New work-in-progress book title + Q&A

The Satisfaction Guarantee Revolution - Winning Battles from $1 to $1,000

The Satisfaction Guarantee Revolution – Winning Battles from $1 to $1,000

List of brands “The Satisfaction Guarantee Revolution – Winning Battles from $1 to $1,000” intends to cover (alphabetically). One of the things that I enjoy most is to find and analyze research materials during the writing process. I’ve decided to share some of my research notes online, see below links.

  1. Airbnb
  2. Alcan
  3. Amazon
  4. Apple
  5. Black + Decker
  6. Brother
  7. Canada Post
  8. Clarks
  9. clearly optical
  10. Duracell
  11. Energizer
  12. FedEx
  13. Freedom Mobile
  14. GoodCook
  15. Great Value
  16. High Liner
  17. IKEA
  18. JBL (Harman)
  19. KitchenAid
  20. LePage
  21. Lutron
  22. Moen
  23. Nescafé
  24. Nikon
  25. No Name
  26. O (? missing)
  27. Peace by Chocolate (research notes)
  28. President’s Choice
  29. Proctor Silex
  30. Q (? missing)
  31. Rubbermaid
  32. Smucker’s
  33. T-fal
  34. Thermos
  35. Twinings
  36. UPS
  37. VISA
  38. Walmart
  39. X (? missing)
  40. You-Know-Which
  41. Zenni Optical
  42. Zoom

** Q1) There are so many brands. What is the latest count?
A1) 39 brands in total so far! I would LOVE to have fought/worked with a full A to Z list of brands but things have to happen organically and for real. For now, I’m still missing brands start with the 3 letters O, Q, and X! Just can’t think of brands that I use regularly that start with these 3 letters. On the positive side, amazing that I’ve fought/worked with so many brands over the years!
** Q2) Why a new work-in-progress (WIP) book title?

A2) Hopefully the new WIP title “The Satisfaction Guarantee Revolution: Winning Battles from $1 to $1,000” is more focused and catchy.
** Q3) Have you actually fought against (“worked with”) each of the brands to save from $1 to $1,000?
A3) You bet!
** Q4) How important is saving money to you?
A4) I love and enjoy saving money. But the lessons learned and the teachable moments are often more important to me than the money saved. I took it as a field research trip when I went out to try to save that $1. In turn, I experienced a few valuable Teachable Moments which I will write more in the book! Of course, the other extreme is the case of saving $1,000 which you have to read the book to find out!

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Peace by Chocolate – Chapter research notes

Here are some of my research notes collected in preparation to write the “Peace by Chocolate” chapter of my book “The Satisfaction Guarantee Revolution – Winning Battles from $1 to $1,000” (work in progress title).

2018 Feb, G&M, “Tareq Hadhad on building a successful business in Canada as a refugee“. This part got me emotional,

We were asked to a community potluck. We felt chocolate is our ambassador. My father prepared chocolates in our home. Everything he made was gone in 10 minutes. After we came back, he had tears in his eyes, that was a huge moment for him. We started selling in the local market, that first day in Antigonish, people waited before it opened. I counted 200 people, to buy chocolate. People loved it before they even tasted it! They trusted us as newcomers who brought something they wanted to support.

We didn’t come to take anyone’s job – we’re here to create jobs. We also wanted to tell Canadians about Syrians, how hard they work for their goals.

Tareq’s Twitter handle.

What did two years in Canada teach me? | Tareq Hadhad | TEDxMoncton

Peace by Chocolate: Newcomers’ message | Tareq Hadhad | TEDxDalhousieU


Here are a few pix:



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Moen 9 years later

I love seeing people posting their own Moen experiences (some good, some bad) underneath my 2010 October Moen Lifetime Limited Warranty experience post. Since then I’ve hoped to have a chance to check out Moen’s current level of customer service. You see, after getting our good warranty experience in 2010, we’ve bought two more Moen bathroom faucets and one multi-function showerhead (keeping all receipts for warranty purposes).

Recently the one-handle pull out kitchen faucet (the one that we got a free replacement wand with free shipping in 2010) is acting up and dripping water (either drip drip drip or coming down in a tiny stream) unless the handle is put down in certain positions or in certain ways (at times annoyingly random to make the dripping stop). So I finally called up Moen’s customer support warranty line (currently 1-800-465-6130) on May 15th for help.

