Nothing tanks a company’s reputation faster than bad customer service. Here are five of our favorite stories of dumb dumbs not knowing what do do for their business. We hope you enjoy.
1. Ocean Marketing’s Avenger Controller
One of the most infamous customer service botches of all time came from a guy named Paul Christoforo who was hired to handle PR for the Avenger controller. The entire story is a really great read, which you can view here in its entirety. Basically, a guy named Dave ordered the video game controller and it was slow/late so he emailed the company and Christoforo responded in increasingly angry and demeaning ways. His best quote is probably saying to Dave:
“Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up.”
The story culminates in Christoforo insulting Dave repeatedly and bragging about being at the PAX convention, apparently not realizing that the PAX guys get copied into the email chain, and then getting kicked out before the convention started. He hilariously tried to save face but never accepted any responsibility, let alone attempting a professional attitude or proper grammar. If you can enjoy schadenfreude, this is the story for you.
2. Comcast Won’t Let Customer Cancel Service
Honestly, you have to just listen to the thing. A guy wanted to cancel his Comcast Internet service but the rep on the other end just will not let him. The guy had been arguing for 15 minutes and decided to record it but you still get almost 10 minutes of the service rep trying to talk the guy out of it. It’d be unbelievable if it wasn’t the company that changes its customers names to things like Asshole if they don’t like them.
3.Southwest Airlines Kicks Kevin Smith Off for Being Too Fat
You know who you don’t want to kick off your flight without a great reason? Any celebrity with access to Twitter. But that’s what Southwest Airlines did to filmmaker Kevin Smith, arguing he was too fat to fly. Smith admitted that he’s a big guy but he was able to snap the seatbelt and lower his armrests. Neither of his seatmates asked him to be moved. One overly aggressive flight attendant then gave Southwest a massive headache that they still get to hear about regularly since Smith loves to do Q&As and tell stories, including this one.
That said, it still isn’t as bad as when US Airways replied on Twitter to a customer service complaint by telling them to provide feedback to their Customer Relations team here and included a photo of a woman sticking a toy plane in her privates. Whoops.
4. Blockbuster Creates No Late Fees and Goes Bankrupt
Blockbuster at one time turned down the opportunity to buy Netflix. They didn’t have the vision to see that streaming services were the way of the future. So when they began losing hard to Netflix all the way back in 2005, they created a new “No Late Fees” policy for their customers. Except it wasn’t really a no late fees policy. Because at a certain date the movie was late and the customer automatically got charged for buying it. If they returned it, they would get a refund minus 10 bucks for a “restocking fee.” Yeah, no customers were excited about that. Blockbuster ended up having to pay customers back about $600,000. They reinstated late fees in 2010 at the same time, filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They never recovered. The customer service policy wasn’t their undoing but it was a slap in the face to their remaining customers as they went down.
5. Taco Bell Shoots Customer
I really can’t tell the story in a more satisfying way than the above video. Basically a customer wasn’t getting service so he started banging on the Taco Bell door at 4am (they were open for business but no one was paying attention to their drive thru). So an employee got his BB gun and shot the customer repeatedly. Smart.