Complaining and Getting Results

April 6, 2011 in Thrifty Tips

We’ve all had bad customer service experiences.  We can leave those experiences feeling disappointed, or we can speak up and find a resolution to the situation.  While the customer isn’t always right, I do believe that companies should do their best to listen to consumers and fix problems when they happen.  Knowing to complain effectively is a big part of getting what you want from a business.

I bring this up because I discovered that a Groupon that I purchased for $20 for $40 worth of Fairytale Brownies didn’t work.  My mom has ordered Fairytale Brownies in the past (and they’re pretty darn amazing), so I was excited about the chance to get a good deal on some brownies.  I was equally disappointed to see that my Groupon code was marked as invalid when I tried to order.  I could have shrugged it off, but I decided to put my complaining skills to work.

1. Make Sure You’re Not at Fault
Before I contacted the company, I looked at the fine print of the Groupon to make sure that it wasn’t expired or I hadn’t applied the deal correctly. 

2. Complain in Writing…Nicely
Who wants to hear an angry rant about not getting their way?  In my email to customer service, I complained about the situation, but I was really nice about it.  Here’s my email:

Hello,

I am trying to place an order on your website using a Groupon. When I attempt to enter the code into the “pay with brownie card section” (-the number- and expiring on 9/22/2011) it tells me that the card is voided. I haven’t used the Groupon before and wanted to know how this can be fixed. I really love your brownies (especially the toffee ones) and was hoping to get some shipped this weekend.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Andrea

3. Don’t Give Up, Provide Details and Be Clear About What You Want
Customer service wrote back and told me that my Groupon was expired and that they could give me a $20 credit.  If I wanted $20 in brownies, I wouldn’t have bought the groupon, so I wrote them back, included the details about the expiration date I was given and clarified what I wanted:

Thank you for your quick response.  I find this to be a big inconvenience because it is not noted in the fine print that groupons expire after six months after they are purchased.  Noting the fine print that is detailed in the Groupon deal

(http://www.groupon.com/providence/deals/fairytale-brownies-providence), I still feel that my full groupon should be fulfilled, as it is not past the expiration date that was advertised with my purchase:

The Fine Print
Expires Sep 22, 2011
Limit 1 per person. Online and phone orders only. Registration required. Not valid other offers. May be used toward shipping. Redeem starting 9/23 at noon.

Problem Solved!
The customer service representative at Fairytale Brownies was very helpful and reactivated my Groupon!  I also contacted the support department at Groupon and they offered to look into the situation too.  I ordered my brownies and now I’m a satisfied customer and I have a new appreciation for each company.

If that didn’t work, I would have contacted Groupon again or discussed what happened on Twitter.  Do you complain when you’re dissatisfied?  Have you seen results from your complaints?

Photo: sxc.hu

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