Friday, 13 July 2018

Complaints? Always Write That E-Mail

For years, one of my kids' entreaties to me has been "Oh mom, please don't write an e-mail." I'm not one of those complainers who sit around looking for things to ruffle her feathers, but I also believe in saying something rather than just huffing and puffing. While I'm as hands off as I can be when it comes to my kids sorting out their own messes problems, there have been times when a more assertive voice was needed, and I didn't hesitate. 

Ditto for anything I see as below par customer service. Having worked briefly in retail management, I know that negative opinions travel further and faster than anything good. We were always encouraged to address complaints rather than let them fester and find an audience, and I work on that premise with my own complaints. 

In the past, my written complaints have resulted in someone being fired (which wasn't my intent but she deserved it anyway), coupons as a way of apology, refunds, and changes in policies and procedures. A few years ago, against the odds, I managed to obtain a full refund for a family member who was scammed out of thousands through sloppy account-watching by the bank. To this day, although such scams are still happening, I haven't heard of anyone else getting their money back. 

This week saw another victory. I had booked my youngest into a residential summer camp in July, then received a flyer which promised £600 to split between myself and anyone who enrolled and mentioned us. Sent an e-mail to a few friends, one of whom is now attending the same camp. Woo hoo, three hundred quid each, thank you very much!

Except not. Son's friend gets the £300, but we get it credited to our account for the next time we book. I know. I did more work than anyone in this equation, having recruited for the company, and came out with nothing. If I'd known that, I wouldn't have bothered - and the company knows that, so they word the promise vaguely and, in my opinion, deliberately mislead the reader.

Out with the laptop, and "disappointed" e-mail wings its way to the CEO of said company. I pointed out exactly what I thought they'd done (hood-winked me), and said the whole thing had left a "bad taste in my mouth". Perhaps they Googled me and realised how gobby I can be, but hours later they responded, saying that "on this occasion" they would give me the £300 now instead of keeping it in my account for next time.

Result! Keep writing those e-mails! 


  1. I agree - what is the point of complaining bitterly to your friends? Complain to the person who can fix your issue. But I also like to send in letters/emails when I get exceptional service, because management needs to know when they have great employees.

  2. Yes, I agree. I once did that and the next time I went into the store, the woman came rushing up to thank me. The manager had put it in her file!


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