Why Only Apologies?

January 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm (life)

I’ve realised that I am perplexed with the lack of willingness (on the behalf of companies) to give more than just an apology when something has gone wrong. Countless times recently A and I have had problems with companies in the UK and they seem to have gone out of their way to 1. not solve the problem and 2. not to offer any form of compensation.

I understand that companies can’t go giving out money and presents to everyone when something goes a little bit wrong but A had a 3 month problem with the famous Pay Pal and not only did they not fix his problem during the 3 months, they also ‘could not’ give him a refund, let alone compensation of any kind. What has happened to the customer always being right?

When I worked for RBS we were often sending out flowers, giving double the required refund or proving some other sort of present to apologise for our mistake. The moto was, first apologise, then fix the problem and then do something else to show how sorry you are and to make the customer remember how much we did to show our gratitude for their custom. At the time I thought that this attitude was the ‘norm’ but it turns out that it’s far from it.

Today I called Oxfam, for the 4th time, to check up on the arrival of my goods that I ordered from their website. I thought I’d send meaningful gifts this year as I love the idea of them and sending parcels is quite expensive. So, I ordered my gifts in November to make sure that they arrived on time. The first problem was that they got lost in the post. However they were sent out again mid-December, so there was still a chance that they’d arrive in time. Today, I called again (11th January) and they said that they don’t know what has happened and all they can do is send them again. There was no apology and no offer of compensation. I know they are a charity so I wouldn’t have taken more than my refund anyway, but that’s not the point. Why aren’t they doing everything they can to ensure that I use their service again and they don’t lose me (and maybe others) as a result of this cock-up?

Do companies have so many customers these days that they can afford to treat us all like crap and make out that it’s our fault when they haven’t provided what they said they’d provide, within the time limit that they specified? I just don’t get it! So often I hear/read the ‘your products/service will be delivered within 3/5 working days’ (or something similar), so why when it doesn’t happen is their such a battle to get the requested products/service and also to get compensation?

At my restaurant, it’s exactly the same, if a customer has to wait too long for their food, we apologise. If when it does arrive, it’s the wrong thing, we apologise. They may then have to wait another 20 minutes while we prepare the correct dish. No refund is given, no compensation, no complimentary drinks, nothing! If I was that customer, I doubt I’d go back. Are people just ok with that these days, why aren’t companies striving for excellence?

Why, as customers, do we put up with this? (Smoke now coming out of keyboard and ears!!)


  1. Crafty Green Poet said,

    I had that problem with Oxfam and so did my sister. This was three or four years ago when the idea of good gifts was just starting out and Oxfam was one of the few charities offering this kind of service. I’m appalled that they still haven’t sorted it out. This year i bought my sister a length of hedgerow for birdconservation with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, she bought me gifts through an organisation called Practical Action. All these gifts were delivered well on time, despite the poor record of the postal system in the Uk this holiday season

  2. crunchcorner said,

    Gosh, that is awful! good to know about the other ideas, maybe I will try a different company next year then. thanks.

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