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pink lily
05-08-2007, 03:47 AM
Earlier tonight I wrote a complaint letter to a fast food chain. I re-posted it on my local message board.
Arby's is Awful

I just finished writing a complaint letter to the Arby's company about the crappy service I received there tonight. I thought I'd share with my fellow Claytonites, because no one should drive 6 miles only to get a partial order of mediocre food.
Ticket #400
Order Number 451700

Tonight, my first visit to an Arby's since college in the late 1980s was at your Glassboro store. I was enticed by the TV commercials for the Pick 5 for $5.95 special. This Arby's is 6 miles from my house but I was in the area. I ordered 2 Arby Melts, 1 potato cakes, 1 curly fries, 1 cheese sticks. I waited well over 10 minutes to receive my order. I was the only customer in the drive-thru, and there were no other cars in the parking lot. After the long wait, I finally got my bag, and I drove the 6 miles home, only to learn that in all that time, despite both the manager and a regular employee handling my order, I did not get my curly fries.

I tried to call the phone number on the receipt, 856-582-0024, but that number is a fax line. So I came to the internet to file complaint (this all happened within the past 45 minutes).

I don't cook, I eat fast food all the time. I would have been a good customer if I'd gotten what I'd ordered, or had been able to talk to the store manager about the error on my order.

I'm a very friendly suburban mother who has a lot of local friends, I'll be sure to share my experience with as many people as possible. I wouldn't want my friends to sit in an empty drive-thru for 10 minutes only to get ripped off by staff that wasn't all that friendly and who obviously don't care about customer satisfaction.

By the way, your website has the store location misspelled. It's on DELSEA Drive, not "Delsey."

I will wait another 20 years before I go to an Arby's again. Incompetence is evident at every level.Don't go to Arby's!After I sent my message, Arby's sent me an automated reply, which I also reposted:
Aw, a tracking number, how cute.
Dear Arby's Guest,

We have received your Guest Feedback message and are directing it to the appropriate department. For follow-up purposes, your feedback tracking number is 198308.

Your feedback helps us improve the overall guest experience at our restaurants. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Sincerely,
Arby's Guest Feedback Team All 6 people on my town's message board will get a laugh, I hope.

I made myself LOL, and my husband, who was disappointed that 1) we didn't get curly fries and 2) we won't go back to Arby's, also laughed.

I've written some serious complaint letters in my day. It helps that I'm a veteran of the Letters to the Editor section of the newspaper. Also, I have many years experience as a fast-food clerk, a retail salesperson, and a retail manager, so I tend to expect quality in service, and I tend to complain if I don't get what I want. (Imagine, an atheist, complaining? That's not a stereotype at all.)

After I put Arby's in its place tonight, while I was admiring my handiwork, I wondered about the caliber of complaint letters from my fellow writers, and I decided to make this thread, hoping that some of you have some samples to share.

Has anyone at AW had an axe to grind lately? I'd love to see your rants, especially if you're griping about bad customer service.

I'll have to read WaiterRant.net (http://www.waiterrant.net/) to get my fix while I wait for replies to this thread.

Novelust
05-08-2007, 04:25 AM
A fellow Waiterrant fan! Ah, I love him (actually, I think he's been a little off his game since the whole book deal thing and job change went down, maybe more melancholy, I don't know - but the archives are amazing).

PattiTheWicked
05-08-2007, 04:26 AM
The Burger King around the corner from me has customer service so bad that everyone in town jokes about it. I've lived here for four years, and they have yet to get my order correct. There's always something missing or wrong. And it's not just drive thru, they fark it up inside too. I've stopped complaining, I just take my business elsewhere.

Oddly, every other restaurant along the same strip of suburban road has excellent people working in them.

dclary
05-08-2007, 04:45 AM
I have found that the quality of service is often directly related to the price of the meal. For instance, when I'm buying a truckload of 2-for-99 cent tacos at Jack in the Box, I don't expect those tacos to be serviced to me nearly as well as the $3.00-a-taco tacos I get at El Torito.

For that matter, that $20 a meal I end up forking over at El Torito is great, but I don't get the personalized customer worship that I get at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for $200.

Bartholomew
05-08-2007, 04:53 AM
I have found that the quality of service is often directly related to the price of the meal. For instance, when I'm buying a truckload of 2-for-99 cent tacos at Jack in the Box, I don't expect those tacos to be serviced to me nearly as well as the $3.00-a-taco tacos I get at El Torito.

For that matter, that $20 a meal I end up forking over at El Torito is great, but I don't get the personalized customer worship that I get at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for $200.

For a mere $1,000, I will make you a hotdog you'll never forget!

Uncarved
05-08-2007, 05:06 AM
for $2k I'll sell you Bart's hotdog.

:D

stormie
05-08-2007, 05:24 AM
A fellow Waiterrant fan! Ah, I love him (actually, I think he's been a little off his game since the whole book deal thing and job change went down, maybe more melancholy, I don't know - but the archives are amazing).
Great writer. I know he stopped being a waiter, but no book deal anymore? I enjoyed his blog.

Siddow
05-08-2007, 05:32 AM
I only go to one fast food restaurant, and they always treat me well. No complaints.

