How can they treat customers that way? Part Three

February 14 2008 by Ellen Roseman

This is a catchall title for the interesting complaints that come my way that don’t fit into specific categories already on this blog.

What makes you mad? What letters have you sent to companies that never got a response?

It’s Valentine’s Day and I should be showering love and compliments around. But as a consumer advocate, I hear more tirades than tributes. They can’t all fit into the paper, but they can get an airing here.

45 comments

  1. WB

    Feb 14 2008

    Possible credit card scam:

    I had an automated phone call come to my house this morning saying that my ‘credit card company’ was calling (but didn’t identify which one… I have several I deal with) and that I qualified to have my interest rate reduced. If I’d like more information, I could press 1 and an operator would be right with me. Out of curiosity, I pressed one.

    The operator came on and said that I had indeed qualified for a reduction in my current interest rate and that she would have a couple of quick questions for me. Before she could proceed, I cut in to ask which credit card company she represented. Her response was “both VISA and Mastercard”. At this I smiled, realising this was definitely a scam.

    I pressed her further for information, which she dodged several times and began getting rude. In the end, SHE hung up on me.

    I believe they are calling people up with fake offers, then requesting your information so that it can be stolen and used for fraudulent purposes.

    After being hung up on, I immediately *69′d the number only to find, surprise-surprise, that it was unobtainable. I then called the operator to see if they could track it down as I
    wanted to report this to the appropriate authorities.

    As I use Rogers Home Phone, I was connected with their operators. After being bounced around from CSR to CSR for over an hour, it became apparent that nobody seemed to know how to retrieve the number that had called me and I was told that it was impossible to find. Myself, I find this hard to believe that in this day and age of technology, there are no records anywhere of a call coming into my house.

    So, without anything that I can give to the authorities, this scam will just continue. People will lose their identities and credit ratings and credit card companies will lose money, while all our rates go up as a result.

  2. JM

    Feb 14 2008

    Problem with Bloomex, an online flower company:

    On Dec. 5, my brother’s girlfriend ordered a rose arrangement from an online flower company called Bloomex. (My fiancée and I became engaged the night before and the flowers were a surprise congratulations present.) She paid $57, including an additional charge for evening delivery (between 6 pm and 9 pm).

    When my fiancée and I came home at 5:30 pm on Dec. 5, a notice had been left on our door from Bloomex with a 1-800 number to call. The sales representative asked for an invoice number. Unfortunately, the person who delivered our flowers did not leave an invoice number on the notice.

    With incredible patience, we repeated this process an additional 5 times over the following 4 days, with still no response at all.

    We finally received the flowers on Monday, Dec. 24. This was 19 days after they had been ordered. The flowers were daisies, not roses (which had been paid for). Half were dead on arrival. The other half died within 2 days.

    On Dec. 27, I sent Bloomex an email saying we did not receive the correct order and the flowers we did receive were damaged. I attached a picture of the damaged flowers. I have not heard back from the company.

    I decided to research this company’s history online. Not surprisingly, there have been numerous complaints posted on different websites regarding its poor customer service.

    I am extremely disappointed in Bloomex. Not once has anyone returned our phone calls, even though we have left our names and phone numbers. I am truly astounded that a company (which claims on its website to be “efficient and accurate”) does not seem at all concerned about customer satisfaction.

  3. CanadianRetiredGuy

    Feb 14 2008

    Two years ago I bought a new style can opener for $6 in the US. This month it has failed and I want another one — but they don’t appear to be sold in Canada. I called the company to see if it was here and the rep said “it shouldn’t have failed” and told me to send it back for replacement. I explained sending a $6 item would cost $10 and so she wanted bill of sale and UPC code for proof of purchase. I told her I could find the bill but would not have the original shrink wrap. So she said “take a photo of it and send me that”.

    I did and a new one is on the way.

    I figured I would start the comments with one where a company does something right.

    The URL for the brand is http://www.goodcook.com. The company is called Bradshaw International.

  4. CC

    Feb 14 2008

    Bloomex Flowers – Total Frustration and Back Again

    1. Ordered two plant arrangements the morning of Dec. 31, one for delivery to Edmonton and one to Calgary.

    2. Bloomex guaranteed same day delivery, which is why I chose to use their company.

    3. On Jan. 3, I called a couple times to find out where the orders where and why they had not being delivered as promised. There was no explanation. Plant basket arrived in Calgary three days late.

    4. I asked for a refund on the $10 delivery in that it was three days late. It was entered in the computer as a request to some mythical decision maker in a mythical land.

    5. On Jan. 3 and 4, I called at least 2-3 times to find out where the Edmonton order was. No one called back.

    6. The flowers arrived upside down and out of the basket. The recipient, my aunt who’s 75, asked for another basket. Bloomex said she had to send them a photo of the upside down basket. Aunt told them 4 times she didn’t have a camera and had no way of taking the picture. She also called them twice asking for a new plant. Bloomex called her at least 2 times to harrass her about supplying a picture. One of the two plants was a $1.99 plant. The entire basket was $29.99. Finally she told them to forget it and to debit my bill. Nothing arrived. I was not notified.

    7. I returned from vacation Jan. 21 and my aunt told me she received the basket on Jan. 4, delivered upside down and the plants fallen out of the basket. I called and asked for a manager or supervisor to call me. No one called all week.

    8. On Jan. 24, called again and no one called back. The people who answer the phones at the call centre have zero connection with a live human being. There is no head office number, there is no one to talk to and no one seems to want to help. There is absolutely no recourse in getting hold of a person in authority.

    9. On Jan. 25 and 26, no call was returned to me.

    10. On Jan. 28, I received a Visa bill that credited the one basket of plants but still charged me for the two deliveries. Another useless CSR said he would put an URGENT on the email as he had no authority to debit the delivery fees.

    11. No one called. As far as I am concerned, by not deleting the delivery charges, they have robbed me.

    12. On Jan. 29, someone finally got back to me after 3 weeks of phoning and pleading and begging.

    “Your company is an embarrassment to its profession and gives the word customer service a whole new meaning…a raspberry!” I said in an email. “Bottom line, you should credit my VISA with both delivery rates and I could care less what your policy is. Surely one of your policies might be to do what you say and on time and if that that isn’t what you do, don’t ask me to read your return policy. Just take care of this please, now. Amen!”

  5. SW

    Feb 14 2008

    Canadian Tire’s return policy:

    I bought a small fitness stepper from a Canadian Tire store Dec. 31 when it was on sale. There was no floor model to see, but I assumed if there was any problem, I could return it.

    I opened the box and found out it was hard for me to use, so I went to return it on Jan. 4. Then I was told it was “repair only”. I said there was no sign in the store with any warnings that it couldn’t be returned at the time of the sale. They said it was on the receipt.

    Then I noticed on the receipt it showed: STEPPER FITNESS $47.94
    REPAIR ONLY $0.00

    I tried to explain that I wasn’t aware of it and the design of the Stepper was tight for my knee. The lady at the customer service desk simply said that “too bad, it’s the policy”. I began to feel being cheated and asked to talk to the manager. The manager showed that same attitude, in a tone basically saying — it’s your problem.

    By then I was quite upset and said “This is not right, you need to let your customers know the restrictions before a product was purchased, instead of trying to slip the trick in the receipt”. With the same mocking tone, the manager said “You don’t need to raise your voice, all right?”, “Do you need a microphone?” ….

    Since I knew I wouldn’t be able use it anyway and they kept saying it’s “repair only”, I said: “You repair it then, it’s too tight”. I asked how long it would take. The lady said it was “minimum two weeks”. Then I asked what the maximum time would be. She said “no maximum, that’s out of our control”.

