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Review of LC Networks [Sep. 14th, 2018|11:00 pm]
onigame
This is a review of LC Networks that I plan to post on Yelp after I reduce the number of characters. The full version is here for those who want to read the whole story.

In short: If you have a simple project or you don't care how much money you're spending, LC Networks *might* do a good job. If you have something more complex, don't be surprised if this company becomes rude, condescending and insulting while wasting your time.

The long story:
I contacted LC Networks in mid-July 2018, hoping that they could provide a networking solution. The project is unorthodox: I wanted to connect two residential buildings under one network and have security cameras installed in both, but there were several tricky situational infrastructure to work around. My personal assistant reached out to LC Networks and Sales Engineer Austin Le came out on July 24th. I described my project to Austin in great detail, which took more than an hour, and he seemed to understand and be confident that he could get me a design and quote.

3 days later I got an email from Austin apologizing for the delay in getting a proposal and he asked to allow him some more time.

I waited for 6 weeks.

I sent an email to Austin asking how the proposal was coming along. After no response for 4 days, I phoned the company. Eventually I talked with Scott Nguyen, Senior Sales Engineer. Scott claimed to own the company and refused to answer my questions on why Austin never responded to me.

Scott said that if I wanted to continue to work with them, he would have to come over and have me describe the project details all over again. I thought this was extremely unprofessional -- my time is valuable and I shouldn't have to describe the project details a second time because of internal issues with the company. Nevertheless, Scott insisted this was the only way and so I reluctantly made room in my schedule to meet with him.

The meeting with Scott was horrible. I started out by trying to explain exactly what I typed in the paragraph above, but Scott interrupted me. He said "If you are going to complain that I am wasting your time, then stop talking about Austin and the past because then you are now wasting both your time and my time. Forget about Austin, you are dealing with me now."

At this point I tried to calm down my emotions and start over explaining what my requirements were, what the existing infrastructure was. Scott was very pushy and seemed to expect me to know exactly what hardware I would need. I tried to explain that the nature of the project is that I don't have the expertise to know what I need, and I am trying to hire the company to provide that expertise. Scott's inability to communicate with me created such an emotional that I had a breakdown right there in my own home. After I calmed down, Scott and I agreed that a reasonable first step would be to do some analysis to see where signal strength could be boosted in my own home. Scott said he would get me a quote quickly.

That evening, I was glad to see that Scott was true to his word; he sent me a quote for doing a Wireless Site Survey on my 4000-square-foot house.

The price tag was $29,888.88.

A bit of research and asking friends revealed that a reasonable price for a WSS is anywhere between $100 and $3000. At least 3 of my friends joked that they would easily do a WSS for $15,000. I decided to give LC Networks the benefit of the doubt -- I sent an email asking if the price was really what was intended, and if so, I'd like to skip the WSS and go on to the next step without it.

Scott responded that they could not proceed without the WSS.

I told him that I was skeptical that a WSS would be needed to expand a network and install security cameras, but if that was so, I would be willing to find a separate contractor to do the WSS if that would be useful.

Scott responded that he could "do the quote with all new Wired Cameras and all new Wireless Access Points based on your info."

I responded "Yes, please proceed."

Scott responded that he would like to "pass out this opportunity due on lack info and we are so busy for other projects".

I think what's going on is this. They don't actually want my business. The project is probably too complicated for them to do easily and they have plenty of other simpler tasks to work on. But hey, maybe this guy is a Crazy Rich Asian who doesn't care about money, so let's try asking for 20 times a fair price. If he says yes, great, we've made an awesome profit. If he says no, then we've gotten rid of him.
Win-win.

Except that they've missed one thing. This Crazy Rich Asian isn't stupid. LC Networks, you had a very perfect 5-star average on Yelp. Until now. Hope it was worth jerking my chain around.
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Comments:
From: Daniel Egnor
2018-09-15 04:33 pm (UTC)
Did you post it?

That sounds like it must have been very upsetting, I'm sorry you went through that.

Giving a super high quote is a tried and true way of declining a contract. I don't know why that's considered more acceptable than just declining outright -- maybe that's considered more insulting than a high price, maybe they want to leave the door open in case someone really is paying crazy money -- but obviously it landed badly with you, and felt like it was insulting. I guess that's a danger of the "ridiculously high quote" approach...

Again, sorry for your struggle here. It's hard to engage contractors. It's a whole world, and it doesn't work the way we're used to from other contexts, and the communication is weird and the people come from a different place and have a different way of approaching problem solving. It can be super frustrating.
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[User Picture]From: onigame
2018-09-16 05:19 am (UTC)
I did post it (with a few modifications I noticed afterwards).

I think there are non-insulting ways they could have given a super high quote. Something like "we haven't done a project where a residential building needs a WSS, so we'll have to charge a premium in case something goes wrong", or even "our current manager isn't good at working with you, so we'd like to charge extra to handle upcoming emotional strife."

What made it insulting was that they were being dishonest and not forthcoming.
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