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Forever 21

No, I’m not talking about age. I’m talking about the clothing store.

One that people my age shop at all the time. Their “store credit only” policy for returns? Their jewelry and accessories as being “final sales”? Stupid, I know. But I didn’t normally care or think twice about it because I don’t think I’ve ever returned anything there. I just shrugged it off as a smart sales technique on their part. If it’s store-credit only… then the consumer HAS to come back.

Whatever. I shop there enough to not be bothered by that.

What annoyed me? This:

I bought a black floral dress a few weeks ago that I love(d), love(d), LOVE(D)! This past Sunday, I finally had a chance to wear it.

So I took the tag off (I don’t know ANYONE who doesn’t take the tag off before putting on the outfit itself), and loosened the ribbon/belt that goes around the waist. And what happens? The loop that the belt/ribbon/I-don’t-know-what-to-call-it goes through on both ends rips. Just like that.

The next day, Monday, I contacted Forever 21’s customer service department on how I should go about replacing it and whatnot, and the response I get?  Part of it reads “Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate a return or an exchange for an item” [for which] “tags have been removed.”

Well, gee, thanks. Next time, I’ll make sure to keep the tags on everything anticipating the product to be damaged AND dealing with such crappy customer service.

Most customer service departments go out of their way to replace damaged good and/or offer a refund. Obviously Forever 21 isn’t one of them.

Forever 21? Well, apparently it has the business sense of most 21 year-olds.

Marked Price

We bought a Quesadilla maker from Macy’s a little while back and my family absolutely loves it. Tacos, Fajitas, and now quesadillas are some of the favorites in our household.
Yesterday, I went to buy one as a gift for someone who really liked it at my house. I was pleasantly surprised to see the sign below indicating it would turn out to be a very good deal for us!
I’m no math major or mathematician… but I do know math [with the help of a calculator sometimes :)] Let’s start off with an English class though:
Original Price = the original price of the item!
Marked Price = the price the item is being currently sold for.
Extra = (in this context) additional.
The Quesadilla maker was originally for $29.99 and on sale for $19.99. The above sign indicates that I should get an additional 40% off at the register so the total should have came out to $11.99-$12.00 (plus tax).
When we didn’t get the additional discount at the register, I pointed this out to the employee and she tells me that the 40% is off of the original price. Another employee went to their manager and came back with the same conclusion. I explained to them that the sign is misleading (and wrong!) if that is the case.
Now if I wasn’t in a hurry (which I was), I would have spoken to the manager. For two reasons:
A) What I mentioned above –> a marked price is the price the item is currently being sold for!! It’s not rocket science, it’s just simple English language. I should have gotten the item for $11.99-$12.00 each.
B) If the 40% was really supposed to be reduced from the original price as they claim, then the price I should have gotten the item for was $17.99-18.00 which IMMEDIATELY proves that they are wrong about that. The validity of this argument of theirs is ridiculous. I feel like I need to go back and pull out a calculator. Either way, they are selling the item for the wrong process.
Summary: The customer is always right. ESPECIALLY when they are RIGHT!
Class adjourned!
Homework: Poll: Is a “marked” price the original price or the sale price (what the item is currently being sold for)?
I should have prefaced by saying I shop at Macy’s a lot – from clothes, to shoes, to jewelry, to gifts and things in between.
UPDATE (4/4/12 2:24 PM): I wanted to update and note that our Macy’s account was credited the 40% today, which I appreciate.

Bad Customer Service from KFC

I don’t know if there is anything I hate more than bad customer service.

Remember the Halal KFC I talked about back here? Today, my brother and I drove back there today because I was craving it. It took us over an hour to get there… and almost THREE HOURS to come back home. But I wasn’t too annoyed because it was me who really wanted it.

You know what sucks?

Well, I only eat white meat… and got the same thing for the rest of my family. So I ordered a 12 piece combo of extra crispy fried chicken with all the pieces being substituted for breast pieces. The cashier told me she would go back and check that she had the right amount of breast pieces from the halal section and that I would have to pay extra for substitution. Which I was okay with (and figured).

When the cashier came back, she said that she could do a combination of extra crispy and original friend chicken — which I was fine with. I went ahead and paid for my order (VERY expensive because of the substitutions). Some time later, I got my order and headed back home. Getting home would take over two and a half hours because of traffic.