Initially (and this is bad and NOT cool), Moen’s 1-800 number gave callers no choice but to select the option to get a “call back” and afterwards it actually hung up on me after three times of not choosing to get a call back. May be the customer service agents were too busy to take calls? Another way of looking at this is that Moen has not hired sufficient agents to handle warranty/support calls. #NotCool

I then tried calling again hoping to speak to an operator but that didn’t work out either. So I called a third time. Third time was a charm and I got lucky. This time Moen’s “call volume” (number of telephone calls made during a certain time period) must have dropped temporary and I finally didn’t get the annoying option to call back and I was allowed to wait. I were told the estimated waiting time was around 6 minutes, put on hold and I soon got to speak to a customer service agent.

As always, benefits of speaking to an experienced agent is that we customers can describe our problems in precise details (e.g. describing the special tricks I did to turn and pull down the handle to make the faucet stop dripping). Knowing the problems’ details often allow the agent better diagnose the source of the problem and solutions to fix them.

I started by telling the agent we are loyal customers of Moen and given our previous excellent warranty experiences, we have since bought three more Moen products. After giving some info, the agent was even able to find details of my previous 2010 call and problem/solution. She told me that since we were not the original buyer of the product and doesn’t have a receipt (it came with the house so no receipt or box) and this is a discontinued product, their 2010 free of charge replacement was a one-time courtesy replacement. But having said that, she was still willing to ship us a replacement cartridge (MRSP ~C$40) free of charge. The cartridge may fix the problem. But given my precise problem descriptions, she suspect it might be the “connector” that needs to be replaced which costs $14.44.

Since Moen was nice and honourable enough to stand behind its product to send us a MRSP ~$40 cartridge free of charge, it feels reasonable for us to pay the $14.44 cost for the connector which hopefully, with both new parts, will fix the problem and keep the faucet working for some more years to come.

2019 May 24 update: Yeah! The parts arrived on May 22nd, just 7 days after my call. The Handle Connector Service Kit (see (L) on one of the above photos) has a reasonably clear instructions and was easy enough to follow so I removed the old connector parts and installed the new ones. Now this seem to have “fixed” the dripping problem! We’ve now used the faucet for 3 days with the new connector and I don’t see any annoying drip anymore.

Originally I had thought of installing the Moen 1224B cartridge at the same time since I got the new part anyway. But here is the trouble. Taking apart the faucet and removing the old cartridge may be a risky operation by itself. First of all, I can’t seem to find anywhere on Moen’s site or on YouTube the exact old model of kitchen faucet we have. So I don’t want to risk breaking anything while removing the old cartridge. If it isn’t broken (the existing old cartridge didn’t cause the drip, the connector did and was replaced), why risk creating a mess and break things! And my better half agrees so the Moen 1224B cartridge will be kept in case of future needs.

Concluding Thoughts

If I were Moen’s Brand Manager or Customer Service Manager, I would seriously rethink charging customers for replacement parts even if they are not the original purchaser or don’t have the receipt. As long as the products are Moen (the company can require customers to send in photos of the products or model numbers/production codes, etc), then the company should really honour the warranty. At the end of the day, while I didn’t regret paying for the connector and did think it was fair, Moen will sure deservedly earn my and others’ praise if they simply stand behind their products, ALWAYS! After all, brand reputation take years to build up and then if not handle with care, the reputation will slowly eroded over time.

It should be noted that the cost of the replacement parts are kinda lesser of the issue here. Customers would rather have faucets or showerheads that don’t leak or drip forever! Because, witness my uninstalled 1224B cartridge, with faucets, taking apart or remove the old units/parts can be troublesome and lot of work! So at least make the replacement parts free, always free, and stand behind the brand. Moen should have and could have done a little better on this count here.

Now about that Moen’s 1-800 number giving callers no choice but to get a “call back” because of lack of customer service agents is really not good. The problem is many customers with problems may simply give up and never call back. This is bad for the customers because they don’t promptly get the lifetime guarantee that they have been promised. Time and money wasted. And bad for Moen as well because those disappointed customers will likely buy different brand of products and give up on Moen forever. Nowadays cheaper products are of pretty high quality already. And other brands of products that have good customer service and lifetime guarantee will sure be happy to take Moen’s customers!

