Some complaints (from me)

So, just to let the tons of faithful TPMHTDM readers know (hi mom!), I have recently started writing on a new blog called “Complaints from Me. Actually it is a collaboration with my brother-in-law who started it.

Basically, it’s just where we document complaining letters that we send to various companies, along with their replies, if any. Long-time readers will know that I have done this several times in the past, usually with good success.

Anyways go check it out – I just posted three complaining letters – one to Kroger, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart

Fun times at Meijer

Here’s a letter that I just whipped out to Meijer
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Hello,

I am writing with a complaint from my recent shopping visit to Meijer store 224 (Marburg Ave Cincinnati OH) on Wednesday night around 6:30 p.m.

I came shopping with my entire family. Because I only needed to get a few things, I figured it was safe to bring everyone. Normally if I was doing a week’s worth of shopping I may have left my small children at home.

I quickly got my items and proceeded to the check out area. There were only 3 “regular” checkout lanes open, compared to 8 or so of the self checkout lanes. I understand that you probably are trying to save on paying more cashiers, and in general I applaud that. But this evening I had several coupons with my order, and I find that the self checkout machines always seem to “beep” on coupons (even though I’ve purchased the correct products in the appropriate amounts). These “beep”ings require a cashier override and since there is typically only 1 cashier for all of the self-checkouts, it manages to take approximately forever.

So I got in a regular lane. There were 2 people in front of me and I waited my turn. As the belt space opened up, I put my items on and waited. The gentleman in front of me was apparently having a problem. He bought 2 premade sub sandwiches and was arguing that they were supposed to be ringing up Buy 1 Get 1 Free. The cashier made 3 calls to various departments, eventually figuring out that he was correct, while I waited. But then this price correction apparently required a manager override. I waited. She called to customer service to request an override. I waited. As I waited, the gentleman requested 2 packs of cigarettes. The customer service manager apparently forgot about us, so while I waited, the cashier called again. The manager came over and put her code in and finally it was my turn.

The cashier scanned my items. The Cheerios that I bought did not ring up with the correct price, but eventually the cashier put in the correct (3/$5) price as an override. I gave her my coupons, and to my amazement, only 1 of them beeped! She verified that I had (of course) bought the right items in the correct amounts, and put in the coupon. I paid for my items, but of course my checkout (Catalina) coupon did not print out.

This week at my store, Meijer is offering a Buy 15 participating General Mills / Betty Crocker products, get a checkout coupon for 120 Box Tops for Education. Since it didn’t work, I trekked up to customer service where I waited (again) for my turn. Finally it came to be my turn and I explained my predicament to the gentleman working at the desk. He didn’t really have any idea what to do, so I suggested that in past times when these types of things have not worked (which sadly is all too frequent), the CS representative would just scan one of my items 15 times and the coupon prints out. He tried that with a variety of items that I had bought (all listed as “participating” items), but no coupon printed out. Finally I suggested that we try it at a regular lane. We went over there and finally! it worked and printed out my coupon.

I wished him well and left the store. All in all, from the moment I got in line to check out, to the moment when I was finally able to leave the store, it took 43 minutes.

Needless to say, this is unacceptable, and makes me much more likely to do my future shopping at Kroger or Bigg’s (especially since there are 6 Krogers that are convenient to me compared to the one Meijer store)

Thank you for reading this

Dan Miller
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Or actually that’s the letter I wanted to write to Meijer. Unfortunately, Meijer apparently only cares about the first 1400 characters of your experience. So THIS is the letter I actually sent to them.
============

Hello,

I am writing with a complaint from my recent shopping visit to Meijer store 224 (Marburg Ave Cincinnati OH) on Wednesday night around 6:30 p.m.

Under the impression that you would be interested in my poor experience last night in the hopes that it would help you improve your customer experience, I wrote a detailed letter explaining my issues.

However, I am limited to 1400 characters. If you are interested in improving your store’s customer service, I would be happy to send you the whole detail.

The short answer is that due to various Meijer issues (price mistakes, coupon beeping, checkout coupons failing to print, etc) it took me 43 minutes (no exaggeration) from the time I went to check out until the time that I was finally able to leave the store.

