Gonna write a little letter, gonna mail to my local…

I’m a letter writer.

Not the kind of letter writer that writes letters to friends. I am the kind of letter writer that contacts companies when I feel there is something good or bad to say about there services.
It all started back at camp, in my cherished deep history, hearing the older boys talk about getting free candy by taking Hershey bars and burning the rappers and squishing bugs into them, then sending them off to Hershey Pennsylvania. In return a huge box of free candy would come in the mail. There was another friend of mine who would break his ski tips at the end of every ski season and send them off only to find a brand new set come form the manufacturers, no questions asked.
There also appears to be a genetic element to my letter writing. My dad was a fierce letter writer. My favorite was a letter to then Mayor of NYC, John Lindsey after one of the cities men in blue decided to harass me and a few of my friends while on our way home from school one day. I don’t think my dad ever heard back from the Mayor. The only letter of my father’s I can find is this draft he was writing that pretty much tells it all.

My letter writing history appears to go back to at least 1998, below is the earliest letter I have saved in my “Letters to Companies” file on my computer. It is the Alamo Car rental and it states:

Alamo Rental Car
110 SouthEast 6th ST
Fort Lauderdale, FLA, 33301
attn: customer relations
reservation #8868163

During a recent one day visit to the Cleveland area I had a disturbing experience with Alamo Rental Car.

My itinerary was to go from Cleveland, OH mid-morning on Sunday June 21st, travel to Akron, OH for the evening and return to Cleveland on Monday the 22nd for a 9 pm flight.

The representative who helped me used unethical tactics to have me to spend more money. When the time came to decide on whether to take a full tank of gas and return it empty or be charged $1.19 for refueling, the representative said that Akron was very far away and I would surely be using an entire tank of gas and that $1.19 was a competitive price to pay locally for gasoline.

Well, I beg to differ. I traveled to Akron on back roads, spent the next morning driving around the Akron area, came back to Cleveland on the freeway and went to a late lunch in Cleveland before returning to the airport. I used half a tank of gas and never once saw unleaded gasoline for more than $1.12 a gallon.

On top of this I was appalled to find that my $25 dollar a day rental blossomed into over $100 in 27 hours!

I would have dealt with this situation at the time of return, but was late for my flight.

As an officer of The Atlantic Theater Film Company I make certain recommendations and decisions on travel planning for upcoming film productions. If the aforementioned practices are part of Alamo’s planned business sense, let me know now so that I can make arrangements to never make reservations with Alamo again.

Henry Cline
(that last paragraph is complete horse poo, and I no longer support inflating your situation when writing a letter yourself)

All in all I would say that if you write a letter to the CEO, CFO and COO of a brand name company, you get a response within a week, usually someone that specializes in customer relations from the Office of the President and they pretty much will fix your issue.

It seems like a great time to be writing letters to companies, I have had an almost 100% success rate over the last year. My winnings included:

Having a bunch of fees reversed on an overdue Bank of America Credit Card
Getting two months of service re-reimbursed from Time Warner Cable
Receiving a free replacement $500 printer from Epson America
I now have a phone number of someone at AT&T who will fix pretty much any issue I have, no questions asked
Free tee shirt from a brewery I like
$25 certificate from Hertz
Had the Post Ranch Inn alter their policies on weekend stays

Free Jacket of my choice from Arteryx
And much, much more!

So, if you feel like writing a letter. all you have to do is have a complaint or a compliment, write it down, go to Hoovers.com, search the company you are addressing, send your letter to the CEO, CFO and whomever else is listed on the free portion of Hoovers, sit back and wait for the loot.  You will be called back within a week or so by someone that is paid to fix your problem. 9 times out of ten, no questions asked.

Oh, and this just came in. just for the glory of it all, listen to the voice mail:

The gifts just keep on coming.

The other day I posted on Tom’s of Maine’s Facebook Page about my dissatisfaction the reformulation of their mouthwash. A day later I got customer service demanding they send me some free product. What am I going to say, no?

