Seth had what should have been a fairly simple problem. His son’s radio control car broke after only a few weeks of use. The toy was purchased at and manufactured by Toys R Us, and an e-mail to the support address included with the toy bounced. No one in the company’s usual customer service channels could resolve his problem, and the people whose job it was to help customers in this situation never managed to contact him.
With no other options, he researched the e-mail addresses of the company’s executive board and fired off a carefully crafted executive e-mail carpet bomb.
Dear Toys R Us Executive Committee,
My name is Seth M. and I am taking the unusual step of writing
you personally after having exhausting your normal customer service
Back on July 6th I purchased a “Fast Lane Mutator” Radio Controlled
vehicle for my son. I paid $65.98 for it including sales tax. The
day after the purchase the main drive gear in the transmission
stripped out leaving us with an inoperable car. Inside the packaging
was a card telling us that in case of problems, not to return the toy
to the store but to e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. I did so and
quickly received an automated reply telling me that the address was no
longer good, thereby stripping me of that service option. I went to
the ToysRUs Website and after a little searching came up with a phone
The guest relations staff at this number were very helpful, taking my
information and telling me that they would forward it onto the proper
people. They also gave me a case number [redacted]. About 15
minutes later, I received a call from another associate who was looking
to check my information and to gather some details that were missed in
my prior call. She told me that my problem would be forwarded to the
“Private Label Team”, because the “Fast Lane” line of merchandise was
built as a Toys R Us house brand. She also said I should hear back
within 5 business days.
During the next two weeks I did not get a call.
Then, while my family and I were on vacation, I received a message from
someone, Daphne I believe, in “Corporate Guest Relations” requesting
that I return her call. We returned home August 8th and I was able to
call the number, 1-800-961-5984, on Monday the 10th. The associate
who answered said that they just wanted to let me know that my issue
had been forwarded onto the Private Label Team and that I should hear
back within three days. On Friday the 14th after hearing nothing I
called again to check up on the progress. I was told that they would
re-send it to the Private Label team and to expect to hear something
within 5 days.
It is now August 21st and another call was made. Again I was told
that they would re-send my case to the Private Label team. I asked
the associate if there were any other options for me as the sending of
my case to the Private Label team seems to have no effect. I was
given the name of Mr. Storch and the Corporate mailing address, with
the suggestion that I send him a letter.
This e-mail is the resultant letter.
Before moving on, I would like to tell you that at every step of the
way along your customer service chain, the men and women I spoke to
were polite and very willing to do whatever was in their power to help
me, this is commendable. However it seems that nobody I have spoken
to as of yet has the ability to actually resolve my issue.
My family and I often shop at ToysRUs, and would prefer to continue.
With our children it is definitely easier to have a toy in hand versus
a printout of a delivery confirmation. When I first started contacting
your company I was hoping to either receive a replacement part, or
vehicle. Unfortunately at this point I think that a full refund would
be the best way to resolve my problem.
I understand that it being late on a Friday, an immediate response may
be difficult. I look forward to hearing from you next week.
Thank you for your time,
After reading his initial e-mail, we asked Seth how things turned out. The response to his EECB was immediate and quite impressive.
I wrote my initial e-mail on Friday evening. I received my first e-mail
reply from a member of the Toys R Us Executive Committee (the focus of my
e-mail) early Saturday morning. Shortly there after I was called by
Rachelle from Executive Relations who let me know that it being Saturday
there wasn’t much that could be done until Monday. She did say that Toys R
Us would do whatever was needed to make things right. She said that a gift
card was the easiest for them but they could also mail me a check. She said
that she would call me on Monday to make all the arrangements. I told her
that a gift card would be fine.
I also received an e-mail from the Vice President of Operations Ms. Claire
Babrowski, letting me know that she would make sure everything was taken
Later Saturday Ms. Babrowski e-mailed me again after finding out that
Rachelle had already called me to arrange a resolution. Ms. Babrowski
wanted to make sure I was satisfied and asked that I keep her updated on the
status of everything. She also offered to, in addition to the gift card,
send my son a “zero gravity” RC toy to apologize for Toys R Us’s failure.
I replied that my son would appreciate the toy and sent my address.
On Monday Rachelle called me to confirm my address for the gift card.
Tuesday morning the “apology” card arrived with a hand written apology from
Ms. Babrowski, much to my son’s surprise and joy.
I as of yet have not received the gift card but have every expectation that
it is on its way.
I cannot thank the consumerist enough. It was via the various posts
regarding an EECB that I learned how to search for e-mail address formats
and how to write an appropriate concise letter. I did not expect such a
quick and complete response from Toys R Us.
What a great resolution! We’re a bit concerned about the runaround Seth received when trying to replace the toy through regular channels, and hope that Toys R Us has taken this opportunity to fix the problems with their private label product support.
Do you have a customer service problem that can’t be solved through the regular channels? Empower yourself with the information available here on Consumerist, starting with the Ultimate Guide To Fighting Back.
UPDATE: Seth just reported that he received a gift card for the total amount he paid for the car, plus $15.