Needless to say, this is unacceptable, and makes me much more likely to do my future shopping at Kroger or Bigg’s (especially since there are 6 Krogers that are convenient to me compared to the one Meijer store)

Thank you for reading this

Dan Miller

If you start talking to me after I say goodbye….

…I am going to hang up on you.

This happens all the time when I am on the phone with various companies, for call center / customer service type things. We do our business, complete the transaction or what have you and then I say something along the lines of “Thank you so much”, in the tone that means “this is the end”.

This is their cue to immediately launch into some spiel about either thanking me for being a customer or trying to upsell me on some related product or whatever. Frankly I don’t know what all it is because I HANG UP THE PHONE!

People (and really it’s companies because I’m sure these folks are just doing what their bosses are making them do / say) – the appropriate reponses to “Thank you so much” and the ending tone are:

a) You’re welcome
b) Have a nice day
c) Good-bye.

That is all.

Complaining pays off baby!

Time to follow up on my earlier note about complaining about Home Depot. Here is the note I received back today


Dear Dan,

Thank you for contacting The Home Depot Customer Care.

We appreciate receiving feedback from you about your experience at the
Pleasant Ridge Home Depot store. We apologize for not meeting your
expectations.

Please know that the feedback you have provided is taken seriously and
will be used in the overall evaluation of the services we provide to our
customers.

We would like to offer you a $25 Home Depot gift card in the hope that
your next shopping experience will be a more pleasurable one. In
addition, it is our way to ‘thank you’ for taking the time to provide us
with this feedback. By doing this, you are giving us an opportunity to
improve.

Thank you, again, for sharing your comments and bringing this to our
attention.


So there you go. I would like to take a bit of time to make the distinction between making up complaints just to get free stuff and complaining because you were unhappy with something.

I think companies want to get feedback about how they’re doing, and ways in which they are not meeting their customer’s needs. I also have been known to give positive feedback when an employee really goes out of their way above and beyond. I don’t do that very often because I don’t think it happens really often, but I remember emailing about a particular Meijer pharmacist that I felt really went out of his way to help me.

Anyway, I highly recommend complaining when you receive poor service. a) you are helping these companies improve their performance for all of us and b) free stuff!!! :-)

Take that corn, ya Home Depot

Here’s a nice email I just sent off to Home Depot.


I am writing because I was extremely dissatisfied with the tool rental at my local home depot (Highland Ave in Pleasant Ridge / Cincinnati Ohio). I rented a 2 man power auger to dig some post holes on Wednesday night. I planned on using it for 4 hours and returning it, but the bit got stuck in the ground.

I called up the store and spoke to Zach R. I asked him for assistance in how I might be able to get the bit out. He explained that the machine did not have any type of reverse motor and didn’t really have any ideas for me to try, but he told me not to worry – he would put a note on my account to only charge me for the 4 hours. This was great and really set my mind at ease since we had already been trying to get it out of the ground for an hour or so.

I have a full time job so I was not able to get back over there till the evening of Thursday (the next day). We tried various ways to get it unstuck, including snapping a metal pipe wrench in half trying to reverse the bit, but with no success.

Finally on Friday I took a day of vacation from my job so that I could get this thing out. Zach from the store had told me that he would only be charging me for the 4 hours, but I wanted to be sensitive to your time and return it so it could be rented again if necessary. Finally, by digging a hole all the way around it to the depth of the bit we were able to extricate it. We cleaned it off and returned it to the store by Friday afternoon at 1:45 pm.

But when I got there, the man (Lawrence R) insisted that he could not charge me for only 4 hours. He did eventually give me a credit for 1 day of use, so instead of charging me for $140, I was charged for $70. I found it strange that he would discount $70 but not the additional $21 (to get it to the $49 rate for 4 hours that Zach had promised me over the phone). His explanation was that Zach must have meant that he would only charge me for 4 hours if I returned it by Thursday (rather than Friday). But Zach did not say that on the phone and I don’t know how I possibly could have been expected to know that?