    As a customer, I feel I have been cheated and bullied. They have intentionally made the indication of “no return” only on the receipt. By the time a buyer gets the receipt, he/she has already purchased it, too late to return it already.

  6. IF

    Feb 14 2008

    Defective heated car seat in 2003 Volkswagen Jetta:

    Last November, when I turned on the heated seats for the first time, there was the smell of smoke in the car. I turned off the seats right away with the intention to go to the VW dealer to have this looked at.

    Before Christmas I was driving in Oakville at moderate speed, when I felt a pain under my leg. So I put my hand under my leg on the seat to see what might be causing this and got an electrical shock. Then I noticed smoke coming from the car seat. I turned off the heat right away. Upon closer inspection of my car seat, I realized that there were 2 holes burned in the seat.

    I drove to the dealership right away and was told they were going to fix it. Right after the purchase of the car, there had been a recall on the heated car seats by VW and this recall has been extended to June 2008. That leads me to believe that VW does have a problem with its heated car seats. I had brought my car into the dealership to have it fixed right after I received the recall notice, shortly after the purchase of the car.

    While my car was being fixed on Jan. 2, I called VW Canada headquarters with my concern. I do a lot of highway driving at higher speed than town driving and often have my grandchildren (age 5 and 3) in the car. I shared my concern that getting an electrical shock and having holes burned in the seat while driving could have caused a major accident.

    My concern was met with total indifference. I was told that the problem would be fixed free of charge and that was it. End of story.

    I feel the public should be made aware of this existing problem, before any accident will happen. This is dangerous.

  7. AV

    Feb 14 2008

    Ontario health card renewal:

    I got my Health Card Renewal Notice and finally had the time to phone their 1-888-376-5197 number to make an appointment. I even called the recommended Tuesday-Friday between 10-4 p.m. so I could take advantage of “their best service”.

    Many times the line was busy, so I kept pounding redial and struck gold after 15 minutes. I entered the selection for health card replacement and was automatically transferred to another line that was busy and got kicked out!

    Had to start over, as it seems that the number above is NOT a dedicated line for card replacements but serves many departments. I was kicked out twice, then got through and was on hold 21 minutes before I could make an appointment.

    Health cards and driver’s licence renewals coincide with birth dates. It would be great if they shared the same facilities for renewal.

    My advice: Keep the old red health card as long as you can. The aggravation and inconvenience inherent with renewing the new one is not worth the change.

  8. Terry

    Feb 14 2008

    I too have had the call from “my credit card company”. The call says it is urgent that I return their call. The next statement says that there is no problem with my card but I can get a lower rate. I’ve never actually let it go past there. Ellen – what do you advise that we do if we receive these types of calls?

  9. DH

    Feb 14 2008

    British Airways didn’t give promised refund:

    A year ago, I booked a ticket with British Airways for a trip Toronto-London-Tel Aviv-London-Toronto, leaving Toronto on July 4/07. This was not a cheap ticket (in fact, it was just over $3,000), but it did have restrictions on it.

    On July 1/07, there was the bombing in Glasgow airport, which had a snowball effect on all British Airways flights worldwide. As a result, BA offered passengers the chance to change or cancel their reservations without penalty.

    I opted to cancel, which I did by phone on July 3/07. I was assured by the agent that my fare would be refunded, although it might take some time, since they had an enormous backlog to deal with. So far, so good.

    In August, BA credited my VISA card with $554.82. I started calling BA to ask about the rest of the amount owed. I spoke to agents and supervisors, all of whom kept telling me that they would sort it out with the Refunds Dept., but nothing happened. I also contacted BA Customer Relations and still nothing.

    BA no longer has any offices in Canada (even though they fly here). Everything is handled by a call centre in Florida. But both Customer Relations and the Refunds Dept. are in NYC (just outside JFK Airport). And there is no phone number for either. The closest you can get is a fax number or a PO Box. I sent a fax and received an automated response, but nothing further. I wrote (via snail mail) and still there was no response.

    When I finally called the UK (they do have a phone number for Customer Relations), they promised to deal with it. Yeah, right – it did at least produce a response. Guess what? It was a confirmation about the refund of $554.82. This is how I found out that what they refunded were the taxes. For the rest, I keep hitting a brick wall.

    Had there been an office in Canada, I would have gone to Small Claims Court. But it is BA in the USA that deals with Canada. I consulted a lawyer friend who explained to me that it would be an exercise in futility to sue them through the Ontario system, since they are not in this country, and you cannot serve papers on an entity which only lives in a PO Box.

    This has been going on for nearly six months.

  10. DM

    Feb 14 2008

    Diminishing product containers:

    My wife has been drinking the Maxwell House half-caf instant coffee for a number of years. Last week, she was confused seeing a jar that looked different from the one she regularly buys. The jar also showed a content of 150 grams of coffee. Since she usually buys the 200 gram jars, she came home and mentioned the situation with bafflement.

    Immediately we thought: “Maxwell House pulled a Colgate!” You may remember toothpaste used to come in nice fully squeezable metallic tubes of 100 grams. One day, these tubes were replaced with tubes made of a plastic material that contains only 75 grams and cannot be squeezed properly, leaving in the “finished” tube another 5-10 grams, for a total loss of 30%. But the price stayed the same for the new smaller tubes as it was for the larger ones; it may even gone up…

    It is not a secret that all food and product containers in our stores shrink, none more visibly than the yogurt containers. They shrank from 125 to 112 to 100 grams, always under the guise of new and improved content, new content design, but with price unchanged or even, in some cases, increased.

    We consumers are exploited shamelessly by all these companies and nobody is out there to protect our rights. Our pockets are picked right and left.

    Back to Maxwell House: it turns out Maxwell House replaced all its 200 gram jars of instant coffee with 150 gram jars and, you guessed right, the retail price remains the same. ValuMart charges $5.99 for the “new and improved” 150 gram jar as it charges for the old 200 gram jars. Since the two sizes were side by side on the shelf, we bought four of the last remaining five 200 gram jars, feeling a bit uncomfortable for doing it, and yet feeling cheated. As conspiracy theorist, I also noted that the new jars were not launched with any discount promotion as it is usually done with “new and Improved” products, all so that the increase in price of 33% will go undetected, below the public radar.

    Alas, I can’t offer a solution. Most consumers seem to be oblivious to the phenomenon of the ever decreasing containers, and maybe they feel helpless and give up. We are being taken advantage of and there are no government controls in place for cases such as these: the market is supposed to regulate itself. If stores had cheated with their scales, this would have been deemed as an infraction by the law and punished accordingly. If manufacturers pick our pockets subversively and shamelessly, we are their prisoners with no chance of parole.

  11. VL

    Feb 14 2008

    Unwanted telemarketing calls:

    We have been pestered by this source that calls and then does not speak. (I suspect they may be computer generated calls and the caller responds to the first one that answers.)

    Through a bit of detective work following great frustration, I landed on this web site:

    http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-905-296-1555

    I am amazed that the breadth of complaints from those who have been harassed has not shut them down.

    Is there a way to complain directly to the communication carrier?

    I have reached the ‘mail box full’ destination and am reluctant to call the alternative numbers identified in the above blog (e.g. 905-387-5091) or to mail something to the address one blogger has identified at 801 Mohawk W., Hamilton.

    I am struck by the frequency with which complainers suspect that the call is really an attempt to locate vulnerable addresses for Break and Enter. Is this a possibility?

  12. AH

    Feb 14 2008

    Overpriced duct cleaing service:

    My wife has had breathing problems lately and wanted to get the ducts cleaned in the house to help. We had a phone call from a company in Whitby (we live in Lindsay), offering duct cleaning at a price of $130 total.