2019 May 24 update: This May 17th post has been updated/rewritten with added photos after I successfully installed new part received on May 22nd.

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Brother Canada – Awesome Customer Services

Brother Good Printer Great Customer Services

Brother Good Printer Great Customer Services

After having a few great customer services (CS) experiences with Brother Canada, I am ready to write about them here to share my experiences with you. Readers of this blog will know I already had written about why I’ve totally given up on Samsung and HP some years ago. Sure, Brother still can make improvements (see below) but its customer services reps are both knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Few months ago I ran into problem with a high capacity toner (TN-750) and it didn’t print pages perfectly. After some diagnostic printing check with the Brother CS rep (I was asked to print some samples and then scan the pages for their inspection), it was determined the toner was defective. Since the toner was half used and I didn’t want to just take a discount coupon for future purchase, they were nice to send us a normal capacity unit (TN-720) as a replacement. Great. It was refreshing to talk to CS rep that actually knows the products really well and can do proper diagnose over the phone.

Most recently (a few weeks ago), the printer was printing very fuzzy pages. And after some diagnostic printing and status report check with the Brother CS rep, it was determined the  fuser had gone bad. Since the printer was just two months out of the warranty expired, I mentioned that Brother shouldn’t accept their product failing in just 14 months and should honour the warranty. The awesome Brother CS rep put me on hold to check and came back to tell me they will ship me a brand new replacement unit (without the toner or imagining unit, see above photo) with an additional 60-day “free of defects” warranty on the replacement unit which made me happy that I tweeted my thank publicly.

It is worth nothing the CS rep from companies like Samsung and HP would most likely asked for the purchase date and once they determine your product is out of warranty, they wouldn’t have helped at all. The likes of Samsung and HP care more about their bottom line than the integrity of their brands!

In this days and age, great customer services is hard to find in a company which is why I plan to stick with buying Brother all-in-one printers in the future. Feel free to share your Brother experiences if you have similar or different experiences.

P.S. Brother is of course NOT perfect. For example, I think their drivers/software to be quite lacking. Brother should really rework their printer and scanner drivers and software. The fax and printer setting seems to be staying with the printer instead of being stored/installed on the computer. Why? When a all-in-1 printer goes bad, doesn’t it make sense for the customer to be able to buy the exact same model and plug-and-play? That is they should be able to print, scan and fax right away without skipping a beat, make sense? I ended up having had to key-in the fax settings again. Uninstall and then reinstall the driver so the scanner software will work.

P.P.S. As I tell all customer service reps I deal with, mistakes and problems happen, it is how these mistakes or problems are dealt with that separate great companies from poor companies. Thanks for doing the right thing with the replacement unit instead of simply sticking with the letter of the warranty. To me, great brands are built by standing behind their products over many many years.

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Complementing G.M.

I don’t and won’t complement G.M. normally but this is an excellent commitment to customer services!

From THR, “G.M. Offers to Buy Back Chevy Volts

GM CEO Dan Akerson told the Associated Press, “I think in the interest of General Motors, the industry, the electrification of the car, it’s best to get it right now than when you have — instead of 6,000 — 60,000 or 600,000 cars on the road.

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I heart Clarks

I heart Clarks - pix 1

I was impressed by Clarks Shoes when they replaced two pairs of my defective shoes free of charge. Once the Clarks‘s experts confirmed the problems (via emailed photos of defective parts of the shoes), Clarks let me pick any styles of shoes currently in stock that I like and sent them to me free of charge as replacements!

It feels great and is wonderful to see a company with 175 years of history like Clarks backing up their products and do the right thing to make customers happy. Thanks Clarks!!! Thanks for setting a good example of Customer Service Excellence. I heart Clarks!!!

I heart Clarks - pix 2

P.S. Special thanks to Stacy at Clarks Canada for your help. And also help from the Clarks UK Twitter teamClarks USA, and UK.

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TIFF Double Ticketing, Consumer Protection, Criminal Provision of Competition Act, 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF Fairy, Double Ticketing (a Criminal Provision of Competition Act), 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

This article is about consumer protection against TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). Thanks to Canada’s Competition Act, it is easy to determine the legal price you should pay for goods in certain cases. Hint: Lowest price will be a good guess.


