Spirit Air CEO Learns The Dangers Of Hitting "Reply All" When Callously Responding To Consumer Complaints

This is how Ben Baldanza CEO of Spirit Air responded to a complaint letter from a first-time customer:

Please respond, Pasquale, but we owe him nothing as far as I’m concerned. Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny.

Which might have been ok, had the email stayed inter-office, but Baldanza seems to have hit “reply all” and accidentally sent the message back to the original complainant. Oops.

Even if you read the original complaint and agree with Baldanza in principle, that’s a pretty jerkoff way to respond to a customer and if he had any balls, he would apologize and refund the twenty-two cents or whatever the passenger paid to ride on Mr. Baldanza’s discount thrift store flying claptrap.

According to a judges’ profile on International Gamers Awards, Baldanza is a avid gamer and, “particularly enjoys development games, transport or “network” type games, any odd game or dexterity game and trick-taking card games.”

Here, let’s play a card game, aces up the sleeve are wild: because of the reply-all getting posted online, we now know the Spirit Air corporate email format: firstname.lastname@spiritair.com.

Ben Baldanza from Spirit Encourages Awful Customer Service… [ALEXRUDLOFF]

Comments

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  1. Buran says:

    My response would have been,

    “Thank you for letting me know how little you think of your customers and your attitude toward valid complaints. As a result of this, I am now forwarding a copy of my complaint to appropriate government agencies, the Better Business Bureau, and the following customer-oriented organizations…”

    And put those people on the CC list.

  2. Wormfather says:

    Baaaaa, baaaaaa, baaaaaa

  3. gibsonic says:

    does Consumerist have a “Dumbass of the Day” award? If so, this guy should win for today.
    If not, this guy should win for today.

  4. Crazytree says:

    douche chills

  5. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    LOL what a douchenozzle.

  6. nearsite says:

    Maybe the CEO was having an off day?

  7. wring says:

    ooooh snap!

  8. Avacasso says:

    unbelievable! A CEO who is a prick!

  9. ChrisC1234 says:

    What an @$$.

  10. ckilgore says:

    Wow. It’s like the Darwin Awards meet Consumerist. Outstanding!

  11. HeyThereKiller says:

    as Engadget would say:

    CEO NO HE DIDNT!!

  12. Schminteresting says:

    This reminds me of one time when my cube neighbor wouldn’t shut up–he just kept rattling on and on about something I couldn’t care less about and I was tired of listening to him. I fashioned an e-mail to my other cube neighbor saying, “God, shut up already!” Only, I accidentally addressed it to the loudmouth.

    I remember the horror after I hit send, realizing what I had done.I’m not sure how I ever played that one off. Rather poorly, I’m sure.

  13. nweaver says:

    He may have been a douchebag, but delays HAPPEN damnit.

    Especially given Fl to Atlanta in the summer late afternoon, who wants to bet thunderstorms were involved?

  14. artki says:

    @Schminteresting:
    > This reminds me of one time when my cube neighbor wouldn’t shut up–he just kept rattling on and on about something I couldn’t care less about and I was tired of listening to him. I fashioned an e-mail to my other cube neighbor saying, “God, shut up already!” Only, I accidentally addressed it to the loudmouth.

    Did it work?

  15. ThyGuy says:

    And this is surprising, how? A employee/manager/CEO being rude to a customer happens so often that it’s hardly news.

    And the BBB are twats, they’re pretty damn useless.

  16. esqdork says:

    I’m not offended by the delay, which happens. I am offended by his contempt for his customers and his utter lack of appreciation for what can happen on the internet. I e-mailed him today to let him know how his response got him added to my personal do-not-fly list, regardless of how much money it may save me.

  17. bedofnails says:

    Point of the massive CC aside, did you read the consumer’s email? He spent $74 incl. taxes, and easily spent several hours compiling the cherry bomb email.

    Just saying.

  18. alexrudloff says:

    The background on all this is that Spirit’s 800# is damn near nonfunctional. There are over 100 comments now of people being stranded, losing their flights, losing money, all because they aren’t able to get ahold of anyone to rebook their cancellations. All hours of the day, Spirit’s 800# says they’re too busy to take your call, and then hangs up on you. Crazy.

