Category Archives: General

Chipotle: Bad Twitter Customer Service in Action

Update on 2016-01-19: It has been over four months and Chipotle did not respond to any of my emails, tweets, nor this blog post. They never made good on the BOGO offer, even though so many other customers received their coupons without issue, and even though Chipotle said they would make good on their offer in tweets in July 2015. Chipotle is yet another example of companies who simply do not keep their word.

I complained to Chipotle via email and Twitter about not receiving the “BOGO” (buy one get one free) coupon from participating in their “Friend or Faux” online game / marketing campaign. I had participated in the game and entered my cell phone number on 7/25/2015 at approximately 12:30 AM EDT, for which, according to the terms, all participants would receive the BOGO coupon via text message within 7 days. Many of my friends had received their coupon within 24 hours, yet I received nothing, like several others complained of in the comments on a post on Money Saving Mom:

Chris says
July 22, 2015 at 9:47 am
I played the game yesterday and did not receive the coupon. 🙁

Veronica says
July 23, 2015 at 12:30 am
I participated in the game. But never received confirmation of BOGO. I eat here often. Thank you

Autumn says
July 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Mine said coupon will arrive in 7 days also..

Veneece says
July 29, 2015 at 1:13 am
Did anyone else have a problem where they played the game but never received their coupon? I’ve played from my phone and 2 tablets and i have not received a coupon or text to either device.

Given that I did not receive the coupon and that I could not sign up again because when I played the game again and entered my phone number, it said I had already entered the phone number, a friend recommended I complain to Chipotle via Twitter, since they would resolve the issue.

I proceeded to have a surprising conversation where Chipotle repeatedly asked me to send them an email via their contact form and then feigned not receiving the emails. After opining that rival Qdoba sent me a BOGO coupon for my birthday without asking, ChipotleTweets appears to have “muted” me, because they stopped replying to my tweets, even without apologizing or resolving the problem! I can only conclude that this is indicative of the hubris of American corporations:

Chipotle Twitter Conversation

Chipotle Twitter Conversation - Addendum

Richard Thripp, 8/05/2015:
@ChipotleTweets Never got the BOGO coupon even after signing up 10 days ago. Disappointed! Apparently everyone else got theirs.

ChipotleTweets, 8/05/2015:
@richardxthripp Check with http://www.chipotle.com/email-us and they can look up your smartphone records. -Joe

Richard Thripp, 8/11/2015:
@ChipotleTweets Thank you — I emailed them 6 days ago but still no reply.

ChipotleTweets, 8/11/2015:
@richardxthripp I’m not seeing an email from you. Perhaps there was a technical issue. Would you mind resending, please? -Myra

Richard Thripp, 8/18/2015: [Yes, there was a 7-day spread here. I don’t use Twitter much.]
@ChipotleTweets I sent the email as Comments + Questions > General Inquiry. I sent another email today. I recd. no texts or coupons.

ChipotleTweets, 8/19/2015:
@richardxthripp What name did you use for sending across your email so we can look into this for you? -James

Richard Thripp, 8/21/2015:
Richard Thripp

Richard Thripp, 8/24/2015:
@ChipotleTweets While Chipotle wastes my time, Qdoba sends me BOGO coupons without asking. http://thripp.org/files/images/qdoba-coupon-20150824.png

Qdoba, 8/24/2015:
@richardxthripp Happy birthday.

Richard Thripp, 8/27/2015:
@qdoba Thanks! Chipotle doesn’t even reply anymore.

Richard Thripp, 8/29/2015:
@ChipotleTweets I never got my BOGO coupon I signed up for in July, and after numerous emails and tweets, you now ignore me. Dissatisfied.

Richard Thripp, 9/04/2015:
@ChipotleTweets Why do you ignore my tweets and emails? I signed up for the BOGO coupon on 7/26/2015 and never got anything.

[Update: Based on reviewing my browsing history logs I actually signed up on 7/25/2015 for the coupon.]

