Once again Oracle provides a less than perfect service on the support front. Let’s take a look at my latest encounter.
20-JUN-2005 – I raised an iTAR because the CC and BCC lists of the UTL_MAIL.SEND procedure don’t work. Emails are sent properly for people listed in the RECIPIENTS list, but mail to CC and BCC lists never get sent. I also sent this example code:
UTL_MAIL.send(sender => 'firstname.lastname@example.org',
recipients => 'email@example.com',
cc => 'firstname.lastname@example.org',
bcc => 'email@example.com',
subject => 'UTL_MAIL Test',
message => 'If you get this message it worked!');
Assuming these were real email addresses person1 would receive a mail, while person2 and person3 would not. I was able to repeat this issue on Tru64 and Windows.
Within a couple of hours support requested an OWC (Oracle Web Conferencing) session to investigate further. Unfortunately I never received the email of the iTAR update so I didn’t reply.
13-JUL-2005 – The iTAR gets updated asking me for an OWC session again. This time I get an email so I respond saying I don’t think an OWC session is necessary as there is nothing to show. The sample code says it all. In this case the OWC session seemed like complete waste of both our time.
14-JUL-2005 – The iTAR is updated requesting an OWC session again. I say OK and connect. During the 10 minute conference (accompanied by a phone call) my only input was to show the sample code, which was already in the iTAR. First I’m told the issue can’t be progressed as I’m not on the latest patch, to which I reply that 10.1.0.3.0 is the latest patch for Tru64. After that the support guy searches and finds a generic bug listed as being fixed in 10.1.0.4.0. If this bug had been public I would have found it and not raised the iTAR in the first place.
The iTAR is now closed.
Now I realize that the majority of the time wasted here is down to me waiting for an email that never came, rather than checking the iTAR status directly. Obviously, if this had been an important issue for me I would not have let it drag on so long, but the whole process took nearly 4 weeks to inform me that my problem was an existing bug. I think that’s pretty shocking, especially since the bug was found using the information from the original iTAR, not the subsequent OWC session.
Conclusion – I assume the support people work to quotas. By replying to ask a followup question or request an OWC session they can tick a box to say they’ve responded. I’m sure the statistics relating to response times at Oracle support make very impressive reading, but I believe the truth is very different.
I don’t have a problem with the support people themselves. Some are great and some are not. I just think the support process sucks! We pay a ridiculous amount of money for what I can only describe as a crappy service. These days I raise iTARs in an attempt to improve the product/documentation, not because I expect to get an answer. I’m more likely to do that by visiting a free forum or searching on Google.
I suppose I should be grateful. At least you get an answer to DB support requests. That’s more than can be said for AS10g support requests! We close those out of boredom 🙂