But I write scathing complaint letters. I was part of having an air conditioning repairman lose his license, got a Whirlpool repairman fired for trying to charge me (twice!) for a part that was covered under warranty, and got a $2000 check from my builder after he'd told me to F-off on the phone about my leakage problem. ("I ain't even got that business no more!" said he. "Warranty's run out!" I sent him a copy of his current business license from the Secretary of State, and also the sections of code that protected me.) The secret to a great complaint letter is to quote law codes.

astonwest
05-08-2007, 06:27 AM
I think it's an issue that's becoming more rampant as the days go on. In fact, I just blogged about customer service (http://astonwest.blogspot.com/2007/04/doing-great-dis-service.html) the other day.

I tend to like to verbally complain. Letters don't let me vent my frustration enough...

Bravo
05-08-2007, 06:49 AM
I don't cook, I eat fast food all the time.

that might be the problem.

Sohia Rose
05-08-2007, 07:01 AM
Hmmm, lets see.

I called the makers of Theraflu cough strips today and told them that I bought the dissolve strips because they were individually wrapped––despite the fact that I'm a longstanding, loyal customer to Robitussin––and convenient. But I had to borrow a hacksaw to get the thing open. :rolleyes: (That's exactly what I said).

I've also called several other retailers and product manufacturers within the past few months. If no one complains, how will they know? :Shrug: In all fairness, I have called companies to praise their products.

RLB
05-08-2007, 07:03 AM
How have I never heard of waiterrant?!

I have waited tables off and on for several years; this guy's just what I've been looking for!

Just yesterday, I had a special table at my restaurant (upscale casual dining- entree prices $12-$28.50). I introduced myself and told them about our fresh catch of the day- Mahi mahi- which they ordered. They loved it.

Then they got their bill and hit the roof that the fish was $19.50.

The woman looked at me and said "Young lady, when you say special, it's supposed to mean cheap!"

I politely pointed out that the word "special" had never left my lips and that I had told her the "fresh catch of the day" (which when I go out to eat always signals "expensive" to me). At no time did I insinuate we were having a bargain-basement sale on fish!

Obviously, it is more than ok to inquire about the price ahead of time (I would), but to order without asking and then be rude to me like it's my fault?

Well, she demanded to talk to a manager and went on to lecture him on how much he should be charging for fish in his restaurant. He knocked $10 bucks off for her.

People.

zahra
05-08-2007, 07:11 AM
Once at a supermarket, the till malfunctioned, and the check-out girl called over her supervisor. They spent about 10 minutes fixing the prob, talking between themselves. To me, the customer, standing there for the ten mins, they said not one word. Not even a 'Sorry about this, love'. They did not even look at me. The letter of complaint I sent probably singed the eyelashes of the person who opened it. Runs in the family. My mother writes letters to errant relatives that start six generations of family feud.

thethinker42
05-08-2007, 07:24 AM
I think it's an issue that's becoming more rampant as the days go on. In fact, I just blogged about customer service (http://astonwest.blogspot.com/2007/04/doing-great-dis-service.html) the other day.

I tend to like to verbally complain. Letters don't let me vent my frustration enough...

Oh, I am totally with you. I work in customer service...*pausing while I cry about my life for a moment*...and it just makes me that much more aware of the IDIOTS that work in every OTHER company's customer service. I'm confrontationally challenged, so I do tend to be a letter writer (oh, but I have mastered the art of "diplomatic enough to actually be read instead of tossed aside as a hysterical PMS'ing rant" while still maintaining a good heaping dose of some scathing "cursing of you and all of your small household appliances if you don't get your goddamn heads out of your asses" undertones).

The one thing I WON'T hesitate to do is say -- loudly, especially so their boss can hear me -- something to the effect of "dude, I work in customer service; that kind of crap would get my ass fired in a HEARTBEAT."

Even the girl at the tattoo shop the other night whose laziness and stupidity *almost* cost one of her artists a customer (me)that was going to pay for a large and rather expensive tattoo (she basically lied to me about whether or not a design on a CD could be printed and then used as the tattoo -- even though said image on said CD was downloaded FROM THE TATTOO SHOP'S WEBSITE). As I was leaving 3 hours later-- freshly inked -- I told the artist that if the owner needed a customer to tell him what an idiot the girl was, he had my number on my waiver and had my permission to call me. He said he likely would do just that.

I'm SO over customer service idiots...especially since I KNOW that shit is unacceptable.

/RANT

thethinker42
05-08-2007, 07:35 AM
Once at a supermarket, the till malfunctioned, and the check-out girl called over her supervisor. They spent about 10 minutes fixing the prob, talking between themselves. To me, the customer, standing there for the ten mins, they said not one word. Not even a 'Sorry about this, love'. They did not even look at me. The letter of complaint I sent probably singed the eyelashes of the person who opened it. Runs in the family. My mother writes letters to errant relatives that start six generations of family feud.

Bravo!! :D The ability to write a properly scathing letter is quite useful these days. I learned to do so from my dad after watching him write his way through some nastiness with some evil HMO's. (He finally had enough with one hospital after they nearly killed him...he didn't write a letter, he didn't sue...he joined their board of directors. :D )

SouthernFriedJulie
05-08-2007, 08:17 AM
I recently sent an email to Wal Mart about the way I was treated. My little girl is special needs and she just became turned on to actually playing with the toys she gets for birthdays and such. She's 5 now, so this was a really big deal to me when I wrote to them.

I got a call back from the manager and they gave me two My Little Ponies for her birthday. I wish I had a copy of the email still. But, just wanted to let you know that if you write a pointed and unhappy email to Wal Mart, they'll actually try to make you happy.

aruna
05-08-2007, 02:18 PM
Oh, yes. I wil post my complaint letter as soon as I can get it off my other computer.
And the very rude reponse I got.
That reminds me - I wanted to reply to that rude response.

