In the age of online reviews and social media threads, the power of the customer’s voice is louder than ever. From outrageously awful experiences to simple yet infuriating blunders, many users agree that businesses can permanently lose their customers in the blink of an eye. We’ve scoured the internet for real-life stories of customers who were left with a bad taste in their mouths, and here’s what they had to say about how these businesses lost them forever.
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#1 Empty Promises
“AutoTrader Online. Bought a car out of state and they never transported it. They also never handled the paperwork. Seller and I had to do it all ourselves. Weeks of phone calls with AutoTrader ending in, ‘We promise’, ‘doing that now’, ‘just shipped’, ‘you should hear from them within X hours’. 2 months… nothing. Never again Autotrader. I don’t believe your lies. Thank goodness seller was a decent human.”
When you embark on a car-buying adventure, the last thing you want is to feel like you’ve driven in circles. In this case, a customer’s out-of-state car purchase through AutoTrader became a never-ending maze of empty promises.
#2 French Restaurant’s Payment Predicament
“I ordered carryout from a French restaurant in Pittsburgh early in the pandemic. The order was around $120. I gave them my PayPal debit card number. When I got to the restaurant, I added a bottle of water, which changed the amount I owed to, say, $127. So they processed the two orders, for a total of $247, which I did not realize until sometime the next week. It took over a month to get my first $120 returned to me. The owner of the shop could not have been any nastier, saying it was my fault.”
Ordering food should be a straightforward task, but for this customer, it became a financial puzzle. What’s even harder to swallow is the owner’s response, which was far from the warm and welcoming experience you’d expect at a restaurant. Blaming the customer for a confusing payment process left a bitter taste and made them reconsider dining there in the future.
#3 Ticket Trouble
“Vivid Seats. I purchased a floor ticket for a concert and was sent a mezzanine (2nd floor) ticket and unfortunately didn’t notice until I got to the concert. Obviously floor tickets were WAY more expensive than the ticket I received. Vivid Seats refused to refund me because ‘the seller fulfilled my order’ … apparently doesn’t matter if you don’t get what you pay for. I filed a charge back with my credit card and just found out this morning that I won. I won’t ever be using them again, customer service was horrible.”
Attending a concert should be a harmonious experience, but for this customer, it struck a sour note.
#4 Glassdoor’s Review Riddle
“Glassdoor. They’re messed up. Make you leave a review to read reviews. On top of that they delete reviews posted by employees. I just want to know if the company I’m applying for is a hellhole. That’s it.”
Job hunting is challenging enough without adding extra hurdles, and Glassdoor’s unusual approach didn’t sit well with this job seeker. All this person wanted was an honest glimpse into the company they were considering, but instead, they encountered a frustrating enigma. The lack of transparency left them with no faith in Glassdoor’s reliability.
#5 Pricey Disappointment
“Last time I went to Panera, it was $40 for two of us. My soup had no ‘solids’ in it, my sandwich had a pitiful amount of ingredients, the employees were rude AF as if we inconvenienced them by walking in the door. Never again, Panera.”
A visit to Panera should warm both your heart and your stomach, but for this customer, it left them cold. Such a combination of poor food quality and rude service was enough to ensure this would be their last Panera visit.
#6 Bizarre Car Claims
“Hertz. For claiming their cars were stolen and then getting warrants placed on said car renters.”
Renting a car should be straightforward, but for this customer, it turned into a bizarre legal quagmire. Hertz’s surprising claim that their rented cars were stolen led to warrants being placed on the renters. Such outlandish accusations were not only perplexing but also raised questions about what truly happened. Trust and straightforwardness are essential when renting a car, and this business’ unconventional behavior certainly didn’t inspire confidence.
#7 Target’s Unjust Accusation
“Target stopped me at the door because they thought they saw me putting products in my pocket. Knowing there was nothing whatsoever in my pockets, I let them do the whole rigamarole before turning my pockets and revealing I was putting my cellphone back in my pocket. People have pockets. You don’t need to accuse people loudly, in front of other guests unless you’re absolutely sure.”
Retail therapy at Target took an unexpected turn for this shopper. Such an embarrassing experience not only lost Target a customer but also highlighted the importance of having confidence in your accusations before making a scene.
#8 Diner Drama
“Me and my partner used to go to this one diner all the time before we moved; really good food and good service. After moving back to the area, we decided to get a meal. We were seated, and then waited. A random bus boy saw us looking ‘not served’ so he brought us water. We saw one waitress and she was on the phone. After a couple more minutes, the same bus boy saw us looking confused and told us that the woman on the phone was our waitress… We were like ‘Oh ok’… After a couple more minutes, the bus boy went over to the waitress, and we heard him tell her that she had customers. Five more minutes went by, she didn’t even glance in our direction, and we got up and left. Since then we’ve never felt like going back, and we used to eat there all the time.”
Such a dramatic shift in service quality, especially at a place they had once frequented, was enough to permanently deter this couple from returning.
#9 Voicemail Vanishing Act
“T-Mobile deleted voicemails from my deceased mom and wouldn’t recover them for me.”
Losing a loved one is heart-wrenching, and the memories we cherish become even more precious. For this T-Mobile customer, the pain was compounded when they discovered that voicemails from their deceased mother had been deleted. Their request for recovery was met with refusal, leaving them devastated. In such a sensitive situation, the inability or unwillingness to help was the last straw for this customer, severing their ties with T-Mobile.
#10 Unappetizing Manager
“A Quiznos manager aggressively hit on my wife.”
Grabbing a quick meal should be straightforward, but for this Quiznos customer, it turned into an uncomfortable encounter. The manager’s unwelcome advances towards their spouse were not only unprofessional but also completely inappropriate. When dining out, you expect to enjoy your food not fend off unwanted attention. This incident led to a decision to avoid the business altogether, leaving a bad taste in their mouth for reasons unrelated to sandwiches.
#11 Sapphire Necklace Saga
“My fiancé ordered me a sapphire necklace for an anniversary present a few years ago. They accidentally shipped 2 bras instead of the necklace. I contacted customer service, thinking I’d just ship back the bras and they could resend my necklace. Nope. They refused to send me a prepaid shipping label. They refused to resend me a new necklace, even though I provided proof we got the wrong order. They also refused to refund my fiancé. They told me they wouldn’t refund us unless we drove an hour (each way) to the store to return it in person OR pay ourselves to ship it back.”
When it comes to customer service, a little flexibility can go a long way. In this case, a simple mix-up led to a frustrating ordeal. The wrong items were shipped, but the company’s refusal to provide a prepaid shipping label, send a replacement necklace, or issue a refund left this customer feeling cornered. The lack of understanding and rigid policies turned what could have been a simple resolution into a burdensome process, ultimately resulting in a loss of faith in the company.
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