Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It pays to complain

That's if you do it right.

Mostly I've written e-mails to companies to complain that their stores don't follow the Scanning Code of Practice (The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code or "The Code"). I've used The Code over the past 11 or so years in grocery stores and pharmacies right at the time to get free groceries and health products for which the register prices were higher than the shelf prices. Probably a few hundred dollars in refunds and free products by now (I get the product for free [or the differential amount if the product is more than $10 CA] plus the refund). It's not necessary to claim the entitlement at the time; but you really need to produce the receipt right away or within a couple of days to get the entitlement, in case they have corrected the price database.

So after I complain in writing (e-mail) I usually get an e-mail back in a few days or weeks from the relevant Customer Service after claiming to them that the store wasn't honouring The Code.

This time, however, was a bit different. I bought wine from the LCBO that had a big-time AIR MILES reward bonus before Christmas (7+7+15) for buying two different products from the same Australian winery. Nice stuff, went down well. But when the AIR MILES were credited to my account (to the LCBO's credit, they do update my rewards within a few days after a purchase), I noticed that I was missing the 15 bonus reward points for buying the two different products at the same time. DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! I fired off an e-mail mentioning this to Air Miles Inc. and THEN I checked my receipts. I had been charged for two bottles of the same wine, twice, at the same LCBO. While I got the 7+7 bonus, I missed out on the 15 bonus rewards---twice.

In terms of Air Miles rewards, 30 is not a big whoop. It might get you part way to the 401 in terms of a trip from Toronto to anywhere. And there are no gift cards worth anything for less than 85 (I only use my rewards for grocery certificates from Metro).

So I composed a one-page letter that I sent to LCBO, Air Miles, and Industry Canada. A nice lady from LCBO actually looked me up and phoned me at home to help me out (I still have her number). The next result was from Industry Canada, who returned my letter and photocopies and gave me an alternate address for recourse. Finally today I checked my account online and noted that 30 reward miles had been credited to my account from "SHOP 2 STORE BONUS."

My complaint process: tell them what I thought should have happened; tell them what DID happen; then tell what what I want to happen. This gives them an out or a way to negotiate. If you don't give them a way to satisfy your beef, how can they respond? "Sorry, that won't happen again, here's a free in-flight meal"?? Yeah, right.

A letter from a disgruntled passenger to India on Virgin airlines has been spiralling virally around the net for a bit. While the passenger amused himself mightly at the airline's expense (photos provided), I didn't notice him actually asking for anything in recompense. And I didn't notice whether he even got anything (regular English curry like we get at 'ome?). Silly git.

Eww, I just found a hair in my soup! Fire up the e-mail...oh, wait---it was one of mine.

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