customer service travelCan businesses really afford to do things like this, in the age of social media?

A couple of months ago, my son purchased a product from a company on eBay. Even though they were advertising specific products there, when he put the purchase through they told him it was out of stock and wanted to sell him something else.

However… the replacement product my son requested was ALSO out of stock. So he asked for a refund.

That was on August 14, and the company promised to issue a refund by the end of business on August 15. The refund did not happen on the 15th… or the 19th… or the 25th…

Several weeks and emails later, my son sent another message trying to find out why he still hadn’t received his refund. He had been very cordial throughout the entire email exchange.

That day, the company came back with a LAME excuse that it was their busy season and they’d get to the refund as soon as possible.


I decided it was time to take off the kid gloves. I fired off a reply that they didn’t have any problem taking his money, and they’d better give it back to him in the next 24 hours, or I’d be taking the issue up with eBay, the BBB and other authorities.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting…

I got a phone call about 30 minutes later, the caller did not identify himself. He’d actually started talking before I picked up, so I only caught part of the remark—but it had something to do with “I’ll make you disappear.” Then he hung up the phone before I could respond.

Did I just get threatened? Seriously? The call came from a cell phone, so I can’t prove the call came from someone in the company I’d just emailed. But it does seem too much of a coinkydink to not have come from there.

Even more interestingly, the refund showed up at the same time!

So here’s the moral of this little story… Keep Your Promises.

If you promise a refund in 24 hours, or whatever time frame, give the $$ back for crying out loud. If you make any other promises or claims to attract customers, follow through!

The travel industry is especially rife with review sites where reputations are trashed every day—so much so that, unfortunately, reputation management has become a necessary service to deal with it.

But businesses can circumvent many of the problems that can damage their reputations simply by doing what they say they’re going to do.

So what’s your take?

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