Customer Complaint Leads To Sincere Apology, Actual Change At HyVee

Matt complained to his local Hyvee grocery/gas station about the excessive holds they place on gas customers’ debit cards. The company apologized, offered him a gift card, and changed their signage to prevent further customer frustration.

Technically, this shouldn’t be considered “above and beyond.” This should be what all businesses do when a customer has an issue, but Matt was so surprised and pleased that he just had to write about the experience.

I stopped in and filled up my motorcycle using a credit card. My bill came to $7, but when I got home and started to plan out my weekend fun and expenses I noticed that Hyvee had pre-authorized $75, which was over 10x what my gas cost. As I did this Friday on my way home from work and authorizations tend to take until the next business day, I expected the $75 to be tied up through the entire Labor Day weekend. I was a bit frustrated about this, so went to their website and fired off a complaint about it, fully expecting it to go into some black hole of complaints or at the most get a half-hearted apology. I explained that although I understood the reasoning for it (most pre-auths are for $1, so some people will use cards with only a few dollars on and fill up and drive off), the amount was a bit excessive, and I’d rather spend my money with gas stations that don’t pre-authorize for excessive amounts as they obviously need the extra business to make up for the extra cost of people taking advantage of the system.

Much to my surprise, I got a phone call from HyVee the next business day. They personally apologized for the inconvenience and even though I claimed I wouldn’t return to HyVee, they offered me a $25 gift card for HyVee gas or groceries. They didn’t even try to convince me I should return, they offered me the gift card with the expectation that I wasn’t likely to ever buy gas from them again. Not only that, they explained how their processes work and explained options that didn’t require the excessive pre-authorization. In addition, the pre-auth that I expected to stay on all weekend was updated in less than 12 hours even over Labor Day weekend. Wow. Calling to apologize, offering a gift card to someone they expected to leave them, and explaining all available options. It doesn’t get any better than that. I was so impressed that I have backtracked on my decision. Not only will I be going back to them for gas and groceries in the future, but I will be making a point of going there more often.

After revisiting the store, Matt discovered that the store went even farther to prevent similar complaints.

A new twist to this story. I picked up the gift card today, and the manager told me they already ordered signs to put on the pumps to explain charges and how to avoid the charges by paying inside (and they don’t make you prepay). They are getting the signs not only at the location I shopped at, but all their gas stations.

I am impressed. Incredibly fast action to not only make it up to me, but actually use the feedback to make sure other people aren’t upset.

Well done!

(Photo: Jeff Holbrook)