So, after being (in my mind) overcharged for $24.61 (the $21 extra fee, $2.10 extra damage protection and $1.51 extra sales tax), rather than continuing my shopping at the Home Depot store, I went 2 minutes down the street to Lowe’s and bought my sump pump, kitchen faucet, 3 light fixtures and 5 4x4x6 posts (total spent at Lowe’s was $196.26).


Since I’m in the middle of complaining about retail stores, let me paste one in I sent to GNC the other day


I would like to comment about an experience I had today at the GNC store
inside the Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, OH.

I was on a tight schedule so I left the rest of my family in the parking
lot so I could run into the mall when it opened at 10 to make a
purchase.

I got to GNC at 10 but the store was closed. I waited around for a bit
until the employee finally showed up at 5 after.

Without any type of apology, she greeted me with “It’s going to be a
bit” as she disappeared into the store to start the pre-opening
procedures.

About 5 minutes later she opened and I was able to finally make my
purchases at 10:10.

I was definitely disappointed since I was on a tight schedule. Though I
don’t shop at GNC very often so perhaps this is standard procedure at
GNC or mall stores. I understand that sometimes people are running late
but what got me the most was even the lack of an apology. Even a “Hey -
sorry I was running late” would have gone a long way….


That one snagged me a $15 gift certificate to GNC. Too bad I just stocked up on melatonin and I don’t really need much in the way of protein powder or whatever else they sell….

Lowe’s update

I thought I would give an update on the Lowe’s situation that I posted about last Friday. I called the installer about 4 p.m. and he said that he had sent his information off to the store. I called Lowe’s then and they told me that they had received it but there was some sort of processing that had to be done on their side before I could come pay for it. They told me that they would call me when it was ready and that my order had all kinds of ASAPs all over it. Mmm-hmm, sure they will.

So that Lowe’s is on my way home from work, so I stopped in an hour or so later. I went back to the flooring department and waited for the associate to finish helping someone else. While I was waiting, the guy from “installed sales” called me on my cell phone and told me it was all ready. When the flooring associate was finished, I told him my situation and he started looking for the order but couldn’t find it. I told him that the guy had gone out there today and measured and he said something like “Oh then it couldn’t possibly be ready now – it usually takes 2-3 days.” I told him that the guy from Lowe’s just called me like 5 minutes ago! He still couldn’t find it and so he went back to get a manager (I’m used to it!). They came back out a bit later and found my order. Apparently it was put in on the “old” system and not the “new” system. Or something. In any case I went to pay for it but couldn’t use my 20% off coupon because they don’t take them on installed sales / special orders / labor. I tried to get them to do it but the system wouldn’t let them and the manager wouldn’t (or possibly couldn’t) override it. Bummer as that cost me like $400.

So finally I accept the price and go to pay for it. The POS gives an 800 number to call for an authorization and after awhile of trying that, I get the notice that my card has been declined and I’d have to call Citibank. I called them and apparently Lowe’s had charged me $1900 this morning and they were wanting to know if that was an actual purchase. It was not, and after a few calls and investigations it turned out that they had charged me (again) for the deck materials (even though I had paid for it back on Wednesday). So that was annoying but I had Citibank lift the hold so I could buy the carpet.

By this time it was getting late. I had made an appointment for some folks to come look at our house to rent at 6:30 (yay!), and it was becoming apparent that I was not going to make it. So I made a call to have Carolyn be ready to show it. I hurried home and ended up hitting the tail end of their visit.

While this was all going on, I had received a call from the other Lowe’s, saying that my deck materials were on their way. I called back and ended up getting hold of a manager down there and after walking her through the various transactions, she saw where I was double charged, and said she’d reverse it. I have yet to verify if that has actually been taken care of or not.

Saturday I went to inspect the decking and (of course) they had just dropped it in the driveway AND there were things missing. So off I went to Lowe’s (again). Turns out that some of the stuff that I thought was missing they put in the front room of the house (even though I looked there; not sure how I missed it). And some of it they didn’t have and would be delivering later. I went back out to the house in the afternoon and counted and I think most of the stuff was there.