Opty
05-08-2007, 03:45 PM
I'm gonna rant for a moment from "the other side" of the issue...

As long as I've worked and managed in restaurants, I've found that there are two types of people who complain: nice, normal people and assholes.

To be honest, I find many of the people who write complaint letters/emails to be bitter, miserable people who like to bitch simply so they can feel somehow superior. Maybe their life is boring and sucks and they get shit on by their boss at work, so they want to empower themselves by shitting on someone else who they've judged to be on a lower level than they. Or, they're just trying to scam for free food.

These people usually complain a lot (and probably in many areas of their lives) and are actually gleeful about the fact that they complain and "told someone off." That's pretty sad.

Other people, though, are polite and avoid condescension because they realize that mistakes/shit happen(s) sometimes and are just wanting to get what they paid for or just let the bosses be aware of problems that the bosses might not otherwise be aware of.

There's a "right" way to complain or write a complaint and a "wrong" way.

A complaint that is belittling, rude, goes on and on about how they're never gonna eat there again, and throws in stupid, inconsequential shit because they can't find anything of useful substance to say is the type that I throw away. That's the "wrong" way to complain. Those are people that I don't care if they ever eat at my restaurant again, because they're usually people who are stupid/rude in person or simply like to complain because they think they'll get something for free out of it (i.e. scammers, and there are a LOT of them out there).

The letters that are direct yet polite, get to the point without meandering and blathering on about this person's life history or other such nonsense filler, and earnest but also written by someone who understands that he/she is writing to a PERSON are the ones that I respond to quickly and usually hook up the person quite well with reimbursements/comps.

As an example, if I got a letter/email like the OP's, I'd delete it and not care. Not trying to be rude or insulting, but it's not a "good" type of complaint letter. It's the type that will likely get you nowhere fast or, if it gets you anywhere, it'll get you there quite slowly.

When it comes to customer service, there are two main problems: 1) many people who work in service don't really care about giving good service and 2) there are way too many bitchy complainers out there who either just like to berate/belittle people and/or just want something for free.

And, it's a hard thing to cure either problem. The complainers will find something, ANYTHING to complain about no matter how great the service they receive is (which only inspires people to give bad service on purpose) and the people who provide bad service will continue to create complainers by giving bad service.

It's a vicious cycle with seemingly no end.

Well...other than getting out of the service industry altogether.

Please, God, let that day come for me soon.

JimmyB27
05-08-2007, 05:05 PM
I just vote with my wallet...I got better things to do with my time.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-08-2007, 05:16 PM
I've always said that it doesn't pay for a company to piss off a writer. After all, we buy ink by the fifty-five gallon drum. My samples are way too lengthy to post here, but I've gotten charges reversed for car repairs as well as a company's licenses revoked so they can't do business at all in my city.

PattiTheWicked
05-08-2007, 06:21 PM
I don't know if everyone does this, but I'm also one of the people who writes to a company when I experience really awesome customer service. I think it's important to do that, maybe even more so than complaining about the bad. I've written letters to a number of companies, just to let them know they have a fantastic employee working at Store # Whatever.

aruna
05-08-2007, 09:47 PM
This is a letter I wrote to the airport manager at Hahn airport. As I mentioned, I got a very rude response.

I am writing to complain about the staff at your Helpdesk.

On 10.07.06 my 15 year old daughter Saskia flew to Hahn Airport on her own from London Stansted, arriving shortly after 17.00 hours. We had arranged to pick her up at the airport.

Unfortunately, there was a very long traffic jam on the A 61 towards Hahn, and we were stuck in traffic for over two hours. We tried to call her on her mobile phone but it was switched off.

In fact, Saskia had forgotten to charge the phone that morning so could not use it. As a result she could not call us nor could we call her, and she did not know my mobile phone number, which is on her SIM card.

After about an hour (around 18.00 hours) Saskia was so worried (as we are always on time) that she went to the Helpdesk at the airport and explained the problem. Instead of courtesy and assistance, she was told to “just sit down over there and wait”.

The problem in fact would have been simple to solve. All that was needed was to put her SIM card on a working mobile phone to retrieve my own number, so she could call me and find out why we were late. It would have cost your staff neither time nor money.

As it happened, we arrived two hours late. But what if we had been in an accident, or something similar? May I remind you that Saskia is a minor and I think your staff could have at least taken the trouble to reassure and assist her. Saskia says the woman who spoke to her was extremely rude and impatient.

I would expect a different sort of service at an international airport.

C.bronco
05-08-2007, 09:56 PM
I love Arby's. The nearest Arby's is a 45 minute drive from my house- oh the humanity!
I once wrote a heart wrenching letter to a grocery store because they had every kind of chocolate cluster imaginable Except Raisin! They actually called me long distance to tell me that their raisin clusters had arrived.
Once my mom opened a box of Crispy Wheats and Raisins to find No Raisins in the Box! In her touching letter, she said "...and I had to send my children to school raisinless." They sent her a coupon for a free box of cereal.

I never connected the two incidents together before, but I am now struck by the profound effects rendered by raisin omission.

Jaycinth
05-08-2007, 10:00 PM
I write complaint letters all of the time. Having started out life in 'sales' (working the sales floor in fabric shops and K-marts) I know there is no way any management can correct staff problems if the customers do not complain about bad service. Yes you can go somewhere else with your money...but that doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to a big chain.

