Thursday, May 31, 2012

Irritated with HSBC

I have applied for numerous credit cards from different banks over the years. All their procedures are more or less the same. Until I encountered HSBC. First they sent me the phone banking and credit card PIN without notifying me that I have been successful in my credit card application. This alarmed me. What if the cards had been delivered wrongly, and the person who received it used it? I waited for the credit cards to arrive subsequently. Instead, after a few days, I receive a letter to ask me to submit XX documents (the usual payslips, photocopy of NRIC etc) to support my online credit card application. Now that pissed me off. At the point of my online card application, I had already uploaded and submitted all these documents. If they did not receive it , its their system screwed up. I will not resubmit. I called HSBC card centre, and it turned out that the letter was delivered late. It was a standard letter generated on the day I applied for the card, but it did not get sent out until 2 weeks later. Stupid system. And Yes, my credit card application has been approved, the card is on the way. Before I got the card, I received an email (oh gosh, the card took so long to come, when all these other procedures have reached me) telling me to click on the link, key in something to activate my card. So I did. It din work. I tried the telephone way. It din work either. (something wrong with the T-pin they sent me) GRRR..... In the end I had to go thru the operator to activate the card. Finally I received my card, and I made a transaction (so that I would be eligible to receive the free gift). A few weeks later, I got a statement telling me I have a debit balance of $XX in this card. SO? Shouldnt I be getting the credit card statement telling me how much to pay, by when, together with enclosed envelope etc? What is the point of this stupid composite statement? Called the HSBC card centre to check. I followed the (numerous) telephone instructions - press 1, press card number #, press 1, press... And then I hit a dead-end. Just press 1 for .. (something not relevant). Hey, all I want to do is speak to an operator to answer my simple (yet not standardised) question ! I press *0, it worked. I got the operator pretty fast, and my query answered. Maybe I'm getting old, and just cant adapt to new things. Hence I am seriously fed up with HSBC, in a short span of two months, i had called them 3 times to complain. i shall cancel my card next year. Just keeping my fingers crossed that I will get the free gift as promised in the brochure. Otherwise I will have to update this entry

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Know Your Weakest Link

Recently my MIL used diapers from NTUC fair price brand for my baby. The day she started using, by the 3rd piece that she changed for the baby, my baby suddenly develop a rash in her groin area. (For that, we got a scolding from FIL for buying cheap diapers).

Again, this was the case of me stocking up when the product was on sale. I had bought 4 packs when it was on sale. Receipt was thrown away since I bought these months ago. So I called up NTUC customer service hotline. The customer service officer (CSO) was impressive. He spoke very well, smooth, assuring and well-articulated. He said he will call me back after he spoke to the NTUC branch near my house so that I can bring the diapers there for refund. He called me back pretty soon, and pretty much resolved the issue. All I had to do, was bring the diapers down, get exchange for anything of the same value.

So on that very evening, i went down. Unfortunately at the store level, it's a different story. I followed the CSO's instructions - look for chief cashier, tell him CSO has spoken to him abt my issue. The auntie cashier whom I spoke to buzz the bell, and upon knowing I wanted to exchange the diapers, asked for receipt. Unfortunately for me, the chief cashier had gone home. The guy-in-charge did not seem to know about my issue, which means there was a communication breakdown as the chief cashier did not inform him. Both auntie cashier and the guy-in-charge were not too pleased that I had no receipt to exchange. They also grumbled that the diapers were old stock (cos of the packaging). Isit my fault? The receipt was superflous anyway, considering that these are your inhouse brand diapers. And the auntie cashier pointed out that I should have exchanged the items within 2 weeks. So if these diapers were purchased two months ago, having a receipt would again, not make any difference since its defintely past the deadline for refund/exchange. One more point to add was that the receipt was printed on thermal paper. The ink would have faded after a few months. Oh and I had to stress to her, I was STOCKING UP. My baby finally grew big enough to use size L recently.. In the end, the guy-in-charge let me do the exchange because I could 'quote names' (I had to repeat the CSO has spoken to chief cashier). The guy-in-charge scanned the item, and was able to determine the price (so what do u need the receipt for????) So while I got my exchange, the total service level there sucks. The duo were reluctant and unhappy about my exchange. Almost to the point of blaming me. I had to point out to them, I haven blame you for your lousy product which gave my baby a painful rash that lasted a few days!

The bottomline is, your impressive customer service hotline was ruined by the store's personnel.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Spate of Bad Customer Services

The world is imperfect, hence I am active again with complain stories to share. Seems like companies these days are getting stingy, they do not offer freebies upfront.