While I did not save the emails sent on 8/05/2015 or 8/18/2015, I did save a screenshot of the email I sent on 9/01/2015, which is below. No reply was received to any of my emails (yes, I checked my spam folder):

Chipotle Email, 9/01/2015

What could Chipotle have done differently?

Why ignore a customer who is clearly dissatisfied? Particularly when said customer has his own website where he has complained about corporate grievances before, and probably will again?

Why offer to fix the issue by having the customer email his phone number, and then pretend not to receive the emails and not fix the issue?

Instead of wasting my time and annoying me with the silent treatment, Chipotle could have simply said in their first tweet: “Our apologies, but we are unable to re-issue BOGO coupons.”

Alternately, they could have send another coupon, or a $10.00 gift card, which is the maximum value of the coupon according to the terms.

But instead, they jerked me around and then ignored me.

What could I have done differently?

When I signed up for the free coupon, I opted out of text message marketing by clicking a checkbox, because I had read the terms which indicated you could still get the BOGO coupon without opting into text message marketing. I could have been more cautious and opted in, in case the terms were not correctly implemented by Chipotle.

When I mentioned rival Qdoba and uploaded a copy of the BOGO coupon I received from them, I assumed that would get Chipotle’s attention in the interest of not losing business and face to a competitor. Evidently, given their lack of response afterward, this backfired, pissing off the employees that manage the Chipotle Twitter account. Also, note that Qdoba responded with “Happy birthday” even though I didn’t actually alert Qdoba with an @ symbol or hashtag.

What happens now?

Chipotle has been my favorite restaurant for over a year. As a vegetarian, I like that they have two vegetarian burritos (the veggie burrito and the “Sofritas” tofu burrito). They have also made their black beans vegetarian. I like that their ingredients are fairly good, their prices are low, and they do not charge extra for many things.

Chipotle will continue being my favorite restaurant, but I have less respect for them now. Or, perhaps I have more respect, because I know now that they won’t take kindly to being pressured into honoring an offer that they made of their own free will? I can only be happy that there is not a Chipotle “blacklist” like with many online banks and retailers, such as Amazon and Chase. Given that it is much less palatable to blacklist individuals from brick & mortar stores (à la the “soup nazi” from Seinfeld), I am not worried about being refused service by Chipotle.

However, I would not be surprised if they either offer me a gift card or demand I take this blog post down. I suppose they could even offer me something as a condition for removing the blog post. However, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on this blog post (approximately 1 hour), so I may not be so willing.

Update on 2016-01-19: It has been over four months and Chipotle did not respond to any of my emails, tweets, nor this blog post. They never made good on the BOGO offer, even though so many other customers received their coupons without issue, and even though Chipotle said they would make good on their offer in tweets in July 2015. Chipotle is yet another example of companies who simply do not keep their word.

MetroPCS rebate scam / run-around / fraud / bad faith

This is what I am dealing with for buying a MetroPCS phone with a mail-in rebate.

Bear in mind I already sent them a demand letter on 4/25/2015, and I wrote this email below after MetroPCS erroneously rejected my rebate and sending me a rejection postcard not once, but TWICE; the first time, I called 800-999-6389 on 3/13/2015 and a representative told me he fixed the issue, and then I got another rejection postcard on 4/25/2015.

The associated phone was the ZTE ZMAX and was purchased by me on 1/23/2015 and activated on 1/28/2015. I mailed the $100.00 rebate form on 1/31/2015 (17 weeks ago). The rebate is for handsets purchased between 1/21/2015 and 4/05/2015, yet I have been rejected twice for the phone being “activated outside the program period,” even though a phone rep on 3/13/2015 admitted the postcard was completely wrong.

Here is the email I sent 5/28/2015 after finding that their rebate tracking website does not work on 3 separate attempts:


Hello, Amanda [last name redacted], or other Young America Special Services Team employee,

It has been over 4 weeks since the date of the email below (4/28/2015) and the $100.00 rebate card hasn’t shown up yet.