2012-13 Updates:

  • Our $400 Bob’s Jogging Stroller developed an issue with the lock after more than two years of hard use. I brought it to REI and made the argument about the safety issue (I didn’t have to argue at all), I walked out the door with a new stroller.
  • My latest ScanCafe order was over 7 months before completion. Multiple calls to customer service gave me my order complete and a full refund.
  • Citibank bank fees that I contested $160.
  • Chobani Yogurt 6 free Chobani Yogurt after sending in an email about buying one that had no fruit on the bottom.
  • Doorstop replacement from Doorstops.com after the first one broke in half.
  • $90 Alaskan Wood salad bowl after sending in photos that the one we had split in two along a stress fault in the wood.
  • After returning two broken cast aluminum door stops to Handlesets.com via online chat I asked if they would send me the solid brass ones (3x the cost) at no charge and they did.
  • My fifth Mophie Juice Pack iPhone case broke under warranty and instead of asking for  anew one as I had the last five times, I asked if they would please upgrade me to a better, stronger unit. What did they say, YES!
  • $25 gift Certificate to “The Daily Grill” after complaining three times about a sub-par Cobb Salad. They Fedexed the gift card to me.
  • The carry all under the Bob’s Stroller (the Stroller was the free due to a previous exchange listed above) was torn. I called the company and they sent out a replacement asap. No questions asked.
  • Kuhn Rikon pairing knife started to wear on the “painted” blade. I emailed the company and they said that process they use to color the blades is deemed safe by the FDA, but if I wanted a new one to please send in the old one. I did, they sent out a brand new blade.
  • This is almost too much to accept. I am putting on the replacement carry all on our Bob’s Stroller and one of the screws strips out where it attaches to the stroller. I bring it down to REI to have them take a look and fix it and they repair guy calls Bob’s Stroller and it is decided the best thing to do is replace the stroller. So this will be the THIRD $400 stroller I have gotten from Bob’s fort he price of one.
  • Sears Kenmore clothes washer failed after three years. The warranty only is for one year. Wrote a great letter after the repairmen admitted to me that the part the failed was made of plastic and used to be made of metal and use to last 10-15 year, but was one of the most common repairs he makes. Alas, they only offered me an additional one year warranty, not my greatest success.
  • Jeff Tweedy solo tickets go on sale for a small club in Los Angeles. The site crashes due to demand on the day of the sale and I am unable to purchase tickets. I wrote a letter that included screen captures of the crashed site, they called me a few days later and sold me tickets over the phone

2014 Updates:

  • OXO Digital Kitchen Scale (replaced as a “one” time courtesy
  • Cuisineart 8″ non-stick frying pan. The back melted away in dishwasher and I sent an email to CSR with photos and they tried to blow me off saying it is not dishwasher safe and I should have read the manual (a manual for a frying pan). Then I wrote a letter to the CEO and about a week later a new pan arrived at my doorstep. Once again the power of the letter prevails!
  • $800 in United Airlines travel vouchers. After writing a letter to CEO complaining about our last trip back east, which was indeed a little bit of a nightmare.

2015 Updates:

  • 12 oz Tonx coffee beans. After writing a smirky, loving, but complaining email about shipping delays since they were bought by Blue Bottle Coffee.
  • Video graphic card for my 27inch iMac. My iMac overheated and one of the fans burned out. I had it serviced at Apple, but when I got home the video freaked out. I brought it back and did a LOT of sweet talking, even bringing up my invited presence at the 2009 MacWorld Podcasting forum and finally they agreed to replace the video card free of charge.
  • The Bob’s stroller five point harness just disintegrated. I went to REI where they gave me a new stroller last time and they kinda gave me the brush off. I called Bob’s Stroller/Britax and they are sending me a brander new cover for the entire stroller.
  • OXO again. There stainless steel dish rack started showing signs of disintegrating around the rubber gasket. They said they would replace it, but I said isn’t it going to happen again? Then they just gave me a $50 gift certificate!
  • Starting in March I disputed over $1400 in charges with the DWP. I spoke to many customer service people, wrote letters to my city councilman, and so much more. By the end of May I was pretty sure I was not going to get anywhere with a financial deal, until today. I spoke with a high level customer service person, who totally understood the issues and zeroed our balance while I was on the phone, erasing the $1400 in disputed charges once and for all!

2016 Updates:

  • $100 from Whirlpool Corporation after writing to the CEO about how terrible their service contracts are and what happened when the certified service repairman couldn’t fix my refrigerator and I fixed it about fifteen minutes after he left.

About admin

Who me? Well, Uh, I used to have a website (still do) that I love(d) and always wanted it to be pretty much a blog, even though blogs did not exist when I started the site. Like a daily newspaper of all things Hank is the way I always looked at it. So now, I crumbled and have a blog like the rest of humanity.
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