    This e-mail thing just seemed to throw it all into overdrive. Check out the original post to see the full conversation!

  19. pestie says:

    This is why Consumerist really needs a “haha” tag.

  20. Schminteresting says:

    @artki: I think the rudeness of the statement silenced him, rather than the underlying message. I think he was in shock. But boy, was I mortified. Whew. That’s one mistake I don’t want to relive. You can be sure I double-check my recipient now!

  21. bhall03 says:

    While I don’t condone the response, who in their right mind only allows 1.5 hours leeway when they book travel?

    So if there was a traffic jam in Atlanta (which hardly EVER happens) would they try to recover their expenses from the city?

    What idiots!

    When I traveled a few years ago when delays weren’t as common as they are now, I always allowed myself at least 4 hours leeway.

  22. DashTheHand says:

    Whats funny is that this story originates on a “tech” blog and lambastes the person for” not understanding how the ‘reply to all button’ button works.” What makes this amusing is that he says that he is going to go ahead and strip out all of the peoples last names, but in the original email posted below the story, he fails to understand how HTML codes and linking work. Apparently he forgot how to post a code only format of the email and while most of the mailto: links are broken, he squashed one together which still keeps the “John Prestifilippo” easily attainable with a mouseover.

    Pot, theres someone named Kettle I’d like you to meet.

  23. alexrudloff says:

    Actually Dashthehand, it originated on my *personal* blog where I throw things up to communicate with friends and family. This whole thing started with me doing just that.

    If you really feel like I should take the time to go through all the email headers and fix/clean to make things more pleasant for your viewing pleasure, what can I say… Go tell the world how bad I am ;)

  24. Pelagius says:

    Well, this twatwaffle got part of my experience with his airline right. I never flew them before, but after experiencing the bottom-feeding Chinatown Bus of the Air that is “Spirit” I will never fly them again regardless of how much they ‘save’ me – presumably by cramming me into an even smaller than usual seat, charging me to check bags, and hiring only the surliest, most incompetent staff.

  25. MeOhMy says:

    Perhaps it was not a “mistake” at all.

  26. ediebeale says:

    I don’t think the author of the e-mail did everything right (1.5 hours allowed for error? Seriously?), but I do think that the real issue is the crappy customer service on every single level of Spirit. Kudos to Pelagius for calling them the Chinatown Bus of the Air. Do not want.

  27. sleze69 says:

    Let’s see just how powerful the Consumerist is. If the CEO alluva sudden flip-flops, we’ll know.

  28. bnet41 says:

    I don’t think the response is that bad. It just seemed like a standard inter-office communication that wasn’t meant to get out. The customer though was demanding a lot, and he should know airlines pretty much don’t reimburse you for anything. Especially a discount carrier. I think consumers today just need to learn to build delays into their schedules. It sucks, but that’s the way the system currently is running.

  29. DashTheHand says:

    @alexrudloff: By “tech blog” I was referring to how you list your interests in technology and being a software engineer along with your resume in numerous formats which details that you’re not just some idiot with “Blogmaker Xtreme v1.0″ talking about your cat.

    And no, its not for my viewing pleasure, its irony. You complain about their lack of computer knowledge. Then, someone with your level of knowledge (AS DETAILED BY YOUR RESUME) makes an easily avoidable mistake after stating to the community that you would be altering the email to make sure you’re the “good guy” and not getting other people spammed? in trouble? Not that it would matter anyways.

  30. Stupid? Yeah. Curt? Sure. Obnoxious? Not really, considering I bet every person posting a comment above has said something behind someone elses back before.

    Without reading the original email the customer wrote (which I’m having trouble finding through the nested series of links here), I can’t seem to come out either way on the issue. bhall03 seems to think it’s the customer’s dumb fault here, and I’m somewhat inclined to side with him/her.

    I will however say this, and direct it especially toward the guy on Stuck On The Palmetto who hates Spirit: saying “you get what you pay for” IS NOT A REASON TO GET RIGHTEOUSLY ANGRY. It is a reason to accept that something sucks, then move on. Anything beyond that is a personal vendetta.

