Tuesday, August 5, 2008

From Rags to Riches

OK...not technically.

But, what I mean is...you get a product...it is defective ( rags ), or your service isn't up to par and all of a sudden you get freebies ( riches ).

But, the key is...only if you write or call to let the company know.

I have written about this before. Click here to read my original post. So, I won't go into to much details. But, for my new readers, it is informative. And, for my old readers..it is a pleasant reminder that this is a great money saver/maker.

But, I did want to update you on some freebies I got last week, simply for contacting customer service.

1. I bought the large pack of Yoplait Yogurts. When I opened the box, 3 of the yogurts were leaking and thus, uneatable. I, of course, returned to the store and got a refund on the box. But, I also wrote Yoplait and gave them the numbers off the merchandise and explained that 3 of them were leaking. I sent the numbers, because I have found that manufacturers like to track what plant and batch items came from, in case they have packaging issues at a certain location.

I was excited to open my mail last week and see 3 coupons for free yogurt. Bonus! I got the original box free ( Kroger refunded ), and there were still edible yogurts in there. And, now I got extra free coupons.

2. I was on Kroger's site loading my electronic coupons when I saw a link for 50 free prints. Well, you know I am starting my weekly free prints post for all of you ( check my right side bar for current deals ), so of course it caught my eye. I clicked on the link ( thinking it was for 50 free Kroger prints ) and it took me to Snapfish for only 30 free prints.

I wrote Kroger and asked if they could send me the correct link for 50 free prints and in my mail I got a $5 Kroger Gift Card and an apology letter that they had an invalid link on their site. WOW!

3. My mother went thru Wendy's during our garage sale to pick us up some lunch. When she got home, her pop was...well...not pop. It tasted like simply carbonation. She called, and the Manage put 2 free large pops on credit for us at the store. We picked them up the 2nd day of the sale and enjoyed the extra free beverage.

As always, my advice? ONLY, please ONLY send a letter or call customer service if there is legitimately an issue. It would be too easy to lie and take advantage of these companies, and that is NOT at all the point of these freebies the companies offer.

And...please only be polite. I never ask for anything free. And, I never get upset. I just call or write and tell them matterfactly what happened, and that I thought they would want to know. They usually surprise me and then send me things. Sometimes, I have gotten nothing. And, that is fine, too.

By telling companies what is going on with their products, you are actually doing them a service just as a mystery shopper would do. If they are having these problems with other customers, they could potentially lose future sales. They want their merchandise and service in tip top shape, and they would like to know otherwise.


Angela in Ohio said...

Have you had any luck getting free coupons when you write to sponsors to tell them how great their product is? Occasionally they will send freebie coupons in response to your letter. I'm a firm believer in writing about GOOD stuff if you're going to complain about the bad stuff too. It's freebie karma!

Carrie @ Moneysavingmethods.com said...

I have gotten a stack of coupons once, but haven't gotten as much back for that, but I send them anyway.

My favorite letters to write are about servers at restaurants ( since I am in direct contact with an actual person that is doing a great job ).

We have this restaurant down here called Dewey's Pizza, and our server was excellent...great with our kids, even though it was busy.

I sent a letter in and never heard back. But, I have to believe they gave him the glowing report. At least, I hope.

I also have a general letter I have on hand for "good" comments to stores/establishments. If anyone wants a copy...I can send it out.

It is SOO much easier to actually take the time to send letters such as this when you don't have to type much out...just duplicate and add a minimal story of what happened.

That way, I don't have to retype it every time, and I just change the middle paragraph to tell who or what was good about the service.

Have you had luck getting "stuff" when you send compliments in?

This might be a great money maker/saver post if others are having luck!

Suzy said...

I recently wrote to Hoggy's in Crestview Hills because the waiter gave me conflicting information about a menu item (first he said a certain extra was free, then he ended up charging me for it). I just wanted clarification on it. They sent me an email and said to print it out and bring it for $20 off my next meal! Oh my!
When I write a complaint letter I almost always try to have a compliment as well about the experience, (if there was something good about it). This way you can cushion your complaint a little and help the restaurant or store know what they were doing RIGHT as well.
Good topic!

Lorelei said...

I have had similar experiences with yogurt and baby food.

My son ate some Stage 2 chicken and threw up later that night. I thought the chicken smelled sort of funny (not bad, otherwise I would not have given it to him) but stage 2 meats all sort of smell funny. Anyway, I called the manf just to let them know and see if they had any other reports of illness. They didn't but were grateful for the info and sent me a bunch of coupons for free jars!

Once I emailed a yogurt company about the lack of variety of flavors in their variety pack. All the variety packs seemed to have strawberry which I can't eat. They sent me a bunch of coupons for free or $$ off variety packs (which sort of defeated the purpose) but still it was a nice gesture.

Angela in Ohio said...

Last week my husband and I were on vacation and we had dinner at Red Lobster. It was yummy food and I had a coupon! Unfortuately it seemed like the server was in a hurry to turn the table and she cleared my DH's plate before I was finished with my entree, and she tried to push dessert on us while I was still eating my entree. She really blew a good tip because I felt so rushed. When we got back home, I sent off an email to RedLobster telling them of our experience. I was nice and told them that the food was good, and the server was friendly, but they really have to be careful about rushing people to turn tables. I didn't ask them for anything.

They emailed me the next day to tell me they got my email and that they would be sending a letter by regular mail. Lo and behold, just a week after the incident, I got a letter of apology from them and $20 in gift certificates. WOW! This was amazing customer service and I get a free lunch! Aren't you proud of me?! :-)