United Airlines Truly Values Your Business, (CUSTOMER NAME)

No one is going to pretend that mail merge doesn’t exist. There are no longer secretaries with their fingers poised over typewriter keys who produce every piece of correspondence we receive in response to a complaint letter. Still, reader Giantreesemar just had to share this letter that he received after complaining about a problem with United Airlines’ website. A form letter went terribly wrong and ended up demonstrating how little United cares about its passengers. Maybe.

He initially shared the letter over on Flyertalk, then sent it to us. “This was the only thing in the envelope,” he wrote. “I will really enjoy my (SPECIFIC ITEM.)”

Giantreesemar let United know about the letter mistake and the absence of his (SPECIFIC ITEM.) They got back to him and apologized. The actual (SPECIFIC ITEM) is on its way, but he still doesn’t know what it is. It will be a nice (UNSPECIFIED SURPRISE).

Just got a call from United HQ and spoke to a nice woman who was very apologetic and noted that it is indeed “embarrassing.” I was laughing, and really do hope I didn’t get anyone in too much trouble because I’ve made mistakes like this myself and would be terrifically mortified if someone posted it on flyertalk.

Either way, she noted that this was supposed to be the letter that accompanies some form of compensation for my prior complaint email, not necessarily the only thing I’d receive on the matter (as I noted earlier, I did get an email in about 4 days that was sort of standard boilerplate apology, but my complaint didn’t really call for a specific action other than fixing their site). Somehow the letter went from generating the template to sending before the agent got to fill in the blanks. Whoops.

Either way, she did say that SPECIFIC ITEM is on the way (although I didn’t ask what it was). I think this whole thing is more funny than frustrating, so the suspense will have to dog me a bit longer!

Also to her credit, she did listen to me explain my issue with the bug on their site (she referred to them as the dot com department) that mis-displays how long reservations are “held” until. We’ll see if it actually gets fixed now!

Comments

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  1. RandomLetters says:

    (GENERAL COMMENT ABOUT HOW EVERYTHING USED TO BE BETTER)

  2. Unknownable says:

    Hello, I’m [SPECIFIC AGENT],

    I’m contacting you to let you know that your [SPECIFIC COMMENT] was not received.
    This most likely caused by an [SPECIFIC ERROR] in our [SPECIFIC DEPARTMENT]‘s
    computer systems. We have our dot-com [SPECIFIC SERVICE TECHNICIANS] working on it.
    Meanwhile, for your patience and concern, [COMMENTER'S NAME], we will be crediting
    [UNDISCLOSED SUM OF MONEY] to your account.

    We would also like to let you know that this will be credited against your account as a [TYPE OF CHARGE], for [AMOUNT OF MONEY OWED],

    Sincerely,
    [UNKNOWNABLE PERSON].

  3. oatmealpacket says:

    (DISPARAGING REMARK ABOUT DAILY POST QUOTAS AND NEWS VALUE)

  4. Nobody Owes You says:

    hahahahaha. You guys make me laugh! Thanks!

  5. belsonc says:

    (COMMENT REGARDING THE RELATIVE SPEED OF THE PASSING OF TIME AS IT RELATES TO TOPICS WORTH SHARING) at (THIS WEBSITE)

  6. dicobalt says:

    Corporate madlibs?

  7. Shinzakura says:

    (comment about making my own [ITEM] at [PERSONAL DOMICILE])

  8. noahproblem1 says:

    (GENERIC COMMENT ABOUT MAKING MY OWN FORM LETTERS AT HOME)

  9. Sean says:

    [COMMENT ABOUT A DIFFERENT ARTICLE ENTIRELY BECAUSE OF THE SCREWED UP COMMENTING FEATURE ON THIS SITE[

  10. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    Maybe United could get the guy arrested on the Southwest flight to fill in their blanks?

  11. spartan says:

    Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
    Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

    Wouldn’t you like to get away?

    Sometimes you want to go

    Where everybody knows your (CUSTOMER NAME),
    and they’re always glad you came.
    You wanna be where you can see,
    our troubles are all the same
    You wanna be where everybody knows
    Your (CUSTOMER NAME),

    You wanna go where people know,
    people are all the same,
    You wanna go where everybody knows
    your (CUSTOMER NAME),.

  12. Coelacanth says:

    That’s it… I’m changing my name to Bobby Tables.

    http://xkcd.com/327/

  13. Pagan wants a +1 button says:

    All of you [SPECIFIC NAME] need to just get off my [SPECIFIC LOCATION].

  14. Blueskylaw says:

    They misspelled the word specific (specifc), that’s why the OP didn’t get any satisfaction.

  15. NotEd says:

    The comment left intentionally blank.

  16. Press1forDialTone says:

    Another real twinkling jewel of crapola software at the corporate level.
    Fire the so-call professionals who can even code a simple email field
    stuffer.

  17. tmbggirl says:

    We received a similarly-written letter at work today from our state’s Dept of Children and Families. It was addressed “Dear (Service Provider)” and informed us that we could contact the case worker via telephone at “(000) 000-0000″ and fax at “(000) 000-0000″.

  18. Billy C says:

    The image is absolutely, definitively fake. There are numerous indicators of photoshopping, including…

    - Bolder text in the body of the letter than the text above the line
    - Text aligned perfectly vertically along left side despite the letter being tilted to the side as indicated by the upper part of the letter in the image.
    - Text aligned perfectly horizontally in the bottom part of the body text, while being angled near the fold. Could theoretically be due to an optical illusion of the paper being “pinched in” along the one side, but paper doesn’t appear to be being held in a way that would make it so
    - Suspiciously crisp “fold” in the letter, followed by fake looking shading/lighting below the fold.
    - “Mr. X” at the top of the letter, while “CUSTOMER NAME” at the end. If it were truly a blank form letter the top would also read CUSTOMER NAME instead of having the actual name
    - An earlier copy of an ACTUAL form letter from United shows a “Renee Mobley, Customer Care” with an actual signature. Generic form letters from general low level customer service reps don’t include sigs from what I’ve seen, so unless they have a new Customer Care manager since April 11th (with a much longer name/signature), the whited out part at the end is too large.
    - The second paragraph reads “…opportunity to share your feedback with the appropriate area of (SPECIFIC DEPARTMENT)” which not only just sounds wrong, but another ACTUAL copy of a form letter reads “…opportunity to share your feedback with our Senior Management for internal review and corrective actions.” and doesn’t include the “appropriate area of” part.

    Reference the image at http://blog.myketv.com/post/23596290267/united-airlines-billing-error-and-subsequent-migraine-co for proof.

  19. Broke_Daddy says:

    Wow. Reminds me of the letter in Catch-22.