    You hate Spirit, I get it. But it’s cheap, it suits my needs, and generally every airline in this country is shit so sliding a little further down for the sake of a couple hundred bucks is well worth it IMHO. I’m willing to take risks with my travel plans for cheap because I am a 20-something tightwad. You are not. We understand.

  31. tvh2k says:

    In case you didn’t catch it, here are the emails:

    ben.baldanza@spiritair.com Ben Baldanza President/CEO
    martin.harrison@spiritair.com Martin Harrison COO
    tony.lefebvre@spiritair.com Tony Lefebvre Senior VP of Customer “NO” Service
    john.prestifilippo@spiritair.com John Prestfilippo Senior VP of Technical Operations

  32. Murph1908 says:

    Edie and Sleze are correct.

    The poster didn’t do everything right. 1.5 hours leeway when flying is schedule suicide.

    And the email that should have stayed within the office seems typical, if maybe a bit arrogant.

    At least he didn’t say, “Go tell them to take a flying fa”

    Update: New email from Ben to Pasquale:
    “Pasquale, hold off on that response. I’ll let the world know how bad we are myself.”

  33. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    Disappointing–I’ve been a big fan of Spirit for about two years. I should send an email telling them I will keep this incident in my mind when comparing airlines, and will choose to spend my money where the customer is valued.

  34. bnosach says:

    haha. This is more than ironic.

  35. overbysara says:

    LOL

  36. fred_765 says:

    What an idiot! Hopefully this will embarass him enough to either leave or start changing some of their policies. For those that are defending the airline, try calling the customer service line. You get hung up on 99% of the time!

  37. NoWin says:

    Sometimes you get what you pay for.

  38. alexrudloff says:

    @dashthehand: You soooo remind me of that college humor video floating around that makes fun of internet commenters. Go outside.

    For me, the surprising thing has been how many people have grown to expect getting screwed by airlines. It’s like we as consumers just expect the hassle and the delays. Google “The best of Flights, The worst of Flights” by Daniel Gross. Great summary.

  39. Elvisisdead says:

    @Pelagius
    Best reference to the Chinatown Bus. Unless someone has ridden one, they’ll never truly appreciate the comment.

    I loved the chinatown bus driver. He looked like Jules from Pulp Fiction met James Brown. Had to be 70, to boot. He would leave people at the Dover House if they were late.

  40. Dibbler says:

    After reading the ladies letter I probably would have said the same thing but I wouldn’t hit the “reply all” button. She wanted the company to give her money for the $38 tickets plus the two $100 tickets plus the cheap hotel room. I would have told her to her face to take a leap and added her to the “no-fly” list. There are times when a company should do their best to make a customer happy and other times when they should tell the customer to just go away…

  41. Illusio26 says:

    Everyone says stuff at work that others aren’t supposed to here. The difference is the CEO got caught and now he’s got to pay the piper. He F’ed up.

  42. beyond says:

    I agree with the CEO actually. Yes their plane was late but I don’t see why the airline should pay for her concert tickets and hotel room. She obviously didn’t give herself a whole lot of time between the airport and the concert hall. Planes are late all the time. Would she have asked the taxi driver to reimburse her concert tickets if there had been a traffic jam?

  43. Sudonum says:

    @alexrudloff:
    It’s not a matter of accepting getting screwed by the airlines. The only sure fire way for individuals to change corporate behavior is not to patronize those companies that give you poor service. In the case of airlines this may mean paying more money for the same product.

    Those people that would prefer to place money over service can then plan for disruptions in their travel plans. And no, this is not a suggestion that the other carriers are any better. But people that plan for delays or other snafus that do tend to occur, not only with travel, but normal daily activities, are better prepared.

  44. nidolke says:

    OH SNAP

  45. SybilDisobedience says:

    @Beyond:
    I agree that the customer was a little out of line…but I think the real issue here is not whether you agree with the CEO’s private sentiment, but the fact that sending these private thoughts (however inadvertently) to the customer is really, really ill-advised and unprofessional. The airline industry in general, and Spirit in particular, are having enough major customer service malfunctions without a CEO shooting his own company in the foot.