In non-Lowe’s annoyances, we had arranged for a few people to come over Saturday afternoon to paint but when I got there, it turned out that the drywaller had not finished sanding the drywall. So we couldn’t paint, and it was rather embarrassing to have to send those folks back home.

Back to Lowe’s, as I have mentioned previously, they have this promotion going on where for every $1000 you buy, you get a $100 gift card. I’ve been entering in my receipts, but I haven’t really been tracking it to make sure I hit the even thousand mark. Since obviously $3909.99 in total purchases is a lot worse than $4000. Well, $100 worse anyways. So I was entering in all my receipts from over the weekend and it came to …….. $7002.49! How cool is that? And I even went back in late on Saturday night to buy one last 5 gallon thing of paint since I didn’t think we would have enough. So that paint was free and then some. So we should be getting $700 in Lowe’s gift cards in the next 6-8 weeks. I think we can find some things to spend that on…

Lowe’s are idiots

Lowe’s is idiots? Lowe’s is an idiot? Hmmm… I must be grammatically sound before I go OFF on the annoyances of the past few days. On the one hand, the store’s name is Lowe’s. If you go to one singular store, it says Lowe’s, which I guess must be singular. But Lowe’s is an idiot doesn’t sound right. I guess what I’m really trying to say is the people at Lowe’s are idiots, which works. Okay then.

So Wednesday afternoon I go down and buy the last of my deck materials. I covered this in the last post. So the guy there said that they could totally load up their truck for me to rent and come by Thursday to pick it up, and to just call tomorrow (Thursday which is now yesterday). So I called and of course nobody had heard of anything nor done anything. Not surprising. So they set to work on it and then they call back a little later and say it’s a lot of stuff and would be like 2 or 3 trips / loads so would I rather just pay them $60 to deliver it. So I say okay. They say it would be delivered tomorrow (Friday which is now today).

So I call them up today to see when it might be delivered. After being transferred around several times, STILL nobody has heard of anything; the delivery guy does not have my “ticket”. They’re currently looking into that.

But that is not all; oh no, that is not all. Also on Wednesday (ear-lie in the morning before work) I went into a different Lowe’s to get my carpet. The first step in that is to pay them to come out and measure the area so that I know how much carpet to buy. They put me in the system, I pay the $35 for that, and then they turn me over to a flooring installer who will call me within 48 business hours. Flash forward to today and of course nobody has called me. So I call them up, go through a few people and finally get someone who tells me that they have 48 business hours. And I’m thinking “Lady, I have the timestamped receipt right in front of me and it’s been 50 hours”. She says that they have all day today to do it.

Now normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, because we’re actually not ready for the carpet until we paint, so it will be probably a week or so before we can get it installed. But Lowe’s has a promotion going on where for every $1000 you spend, you get $100 in gift cards. Well actually they have 2 similar promotions going on, but one of them expires 4/27. So I really need to pay for this carpet by Saturday (tomorrow) or I lose out on about $200 in gift cards.

So I ask for the name and number of this company that is supposed to call me. I call them, and of course Lowe’s has sent them zip. So she takes my number and calls me back in a few minutes. She had called the store and gotten my order. Then she asks “Can we come by on Tuesday?” I mention how I really need this done by tomorrow and she tells me she’ll see what she can do and will call me back.

In the meantime a lady calls me about renting our current house so I’m talking with her. And like 500 people call me while I’m on the phone with her. So I call back the deck Lowe’s – they don’t know anything and they’re going to look at it. I call back Missy from the flooring company – they called back the store and had them switch it to a different installer so that they could get it done today. What? GOOD customer service? I’m floored!!! Goooooo Pro Flooring of Cincinnati!!

But then Lowe’s calls the house and talks to Carolyn (even though I told them to call my cell) and she doesn’t know what’s going on with anything because I haven’t kept her in the loop. The lady is snippy with her and so then she (Carolyn) calls me (one of the 500). Finally I get that straightened out and someone is coming to measure this afternoon (no thanks to Lowe’s)

Good times!