Over the last few years my Toronto friend, I call her my “TIFF Fairy”, has shipped many souvenirs Toronto International Film Festival programs, t-shirts, bags, etc to me in Calgary because she knows I love films and I call myself a documentarian. To thank her for her thoughtfulness, I have taken photos of the souvenirs and wrote about them in the past (see 2010 souvenirs and 2009 souvenirs). This year, unfortunately, the experience is not cool at all.

Bad TIFF 2011 Experiences

Last week she ran into some unexpected bad experience with TIFF when she tried to buy 2011 souvenirs for me.

First, the usual box office had only TIFF programs but not t-shirts, etc. She was then sent to another store where she was told would have all the 2011 TIFF souvenirs in stock for purchase. Unfortunately, that store didn’t have the 2011 t-shirts! Unable to buy the t-shirts, she decided to buy some bags for me. When she tried to pay for the two $9.95 TIFF bags (see photo above, as indicated on the tags of the bags), a TIFF sales lady and her supervisor insisted the price was $13 (posted on a sign near the bags) instead of the price of $9.95 as tagged on the bags. Since she was in a rush, she bought the bags and left. (update: see below for further points of clarifications from my friend after she read this article.)

“Double Ticketing” at 2011 TIFF

In Canada, consumers are protected by the Competition Act (PDF). Suppliers of goods are prohibited by law to sell goods to consumers at “a price that exceeds the lowest of two or more prices clearly expressed in respect of the product“. In the words of Competition Bureau (emphasis added),

“Double Ticketing

Section 54 of the Competition Act is a criminal provision. It prohibits the supply of a product at a price that exceeds the lowest of two or more prices clearly expressed in respect of the product.

Any person who contravenes section 54, is guilty of an offence Continue reading

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Samsung’s non-existing printer support: Do you have hours to waste?

Samsung's non-existing printer support

Background & The SamSung SCX-4828FN Printer

After the sudden death of a HP printer and the horrible HP customer service experiences, I thought it was time to try a new brand of printers and forget HP. Seeing Korean brands are making some good products (TV, monitors, etc), I decided to try a SamSung SCX-4828FN.

For its C$250 price, the Samsung design seems nice and the construction seems solid. And I haven’t seen many bad reviews online (more on this later).

Software and Samsung customer service

* The printer driver software installed without reporting any problem or error (more on this later). And the test page printed ok.

Note: The printer manual CD, unfortunately, is defective and unreadable by the computer (running Windows XP) and Samsung has not included a paper-copy printer manual as a backup.

* Unfortunately, the initial “successful” installation had actually caused at least two hidden problems.

The first problem was discovered right away. The default page alignment for the word processing program was changed, leaving the content of the bottom fifth of each page to be printed on an additional page.

The second problem was more serious and discovered the next day. The printer installation actually caused a critical accounting software to fail to execute and caused it to report an error saying, “XML support not detected. […]

Having never dealt with Samsung printer/technical support, I assumed when the reps were told of these problems, they would be helpful and knowledgeable enough to identify the solutions in minutes. Wrong! The first level support was unhelpful and, to be blunt, clueless. The rep repeated the claim that the printer installation could not have caused these problems. Huh? These programs worked fine before the printer software installation and now they failed afterwards, and the Samsung rep didn’t even have the courtesy to accept and acknowledge their problems!?

The next day, another first level support still insisted it wasn’t Samsung’s problems. And then I was told there was a really really long wait for the second level support reps. No second level support ever called back even after hours of waiting. In passing, I heard that only 5 (yes, just FIVE) reps were working to serve the 1-800-726-7864 Samsung technical help line for all of US *and* Canada! *&^%!!, no wonder there was such a long wait for the second level support rep! Assuming these reps actually know something!

At this point, I was so displeased with Samsung’s technical support that I tweeted, “Samsung has no printer support. Better to avoid Samsung printers. Reps know nothing.” This is just NOT the way I hope to see happening when I try a “new” brand of printers.

Fortunately for me, I was able to find someone knowledgeable to help correct the accounting software problem broken by the beeping Samsung software/driver installer. The wordprocessing software’s default is still messed up but I’ve found a work around.

As I politely told the Samsung customer service representatives, I was displeased with the service I got. But I am much more disappointed with Samsung as a brand. The fact that Samsung has such ineffective printer support lead me to tweet/vent my anger and frustration.

