Consumers Write: Gevalia Coffee Treats Customers Right

You know, as much as our bread is buttered by companies fucking up, that’s not the way we want things to be. We’ve said before that this site is primarily by and for people who love consumerism. The sort of people who are avid shoppers, who love the latest gadget or service being offered to them, who enthusiastically indulge in the act of buying… and then promptly have their teeth kicked in by the very companies they are supporting. This site is cynical, but companies have earned that cynicism through decades of distancing themselves from the consumer as an individual… instead, a herd of flesh that needs to be endlessly ushered, perhaps occasionally prodded, as cash cows into the corporate abattoir. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

And that’s why we’re delighted when it sometimes isn’t. We’re secretly thrilled every time we get a strong customer recommendation, describing a company that did the right thing and consequently earned itself an extra heaping of loyalty. Reader Megan wrote us in over the weekend, describing one such experience with Gevalia, a mail-order coffee company. Megan’s a coffee lover who has been shopping with Gevalia for awhile, only to put her coffee shipments on hold while she drank her way through her surplus. She’s also a college student on a limited budget.

The letter starts off with a complaint, where Gevalia fucks up. But check out exactly how well they put it all right. Megan’s letter after the jump.

I don’t have a complaint. In fact, that’s exactly why I’m writing. I’ve been a customer of Gevalia’s home delivery of coffees since they offered me an amazing coffee maker that brews right into travel mugs as a freebie with my first order. I spent about 6 months getting deliveries of coffee for about $6 each, and that was more than sufficient — when I had piled up entirely too much coffee, I went on line and put a hold on further deliveries until June, when I will reevaluate my coffee stash and decide then whether or not to resume deliveries.

Yesterday, however, I receive a heavier than usual package from Gevalia (keep in mind I ordered 1-2 boxes at a time and their standard box is set up to ship 4 at a time). I open the envelope on the outside that contains the invoice to find out what this nonsense is, and I’m informed that I now owe them $40 for 4 boxes of coffee. I’m a college student. There is no way I can pay this. So I call up their customer support line and an automated voice, in that disgustingly pleasant tone they always use, tells me all representatives are busy blah blah blah, your could be as long as… one minute. One minute? Hell, I can stay on the line for that, you betcha. Maybe 30 seconds later, the phone is ringing and I’m transferred to an operator. I explain my problem, and she says she’s awfully sorry I wasn’t aware, but this is their annual shipment and they always send notifications out. I tell her I don’t remember receiving any notifications that I’d be charged $40 for coffee after I’d stopped my payments, but she’s already continuing on. She tells me that, since I’m not happy about this, she can credit me half the cost and I can keep all four boxes. I think about this for a moment, but I tell her I still can’t afford $20 on coffee. I’m a college student. There’s a reason I put a hold on future shipments. I’m expecting her to tell me to ship it back and then I won’t owe them anything, and then I’ll be a happy customer, and everything’s okay.

She tells me they’ll credit me the full amount and I can then keep all four boxes. “Really?” “Yes, really.” “Are you sure?” “Yep, there we go, I’ve already credited your account.” Stunned silence from me. “…Thanks. Wow.” I’m pretty sure the conversation then wrapped up with usual customer service formalities, although I couldn’t swear to it — I was stunned. But I can tell you one thing: when I need to purchase coffee again, I know exactly where I’m going. Good coffee, decent prices, delivered right to my door, and their customer support is amazing. Gevalia, you’ve just gained yourself a customer for life.

Way to go, Gevalia! Got a tip, complaint, bad customer service experience or, hell, good one? tips@consumerist.com

Comments

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  1. mark duffy says:

    “abattoir?” you guys slaughter me.

  2. drsmith says:

    If you are interested, another great coffee company is sweetmarias.com

    They primarily sell green coffee so you can roast it yourself. The upside is that the coffee you roast yourself will be the best cup of mopwater you’ve ever tasted. On the other hand, if you’re averse to going outside and taking 20 minutes out of your day to roast your own, it’s probably not a hobby you’d be interested in(you have to go outside because coffee releases quite a bit of smoke while roasting and it doesn’t smell all that great, either). For me, it’s a minor inconvenience for a great cup of coffee.

  3. OkiMike says:

    I was also a customer of Gevalia while living in Hawaii and was VERY pleased. They gave me a free coffee machine and then very reasonable prices and seemingly instantaneous free shipping on great tasting coffee.

  4. L_Emmerdeur says:

    Can’t afford $20 for 4 bags of coffee? Even Kenny’s family isn’t that poor.

  5. bifyu says:

    You can get decent swag from their trial offers, but damn, their coffee is swill. Gevalia are also unrepentant spammers.

    Lion Coffee is decent stuff, as is Costco’s Seattle Mountain brand (to my surprise).