First incident: Mouldy Milk Powder
Opened a brand new can of Friso Formula Milk (no 2) and found a visible speck of mould inside. As I do not have the receipt, I could not bring it back to exchange, so I called Friso customer care. The person was apologetic enough, but would not accede to my request to get a full refund, or replace with a bigger can of Friso no 3 (I had too many cans of no 2, and a similar size no 3 was cheaper.) In the end after much negotiation, she came over to pick up the faulty can, and replace with a small size of no 3 , 2 t o3 vouchers and a can of friso-crème cereal. The vouchers were $18 each, but could not be combined, so they could only be used to offset subsequent purchases.

Second incident: Unused referral discount
Bought stuff from and was given the option to key in referral code at the check out. One of my ex-colleagues was probably a member, but I did not bother to ask her. Subsequently then I knew abt the $5 discount for first-time purchase with the referral code. So I emailed them:

Hi, I first knew about iherb from a friend. When I chose to buy from iherb recently, I was given the option to indicate referral. However I did not want to bother my friend, and went ahead to purchase my items. I was not aware that I could have gotten $5 off my purchases had I key in the referral code.

I would very much appreciate it if you could still extend the $5 discount off for this purchase. As I have shared items in this order with another friend, the $5 purchase will help to offset delivery fee and hence we need not think about how to split the delivery fee. This will give us an encouraging and positive purchasing experience with iherb.

On a related note, iherb website states that "International Airmail (available to selected countries): As low as $4.00 for the first pound! This option applies to orders valued up to $80.00, and weighing 4 lbs (1814 grams) or less." Strangely, my order (within 4lbs) was billed $6.00. While I still paid for it, I'm not very satisfied with the inaccurate cost info.

I hope to hear from you positively on these.

No luck. Their response was short, generic and did not really address my point. Or maybe they intentionally overlooked the shipping fee issue.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting iHerb Customer Service.

Due to the mechanized nature of our order system, once placed, an order cannot be altered in any way, nor combined with another order for shipment.

Thank you for the courtesy of your patience and understanding with this tradeoff for our low prices.

We appreciate your shopping with us!

Third incident: Late delivery and expired coffee

Bought 2 nespresso machines from One machine was bought by my boss using my account. Both machines were supposed delivered late. I was quite unhappy about this and wrote to complain. Then I discovered that the coffee capsules that were provided with the nespresso were expired! Outrageous. Here’s the correspondence

Me - Mon, Nov 7, 2011

I ordered 2 nespresso Krups on 28 oct and the preferred delivery time was sat 9am - 1pm.
Order 158519 finally came on sat night (5nov), while 158499 has yet to be delivered.

Your late and non-delivery is unacceptable. Was unable to contact the customer service as it is long weekend.

Pls contact mr XXX regarding order 158499. It has been a great disappointment to have to wait so long for the nespresso, not to mention the inconvenience of having to make sure someone is at home in case it is delivered.

Very displeased with your unreliable service . Totally not trustworthy!

Reply from Reebonz:
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thank you for shopping with Reebonz.

On behalf of the courier, i would like to sincerely apologize for this incident.

#158499 had been dispatched to the courier as of the 31st of October. It had been scheduled for a delivery on the 5th of November, Saturday. As advised by the courier, a delivery attempt was made on the 5th of November, at 2134 hrs, but there was no one available to receive it. The item has since been delivered on the 7th of November at 1149hrs.

I certainly understand the frustration in having to wait for a failed delivery and i would like to once again apologize for all the inconvenience caused. Your feedback is extremely valuable and we will highlight them to the respective courier for a review. Your gracious understanding for this matter is greatly appreciated and we hope that it would not dampen your confidence in shopping with Reebonz.

Me - Wed, Nov 9, 2011

is this all you are offering for the inconvenience caused? Our gracious understanding for the trouble we took to wait at home, and it was delivered when finally the person was not at home? That was my boss whom I highly recommended the purchase from reebonz! The unreliable delivery service caused him much inconvenience. I had to be apologetic for your problem.

I just found out that the capsules that came with the nespresso machines have EXPIRED. This is unacceptable. The coffee is being consumed by my family, including my sister-in-law who is heavily pregnant. Can you imagine the consequences. Again, how many times must I apologise on reebonz’s behalf? Please replace the capsules asap. I wish to close this incident and get it over with. The whole thing has been one big frustrating mess!

They did replace my coffee capsules in the end. But during the reply correspondance, the staff sent an email wrongly to me. This email was meant for the nespresso supplier. It was pretty insightful.

Hi ___,

I have another customer who received an expired set of capsules. His order number is #16__50 and he actually made a complain on Facebook.

