Finance

“We can’t actually do this”: Business owner furious as Oracle’s Bronto fails to deliver

Matthew Elmas /

Oracle

Taryn Williams, founder of online talent marketplace theright.fit. Source: Instagram.

Business owner Taryn Williams is filing ACCC and Fair Trading complaints against Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) multinational Oracle, claiming the company “promised her the world” but failed to deliver, despite continuing to charge her thousands of dollars in fees.

Williams, founder of online talent marketplace theright.fit, says she engaged Oracle’s digital marketing company Bronto earlier this year to deliver an end-to-end transactional marketing tool that could work across email and text message.

However, about four months after paying the initial onboarding fee and devoting “hundreds of hours” of development time to try and get the service to integrate with her business, the provider turned around and told Williams it was unable to deliver transactional SMS services.

“They came to us and said ‘we can’t actually do this’,” Williams tells SmartCompany.

Williams says the company was unable to confirm they were able to send text messages longer than 160 characters in the correct order, saying internal testing had shown messages being sent in two parts, with five minutes between them.

Williams says she signed the dotted line on a deal with the company, involving monthly charges, after being told repeatedly by the company they would be able to deliver the service.

Frustrated, the entrepreneur took to LinkedIn to detail her experience in a series of posts that have garnered significant attention among those in the local e-commerce industry over the last week.

In an email sent to Williams by Bronto in late-June, the company admitted it was unable to provide her business with the product it required.

“I wish I had better news on all of this for you and understand the resource time that has already been invested,” the Bronto representative told Williams, saying they would look into a way to compensate her for lost dev time with additional services.

Bronto has continued to bill Williams, despite repeated requests to suspend and cancel her account in the wake of the company’s admission it is unable to provide the service. 

Williams is currently seeking a full refund to the tune of about $15,000.

However, she says attempts to contact the company to process her request have been unsuccessful on multiple occasions in recent weeks, with emails and calls made to the company by her lawyer going unanswered.

“I’ve tried twice to call our account manager and emailed them twice … no return call or email. Literally just ignoring our calls and emails? Crazy? Every single one of their competitors has called us directly to offer to help,” the business owner posted on LinkedIn last week.

As the posts have gained traction, several other business owners have come forward claiming to have had similar issues with Oracle in recent years.

“We are having exactly the same issue right now,” one e-commerce executive said.

Williams was able to speak to a senior manager at Bronto last week and was told it was “unfortunate” her complaint had become public.

More than a week later, Williams yesterday said she had still not heard back from the multinational about the status of her account, although she did receive another bill from them on Wednesday for more than $9,000.

Oracle’s Bronto declined to comment on Friday morning. 

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].

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