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Worst Customer Service Ever (long post)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
We’ve all had experiences with bad customer service. But this has to be the worst.

The beginning of the month I ordered a Fry Pro 2. From start to finish it’s been a headache.

For starters, despite what the web site says, I was never sent an email confirmation of the order. No big deal, except for what follows.

The unit was delivered a week ago. Going through the owners manual there are several places which refer you to their customer service department---the contact info for which can be found on the last page of the manual.

Bzzt! Wrong! Thanks for playing! There is no such info provided.

Again, wouldn’t be a big deal, by itself.

Included with the unit are supposed to be 100 bamboo skewers and a special tool for cutting an orange blossom onion. The bag of skewers didn’t look right, so I actually counted them: Only 58. But, what the heck. Skewers are cheap enough.

The onion cutter was included. But there were no instructions for its use.

Now comes the kicker. There are supposed to be two filters inside a metal housing; a white one and a black one. The white one, according to the instructions, goes in first, then the black one. Keep that in mind.

Upon checking the unit, there was only one filter; the black one. This could be serious, so I figured, better call customer service (which, btw, can sell you new filters when the old ones wear out). Of course there was no customer service contact info where it was supposed to be. Back on line to see if I could track it down. Finally found a phone number, which I called.

I explain the problems to the young man who answered. His first response, with great surprise, was, “there are supposed to be two filters?”

In short, this customer service rep hadn’t a clue what his product was all about.

He also insisted that the customer service info had to be there. If not, “then you’re missing the last page.” Uh, huh. Like that’s supposed to make me feel better, right? And, of course, he had no explanation for the lack of instructions for the onion cutter.

Yeah, well, what do we do about the filters. “I’ll have to check with my manager about how we handle that,” he said, “would you hold a minute.”

That “minute” stretched into more like six or seven. He comes back and tells me, "you're right. There should be two filters," and that the only way to fix it is for me to send the whole unit back, and they’ll send a new one. “Why can’t you just send me the missing filter?” I asked. “We don’t have them in singles like that,” he says. “So why don’t you just send me a complete set?” “We don’t do it that way.”

And again he stresses that I have to send the unit back.

“Lemme get this straight,” I say, getting a little upset now. “You screwed up, but I have to pay postage to send the machine back to you.”

“That’s our policy,” he says. “You send the unit back, along with a receipt, and we’ll refund the postage.”

“And why,” I ask, “given you demonstrated level of not doing what you say, should I believe you’ll send me a refund”

No answer to that, of course.

“Let me talk to a manager,” I insist.

“She’s in a meeting,” he says.

“Well pull her out of the meeting,” I say.

But, of course, whatever she was doing was more important than satisfying a p-ssd-off customer. “We’ll have her call me as soon as she’s out of that meeting,” I tell the guy. Who duly takes my number.

That was a week ago, and I’m still waiting for the phone call. Must be one heck of a long meeting.

So much for customer service.

Anyway, I start repacking the unit. Lo and behold! Mixed in with the packing material (which, btw, it resembles) is the missing white filter. Obviously, whoever packed the unit realized he’d forgotten to put it in the holder before snapping the black one in. So he just tossed it in the box---forgetting, in the meantime, to include the onion cutting directions and the page with customer service info.

I’ll be using the fryer for the first time tonight. With a little luck the d_mn thing won’t explode. Maybe it will even do its job properly. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, if any of you feel like ordering a Fry Pro, my advice is that you go lie down until the feeling passes.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #2 of 17
I had a terrible experience with Sprint customer service about 20 years ago. I had tried to get someone to fix the problem and nobody could or would (over-billing). I asked for a supervisor and was told there were none available and one would call back within 24 hours. After being told several times over several days the very same story, I decided they never were going to call back. I called their customer service department and said that I would be willing to wait for a supervisor to come to the phone, no matter how long it took. I was told off, including the use of the f-word and more.

