Thursday, December 11, 2008

It pays to complain...

I have felt the need to write something a bit more random, so here it is.

In the past few months, I've gotten on a kick of "complaining" to companies who offer a guarantee on their products (and had quite a bit of success with it). Now, I guess I shouldn't really call it complaining because they are asking for feedback. I've encouraged my mom and sister to do the same and they, too, have had good results with it. Here are some examples.

Oxo #1: A while back, my 2 cup angled measuring cup cracked. Yes, I had put it in the dishwasher; yes, I'd put it in the microwave. But, the package said all that was safe for it. So, I sent them a nice email asking what they could do for me. They replied and asked what the part number was (go look it up on our web site) and they would replace it. I sent the part number of the 2 cup measure and they replaced it with a 4 cup measure. A slightly more expensive product, but to me, it's just another measuring cup that I didn't have to buy!

Oxo #2: Recently, my multi grater (like a box grater, but not quite as good) broke. Again, I'd put it in the dishwasher (who doesn't like to put a grater in the dishwasher?), but the packaging said it was dishwasher safe. So, I sent them another nice email and asked what they could do for me. They sent me a form this time and asked that I fill it out and return it with the broken product and I could get a new one (or something of equal or lesser value). So, for $4, I mailed my broken multi grater back to Oxo and asked if they could replace it with the box grater, even though I knew that was a few dollars more). I thought the box grater might be slightly easier to use. Much to my surprise, I received my box grater!

Great Value cooking spray: I buy generic food products and I'm not ashamed of it! Rarely can I tell the difference between the generic and the name brand product. I bought the Wal-Mart brand of canola oil cooking spray a while back and used it for a while with no problems. Then, one day, I got it out to use it and, in taking off the lid, oil went everywhere! I figured I had hit the spray nozzle when I put the lid back on so I didn't think much about it. When it happened again, I was a little more wary of the product. I left it sitting out so I could clean it up and noticed that the sprayer was bubbling. It apparently had a leak and that was causing the oil to leak out. So, I complained to Wal-Mart online and told them what had happened. I didn't hear back from them immediately, but later got a letter from Con Agra, the maker of the spray. They sent me $5 to reimburse me for the cooking spray, a great deal for me considering the cooking spray only costs $1.46!!

Sears Portrait Studios: In October, we took Emily to Sears to get her pictures taken. It was a pretty bad experience. Now, I'll admit, it was partly my fault because we went on a Saturday. (DO NOT EVER go on a Saturday!!!) We arrived about 20 minutes before our appointment time and stood waiting for about 20 minutes for someone to acknowledge that we were there. Once we got checked in, they told us they were running behind (big surprise) and that it would be 30-45 minutes before they got to us. (Remember, Emily was only 4 months old and babies don't really like it when you mess with their schedules!) So, an hour after our original appointment time, we were finally taken back. I was chatting with the (very young-looking) photographer as we got started and asked how long she'd been taking pictures. She said about three months. That made me nervous. So, an inexperienced photographer and a semi-uncooperative baby put together. Well, we got ONE good shot. The others weren't terrible, but they certainly weren't anything I couldn't have taken myself! We ordered our pictures and bought the Super Saver card and went on our way. I found out later that they were supposed to give us a proof sheet that had all the pictures on it and a link that we could use to see them online. After calling customer service and asking them to manually upload them, we were able to do that. Fortunately, that day's receipt had a survey on it so I gleefully filled it out and told them just how disappointed I was with my experience. They sent me a coupon for 10% off and 2 free portrait sheets, good with any other offer. So far, they've won me back. We'll see how our session today goes.


Lauren said...

So, was Sears any better today?

Anonymous said...

I have had some good results in the past in complaining to restaurants and food companies and then get coupons. I used to get coupons for free if I opened bad Diet Pepsi. I got a coupon for dinner for 11 from Bennegins one time after complaining of poor service and food when eating there with a group of 11. I didn't get anywhere complaining to Con Agra when their popcorn failed to pop in the microwave and scorched Mama's new microwave oven.