OnSale.com: Is this the dark side of group buying discounts?

imageWith the growth of online services that offer discounted products and services based on group purchases, I’ve become a rabid customer of companies like Groupon and LivingSocial.  In my opinion, they are the best of the bunch.  On a couple of occasions I’ve strayed to other vendors, usually because they have a deal with a local business that I want to support.  Unfortunately, I’m experiencing some of the customer service challenges that are endemic to many a small but fast-growing business.  In this case, I’m stuck between OnSale.com and a nice little restaurant called Tokyo Bay Sushi Bar & Grill. Continue reading “OnSale.com: Is this the dark side of group buying discounts?”

A Bunch of Random Thoughts

After all of the posturing, the will raise the debt ceiling, guaranteed.  But no politician should expect a thank you from me.  Let smokers smoke.  If common sense can’t change their habits, why bother with warning stickers?  1-liter bottles are such a blatant rip-off, but they must know there are people out there who can’t do basic math.  Friday Night Lights is the most underappreciated show on television.  LinkedIn Spam.  How does that happen?  I do appreciate hearing “thank you” when I drop it in the tip jar at Starbucks.  Sometimes, I think it’s taken for granted.  Internet beats cable TV.   Cancel the NFL season, see if I care.  There are times I’d pay to go to the theatre and just watch trailers for 90 minutes. Is it me, or are Groupons getting monotonous?  Living Social is getting more of my attention.  Being loved is greatly underappreciated.  If I had to choose, I’d take a grill over a stove any day, in any weather.  The Murdochs did the right thing.  Now, about Fox News…. 10 minutes after accepting a Google+ invite, I felt dirty.  Nuff said.  I don’t blame the jurors for the Casey Anthony verdict.  I blame the prosecution.  Involuntary Manslaughter would have been a more reasonable determination.  In traffic, I can usually tell the drivers who are on the phone or texting.  And I keep my eye on them.  I’ve never seen Gone With The Wind.  But, I’ve seen Pootie Tang, and loved it.  I’d love to be in Tokyo right now.

Starwood Hotels Disappoints, Mocking My Loyalty

Maybe I’m just tired from working too long hours, in too many cities lately.  But take a look at this web page below and tell me what you think:

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I think this says:

  1. Your award nights are given for eligible stay dates between 04/30/2009 and 09/27/2009
  2. Your award nights have to be used between 04/30/2009 and 09/27/2009

Well, guess which one Starwood thinks it means?  #2, of course.  Which I learn tonight when booking some time away for the family.  Grrr.

For spending 50+ nights a year at Starwood hotels, is this how they treat their Platinum members?  Creating a personalized website that can be be misinterpreted? 

So, I called the Platinum Customer Service Desk (ooooh!).  They politely reminded me that the Terms & Conditions “…clearly spelled out that the days had to be used by 09/27/2009…”  Of course, when I explained that I never got a copy of the T&Cs, the representative offered to find a copy and send me the link.  10 minutes later she found it.  Which proved my point – they never expect members to read them, and don’t make them easily found.  At the very least, they could have link the relevant T&Cs to each of the Award Descriptions the member was eligible for, would have taken less than an hour to set that up programmatically.  And don’t get me started on how someone would book by 09/27/2009 and stay 09/27/2009.

I’ve got more than enough points, but was looking forward to using this reward and keeping the points for our bi-annual Disney World trip, maybe a few other excursions.  I’m just upset, and slightly peeved that I got suckered into heaping platitudes on this company, only to find that they may not be as loyal to me as I am to them.

I’m writing them an old fashioned letter now, even left an email with their Customer Service department.  Surely someone there will realize that a) they could have done a much better job of explaining the award rules, and b) this isn’t worth losing an extremely loyal (and lucrative) customer over.

But just in case, I think I’ll dust off my Hilton membership card.  Because I despise bad customer service and don’t tolerate stupid policies either.