But a letter addressed to the correct department always does.
And it has the added benefit of 'freebies'.
Yep folks..99 times out of 100 you send in a detailed complaint, you get a freebie.

Baja Fresh didn't take a sticker off a lime slice they put in my meal. I got two free meals.

Best Buy didn't fix my fridge under warranty. I got a new (free)fridge delivered(free).

And surely you all remember my feud with Black and Decker (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18243&page=44&highlight=Black+Decker)(Don't buy their products)


Oh, and scroll down to # 1087 :)

MidnightMuse
05-08-2007, 10:18 PM
I write good nasties all the time, when I'm good and angry. Two years ago a letter I wrote to my state's Insurance Commissioner go my sister's $17,000 hospital bill paid for, and my cousin's attorney-boss used it to address congress about medical reforms.

Just last week a nasty I wrote to Floor Decorators got a swift apology for their poor customer service.

Righteous indignation has always served me well :)

tjwriter
05-08-2007, 10:42 PM
Having worked in a restaurant for many years, I can tell you that for every good server/employee you find, there are five bad ones.

And customers can be just as bad. I don't how many people tried to threaten me with the tip if I didn't do certain things. In no uncertain terms did I tell them that their tip wouldn't make or break my night.

I do miss waiting tables, though. Great fun, especially since I had a ton of regulars.

pink lily
05-08-2007, 10:50 PM
Thanks to everyone who replied! Aruna, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's bad experience, I wonder if your letter made any difference?

I got phone calls and apologies from the General Manager of the Arby's stores near me and his boss, the Area Manager of the entire region. I had long talks with them both about the importance of store support of the national ad campaign. Hourly employees have got to uphold their end of the deal: the corporate office makes an effort to drive traffic to the store, the local level staff has to make the effort to keep the customer coming back.

Arby's is sending me a written letter of apology and some coupons, as well as a replacement meal at the same store. I am leery of going in as "the complaining customer," and I expressed my genuine fear that my food might suffer from tampering, but... I guess I'll go back, I don't know.

One post in this thread did stand out:
I don't know if everyone does this, but I'm also one of the people who writes to a company when I experience really awesome customer service. I think it's important to do that, maybe even more so than complaining about the bad. I've written letters to a number of companies, just to let them know they have a fantastic employee working at Store # Whatever.
I totally do this! I love to write thank-you letters when I receive great service. As a retail salesperson, such letters helped me get raises and promotions; as a retail manager, such letters helped me give raises and promotions. I am just as willing to rave about excellence as I am to rant about incompetence. I only wish I had more opportunity to share positive feedback. It's been a long time since I got good service that was worth writing a letter about. I'll be on the lookout, though.

WildScribe
05-08-2007, 11:12 PM
I ask for the manager almost every time I go out to eat. It scares the shit out of the waitresses sometimes, but they often find that I am calling the manager over to tell him or her what a wonderful job server X did.

As for the bitchy people who complain just for the fun of ruining someone else's night... One of those women provided an avenue for an angry manager to fire me (I'd recently gotten him in trouble and he got his revenge). Imagine the havoc I could have wreaked on that company having JUST told them that I was pregnant and also having JUST gotten the manager who fired me disciplined. This, by the way, was the only manager that I almost never worked with. Hmmmm.... Good thing for them that I decided to let bygones be bygones.

Kate Thornton
05-08-2007, 11:47 PM
I once opened some frozen broccoli and the box contained frozen peas.

I send off a letter about the contents mix up and they were glad to hear from me: turns out a whole shipment of about 5,000 boxes were mis-labeled.

They sent me a nice letter and some coupons for freebie broccoli.

MidnightMuse
05-08-2007, 11:51 PM
Oh, that reminds me - years ago I wrote to the Dairy Board just to tell them I'd seen a "Got Milk" poster in a grocery store that I found absolutely unbelievably adorable - had 5 kittens looking up at you with milk on their lips and the slogan.

They mailed me a copy of the poster. :)

zahra
05-09-2007, 12:05 AM
I've worked in restaurants for years, so I certainly don't complain for nothing, nor am I untruthful or insulting when I do complain. In fact, if I find a check-out girl is in a bad mood or sulky, I'm more likely to sympathise with her than anything, and if it's a waiter or waitress, I'll try and cheer them up. I absolutely hate servile service, especially when you know the poor employee is on weeny money. (What is with supermarkets making their employees wear badges and overalls advertising new services etc? They're people, for f....'s sake, not hoardings! Put it on a damn wall!) But if the supervisor of the check-out staff really doesn't know enough to apologise to a customer kept waiting or even to look at her (that's what really pissed me off), then she needs to be told.

Opty
05-09-2007, 02:47 AM
This is a letter I wrote to the airport manager at Hahn airport. As I mentioned, I got a very rude response.

If you got a rude response from that letter, then the person who responded to you is an idiot who doesn't care about customer service. Your letter was direct and firm, yet polite, and didn't throw in any cheap shots or unnecessary "my whole life story."

That's the type of letter that should, in a perfect world, get a speedy and positive response.

Sorry the person who read it was a jerk.

veinglory
05-09-2007, 03:05 AM
I have only written one complaint letter in my life and it took some provocation.

