Friday, January 29, 2016

A Tale Of Two Companies

Recently, I was overcharged by two companies.  Oddly enough, both of them stem from Western Pennsylvania USA.

The first company, Giant Eagle, remedied the situation immediately.  I bought some toilet paper on sale and was charged the normal price.  When my total bill came out higher than expected, I checked the receipt and discovered the error.  The clerk checked things out and verified the error.  I only wanted the difference between the sale and regular price back, but the store gave me the toilet paper and gave me back the entire price I had paid for it, apologizing for the error.  Wow!

That experience stood in stark contrast to the other.  I had insurance with Erie Insurance through the Myers Insurance Agency in Lakewood, Ohio USA for many years.  I moved and went through some other major life changes last year, and even though I had paid for a year's worth of auto insurance back in May, my agent oddly insisted that I open up a new policy, pay for it, and then the money that I paid for my old policy would be refunded.  When no refund eventually showed up, I inquired about it.  When I didn't hear back from my agent after 11 days and several followups, I just contacted corporate, specifically the CEO, since he always stuck his name on the letters I would get from the company.  He sicced a snotty secretary on me, who gave me various goofy reasons why I wouldn't get a refund.  Finally, I just ended up getting new insurance and canceling all my policies with Erie.  I also complained officially to the Ohio Department Of Insurance.  I was prepared even to buy a share of stock in the company just to show up at the annual shareholders meeting to complain.  Fortunately, I didn't have to buy stock in such a crappy company since, amazingly enough, my refund for the old policy finally appeared.

One of these companies I will patronize again; one I will not.  You can probably guess which they are.  Companies can learn a lot from this juxtaposition.  If you want to keep customers, treat them well and fix any mistake promptly.  Most people understand that mistakes can happen, so if the situation is resolved quickly, it's usually forgiven.      

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