A New Addition to the Customer Service Hall of Fame

The way a company deals with its customers after the sale is as important as what happens to get that sale in the first place. I am quick to criticize companies who give poor customer service and have done so right here, in the past. And when a company gives excellent customer service, I believe they should get equal billing.


Last March, I stopped by Babies R Us to purchase a Gift Card for a very special baby shower. Our second grandson would be due in only a few weeks; I was in a frenzy packing and preparing for our big move to Colorado. Our son and daughter-in-law had created a registry at Babies R Us. I knew they would appreciate a gift card to get exactly what they needed, when they needed it and I would appreciate saving a little time by not having to figure out exactly what that might be.

The store manager helped me with this purchase, which I recall specifically in that we had a nice chat about store managing stuff. Drawing from my best advice when purchasing anything that holds a promise (such as a deposit or tickets for something in the future), I paid for the $100 Gift Card with a credit card—on my way to the shower. I quickly signed the card and tucked the cute Baby Boy Gift Card inside.

Several weeks later, Wendy went back to the very same store to purchase baby items. At the check out the clerk regretfully told her that the card had no value on it. The clerk tried several times to input the card for payment, each time showing Wendy how it registered at $0.00. What?! The clerk mentioned that perhaps the value had been stolen, but offered no remedy.

It was weeks later that Wendy received a phone call from Babies R Us. We can only imagine that they connected the event with her registry to get her phone number. They explained that indeed that somehow between the moment that she activated the card and presented it for payment its value had been stolen. (We’ve all heard about this happening, right?) But this time, I’d already reimbursed her with cash and she no longer had the bad card. Thankfully, she’d given it back to me.

Now you’re probably way ahead of me. Yep, in the move and all, I totally misplaced that bad gift card. And could I find the original receipt? In your dreams. I wish I were more organized. But since I’d paid for it with a credit card, I had the transaction number. I had proof that I’d purchased it. Had I bought it with cash, I would have been out of luck without the original receipt.

With that transaction number and the Gift Card number and PIN (I did find it, whew!), I went online to Babies R Us. Using the Live Chat feature, I explained my plight. Wow! What wonderful people work at this company. Within about 20 minutes, that kind chat person had the situation figured out, including how to fix it. In short order the company replaced the Gift Card in its full value, with their kindest apologies. Impressive.

Babies R Us is the newest entry in the Everyday Cheapskate Customer Service Hall of Fame. I’m grateful and have a newly warmed place in my heart for the company. And an even warmer place for babies in general and our sweet Sam in particular.

Question: Who would you add to our Customer Service Hall of Fame?

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25 replies
  1. Laura Klouzek says:

    I recently purchased a dress from Jane.com, specifically it came from whiteplum.com. When I pulled the bag from my mailbox, I noticed a slit in the bag. After opening the bag (from the top) I noticed a cut in the dress. It looked like a cut from scissors or box tool. I took pictures of the slit, the bag after I opened it and the cut in the dress. I emailed whiteplum and had a reply within 24 hours. After receiving the pictures, I was given a full refund including shipping. I know many businesses are skeptical when it comes to returns, mostly because of the level of fraud. I was surely impressed with the speed of the reply, and with the fact they told me not to even bother with returning the item. Jane.com …….whiteplum.com have my vote!!

  2. Kathy says:

    We love Wayfair.com! The first time we ordered from them the box had been damaged and the contents damaged as well. Called customer service and they sent a new item out immediately. I asked what they wanted to me to do with the damaged item and they said keep it. This was our first experience with ordering from them and as a result I’ll never go back to Overstock.com.

  3. Priscilla says:

    I would nominate Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. I have 3 houses and a car insured with them and every claim I’ve had to enter in the past 10 years has been delt with quickly and courteously. They paid the claims without question and they, too, have real people answer their phones. Let me add that they are Americans, too.

  4. Donna Freedman says:

    Just had a very nice experience with the Thank You Rewards program (Citi credit card). I wanted to give my daughter and son-in-law a $100 prepaid Mastercard as their big-ticket Christmas gift. However, I found myself slightly under the required number of points, even with some waiting to be credited on Nov. 21. The next batch, which would have gotten me to the limit, wouldn’t be credited on Nov. 21. The Not much help, right?

    But the customer service guy said, “Let me talk to my supervisor” — and got permission to credit the waiting-in-the-wings points early and to just give me the rest. “Would you like to redeem that card right now?”

    You bet I would!

    Like you, Mary, I believe in highlighting good customer service experiences so I did a post on my website — and it’s encouraged readers to contribute their own, good and bad. If it’s kosher to post URLs, here is the link to the piece:


    Thanks for all you do, Mary.

  5. Meridee says:

    Believe it or not, the US IRS. Was making monthly payments, near the end but I was short of funds so I called. Not only was I allowed a month off but whatever amount I sent would be accepted as a full amount due that month . So I sent it and what I got back was a paid in full receipt, my debt over, and they sent me about $46 refund as an over payment. P.S. – If you call them during off season (summer) the phones are manned by college students. etc and they are fun, helpful, and make it a joy to call in. Weird, huh?

