Pizza Hut Accuses Customer Of "Making The Coupon Up"

Pizza Hut called Danielle a liar for trying to redeem a promotional coupon they emailed to her and displayed prominently on their website. In exchange for completing an offer from TrialPay, Danielle should have received two free medium pizzas, one with toppings, plus breadsticks. Instead, her favorite pizza place told her, “M’am, you’re lying about what the coupon promised.”

Danielle writes:

I am a loyal Pizza Hut follower, even thought I know I probably shouldn’t be… it’s just what I grew up with.

I spend a fair amount of money with the various stores in my city, and I expect to be treated nicely when dealing with the company. Not like royalty, but nicely.

I get the pizza hut emails because I order online.. I’ve opted out before, but it seems like every time I order online, I get opted back in.

About a month and a half ago (beginning of August), Pizza Hut emailed me a coupon which was linked to the website “TrialPay”. The coupon claimed that if I completed one trial pay offer, pizza hut would send me some free pizza (A medium natural, plus one other medium one topping, plus breadsticks)… it was an amazing deal, and immediately some “too good to be true” bells started going off in my head. So I went to Pizza Hut’s website, and sure enough, the coupon was there as well, linked at the very top of their “Deals” page, where all their coupons are displayed.

So happily, I clicked away, chose an offer (a free trial of a Rhapsody account, followed by a paid subscription), and had it complete (I then went back and canceled the membership with Rhapsody, because their selection was terrible, but I was within the rights of the TrialPay agreement to do this). I got an email from TrialPay, saying I had completed the offer fully, and it provided a link to the Pizza Hut website, where I could redeem my “prize”. I clicked the link and followed the instructions in the email, and when I went to check out I saw I was being charged ten dollars.

According to the coupon, everything was included, tax and all.. the only extra charges would be for substitutions (none), extra toppings (I didn’t order any), or delivery (the order was for carryout).

Seeing that this was a mistake, I called TrialPay’s customer service and asked them to confirm that the bundle was indeed, free, and that I had completed the offer correctly. The nice lady I talked to said yes to all of these things, and even said that it was OK that I had canceled my Rhapsody membership.. I still got credit for completing the offer.

She suggested that it was probably a problem on Pizza Hut’s end, so I decided to call their 1-800 number. I spoke to a nice young man who had -no- idea what coupon I was talking about, so he offered to transfer me to his supervisor. I agreed. I then started the customer service call from hell. Throughout the conversation, which ended up lasting just under an hour, I was put on hold several times, without warning, for five to ten minutes at a time. The woman was also rude, and belligerent.

The woman I talked to claimed that I was “making the coupon up” (her words), and that I was “complaining about a legitimate charge”. I then asked her “If it’s legitimate, what is the ten dollar charge for, then?”. Her offer was that it was for delivery fees and taxes. I told her “The order is for carry out, and it breaks down the sales tax separately.. the sales tax is only a dollar or so of the charge.. what is the rest of it?” She couldn’t tell me. She claimed the coupon didn’t exist, and that it wasn’t sanctioned by Pizza Hut.

I asked how the coupon got emailed to me, in a Pizza Hut newsletter, and how it was linked on their website, and how their website recognized the coupon then…

She said “If you read the fine print, it says the two companies aren’t connected, and that we have no responsibility regarding the coupon”.

I said “That would be all fine and well, expect -your company- is who sent me the coupon. Hence, I want it honored, and honored properly.”

She then proceeded to stonewall me some more, until I got her to agree to pull up the website, using my address, and see the coupon on it.

She did this, and admitted that she saw the coupon, and said I still had to pay the ten dollars. I staunchly refused, and demanded what the coupon promised. I felt stupid arguing over free pizza, but at this point I was rather upset.

She called me a liar. Straight out. She said “M’am, you’re lying about what the coupon promised” with the coupon that lays it out right in front of her.

Eventually I got her to call my local store, and get the charges taken off, and I got my pizza. It was a major hassle, and the store manager at my local store was none-too-happy to remove the charge and hand me a free pizza, despite admitting that the customer service rep told him to do exactly that.

Upset over this experience, I filled out the “Comments, compliments, and complaints” form on Pizza Hut’s website, detailing the experience, and typing into the comments box “I want to be contacted by a manager” as well as checking the box that indicated that I would like to be contacted.

A week passed, and no call had come for me. So I called back the 1-800 number, and told the rep that I hadn’t got my call back, and I would very much like to be contacted by a manager. He apologized and offered to put me back in the queue to be called. I agreed, and he told me I would be contacted within 3 business days. This was a Friday night.

Next Wednesday night, no call had come. So I called the 800 number yet again, more upset this time. The woman I talked to said it was “all she could do to ‘escalate’ my problem, and put me back in line to be called.” I said that was fine, I supposed, since that was probably really all she could do. I then asked when I should expect my call by. She said “the end of the week, for sure”.

The end of the week came, no call. That was two weeks ago. I call the 800 number once every three days to let them know I still haven’t been called back. I’ve talked to the manager of the call center. He says he has no contact information for the manager of my district (the man who is supposed to be calling me). All they can do is put me back in line to be called.

I ended up ordering from Pizza Hut the other night, paying in full this time, and the pizza I had delivered was cold when it arrived, and rather sauceless. Upset, I decided that since I already had plans to call the number, I would just tell them about this then. I told them about the cold pizza, the man said he was “documenting the complaint” and that I would be contacted. I laughed at this, and asked if it would be ok to contact my local store myself if the issues wasn’t resolved (aka, I didn’t get my call back). He said I “shouldn’t do that”, and that the hotline was for complaints.

Three days later, still no call on either of my complaints, I was about at the end of my rope.

I called my local store to ask if they had the number for the corporate office. The lady read off the same number I’ve been calling for weeks. I told her they weren’t helping me.

She asked what the issue was, and I told her one issue was with the customer service people and a coupon, and that there was nothing she could do about it, but that the other issue was with a pizza her restaurant had delivered.

She told me she could help with that issue, so I told her what had happened. I ended up talking to her manager, and he told me he could give me some partial credit for the pizzas, for next time I ordered, and apologized they had been sent out that way, but said that there was nothing more he could do because I’d waited so long to complain.
I told him I had actually complained that night, to the customer service line posted on Pizza Hut’s website, and that they had told me -not- to call the store.

He said I should -always- call the store if I have issues with the pizza, so that I can get a speedier and more helpful response.. the store has the capability to send out new pizzas, etc. He also said that as far as he knows, it’s policy to direct the customer back to the local store if they have an issue with the food.

So now I’m stuck.. no calls back from pizza hut, and I paid for a crappy cold pizza and now there’s’ nothing to be done about it because the customer service people continue to screw up.

I’m thinking about visiting the Pizza Hut corporate offices tomorrow. Maybe being there in person will get me -some- sort of attention.

Pizza Hut clearly holds a dear place in Danielle’s heart. It’s a shame a local joint can’t swoop in and save Danielle with superior pizza and service.

(Photo: Getty)