I was so shocked at this behavior from CUSTOMER SERVICE that I called the corporate headquarters and talked to one of the CEO's underlings there. The woman apologized and said, "We've been running a promotion and we have been overwhelmed by the response." That was her excuse.

Fast forward to about a month ago. I am considering Nextel (now Sprint). I decide to call customer service before getting myself into a contract with them. Again, a terrible experience. I asked a few general questions about the service and couldn't get a straight answer. I asked for a supervisor. None available; they'll call back. Nope. Not going for that again, I'll wait. I waited for an hour (thank goodness for speaker phones) and a supervisor came on the line. Couldn't answer my questions and was very, very rude (not as rude as the one 20 years ago, but still).

Saddened, I called the corporate headquarters and talked to the CEO's underlings. What did the woman say to me? Unbelievably, she said, "We've been running a promotion and we have been overwhelmed by the response." :eek: Twenty years and they still hadn't come up with anything better than that.
post #3 of 17
KY, that really, really sucks!!!
have you ever used:
gethuman 500 database
it gives real phone numbers to people in charge?? from what I hear, and it's all been good. They also have a place to enter good and bad experiences with companies.
I have had great luck with several companies and was glad to see that is their MO.
Hope dinner went o.k.?
Nan

Edit, I just looked on gethuman and could not find anything about Fry Pro 2. Is is a good site to bookmark though. Sorry
post #4 of 17
I notice that the database is only the toll free numbers to customer service. That can be a dead-end quickly. Better is to contact the corporate headquarters and ask for the president/ceo. That gets you to a better level of management and real solutions to your problem.

One can look up the telephone numbers and names of CEO's on a few sites:

BBB

Bigcharts.com

Bloomberg.com

Business Financial News, Business News Online & Personal Finance News at WSJ.com - WSJ.com (may be subscription)

Another thing to do is to look at the company's press releases (usually posted somewhere on their web site or available through a Google search) and call their media relations department, whose number will be posted. They don't want to see bad press and will give you the appropriate contact to resolve the problem before they have to handle it in the media.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Actually, Shipscook, the unit performed pretty well. It heated up faster than I expected, and, with a minor problem hardly worth mentioning, did the job.

All I used it for was to make fried potato wedges, though.

Frankly, nowadays I work on the principle that customer service is a thing of the past. But even within that framework, my Frypro experience takes the cake (Hey! Isn't there an award along those lines---best of the worst, or some such?)

The real irony, though, is if you go to the site and look for their customer service info, you'll find the following:

"Fry Pro is committed to providing the best products and friendliest customer service."

I reckon their committment isn't all that strong, considering that the rep I spoke to was neither friendly nor knowledgeable.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

The Plot Thickens

So, I decide to write the president of Fry Pro. While I can't imagine the top guy not being aware of such bad service, it's possible.

Yesterday morning I call the customer service number and ask for the name of the company president. There's a pregnant pause, and the woman says, "just a second, I'll check." I'm on hold for a couple of minutes, and she comes back and says, "I can't give out that information."

Excuse me? The name of the company president is a deep, dark secret? Whoever heard of such a thing?

She then asks for my name and number, saying he'll get back to me. Uh, huh! Like the customer service manager, whose call-back I'm still waiting on? I don't think so.

Beyond doubt this is the worst company I've ever dealt with, and I'll be sharing that word through every channel open to me.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 17
I just wanted to give a little tip for customer service that has been out-sourced to another country. If given the option, always choose the Spanish option. The call stays here, they are always bi-lingual, and usually have the power to make decisions. It's so much better to talking to Mary in India about your Lowes account:D
baddaboom
post #8 of 17
It's easy enough to find out the names of corporate officers. That said, you might want to write a letter to FryPro and let them know that you're going to tell everyone you know about their losy customer service and how you've been treated.

Shel
post #9 of 17
I had an interesting experience with Trader Joe's a few months ago. I wanted to know who produced their private label milk for them. The store people "didn't know," and the store manager gave me a busuness card for someone at corporate who'd be able to help me. On the card there was the statement that TJ's wants you to know the sources of their products. When I called and spoke to the person in charge of such things I was told that TJ's doesn't divulge that information - in direct contradiction to the statement on their card.

