July 3, 2014
Dear Sir or Madam,
On March 30, 2014, at 8:43 pm, I placed a delivery order through swisschalet.com which I foolishly assumed would result in my eating rotisserie chicken, perogies, pork ribs, delicious signature chalet dipping sauce, and assorted sundries within the hour. My assumption that the food would be prepared, packaged, and delivered in short order was only encouraged by the fact that my husband received a confirmation email shortly after placing the order (Conf. #01250-11).
As 10:00 pm neared and our combined hunger pangs reached epic proportions, we considered giving all up for lost and simply starving to death, but decided that a more effective course of action would be to call the phone number listed on the website under the seemingly appropriate heading “Is there a problem with your delivery or call ahead pick-up order?” (1-866-439-0439).
The CSR who answered informed my husband Ian that the order had been confirmed but subsequently cancelled when to the website’s surprise, it turned out that our local Swiss Chalet restaurant was in fact closed for the evening. The CSR further informed Ian that we had received a phone call advising us of this fact. On checking with me and learning that I was as surprised as he about this, Ian tried to troubleshoot, asking if it was possible they had phoned the wrong number, but was told in no uncertain terms that they had in fact called our home phone, presumably in an alternate dimension where it makes sense that a website is not programmed to automatically decline an order for food from a restaurant that isn’t actually open. But I digress.
Ian, quite reasonably, I felt, requested that the $42.33 that had been debited from our bank account in exchange for the food that was neither prepared nor delivered be refunded. In a stunning plot twist, this request was denied. At this point a new character entered the scene, Kevin the Manager, who doggedly insisted that our request for Swiss Chalet to reverse the charge was totally out of the question, and explained that it was our responsibility to speak to our bank because the transaction was handled by “a third party” and the money had not gone to Swiss Chalet.
I imagine that conversation going something like this:
Hi, —- Bank? Yes, I’m going to need you to refund the $42.33 I paid to have food delivered from Swiss Chalet, because it never showed up. Uh huh, I called them. Yep, they know the food never came, because they canceled the order. Right, that’s what I thought too, but apparently it’s not their job to give the money back. Something about a third party handling the transaction…Yep, I know it says “SWISS CHALET #1 _V” on the bank statement, but they insist that somehow it’s my responsibility to get you to give it to me even though it’s now in the possession of some entity they engaged to handle their online transactions. Nope, doesn’t make much sense to me either….Uh…prove I didn’t get the food? Umm…I guess I could send you a picture of me with a sad face because I’m really hungry?
With Kevin not prepared to budge, we gave up for the night and decided to try again the next day. Subsequently I contacted you folks at Swiss Chalet through:
- Guest Services at 1-866-450-2903, where I was told again that the onus was on my to contact my bank, and then on further questioning the CSR passed the literal buck to the local restaurant, conferencing in Annemarie, the very friendly but confused manager whose store actually had nothing to do with the issue whatsoever since it had been closed through the entire event.
- Swiss Chalet on Facebook, where I was advised to phone guest services at 1-866-450-2903 (see above).
- @mySwissChalet on Twitter, where I received no response at all. (You should consider working on your social media strategy. I know a few bloggers and social media strategists who might be able to help out with that.)
- Cara corporate headquarters, at 905-760-2244, where I finally encountered the most helpful CSR thus far, who sympathized completely, agreed that it really did not seem like good corporate practice for a company to refuse to refund money that had been paid by a customer for an order that said company had declined to provide. He discussed the situation at length with his manager, apologized to me personally and corporately, took my contact information, and vowed that “something” would be done. Sadly, that “something” never materialized.
And so here we are. I continue to be $42.33 poorer and you will remain one household’s worth of customers poorer, not to mention all the lovely folks who come across my tale of woe on the interwebs. *waves ‘Hi’ to blog readers* I’m sure that’s just a drop in the bucket to a conglomerate such as yourselves though; certainly well worth that $42.33 you seem determined to hold onto.
Going ever so slightly more serious for a moment, I would like to mention that some of my earliest and fondest memories are of chalet sauce and festive specials. For as long as I can remember and until both of my grandparents passed away, my dad’s extended family would gather at Swiss Chalet, where we would take up a giant extended table and order festive specials all around. The meal wasn’t complete until all the cousins had we had drained the last of our Shirley Temples, rinsed our greasy hands in tiny finger-bowls, fought over the most desirable toys in the treasure chest, and tried to talk Grandmother R. into giving us her Toblerone bar – memories that it’s too bad I won’t be able to recreate with my own children.
I am enclosing the coupons that you were kind enough to deliver recently through the flyer mail system. Feel free to pass them on to someone who finds a heady thrill in taking the risk of paying for goods and/or services that they may or may not actually receive.
Thank you for…uh…well, thank you for nothing, I guess. Thank you for providing me with nothing. I look forward to receiving the bill.
Wow. That really is unbelievable. Maybe you can circumvent customer service, but calling their media relations office. I would send a letter to the CEO of the company, too … with confirmation of delivery … something that has to be signed for. Because stories like this rarely make it up the chain … and the people at the top should know what a bunch of disempowered yahoos they have working for them. This really takes the cake!
Ooh, good call…I was going to send a hard copy of the letter to Customer Relations but I will get me to the Google and address it to the CEO, copied to media relations. Which reminds me, I meant to tag some media in my last tweet!