Excellent Customer Service

Now that I have had a couple of days to use my shiny new Dell XPS-13 (see Part-1 and Part-2), I realized that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS was taking a long time to shutdown. When the shutdown shutdown screen appeared, I hit the <Esc> key to watch the shutdown sequence. It was hanging on several shutdown tasks.

Lots of Googling determined this is a well know issue going back several Ubuntu releases. In one post, it was mentioned that the issue was caused by the Private Internet Access (PIA) client. It just so happens that Sopwith uses this great tool. I have had an account with them for about a year. When my Dell XPS-13 boots, PIA automatically connects to the nearest access location and gives me VPN privacy at all times. I use it on Mrs. Sopwith’s Windows box, and several of my Android phones. It just works.

I disabled the client, rebooted, and then shutdown the laptop. It shut down within a few seconds. Bingo – maybe the PIA client was not accepting the shutdown request.

Even though this problem was annoying – it was not a big deal to me. But just for the heck of it, I decided to submit a technical support issue to PIA so they were aware this might be an issue.

Here is the support ticket I submitted on their web site:

See this item: http://askubuntu.com/questions/760952/slow-shutdown-on-ubuntu-16-04-lts-stopping-thermal-daemon-running-fit-make-remo

( Go to bottom entry where someone identified PIA as the problem)

I have confirmed this a real issue since it is happening to me also.

1) If PIA is added to “Start Applications”, it works fantastic. At boot time it fires up and connects to my preferred VPN site. All is good. Never have to think about it.

2) On shutdown, however, it takes my Dell XPS-13 laptop about 90 seconds to two minutes to shutdown.

3) When I remove PIA from startup, and/or when PIA is not running – the machine shuts down immediately.

I am suspecting there is an easy fix for this but I cannot find it.


Within five minutes I received the expected ticket tracking Email:

Your request (42984) has been received and is being reviewed by our support staff.

To add additional comments, reply to this email.

What I did not expect is what happened next!

Within 30 minutes I received this Email:

Thank you for contacting support!

I have escalated this ticket to our Advanced Technical Support department so that we can better assist you.

We appreciate your patience in this matter.


<Name removed by Sopwith to protect the privacy of the tech>
Technical Support Specialist
Private Internet Access™

Ok – somebody looked at the ticket and routed it where it should go. Very good.

But what happened next, is completely over the top. About two hours later I get the below Email:

Hello there,

Thank you for contacting Private Internet Access support.

We are deeply sorry for the issue you are experiencing and will do our best possible to ensure that this issue is resolved as  soon as possible.

It seems the issue is caused by the chromium embed in the PIA tray app not being killed properly by systemd. I can reproduce the problem in my test VM and will report the problem to the development team, but in the meantime you can fix the issue by creating a systemd unit to force close the tray app for you on shutdown.

Put this in /etc/systemd/system/pia-fix.service (you can open a text editor with  sudo gedit /etc/systemd/system/pia-fix.service):

Description=Fix PIA’s manager slowing down shutdown

Execstop=/usr/sbin/pkill -f pia


Then enable it, and start it:
sudo systemctl enable pia-fix.service
sudo systemctl start pix-fix.service

After this, you should no longer have issues rebooting or shutting down your computer.

Please let us know if the above help.


<Name removed by Sopwith to protect the privacy of the tech>
Advanced Technical Support Specialist
Private Internet Access™

Ok – let me make sure I understand what just happened here. I took the time to submit a support ticket to PIA informing them of an annoying shutdown problem that I really did not care that much about. Within 3 hours, they had reproduced the problem, documented it, and sent me a workaround! Folks, we are talking Linux here. Are you kidding me?

I was so blown away by this, I spent the time to send them the below note thanking them for their incredible support service.

Hi friends,
Wow! I submitted this issue as an interesting “need to know,” and you are treating it as if I am unable to use PIA.  This is clearly not the case. It is apparent to me, that the reliability of PIA is a core issue within your organization. The fact that my obscure problem was tested and a fix provided to me within 12 hours is astounding to me. Especially on Linux.

I used Witopia for a couple of years and they drove me crazy with their cost and limitation to 2 devices. Plus, their arrogance was a big turn off for me. I dumped them and went with you guys.  Best move I ever made.

Keep up the great work. Please let your immediate bosses in the
trenches know that you are all on track and all is good. They are the ones that make all the magic happen. As for the execs,who cares as long as it works!

Quality matters!

Thanks to all of you that looked at this. You folks are on to something good here.


And I got this response:

Hello Sopwith,

We do appreciate your feedback and thanks for the compliment, we really appreciate it.

We have a commitment to our customers to always ensure that we do our best possible to resolved customer issues and provide high level of customer’s satisfaction.

If you require any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us any time; thanks for choosing Private Internet Access!


<Name removed by Sopwith to protect the privacy of the tech>
Advanced Technical Support Specialist
Private Internet Access™

The whole point of this long blog is this: Quality matters. In everything you do.

The quality of service I received here is so very rare these days. To provide this level of service takes guts because it is expensive, time-consuming, and requires every single employee to be committed to it. Clearly this level of service is in the DNA of PIA. Let this be an example of how to do it right.

Sopwith is a customer for life.


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