Meet the “Royal Caribbean Champions,” a group of fifty prolific posters to popular online communities that Royal Caribbean rewards with special access and free cruises in exchange for their frequent and positive commentary. The Champions were outed by their creators, the Customer Insight Group, which boasted on their company blog that the potent group is “regularly leveraged for ongoing marketing initiates. Members of the popular reviewing site Cruise Critic, one of the main targets of the program, are understandably pissed.
Staples took over a month to deliver an order for business cards that they promised to fill in under seven days. The office megastore somehow misplaced reader Brett’s payment confirmation and never sent his order along to their supplier. When Brett asked Staples to fix their mistake and deliver the cards, he was told to pay for a second order and trust that Staples would eventually issue a refund. When he explained that he deserved compensation, not another charge, a manager told him “it would be a disaster to compensate customers based on the amount of problems we cause.”
President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have announced a $500,000 maximum wage for employees of companies that receive taxpayer support. The rule will only apply to companies that receive future bailout funds. Oh, also, you’re going to be bailing out more companies.
After waiting 56 days for his Dell Mini 9 to ship, reader WantMyDellMini asked Dell for a little compensation, only to be told: “Dell no longer believes in compensation for the purpose of customer satisfaction.” The Mini 9’s shipping status has already changed at least ten times, but Dell claims that our poor reader has no choice but to keep waiting.
Reader Michael wants to know why it’s taking UPS almost a month to ship his daughter’s Christmas gift from Los Angeles to Seattle. Michael thinks his package might have been eaten by the snowstorm that broke Seattle a few weeks back, but UPS swears that they have the gift and that this is all a simple matter of “the driver forgot to put it on the truck.” Worried that it that it might have been faster for a messenger to walk between Los Angeles and Seattle with his daughter’s present, Michael decided to launch an Executive Email Carpet Bomb at UPS executives.
Sprint has asked some of its employees to consider voluntarily resigning by December 3rd in exchange for a compensation package. Says a spokesperson, “No one is being forced to do anything. There are no forced reductions. There are no layoffs in store. It’s a matter of employees having the option to exercise discretion. No targets have been announced.” IntoMobile says retail store employees and managers are not being included in the offer. Update: We’ve received a little more info from an anonymous tipster about the downsizing, and what it might mean for customers of Sprint.
AIG has been repeatedly called on the carpet over the past week or so for indefensible “business as usual” expenditures—a lavish corporate retreat, an executive hunting trip, and severance packages costing tens of millions of dollars. Now, after a meeting with NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, they’ve announced they’ll start trying harder to monitor and stomp out unnecessary expenses.
The AP is reporting that AIG executives aren’t done partying yet — they took an $86,000 hunting trip even as the company was requesting an additional $37.8 billion loan from the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo has said that as long as the company continues to be propped up by the taxpayer — he has the power under state business law to review and possibly rescind any inappropriate AIG spending.
Over a quarter-million passengers were bumped from flights in the past eight months, a number that is set to grow as airlines try to boost anemic profits by slashing fleets. The Department of Transportation requires airlines to compensate bumped passengers with cash or vouchers, but savvy passengers can leverage their situation to negotiate heftier payments…
We’ve never really stopped to wonder what sort of compensation we would require if we found small rocks in our raisin bread, but we’re pretty sure that it’s more than $5. Maybe we’re being unrealistic, because when Michael Snyder found rocks in the raisin bread he bought from a bakery in Somerville, Massachusetts, he asked for 5 loaves of bread in compensation and settled for $5 instead.
The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to halve the punitive damages levied against Exxon for its massive 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker, from the current $2.5 billion to something more like $1 billion. Exxon claims the higher number amounts to excessive punishment. According to the New York Times, the decision may come down to a tie with four justices on either side; Justice Alito is not participating because he owns Exxon Mobile stock. The Exxon Valdez disaster “caused a 3,000-square-mile oil slick and still affects Alaska’s fisheries after nearly 19 years.”
A reader just sent us a description of her flight back from London to Minneapolis that reads like a synopsis of a particularly unpleasant episode of “The Amazing Race.” The return flight, on Iceland air, was supposed to go from Heathrow in London to Keflavik in Reykjavik, then from there to Minneapolis. The initial flight is delayed for 2 1/2 hours—but not to worry, Icelandair tells the passengers, because the other flight is being held. When they arrive in Iceland, however, there’s no plane waiting for them—it’s been overbooked, so the airline has sent it ahead and left the passengers stranded overnight.
Here’s a question that never gets any easier to answer. When a company’s customer service drives you into a blinding rage or otherwise severely inconveniences you but doesn’t actually cost you any money… what, if anything, should you expect as compensation?