On 5/05/2015, I received an email with tracking # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX for this rebate. However, your rebate tracking website is completely broken / non-functional. I have checked it on 3 separate occasions (Fri., 5/22/2015; Tue., 5/26/2015; and Thu., 5/28/2015), and both times, I have received the following error messages:

When entering Option 1: Phone # and ZIP code:
“We’re Sorry. That request cannot be completed.”

When entering Option 2: Tracking Number or Option 3: Contact Information, the following error message has been received on all occasions:

metropcs-rebate-server-error-20150528

Please provide the date my rebate with tracking # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX was mailed, or when it is expected to be mailed.

It has now been 117 days (almost 17 weeks) since I mailed my initial rebate submission.

Respectfully, I remain,
Richard Thripp
4-year MetroPCS Customer


4/28/2015 email from Amanda at MetroPCS’ rebate processing / fulfillment house:

Hello Richard,

Thank you for contacting the MetroPCS Rebate Center, we are happy to help you with your inquiry.

Your submission has been reprocessed and you can track the status of your rebate on our website; www.metropcsrebates.com within 48 hours. Please allow 4 weeks for your submission to be processed.

If there is anything further we can assist you with, feel free to contact us by email, Web Chat or calling 1-800-999-6389 Monday – Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CST.

We apologize for the confusion.

Amanda [last name redacted]
Special Services Team | YA Canada – a subsidiary of Young America, LLC
770 Richmond St., Unit C | Chatham, ON | N7M 5J5
www.young-america.com


4/25/2015 demand letter (email) to MetroPCS:

My rebate has been twice rejected with a postcard saying “the product activation for your submission occurred outside of the program period.”

The first postcard was received 3/13/2015, and I called 800-999-6389 on 3/13/2015 and was told the rejection was MetroPCS’s mistake and that I would receive the rebate in 8-10 weeks.

I received a new postcard with the same rejection message on 4/25/2015.

This is erroneous and at this point, arguably is an act of bad faith.

I demand my rebate for a $100.00 Visa prepaid card on the ZTE ZMAX mobile phone be honored as advertised, and have documentation proving the phone was purchased from MetroPCS.com, activated during the program period, and that the rebate was accordingly submitted and rejected in error.

Further, I demand an additional $15.00 concession for my rebate being repeated rejected and delayed, arguably in bad faith [this demand was not acknowledged in the 4/28/2015 reply from Amanda at Young America].

If my demands are not met, the actions I will take will include, but not be limited to:

1.) Submitting a chargeback with my credit card issuer (Chase Bank) regarding the transaction, in the amount of $100.00.
2.) Filing a complaint with the Attorney General for the State of Florida and the applicable state(s) of MetroPCS and MetroPCS’s rebate processors.
3.) Being that the rebate is processed in Texas, I have additional recourse permitted under the Texas Business & Commerce Code, Title 12, Section 605.
4.) Filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
5.) Filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
6.) Being that the repeated rejection of my rebate has arguably been in bad faith and been conducted via correspondence delivered through the U.S. Postal Service, filing a complaint with the United States Postal Inspection Service for a possible case of mail fraud.

Sincerely,
Richard Thripp


Text of MetroPCS rebate tracking error message which has been showing up on their site for at least an entire week when I try to track my rebate:

Server Error in ‘/’ Application.
Runtime Error
Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine.

Details: To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a tag within a “web.config” configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This tag should then have its “mode” attribute set to “Off”.

<!– Web.Config Configuration File –>

<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode=”Off”/>
</system.web>
</configuration>

Notes: The current error page you are seeing can be replaced by a custom error page by modifying the “defaultRedirect” attribute of the application’s configuration tag to point to a custom error page URL.

<!– Web.Config Configuration File –>

<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode=”RemoteOnly” defaultRedirect=”mycustompage.htm”/>
</system.web>
</configuration>

Coupon Codes and Online Shopping

While some consumers do not know this, shopping online presents as many opportunities for saving as traditional, brick-and-mortar shopping, if not more. Before making any online purchase, it behooves almost any person who intends to maximize the value of their time to investigate what discounts, coupon codes, cashback offers, and promotions are available for their intended purchase.

