Thursday, 8 December 2011

Ethics and customer service issues

One aspect of relocating is finding service providers. Asking friends for recommendations is a great way to feel confident about the service you are contracting. If that is not an option as you have not yet made friends, or the issue is urgent, you turn to sources like the yellow pages or Internet.

That was our approach a few weeks ago when we needed a plumber to fix a clogged kitchen sink.The scope of the problem was beyond my hubby's tools (because he is a super handy guy) so we called the first plumber listed in the yellow pages. When said plumber did not arrive in the promised time frame we called back to be assured he was on his way. Several hours and calls later he had still not arrived so we cancelled. Then we immediately booked plumber number two in the yellow pages for the following day.

The waiting once again exceeded the time frame we were given. But finally a young man arrived. He told us this was the same company we had originally booked with- get this- the first seven plumbers listed in the yellow pages are actually the same company and you need to read the really fine print in the ads to see this. This smacked of unethical advertising to us. I can imagine the chuckle the dispatch person gets seeing the same name cancel and reschedule a few minutes later. We felt foolish.

Some $350 later he left with the problem misdiagnosed and not fixed. My hubby had tried to direct him to what he thought was the trouble, instead the fellow had us crank the heat as he suspected the line was frozen. After he left my hubby fixed the problem. We called the company back so the plumber could return and finish snaking the entire line to complete the job we had paid for. Two days and many calls later he returned but wanted to be paid again. So we said thanks but no thanks and we'll be surveying friends for reputable plumbers in case we need services again.

Do you have any customer service practises or advertising you have found unethical?


  1. The first seven? Very frustrating, I really try to go mostly by referrals for services that I need because out of the phone book you never know what you're going to get! At least if one person has had a good experience I feel I have a chance.

  2. But as your recent posts show- never a guarantee. I thought the phone book marketing was beyond inappropriate.

  3. When we moved to New Zealand from Canada our experience was nightmarish because we had failed to check whether our chosen moving company was part of the movers' association. Poorly packed, shipment broken into, things removed (stolen) and broken. Two years of wrangling and finally got some compensation but not from the Canadian company, who we are pretty sure were responsible (at least for the packing part!) The New Zealand company who took received at this end took some responsibility. Moral of the story always check to see if your mover belongs to the movers' association!!!!

  4. Oh that moving company issue would leave a bad taste in your mouth. Knock wood, we have done well with our movers each time.