    They came to put the big suction pipe on and were done in 35 minutes. Then they asked if we wanted the extra work done – putting his hand inside the blower to show me some grey dust. Had a list of some fancy names “power cleaning the A/C coil” -”power cleaning the burners” etc.

    I felt that the new “extra” would help and thought it would be a fairly extensive job for the money. However, this took exactly 20 minutes and consisted of using a compressor with an air gun and blowing inside the blower compartment. The extra cost me $197, which is about $10 a minute.

    The total was $327 – the $130 was OK but not the $197 on top. My wife had already written the cheque. I was still downstairs when they were gone.

    To add to the insult, at 9.30 pm that night my wife was talking about cold air blowing. I had to call a local furnace man and he found that the switch was in wrong position, leaving the fan in “on” position instead of “auto” — another $50 charge.

    I called the duct company in the morning. “We will reimburse you the $50.” I can’t see that arriving any time soon. We are seniors and I am mad at being taken. What are your feelings? Thanks .

  13. MY

    Feb 14 2008

    Changes to Intuit QuickTax Standard for tax year 2007:

    I have purchased the Standard edition for several years and completed my family’s return based on 5 returns over $25,000 and unlimited under $25,000. This year, I bought the product and discovered after installation that I can only complete two returns over $25,000 and 18 under $25,0000.

    After checking the box, I discovered that the information concerning the number of returns was recorded on the bottom of the container. I admit that I should have checked the box first, but I think that Intuit should have displayed the changes for the number of completed returns more prominently. I’m sure that other consumers will buy the product based on the previous releases.

    The program cost $40 and each additional return over $25,000 cost $15.

  14. brad

    Feb 15 2008

    I bought a new Windows computer last year, running Vista, that had a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007 on it. I purchased a $600 license to the trial version, but after a couple of months realized that Vista wasn’t going to work for me (too many incompatibilities with programs I needed to use every day for work), so I downgraded the computer to XP. The downgrade process wiped my hard drive, including the trial version of Microsoft Office, but I figured since I had saved the product key, I could just download another trial version once I had XP up and running and use the same product key. No such luck. It said I had an invalid product key.

    I tried using Microsoft’s online support system, but got error messages, so I called their support line. After being sent around to several different numbers, I finally got hold of a person who understood my problem and told me to send an email to digitalriver, the contractor that handles Microsoft’s online payments and downloads, and to ask them to send me a new product code and CDs so I’d have a physical copy of the program.

    Digitalriver wrote back to say that CDs were not available. They confirmed my product code and told me try it again. I tried with no luck, so I wrote back. A few hours later, I got an automated email saying “We have received your request for a refund; please fill out and return the refund form below within 30 minutes of receipt of this email.” It said my refund would be processed within 5 days. I did as instructed and waited. In the meantime, since I needed Office for my work, I purchased a regular boxed CD version of Office 2007 so I could start using my computer, figuring the refund would be coming soon.

    A month went by and no refund. I wrote back to digitalriver and asked what was up, and the reply was “sorry, you are not eligible for a refund because you submitted your request more than 30 days after you purchased the program.” The email gave me a new product key and a download link on Microsoft’s website, but when I tried to download the file I got error messages again.

    I haven’t given up, but I haven’t yet had time to assemble all the email messages I received from Microsoft and digitalriver and write a letter of complaint to Microsoft. Maybe I’ll get my refund once I do that, but so far the whole process has been a bit surreal.

  15. Grampa

    Feb 15 2008

    Customer relations often does not exist or has a sharp fast-talking rep with a great excuse repertoire.

    My experience in writing complaints, about scammy marketing mostly, did not achieve much except to get it off my chest. I did observe that by addressing the letter to someone high in the organization, it could always be delegated downward. Also referring to the word ‘ethical’ seems to gather quick attention and I have even received a rebuttal from a corporate CEO. Still the fluffy replies will usually be empty and discouraging.

    “… the advertisement you refer to meets all legal requirements.”
    ” … subject to the ethical standards generally accepted by the industry.”
    ” … our intent has never been to mislead and I believe our practices will bear me out.”
    ” … the new TV program listing channel is an industry accepted format.”

    Maybe consumer dissatisfaction is just too widespread to be really concerned about. But we have to keep trying, don’t we?

  16. SB

    Feb 15 2008

    In May 2006, I wrote to you questioning the heavy (and I thought, misleading) promotion TD was giving to Visa cheques, saying they were convenient and free, but charging 19.75% from each transaction date, not statement date. Since many do not read carefully, I felt it would encourage more debt for those already in difficulty.

    My latest Visa bill (my husand and I always pay ours in full) came with another promotion folder that I feel will lead to serious problems for families. It says “Get Cards for your family and friends with no approval required”. Share your Visa with friends or family by giving them up to “three Authorized User Visa Cards at no additional charge! Each person gets their own card on your account and no credit approval is required for Authorized Users. Everyone’s purchases will appear on one consolidated statement for your convenience.”

    TD has been my bank for over 50 years, but it is troubling that they seem prepared to go to any lengths to increase profits by encouraging spending, when so many young people and marginal income families are in heavy credit card debt. Perhaps all banks are doing this, but in view of their burgeoning profits, it seems to be immoral.

    —————————————————————

    Kelly Hechler, TD Bank spokeswoman:

    The promotion this customer mentions sounds like a standard offer for a supplementary card, which is a very common option. As with all such offers, credit is not being extended to supplementary cardholders, nor is it being increased to the primary cardholder.

    The credit limit remains the same and the cardholder remains responsible for the balance. It’s a convenient option for cardholders who may, for example, want their university student son or daughter to have a card in case of emergency…

    ————————————————————–

    SB’s response:

    I was aware that the credit limit would remain the same and that the principal cardholder would be responsible. However, I also felt that the card might well be maxed out without approval for other than emergencies, particularly in the case of card-holding university students or other young adults who shared with friends.

    Perhaps I am an old stick-in-the-mud, but it still sounds like easy credit… and even if not maxed out, unpaid balances at 19% plus can add up awfully fast. Just hope they understand compound interest and parents or friends know when to practice tough love.

  17. SR

    Feb 15 2008

    Lost Aeroplan points when a spouse dies:

    Aeroplan has a policy to terminate points upon death. But when there’s a beneficiary, the points can be transferred to the beneficiary at a cost of $30 plus tax for the administrative fee and $0.01 per point. My father had accumulated over 100,200 points and it would cost my mother close to $1,500 to have the points transferred to her.

    Here’s the latest letter she wrote to Aeroplan. She got a call from the state planning department, saying there was nothing that could be done for her.

    From 1997 to July 2007, my husband and I held a joint CIBC Visa Aerogold Account for which we both were cardholders. The Aeroplan points that were accumulated from each of our card purchases were credited only to my husband’s Aeroplan card.

    Over the past ten years, my husband accumulated several thousands Aeroplan points from our joint purchases.
    After my husband’s sudden death on July 9, 2007, out of courtesy, I sent a written notice to Aeroplan in September informing them of his death and requesting that his points be transferred to my Aeroplan account. I was not given a reply in writing but instead I was contacted by telephone by an Aeroplan agent who informed me that my husband’s points could only be transferred to me for a transfer fee.

    English is not my first language and I did not understand what I was being told and the agent who contacted me was very abrupt and impolite. Thereafter, my daughter contacted Aeroplan to find out if there is anything we could do and she also dealt with a very insensitive supervisor who told her that “it doesn’t matter if you write in or speak to someone, no matter what the points will not be transferred because that is our policy”.