It was to Air New Zealand re: their LAX staff, but it was after having book six months ahead I was bumped off three flights at LAX and arrived at my final destination (NZ) more than 24 hours late and courtesy of another airline, they didn't notify my family of my delay despite a signed form they offered to allow this to happen, and they refused to answer my family's queries (saying I probably 'didn;t want them to know whee I was'), they took may passport, lost it, denied they every had it, said I was late for the flight when I was over an hour early and in the gate waiting for it and so much more, they did not provide a hotel for my 12 hour wait in LAX. My letter gave only specific times, events and staff members and culminated with the observation that the rubber stamp they used to finally transfer me to Qantas spelled 'zeland' incorrectly. Oh and the directions they wrote for me to go to a different terminal also spelled termanel incorrectly.

I then had to respond to 11 emailed replies that repeated incorrect information already addressed in the letter and actually called me a liar. Exchanges incuded 'between my staff member and you, who should I believe?' Answer: 'you should believe me.' And culminated with them finally giving me the minimum $400 bump fee (less than a third of the cost of the ticket) saying that they were only doing it for customer relations (i.e. they still thought I was lying). (Real customer relations would be for them to lie and say they believed me).

To make a long story short, fly Qantas, or Air Malaysia.

stormie
05-09-2007, 06:18 AM
When writing a letter of complaint:

Always start with a positive, such as, "For years we've loved coming to your store," or "Your restaurant has always received rave reviews from our friends."

Then state your complaint in a few sentences only. You don't have to go into exact details.

Mail it to the regional manager or go to the top (many times you can find names online, or by a phone call).

Send it by snail mail. Email is okay, too.

Make sure your name, address, and phone number are on the letter.

Type it. Handwriting can be hard to read.

My mother used to say "You'll get more flies with honey than with vinegar." She wrote excellent complaint letters that got responses that were fast and courteous.

rubarbb
05-09-2007, 06:26 AM
You eat fast food all the time?

astonwest
05-09-2007, 07:24 AM
It certainly seems like we do...

I love Arby's, despite the fact I used to work there (long long ago).
I love the fact they have the response cards in the stores.

When they took away their subs, I was bummed...
When they brought them back, they unfortunately left off the roast beef sub (go figure, a roast beef restaurant wouldn't have a roast beef sub?)
So, I wrote on response cards each time I went in that they needed to bring back their roast beef sub.

I'm happy to report that they brought it back... :P

Too bad they use the same crappy lettuce they use on their Market Fresh sandwiches...I think it may be time to use the response card technique again.

alley
05-09-2007, 08:17 AM
I feel like if you are paying for something, then you have a righ tto complain (politly and rationly) if the service or product is bad. when i eat out, part of what I am paying for is the service, so I feel like bad service is worth pointing out to the manger.

my ex-husband used to threaten to walk out on me if I ever tried to complain about the service, and I am talking about legitamate complaints. One time We were at a chain resturaunt with "apple" in the name and the staek I ordered had this weird white fuzz all over it, gross if you ask me. He totally freaked out when I wanted to ask for a new steak. (manager replaced it, no problem, said fuzz was likly from a dish cloth)

I think some people are just programmed to stand up for themselves, guess that why I'm not married any more.

SouthernFriedJulie
05-09-2007, 09:03 AM
I don't know if everyone does this, but I'm also one of the people who writes to a company when I experience really awesome customer service. I think it's important to do that, maybe even more so than complaining about the bad. I've written letters to a number of companies, just to let them know they have a fantastic employee working at Store # Whatever.


I love sending emails or letters when I buy something that is just great or get really wonderful service. Not really sure about how the guys at WhirlPool took it at first when I told them that when the apocalypse came they could find me in my dryer. It's been up and down stairs, flooded 3 times in our old basement, and moved 4 times. Sucker still fires up like a brand new one.

Seriously, letting a company know that I'm a happy customer makes my day. It's nice to know some rep read it and was like, 'whoa!'

aruna
05-09-2007, 11:25 AM
If you got a rude response from that letter, then the person who responded to you is an idiot who doesn't care about customer service. Your letter was direct and firm, yet polite, and didn't throw in any cheap shots or unnecessary "my whole life story."

That's the type of letter that should, in a perfect world, get a speedy and positive response.

Sorry the person who read it was a jerk.

yep! The airport manager said the helpdesk is not responsible for minors (which was not the point), that the lady had acted correctly, and that next time I should "plan my trips" more carefully!

tjwriter
05-09-2007, 11:32 PM
my ex-husband used to threaten to walk out on me if I ever tried to complain about the service, and I am talking about legitamate complaints. One time We were at a chain resturaunt with "apple" in the name and the staek I ordered had this weird white fuzz all over it, gross if you ask me. He totally freaked out when I wanted to ask for a new steak. (manager replaced it, no problem, said fuzz was likly from a dish cloth)

That truly sounds like they dropped it on the floor and wiped it off before serving.

There's nothing wrong with bringing something to the attention of management so long as you remain polite, courteous, and sane.

I had a guy yell at me because he arrived before the preparation of his takeout order was complete and he had to wait followed by the fact that he paid with a large bill and it had to be broken before he could get his change. Stood at the front door yelling so God and everybody could hear.

Then called and asked to speak to the manager, which I was at the time running the shift, and then proceeded to yell at me some more. When I told him I did not have to listen to him speak to me that way, he hung up.

