Lifestyle

OPINION: There are benefits to being the Customer From Hell

THIS may come as no surprise to those of you who regularly read this column, but I am a serial writer of letters of complaint to companies I feel have been derelict in their duties in some (any) way.

It will certainly come as no surprise to work colleagues who have endured my anti-telco/bank/internet provider tirades with stoicism.

I am the only person I know who has received a letter of apology, a refund and compensation for stress from a bank after one of their employees managed to lose the title deed to a house I was selling, causing a 10-day delay in settlement and a bridging loan fiasco that cost me thousands.

The bank employee in question was outraged when my solicitor told me what had happened - she insisted the title wasn't lost, they just didn't know where it was.

When I ring my telco now, the call centre staff put me on hold and play soothing music while they race off to find a supervisor for hints on how to handle the customer from Hell who just rang in with yet another complaint.

They take the call using hushed tones and speaking very, very calmly in order not to inflame me further.

All that said, I am never rude to the poor unfortunate who has just ruined their day by answering my call, and I am always careful to say "this company" rather than "you" when reciting the latest outrage as it is rarely - if ever - that particular person's fault that I am cross.

I've returned the faulty squeeze bottle of tomato paste that disgorged its contents all over the interior of my refrigerator (cash voucher refund), sent back the toothpaste tube whose lid snapped off (six new tubes of toothpaste) and whinged about the flavour of a packet soup that my partner carries on his yacht for a quick snack - "classic chicken flavour" it proclaimed, but there was no chicken in the ingredients list. It tasted like salty milk (voucher for more soup, never redeemed).

There's an art to having a good whine.

Don't make it personal, work out before you start what achievable outcome you are aiming for, and be gracious and polite (unless all else fails - then let 'em have it).

So I recently flexed fingers and prepared to type a letter of complaint to the cosmetics company that makes the only skin care products I can use.

The label type had been reduced to the point where I could no longer read it, thus making it impossible to distinguish between products.

A friend happened to drop by, and checked a jar against an old one holding rubber bands in the bathroom; she pointed out that the type was exactly the same and that I just needed glasses.

Phooey.

Topics:  customer complaints shopping



He served his country but died a lonely death

BEFORE: A photo of Walter Derrett's grave taken in 1934 and printed in the Northern Star.

One of the saddest stories Tales from the Grave has uncovered

Busy year for busy bees restoring neglected duck pond

From left, Mark Bailey and Derek Goodwin of South Lismore Duck Pond Landcare with the Mayor of Lismore Isaac Smith.

South Lismore Duck Pond wins grant to continue much-needed work

Gen Xers more likely to 'chuck a sickie' to go to the beach

One in 7 Australians are more likely to 'chuck a sickie' to go to the beach.

One in 7 Australian workers have taken advantage of sunny weather

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!