    I am aware that corporations have policies in place but I was not aware that for the past 10 years, the points that I have jointly earned would be withheld from me. I could have easily not informed Aeroplan of my husband’s death and could have redeemed my points for travel over the internet, as the email and password on my husband’s account was my daughter’s.

    I think it is unreasonable that I do not benefit for the points that I have accumulated from the purchases I jointly made. I believe that Aeroplan’s policy on transferring points should reflect joint Visa account holders who earn points together. Either these points should be accumulated into a joint Aeroplan account or should be allocated in accordance with what is spent on each individual card.

    “My husband currently has over 100,000 points. These are points we both earned from making over $100,000 worth of purchases on our Visa cards. My husband sadly passed before having a chance to enjoy the points for free travel, but I am certain that he would have wanted his family to take advantage of these hard-earned points.

    If Aeroplan doesn’t help, I have no other option but to contact the CIBC Ombudsman.

  18. bylo

    Feb 15 2008

    Re SR’s situation, my understanding is that an Aeroplan member can redeem their points to get tickets for other family members. If you have the deceased person’s Aeroplan log-in information, then you should be able to redeem their miles for your own use. Make sure that their e-mail address and mail address, etc. will reach you. How would Aeroplan ever know that the member is deceased?

    I realize this may not be strictly “kosher” but considering that Aeroplan’s “generous” offer of transferring points for $0.01/point plus $30 (plus GST!) represents almost the value of the points being transferred, my conscience is completely clear. I’m simply doing to them what they’re trying to do to me.

  19. DH

    Feb 15 2008

    A good news story for you.

    I bought my first Mac in the mid-1980s. My fifth Mac, bought in 2005, turned out to be a nuisance, not at all what I expected from a Macintosh Apple.

    No viruses – it suffered from scab. The total of all the problems I had with the first four came nowhere near the problems I had with the fifth.

    MicroAge, Apple’s re-seller in Peterborough, suggested I contact Apple and express my disappointment. MicroAge said it would verify my record.

    My records were meticulous – every part that broke, every program that failed, every re-install, every replacement part I had to wait weeks for, every thing that wasn’t reliable, every trip I had to make to MicroAge.

    Firmly and politely, I explained that this wasn’t why I buy Macs. I let them know how disappointed I was.

    Within minutes, after Apple called MicroAge, Apple called back and said my new computer was on its way. Wow!

    Since 2.5 years in computer time is a lifetime, Apple sent me the latest iMac and even refunded the portion of the 3 year AppleCare I had not used on the 2005 iMac.

    Advice for your readers:

    - Keep complete and accurate records of everything to do with your computer’s performance and repair.

    - Make a calm but firm phone call. Ask the rep to listen, without interruption, to your experience. No sarcasm. No bile. No shouting. Some humour. No harangue. Just be polite.

    - Express your loyalty to the product.

    - Indicate that you know the manufacturer can do better.

    And when the service rep calls to tell you the good news, thank her and tell her that, since she has more than made you happy and made Apple look good, she can go home early.

  20. Joanne

    Feb 20 2008

    Bloomex – what a scam! On Feb. 15, I ordered 20 tulips to be delivered to my 73 year old mother. I paid almost $57 for the order and I knew she would enjoy the tulips very much.

    I spoke to her after she received the flowers and she was very low key. I finally said “are you enjoying your tulips?” She responded, “Tulips! I didn’t get any tulips. There are a few small white flowers with some greens!” I almost fell out of my chair!

    So I contacted Bloomex online operator, who said to send a picture and after much back and forth said to email wecare@bloomex.ca. I called the florist that sent the flowers to Mom (apparently Bloomex went through Teleflora, which ordered the flowers from a florist where my mother lives – so much for going through “growers only”).

    The florist advised that Teleflora had requested “a mix of colors to include tulips, small bouquet, fill to value” to the value of $27 (note I paid $56.47 for the order and I ordered 20 tulips). The florist advised Teleflora they did not have any tulips, could they use aster maria (spelling??). Teleflora said that would be fine.

    No one called me to say that they could not fill my order or that they were going to drastically alter the order. And to date, no one from Bloomex has contacted me to correct this situation.

    I emailed several times to Bloomex at wecare@bloomex.ca but obviously they don’t. Bloomex is a scam and they offer absolutely no customer service at all. They had the audacity to charge me $56.47 and turn around and request a $27 arrangement be sent to my mother! Do not use this company at all!

  21. Wade

    Feb 21 2008

    Joanne,

    File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

    They may not be able to help you but at least it’ll show up as a complaint against them. It may prompt them to get off their asses and do something to rectify the situation.

    A friend of mine is currently waging a battle with a company that said they’d refund him, but still hasn’t done so. The BBB can’t enforce anything, but it’ll show you’re serious.

    You can bet that I’ll never use bloomex.ca and I’ll make damn sure anyone I know doesn’t either.

  22. Wade

    Feb 21 2008

    What about insurance company scams?

    You know, you pay premiums for dental coverage, vision coverage, etc. and then when you submit a claim it is deemed “invalid”.

    Suppose you have “accidental dental coverage”. You take out a Hot Pocket, heat it up and chomp down on a foreign object in it, necessitating emergency dental work for a broken tooth. Then you find that you’re out hundreds of dollars because the insurance company doesn’t consider breaking teeth on foreign objects in food to be “an accident”, because you “willingly or unwillingly put something” (including food) in your mouth.

    If you’d been wacked across the face with the Hot Pocket, breaking a tooth, you’re covered. But because you decided to actually eat it, you’re not.

  23. MG

    Feb 21 2008

    Timmie’s, you take the cake…or the bagel, as it goes.

    Purchased a bagel, toasted, no butter, from the College Park store Feb. 2. The posted price, “bagel, no butter – $1.05.” The salesclerk handed me my bagel without toasting it, so again I asked that it be toasted.

    She then proceeded to change my total on the register from $1.05 to $1.10! When I asked why, she said to be toasted. I repeated that I did NOT want butter and the posted price referred to $1.05 but was quickly told, “yes, but you want it toasted, so that’s $1.10.”

    I was shocked and appalled at this corporate policy, 5 cents to toast a bagel!!! Had the Bagel Stop in College Park been open, I would have told her to “stick the bagel AND the toaster.”

    For many years, I have been purchasing Tim Hortons products and dropping my loose change into your timmie boxes. This will stop as I now realize that I’ve been donating to a hypocritical organization. Shame on you!!

  24. RL

    Feb 21 2008

    What has happened to the taste of Lakeport Honey? It was one of my all time favourite beers, mellow and rich with a great head which ringed the glass like a good beer should. Now it tastes bitter and barky and has lost all its richness.

    Is it a coincidence that Labatt Genuine Honey seems to have acquired the atttributes that Lakeport used to have, albeit with a price increase?

    I dislike Labatts with a passion and will never buy their products. Why could they not leave it alone? I hate the monopoly situation with the big beer companies even more. The fact that their products cost so much more adds insult to injury. Compare a Blue and the original Lakeport Honey at basement floor temperature for taste. There is no comparison. The price of the Blue is a joke. I guess Labatts is laughing all the way to the bank.

    I will not even go into the ridiculous new beer store design with the so called “beer express” conveyors. Guess whose brands are on the beer express?

    Let general retailers sell beer. Let beer makers supply their local community or further out if they are successful. Let beer makers enjoy the success of their hard work and quality products without being sucked up and destroyed by the monopolists.

    Let the comsumer benefit not just big breweries and the government.

    Congratulations to the original people at Lakeport for having a great product and great pricing.

