit buys you 2000 Meg of space for a month. That's it; that's all there is to it. Use all of it, use none of it, it's up to you. But one credit is 2000 meg of space, for one month.

$23 buys you 12 credits.

If you pay $46, for example, you're buying 24 credits.

If you are below the 2000 Meg threshold, you'll still be charged 1 credit per month. The payment will therefore last 2 years.

If you pay $69, it'll last 3 years. If you pay $92, you're more confident of PBase being here in 4 years than I am but if it is, the payment will last 4 years. It will only last less than that if you go over the threshold.

tchaik
 
Posts: 16

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:12 am


Thank-you - that is exactly what my understanding has been all along. EXACTLY that. But it isn't what the "pricing structure" part of the website says, I feel. That says, "US$23 yearly for 2000 MB of photo storage." and so on. That was why I contacted (or tried to) them in the first place, because if they are going to take people's money they should be clear? If they said it as clearly as you just have, there would be no problem at all.

mcampbell
 
Posts: 1

Re: Total silence from "Support"

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:11 pm


I have been trying the same three support email addresses for a month, including emily@, and have gotten 2 error messages and many no replies. I need to discuss something with an actual person. If anyone knows how to contact a person at pbase, please post!

Thanks,
Mary Ann Campbell


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