  46. Kwummy says:

    Classic!

  47. yellojkt says:

    “Send this jerk the bedbug letter.”

  48. Buran says:

    @krylonultraflat: I don’t think it’s that, exactly, that is angering everyone.

    It’s this guy’s attitude to a valid complaint. You don’t keep customers by making them feel unwanted.

  49. bedofnails says:

    This is a very standard interoffice correspondence; just a slippery MS Outlook button. I see nothing rude or absurd in the response.

    Moreover, the counter point to this is the exact reason so many executive customer service teams, reps, etc, are so intolerable – the pathetic sugar laden, semantically driven responses. Even fluff for a porno.

    In the end, what does it matter if the response is bubbling with butterfly’s and chocolate chip kisses or like the above; if the result is the same?

    The customer was a wiener, crying foul over a $74 R/T; if he was ultimately in the right, this is what charge backs, and c/c merchant agreements are for.

  50. bedofnails says:

    @Buran:

    But these are promotional fares, and the customer in question took advantage of such an offering. (Spirit flies empty planes during the Hurricane season and offers absurdly low rates to subsidize at least some of the costs.)

    The suit is correct, in that the customer probably would not have even ventured to their destination or planned said trip if it weren’t for such a low price offering. He is not worried about loosing that business, and nor would I.

  51. bedofnails says:

    In addition, the complaint is absurd – and the customer is a nut job. He booked a flight to see a concert with an apparent start time within one hour! of his scheduled arrival- and blames Spirit for everything from airport parking, and ticket prices to the arriving airport not having a gate available post taxi – culminating to a missed concert.

    Mind you, the customer paid $74 for TWO, round-trip tickets including taxes.

  52. consumerist11211 says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh man, what an idiot CEO. Well, it doesnt look like I will ever fly sprint again.

    And Bedofnails, you are completely missing the point. It doesnt matter if you are flying for free on miles, $74, or $7400…you are a customer, you pay to hop a flight from somewhere to somewhere and expect to get in reasonably close to when the airline says you will. Look, I am unsure why the flight was delayed but there is zero excuse for such poor customer service.

    There’s an old saying, the fish stinks from the head down, when a CEO thinks that is the way to treat it’s customers, even if that message was supposed to remain internal, no wonder the rest of the airline is also responsible for poor customer service.

    Ah, CEO of Sprint airlines…If you are reading this may I say not only did you lose a few customers but it appears yo got your just desserts. Bon Appetit.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA….sigh….HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA….ahhh.

  53. not_seth_brundle says:

    @bedofnails: Absurd, indeed. James paid $74 for two tickets, was offered $200 in vouchers, and still complained.

    Reading James’s e-mail, it’s no wonder Spirit isn’t concerned about keeping him as a customer. Among other things, he notes how long he spent on hold down to the second and makes clear that he asked every CSR for his or her ID number and surname. There is a point where you no longer look like a savvy customer and start looking like a major PITA. This guy crossed into PITA territory.

    Sure, the CEO shouldn’t have hit “reply all,” but if that’s the worst that Spirit executives are saying about their customers behind their backs, I think they’re doing better than most companies.

  54. not_seth_brundle says:

    @consumerist11211: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh man, what an idiot CEO. Well, it doesnt look like I will ever fly sprint again. … Ah, CEO of Sprint airlines…If you are reading this may I say not only did you lose a few customers but it appears yo got your just desserts. Bon Appetit.”

    So, how many times have you flown this airline? Apparently not enough to know that it’s Spirit, not Sprint. I’m sure they aren’t worried about “keeping” you as a customer, either.

  55. consumerist11211 says:

    @not_seth_brundle:

    Based on the CEOs quippy remark apparently they are not worried about keeping ANYONE at customers.

    Look, all of you people who keep saying they only paid $74 for their tickets, you are missing the point. If you go to a store and see a TV on sale marked half off and you buy it you damn well expect it to work dont you? This is the same principle. The airline not getting this couple to their destination on time caused them to miss the entire reason they went to their destination. They have the right to be unhappy, but more importantly they are customers of this airline and deserve to be treated appropriately. Not like cattle. They deserve to be treated well, and if from start to finish every customer service rep they encountered was rude then they have the right to be upset.