Shel
post #10 of 17
I always thought I was a magnet for poor service... glad I'm not the only one. I have found that if I ask for a manager, I get the run around. When I ask who the rep would discuss the issue with, I get the answer I need and talk to that person. I have found that people in positions of authority do not want their name associated with a complaint so they seem more amiable to finding a solution.
The last time I had a problem with government services I called my cities mayor, got a peon and asked to talk to the mayor. I was told they were unavailable. I asked the peon their name, got it, and proceeded to tell them that I would be including their name when I forwarded my problem to the local paper. Amazingly enough, the mayor became available almost immediately after I said this. Funny how that worked. Just my opinion though...
post #11 of 17
I did some looking around and found that the Fry Pro is distributed by a company called As Seen On TV (or network thereof). I also noticed that they collect tax on the Fry Pro for IL, CA and NY. This means they have nexus in those states. When I looked for associations with As Seen On TV and those states, I got the following info that may be helpful to you.

MultiMedia, Inc.
60 E. Chestnut, Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: (877) 889-6688



The BBB reports on members and non-members. If a company is a member of the BBB, it is stated in this report
BBB Definition:

report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB membership information, and Bureau complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues or other information that results from activity conducted by the BBB.


Principal: Mr. Neal Smyth
Customer Contact: Mr. Neal Smyth - (888) 251-6688
File Open Date: December 1998
TOB Classification: Business Opportunity Cos.
BBB Membership: This company is not a member.


Additional DBA Names

As Seen On Tv
Travel 2000


Additional Addresses, and Telephone Numbers

Additional Addresses
3010 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90010


Additional Phone Numbers
Tel: (888) 251-6688
Tel: (888) 930-6688
Tel: (888) 626-6688
post #12 of 17
Now I'm on a roll. I noticed that they offer for people to become "affiiiates". Affiliate of who? They give the following address:

CPA Warehouse
3001 Leonard Drive,
Suite 301
Valparaiso, IN 46383

T: 219.477.2390
F: 219.477.3913


Hmmm... that sounds familiar, I think. I remember searching the BBB and finding As Seen On TV Network, out of business, unsatisfactory record with the BBB and a similar sounding address... I'll go back and look and voila....

as seen on tv network.com
3001 Leonard Drive 3rd floor
Valparaiso, IN 46383


Customer Experience

Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record
BBB Definition:

unsatisfactory record - A company has an "unsatisfactory business performance record" with the Bureau is based on the experiences reflected in BBB files. This file condition results when the company has failed to resolve or respond to complaints, repeatedly failed to respond or resolve issues in a timely manner, failed to resolve the underlying issues for a pattern
BBB Definition:

pattern - More than 2 complaints involving the same allegations usually within 12 months that are significant in relation to the company's size and volume of business.


of complaints, failed to honor their commitment to mediate or arbitrate disputes or honor mediated agreements or arbitrated decisions, failed to substantiate, modify or discontinue false advertising claims that are challenged by the BBB, or failed to discontinue unauthorized use of the BBB name and logo, a Federally protected trademark.


with the Bureau due to failure to respond to a complaint. However the business has resolved
BBB Definition:

resolved - The company resolved the complaint issues.


one complaint presented to the bureau.

When considering complaint information, please take into account the company's size and volume of transactions, and understand that the nature of complaints and a firm's responses to them are often more important than the number of complaints.

The Bureau processed a total of 3 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 3 complaints closed in 36 months, 3 were closed in the last year.

Billing or Collection Issues
BBB Definition:

Billing or Collection Issues - Claim alleging billing errors, unauthorized charges, or questionable collection practices.



No Response
BBB Definition:

No Response - The company failed to respond to the complaint.



1 - Company failed to respond to the BBB to resolve or address the complaint issues.

