BC Credit Union Apologizes To Customer With Humble Pie

Paula wrote to BC credit union to let them know their website gave her inaccurate directions to a nearby ATM. Within a few days, she received a personalized apology note and a little something extra.

Alana from the BC credit union quickly responded:

“Thank you very much for bringing this matter to our attention. I can understand your frustration of being misdirected by us. We were unaware of any problems with the ATM mapping feature on our website, and upon receiving your email have been in contact with our technology partners to ensure that all mapping errors are corrected as quickly as possible. The specific information you have provided us with has definitely helped us narrow down where the issue exists, and we truly appreciate the time you have taken to send us this information.”

Perfect apology note. It’s personal and caring, and gives the impression that the problem will soon be fixed. Given the situation, it’s a sufficient response. After all, it’s not like the credit union lost any money or fumbled a transaction. This was just a case of poor directions stemming from bad mapping software.

Paula surely didn’t expect to receive a call a few days later, this time from a local courier bearing a pie.713189993_7e2512375b_m.jpg

    “But this was no ordinary pie! It was GI- NOR- MOUS!!! Imagine a 4.5 lb pie in a reusable pie plate, packed in a wooden crate filled with strips of “thank you” paper, with the note of thanks I had been expecting. The pie’s ingredients were also listed with instructions … it was so fresh that it is recommended to finish it within 5 days. It will definitely be finished by Wednesday, if not before! Although that will require us to eat some fairly large pieces – life is rough lol.

We will add ‘humorous pies’ to the already long list of reasons we prefer credit unions to banks.

Humble Pie [Mommy Musings]


Edit Your Comment

  1. lore says:

    That is awesome.

  2. Charles Duffy says:

    Looking at [www.acmehumblepie.com], that’s a $65 CDN apology. Absolutely a great way to make an impression — but also, at that price, something of a motivating factor to not do too many things your business needs to apologize for.

  3. Dan25 says:

    what kind of pie was it?

  4. mopar_man says:


    I was going to guess Key Lime but then I looked at the pictures and saw the mention of apples.

  5. Kangarara says:

    If it’s BC, it’s most likely apples. We’re drowning in apples up here…

  6. crnk says:

    If only consumerist had a category for times when “above and beyond” is an understatement…

  7. andrewsmash says:

    Sounds like they actually have adequate staffing. Imagine what other companies could do if they actually had enough people to do the work they promised.

  8. skapunk84 says:


    It says “handpicked apology apples.” My guess is apple pie. ;-)

    All in all, that was pretty fantastic of them.

  9. omg. That rules. I would totally bank there after hearing this story, too!

  10. Topcat says:

    I switched to a credit union in Vancouver when I moved here 4 years ago and can’t think of ever switching back to one of Canada’s big banks. The service has been personal and friendly in every interaction I’ve had with them. A $65 pie for a fairly small inconvenience is a pretty good example of this.

  11. ivieso says:

    nothing is better than pie! NOTHING!

  12. cryrevolution says:

    mmm…pie. That was nice of them.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    That is awesome. Pie rules!

  14. Namilia says:

    Just more proof that PIE OWNS THE WORLD. Everyone say it with me!

    “Mmm Pie.”

  15. DeeJayQueue says:

    that’s how you not only keep a good customer but you gain 5 or 6 thousand more. They turned a potential bad PR situation into a triumph with pie. AND they promised to fix what was wrong that generated the complaint in the first place. Bravo!

  16. Schizohedron says:

    I love the graphics on the crate; they have a Terry Colon/Suck.com vibe to them. Of course, being backed up by a real pie doesn’t hurt. . . .

  17. juri squared says:


    That’s it, I’m moving to Canada.

  18. That’s really…sweet, actually. I don’t mean the pun. It’s just sweet.

    Bank of America doesn’t give me pies. They just send me new ATM cards every time my old ATM cards become mysteriously deactivated. I’d rather have a pie, frankly.

  19. Buran says:

    Yet another annoying trend here: whip out “credit union” as the “fix” to any problem with any bank.

    Along with “blame the victim”.

    Along with “threaten violence on people I don’t agree with”.

  20. benatkin says:

    I think it’s great that a company can be so quick to reward people, both internally and externally, for improving their quality of service. I’m sure this was a big morale boost for everyone involved.

    I think in this case it was easily worth the $65, because the publicity on the Consumerist is at least as good as a few hundred dollars spent on advertising. Even if the recipient of the pie wasn’t an active Consumerist reader, though, I’m sure the $65 CDN plus delivery and taxes pales in comparison to the amount of money spent on the feature that wasn’t working quite right.

  21. homerjay says:

    I’ve said it a million times: CREDIT UNION!

    Oh wait! I don’t have to this time!

    Personally, I’d like to see the letter she sent to them that prompted a response like this. I’ll bet it doesn’t even come close to resembling the kind of complaint letters we see on here that are met with disdain. Probably all polite and stuff….

    Could you send that in, Paula?

  22. Xkeeper says:


    Yet another annoying trend here: whip out “credit union” as the “fix” to any problem with any bank.

    The only problem is, it usually is a fix to every problem. Credit Unions are, in general, 150% better than any large bank.

    Just sayin’.

  23. Orchid64 says:


    “Adequate staffing” comes at a price. The customer service problems many people experience are often a case of reaping what they sow when they value price above all else. If you value customer service, you need to patronize businesses that cost a little more (because they’re paying more salaries or better ones) regularly. In the States, bad service comes along with all the cheap prices at chain and discount shops.

    Everyone wants good service but no one wants to pay for it.