When I got home, and my family started eating, I could not believe that two of the pieces that were ALL THE WAY AT THE BOTTOM had been substituted for their grilled chicken! While I am sure their grilled chicken is delicious (I did try it some time ago), it was not what I ordered and I do not appreciate them cheating their customers like that!

She went back to check and confirm that they had the right amount of pieces… if she didn’t — all she had to do was tell me!!! Is that sooo hard? Not only did I pay extra for what I wanted, but I didn’t even get what I wanted!

In my opinion, customer service makes or break your business. There is this bakery I loved to visit for a particular cookie that I have NO where else, but refuse to step foot in there because of terrible customer service.

P.S. I was asked to post their contact information for others. Here is their Customer Service number 1-800-CALL-KFC.

Consumers

As I was patiently waiting (not really) in line to return something at customer service in Target earlier today, I overheard the following conversation between the cashier and consumer.

Consumer: I want to return this (this being a child’s outfit).
Cashier: Ok, do you have a receipt?
Consumer: No.
Cashier: How did you pay?
Consumer: Cash or credit card…. but credit card I think.
Cashier: Do you have the credit card?
Consumer: No.
Cashier: Can I see your driver’s license or ID?
Consumer: I don’t have that either.
Cashier: I need that or something in order to process the return.
Consumer: Sighs. I’ll come back.

Me: Trying my hardest not to burst out laughing, but can’t keep the smile off my face.

Really?! I swear, I worked in retail part time while I was a student and it just never surprises you the things people say/do.

I don’t know about you, but I’d never even try to return something if I didn’t have a receipt or proof of purchase. Or if I did have the receipt, but I’d used/worn the item.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Empire Today, Follow Up

As a quick follow up to my blog post last night about our horrible experience with Empire Today, I wanted to post real quick that I just received a call from Empire Today. The woman, Rebecca, said she had read my blog post from last night and was calling to apologize.

I think it’s great that Empire Today is using the growing technology for their benefit in terms of connecting with their customers.

While it does not make up for the rude woman we had to deal with twice from their company (last week and the week before), I do appreciate a company owning up to what happened, taking responsibility, apologizing and promising to take an internal look into what happened. How refreshing!

As I mentioned last night, we got our carpet installed through Empire Today earlier and we had absolutely no problems. The guy was informative and friendly and everything happened pretty smoothly.

I’ve always thought that if  you aren’t a people’s person and friendly, you are in the wrong business if you are in retail/sales (or anything similar). I’ve worked in retail in the past alongside school, so I’ve seen both sides of it — and I can’t say it enough — the way you interact with your customers makes a HUGE difference.

I’m never this quick to blog anymore, but I didn’t want to leave it hanging – because I do appreciate Rebecca calling to apologize. Companies lately seem to forget that without their customers, they are nothing.

 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Empire Today

I started writing this October 11th, and finally got around to finishing it today.

This blog post is Part Two of a series of blog posts I’m working on this week on the horrible customer service I’ve encountered lately. Read Part One by clicking here.

You know what I have very little patience with? Bad customer service.

In my opinion, there are just no excuses for it. As consumers, we are choosing to make purchases from you. You are not doing us any favors.

After getting carpet installed in our new home through Empire Today with no problems, we decided getting blinds through them would be a good idea. So a few days later, we called Empire Today again and scheduled one of their employees to come with samples to our house (they have no actual stores).

This women was clueless to say the least. She had no answers to our questions, couldn’t figure out how to price the samples we chose to give us estimates, was making errors left and right in pricing and  – it was as if my dad and I were doing her work for her.

All of the above, I could have attributed to the fact that she was maybe a new employee (even though she said otherwise).

What ticked me off most was that she made a personal call while I was waiting for her to give me a price!

UGGGHHHHH!

That’s not even the end of it.

A week or so later, we called Empire Today back and they sent the same lady back (the second time this lady came was after the whole ‘Blinds to Go’ fiasco). A little while before she was scheduled to come to our house, she calls and tells us that she is actually with another customer and forgot she was scheduled with them. She told us if that appointment ended early, she would come afterwards – otherwise the next day – either way she would call us.

Not only did she not call us, but when WE called and left her a message, she didn’t even respond. When she finally came the next day, she was just completely rude to us! She even kept emphasizing that she was “squeezing us in” between other appointments as if she was doing us a favor. At that point in time we knew that even if we chose to get our blinds through Empire Today, it wouldn’t be through this lady.

