How firms react after they’ve made mistakes: Roseman
When companies make mistakes, they should take ownership of error-related issues and ensure they are resolved.
But sometimes, large firms drop the ball and inconvenience their customers, as you can see in the following stories.
Lois Pollock has a U.S. dollar account at BMO. Since she stayed in Canada this winter, daughter Connie Hutchinson (who has power of attorney for her 86-year-old mother’s finances) wanted to convert some U.S. dollars.
“Connie went into the local BMO branch, where she was told to write a U.S. cheque for the exact amount to deposit into Grandma’s TD bank account,” said granddaughter Nikki Collins.
“Although the funds were available in the U.S. account, the cheque was unable to be processed and was returned. Neither bank could explain what happened.”
TD deposited $ 47,014 (Canadian) in her account Jan. 26 and removed $ 48,823 after the cheque was returned Feb. 5. As a result, Pollock lost $ 1,809.
The family spent months trying to get a refund. BMO sent them to TD, while TD sent them back to BMO.
A TD regional manager cited its financial services agreement (G.9): “If a foreign exchange transaction must be reversed for any reason, you agree that you will be responsible for any loss or cost associated with the currency exchange and we may charge this loss or cost to your account.”
Collins’ grandmother is a loyal TD customer. When I asked TD to help, it reimbursed her for half the loss as a goodwill gesture. Hutchinson then went to BMO for help and was reimbursed for the rest.
Christine Brown spent $ 8,000 to put in an Ikea Sektion kitchen at her home. She ordered everything on March 2 and she’s still waiting for her order to be completed.
“My husband and two kids have spent endless weekends at Ikea stores. We’ve also spent many evenings on hold with customer service,” she said. “Ikea has left many people stranded in construction zones within their own homes.”
Sacha Del Biondi ordered an Ikea Sektion kitchen on April 4. The contractors who came to install it on April 29 found six cabinets missing, plus some door fronts, shelves and drawers.
“We were not told about a shortage of products for this new line,” she told the Star. “Many items were on back order and did not show up on our Remaining Products list, so we had no way of knowing the items were not delivered.”
She was frustrated after making eight trips to Ikea stores in two weeks — 30 kilometres each way — with her infant in the car.
Ikea completed Del Biondi’s order after I got involved. But Brown got only a promise that customer service would follow up on her order every day until securing the four outstanding pieces.
The Sektion kitchen system “has been extremely popular in Canada, resulting in delays on certain orders where select products have exceeded our expectations. We recognize this is difficult situation,” said Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick, a spokeswoman for the Swedish home goods retailer.
Ikea Canada has been “working tirelessly” with suppliers to secure the outstanding items and “working actively” with customers to complete their orders as quickly as possible, she added.
As for compensation, it’s up to customers to negotiate. The shortage is easing, but you might want to put off orders until the delays disappear.
Planet Fitness, the largest U.S. gym chain with 1,000 locations, is known for offering $ 10-a-month memberships.
The manager of a new Toronto outlet made a few mistakes when sending emails to members on June 3, asking them to allow their bank accounts to be billed.
He talked about a “checking account,” not “chequing account” (the Canadian spelling).
He said, “You can respond to this email with your banking information.” In fact, sensitive data should be relayed securely by phone or in person.
The worst mistake was not using Bcc (blind carbon copy), which allows a sender to conceal email addresses of recipients. I counted several hundred email addresses on the copy sent to me by a gym member.
“We regret the error and have personally contacted members who received this correspondence to apologize and caution them not to reply to this email, particularly with any sensitive personal information,” a spokesman told me. “We have also sought guidance from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner through a voluntary self-report.”
The spokesman also said, “At Planet Fitness, we take member privacy and confidentiality very seriously.”
Maybe so, but I have only one way to explain such mistakes: Canadian staff were not trained to respect the rules.
Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at email@example.com or www.ellenroseman.com .
TORONTO STAR | BUSINESS | PERSONAL_FINANCE