The customers who received an expired set of capsules are:

#1____9 (The replacement set is still with me)
#15___9 (The replacement set is still with me)

Please kindly advise if we are able to provide a replacement for #15___3 and #16___0. Thank you~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two drinks , Two responses from Two different companies

Recently I bought a 12-can carton of Fuji Apple Sparkling juice drink from Giant. The drinks were discounted as they were expiring in another 4 months. Unfortunately, the taste had 'expired' before the actual date. There was an unpleasant and chemical taste in the drink. Having thrown away the receipt + we tried about 4 cans to see if the whole batch was like that, I thought we would not be able to get refund from Giant. So I went to Pokka's website and emailed them this complaint, and asked to be compensated with a carton of their green tea instead. Lo behold, they replied, and were very polite and apologetic. They arranged a date to pick up the Apple drink and also delivered the green tea. Ok , I am appeased.

Another day, another drink - Bought a bottle of chrysanthemum tea at ZTP. This was their self-brewed kind. We have bought from them numerous times, as the drink was thick and cheap ($1). This time was not our lucky day though, the chrysanthemum drink was diluted - only a faint fragrance of the chrysanthemum, plus lots of sugar. Enraged, I went back to the shop to 'feedback'. The guy reluctantly allow me to change for another bottle, all the while saying that they brewed the drink for hours, hence the taste should not be diluted. The other bottle turned out to be the same, just as diluted. Still not happy, I went into the shop where all the sales assistants were gathered and chatting as there were no customers. I told them that the drink was still diluted and not that I want any exchange. Another guy tried to appease me by saying maybe they did not brew long enough. I left.. but on hindsight, I should hv argued that chrysanthemum doesnt need hours to boil for the taste to be there..obviously they cut the chrysanthemum portion or added too much water, but its not politically correct to tell the customer that. Hmm... still very unhappy over this incident. Definitely will boycott them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Petty Customer Service Policy

I am a loyal customer of Ya Kun . I love their coffee, and they have consistently delivered. I have no complaints on the food/drink at whichever Ya Kun branch I go to. Unfortunately, one Sunday, my brunch was spoilt by the Ya Kun coffee lady at my favourite Mt Faber Safra branch.

I like my kopi C extra milky, and Ya Kun charges more for Kopi C. Having paid up, i went to request more milk from the coffee lady. She added a few drops, and I stared at her, she sulkily responded 'Any more I would have to collect money'. WTF?! I have been there on numerous occassions and the other coffee lady always accede to my request generously with a smile. What is this? U think I am trying to get more bang for my buck by asking for more milk? Its just a matter of preference that I like milky coffee! Totally pissed.

Hubby helped me to send a complaint letter to Ya Kun, they responded very courteously. But to be fair, I responded to them again with details of the incident for greater accuracy. This time, their response was different:

Thank you for your additional information and your patience as we look into the matter you have raised. I am glad to let you know that the matter which you had brought up to our attention had been handled with.

Firstly, we would like to clarify that we practice the No-Questions-Asked, Return and Exchange policy where customers could exchange any unsatisfactory quality of food received for dine-in. However, we do charge another 20cents if customers are asking for more evaporated milk for their own preference, as this is to be fair to customers who are paying for the standard amount of evaporated milk.

We sincerely apologise for this terrible mistake caused by the previous brewer who did not follow our company policy, which leads to a misunderstanding between you and the staff involved. We also acknowledge that she did not handle the situation well when she should have taken her initiative to explain the situation to you. We have spoken to the outlet-in-charge regarding this matter and he has taken disciplinary actions against the staff involved. She has been warned for her rudeness towards customers and been advised to handle similar situations with prudence. We have also emphasised the importance of customer service to all staff at the outlet.

We sincerely apologise to you once again for our oversight in allowing such slip up in our service quality to take place in our outlet. We appreciate the time you taken to write to us and we sincerely hope for your continuous support for Ya Kun. To express our gratitude and apology, please accept the vouchers which we wish to send you. If you could email us back your address, we will mail the vouchers to you shortly.

We seek for your kind understanding in this matter and please rest assured that we will continue to improve ourselves to be of better service to you, our valued customers.

Once again, we thank you for your time and we look forward to serving you again soon.

WTF? Flimsy excuse masked under a web of politeness. This was my reply to them:

Dear ___,

First, I would like to add that it is not "a terrible" mistake by the kind (customer-oriented) coffee lady who previously acceded to my additional evaporated milk request with no charges.

