Here’s a letter I recently sent to the department store Kohl’s customer service email address:

Friends:

I recently planned a special shopping trip to your store in Tavares, Florida. While looking for watches, I was greeted by Cheryl (or Sherry, not sure) who was eager to help. She was great. I picked out a watch and she agreed to hold it for me as we shopped for other items.

Enjoying our experience, we decided to get a new slow cooker, some ties, a few water bottles for ourselves and some jewelry to give as Easter gifts.

We returned to the Jewelry counter and presented a 20%-off coupon (for purchases over $100) to Sherry. She began ringing us up.

Our total was $212.89. As I began to swipe my credit card, Sherry asked if I wanted to use my Kohl’s charge. I told her I didn’t have one.

When I asked her what benefit I’d get if I signed up for one, she said I would “save 15% on your order today.”

I agreed to the offer and we began the process. After a few computer snafus, I was approved for $1000 credit from your company. As she started to process the order, I asked her why my total had not changed. Obviously,
I only agreed to the credit card because she had promised over $30 additional savings on my purchase.

Sherry didn’t know why, so she asked another young lady to help her. This associate told her that I couldn’t get the discount because I’d already used a coupon. She offered me a coupon for my next visit.

Some people would call this a version of “bait and switch:” get the customer to agree to a purchase or agreement by promising a specific refund, discount or price, then change it up after the agreement or purchase is completed.

When I asked her to cancel my card, she told me she’d already charged it and I’d have to go to customer service to have it fixed.

HERE’S WHERE THE REAL TROUBLE STARTED.

At this point, I was merely inconvenienced. I headed over to customer service, certain that a level-headed store manager would see the issue and simply offer the promised discount.

I met another nice lady at the customer service desk and, after explaining the issue, waited as she called the manager to the desk.

The store manager, Bridgette Formor, met me in front of the desk (at first I thought that was a nice touch) and asked me to explain my issue. I did. Her answer to my issue was to explain that she wasn’t allowed to “double-dip” discounts and that I was misinformed by the employee.

I restated my claim that I was promised an additional discount and completed a full credit application based upon that promise. She pointed me toward a phone that I could use to cancel my credit card.

As I stared at her in disbelief, she told me that the back of the coupon I used said I couldn’t use it with any other discounts and I should have read it. I asked her “so a piece of paper trumps what your employee tells me
face to face?” She got just a bit “huffy” with me, reiterating that corporate would not let her give two discounts and insinuating that I instigated this problem by being greedy for discounts.

I reminded her that a Kohl’s employee started this by offering a discount and added that if a piece of paper held more weight than her employees, she “needs to do some training about that.”

It was at that moment that the lack of a desk separating us made me feel intimidated, as she raised up to her full height (she’s impressively tall) and let loose.

As her voice rose, she said “That girl’s only been here a week, but I wasn’t going to apologize for her because she’s new.”

Feeling cornered, I told her I didn’t feel like she “was apologizing at all” and that I just wanted to cancel my entire order.

Her response? “Good, we’ll be happy to do that for you.”

So ya’ll lost a $200 purchase, all because one employee made a mistake and a manager decided to back a customer down with intimidation and attitude rather than reason and courtesy.

Of course, this is my account. Why not talk to the customer service desk worker who witnessed the entire conversation or the jewelry counter worker who got chewed out on the phone because she made a simple mistake with me.

Here’s the reason why I won’t be shopping at Kohl’s if Bridgette Formor is the manager: I enjoyed every part of my experience until she decided to accuse me of ripping her store off. I even appreciated the actual remorse that Sherry showed after she realized she’d made a big mistake. At the customer service counter, I presented a difficult situation to the rep there and her attitude and demeanor made me believe that it would be fixed properly. But then I met Ms. Formor and lost all respect for Kohl’s.

Sincerely,
Timothy B. Totten

And here’s the canned email response their computer sent back to me:

Dear

Thank you for contacting us about your recent experience in the Tavares store.

First and foremost, I want to apologize for any frustration and inconvenience that you had experienced in your shopping visit. Your disappointment in regards to the conversation with the store manager is understandable. At Kohl’s we strive to have our customers “Expect Great Things,” and we want to know when you feel we have not lived up to that expectation. I have forwarded your feedback to the members from the Executive Team at that location for their review and follow up. Please allow several business days for us to contact you. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused.

We appreciate the time you took to contact us and we hope that you will allow us another chance to serve you again in the future.

Sincerely,

Meghan B.
Customer Support Representative

So here’s the email I just sent back to them:

To My Seemingly-Inept Friends at Kohl’s:

Thank you for the form letter your forwarded in April 16th.  While I spent a few minutes preparing an explanation of my issue with your store and the reasons why Kohl’s was no longer my preferred department store, you allowed a computer to respond with the heading “Dear” and no name following it.  The unfriendly computer goes on to tell me that my feedback was forwarded “to the members from the Executive Team at that location.”  Clearly, your computer has terrible comprehension issues, since even a quick review of my original email would reveal that my problems were with the Executive Team at that location.
 
It strikes me that this email might also be intercepted by the same incompetent computer, so if that’s the case, here’s my admonition:
 
“Stop stealing Kohl’s email, you bad, bad computer!  I’m sure that Kohl’s is a company that cares about their customers’ experiences and they don’t need some sniveling, form-letter sending, fake-apology offering lazy computer who can’t even figure out a customer’s actual complaint.”
 
Of course, if this letter gets read by an actual human, I’d love for someone to actually respond to my complaint.  Even if all I get is a “piss off” from a Kohl’s representative who goes on to explain that store managers are allowed to accuse a misled customer of trying to steal, I’ll be happy knowing that at least someone behind the cold, computerized curtain of Kohl’s customer service tried to reach out, even if it’s just to sucker punch a paying customer.
 
Oh, and I’ve never given you permission to spam me, so why in the heck do you program your computers to respond to a customer service complaint by sending unsolicited spam email to the person complaining?  Are you trying to guarantee that I never shop at your store again?
 
A customer who won’t be spending $3000 at Kohl’s again this Christmas,
Timothy B. Totten
321-287-0628
 
P.S.  You can read all about my struggles with your company on the blog I write for funeral directors:  www.finalembrace.com.

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