Kroger part 2

Okay – many of you have commented in on my last post, wanting to know if Kroger had indeed gotten the best of me.

OF COURSE NOT!!!!!

In fact, I’m hurt that you could even suggest such a thing. They caved like a master spelunker. It actually wasn’t even that hard. I called up to the Kroger 1-800 customer service line. Spoke to a lady there, explained my situation, and she added it to my plus card like that.

We talked for a little while and I thought I would share a few things. I asked if there was indeed a limit on how many of these pharmacy coupons you could use. She said that she thought there was a limit of $60 but that the pharmacist could override that. She said that they typically would override it for good customers, such as myself (her words).

Then she started talking about how they have that limit there because some people would just take advantage of things. She said that there shouldn’t be a problem for good, loyal customers such as myself (she said this several times during our conversation).

Then she delivered the money line, which went something like:

“Because you know, some people just use these coupons to get free groceries and that’s just not right”

GOOD! TIMES!

She’s right – free groceries aren’t right – it’s better when they pay you! That happened Friday afternoon – got a whole load of stuff and after coupons, and the buy 10 get $5 off promotion and some of those pharmacy rewards, my total came out to -$0.36. It’s always funny when they’re like “Okay your total is 36 cents” and I have to be like “Uhhhh actually YOU owe ME 36 cents” :-) .

Uhhuh Kroger, you want a piece of ME?

Apparently Kroger does not read my blog in which National City caves (Part 1 and Part 2). I go there today for some deals and also go to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy. I had to have them transfer it over from Meijer where Meijer had only let me use one prescription coupon at a time (good for $20 off a future order). Naturally I had another one in hand.

The pharmacist scanned it (though she looked annoyed about it) and I paid and that was that. Except that I did not get a receipt saying that my Rx Rewards had printed, and my balance remained at $15.49 (from the $20 pharmacy coupon I did a few days ago for a different one). I stop and ask about it.

She then starts babbling lies. First off she says that they don’t print out a separate receipt. I tell her that I’ve seen it. She says they changed the system. I tell her I was just here on Wednesday and it did it. Then she tells me that there is a limit of how many you can do per Kroger card. I say I haven’t heard anything about that – what’s the limit. She makes up “3″. And then just walks away.

Ooooooh Kroger you have not heard the last of this one. I will get my $20 out of you. I called the annoyingly named helpline 1-800-KROGERS but they are closed. But I will be on the case Monday baby.

In which National City caves (Satisfaction part 2)

Oh yes National City, you WILL be mine. Following up on the post from the other day, here are the updates on my saga with National City.

Attempt 7: Going back on what the lady in Attempt 6, I called up what is apparently my “home branch”, which is where I opened the account some 10 years ago, although I don’t think I’ve been back since. Spoke to the lady that answered the phone and explained my problem. Well actually I didn’t really explain my problem so much as just tell her I wanted these fees waived. She of course said she couldn’t do that and I’d have to talk to the manager, who was conveniently on vacation until Monday. I pulled out one of the good phrases from that blog I linked yesterday – “I see this fee here and I’d really like to get it waived. What else can you do to help me?” Turns out there is also an “office manager” who can do it. But she was with a customer, so I could call back in 10-15 minutes. I instead opted to leave my name and number and have her call me when she was free.

Attempt 8: No call for an hour or two. So I called back – ended up speaking to the same lady. I introduced myself again and the lady explained that the manager lady was in with a different customer. I said nothing and eventually she put me on hold. After a moment or two, the manager lady answered. I again said I wanted the fee waived. Actually I said I got 2 of these overdraft charges and I’d like one of them waived, but she saw my trick and said that one of them was already waived, so I had to restate that I wanted the OTHER one waived too. She asked me if this is the first time my balance has been negative. I danced around the question since the answer is no and I didn’t want to lie about it. And then she said “Okay I’ll do it”. We talked about various other overdraft options (none free :-/) and that was that.


And there’s the proof! I’m kind of glad because I was totally going to drop National City if they didn’t cave on this. And that would have been annoying.