Stew21
05-10-2007, 12:10 AM
I rarely write letters of complaint. I have phoned a few now and then, but rarely go through the trouble to write one.
On one occasion I did, though. I had been going to the same dayspa for massage for years, every 4-6 months. (I was single and could afford it back then). Even after I got married my husband would get me a gift card for a birthday or christmas for a massage there, and when I was pregnant I went for a pregnancy massage. It was the worst massage I had ever gotten. I walked out of there angry at having spent money on such a worthless massage. So I logged onto their website and complained.
I was polite and made my points. 1)I have been a customer for along time. 2)this incident won't change that 3)these are the specific things that didn't happen - and I went into specific detail of the things about the massage that were done poorly or skipped over entirely 4)I just wanted you to know so you can improve this service in the future.

I received a phone call the next day from the manager with the following things:
Apparently some of my staff may need more training in pregnancy massage. I will do that immediately.
Please come in for a free massage. I will give it myself.

She was awesome. No need for insults or threats, just the facts, as simply as I could state them, assuring them that I was a long time customer and had never complained previously I think added merit to my complaint.

the other time I complained turned into an official appeal for student aid. I compiled all of the documents I needed to prove that I was independent of my parents and therefore qualified for financial aid based on my income alone. I even proved that I carried my own medical coverage, had my own residence and paid those bills on my own and several other things. I won and got loans I needed for college.
When done right it works, but I save it for when I think it really matters.

Jaycinth
05-10-2007, 12:10 AM
My mother used to say "You'll get more flies with honey than with vinegar." She wrote excellent complaint letters that got responses that were fast and courteous.

Oh yes indeedie!
About twice a year I'll save the UPC codes and end flaps from my favorite products and send them to the manufacturer with a letter praising their product. Then I ask for a coupon.

They ALWAYS send me at least one coupon good for a freebie and three or four more for 75 cents to a dollar off of the product.:D

Monkey
05-10-2007, 12:42 AM
I usually call, rather than write. Strange, being as I'm a writer, but I always worry that a letter will just get trashed by some peon and the head honchos will never hear my gripe.

My most recent complaint was when I had my daughter, now 5 months old. I am a HUGE fan of home-birth, having had an absolutely beautiful experience when my son was born just over two years ago. I was planning on doing another home birth, but alas, it was not to be. My daughter was in an undeliverable position...nothing but a C-section would get her out alive. So, mid-way through labor, to the hospital I went.

The ambulance people strapped me flat on my back with bands around my ankles, knees, waist, and chest, then tried poking an IV in me. My midwife jumped in the ambulance (after getting permission to ride along) and said, "Hey, put her on her back, and you'll get a drop in heart tones." They let me turn on my left side. MUCH better! Then she asked them what was in the IV, and was told it was just saline. Saves the doctors time once we get to the hospital, they said. My midwife (my hero!) said, "An IV takes half a second to put in, when you're not bouncing down the highway. You've already stuck her several times...why don't we just wait and let the doctors do it?" They did. Yay. The whole trip was like that.

At the hospital, they quickly prepped me for surgery. My anesthesiologist yelled at me for not bending over correctly. Nevermind that I was in labor, bending over a huge belly, and that my lower vertabrate are fused together. Then he stuck me, but only one leg went numb. They put up a curtain so I couldn't see my belly and started scrubbing the area.

"Hey," I said, "I can still feel that." I was told, "No you can't." Can you believe the freaking nerve?! We went through a battery of questions: "What are we doing now?" "Your wiping my belly with a wet substance...seems like it's on a cotton ball or something." "Then what temperature is the liquid?" "COLD!" Eventually he rolled his eyes and said, "Fine. We'll just gas you then." As if it was a punishment. GRRRR. My response was, "Please do. I'd hate to be cut up while I can still feel it."

After the surgery, they handed me papers to sign. These papers were to give my consent for a myriad of things they had already done.

Back in my room, I was treated with utter disrespect. At one point, my catheter came undone, and the nurse just stuck it back together. My mother, a retired nurse, freaked. That's supposed to be a closed system, she said, and sticking it back together gives the possibility of major - possibly fatal - infection.

They also assigned me a pediatric doctor with a long history of hospitalizing infants for extended periods of time. The tip of my daughter's nose was yellow with jaundice (SOOOO common), and he wanted to keep her several extra days. He was considering putting her on glass and shining billi lights on her for 24 hours, during which time I'd be only allowed short, supervised visits. I asked if I could go against any of his recommendations, and had a social services person in my room within an hour, making sure that I wanted the best for my daughter and would listen to the doctor's recommendations.

After my ordeal (and I do think of it as an ordeal), they screwed up the billing address as opposed to the home address, and the next thing I knew, I was getting calls from creditors wanting to know when I was going to pay my anesthesiologist. They said that I should pay about $999 right then, over the phone, if I wanted my credit to remain good. I asked to speak to someone in charge and found out that the crediting agency didn't know squat about the agency that actually had worked with me.

So I called the hospital and found that they didn't know how to contact the anesthesiologist. He wasn't part of their staff. I finally tracked down someone in the records dept., and while there, I worked things out concerning my hospital bill.

Needless to say, I complained. Long and loud, and to virtually everyone in every dept. I spoke to at the hospital and at the agency that handled the anesthesia. When I started to feel shunned, I would say, "You know, I'm a writer by proffession, and I'd be glad to write about this." Worked every time.

So sometimes, I guess all you have to do is *threaten* to write.

