Posts Tagged 'bad customer service'

Peachy

As some of you know by now, my awful Hyatt debacle has been cleared up.  At least that’s what some high-up man at the Hyatt told me.  To recap (and to totally repeat myself): We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee August 20-22 and had paid for the room in advance.  On August 31, I noticed that the Hyatt charged our credit card for $250, a charge that had been run on August 24 and had appeared on August 26.  I called the hotel and was told the charge was for smoking.  I protested my innocence and asked them to remove the charge.  [Note: at this point, I really thought this was no big deal.  Clearly they had made a mistake, they would take it off.  Oops.  My bad.]  Nope.

My call was transferred to someone else.  This time, I was speaking with the Fancy Director of Operations, Nancy.  She was rude and unhelpful.  She told me they had “evidence” against me.  She said housekeeping was emailing her photographic evidence as we spoke!  I continued to insist that this was impossible as there could be no evidence of something that never happened.  In addition, I speculated that if the evidence were some sort of photograph of a cigarette butt, it would not show anything.  I asked her if that were they type of evidence that she had, how did she know that that wasn’t from someone else’s room.  She told me the Hyatt doesn’t make things up.  I said that I don’t, either.  When she supposedly received these smoking hot photos (ha!), she told me she was standing by her claim!  I asked her to send me the photos, nope.  I’d have to subpoena them, says Nancy.

Fuming (ha!), I draft a letter to the hotel, the corporate office, the FTC and DATCP.  Letters sent.  I also emailed the Wisconsin State Journal’s SOS page, WISC’s “On Your Side” program, as well as the general tip line at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  I called my credit card company to dispute the charge.  I waited.

On Thursday, my boss suggested I call the corporate customer service number to get some bigger guns on the case.  I did so, feeling really hopeful.  And this is when I really broke down.  They wouldn’t help.  They didn’t care, they didn’t want to hear it, they didn’t want to talk.  In fact, I got passed off to a “manager” and had only one option: leave a message on her voicemail.  My message was long, tear-filled and pleading.  I was really emotional at this point.  I honestly couldn’t believe this was happening. 

A couple of hours later, when my tears were dry, but my energy was at about zero, I got a call from a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  I was tired, but I immediately brightened up.  He listened, he sympathized, he was completely incredulous.  I had an ear!  And the ear of someone who wasn’t my friend!  The ear of the press!  He asked me to email him a copy of my asthma prescriptions, which I willingly did.  Someone was on my side!

A few hours after that I got a call from the Hyatt saying that they had just received my letter (asking for a refund/threatening a lawsuit if they didn’t refund me) and that of course they would take me at my word and refund my money!  How silly it all was!  I emailed the reporter to inform him of my good fortune (aka someone doing the right and reasonable thing) and he replied that he had left several voicemails and emails with the Hyatt since we’d spoken and that they had not been returned.  He said they would probably still do the story.

I hope they do.

And, just a short note on the world of reality of televsion: it’s been a rough week.  Tiffany out on Top Chef and Peach out on Project Runway.  Yikes.

Here you go!

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Hostility

As I have mentioned previously, I have been battling with Charter over a $300.00 gift card that I was to receive from the cable company upon signing up for a promotion.  I signed up for the promotion in February.  The gift card has still not arrived.  I spoke to over a dozen Charter employees about the issue and got nowhere.  Well, next to nowhere.  I received a $75.00 gift card.  After being told story after story about how they were “working” on the problem, I hit the wall on Monday.  I couldn’t talk about the problem anymore.  Instead, I decided to mail them the following letter.

 

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a Charter Communications (“Charter”) customer continuously since 2005.  I am also a licensed attorney in the State of Wisconsin employed as an Assistant Attorney General at the Wisconsin Department of Justice.  My bar number is xxxxxxx. 

In February 2010, I noticed that Charter was offering a special that required the customer to commit to Charter for two years of service.  If the customer enrolled in three services – ie, internet, telephone and cable television – Charter would provide the customer with a $300.00 Visa gift card.  On February 19, 2010, I signed up for these three services and was told I would receive the $300.00 gift card in six to eight weeks from the date of installation.  The installation was done on February 20, 2010, making my receipt of the gift card due no later than Monday April 19, 2010.[1]   

On or about April 5, 2010, I telephoned Charter to inquire into the status of my gift card.  A Charter representative informed me that she was unable to assist in any way and that I must call a company called ‘Customer Motivators.’  Customer Motivators, I was told, handles all Charter promotions, a category into which the gift card apparently falls.  I telephoned Customer Motivators, was asked for some personal information and was told that the gift card would be sent to me shortly.  A few days later a letter came in the mail that contained a piece of paper that allowed me to choose one of several gift cards – including a Visa gift card – by checking off a box, returning the form and waiting another six to eight weeks.  The gift card was to be in the amount of $75.00. 

On April 13, 2010, I contacted Charter by “live chat” to ask why I had received this instead of my $300.00 gift card.  After “talking” with several representatives, I was told that no one at Charter could help me and that I must contact Customer Motivators.  I telephoned Customer Motivators on April 13, 2010, but the office was closed.  When I finally reached a person at Customer Motivators I was told that Charter had authorized only a $75.00 gift card for me and that Customer Motivators could do nothing for me without approval from Charter for a greater amount. 

On April 24, 2010, I contacted Charter again and explained the situation.  After being told several times that no one could help me and that I must call Customer Motivators, a representative finally told me that she would draft a “Research Request” to look into my situation.  She told me that within 24-72 hours I would hear from a representative regarding the outcome of the “Research Request.”  I heard nothing.

