Customer Service Horror Stories – What Were They Thinking?

December 16, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note from the sales associate who rung up your purchase at the department store? If you’re like me, and probably most other people, the answer is, ummm… never? Then again, I’ve never stepped foot inside a Nordstrom. horrendous

They’ve got customer service down to an art. Associates are given a single rule as their employee “handbook” and that’s to use their best judgment. According to, many associates develop a relationship with their customers. They send personal emails or give them a call about special deals and probably when they get something in stock they know that customer would be interested in.

Other companies could learn a lot from how Nordstrom cares for its customers and gives their employees the power to make customer care decisions. Just take a look at some of these customer service horror stories…

The 7-Year AT&T Struggle

A seven-year battle over a supposed debt drug one poor woman through the trenches, along with her credit. Yahoo included this story in an article they ran on almost-unbelievable horror stories from cable companies. In this case, AT&T claims that she hadn’t paid a bill, although it was being deducted from her pay automatically and the bank statements proved the payments were made. One lawyer after another and the trouble just bubbled over. The case was finally settled years later, only to resurface seven years later when debt collectors started contacting her again and the debt was added on to her credit report – once again. You have to read the details of this crazy case here.

The $1,000 Tweet

No, that’s not what a company ended up paying for horrendous customer service. But a very angry customer did pay that amount in order to sponsor their message on Twitter for the world to see. British Airways, of course a company operating 24/7, didn’t even reply to the viral tweet seen by nearly 80,0000 people until hours later. And guess what they responded with? Below is a screenshot of it that was posted in an article about this horrendous customer service on

Epoch Times Photo

Outright Lies from Online Shopping Site

It’s not just the big companies. Another story I found stemmed from ordering products from a small online retailer – Saffire Blue. The customer’s delivery was missing items and not just one or two, but SEVEN. She contacted the company many times in an attempt to have the items she ordered sent or at least be reimbursed for the cost and delivery cost. But they refused. And the delivery? It cost four times more than what the actual items were worth.

A Few Conclusions

No matter how big or small a company is, it’s still run by people and people make mistakes. But when that happens, they should own up to it and make it right. It might cost some dignity, but that’s a lot cheaper than what it’s gonna cost when the incident goes viral. And that’s easy to do these days. There are tons of ways to help minimize the risk of angry customers, right or wrong, from ruining a good name. That could be staffing and training employees to monitor social media or using customer relationship software or setting up an effective ticket system with something like SysAid that a friend of mine actually uses for their homemade crafts site.