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. šŸ™

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? Iā€™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 (Ć  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.

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