    Here’s the response I got from the company:

    “We’re sticking with brewing Lakeport beers as they were originally developed to be brewed. We intend to continue bringing value to Lakeport beer drinkers through brewing great beer and selling it at a fair price.”

    I accept the comment from the quality department with the sincerity with which I am sure it was sent.

    But I repeat, the beer tastes different to me and unless I get my taste buds replaced it is not the same.

    I’m not buying it any more because I do not like it. I had bought it continuously for several years.

    I cannot in good conscience buy the Labatt’s product because I just have this nagging feeling that somehow things have been manipulated. I’ll find a new house beer, hopefully from another independent before it gets sucked up by the big fish.

  25. EB

    Mar 3 2008

    Let me tell you a story about the system DOES work (at least it did for me).

    Back in January, I received my car insurance renewal. I did what I always do, go shopping for a better rate. I hooked up with a company that was sponsored by college alumni and, with an apples to apples comparison, it came out $600 cheaper than my current insurance company. So I signed up. When I got the new policy in hand, I canceled my current policy, effective on my renewal date.

    On Feb. 20, three days before one policy expires and the other starts, I get a call from the agent, saying that I had an undeclared accident on my record! Not recalling such an accident, I denied it. The agent asked me to have my current insurance company fax some form over to her.

    I call them up and they refresh my memory as to the accident. So I email the agent, specifically stating there was no fraud or dishonesty involved, I just forgot. Nope, policy cancelled due to non-disclosure.

    This is now two days before my current policy ends, so I call back my current insurance company and ask for the policy to be re-activated. No can do… “we don’t deal with people that have a cancellation due to non-disclosure on their record!”

    Call the agent back, nothing she can do, it’s policy. I look up the name/number of the ombudsman and contact her office, asking her to call back. On the following Monday — now I’m not insured for 2 days — the ombudsman calls back. I explain the situation and she reverses the non-disclosure to a voluntary one.

    OK, back to Insurance company #1. They want proof. No problem, I have an email to that effect. They call back and offer me a rate of $3,700 (almost double my original renewal rate).

    I asked the agent on the phone for the name/number of their ombudsman’s office. He states that it’s a government thing (don’t they train anyone these days?), but I insisted that every insurance company has one. He said he’d check and called me back, saying I should expect a call in one to two days.

    I did get a call back the next day and again explained the situation. Within the same day, I was offered the original renewal rate back in January. WHEW! It too eight days of stressing out, but by working the system that’s in place, I managed to fix my insurance record and get my old policy back.

    The only thing that irks me about the entire process is why it took the new insurance company six weeks to determine that I had failed to disclose the accident. If they had checked early enough, I could have kept my current policy in place and not have gone through the hell that I did.

    Ed

  26. Andrew Burnett

    Mar 9 2008

    Regarding QuickTax 2007 software.

    This year I switched to UFile Plus in the box at a cost of $29.95. It allows 16 returns, no matter what the net income is.
    It is a far superior product than QuickTax and is Canadian owned.

    Andy

  27. F R

    Mar 18 2008

    I see articles here about Facebook groups and so much talk and use of the Internet today for business and personal use. What to do when the invisible hand blocks internet acess and interupts all these services? I’m in Beijing, China, where access to the Globe and Mail is blocked. At this internet bar, it doesn’t come up at all. Other computers can get its main page, but the articles are not accessible.

  28. Stéphane

    May 6 2008

    I am a former employee of an insurance company, Belairdirect, on a mission to help consumers after years of lying to them because I had to follow the company rules. I thought I would share my knowledge so I can help people save thousands or hundreds of dollars on their car insurance policies.

    Automobile insurance (applies to Ontario):

    First of all the company says it’s benevolent and transparent to their clients and I could tell you this is baloney. When people call for a quote they are read a privacy script, very long and boring, and they must agree or else the quote stops there. This is to respect the privacy laws and provincial regulations or else they would have to send you an application.

    By the way, if you take the time to read the fine print on the bottom of an application, it is the same thing. If you listen carefully in the privacy script they say “we will use credit information”. They won’t ask you for your Visa or MasterCard number, but they will do a soft credit check on you and they will not tell you this, so beware. Even though a soft credit check will not affect your credit rating, it still shows up as an inquiry on your credit report.

    If you have a good or excellent credit rating, then you can get a quote over the phone but if you have a poor or bad credit score, watch out — it is an application and no quotes over the phone for you. Insurance companies associate good credit rating with good drivers, meaning fewer claims. A poor credit rating means drivers who have claims and accidents, thus less desirable business. So to discourage these clients, they ask for an application which takes 15 days to process (minimum). If you are patient and have time before your renewal, it could be worth it to wait those 15 days and in most cases you will get a better rate then elsewhere. If you are under 25 and have no credit history, this is one reason why they would ask for an application. Please note not all insurance companies follow this procedure, so shop around.

    For all those parents who have a teenage son or daughter, there is light at the end of the tunnel. What I’m about to write is the best kept secret in the insurance industry and they are making tons of profits because consumers are not informed.

    When you call your insurance company to add your son or daughter to your insurance policy, they will decide how they will charge for them, not you. The logic is that any driver can drive any car. Because the insurance company cannot monitor who uses which car most often, they have to charge accordingly.

    So if you own a brand new BMW (with full coverage) and you have a 1990 Caravan (basic liability coverage), guess what? Your son will be an “occasional driver” on the BMW, not the Caravan!!!

    So now you are thinking, why I should pay more money to have my son or daughter on the BMW because they will never drive it. They will say it’s the guidelines and all insurance companies do it this way because statistics show the young drivers have more claims, so they have to generate the right premium to cover those losses.

    The solution is to ask your company, “I want to sign a form called the 28A to exclude my son or daughter from driving a particular vehicle”. Please note you have to ask the question word for word or else they will not do anything. By signing this document, your son or daughter can only drive the Caravan and will not be able to drive the BMW. But so what? They will most likely not drive it anyway. The benefit to you is you will pay thousands or hundreds less on your car insurance policy and your son or daughter will still gain both driving and insurance experience for the future.

    The other option would be to completely exclude them from your policy. Obviously you would save more money, but your son or daughter would not gain valuable driving and insurance experience which can be used to reduce their premiums once they get their own car.

    For parents who do not have a second or third vehicle, your options are limited. I suggest your son take the driver training course, which can save on average $400 per year (applied for 2-3 years, depending on the company). Verify with your company if they give discounts if your son is a college or university student.

    Just for your information, the average cost to add your son to your policy for one year is $800-$1,000 a year. This depends on where you live, the car they are linked to, their age, driving history, driving class (g1, g2 or G). Most companies will also give a discount if your son or daughter received their G2 or full licence (G) so verify. It could be worth a few hundred dollars.

    If you are shopping for car insurance, I suggest going to http://www.Kanetix.ca. It is a very good place to get quotes from multiple companies. Verify with your employer to see if you have a special rate for employees with a group carrier. You can easily save 10-20% if you are a group client.

    For more information on insurance companies in Ontario, you can contact FSCO (Financial Services Commission of Ontario), the regulatory body of the government for insurance companies and agents.

    Beware of brokers. They do not always work for you, but sometimes work to earn commissions. They can place your business (at renewal) with a different carrier with higher rates then if they kept your business with the same carrier, just so they could get a bigger paycheque. So the general rule is to do your homework and try different brokers. You will be surprised by the different prices you will get. Do not always assume they are looking out for your best interest.

  29. anil

    Aug 12 2008

    Hi,
    I am fed up with the City of London, Parking Ticket by-laws and procedures.

    I got a ticket for parking in a “no stopping zone” for no fault of mine (I believe). There are two slots on Talbot Street besides the Driver Licensing Office, which are considered no stopping zones from 7 to 9 AM, Monday to Friday.