Not that it doesn you much good after an incident like this has already occured, though. :(

stormie
05-10-2007, 01:23 AM
And I thought things were so much better for moms today. <Sigh> Sorry about all you went through, monkey. That was horrible! Glad your little girl is fine, though.

Monkey
05-10-2007, 02:21 AM
Thanks, Stormie.

The only good thing about my hospital stay is that they did let my daughter room in with me. Of course, it was MY daughter, so I'm amazed that some hospitals don't allow rooming in, and of course, they still charged me for a nursery stay.

It was worth all the hassle to have such a wonderful little girl, but the whole experience has left me an even bigger advocate of home birth.

Leva
05-10-2007, 08:13 PM
Bad customer service sometimes just boggles my mind. *points at link in sig line*

I ordered $300 in anime DVDs from a discount anime supplier in early November. This was a mix of Christmas presents plus some DVDs I wanted to write reviews for, that I couldn't get as review copies or from Netflix. The anime distributor I used was one that was an affiliate for the site -- I was *sending them customers* for peanuts in pay.

They screwed up my order, sending DVDs that were (a) not fully compatible with my DVD player -- the menu options didn't work -- and (B) were imports straight from Japan that did not have English language subbing or dubbing as best I could tell. And I didn't get all the DVDs I'd ordered.

Okay, fine, it was a simple mistake.

Then they screwed the billing up. On multiple occasions, in multiple different ways.

They made me send BACK the incorrect DVDs before they would replace them. And they would only accept them via media mail or first class, not UPS/Fedex, and not priority mail, or whatever. (Note that Christmas was coming, *AND* I wanted my review copies for, uh, the Christmas buying season.) Then they claimed they never received them, despite tracking to the contrary. When I threatened to report this as fraud to my credit card company, they said they sent the DVDs. I asked for express (overnight) shipping on the reship since it was their error that I didn't get my DVDs the first time and they told me they sent them media mail 'as per their policy'. Then it turned out they were never shipped even via media mail. I told them to send them overnight at my cost, and no response ... Blah blah blah ... you get the drift.

This went on for awhile. I asked for a phone number to call and never received one. Asked them to call ME, nobody called. Half the e-mails were incoherent. NONE of them answered all the (very clearly outlined) questions I made.

Finally, in January, I bought the DVDs I wanted for the reviews at Best Buy, and sent them an e-mail telling them to refund my money or I'd go to my credit card company.

They promptly shipped everything that night. Via media mail.

(Note that I don't think they were a scam -- the impression I got was simply rank incompetence.)

This is not a minor distributor -- they're one of the biggest in North America. And they appeared on Adsense on my site regularly. And they *knew* I owned the site because I pointed this out to them in a fit of vexed irritation. You'd think when told someone is an editor of a site that gets +100,000 pageviews/month they'd at least straighten the danged order out. And apologize. I never even got an apology.

The impact to them is that I am no longer an affiliate with them. And I now buy my anime from Best Buy. And I've banned their ads from the Adsense on my site -- they were appearing on the main page at the time this went down. That's quite a bit of exposure lost that their competitors are now getting.

*shakes head*

Novelust
05-11-2007, 07:40 AM
Where do I go to complain about this complaint thread, and what sort of freebies can I expect for the effort?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-11-2007, 08:13 AM
Where do I go to complain about this complaint thread....

Two doors down, turn left. Follow the green line painted on the floor 'til you get to the gray water tower on the other end of the soccer field. You'll find an overhead cable with multi-colored ribbons tied every few feet - follow that 'til you see the purple ribbon and hang a right. Just on the other side of the Johnson's double car port, look for the fork in the trail and bear left. You can't miss it. Watch your step.

....and what sort of freebies can I expect for the effort?

If Mac handed out freebies to everyone who complained, there'd be no AW! :)

pink lily
05-11-2007, 10:14 AM
Where do I go to complain about this complaint thread, and what sort of freebies can I expect for the effort?
If you think I'm good at writing a complaint, wait 'til you see me kiss ass attempt to rectify the situation.

Novelust
05-11-2007, 10:39 AM
Dear Owners, Moderators, Proprietors, Shareholders, Partial Owners, and Relatives of Absolute Write (and subsidiary holdings),

After attempting to make a legitimate complaint through entirely legitimate avenues and being rudely rebuffed - even threatened - by lunatic, uncontrolled site users, I have retreated into my home and am unwilling to go back to work.

Due to the deep mental anguish I have suffered, I must request that you immediately subsidize my rent and living expenses, and also send me as many free products and/or services as possible.

Thank you for your speedy attention to this matter.

- Novelust.

pink lily
05-11-2007, 10:50 AM
Dear Owners, Moderators, Proprietors, Shareholders, Partial Owners, and Relatives of Absolute Write (and subsidiary holdings),

After attempting to make a legitimate complaint through entirely legitimate avenues and being rudely rebuffed - even threatened - by lunatic, uncontrolled site users, I have retreated into my home and am unwilling to go back to work.

Due to the deep mental anguish I have suffered, I must request that you immediately subsidize my rent and living expenses, and also send me as many free products and/or services as possible.

Thank you for your speedy attention to this matter.

