Aeroplan: Making money from spoilage by expiring your points?

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This site promises to cover the spectrum of “good, bad, ugly, and beautiful customer service experiences“. When Aeroplan managed to change the rules arbitrarily to its advantage and getting its customers angry enough to file a class action lawsuit, it seems justifiable to name it as one of the uglier example of “customer services experiences”. (CTV News with videoTorStar, and CBC News)

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Readers may recall Ontario banned gift card expiration in 2007. In that case, gift cards were cash and “expiring” gift card/cash felt like robbery for some people. Changing the way the Aeroplan points are expired (from a very flexible/liberal three years to one year) can be seen as what the companies did in “expiring” gift cards.

It is unfortunate that Aeroplan seems to be setting an ugly example of “Customer Service“.


For further info about the Quebec Superior Court July 2009 motion: see class application 500-06-000476-099 in French where you can download the full PDF text of the class application in English (check out paragraph 14 – 20) and Merchant Law Aeroplan National Class Action info.

P.S. In the corporate world, “spoilage is what happens when a gift cad is purchased and never redeemed“. Spoilage is pure profit for the corporations since they get paid but don’t need to deliver any goods or services in return.

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Superstore/Loblaws: “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee

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Many of Superstore/Loblaws‘ in-store President’s Choice brand of products carry the “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee (or money refunded with proof of purchase). I see this as a great promotional method to get customers to try PC brand products and ways to collect customer feedback. The guarantee lead me to try their PC brand of Chinese frozen dim sum.

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Unfortunately for me and for PC, the frozen dim sum tasted awful and nothing remotely like what you have in a Chinese restaurant or the cheapest frozen dim sum you can buy from Chinatown.

So I took up the PC’s guaranteed offer and called their 1-888 number and managed to get a $10 gift card as refund, saving me the hassle of bringing the box & receipt and lining up at the store for refund.

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As smart consumers, I think we should take these money back refund guarantees by companies seriously for two reasons. Firstly, if they guarantee we will “love it” and we don’t, they should refund. Secondly and more importantly, I believe by us complaining about the product quality or taste, the complaints allow the companies to improve their product offerrings in the future. Having a monetary cost associated with the complains will give them a better chance to be heard by some mangers somewhere because the money payouts have to be recorded, accounted for, and justified.

Lastly, I should mention that I have tried various President’s Choice products (from various food products, to non-stick pans, and even meat and poultry scissors) and they taste pretty good and work pretty well.

Thanks Loblaws. Thanks for setting a good example of Customer Service Excellence.

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KitchenAid to the Aid using Twitter

I expect a lot from well respected brands like KitchenAid, which was why I tried to get two, in my opinion, poorly designed and engineered pans replaced. You can read more in Getting help from KitchenAid via Twitter” (Sept 2010). Here is an excerpt,

“Yesterday, I tried to get some help from the nice people from KitchenAid via their twitter account. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see them replied promptly. Wow, KitchenAid is listening, very cool.”

It took a few weeks for Meyer (the company that owns the KitchenAid brand) to get things resolved and now I am happy to report the extraordinary steps Meyer took to fix everything.

Once I described the pans’ problems to a nice Meyer consumer relations manager, he immediately agreed to fix the problems for me. He ended up shipping two beautiful Anolon advanced hard anodized pans (with “the best nonstick coating in the industry, Dupont Autograph 2“) that are upgrades to my old KitchenAid pans. And when I later told the consumer relations manager that UPS had mistakenly charged me customs duties for the replacements, he sent me a cheque to cover the $60+ duties.

Thanks Meyer and KitchenAid. Thanks for taking the extraordinary steps and setting a great example of Customer Service Excellence.

P.S. Here are some beautiful pictures of my Anolon advanced hard anodized pans.

KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 1KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 2

KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 3KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 4

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Got Screwed by IKEA in a good way

IKEA is an international company that many people have bought furniture from. Few days ago, I found out it is also a company with wonderful customer services that will go the extra mile to make its customers happy.

You see, the bottom bolt of our IKEA floor lamp broke a few days ago.

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Since the rest of the lamp was ok, we tried to rescue it by seeing what customer services at IKEA can do. Even we had no receipt, the nice lady ended up spending half an hour to help us. She got her colleague to track down a brand new lamp and took out a new bolt, nut and washers with a tool to allow us to fix our lamp. And our lamp is working perfectly again now.

Yes, a bolt, a screw, a tool, or a nut can really show how good or bad a company’s customer service is.

Thanks IKEA. Thanks for setting a great example of Customer Service Excellence.

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Moen Lifetime Limited Warranty

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Our kitchen sink faucet wand (L) started to drip slowly a few months ago. As I tried to fix it unsuccessfully, I discovered it was a Moen. And then I found online that it had a Lifetime Limited Warranty. Even I hoped Moen would help, truth be told, I wasn’t certain since we had no purchase receipt.

To my surprise and delight, it took me just a quick 1-800 call, and a helpful Moen customer service rep soon promised to send me a new replacement wand, free of charge. And a few business days later, a brand new wand (R) arrived as promised in the mail.

Of course, it would have been better if products never fail, but when products fail, it would be great to see companies behave honourably and stand firmly behind their products like Moen.

Thanks Moen. Thanks for setting a great example of Customer Service Excellence.

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About Customer Service Excellence

I will be using this site to share some good/bad customer service experiences I encounter because I believe it is important to encourage and praise the companies when good customer services are provided and tell the companies when improvements are urgently needed.

I hope you will enjoy reading Customer Service Excellence as much as I in writing the articles.


Calgary, Canada

P.S. While this site shares the same name as Customer Service Excellence in UK, the two are unrelated.

Last Update: June 9th, 2011

Created: Oct 28th, 2010

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