    Oh and my apologies for my uber quick typing re: lack of spirit airlines.

    Ahhhhhhhh….hahahahahahaha, what an idiot.

  56. consumerist11211 says:

    @not_seth_brundle

    Oh and I think I have flown SPIRIT twice now…but can assure you that mistake will never happen again!

  57. Employees Must Wash Hands says:

    @Buran:

    You don’t keep customers by making them feel unwanted.

    On the flipside, there’s no business sense in keeping customers who generate high costs and little revenue. That is, the kind of customer who flies on a deep discount ticket and sends them a bill for $375 because he didn’t think to put enough slack in his schedule. Of course, there are more subtle ways of nudging an unprofitable customer to go away than what happened here.

    The letter says they paid $74 roundtrip, inclusive of taxes (and presumably airport security/landing surcharges, too). That means that the airline probably got maybe $50 to go towards actually transporting two people and presumably some kind of profit margin (ha ha, I kid).

    So once this gets to the CEO, why should he care about this guy? He likely made the company no money on the flight, and he costs them even more when he starts calling in and sends an itemized bill for five times what he paid for the ticket. And clearly they’re at an impasse when he feels a voucher worth $200 was not sufficient for his $75 flight arriving late.

    The CEO is not incorrect in what he said, although he might be a clown for hitting “reply all.” If you read between the lines you can discern that this guy will probably go to whatever airline saves him five cents on a roundtrip ticket, no matter what Spirit does for him in this particular instance.

  58. bedofnails says:

    @consumerist11211:

    I believe it is you who may be missing the point.

    The email was obviously sent by accident, you keep reiterating “this is how the CEO thinks he should treat customers”, and that point is blatantly incorrect. Although however blunt, and without cutesy semantics, the point remains the same – the customer is wrong, is owed nothing for his scheduling incompetence.

    Uproar is rightfully due,for he and others heard this from the horses mouth rather than some CSR or assistant; but it does not change the factual events, nor results.

    The customer was a moron, looked for a handout, and got slapped in the face directly from a CEO – welcome to the real world.

  59. cabedrgn says:

    A lot of people seem to be missing the general point. While the customer didn’t exactly plan right and had a little too much emotion in the email, the customer still deserves respect. Even if its a polite but stern “Sorry, but you agreed to the terms when you bought the ticket and there is nothing further we can do for you.” I wouldn’t expect the CEO to give the company away nor would I expect them to refund hotel and concert if I didn’t plan the trip correctly. What I would expect is some professionalism from the company. If the mistake was made (as what appears to be this one) and an email such as this was sent out, I would expect at the very least, an apology.

    Not only does this mirror the general customer service attitude but I know a former Spirit pilot who use to bitch about this company constantly and while this issue (on the customer’s side) was a little overblown, the response from the CEO pretty much validated a lot of peoples belief of the company.

    So what happens now? It seems, for one, that a lot of people who already had issues with this company but brushed it off and kept flying with them will no longer be customers. They will end up loosing customers over this, despite the original issue. There will be some that say they won’t fly but do, but there also seems to be quite a few that would normally fly but now won’t. The CEO did much more reputation damage to his company than the customer could have ever done.

    What can they do? Bite the bullet. Apologize for the comment (even make up a drunken rage story) and make it at least even with the customer. The longer the issue is ignored by the CEO the more the story spreads. The quicker its resolved the quicker it will be forgotten.

    That and remember to ALWAYS check your TO and CC fields when bitching about a customer.

  60. cabedrgn says:

    Addendum to my comment: The first part was incorrect, it should be “A lot of people seem to be missing what I believe to be the general point.” The point I’m trying to make (as is everyone else’s) is an opinion and should be understood as such.

  61. Crazytree says:

    maybe I should send this douche a couple bottles of Massengil.

