The 8 Biggest Customer Service Failures in 2012


2012 was an interesting year for customer service. There seemed to be significantly fewer truly outrageous poor customer experiences. For those that did occur, it seemed that companies were far more responsive, correcting things before they escalated, or worse – went viral. Maybe we’re all starting to get the message?

Nevertheless, there were still some doozies, featuring companies and individuals sending the message ‘we really don’t care loud and clear. Here they are in descending order:

8. Power to the People?
Not in New Jersey or Long Island Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) are characterized as unreliable and unresponsive. Funny, though, that their ability to send out their bills – however inaccurate – doesn’t seem to be affected…. More

7. Best Buy – Do Not Disturb
Best Buy removed all email contact from their website. The reason? They want to get customers to use their ‘Live Chat’ option. Sadly, STELLA Service reports a less than 5% chance that you will actually be able to connect on their live chat. The message? Please give us your money – but please don’t bother us. More

6. Sears – The Key to Poor Customer Service
It should have been a simple lawnmower repair. But Sears turned it into a nightmare. More

5. Bell Canada – a Service Fee for Everything
A man got his 11-year-old daughter a new cell phone for Christmas, and Bell Canada’s contribution was to allocate her the phone number of an escort service named “Discreetly Intimate”. When they finally realized why their daughter was getting so many bizarre phone calls, they went back to the store to have the number changed. Bell, however, refused to waive the $20 service fee – even after escalating it to a supervisor. More

4. Allied Express Misses deliveries – and the point
Customer Complaints aren’t new to Allied Express, Australia’s biggest independent delivery company. Normally, it appears, they just ignore them and hope the people will just go away. Owner Colin McDowell changed tactics at Christmas time, however, opting for the good old “threaten to sue if you don’t stop complaining” technique. More

3. Chili’s – Service with a Snarl
Customers at a Stockton California Chili’s were not impressed to see the words “Fat Girls” written on the top of their bill. To add insult to…well…insult, the Manager couldn’t bring himself to comp the bill, opting instead to just give them a ‘discount.’ More

2. New FEDEX Delivery Method?
Number 2 on our list is a FedEx delivery guy caught on video throwing a customer’s new computer monitor over a fence. Yikes!

And the number 1 giant service failure of 2012 goes to: DELTA AIRLINES

1. Delta Airlines Customer Service Crash & Burn
A US Marine who had lost both legs to an explosive device in Afghanistan was being wheeled down the aisle of a Delta airlines flight. On the way through the 1st class seating, two people offered to switch seats with him, But the Delta flight crew wouldn’t allow it. They instead chose to wheel him clumsily all the way through the plane to the very, very back. More

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