  24. InThrees says:


    I have to agree with XKeeper – my experience has been that credit unions are generally friendlier and have better terms / penalties than big banks. I moved a few years ago and was really dissapointed that my old CU didn’t have an office in my new city. =/

  25. nardo218 says:

    Much as I hate to cast a shadow over the splendiferous event of pie, I have to wonder that given it says ‘thank you’ and not ‘you’re welcome,’ if the CU had the pie sitting around the office and wanted to get rid of it.

  26. vangogh71 says:

    I’ve worked for both CUs and a Big Bank in Canada. Yes you definitely may get better service from the CU for basic banking and day to day service, but if you are seeking Financial Advice there is no comparison the banks are much better equipped and trained.

    Also the banking flexibility with one of the major banks us just so much greater (if you not happy with one branch there is always another one you can use without moving and changing your accounts, where with the Credit Unions that is not as much of an option).

    It was a great way to apologize, but I’ve done similar things at both Banks and Credit Unions, sending flowers or a night out on the town for an error. It comes down to the issue and how the customer dealt with you a lot of the time.

  27. notebook says:



  28. Buran says:

    @Xkeeper: Oh, I can respect that. I know individual people have had good experiences. But the blind *smack* of that same suggestion, no matter what, is really annoying. I’ve heard plenty of bad credit union stories that tell me that blindly suggesting them isn’t really a great idea.

  29. Amy Alkon says:

    There’s a lot to be said for taking a mistake seriously and for being accountable for mistakes. I think consumers would be much less rage-filled at businesses if complaints weren’t simply met with the lip-service you know some rep is reading off a sheet: “I’d like to apologize for…blah blah blah.” Yeah, save the apologies…ust fix it already. Somebody sends me a pie like this, I’m going to tell everybody I know and the company is not only going to keep my business but they’ll probably get my friends’ business, too.

    On a personal note, regarding being accountable, I messed up mailing out six or seven books I sold on Amazon, sending them out for the discount media mail postage instead of the retail price (confusing postal website!) When I realized this, I was horrified, and I sent everybody a dollar and an apology note via first class mail, beating the books’ arrival. (The postage would have been, at most 31 cents over, and most wouldn’t have been over at all, thanks to my somewhat overweighing scale.)

    Whaddya know, people mailed me back those dollars…costing themselves the price of a first-class stamp…suggesting to me that people will, indeed, excuse errors — and graciously — providing they don’t feel you’re trying to scam them or take advantage of them.

  30. Buran says:

    @InThrees: See my comment above for my response, since it’s more or less the same kind of comment.

  31. paulaf says:

    I’m Paula .. the recipient of the pie. For those who were asking … it was an apple and sour cherry pie – SCRUMPTIOUS!!! For the record, I used to work for a bank (7.5 yrs) and 4 years ago I switched all my accounts to a credit union … tells you a lot right there! This little interaction just earned credit unions another bunch of brownie points in my books!

  32. CapitalC says:

    w00t! Credit Unions FTW!

    I’ve been with my credit union (Vancity) for 25 years now and I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve had accounts with “banks” and I was disappointed every time.

  33. FLConsumer says:


    Everyone wants good service but no one wants to pay for it.

    I’m willing to pay through the nose for excellent service. The problem I’m having anymore is trying to find companies which still know what good service still is.

    Credit Unions do have their place and I’m glad they’re around… BUT, they’re not a cure-all and they’re not for everyone.

    I have the “VIP TUNE” charge appear on my credit card this month. Called up Wachovia and they immediately removed it from the bill and overnighted a new card to me. For comparison, a friend of mine lost his credit union credit card. It took nearly a week for them to get a new one to his door. He’s also had a few times where his card was declined due to the CU’s computers being offline. Longest server “maintenance issue” he experienced was 2 days.

    From my experiences, credit unions are good for middle-income households, VERY good. If you’ve got a higher level of wealth, the big banks are where you need to be. Most large banks have a special department which understands the needs of clients with substantial assets. (Yes, they are different than the average Joe’s.) I doubt most credit union folks ever have done a wire transfer, and CashEdge transfers to your ING/FNBO Direct account doesn’t count. For those at the upper levels, wires transfers are frequent and tend to happen at the worst times (bank holidays, after hours to coincide with time zones around the world.)

    I have a credit union account to keep some spending cash around, as they have a very nice ATM network and pays good interest. I keep some money at ING/FNBO for assets I’d like to keep liquid but don’t need immediate access to. The rest is split between Wachovia and my investments.

  34. Ghede says:

    That pie seems a little overboard for such a small complaint. Smells of PR.

    If they had accidentally lost part of her savings through a glitch in their banking system, then I think a complete refund combined with some humble pie would be a good move…

  35. MaximuM_MayheM says:


    I agree, it seems overboard, but hey, they want their customers to be happy and continue to do business with them, and nothing says that like Humble pie. If she had lost some of her savings through a glitch, I be they would send her a truckload of Humble pies!

  36. homerjay says:

    @paulaf: But what did you say to them to get them to respond like this? Inquiring minds want to know.

  37. That is so awesome I have no other words for it.

  38. AtOurGates says:

    While I’ve never used a Credit Union, I’d have to chime in and say that I’ve gotten excellent service from USAA.

    Their call centers are well staffed, courteous and friendly. They’ve always been willing to solve any problems I’ve had.

    Several months ago I opened a piece of mail from them, and found a $150 Apple gift card in it, not related to any promotion, just their way of saying thanks for having a savings and checking account with them, both with modest balances. Needless to say it looks like I’ll be a USAA customer for life.

    Just goes to show that being one of the bigger guys is no excuse for not offering excellent customer service.

  39. paulaf says:

    Basically just what I put in my post – I told them the search parameters I had used and gave them the lowdown on 4 of the results (how wrong they were). I told them I had been quite frustrated, but I was still surprised by the pie as a response! It really was amazing!

  40. paulaf says:

    I just posted another great customer service story – Thrifty Foods.