At one point when my dad asked her about the huge disparity in price amongst Empire Today and other companies we got a quote from, she rudely said “then I guess its settled, you will get your blinds from the other company” and got up and packing her stuff while we were still discussing the products. At that time, we knew we were definitely getting our blinds from elsewhere.

Oh and did you know, their advertised ‘next day” products for blinds actually means at least ten days? I’m not sure why they are falsely advertising and I’m not sure what the reactions have been to that… it just made me laugh when the lady told me.

I don’t know why getting blinds for our new house turned into such a huge problem, but thankfully we placed an order via a local company (Budget Blinds) last Thursday (the 21st). They should be arriving in two to three weeks, and I’m hoping everything happens smoothly.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Blinds To Go

This LONG blog post is Part One of a series of blog posts I’m working on this week on the horrible customer service I’ve encountered lately.

If your business promises a service, I expect nothing less. For some reason, businesses aren’t getting the memo lately that if you are promised a service, consumers actually expect it. Funny, isn’t it?

On October 12th, my family went to our local ‘Blinds to Go’ store, browsed through the selection of blinds, and for the vertical blinds – narrowed it down to two color choices.

At that point the sales lady informed us that between the two color choices we had narrowed down to, one of the colors were on back order for the vertical blinds and the other color was on back order for the horizontal blinds. She told us that the ones in stock would be installed most likely in two days after measurements were taken. She also told us that most likely the back orders would not arrive until the first week of November, but she would provide us with temporary blinds for the window treatments that were on back order for the time being.

We needed ten horizontal blinds and two vertical blinds.

Since we were in the process of moving after getting A LOT of renovations done in the new house, my mom and I decided that because we were okay with both color choices, we would choose the color that would only have two of our window treatments on back order (common sense, don’t you think? WHY would we ever choose to have the majority of our windows without window treatment for over three weeks by choice?). I confirmed with the sales lady MULTIPLE times which ones would be on back order, and left the store after placing the order pretty satisfied. I reasoned to my mom that having temporary blinds on two of our windows wouldn’t be such a big deal, rather than the whole house.

Two days later, the measurement guy came and measured all the windows. The following day, we got a call from the sales lady we talked to in the store informing us that the blinds were ready and that we should go ahead and schedule an installation date (with the guy that came to do the measurements).

We were scheduled for the following Monday (October 18th) at 3:30 PM, so we scheduled moving into our new house for Sunday (the 17th) thinking one night without blinds was doable, rather than waiting for a whole week until the following weekend.

Simple enough.

Fast forward to Monday (the 18th) at 3 PM (half an hour before our scheduled installation time), the in-store manager (George) from the store we placed the order calls us and says the two vertical blinds are ready, but the other ten blinds are on back order (the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what we were originally told!!!!!!)

As all of this is happening, I call the ‘Blinds to Go’ customer service department to explain what is happening and see what they can do to correct the situation. I speak to a Roberta, and I’m not even kidding when I say this, and her response is “So what do you want me to do?”

Gee, I don’t know. How about rectify the situation? Or do something about your incompetent staff. I guess the latter would be kind of hard for you since you sound pretty incompetent for your job yourself…

UGH.

No apology, nothing. She was clueless.

Roberta made the excuse that perhaps our sales lady was confused because the item names were similar to other products. How that is my problem, I don’t know. Besides, that is irrelevant considering there are item numbers and other identifying points for each product. If this lady is “confused” with the merchandise she is selling, that is obviously something she needs to work on (and double check as she places orders). I don’t know if Roberta thought her explanation sounded reasonable, but it just made both the sales lady and Roberta look and sound stupid.

Roberta goes on to say nothing can be done until the following day because she wanted to talk to the sales lady who placed our order and she wasn’t at work today. Welcome to the 21st century lady, technology has come a long way and phones (and even cell phones *GASP*) have become quite common.

Still feeling absolutely dissatisfied (and since their company’s customer service department itself was useless), that evening we headed back to the store to see if we could work something out. When we got there, we approached George (the in-store manager who called us earlier, remember?).

