My Three Worst Business Experiences of 2014

I informed each of the following businesses that, as a blogger, I owed it to my readers to know how poorly they had conducted their business with me. I hope you are either equally outraged or perhaps amused.

My inaugural Worst Business Experiences of 2014:

lotus-blue-bar-restaurant3. Lotus Blue: Food poisoning from this Tribeca restaurant resulted in an offer of a free entree (valued at $20) as compensation. I declined, telling them I did not want to go through the experience again.

 

pimsleur2. Pimsleur: Purchase of “Simple and Quick” Language Learning CD (for $9.95) secretly enrolls customer into the Gold Program which costs $150 plus shipping. I had to make two phone calls and send three emails, including the following, to cancel: Nowhere in your promotion for the “Simple and Quick” CD does it say that one is automatically enrolled in the Gold Program. It is criminal that you force customers into this nonsense. The fact that you will not process cancellations through email is not for my protection but so that you can drag this matter out and hopefully get more money out of me. I will call and tell your customer service people exactly that. Hopefully they don’t try to manipulate me as you are doing.

 

Unknown1. Fedex: Accepted payment of $200 for a shipment of nine pounds of smoked salmon (valued at $400-600), failed to deliver package, allowing the salmon to rot, and then refused to pay any damages nor refund the shipping fee. (My new slogan goes like this: Whatever you do, don’t do it with Fedex.)

Writing Tip #3.14: Dialogue must avoid debate

Fedex: How can I help you?

McPhed: I have a complaint.

Fedex: Do you have a tracking number?

McPhed: 8049 2194 2550

Fedex: 8149–

McPhed: (Tersely) 8049 2194 2550

Fedex: Okay, yes. (Pause) What can I do for you, sir?

McPhed: Do you see the record of the account?

Fedex: Yes, sir.

McPhed: You see that package was returned to the sender and that the contents of the package were spoiled?

Fedex: I apologize for the inconvenience.

McPhed: I don’t want an apology.

Fedex: I’m sorry to hear that.

McPhed: What are you going to do about this?

Fedex: You’ve filed a complaint.

McPhed: I’ve filed three complaints.

Fedex: I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir.

McPhed: Stop apologizing.

Long pause.

McPhed: I’d like to speak with a manager.

Fedex: One moment, sir.

Music plays. Phone clicks. Phone goes dead. McPhedran calls back.

Fedex: How can I help you?

McPhed: I would like to speak your manager.

Fedex: Can I assist you, sir?

McPhed: You hung up on me. I want to speak with your manager.

Fedex: I apologize for any inconvenience.

Long pause.

McPhed: Hello?

Fedex: Yes, sir?

McPhed: I would like to speak your manager.

Fedex: I need a tracking number, sir.

McPhed: Do you have any idea how many times I’ve called Fedex?

Fedex: I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir.

McPhed: Is that all you people know how to do? Apologize?

Fedex: I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir.

McPhed: I would like to talk your manager.

Fedex: One moment.

Music plays. Phone clicks. Phone goes dead. McPhedran calls back.

Fedex: How can I help you?

McPhed: You’ve hung up on me twice now.

Fedex: I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir.

McPhedran replies with a series of expletives. Long Pause.

McPhed: Is there anyone who will address my concern?

Fedex: What is the problem, sir?

McPhed: You were supposed to deliver a package. You failed to do that and the contents of the package were ruined.

Fedex: I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir.

McPhed: Forget the apologies. It’s a business. That’s why I am calling you. You failed to do what you said you would do.

Fedex: We cannot give you any financial compensation, sir.

McPhed: You let nine pounds of smoked salmon rot in your warehouse. That’s your responsibility.

Fedex: We do not assume liability for the contents of the package.

McPhed: What do you assume liability for?

Fedex: We cannot give you any financial compensation, sir. I’m sorry.

McPhed: How many times do I have to tell you to stop apologizing?

Fedex: Okay, I won’t do that again. (Pause) Is there anything else?

McPhed: What else could there possibly be?

Long Pause. McPhedran hangs up.

Breaking Up with Fedex

The package failed to arrive, and the Fedex website gave conflicting information. The package was both “In Transit” and at a Fedex facility in Richmond, B.C. Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 1.17.40 PMI called the next morning, and the Fedex agent promised to get back to me with further information. I had the same conversation on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning. And then they had their answer: “The FDA will not approve the package. It cannot be shipped.”

“Why did it take you four days to figure that out?”

“It is smoked fish. The FDA will not allow it to be shipped across the border.”

“The contents is written on the package. I’m looking at a scan of it right now. Can you read that too? It says ‘Dressed smoked salmon vacuum sealed, right?” Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 1.44.49 PM“The FDA will not allow it to be shipped.”

“But why didn’t you inform the shipper of this issue when he dropped the package off?”

There was a brief pause. “The package was inspected by the FDA and was not approved for shipment into the United States.”

“That’s not the point, is it? This isn’t an FDA issue. This is a Fedex issue. Fedex should have communicated this basic information before it was shipped.”

“I apologize for any inconvenience, sir.”

“Your apology is irrelevant. Besides you’re not even apologizing for what happened.”

“Would you like to file a complaint?”

“That’s what I’m doing right now, isn’t it?”

“If you wish to file a complaint, I can contact the Fedex branch so that the manager can ensure that training prevents this problem from happening again.”

“It’s not just the one person in one Fedex office. It’s a Fedex problem. It’s systemic. A shipment was given to you, a shipment containing perishable items, to be delivered the next day. I contacted you seven times over the last four days and no one knew why the package was stuck in transit.”24035365_BG2“Sir, would you like to file a complaint?”

“Yes, I would like to file a complaint but not just against one employee in one office.”

There was a long pause. “I don’t know what you want me to do.”

“Take responsibility for the lack of communication at Fedex. Acknowledge that Fedex did not do its job.”

“I’m sorry you were inconvenienced, sir.”

“The message I am getting from you is that I shouldn’t ship with Fedex.”

There was a long silence.

“Unless I’m missing something.”

She sounded tired. “I’m sorry you have been inconvenienced, sir.”

“That could be your new slogan.”

She stayed silent.

“Hello?”

“Yes?” Her voice was weak.

“Is there anything else?”

“I am really sorry you have been inconvenienced.”