  6. Miriam says:

    I would add two companies – Kreg Tools and Presto (makers of Pressure Canners). I called Presto because it is recommended that have your dial gauge checked annually on your canner and I had no idea where to get that done in Canada. Their response: we don’t know either but we’ll send a weighted gauge so it’s not a problem.

    When I called Kreg I had a problem where a part for their product (and necessary to use it) had gone missing in my workshop. I wanted to buy a new part but they didn’t know how to sell me just the part so they sent me a whole new product (value $130) absolutely no charge. That’s customer service.

  7. Elsie says:

    We have had Dish for many years. Their customer service is exemplary. First, a real person answers and second, the technical support is easy. A real person who speaks really good English walks you through the steps of anything such as resetting a remote (a granddaughter punched a lot of buttons and lost the reception) to rebooting. The response for a service call is equally great, usually within a couple of days and no 4 hours waiting period. Recently I called to see if I could have a special deal. Even though I have been a customer for over 10 years, I was offered deep discounts on my service and some freebies too. the advice was to call back again in 6 months to see what else was available. I wouldn’t have cable if it were free!

  8. Gehugh says:

    On a regular basis, when I recieve what I believe to be exemplary customer service, I say so to the point person and also to the management. I know it is appreciated. When I visit a new store I always make sure to do this. I do not on-line shop, but shop by phone at reputable, established businesses. L.L.Bean ranks at the top of my mail-order businesses (I would shop at the brick and mortar if I lived in Freeport!) not only for quality of merchandise, but for customer service, being a USA family business (although some items are imported, and they state which are) and longevity (we’ve purchased from them for decades). I used to be true to The Vermont Country Store, but after a few bad experiences in a row (eventually they were made good) I scratched them off my purchasing list. Too bad, because for decades they were excellent. Lehmans in Ohio imho is good, too.

  9. Cat Lynch says:

    I’ve actually never heard of the value of a gift card getting stolen…how would that have happened? It’s a scary thought!

  10. Katie F. says:

    I agree with Martha Holmes. LL Bean is, by far, has hands down, the best customer service; particularly their return policy. Doing business with them is a sure thing.

    I would also like to mention that I know what the “Beyond” stands for in “Bed, Bath and Beyond”. In my opinion, they are Beyond wonderful with their return policy. Till just recently, they have honored any and all returns at full face value even without a receipt. In this such cases they have given me store credit. I think that, without a receipt, store credit is generous. Recently, they have had to deduct 20% because people were abusing the 20% off coupon in combination with the generous returns policy. I have been amazed by how long it took them to instate this policy as I think it is necessary for them to stay in business and continue to make available their very reasonable returns policy for those who don’t abuse it.

    Their customer service is wonderful.

  11. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    I find that the Verizon representatives are always friendly and helpful. It’s often like chatting with a friend.

  12. Toast Points says:

    Glad this worked out. But, wow, what a time suck! A nice crisp $100 bill would have saved a lot of time and worry. … and also given the new mom more flexibility on where to shop for her newborn.

  13. Sophie LaFontaine says:

    For all the greeting-card makers out there, I’d like to add Oozak.com and http://www.shop.ginakdesigns.com to the list of companies with great customer service. The owner of Oozak actually called me right after I placed my first order and said if I logged in I would see cheaper prices for a certain item. Both companies have free shipping over $50 and both are super fast too!

  14. Martha Holmes says:

    I nominate LL Bean. I’ve done business with them for years and have not had a bad experience with customer service. They’ve replaced articles of clothing that I thought wore out too soon, a dog bed that I ordered incorrectly, and they honored a 10% off coupon that I forgot to add to my order. When they say 100% Guarantee, they mean it!

  15. Sandra says:

    This is why I pay for almost everything with a credit card. As long as I’m able to pay it off each month, I keep using it. When a month comes that I’m a little strapped, I don’t use the card until it’s paid off. Glad it worked out and it’s always nice to tell someone they’ve done a good job.

  16. Coni D says:

    I had a similar situation. I was given a gift card for Benihana. The night I tried to redeem it, I was told there was no value to it. It was an “e” certificate, printed and sent to me by my niece and had been in my purse since I received it in the mail. It was really embarrassing when it was denied, but fortunately, I had money with me. A couple of points……… I didn’t think the restaurant did enough to help resolve the issue, they just handed it back to me. I had to call back the next day and get the number for corporate. They just handed me off to customer service, who turned it over to the gift card department. Fortunately, my niece is VERY organized and still had the email with the receipt number. I was told I’d hear from someone within 2 business days. I had that conversation for about a week before somebody finally called me back to explain there was a glitch in their system and card showed no value, but they also couldn’t track when/where it had been used. They ended up sending me a new one via fed ex, and they added more money to it. I love Benihana, and can’t wait to go back.

  17. Donna Pheneger says:

    So happy you were able to take care of the gift card snafu – your new grand baby is darling. My nomination for your Customer Service Hall Of Fame is Hobby Lobby. I was overcharged for one item and charged for another but it never got into my bag. It only took a few days but I was refunded with apologies. Always save receipts and be kind to the reps – my mom was right when she told me this!

    • Toast Points says:

      Given Hobby Lobby’s discriminatory practices against gays and even its own employees when it comes to health insurance and birth control, I’d think twice before spending a penny in any of its stores.


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