    When I parked my car, there was a GMC truck parked in the front slot. So, the front “no stop” sign was hidden. I was unaware and drove into the second parking slot at about 8.45 AM, only to return at 8.50 AM and find a $50 parking ticket.

    I then realized that the “no stop” sign was placed on a pole at a height of about 10 feet behind the slot where I had parked. It did not meet my eye level while I was driving into the slot and there were no other distinguishing signs anywhere.

    I challenged the decision and reached the level of meeting the supervisor of the parking division. All this while, the receptionist at the First Attendance Parking Tag Facility was trying to counsel me, whereas I was trying to voice my concern that the City of London is at fault for not placing the signs appropriately.

    Even the supervisor threatened me with dire consequences at a Court Trial, stating that the judge will not agree with me and that I will end up paying the Court fees in addition to the infraction.

    This is not an impartial and fair process and does not befit the image of the City of London. The authorities, time and again, tempted me by extending the payment date. I think this is a scam.

    The city has run out of ideas for collecting money. This gives rise to resentment and disgruntlement and makes unhappy citizens. Laws cannot be so rigid and supervisors cannot be so intimidating. A helpful approach will go a long way. Is the City of London listening?

  30. Maxine Bilyk

    Jan 31 2009

    Interesting to read the complaints about Bloomex. I can certainly add to them.

    I spoke directly to a Bloomex agent on Dec. 22 and was assured that a Christmas gift basket would be delivered the next afternoon and certainly in time for Christmas. It wasn’t and, in fact, when I tracked it, the “possible” delivery date was Dec. 28, certainly past the date I was given assurances about.

    When I called to complain, I was given a tepid apology with no offer of any compensation or reduction. I will never use this company again!

  31. Ken Alsop

    Feb 14 2009

    I just read your column,today [14th] and as always very informative and useful.

    In regards to interest rates on lines of credit, our statement with TD has gone down to 3% and we have yet to receive any notice of changes.

  32. Vicki

    Feb 25 2009

    I have a complaint about Neoset furniture and I suspect I’m one of hundreds in the GTA. I ordered a computer desk from them in August 2008 and was told it would take 6-8 weeks. It is end of February 2009 and I’m still waiting.

    The head office has stopped returning my calls and the store on Jarvis has been unhelpful and unapologetic. I know from belatedly reading other reviews on the net that this is a problem that has been going on since at least April 2008, so basically they lied to me in August when they said it would be 6-8 weeks.

    I’m at my wit’s end – I don’t know if I will ever see this desk or get my money back. I do not think Neoset is a good-faith business – I’m sure every day they are taking people’s money and saying 6-8 weeks. I’m amazed they are still in business.

  33. Sigrid Albert

    Apr 24 2009

    I just published this rant about how I was treated by Home Depot on my company’s blog (http://www.stepupcommunications.com/blog/?p=173), but I would love to get some help or advice on dealing with them. We dealt with 3 different people: a counter person, an installation coordinator, and the installer. The problem was, we had ordered a nonpanelled security door from our garage to the house, and what we got was a panelled door. The cost was almost $1,500 and we are not satisfied:

    Home Depot: Customer surveys instead of customer service?

    I find it sadly ironic that I received a customer satisfaction survey from the Home Depot today, when I have been trying for several weeks to get a response from them about a wrong door that they delivered to my house.

    In November 2008, we ordered a flat/smooth/slab/whatchamacallit door at the Home Depot for the entry from the garage into our house. The employee at the counter took down our order, and even gave us a printout to confirm the type of door we wanted. We wanted a door without panelling. If you know me at all, you know that I am a modernist and would never, ever go for a panelled door. Our house has only nonpanelled doors. The employee mentioned that it was a special order, as the standard is panelled doors. We said fine.

    Then we waited for a call from an installer, which never came. We finally went back to the Home Depot to ask about our order. They could not find it anywhere in their system. Moreover, they had my phone number listed for another party, so at least one other person was not receiving their phone calls either. Frustrated, we gave up and said we’d find a different supplier. Which we didn’t do.

    Finally, in February, we returned to the path of least resistance and tried again with the Home Depot. Sometimes when enough time passes by I get perhaps unreasonably optimistic that it will go better next time. The counter person took down our information and pointed out that a nonpanelled door in the size we wanted would take about 6 weeks as it was a custom order. We agreed to that.

    About a week later, the call from the installation coordinator came, a man named Larry. Larry came by to look at everything and measure it. We may or may not have mentioned the word “slab” door, but we are not sure. However, since we discussed our requirement for a nonpanelled door at great length twice before with Home Depot employees, we felt quite sure that requirement had been recorded multiple times. Larry said he would send out an installer but it would take a while because of the special order door.

    An installer came in March and brought in the new door. It was wrapped when I saw it on his truck. Then I got busy working while he installed it for several hours. At some point, when he was almost finished, I walked by and found myself staring at a multi-panelled door. “This is not the door we ordered,” I said. He assured me that the Home Depot would most likely agree it was their fault and replace the door, and that I should call Larry.

    So, we called Larry and explained the situation to him. But apparently on Larry’s work order, it didn’t say “slab door”, but it said “sm. door” which seems to mean “smooth”. Larry said that “slab” was the proper term, which we as non-construction people did not know, and “smooth” was just a general word for the type of finish. He did agree to submit this complaint to the Home Depot on our behalf. That was in late March.

    Meanwhile, the Home Depot has charged our credit card without our permission for the remainder of the installation, and has not yet responded to our complaint. However, they do take the time to send out surveys to compile statistics about their brand perception.

    What do you think I’ll write on their customer survey?

  34. J Birck

    Oct 2 2009

    Thanks Ellen, for this venue.

    Canadian Tire needs its own category! Canadian Tire has the WORST customer service.

    I really don’t like posting long stories, but I am still shaking my head at this one. I would like to warn people that Canadian Tire does not properly disclose their return policies. Good luck getting your money back if you try to return something.

    My husband and I purchased a Mobicool Cooler from Canadian Tire.

    When we got home, we plugged in the cooler to make sure it would get cold enough to meet our requirements. It became evident within a few hours that this product would not perform to our satisfaction.

    The next day, we repackaged the cooler and took it back to Canadian Tire. The woman who started to process the return suddenly stopped, and then told my husband that she could not proceed without an “RA” number (which, as we later discovered, meant Return Authorization). That’s funny – the return policy on our receipt said nothing about this? There was, in fact, no indication whatsoever that this product was an exception to the regular return policy. We even had 87 more days to bring it back! She told him he would have to take the cooler, go home, phone the supplier in China to get the RA number, and then return. How appalling and completely unconventional is that? We bought the cooler from Canadian Tire, not from some phone number scribbled on our receipt.

    He asked her to call and she informed him the supplier would not talk to her. However, she finally dialed the number and handed him the phone. The supplier’s offices were closed. So, my husband had to take the cooler back to the car, and drive home.

    The next morning, he called the number she had written on our receipt, and requested an RA number. The conversation he had with the person on the other end of the phone (a Mobicool customer service representative) was infuriating at best. This person implied that because we had opened the cooler and plugged it in, we had used it and therefore it was not returnable. He kept saying that he would only exchange it, and my husband kept saying that we didn’t like it so why would we possibly want another one? The person refused to provide an RA number. He even went so far as to imply that we would not try to return dishes we didn’t like, or ask for our money back if we didn’t like a movie we had paid for. My husband recorded this entire conversation – all 18 minutes of it – and it is the worst example of customer service that I have ever heard.