Concluding Thoughts about Samsung printers and Samsung technical support

If you have or work in a small to mid size office, why would you want to consider Samsung printers and risk seeing some of your critical office softwares crashing and failing to startup after installing Samsung printers?

Maybe if your company has a team/department of dedicated IT support technicians, and you don’t mind solving extra problems caused by Samsung and with no help from Samsung. Do you feel that lucky?

P.S. In hindsight, maybe I should have paid more attention to a 10/29/2010 customer’s critique, “Samsung technical support is terrible! and anticipated the clueless Samsung technical support.

P.P.S. Samsung Canada has responded to my tweet. I will update this entry if there are further worthy development to report.


Jan 24, 2011 Update: For further updates, please see the bottom of this cross-posted entry.

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HP = Bad LaserJet Printer and Bad Customer Service

HP = Bad LaserJet Printer & Bad Customer Service

The broken and unreliable HP LaserJet printer

After the latest breakdown of a HP LaserJet m1522nf multi-function printer and the unprofessional customer service provided, I won’t consider buying HP printers anymore.

HP LaserJet used to mean quality and I think my old LaserJet 3330 came with a 2-3 year warranty (more on this later). Unfortunately, the now dead m1522nf only came with one year warranty and it died after only 18 months. The printer couldn’t finish its powering up initialization sequence and the tiny LCD display on the printer wouldn’t even come up. So the HP LaserJet is quite dead after its short life of 18 months.

The broken HP “customer service”

An unreliable and inferior quality product was bad already but what made the situation worst was HP’s broken/substandard “customer service”.

When I first called HP customer service, I still harboured faint hope that HP would stand behind their products, do the right thing and fix the printer free-of-charge even it is just 6 months out of its 12 month warranty. Failing that, I just wanted the customer service rep to provide a case reference number for my record. And this is where HP customer service failed completely.

The Costa Rica based rep and her supervisor refused to provide a case number unless an address, phone number, and email address were provided. As a disappointed customer, I have no interest in giving HP any future business and have no desire to provide them further with my private information. Is this too difficult for HP to appreciate?

Concluding thoughts

To me, the sad thing is that HP printers used to stand for quality, reliability, and good customer services. Remember my old LaserJet 3330? The customer service and warranty was so good in the past that they shipped a new replacement unit to me free-of-charge when I had problem! Unfortunately, this is definitely NOT the current HP customer service anymore!

Substandard, easily broken printers and horrible customer services have put me off from buy any HP printers in the future. I don’t know if my bad HP experiences are unique, if many people are experiencing the same problem, it is sad to see a formerly good brand’s image being tarnished by poor quality products and bad customer services.

P.S. By the way, I want to be clear that I have no problem with outsourcing customer service departments to international locations with cheaper cost AS LONG AS these international locations can provide equal or better customer services. When these outsourced customer service departments failed, they can easily destroy good reputations built over decades!

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How Twitter helped Krystal Yee win her Rogers fight

Really enjoyed Krystal Yee‘s article “How Twitter helped Krystal Yee win her Rogers fight“. Here is an excerpt from the article (emphasis added),

5. My 5 tips

1.Know when to negotiate. The best time to negotiate with cell companies is when you have less than 1 year left in your contract.

2.Be polite! You’ll never get anywhere by screaming. [Kempton: Totally agree on this one, polite but firm.]

3.Don’t waste much time with a customer service rep. Ask to speak to the retentions department. [Kempton: Often the 1st level reps will want to try to “help”, so I talk to them a little out of politeness even I know they can’t help.]

4.Do your homework. Find out what other companies are offering and use that as leverage. [Kempton: This is the most important part. You can’t ask for the moon if no one else is offering it. But if all the competitors are offerring the same deal, chances of you getting a matching deal shouldn’t be too difficult.]

5. Be prepared to leave. If you don’t get what you want, there are plenty of other companies that are eager for your business. [Kempton: I left Bell and signed up with WIND Mobile and have never been happier. No contracts to sign with WIND.]

My experience with Rogers Wireless taught me a lot. If you think you’re being treated unfairly by a business, don’t spend your time and energy being upset about it. Speak up and make them take notice.

In case other find it useful, I should also mention Twitter helped me fix my problems with some defective cookware as I wrote in “KitchenAid to the Aid using Twitter“.

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