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Iomega addresses click of death

The storage firm is trolling newsgroups and Web bulletin boards to inform users of the company's service and technical support options.

In response to customer complaints about the company's removable storage drives, Iomega (IOM) is trolling newsgroups and Web site bulletin boards to inform users of the company's customer service and technical support options.

An unsolicited letter bears the subject heading "Click Death Posting Response" and reads, in part, "We are concerned about the problem that you are having with your Zip Drive....We are always alert to constructive criticism, for we appreciate the enviable reputation that our brand names enjoy in the market place. Our goal is to delight our customers every time they touch Iomega. Please give us the chance to 'delight' you."

Iomega spokesman Tyler Thatcher said the company's executive response team had been responding in this manner to newsgroup postings and other public complaints for several months.

"We make a proactive effort," he said. "Iomega routinely browses a variety of sources for input on customer issues." Those sources include Web sites, trade shows, and customer correspondence, according to Thatcher.

Iomega's Zip and Jaz drives have been the subject of voluminous user complaints in several newsgroups, including "alt.iomega.zip.jazz" and "comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.misc," as well as on Web sites, such as the "Click of Death" Message Board on The Unofficial Iomega Page, The Unofficial Iomega Click Death Home Page, and special areas in online publications such as MacInTouch.

The Iomega email informs users of the company's toll-free customer service line, 888/446-6342. That call is toll-free, but it may route calls to technical support, which costs at least $14.95. However, if a user's product is found to be defective, that charge is waived.

The response to the Iomega email has been "generally positive," according to Thatcher.

Iomega users who spoke to CNET's NEWS.COM had mixed reactions. "This is good news for Iomega fans," said one user. But another characterized the form email as a "pretty typical corporate response," which does not specifically address the problems the user had complained about in his posting.

In related news, Iomega said it is close to settling a class action lawsuit brought against it last July on behalf of users who claimed that their $50 Zip drive rebates were not honored in a timely fashion.