Houston-based Salesforce.com customer manufacturer Bray International is suing Salesforce.com after an upgrade to a Premier Support licence allegedly “proved unworkable”.
The claim alleges that Salesforce has failed to respond to support queries within the agreed time, has not adequately provided worldwide support due to use of dialects different to those of the customer and that it failed to provide 6-monthly health checks. Bray alleges that each of these is a breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and as a result Bray should be entitled to a refund and compensation. Without Salesforce's defence, we have only heard one side of the story and, until a judge rules, it's not appropriate to comment in detail.
In general, the key in any claim is for a customer to show that, as a result of the alleged breaches, it has suffered loss and therefore the supplier should compensate it. Breach of contract / SLA is a common ground for complaint. Also, BSkyB recently brought a successful claim in the UK against EDS for a number of grounds including fraudulent misrepresentation.
Customers and suppliers may have different views and each will argue as to what was promised, what this means in practice and whether or not those promises were fulfilled. Obviously, response and resolution times are different and it should be relatively straightforward to identify what was promised and whether it was fulfilled. A claim based on a different dialect is not as straightforward and will depend upon whether the cover was appropriate in the circumstances and whether the problem was adequately resolved.