Recently, many new websites have sprung up to analyze and aggregate coupon codes and promotional offers, for the mutual benefit of the operators of said websites and their customers. One such new startup is Frugaa, which presents coupon codes for websites in an appealing and easy-to-use format that helps its users save time and money.

With Frugaa, it is easy to search for savings by store, by category, and/or by budget. There is also a highly useful system of ratings and comments on coupons which helps you to quickly sift out the non-working or expired coupons based on percentage of “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” votes and by glancing at comments from other users.

While Frugaa should be part of a comprehensive money-saving system to reduce the ultimate cost of all items you purchase online, for a newbies and experts alike, I highly recommend checking it out and it is a great place to start if you are new to the field. I expect to see great things from this service and others like it in the future.

Recommendation Letter from Lisa Doig

Today, I received an unsolicited letter of recommendation on LinkedIn from Lisa Doig, my former supervisor at the Holly Hill branch of the Volusia County Public Library, where I volunteered from January to November 2006 and was employed from 11/16/2006 to 6/13/2008. It can be seen here (by LinkedIn users who are logged in) and says:

“Richard was a truly extraordinary asset to the Holly Hill Library. He was so patient and kind in answering all patrons’ most complicated computer questions; he was always an enthusiastic contributor and participant in library programs and activities; an extremely talented photographer and musician willing to share his work and music with all of us; and otherwise a brilliant, well mannered, well liked young man destined to go very far in his professional journey.”

I enjoyed working at the library under Lisa and she has a passion for helping people find information and for emergency and disaster management. In 2007, I recall her returning from several emergency preparedness drills and conferences with great enthusiasm, stories, and photos detailing what she had learned. Lisa is fluent in Spanish and I wish her the best as she continues in the Volusia County library system while working toward her calling in emergency management, with an emphasis on helping the Hispanic community and non-English speakers.

The Holly Hill, FL library first opened in 1964. It was located at 1066 Ridgewood Ave., Holly Hill, FL when it closed in 2010, but Volusia County continued providing public computers and book vending machines until 2013, which were then also removed. Located at 1066 Ridgewood Ave. (U.S. Highway 1), Holly Hill, FL across the street from the Holly Hill City Hall, it is now a museum and education center (which was previously co-located with the computers and book vending machines).

In my volunteering and employment at the library from 2006 to 2008, I observed many patrons who relied on the library not only for the books, films, audio recordings, and computer access available there, but also for inter-branch loans that were provided for free to Volusia County library card holders from 15 other branches in the county, by a daily courier service that, like the library, was funded by property tax revenue. Patrons could request an item from any library branch in the county and have it arrive in Holly Hill, often within 2-3 days if it was on shelf at the originating branch. They could then return it to the Holly Hill branch as well, and thus many patrons who did not have a car were still able to have free access to over a million physical books and audiovisual recordings. It is a shame that such an important cultural and educational service is no longer being provided in a depressed neighborhood, which was evidenced by numerous bicycle thefts that occurred frequently at the library.

Update for February 2014

It has been 8 months since I posted on Thripp.com. I updated the site to WordPress 3.8 (was on 3.5) and the theme to 2014 (was 2011). I am going to start using this site again, since it seems pretty important to my professional development to have a current website, even though Facebook works pretty well for many purposes.

I am graduating from University of Central Florida with my B.S. in Psychology in May 2014. I mentioned being engaged in my post from June 2013, but it didn’t work out and we broke up, so I won’t be moving to the Bay Area of California. (Updated 2014-03-07) I applied to two graduate programs but did not get accepted to either, despite having excellent grades and GRE scores.

I have been photographing birthday parties lately, and working on other hobbies such as piano and personal stuff.

Lately I have had some interesting ideas for articles to write, so I may start writing again like I did in 2008 – 2011.

I am also using deviantART again and you can see some of my new photos there.