  62. consumerist11211 says:

    @BEDOFNAILS

    Are you kidding? Just because the customer recieved it by accident it doesnt mean that the CEO didnt feel that way and didnt intend for his staff to handle it in the manner he laid out. Again, the fish stinks from the head down. Did the CEO say to his staff “man that must have been disappointing for our flyers – to miss the whole concert because they arrived almost 3 hours late. Let’s see if we can work this out?”? No, he essentially didnt even have the balls to tell the customer to go F themselves…he told one of his staffers to do it.

    And as for the customer’s “scheduling incompetence”, are you kidding? If the airline got them there when they were supposed to then none of this would have happened. You must be joking! Did you actually read the email? The plane was scheduled to land at 6:15, the customer built in an hour and a half buffer, and the plane arrived and deplaned nearly 3 hours late.

    On top of that if the staff provided adequate or appropriate customer service my guess is this never would have happened. This would have been talked out and never ended up on this board.

    BEDOFNAILS: May your all of your complaints be answered in the same manner the the CEO of spirit airlines answered someone who had the right to be upset.

  63. BrockBrockman says:

    I think Ben Baldanza missed the point. The point to the “Reply” instead of “Reply All” button.

    I think the damning line is: “Let him tell the world how bad we are.” And, pursuant to Mr. Baldanza’s wish, the customer has done so. In that line, doesn’t Mr. Baldanza concede that, indeed, Spirit Air is bad?

  64. bedofnails says:

    @consumerist11211:

    Shouting match aside, I am not defending the CEO’s idiocy in mashing that “reply all” button – but I am approaching the conversation with a clear frame of reference, and appropriate level of acumen.

    Bottom line, Spirit offered the customer $200 worth of vouchers for $74 worth of airfare (more than the toilet plane passenger received) and this still didn’t dissuade the flier from her ridiculous rants and whines.

    I guess in the future I will start scheduling my arrival times within 1 or 2 hours of my intended destination events; on the basis that if there are any unforeseen circumstances in my air travel itinerary (which would be shocking, and unanticipated) I can send numerous emails, and waste countless hours of the air carriers time hunting for full refund of everything from my breakfast to my flight – hoping that a higher up has had one too many “gym teacher” coffees and hits the wrong button in his email program – thus ensuring I am 100% correct in my entire claim and allegation against said company.

    At the end of the day, I have a proposition for the customer (Christi) I’ll Paypal you the full amount in reimbursements under the following conditions:

    1. They admit that they are a whining, repetitive, baseless, waste of time.

    2. I can slap you, take of picture of it, and post it here.

  65. Employees Must Wash Hands says:

    And really, at the end of the day, if anyone was truly irreparably harmed by this whole thing, it wasn’t because some airline CEO said something that his mother probably advised him against.

    The real injustice here is that someone charged them $100 a person for concert tickets. And I think that’s something we can all agree on.

  66. SOhp101 says:

    What a whiny bitch.


    Both of them.

  67. bedofnails says:

    Worst part, you just know this was the concert they went to:

    [www.michaelbuble.com]

  68. ckilgore says:

    What makes this so ridiculous is that even though the CEO may be totally justified in thinking this, you would think self-preservation alone would prevent him from putting it in an email, even if he did intend for it to be inter-office. There’s too much of an electronic paper trail. Much better would have been to walk down the hall or get on the phone to express something like that.

  69. dantsea says:

    This was an inadvertent application of Southwest Airline’s founder Herb Kelleher’s customer service rules. The man was known for sending out letters to unreasonable or chronic complainers basically reading “Looks like we’re not the right airline for you, goodbye.”

  70. Melov says:

    first.lastname@company.com is almost always the format…especially for lotus notes

  71. Trackback says:

    Time to send the CEO to Microsoft Outlook School! Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza hit “reply to all” instead of “reply” and thereby sent this charming e-mail not only to one of his customer service employees, but also to the angry passengers who contacted the company to…

  72. Uriel says:

    in the words of Keanu Reeves, in one of the worst Matrix sequels ever:

    “You can’t make me do anything you Old White Prick!”

  73. nctrnlboy says:

    To those saying that the ceo did nothing wrong other than hit the “reply all” button instead of the “reply” button & that the ceo didnt act inappropriately because that is how a lot of people talk behind others’ backs….. you are WRONG!