Sales Practice Issues
BBB Definition:

Sales Practice Issues - Claims of alleged sales presentations made in person or by telephone that contain misrepresentations of the product or service, high pressure sales practices, failure to disclose key conditions of the offer, and verbal representations not consistent with written contractual terms or agreements.



Resolved
BBB Definition:

Resolved - The company resolved the complaint issues.



1 - Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to the BBB.
Unresolved
BBB Definition:

Unresolved - The company failed to resolve the complaint issues.



1 - Company failed to resolve the complaint issues through the BBB voluntary and self-regulatory process.
post #13 of 17
Anyway, the BBB covering the territory of these Fry Pro losers is:

The Better Business Bureau®
Serving The 23 Northern Counties of Indiana
4011 Parnell Ave
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
(260) 423-4433
The Better Business Bureau
post #14 of 17
And continuing the unsatisfactory record theme, here are some more companies with the same address. Additional names and phone numbers:

Livemercial
3001 Leonard Dr. #301
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Telephone: (219) 477-3900
Fax: (219) 477-3913
Livemercial



The BBB reports on members and non-members. If a company is a member of the BBB, it is stated in this report
BBB Definition:

report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB membership information, and Bureau complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues or other information that results from activity conducted by the BBB.


.



Principal: Ms. Beth Johnson, Customer Service Contact
Customer Contact: Ms. Beth Johnson, Customer Service Contact - (219) 477-3900

Company Name Address City/State/Postal Type of Business
Livemercial 3001 Leonard Dr # 301 Valparaiso, IN 46383 Computers - Sys Designers & Consult
C P A Warehouse 3001 Leonard Dr Ste 301 Valparaiso, IN 46383 Internet Services
as seen on tv network.com 3001 Leonard Dr Fl 3 Valparaiso, IN 46383 Product Sales - General
CPA Warehouse (sweep n mop) 3001 Leonard Dr Valparaiso, IN 46383 Product Sales - General
AS SEEN ON TV NET WORK 3001 Leonard Dr Fl 3 Valparasio, IN 46383 Department, Discount, Outlet Stores
post #15 of 17
Ran a Whois search and found the following for their domain admin:

OrgName: Livemercial
OrgID: LIVEM
Address: 3001 Leonard Drive, 3rd Floor
City: Valparaiso
StateProv: IN
PostalCode: 46383
Country: US
Comment:
RegDate: 2004-05-13
Updated: 2004-05-13

AdminHandle: CST43-ARIN
AdminName: Stutz, Chris
AdminPhone: +1-219-477-3900
AdminEmail: cstutz@teamlivemercial.com

TechHandle: CST43-ARIN
TechName: Stutz, Chris
TechPhone: +1-219-477-3900
TechEmail: cstutz@teamlivemercial.com
post #16 of 17
Thank you KYHeirloomer for telling us about your troubles with this company! I'm glad you did, too, cuz I was having fryer-envy when I found out you had gotten one! I've been looking at different models since then and will definitely stay away from these bozos. Sheesh! How hard is it to have good customer service? Seems to me, that if you want to stay in business, legitimately, that you MUST have good customer support!

Thanks also to Free Rider for pulling up all the documentation. I will stay far away from those guys and will also do my part to pass on this information to my cooking friends at my other forums!!! :-/ That just torks me off, no end!
You guys rock!!!! Way to go whistle-blowers!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Further Word

Got back a response from the letter I had sent addressed to the president of Fry Pro. You'll recall that they keep his name a dark secret.

The letter I got purports to be from a T. Santiago, Customer Service Supervisor. However, no company name appeared on the envelope (which actually looked like junk mail). And the letter itself has no logo. Fry Pro 2 and the address were obviously hand-keyed. Mr (Miss? Ms? Mrs?) Santiago did not sign the letter.

Won't bore you with the details, but the gist of the letter amounted to the advice that if I have any questions I should call the customer service number. Hmmmmm? Can we say catch 22?

It's become more and more obvious that this is a less than reputable company. Forewarned is forarmed.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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