Damn you, Indecision!

Customer Service Hall of Shame: Lucky Magazine Subscription Services

Lucky Magazine is a women’s shopping magazine (for fashion, home furnishings, etc.), so if you’re not interested in it, or if you’re not interested in gripes about customer service, stop reading now. (However, I do talk a little bit about Toshiba customer service at the end) Otherwise, read on.

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I set up an online payment via my banking site for the magazine renewal fee, but wasn’t sure if it was received, since I got a notice in the mail asking for payment. Since I like to avoid calling customer service numbers as much as possible, I tracked down their online service form and sent an e-mail asking them to confirm whether or not payment was received. I got a confirmation that they received my e-mail and would contact me soon. So far so good.

A few days later, I got an e-mail saying they didn’t have the payment on record. The e-mail requested information about the payment like bank name, check #, etc. so they could follow up on the issue. I sent the information, as well as an explanation that the payment might have been misdirected a little bit because of how my bank addressed it. The address was correct, but they used my name as part of the address because I didn’t enter an account number (didn’t have one). I got another confirmation that my e-mail was received.

This morning I got THE SAME form e-mail back. Well, I guess I can assume that my payment was not received for whatever reason. However, the fact that the customer service rep (if it’s not just a stupid bot or something) sent the same form e-mail back, not even addressing what I sent in my last e-mail, leads me to believe that they probably didn’t do anything to follow up on the actual payment using the information I provided. I gave up and just went to their site and paid the renewal fee through the site (I didn’t know that option was available before I set up payment through my bank’s website). I may or may not reverse the charges from my bank.

Every company should heed the following advice: if you are going to put an option for online customer service via e-mail or some feedback form, you damn well better have some staff reading the e-mail and replying to it appropriately. I’m not against form letters in most circumstances, but when a company completely ignores the content of an e-mail sent to them and sends back a form letter that doesn’t answer ANY questions, that is blatantly BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE. If the company is going to operate in that manner, they should not offer the online feedback form and just provide a phone number for people to call.

Lucky Magazine isn’t the first company to do this, in my experience. I had a pretty similar experience from Toshiba’s customer service for the Gigabeat S (another reason I’m soured on the product). I posted the e-mail thread I got from that on the mygigabeat.com discussion forum (scroll down to see my response).

These are just a couple data points among many of companies who don’t get the concept of using the internet for interacting with their customers. Though I won’t stop subscribing to Lucky magazine or stop buying Toshiba products completely (I love my M200 Tablet PC!), I really hope they improve their lame customer service, because it reflects poorly on the company, no matter what they think.

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