When Should You Warn Others Away From A Business?

Nathan wonders: if a company makes repeated errors, then attempts to make things right, should you still warn others against patronizing them? He tells Consumerist that a chain pizza place failed to apply his coupon on four separate orders. He failed to notice at the time, and the restaurant manager offered a refund and free pizza once he called them on it. But should he recommend the place to others? What would you do?

Question for you and other Consumerist readers: If you discover repeated overbilling by a company (in this case, failure to apply a coupon), report it to the company, and the manager tries to make it right, would you still give the company a bad review to warn off other consumers? Or would you let it slide because the manager has done all he or she can do?

Here’s my story: We order the same pizza from our local Round Table Pizza whenever we have friends over. We always tip the driver the same amount (we overtip because our house is a pain to reach and we are always nice to the driver and the person taking the order, so it’s not that they’re getting revenge on us or anything like that), and the bill is always exactly the same. We always use a $3 coupon from Round Table’s website and clearly state at the beginning of the phone call that we’d like to use that coupon. We always use the same credit card to pay for it, and we pay over the phone. Yes, we are very predictable.

The most recent time we ordered, I noticed when the driver got to our house that the $3 coupon hadn’t been applied. When I looked back through my credit card statements, I saw that the coupon was not applied the previous three orders over the last few months, for a total ripoff of $12.

When I called them on it, the manager apologized profusely, credited us the most recent $3, and gave us a coupon for a free pizza to make up for the $9 from earlier months that she claimed were too old for her to credit us back coupon amounts. I said that was fine (I’m aware I could have pushed for the $9 instead, but didn’t feel like arguing over it given that the coupon will be more of a $20+ value anyway). Now I’m going back and forth on the question I wrote above: Do I warn people away, given that the repeated nature of this screwup suggests others are going to face the same issue? Or would that be vindictive of me, as there’s really nothing else the company can do?

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