He was adamant about the fact that our sales lady must have given us the right information and that we misunderstood (yeah, right. all FOUR of us), but that nothing could be done until our sales lady came back to work the next day. When we asked George why he couldn’t just call her and ask what the deal was, he simply said “I’m just not going to do that” and that “besides, our customer service department is already waiting for her to call them back”.

After some back and forth, we finally somehow got George to call the sales lady (nothing was resolved) and then George called someone named something to the likes of ‘Shah’ or ‘Shaw’ who I’m presuming is his boss or something and LIES to him in front of us. As we are standing right there, he tells the guy that he’s playing phone tag between the customer and the sales lady because neither of them are present – like seriously, what kind of a circus are they running? WHO DOES THAT?

To say we were steamed doesn’t do justice. But it gets even worse.

At this point, it’s been well over an hour since we came into the store. It’s 6:56 PM (store closes at 7). The only other associate working that day yells from the back to the manager to ask if she can close to which he agrees. Minutes later, she comes back to the front and starts yelling at us! In a moronic and yelling voice, she’s like what do you expect us to do, call the customer service department – we have families to get home to and shuts off the store lights and starts to force us out of the store. I don’t know her name, but I did hear her mention to another customer earlier that she was from Nepal so that was the only identifying factor I have.

Needless to say, we canceled our order from this store from hell (but not with ease). They wouldn’t even let us cancel our order at first, so I threatened to go directly to the President of the chain and report them to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) … and so of course I got a call right back telling me I could cancel the order.

A) The store wasn’t even closed yet B) If there is an issue, you as a business are supposed to deal with (not cowardly run from it and lie to make it even worse) C) You don’t kick a customer out of the store D) Would any of the above have happened if we were at the store past closing time if we were there to make a purchase instead? Of course not.

As a college student, I’ve worked in retail on the side and the number one rule for dealing with customers is your attitude makes the world of a difference. I don’t know what kind of business “Blinds to Go” is running, but it is by far the most horrendous bunch of people I’ve ever experienced.

I don’t know why after all of the massive renovation projects we took on, something as minuscule in comparison like the blinds gave us the most problems.

I’ll have Part Two of this written and posted hopefully soon – sooner than the six days it took me to write this up since I first mentioned it (and even longer considering when it happened).

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Settling into the New House

We moved this past Sunday, and are slowly and finally settling into our new house.

The last month and a half have been insanely busy with all of the renovations our new house needed amongst the packing (and now finally unpacking).

We pretty much packed the whole house in two days — and that worked out for the best. I’d rather do it all at once and be tired for a few days than slowly pack over a longer course of time and spread the exhaustion for even that much longer.

It’s unbelievable to see how the house looks now, compared to how it was when we first it two years ago (or even how it looked a month and a half ago before any of the renovations began). It doesn’t even seem like it’s the same house. Waiting impatiently for the past two years paid off :).

I’ve got a few thoughts/posts in mind to write up when time allows (and I have wireless internet connection again at home – writing up a blog post from my iPhone isn’t as easy in comparison) in the next few days. A few of these posts will involve the horrible customer service we’ve experienced lately that has left me astonished.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Laffair II Bake Shop is a Joke

The following is the cake story I mentioned here.

When I go to a bakery and order a SPECIFIC cake and tell them it’s for a six year old BOY, I expect to get that specific cake. Seems reasonable, don’t you think?

This is the cake I ordered for a six year old boy’s birthday party from Laffair II Bake Shop in East Brunswick:

Now imagine me getting to the bakery to pick up the cake and I get a PURPLE cake with three flowers on it for a six year old BOY. I wish I had taken a picture of it to show how ridiculous it was, but I was too furious and annoyed.

Anyone in the local area should know that Laffair II Bake Shop is a joke. Not to mention they are rude, liars, and incompetent. Oh, and their customer service sucks.

As an (irrelevant) side comment, by the way, there are probably more children working there than actual adults/employees. When I went to place the order, the only two people in the front of the shop were two teenagers (one of whom took my order). I’m guessing the owners were in the back or something. The day I went to pick up the cake, the owners two kids who were in middle school (at max) were dealing with a lot of the customers.

When I informed the lady working there that this was not the cake I placed an order for and showed her on my order sheet that I had specified the cake I wanted when I placed the order, she went to the back and called one of the owners/managers (a husband and wife run the store).  When she came up, I explained that this was not anything like the cake I ordered not to mention it was a girls’ cake… and hideous looking. She asked to see from the book of cakes they have displayed (in an attempt to try and blame me for perhaps giving them the wrong cake number and/or information… but little did they know I’m meticulous for details).