    We returned to Canadian Tire later that day. The woman at the customer service desk listened to our story, and lo and behold, she managed to process the return without the RA number. Someone else verified that the cooler was in an unused state (by smelling it, no less), and we received our refund. Oddly enough, the person behind us who was returning pots and pans didn’t need an RA number, and nobody smelled his pans.

    Two things have become evident:

    - Canadian Tire does not stand behind its products. Why else would they sell us something and then expect us to justify (to the manufacturer no less), why we want to return it?

    - Canadian Tire does not properly advertise or communicate its return policies, and they use intimidation tactics to keep you from returning products. If a vulnerable senior citizen, or someone who had English as a second language, had been subjected to this treatment, what are the chances that they would have been able to get their money back? My guess is 0%.

    So, of course I sent a complaint (e-mail) to the customer service department. Their response was equally appalling:

    “There are many products…that carry a special warranty and return policy. For this reason we encourage our customers to inform themselves prior to purchasing the product to avoid situations such as this one.”

    She then goes on to tell me that this particular product’s return policy was listed on their website! So, assuming everybody in the world has the Internet, we are supposed to look on their website before we buy a product that we are looking at on the sales floor?

    My (edited) response to her was “To educate ourselves, we went to the store in Langley, looked at the product box, checked Canadian Tire’s “easy” 90-day return policy, and bought the product. I would never spend $149.99 on any product that I could not return. Canadian Tire did not disclose, either on the product display (of which we have a photo) or on the receipt, that this product carried any special warranty or return policy. I have never, ever purchased a product that contained a hidden return policy such as this. It would have been easier to get my hair back from my hairdresser after she cut it all off.”

    So, this is a warning to anybody who purchases from Canadian Tire: they do not properly disclose return policies, and they violate their own code of business conduct.

    We got our money back but I will never, ever shop there again.

  35. Lisa Gibson

    Oct 5 2009

    J Birck, I work in corporate affairs at Canadian Tire and while I do not have all of the details of the situation, I understand from your note that this was a frustrating experience and would like to apologize and let you know that we are listening. We are currently, and completely, reviewing our returns policy with a focus on ease of customer experience, ensuring consistency across our stores and better notification of special warranties. This work is well underway and we look forward to sharing the new policy with our customers once it has been finalized.

    If you would like to speak further regarding your experience, please feel free to contact me directly. Again, I do apologize and hope that you will reconsider your decision so that we may serve you again in our stores.

    Sincerely,

    Lisa

  36. J Birck

    Oct 6 2009

    Thanks, Lisa, for your response. The various replies we received (both via e-mail and over the phone) from the Corporate Customer Relations representative were very “canned”.

    Telling me that it was my responsibility to “inform [sic] myself” about Canadian Tire return policies was completely out of line, especially after I had just finished reading the jumbo “easy 90-day return policy” on the store wall.

    The Mobicool representative to whom my husband spoke was also completely out of line. And I have heard nothing since my complaint was apparently forwarded to the Langley, B.C. store. That tells me nobody is listening.

    The number of hours we wasted on this problem completely negated the refund we received. I can deal with frustration, but the way this was handled was just plain wrong. The responses we received told us that the supplier was more important than the customer. I am happy to e-mail you the communication in question, but the overall perception is that this type of customer service response is ingrained in the company’s culture.

    I wonder if anyone in corporate affairs has ever searched “Canadian Tire complaints”? Sure, some of them are questionable rants, but many of them are very valid concerns. I don’t know how you begin to fix something that broken, but I wish you luck.

  37. Melanie

    Nov 3 2009

    Horizon Elliptical Purchased from Canadian Tire:

    I recently purchased the Horizon CE6.0 elliptical, and while preparing to assemble the unit, I found 2 defects on the frame. There was a small piece of metal protruding from the track on the left hand side, which would cause premature wear on the roller. In addition, I found a welded joint on the bottom left hand side of the frame that was incomplete.

    I thought that the Home Service/Repair and lifetime warranty on the frame would help me get a nice brand new frame, especially since I just bought the machine and didn’t even assemble it yet. Instead, their Tech Support kept telling me that the frame was irreplaceable, and that I had to take the machine back to Canadian Tire for an exchange or refund by myself. Their unit weighs about 150 lbs and I had paid $50 to have this unit delivered to my house.

    Horizon expected my family (my parents are in their 60s, and I’m small enough to fit inside the box) to take the unit back. They refused to ship a new frame to my home to take the defective one away. They kept saying that the manufacturer’s warranty did not cover transportation costs for the replacement/return of the covered unit. They didn’t care that I would have to take this unit up a flight of stairs from my basement, and the risk of injury to my family.

    Basically, Horizon made a defective product, packaged it in a box, and sold it to me. In my opinion, these defects should have been caught by their quality control (this elliptical is made in China), and they couldn’t guarantee me that I wouldn’t find similar defects in a second unit.

    I am now in the process of returning my elliptical to Canadian Tire so I can get my money back. I highly doubt that I’ll be able to recoup my delivery cost. I don’t even want to bother with an exchange because looking at the parts strewn across my basement floor just makes me sick to my stomach. I never want to deal with Horizon ever again.

  38. aron

    Feb 16 2010

    Great information and interesting to read.
    Can people post here as well?

  39. grace

    Mar 13 2010

    After an extremely stressful encounter with Consumers Choice in Scarborough over a vinyl siding job, I gave this company a low rating on http://www.Homestars.ca to warn other homeowners.

    They responded that maybe it was someone else’s fault or maybe I wasn’t even a customer to begin with. Well, I am reluctant to spend any more time on this but I must answer their misleading and foolish response.

    Yes indeed, I was an unfortunate customer of this business. I had so many problems with this company I don’t even know where to start – from the duplicitous sales guy to the callous office staff, the sloppy worker who installed the vinyl sidings, and the ill-mannered owner who wasn’t interested in what I had to say (kept cutting me off and told me it’s not about what I like before he hung up on me).

    I wasn’t looking for compensation. I just wanted them to do their job. I paid for their service, so if it’s not about what I’d like to have done, then what was it about?? I made multiple attempts to get my point across and wrote several letters, but now I find out they didn’t have any record of my complaint. Not surprised with this company’s level of competence.

    As I said in my review, there is absolutely no way I will deal with this company again. I wouldn’t wish upon anyone to have to go through the same nightmare I had with these people. So if anybody from Consumers Choice happens to see this post, please note that I am not interested in wasting any more time with you and please don’t try to call it your “good faith attempts” to resolve my concerns. There is no such thing after what you did to me.

  40. R_R

    Oct 10 2010

    Part of the reason I signed on with WIND Mobile is because I was tired of dealing with customer service at massive companies like Bell (where Emily was driving me crazy) and I thought that things might be different with a smaller company. Well, here’s how I spent my day yesterday…

    Around noon, I got a text message from WIND saying that there was a problem with my pre-authorized payment plan and that I needed to call them. So I called WIND and, after navigating the telephone prompts and connecting to a human, I explained my situation. The agent told me that Mastercard rejected the transaction and that I needed to call them to find out what was wrong.

    I called Mastercard and was told that actually, the transaction was accepted. So I phoned WIND and told them the transaction was accepted. The agent told me that I needed to prove this by faxing a statement to the WIND collection dept. Of course, no such statement existed as the transaction had only occurred the day before. I was told to call Mastercard and ask them email me some kind of proof that I could then print out and fax to WIND.

