Tales from the world of customer service


The war on customer service continues …

Or triple your money back

As written about previously, I bought $50 in gift cards from Sprint Nextel that ended up being worthless. The good folks at the credit card company refunded my money.

Then, they refunded it again. I called them to point out the error, but they appreciated my honesty and told me to keep it.

Then, for fun, they refunded it a third time.

Yeah, it was a hell of a complaint letter, especially when you spend $50 and receive $150 in returns.

I have a message to call back someone at Sprint Nextel (contacting me today, five months after the transaction). If they think they’re getting their money back, I’ve already blown it on hookers and booze.

Update: Three days after writing this post, I received a fourth credit of $50. If Sprint Nextel declares bankruptcy, you’ll know why.

A case of the sniffles

My company uses Welldyne RXWest for mail-order prescriptions. All I wanted was a 90-day supply of my allergy meds, the same ones I’ve been taking for years. This was back in October.

maildelivery.gifThey charged me 10 bucks and sent me half the order. When I called and e-mailed to complain, they claimed it was an error in the prescription — never mind that the local pharmacy has filled it correctly for years, up until that month.

I asked them to get another copy of the prescription from my doctor or local pharmacy. They refused.

So I had my doctor send another prescription. The reps at Welldyne swore they’d get it right this time, sending me just the other half of my missing order.

Two months later, they charged me another 10 bucks and sent me a full 90-day supply. I have enough sniffle pills till 2010.

I called and I e-mailed. No one ever called back. I contacted my credit card company, which cheerfully refunded my $10 on the spot.

I also let someone at our company know about the situation. She let me know that she had talked to Welldyne, which promised to do better. I don’t know what irks me more: that she wasted time defending crooks, or that the crooks couldn’t be bothered to call me back to lie again about how they’d work to improve their track record.



Last month’s business trip hit a severe snag in Denver, thanks to United Airlines. One hour spent on the tarmac for no reason ended up costing me a missed connection, five hours in the airport, an expensive lunch and an important meeting that afternoon.

After visiting five(!) service counters in Denver, I finally found a manager who would at least hear me out. She kindly gave me a nontransferable ticket voucher for $150. Not bad, but a mere fraction of what my company spent on the entire trip.

I wrote a letter back in the office that week, detailing the chain of problems. A United rep wrote back, asking for additional info on the flight and the ticket.

Today, I received the response for which I had been waiting. My colleague had just finished telling me why she’d never fly United again. I proudly showed her my letter from the airline rep, apologizing for the problems. Included was a second nontransferable ticket voucher for $150.

So, United made good, with $300 that I can use toward a future business trip. Of course, it has to be on United, so we’ll see what adventures pop up.

On that same trip, I stayed at a Ramada hotel. When I wrote a letter to United, I also dashed off a letter to Ramada because they froze me out.

Two nights in a hotel room, with lows below freezing. What’s the one piece of equipment you’d rather not fail during your stay? The heating unit.

Tomorrow, I write again, to corporate headquarters, because I never heard back from the franchise owner.

In the war on customer service, I rarely surrender.


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