When I showed it to her, she matched it to my order sheet a few times and then finally says that “Oh, we don’t make this cake anymore” as if that was supposed to somehow justify it. Like are they serious?? If they don’t make this cake anymore 1) WHY is it still displayed in their collection of cakes to order from 2) when I spoke to two different workers on my two previous visits before actually placing the order cake (one of them being said manager) why was I not informed that they don’t make this cake anymore 3) why did they not call me (they had my phone number) if they realized later on that they don’t make this cake anymore (this one ignores their stupidity for not telling me on my two visits, when I placed the order itself AND the fact that the cake is still prominently displayed in their list of cake options to choose from) and inform me of their mistake/problem.

If I place an order for a cake, I expect to get that cake unless I’m informed earlier of any problems that arise in between. It’s that simple.

After some arguing, the owner finally says she will have the cake redecorated for me in ten minutes to match the cake, but the spongebob toys– they don’t have those — and that she’ll give me a discount.

30 minutes later, still waiting for the cake, my brother sees the owner slip out from a BACK entrance! We give her the benefit of the doubt and think she’ll be back. Another 20 minutes or so later – the decorator finally brings the cake back out front and it looks okay (MUCH better than the purple cake, not as nice as the cake I ordered).

I inquire about the discount as we are preparing to leave and the worker there says “what discount?” even though she was right there when the owner discussed it with us and says the owner didn’t tell her anything about a discount. I ask her where the owner went considering my brother saw her leaving from the back door and driving away and she tells me she’s going to a funeral (I don’t think ANYONE has a funeral at night, so I don’t buy it… and even if they do, I know she was lying considering how our conversation had gone when I was talking to her earlier and the number of lies she told me in that small time frame).

I tell her to call her husband out and I want to talk to him and I’m repeatedly told “he’s coming” yet he just doesn’t come out. You know who does? Their two KIDS who are probably in middle school! One of them says that his mom said there’s no discount because she’s giving the decorative toys for the cake instead for free which is a LIE considering I paid an extra fifteen dollars for those toys. One of them puts a ten dollar bill down and says that is the best he can do after talking to his mom on the phone.

After yelling at them some more, I finally got a 25 dollar discount (which was still pretty bad considering the amount we paid for that cake but we were running late for the party so I just settled).

My uncle was adamant about having a spongebob themed cake since my cousin loves spongebob and we really had no other way to get a spongebob cake form somewhere else at that point as we were already running late for the party, so we ended up taking the cake. If it was my party I would have definitely walked away with a full refund. But I will NEVER order anything from there again, that is for sure , and no one else should either!

Oh did I mention they did not apologize even once? I heard a “I understand” once or twice, but they didn’t apologize or even seem apologetic at all. The two workers were actually smiling and rolling their eyes (like they were little immature kids) about it while I was waiting and trying to get answers.

We had to wait over an hour to finally get our cake and this is the cake I FINALLY received:

Still not anything like the cake I placed an order for, but MUCH better than the purple cake with three flowers on it.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Gotta Love AT&T… NOT! (Part 2)

Would you believe that 26 days after I wrote about my horrible experience with AT&T last month, I was still having issues with my phone this morning?

I did get the battery the next day, but as it turned out – my phone was also a part of the problem because it continued to get stuck randomly (and especially when I went to charge my phone), and shut off on its own.

So I was sent a replacement phone (the same phone I already had EVEN THOUGH I was told before that I would receive a different phone with the same features because they no longer manufacture this phone anymore).

I was thinking everything was resolved when I received my replacement phone a few days ago, but would you believe they sent me a defective phone??

Like seriously, are they trying to be annoying and going out of their way to create a hassle for their consumers? Do they not have somebody checking to see if their phones actually work?

If their brand new phones are already defective, can you imagine why the few people that I know that have this phone as well have all had problems with their phones too?

So back to the warranty/device support center I went. The woman looked at the phone, apologized, and confirmed that it was  indeed a defective phone. Fortunately, they had the phone in stock this time and she just replaced it for me there.

I am hoping my old phone was the issue, and its not just something that all LG Vu‘s do (considering its history), because the last thing I want to deal with is another member of the AT&T team.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.