    I phoned Mastercard and asked them for said proof, but they told me that it would take another business day before the transaction would show up. I phone WIND to to let them know. The lady I spoke to said she would put me through to the collection dept. I was placed on hold. For half an hour. (note to WIND: I know you’re trying to appeal to a younger market but not everyone appreciates being forced to hear the latest auto-tuned teen pop sensations)

    While I was on hold, I phone Mastercard again. They told me that the transaction was accepted on their end, but that WIND hadn’t processed the payment. They gave me a confirmation number.

    I hung up on the hold line with WIND and called them back. I told them what Mastercard had just said to me and gave them the confirmation number. The agent told me that I would be placed on hold while he spoke to the collections dept. I explained that I couldn’t bear to hear that on-hold music again and he graciously offered to call me back after he spoke to the collections dept. After about fifteen minutes, he called me back and told me that I needed to do a one-time payment from my credit card. I gave him my Mastercard information and he told me he was unable to process the transaction because the system had gone down. He promised to phone me back in a few hours to complete the transaction.

    A couple of hours later, the phone rang and I was able to complete the transaction.

    Needless to say, this was not my ideal way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. But I’ve come to expect this sort of thing from WIND; this is the third time that WIND has messed up my payment. The first time, I called them to make a payment and they processed a transaction that was ten times the actual cost. The second time, the pre-authorized payment didn’t go through and they simply didn’t tell me so that it showed up on my bill the following month.

    I would switch to another provider if it weren’t for the fact that I know that customer service is deplorable no matter where you go (I recently had an equally frustrating experience dealing with Rogers internet). So I guess I’ll stick with WIND where, as they say, “the customer is king”.

  41. JC

    Oct 28 2010

    My brother bought a 2008 Nissan 350Z back in 2009.

    I’d asked him back then if he’d heard about the trouble purchasers had with 2003/4 models “shredding” or “feathering” of tires. Seems they were going through tires like gangbusters.

    Nissan blamed the tires, the tire manufacturers were blaming a design flaw in the car. As far as I know, there is still a class action suit over the issue.

    Well lo and behold, my brother’s car is doing the same thing. Has less than 25,000 km on it and needs new front tires already because they are cupping/feathering.

    Nissan insisted that he have an alignment check, which was fine, and is now blaming the tire manufacturer and insisting that it is not their fault.

    Apparently some people have better luck with some dealerships than others, but this problem doesn’t seem to be going away.

    How can a car company, in good faith, sell a $50,000 car with a known problem that results in tires being useless after 20-25,000 km, and then tell customers to pound sand?

  42. George

    Nov 23 2010

    I had a problem with my iPhone 3G: the charging port would no longer accept a charge and both the charger and the port were charred and smelled of smoke. The phone was working fine but once the charge was gone, and I couldn’t charge it again. I could no longer use it.

    I wanted to fix the phone but Apple said that the damage was irreparable and I’d have to get a new phone. Older (cheaper) iPhones like mine were hard to come by, they said, so they suggested I get an iPhone 4.

    Since I don’t qualify for an upgrade from Fido until next year, I had to pay full price for the phone, minus the Fido dollars that I had. Not buying another phone was not an option since I’m locked into a 3 year contract (phone plan and data) and must pay each month regardless.

    My beef? It’s two-fold. I hate the 3 year contracts and I also dislike the fact that Apple refused to even attempt to fix my phone.

    Since I used my phone/e-mail for work, I needed to be up & running in a timely manner, so I really had no choice. I have friends who live abroad and they can’t believe how much we pay for cellular in Canada, nor can they believe the lengthy contracts. It’s absurd!

  43. George

    Nov 23 2010

    Part 2:

    I also disliked the system for purchasing a phone at Apple. Fido didn’t have any iPhone 4 handsets in stock so I had to go to the Apple store.

    Because I was using my Fido dollars, I couldn’t buy a phone that day (in spite of the fact that they had some in stock). I had to go back the following day, a Sunday, at 9:00 a.m. and line up outside and wait to see if:

    (a) they had any phones in stock and, if so…

    (b) to make an appointment to come back to purchase it.

    I couldn’t simply make an appointment that day, but I had to come back. An inconvenience to be sure, but like a good little lemming I did what they said.

    I got there early and was fourth in line. They did have stock and I made an appointment to go back at noon. The guy behind me said this was the fourth time this week he’d been there.

    I understand and appreciate the concept of supply and demand, but this is society gone mad.

  44. Libby

    Apr 2 2011

    Primus are just as bad.

    I was “migrated over” to Primus from Rogers at the end of last year because Rogers no longer offered internet over phone line. I was tempted to sign up with one of the newer companies, but the fact that Primus had been my long distance provider since 2008 without issue reassured me.

    However, my bill is a disgrace. It does not reflect what I agreed to at all.
    There are three major things wrong:
    *The figure I was quoted for home service was $15.95 for the next 6 months, however, I was charged at the rate of $44.95 — that is, almost triple what I agreed to.
    *The amount I was quoted for internet ($35) was not reflected in the amount I was charged on the bill ($47), and,
    *The rate I was paying to call Australia went from 3c/min (the rate I have paid since becoming a Primus customer in 2008) to 18c/min, an increase of 600%.

    One way and another, my bill has come to about four times what I was expecting.
    I called the customer service people to rectify this matter and spoke to a very helpful supervisor who seemed to want to help and promised to get back to me within 24 hours.
    Guess what though? Later on that day my phone was CUT OFF!

    Until just the other day I had nothing but good things to say about Primus, now I am just so *angry*.

  45. Jenn

    Apr 11 2011

    Love hearing the Canadian Tire stories. I have one you just can’t beat.

    During a long weekend in 2009, my boyfriend and I went fishing at a friend’s cottage outside Thunder Bay. I stopped at the Canadian Tire on our way out of town and bought a fishing license to cover me for that weekend.

    When we arrived at our friend’s cottage, we were informed that it was a weekend that the Ministry was not charging a fee. This was on a Friday.

    We returned to town on the Sunday and stopped by the Canadian Tire before going home. I stood at the Customer Service desk for 11 minutes (could not resist timing it) with three people behind the desk laughing and joking around.

    After the 11 minutes passed, I had to say something (really was trying to set a record as to how long I could be ignored). When the young girl finally approached me (after I flagged her down), I asked her, “were you all aware that the Ministry was not charging for a fishing licence and that you did not need one for this particular weekend?” She replied that she was aware.

    I asked her why did Canadian Tire sell me a license through the Ministry for this weekend then. She told me that this was not Canadian Tire’s problem. I would have to take it up with the Ministry.

    I stated, “I did not go to the Ministry to purchase this license. I purchased the Ministry license right at this very desk here at Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire knew that there was no charge this weekend and then knowingly sold me a license for this ‘free’ weekend.”

    Brutal! Could not speak with a Manager until the Tuesday. He, not suprisingly, told me to take it up with the Ministry. Called the Ministry and, of course, not anything they could do and I certainly don’t blame them.

    Tried calling Canadian Tire head office several times with no reply. Now this silly license only cost something like $10 and I’m fighting this purely on principle.

    At the beginning of October 2009, I sent an email to Customer Service at Canadian Tire. It’s now April 2011…no reply. I’m not going into the very rude attitudes I had to deal with on the way :(.

    Ah, but there is a happy ending to all this, my friends, in our fight for good Customer Service.

    In the summer of 2010, my boyfriend and I were married at my parents’ cottage with 150 friends and family in attendance. Needed a lot of supplies to get the cottage ready. Guess where we didn’t go? Guess where we didn’t register? Canadian Tire kissed thousands of dollars good bye there.

    And it gets even better! Building a brand new home. Guess who will be missing out on thousands more?

    So this little $10 license Canadian Tire knowingly sold me on what’s referred to as an “open weekend” has cost them thousands and thousands of dollars. Hope that gave some of you a smile.

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