Never ever do business with SISO

Back in October 2010 I was very glad to receive a mail from the people behind the Samsung Dolfin browser, who turned out to work from Bangalore, India, asking for my cooperation in making it better and even offering to pay me for it. Unfortunately, by now it turns out that they’re a bunch of fucking assholes who don’t do as they promise. This is to serve as a warning to others NEVER to do business with them.

It should be noted that the engineers are perfectly all-right and reasonable and can easily be talked to. It’s the fucking bureaucratic assholes in "HR" that are the enemy who’ve fucked up my life in the last year or so.

Update: This post helped. I received my money, while I was convinced I'd never get it. So that's arranged now, and my dealings with SISO are at an end.

As I said, I received the initial mail in October 2010, and by the end of December we both had decided to continue with the job. They asked me to fill out some paperwork, and I did so in early January 2011.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I sent a mail in February asking how we should continue, especially because I had a lot of free time then and wouldn’t mind a job. I repeated this in March, and finally one of the engineers came back to me from his private mail address, saying he’d never seen such a bureaucratic fuck-up in his life (and for an Indian that’s quite something).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, at the end of August 2011 I was asked to start my work on October 1st, exactly the date I already told them I wasn’t going to be available any more. Of course this demand came from the HR fucker. An engineer intervened, and we were able to set a sensible deadline.

I received a secret prototype (and had to pay about €50 in taxes, which later turned out SISO wasn’t going to reimburse), did my research, and discovered some bugs. As far as I know the engineers liked my work and it helped them to make Samsung Dolfin a better browser. So far so not too bad.

Then came the invoicing process. Before, I had already been warned that I’d have to pay 20% Indian tax, unless I got a PAN card, whatever that is, in which case the tax would be cut to 10%. I tried to phone the Indian embassy here in Holland about getting a PAN card, but it exclusively consisted of bureaucratic assholes, so I decided to give up, especially when my tax consultant let me know I could deduct the Indian tax from my Dutch taxes.

But this wasn’t enough, of course. More forms had to be filled out. I admit I took a break of a month here because I was just sick of the entire process. But in January 2012, two months after finishing the job and thirteen months after initial contact, I took it up again and asked some questions about the forms. I also sent test forms by mail with the request to look at them and tell me if anything was wrong with them.

This went on for three fucking months.

The last question was about a banking number I forget the name of, but that’s only used in the US. I suggested we’d use the international IBAN standard instead, but unfortunately their financial specialist was out traveling, probably to fuck other software engineers, and they couldn’t answer it. And couldn’t answer it. And couldn’t answer it.

And then, to top it off, early this week they sent me YET ANOTHER FUCKING FORM that I don’t understand and that needs all kinds of authorized autographs plus a detailed knowledge of the Indian-Dutch tax treaty.

Today, I decided to give up. I sent a mail to all my SISO contacts that made liberal use of the word “fuck” in a business context, and decided to forget about ever getting my money. It’s just not worth the trouble.

Anyway, this is a warning. Never EVER work for SISO. You won’t get your money. Spread the word.

Update: there's a quite interesting thread on Hacker News where several Indians reacted to this article, and they all, without exception, acknowledged I'm likely to be right. HR is code for "fucking disaster" over there, and I pity the poor folks who have to deal with this kind of fuckery on a daily basis. Fortunately I don't have to; I've meanwhile decided not to do business with any Indian company any more.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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