    There is such a thing as professionalism when it comes to EVEN emailing your underlings in your company. You dont bash customers. You dont show contempt for a complaining customer to even your fellow employees…. especially in the workplace. Complaints should be handled professionally. If you want to complain about customers…. do it when you are off the clock & out of the workplace (perhaps when you are knocking back a few beers at the local bar with a fellow employee). IMO the CEO of this company deserves any negative consequences for his actions (not his email mistake, but more for his utter contempt for his customers).

  74. stevekal says:

    ha ha ha they were probably going to the Michael Buble concert! They should thank Spirit.

    the too-much-time-on-his-hands-got-beat-up-too-much-in-high-school customer should battle the nerd-gamer-techno-doh CEO in a limp-wristed slap-fight.

  75. Ola says:

    I’m torn. I hate to be an apologist for poor customer service, but this was clearly a case of accidentally hitting the wrong button, which means that he wasn’t exactly TRYING to be rude to the customer directly. It may be a bit rude, but it’s also an inter-office e-mail Er, was.

  76. ddhj says:

    HAHAHAHAH
    that was funny.

  77. mconfoy says:

    maybe if he had the nads to bring himself to the world board gaming championships, we could see how well he really plays.

  78. mconfoy says:

    will have to post on consimworld for all his fellow gamers

  79. shades_of_blue says:

    The ‘Dell incident’ put Consumerist in MaximumPC, can this do similar for travel mags? Heheh

  80. JustAGuy2 says:

    While the reply all is a goof, I think the guy is absolutely right. If you’re running a business, and someone who’s never used your product before wants to tie up lots of customer service time demanding a refund for an experience that really doesn’t justify one, you don’t WANT that person as a customer.

  81. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    Quick question…does anyone know if Spirit is ever willing to reduce the price of a ticket you just bought? I bought tix 2 days go and now they are having that $24 off each ticket sale. Thoughts? Their customer service/reservation line takes weeks to get through.

  82. MeOhMy says:

    @consumerist11211:

    If you go to a store and see a TV on sale marked half off and you buy it you damn well expect it to work dont you? This is the same principle.

    Yeah and when you find it doesn’t work and you take it back to the store and they offer you $200 store credit instead of the $75 you paid, maybe you should take it. But should you have audacity to turn down the store credit and demand $350 in cash(that’s 4.5x what you paid, btw) – $75 for the TV, $25 for gas, $100 for Wrestlemania on PPV, $50 for snacks and another $100 for the kegs – you can expect the CEO of that store to also “accidentally” CC you when he directs his underling to off you a bag of phalluses.

    A lot of people are also reading too much into the CEO’s message. He didn’t criticize him. He didn’t call him a douche. He called his bet. Alex said A) give me lots of money or B) I’ll tell everyone how awful Spirit is and Ben pretty much said to Pasquale “OK, we’ll take option B, please.”

    It’s certainly not the touchy-feely tone he would use with a customer, but there is also nothing inappropriate about it for inter-office communications.

  83. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    @nctrnlboy: Exactly. It’s not so much a matter of whether the customer truly deserves what he’s asking for his inconvenience, but that a business (and people representing that business, even internally) should respect the people who give them a reason to BE in business.

  84. Eric says:

    Why did the person get on the plane if they only had a 75 minute buffer and the flight was three hours late? They KNEW they would get in too late for the concert but still went. They should have asked for a refund as soon as they knew they wouldn’t make it to the concert.

    I agree with the CEO, they don’t owe them anything, including an apology!

  85. lincolnparadox says:

    @Scarfish: Someday, everyone will realize that corporate America only views American consumers as a money source. We’re not their friends, or their kids, or even their “valued customers.” We’re just people who can increase their profits by buying their product, one way or another.

    Even when they are “trying to keep us as a customer,” it’s not because they give a crap about us as people. They just don’t want to see their profits drop. Buy local and if you can’t buy local, find a way to buy wholesale.

  86. JustAGuy2 says:

    @lincolnparadox:

    You say this like it’s a bad thing. Companies sell you stuff because it makes them money, not because it gives them warm fuzzies. The employees of Ford couldn’t care less whether you drive one, they just want your $. If you send Verizon Wireless a $50 check every month, they’re more than happy for you to be an AT&T customer.