- Novelust.
Dear Novelust,

Thank you for contacting us, we are deeply saddened that our communication pertains to an unfortunate circumstance that has been a burden to you. However, it is our position that if you left your home, you would be able to go to work, therefore in lieu of room and board expenses, we are sending you some caffeine gum and a case of Mountain Dew. We're certain that this will remedy the situation.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

The Head Honchos

Writer2011
05-11-2007, 10:54 AM
I have found that even if you write a complaint or make a verbal one; no one is really going to do anything about it or care. The manager is making, at best nine or ten dollars an hour and probably hears some kind of complaint all the time :)

Although it gives you satisfaction--- and trust me i've complained enough in my lifetime

Novelust
05-11-2007, 11:04 AM
Dear Novelust,

Thank you for contacting us, we are deeply saddened that our communication pertains to an unfortunate circumstance that has been a burden to you. However, it is our position that if you left your home, you would be able to go to work, therefore in lieu of room and board expenses, we are sending you some caffeine gum and a case of Mountain Dew. We're certain that this will remedy the situation.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

The Head Honchos

Dear Mr. and/or Ms. and/or Mrs. and/or Incorporated Honchos:

While your sympathy and understanding are appreciated, a case of Mountain Dew will supply someone with my level of caffeine dependency for about three hours. I do not chew gum, as I like to focus on one task at a time, and wouldn't like to go into my lengthy legal battle with the makers of Trident (there was a terrible accident involving walking while chewing, and a lack of warnings on the packaging).

I have been lying in my bed under the covers for minutes, inconsolable, unable to accomplish anything but to write letters and repeatedly refresh my inbox.

I will be adding laptop wear and tear to the list of expenses, and would also like to take this opportunity to ask that Absolute Write provide an explanation as to why the Keebler Corporation stopped manufacturing Cheddar Cheese flavored O'Boisies several years ago - they were one of my favorite snack foods.

I await your response, and the receipt of the demanded funds. For your convenience, I now accept PayPal.

Thank you for your timely consideration,

Novelust.

southernwriter
05-14-2007, 10:14 AM
That reminds me. I need to write to Olive Garden.

TsukiRyoko
05-14-2007, 10:20 AM
I don't bother with complaint letters. Usually a nice, loud, "F*ck every last one of you!" is satisying enough.

southernwriter
05-14-2007, 10:55 AM
Now that the complaint to Olive Garden is out of the way, I can take another look at this.

Some friends and I went into a trendy, upscale, downtown restaurant in the middle of the day. The place was empty. We asked to sit in the smoking section, and were led to the back of the room, next to a window with a great view. We were given an ashtray. After a bit, more customers came in, and were seated three tables from ours. We came to a pause in our meal before the next course was served, and my friend lit a cigarette. Next thing we knew, we were being told we had to move because we were in the no smoking section. My friend was plenty ticked off.

Before we left, I called the manager over and in a very calm, understated way, explained why making us move in the middle of our meal was wrong. I was so very gracious. I didn't cause a scene, didn't disturb any other customers, and didn't get a thing out of it, except a feeling of superiority over that weasly little twerp. I could actually see him shrinking smaller and smaller and smaller.

I noticed recently that the place went out of business. ;)

ATP
05-14-2007, 06:36 PM
What happens when the person who has delivered bad service, shown rudeness and contempt, in a passive-aggressive manner while possibly being a party to ripping you off, is/was your ...editor (or your client)?

Hmmm??

How does one complain about that?

Serena Casey
05-16-2007, 10:54 AM
My first serious problem with customer service occurred several years ago while trying to buy a computer at CompUSA, when a salesman repeatedly misinformed (I believe he outright lied) to me about how their 6-months-no-interest plan worked. I asked pointed, detailed questions to clarify the parts I was concerned about. He assured me everything would happen a certain way (too many details to go into here).

Of course, it didn't. I was charged an extra $300 he had told me would not be charged. I went back to the store and talked to him. He chose that moment to totally change his tune. It was like he couldn't wait to get to his buddies in the back of the store so they could laugh about how they punk'd another one.

I talked to his supervisor and asked why the employee was so badly misinformed, or worse, dishonest, but he said I would have to talk to the manager. Who wasn't there. Who wasn't ever there, apparently. I called three times, left three messages, got no reply. I e-mailed three times, got no reply. Wrote two letters to CompUSA headquarters. Got no reply.

All these letters were calm and professional, with a polite but firm statement of what I wanted them to do to make it right. They weren't perfect complaint letters, I'm sure, but deserving of at least a response. To not respond to eight calls/e-mails/letters is absolutely inexcusable in my book, unless the complainer is a nutcase, which I assure you I'm not. ;) At least I'm not aware of it! (Which, come to think of it, is probably a sure sign that I am...)

In the last one, I told them that I buy hundreds if not thousands of dollars of computer equipment ad software every year and that it would no longer be from them, ever. I've kept that promise. It's not like my purchases will make or break them, but I have at least a teeny bit of satisfaction that all that money is thumbing its nose at them. I still seethe over being ignored so completely, though.

ATP
05-16-2007, 11:54 AM
As my mother always said, you either learn through your ears, or through the seat of your pants.

I don't particularly like it, I don't like doing it, and it is draining to deal/fight with such people. But, if their inherent attitude is as contemptuous as you indicate/state, then they secretly expect you not to challenge them.

Assuming that you've got good cause, then the next step is to take it up with your consumer complaints bureau or some such. In conjunction, I would seriously examine taking this up with their national office right at the top of the organisation the CEO, and a consumer rights lawyer. Simply, you've got to get their corporate testicles in your hand, and squeeze very firmly, and don't let up until you've got what you want, and then continue to teach them a lesson. Sadly, this is how some understand the nature of capitalism.