On April 27, 2010, I contacted Charter again and relayed my entire grievance.  I was told that the “Research Request” was still open and that I would hear from a representative within 24-72 hours.  Again, I heard nothing.

On April 30, 2010, I contacted Charter again and explained that I was owed a $300.00 gift card and had not yet received it.  I was told, again, that someone would contact me regarding the still-open “Research Request.”  I was also told that I would be given a $20.00 credit on my bill.  I did not hear from a representative nor did I receive any credit on my bill.

On or about May 17, 2010, I received an envelope in the mail from Customer Motivators.  Inside was a $75.00 Visa gift card and a request to return any previously sent gift cards. 

On May 19, 2010, I contacted Charter and was told that my gift card had been sent and I should have received it.  I relayed that I had received a $75.00 gift card but that my contract entitled me to a $300.00 gift card.  The representative to whom I spoke drafted a new “Research Request” or other document to be sent to a “team” who works on complaints detailing my frustration and Charter’s poor efforts to remedy the problem.  I was told that I would be contacted within 24 hours about the complaint.  I have not heard from Charter.

Every one of these contacts has taken up considerable time and emotional energy on my behalf. 

My position is that Charter has breached its contract with me and has made no effort to fulfill its obligations.  I believe that Charter has engaged in a deliberate scheme to entice customers into contracts that Charter has no intention to satisfy.

This letter serves as my last effort to resolve my gift card issue before I file a complaint in Dane County Circuit Court.  If I do not receive my $300.00 gift card within two weeks of the date of this letter, or June 7, 2010, I will file a formal complaint.

                                                                                    Sincerely,

                                                                                    Kate  —–

cc:       Federal Trade Commission

            Consumer Response Center

            600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

            Washington, D.C. 20580

            Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection

            PO Box 8911

            Madison, WI 53708-8911


[1] Fifty-six days, or eight weeks, from February 20, 2010, was Saturday, April 17, 2010. 

I sent the letter to an address in Missouri, as well as to some fax number I was given by a guy in their “law enforcement” division who actually laughed at me.  As you probably noted, I also sent the letter to the FTC and DATCP. 

Today I received a telephone call from Charter telling me that my gift card was on its way.  They also sent me an email with a tracking number.  The package is currently in Florida.  We’ll see if it’s the right amount, but I’m hopeful.  And quietly content.

I really loathe that it takes so much effort and tenacity to get major corporations to fulfill their obligations.  I am certain Charter wouldn’t sit by quietly while I failed to pay my bill month after month.  What really bugs me, though, is that there are thousands of other consumers out there who may not know their rights or understand them.  They may be intimidated by the bureaucracy.  Or they may flat out not have the time or energy to spend what is required to make sure they are not taken advantage of.  I wish I could get everyone their $300.00 gift card.

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Desperation

I am using this space to vent.  Bear with me.

I am refinancing my second mortgage from M&I to UWCU because my M&I rate is 6.75% and UWCU will do 4.99% with no closing costs because, it turns out, a second mortgage is actually a home equity loan.  Who knew?  Well, probably everyone but me.  In any event, what was promised me was a seamless, easy process.  What I have gotten so far is anything but. 

First, it costs $350 to have the appraisal done.  This is annoying, but fine.  Then, I actually needed to fax back some borrower’s something or other.  Fine.  Then I need my insurance company to get in contact with the credit union to get them the insurance info.  Fine.  I call our condo’s management company and ask them to forward the information.  Fine.  Only, wait, turns out they don’t have that information.  So, American Family, who apparently insures our condo, does have it and they will contact the credit union.  Ok.  Then I come into today to a message from the credit union telling me that I need to call AmFam because they “have some questions for me.”  What kind of questions could there possibly be?  I pay my dues, part of that goes to the insurance, what’s new?  So, I call and Sharon tells me that she needs the “mortgagee clause” from my mortgage company, Bank of America (who holds the first mortgage).  After going around in circles for awhile, I get from her all that she needs is some sort of address/contact info for BoA in the event that something happens to the condo.  Ok.  Apparently, though, AmFam has zero other clients with lowly Bank of America that this information is not available to anyone but me.  So, I log on to BoA’s website and can’t find the information anywhere.  In fact, it takes me forever to get to my own account and I cannot go to “account details” because everytime I click on it, a message comes up saying that my insurance policy expires at the end of the month and I’d better do something about it.  So, I go to the customer service section and call the number for “all mortgages or all states.”  This seems easy enough.   But when I call, I get a prerecorded message that says, “Get a pen and write down this number.  Call Ten Fifteen Fifteen Eight Thousand.”  And it just repeats that over and over.  I hang up and attempt to call this wack-job of a number, but, surprise surprise — it doesn’t work.  So, I go back to the website and try to “chat live.”  Well, after logging in, that feature is not available right now.  So, I find some other telephone number to call and after going through the motions (one for English, any other number not to talk about some fun promo they have going on, etc.), I am asked to enter my account number (which I cannot get to because of the previously mentioned insurance message prohibiting me from seeing anything resembling a detail on my account) or my social security number.  Hooray!  Well, of course I know that.  So, I enter it.  Three different times because I am continually told that it is “invalid.”  Yes, invalid.  After I use up my alloted attempts, I am asked if I would like to speak to a customer service representative.  Yes, please.  As I await transfer, a recorded message comes on that says, “I’m sorry, we’re now closed.”  And then I am hung up on.

And people complain about government.  I’m just saying, from where I sit, giant private corporations are pretty &^%#( frustrating.

On a positive note, I’ve had nothing but excellent, excellent customer service from CB2.  New table comes tomorrow!


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