If corporations really were people, ExamSoft would have to go into hiding right now. Did you see how every New Yorker suddenly had a farm implement or a rifle to deal with Sharknado 2: The Second One last night? That’s what would happen if Mr. ExamSoft was spotted strolling past a group of bar exam takers.
But ExamSoft isn’t a person, it’s a corporation, a corporation that royally screwed up. YOU HAD ONE JOB, ExamSoft, and you didn’t get it done. In America, you are supposed to be able to get your money back when a business screws up this badly. Kids paid between $100 and $150 for software that not only didn’t work but almost ruined their lives. Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t going to cut it.
Unfortunately, “I’m sorry” seems to be the only thing ExamSoft is willing to do at the moment…
We’ve heard from a number of our readers who have emailed ExamSoft to ask for their money back. The company’s responses have, thus far, been unacceptable. Here’s what a support person told one affected student in the South:
Yeah, but when paying and registering for SofTest, ExamSoft SAID THE S**T WOULD WORK!
You can see what ExamSoft is doing here: acting like the failure to satisfy its entire raison d’être was an “inconvenience.” But there were deadlines for the exams to be uploaded and ExamSoft caused people to miss those deadlines, resulting in new, ad hoc deadlines made between ExamSoft and state bar examiners that were entirely beyond the scope of what was contemplated by those who bought the software. That’s not an inconvenience, that’s a failure. EXAMSOFT FAILED, just as surely as you would have failed had you just decided to hand in your test twelve hours after the proctor said “pencils down.”
Here’s another sorry-we’re-not-sorry email a Midwestern tipster received from ExamSoft:
Thank you so much for your patience and we are very sorry for the difficulty you were experiencing Tuesday night when trying to upload your answer files. At this time we are do not plan on administering any refunds, for we have a very strict no refund policy. We understand this is a very stressful time at which we can assure you that this delay in uploading your answer files did not impact the answer file content.
By the way, the fact that this letter is slightly different from the other one actually shows how clueless and unprepared ExamSoft is for this whole mess. They don’t even have a form letter yet. Instead, some person probably just sent out a panicked email blast to all the front-line support staff that read: “Whatever you do, do not offer refunds. KEEP THE MONEY at all costs!”
We reached out to ExamSoft to ask specifically about its refund policy, but the company has not responded to our inquiry.
If you haven’t taken the bar exam, it’s possible that you do not fully appreciate the depths of ExamSoft’s failure. Here’s how our Midwestern tipster put it:
Students paid $100 for this horrible software, and as result, we got heartache, stress, anxiety, and pain… It was an absolute nightmare. Instead of detoxing and preparing for the MBE the following day, I was up until 1:00 a.m. trying and praying for my exam to go through. When I finally did get to bed, I barely got 2 hours rest because I had to be up at 5:00 a.m. to start day two of the bar. Examsoft hasn’t even published an apology. Each student paid $100 for this nonsense, and I’m sure they made a handsome profit. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting.
That’s the thing, ExamSoft can argue that “nothing is f**ked here” because the exams did begin to upload in the early morning hours. But the disaster cost people rest, relaxation, closure, and focus on day 2 of the freaking bar exam. If you don’t think that kind of stuff is important… try freaking out till 2:00 a.m. and then wake up and take the Multistate Bar Exam.
And what about the people taking the exam today, day 3 in some states, and another essay day? If ExamSoft screwed you the first time, are you really psyched to even be using the software today? You know, the software that you paid $100 bucks for and practiced on because they said it would make your life easier, but now you had to spend last night Googling “what color pen can I use on the bar exam” because you just don’t trust it anymore.
When people couldn’t upload their bar exams by the state-approved deadlines to do so, the ExamSoft software became useless. That they were able to upload after midnight is irrelevant; that it may (or may not) work today is irrelevant. The software failed to do what it said it would do in a timely manner.
Whatever else happens — and I think “whatever else” involves EVERYBODY who failed in an ExamSoft state getting class-action status and trying to sue the company — the very bare minimum ExamSoft can do involves giving people refunds.
Here’s a tip for the ExamSoft people they would have known if they went to law school: boilerplate language involving the unavailability of refunds DOES NOT HELP YOU when your product fails so spectacularly.
Here ExamSoft, I’ll make it easy for you guys. We’ll probably write another widely read ExamSoft post next week. YOU choose the headline:
“ExamSoft Apologizes, Refunds Affected Students”
“ExamSoft Digs In Heels, Talk Of Lawsuits Gains Momentum”
Your call, guys.