    By the same token, I don’t use Verizon because I find them neat and want them to be my friend, I use them because they have the right offering (price, service, etc.) for me.

  87. bedofnails says:

    @lincolnparadox:

    I don’t get this mentality, you act like a consumer is receiving nothing in return, never takes advantage of a sale or the best price, and is at the mercy of the big bad business.

    Why is it the minute a business turns a profit they are the bad guy? Let’s call it the “indie rock” effect. The minute a band makes money or signs a deal, they no longer have cred, and their music is crap. Similarly you, (the self righteous consumer) will continue to tout your loyalty to the mom and pop, low margin, poorly run, small time business simply to “show them.”

    Try not to choke on your overpriced organic meal, as you cry foul at your bank balance, reminiscing at the “great customer service” you received as you were bent over.

    I’ll wave to you from the top floor.

  88. Observer2121 says:

    I don’t think the customers of Spirit Airlines were attracted to the airline by the level of service anyway so you get what you pay for.

  89. ashabot says:

    Customers can be dicks. No surprise Baldanza let off some steam but I’m sure he was terribly embarrassed. Gotta watch that “reply” button

  90. Almostallknowing says:

    Whether the customer made some poor timing decisions or not, he was still a customer. Given the fact that many airlines are still trying to bounce back from the aftermath of 9/11 (Spirit Airlines being one of them), EVERY customer’s complaint should be handled with the best customer service possible. As a former employee of Spirit airlines, I was greatful for every person who flew the airline. They enabled me to collect a pay check for a little over 7 years. By the way, the person who was in charge of traning new hires in customer service, was given a pink slip as part of a cost saving measure. Perhaps they should have kept him and gave someone else the axe!

  91. bstern1213 says:

    Spirit Air is so bad and they simply do not care. For example, they cancelled my flight from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale with some crazy story that fog kept the plane grounded that seemed like garbage since I checked the weather and no one mentioned fog. They stole my golf balls out of my bad on the way to Florida from Detroit and once again on the return. The return flight was 2.5 hours late while they fixed a door with an air leak. They kept our bags out in the rain and delivered us completely water logged bags. They just do not care. Avoid them when possible.

  92. sleeper555 says:

    The situation over the past week with Spirit in Ft. Lauderdale was abysmal. Horrendously understaffed and undertrained employees couldn’t check customers in at more than 1 group every 15 minutes (with only two agents working and the system constantly crashing). Gate attendants were told to let planes go with only 1/2 the passengers on board (even though people showed up with plenty of time to make the flights). I showed up 3 hours in advance with no luggage to check and had to fight with check in agent to get seats issued to me on an overbooked flight (unsuccessfully). People were so irate, fights almost broke out and I was told the Supervisor was “in hiding” because she “didn’t want to deal with this shit.”

    One guy has his luggage stolen off the check-in scale by someone who either was or was pretending to be a spirit employee and the check in agent could do nothing for him.

    I lost a considerable amount of money due to this horror show of a airline and I intend to strike back. The callous attitude of this dickhead CEO permeates the Spirit organization. No one in the organization seems to care, nor does anyone have the authority to do anything to help (or they simply won’t).

    Others apparently feel the same way and a law firm in Florida has taken up the cause.

    I will be joining a class action lawsuit (see link below). I hope others join too.

    [fortlauderdale.craigslist.org]

    Manufacturers are not allowed to sell defective products and defective service should be treated the same. Even the deepest discount diner will refund your meal if your soup has a roach in it.

    These corporate criminals should rot.

  93. marelli says:

    I’m sure that is the way he is all of the time! Don’t give a s__t attitude! I was on hold over an hour 2 times, today alone, to get my credit due to me and 1 time I was talking to the Phillipines (didn’t speake English) and the other time they “couldn’t find the credit”. The whole thing is a scam. They purposely do not have a (real)customer service department and that is how they make most of there money. They are making their money now and saving up for when they go out of business or sell of to another airline. I wish there was a way to get all of this information out to the public so that maybe we could do something about it. I am contacting the BBB now!