Poland Springs Demonstrates A Method For Making Loyal Customers Hate You

New reader Lynne (Hi, Lynne!) shares with us a letter that she recently sent to Poland Springs after they refused to stop delivering and billing her for water she did not want. Originally, she simply wanted to place her account on hold while she moved to a new home. Poland Springs complete inability to follow her simple requests turned a loyal customer into a former one.

Lynne writes:

Just found your site — thought I would share my recent tribulations with Poland Springs customer service. I canceled my home delivery in July 2007 and am still getting invoices and/or deliveries. Numerous calls to customer service were of little help. My last conversation with their accounts receivable rep threatened my credit and hung up on me.

You are not kidding when you say it takes some digging to find the corporate honchos in charge of customer service. Following is the letter I recently sent to the VP of Customer Relations:

Re: Account number 0429851934
Dave Muscato
Vice President, Customer Services and Operations
Nestle Waters NA
777 West Putnam Avenue
P.O. Box 2313
Greenwich, CT 06830

Dear Mr. Muscato:

As a loyal customer of Poland Springs water, I felt it imperative to convey my disappointment in the way my home account was handled recently. To simplify, following is the timeline of events:

July 2007: For five years, I received deliveries of Poland Springs water and had my account paid via American Express directly. In July 2007, I called customer service to suspend my account because we sold our home and our new one would not be ready for at least 5-6 months. However, I noticed my credit card was still being charged in subsequent months for water deliveries to my old address. I immediately called back Poland Springs customer service (at 1-800-950-9396) to rectify.

August 2007: The representative assured me that this was a mistake and that the charges would be reversed. Unfortunately, it kept happening every month, with my having to call each time to ask to have my account cancelled so as not to incur any further charges.

November 2007: I am moved into the new home. A week later, I received a new delivery of Poland Springs water, which I did not ask for nor authorize. I again, called immediately and asked that the account be cancelled and have the driver come pick up the water. Again, I was assured that this was an oversight. The driver picked up the water.

December 2007: The following month, on December 24, I received yet another delivery. This was getting like the Everybody Loves Raymond episode with the Fruit of the Month Club. Exasperated, I again called customer service and asked, yet again, for the account to be cancelled and to please stop sending water. The driver came back a day or so later to pick up the water.

January 2008: In all of this, I was still getting my American Express charged. I alerted the card company that these were unauthorized charges. On Jan. 7, 2008 I spoke to Crystal and was assured, again, that this was the end of the account and that my Amex was no longer associated with Poland Springs.

February 2008: On February 28, 2008, I received another invoice from Poland Springs for $27.24 (not charged to my Amex). On March 3, 2008, I called customer service and was told that this was due to an old chargeback and that I owed them the balance. I am at my wit’s end at this point, as I have not accepted any water deliveries from Poland Springs since before July 2007. I was told by the representative that she could not zero out the account, but someone from accounts receivable will call me within 48 hours to straighten out.

March 2008: Today, on March 4 at 1:15 PM, I received a call from a representative from Poland Springs accounts receivable. He did not give his name. He kept telling me I owed him the money. I tried to explain that this account has been closed for some time and I do not owe Poland Springs anything. He kept repeating “Do you not understand what I am saying? You owe us the money.” I told him I did not and would not pay it. He then responded “Fine. This will be on your credit report” and hung up on me.

I myself am a vice president of marketing and customer service and understand the importance of speaking to and truly listening to customers. This response by a representative of your company was totally and unequivocally unacceptable and I do not appreciate a threat to my credit because the representative was unable or unwilling to address the situation.

I called your customer service department yet again, exasperated, and spoke to a gentleman named Frank. He remembered one of our previous conversations in December, and finally zeroed out the account then and there. I truly hope that this is finally the end.

While your products are great, it seems that there is quite a disconnect between customer service and operations that needs to be addressed. Needless to say, you will no longer have me as a customer, but I felt it unfair to just walk away without explaining the circumstances and hopefully alert you to an operational breakdown that can be repaired.
I appreciate your reading this letter. I have sent you a hard copy of this note, as well.

Sincerely,
Lynne