Second, I would question your policy to charge extra."'To be fair to customers who are paying for the standard amount of evaporated milk" - How many customers are going to complain that they do not get extra milk for paying the same price? If you are worried that without this policy, many customers will come forward to ask for extra milk, then let me ask you, how many customers ask to have extra milk at all in the first place? How many are as crazy as me to like extra super milky coffee?! Another reason why this excuse doesnt hold - look at mixed vegetable rice stalls. They dun charge for extra rice, neither do they discount for asking less rice. In the same context, if customers order kopi C with less milk, where is the discount? Or Kopi with less sugar? Where is the discount? This is a very petty company policy. What are you worried about? People will bring bottles and ask you to fill up with milk? It is not as though we are asking you to publicize in the outlet 'We do not charge for extra milk' , which understandably, may encourage people to ask for extra.

Lastly, we are not unreasonable customers, we understand and accept your company policy. I'll just make sure I bring my own evaporated milk next time and buy kopi O from Ya Kun.

Where is your brain?! I loved the cynical ad posters in Ya Kun, they showed intellectual humour. Now they are proving otherwise.

Update: Turned out that my reply to them was deleted in the process of sending, and what they received was a blank email with just my signature. Blah! What a waste of my exciting response. The customer service assistant was smart enough to re-apologise despite seeing a blank email from me. And again requested us to provide an address for them to mail us a voucher. Alright, we'll keep it as that. But will I go Ya Kun again? I'll say, probably much less than before. That place holds less than fond memories after all these issues.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two Boutiques, Worlds Apart

I used to like clothes from LittleMatchGal. But I have since boycotted them. Simple reason - I do not condone their 'No Trying' policy during sales period. If their clothes were $5 / $10 , I can understand. But at $19.90 / $24.90, no trying is NOT Acceptable for me. So ok, NO TRY = NO BUY.

Then recently, there was a major BYSI sale. Saw a rack of clothes at $10 each. Can try. Ok, it fits, buy. Hey, what's with the slow cashier? First time I encountered such slow payment at the cashier counter. When it was my turn, I understood why. The cashier examined my discounted skirt carefully and checked a few times. hmmm.. i had tried on the piece and i'm sure there were no defects. She spotted two slight stains and pointed out to me the skirt was defective in these areas, hence it was on sale. "All sale items have some defects, that's why they are on sale" she declared to me and of cos, sales items are non-refundable. Okay, i still want the skirt anyway. But I was impressed with her ethics. First time I come across an ethical business. Amazing.

You Owe Me An Apology

In Nov 09, I ordered books for office use. After delivery, I handed the invoice over to the processing clerk and assumed she would follow up with payment. Fast forward to Jan 2010, the company called me and expressed concern that they had not received the payment for that order. Immediately I apologised (thinking my clerk must have overlooked the payment), and assured them I would look into the issue. I immediately went to check with my clerk, who reverted soon after to confirm we had made payment. Hence I informed the other party accordingly, with some payment details. Subsequently they called me back to explain that they did receive the amount, but because there was no payment advice attached, so they were not able to match the amount with the invoice, and hence the invoice was still considered outstanding. Throughout this conversation, there was NO apology at all from the other party. It was as though the whole thing was not their fault, and it was because there was no payment advice from us hence they overlooked . So it means, its still my fault that you got paid, but u thought we din pay because we din tell u we paid u? F* la. You can use common sense right? My order amount was $1353.55. How high are the chances that you have other orders with this exact amount during this period?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interesting Service Recovery

Recently I visited my grandfather who was warded at NUH. It was hot and humid in the C-class wards (no aircon). Hubby went to the nearest vending machine to buy a drink (the kind that is dispensed in small paper cups). Unfortunately, the machine malfunctioned. No cup came out, and the drink squirted onto nowhere, wasted. I was quite upset. The disappointment of not having a cold drink to quench my thirst, the lack of support (no customer service staff at the machine) and the lack of immediate refund contributed to my anger.

Actually it was only a 50cts drink, but as a matter of principles (cannot take my money for nothing), I called the customer hotline (printed on the machine) knowing it might be a lengthy call (consume my talktime). Thankfully it was manned on a Saturday afternoon. I rudely exclaimed to the poor polite guy who answered my call. “Your vending machine is spoilt! I put the money in and no cup was dispensed. Wasted my money. How are you going to give me a refund!”

The guy patiently asked for details and said he would send a Burger King voucher to thank me for the feedback. (I din press for the refund anymore, thinking the voucher cld be $5). So I also gave him my particulars for him to mail the voucher to me.

All was forgotten until one week later, I receive a nicely worded letter from F&N to thank me for my feedback, and to use the letter to redeem a 16oz drink at BK outlets. Well, the letter sure pacify me, though I was disappointed with the drink redemption. Still, it definitely cost more than 50cts. Cant complain.