Another discerning consumer post brought to you by the resident bitchy consumer who won’t take shitty services lying down.
Now, everybody loves a good deal. I am no exception. Which explains why I frequently check out group buying sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial in search of any promotions or offers.
One of the most common things I purchase is food deals – because I love eating and trying out new places. A month ago, I purchased a deal on LivingSocial to Capricciosa.
Last week, when I called up Capricciosa to make a reservation, I found that the contact number given has been terminated. A search on the website shows that even the entire branch’s information has been removed. The Facebook page listed on the website is of another person’s profile and has nothing whatsoever to do with Capricciosa. I even made a few calls to some other branches listed in the website but was faced with a busy dial tone every time.
And so on Sunday, I emailed LivingSocial asking for help and for a refund since I obviously could no longer use a voucher for a restaurant that simply doesn’t exist anymore. I should also mention that the customer service section is not easy to find; for your convenience, the direct link is here and you’ll have to select the correct country in the drop down list at top left of the page. After sending in the email, an automated response then told me that it would take 2 working days for a representative to respond, which was fair enough, and so I waited patiently.
By Tuesday late afternoon, I still hadn’t received a smidgen of news from LivingSocial, which prompted me to send another email to them following up on this matter. This resulted in an email over an hour later which read as follows:
Thanks for contacting us!
We have already escalate this matter to our respective department and merchant as well and we are waiting for the feedback from the merchant.
We shall get back to you once get the updates.Kindly seek understanding & patience in this matter.Have A Nice Day .Thank you.
I have preserved all the spelling and grammar mistakes as it is.
The email obviously is another one of those condescending replies which clarifies nothing and does nothing for the customer. So, I emailed them back immediately asking for an exact time frame of when this will be resolved. Frankly, at this point I’ve already had my doubts about their customer support as it took them 2 emails and 2 days to give me a half-assed response. Surely enough, no reply. On Wednesday, I sent yet another email stating that I am still awaiting a response.
They replied on Thursday:
Thanks for following up with us.
Please provide us with the unutilised Voucher Number, in order for us to proceed with the refund.Thank you.
Again, there were no detailed information on how and when the refund will be done. In my experience, they will usually stick some credit in your account and call it a day. And said credit (with an expiry date, no less) can only be used to purchase some other deals from their website. So I made it clear to them (in yet another email sent on Thursday itself) that I do not want a refund in terms of credit and would like money back via telegraphic transfer as that was how I paid for the vouchers in the first place. I should say that it comes as no surprise that there isn’t a reply from them yet again. I even posted on their LivingSocial Facebook page but my message mysteriously did not show up at all.
On Friday, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and called up their hotline (03-2297 3388, to spare you the trouble of sifting through their ridiculous website) in an effort to resolve this once and for all. A customer service representative named Thinesh picked up the call and I proceeded to provide my case reference number for him to look up my issue. A short while later, he responded with “Oh, Cherrie.” and then nothing. Which customer service representative greets their customers like this?! Well, apparently LivingSocial Malaysia’s.
According to Thinesh, Shirley, their Customer Advocate, is the one in charge of handling my case. However, when I requested to speak to Shirley directly, he claims that she is on the phone and thus is unable to speak to me. His advice? Wait for an email from them. Right. And I am Bruce Lee. No way, Jose.
At my repeated insistence to have the issue resolved right there and then on the phone and refusal to yet again wait for another email from them, he then put me on hold and came back a short while later telling me that they will need my bank details in order to process the monetary refund for me (see what I said about them usually sticking useless credits in your account and calling it a day? If I hadn’t call, they’d probably close the case after “refunding” me with their credits), all the while still refusing to let me speak to Shirley.
Left with no choice, I had to get Thinesh to confirm everything once more with me despite the fact that he claimed Shirley would be the one in charge of handling my case. And then he ended the call with a quick and curt “Thank you, bye”. To say that I was absolutely incensed at this point would probably be an understatement. I have never, ever, dealt with a customer service representative who would end a call with a rude and curt “Thank you, bye”. It is bad enough that he was bordering on sullen the whole time while he was on the phone with me; to have ended the call so rudely is just the final nail in the coffin.
So now, I’ve sent them an email with all the necessary information and am waiting (im)patiently to see if they really would be processing the refund within 14 working days as promised. I also added in the below paragraph in my email to them (which of course, they didn’t reply to).
I am absolutely appalled and while I am pretty sure this complaint would fall on deaf ears, this is a last ditch attempt to get LivingSocial to buck up as I have also known quite a few people who have had bad experiences with LivingSocial and have since boycotted this company. While I understand that it is sometimes unavoidable to encounter merchants that are less than stellar, it is the deal company’s responsibility to make sure their customers are kept up to date and satisfied as ultimately, it is LivingSocial that the customer did business with. A tip for you? Look to Groupon and see how THEY treat unhappy customers. That will maybe teach you a thing or two about basic customer service and support.
I think it’s safe to say that LivingSocial is one company I’d be happy to never EVER deal with ever again.
Note: After the whole fiasco on Friday, I checked my LivingSocial account and true enough, there’s LivingSocial credit placed in my account on Friday itself. Which I specifically stated that I do not want. How nice of them.